Crandall

2nd Lt. Ralph Eugene Crandall


    Ralph E. Crandall was born on June 8, 1904, in Kansas to Albert J. Crandall & Phebe V. Peck-Crandall.  With his two sisters, he lived at 810 South 11th Street in Saint Joseph, Missouri.  He attended Central High School in St. Joseph and graduated in 1923.  After high school, he attended college for one year.

    Ralph was employed by the Missouri National Guard as a tank mechanic.  He was married to Helena and resided at 1020 Senaca Street in St. Joseph.  On February 10, 1941, he was inducted into the U.S. Army when his tank company was federalized as B Company, 194th Tank Battalion.  He traveled to Fort Lewis, Washington, with the company, and held the rank of Master Sergeant.

    During his training, he was sent to Ft. Knox, Kentucky for training in March, 1941.  It was after this training, in July 1941, that he stopped in St. Joseph, with his wife, on his way to Ft. Lewis.  At some point, Ralph was selected to attend officers candidate school.  After completing it, he was commissioned a second lieutenant.  It appears that at that time he was reassigned to Headquarters Company.
    On August 15, 1941, the 194th received orders for duty in the Philippines because of an event that happened during that summer.  A squadron of American fighters were flying over Lingayen Gulf when one of the pilots - who was flying at a lower altitude - noticed something odd in the water.  He took his plane down and identified a flagged buoy, in the water, and saw another in the distance.  He flew toward the second buoy and came upon more buoys that lined up, in a straight line, in the direction of an Japanese occupied island hundreds of miles to the northwest.  The island had a large radio transmitter on it.  The planes returned to their flight plan and flew south to Mariveles before returning to Clark Field.
    When the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.  The next day, when another squadron of planes was sent to the area, the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat - with a tarp on its deck - which was seen making its way to shore.   Since communication between the Air Corps and Navy was difficult, the boat escaped.  It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
    In September 1941, the battalion, minus B Company, was ordered to San Francisco for overseas duty.  Taking a train to San Francisco, they were ferried to Angel Island and Fort McDowell on the U.S.A.T General Frank M. Coxe.  On the island, they were given physicals and inoculated by the battalion's medical detachment.  Men who had medical conditions were held back and replaced. 
    On September 8th, they were boarded onto the S.S. Calvin Coolidge and sailed at 9:00 P.M. the same night.  The morning of Saturday, September 13th, the ship arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii.  The soldiers were allowed to go ashore but had to back on the ship before it sailed at 5:00 P.M.  After sailing, the ship headed south and was joined by its escort, the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Astoria and an unknown destroyer.  On several occasions, the smoke was seen on the horizon and the cruiser intercepted the ships.  Each time, the ships was from a friendly country. 
    The ships crossed the International Dateline on Tuesday, September 16, and the date changed to Thursday, September 18.  They arrived in Manila Bay on Friday, September 26, at 7:00 A.M.  The soldiers remained on board until 3:00 P.M., when they disembarked.  They were bused to Ft. Stotsenburg.
    At the fort, the soldiers were greeted by Gen. Edward P. King who apologized that they had to live in tents until their barracks were completed on November 15th.  He made sure that they were settled in his bivouac before he left.  The soldiers spent the next few months taking part in maneuvers and maintaining their weapons.
    The first week of December 1941, the tanks and half tracks were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against Japanese paratroopers.  The 194th was assigned the northern part of the airfield while the 192nd guarded the southern half.  At all times, two members of each tank and half track crew remained with their vehicles and received their meals from food trucks.

    During the night of December 7, 1941, the tankers were informed of the attack on Pearl Harbor that had just taken place.  The tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard the airfield against Japanese paratroopers.  At 12:45 in the afternoon of December 8th, just ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Ralph lived through the attack on the airfield.

    For the next four months Ralph worked to supply the tanks with gasoline and ammunition.  He and the members of his section also worked to keep the tanks running.  From December 8th until January 6, 1942, Ralph took part in the Battle of Luzon.  On January 7th, the tankers withdrew into Bataan and took part in the Battle of Bataan.
    On February 25th, he wrote to his sister.  In the letter he said,


    "Everyone here is very much alive and well.  Of course there has been a little sickness, but then that happens in the best of regulated families.  No one has been seriously ill, however.  We don't have all the conveniences of home, but we manage to get along quite comfortably.   It is a surprising how one can invent little gadgets to improve life in the jungles.  We should be qualified for some African expedition by the time the war is ended.
    It has been said that 'necessity if the mother of invention' but I never realized the true meaning of that phrase until the past few weeks.  It would surprise you to read a list of things that we have had to build, rebuild, and repair in order to keep things on the go.  Some of the wildest brainstorms are actually put into working order.  Someone decided for instance, that wood stoves would operate more efficiently than the splendid gasoline units that we have been using in our kitchen, so we went to work on the special Crandall model. 
    It worked so successfully, that we had to build them for the whole battalion.  They operate more efficiently and faster than others, so now our meals are ready sooner than they formally were.  Also it is possible to do things on our special model that couldn't be done on the others.
    Censorship regulations and the articles of war prevent me telling you how we obtained the materials, but it could make quite a story.
    Another day has dawned which brings forth the same old seven and six (confusion).  For diversification, I took a couple of men on a banana hunt.  We came back with about fifteen stalks.  Each contains four to ten dozen bananas.  The fruit is smaller than what you get in the states, but it is thinner skinned and much sweeter when ripe.  Once in a while we able to find a few papayas or mangoes.  For supper yesterday, we had a salad made of Jak salad.  It is a rather peculiar fruit, but is delicious if properly prepared.  It grows to be 5 or 6 inches in diameter and up to 18 inches long.  On the outside it looks like a hedge ball and on the inside looks like a lot of Brazil nut kernels surround by a yellow meat. 
    On the 22nd of February, yours truly became a second lieutenant in the United States Army.  I was assigned the same old job, which makes me happy.  This business of being an officer is not so bad.  It gives a fellow a little more time to loll around, write, read, play cribbage, and carry out crazy brainstorms.  Speaking of reading.  I could use a new magazine now and then.  All the old ones have been traded and re-read until the covers have fallen off long since.  When you mail magazines, roll each into an individual package so that if something happens to the mail, all won't be lost.  Inside the tube you might have to place a tube of toothpaste or shaving cream now and then.  In the rest, you can put candy bars such as Milky Way, Three Musketeers, or other good bars of that shape. 

    As to the magazines, I would prefer the 'Readers Digest,' 'Popular Science,' 'Red Book,' "Cosmopolitan," or any other that you think might be interesting and entertaining.  In your letters you might drop two or three double edge razor blades.  We don't shave as often as we would if we were circulating in society, but we appreciate having sharp blades when we do shave.  Some of the men have raised beautiful Van Dykes,but I have not broken over yet.
    When we came to the Islands, I thought that I could never eat rice like the natives do, but in the past few months we have learned to like it.  I never knew that it could be cooked in so many ways.  When I was home, I used to like a little made into pudding now and then, and I thought that was the only way that it could be cooked.  But now I know different.
    When I return home, I'll show you some new tricks in the art of culinary.  Did you ever eat any fried biscuits?  If you haven't, you don't know what you have missed!  There is one thing that I hope, and that is, and that is that they don't send us back to the states during the winter season.  In the first place, I could never stand the cold weather after spending so long here in this warm weather.  In the second place, I would have to buy a uniform just to be discharged in, and that costs money."

    On April 3rd, at 3:00 P.M., the Japanese lunched a major offensive with fresh troops brought in from the Dutch East Indies and the Singapore.  The line was pushed back far enough that the Japanese long range artillery could shell the rear area.  It was at this time that General Edward King made the decision to send his staff officers to negotiate the surrender of Bataan.  His decision was based on the reality that only 25% of his troops were healthy enough to fight and would last one more day.  In addition, he had 6,000 troops hospitalized because of illness or wounds.  There also were 40,000 Filipino civilians that he believed would be massacred if he did not surrender his troops.  At 11:40 P.M., the ammunition dumps were blown up.
    Tank battalion commanders received this order, "You will make plans, to be communicated to company commanders only, and be prepared to destroy within one hour after receipt by radio, or other means, of the word 'CRASH', all tanks and combat vehicles, arms, ammunition, gas, and radios: reserving sufficient trucks to close to rear echelons as soon as accomplished."
    The morning of April 9th somewhere between 6:30 and 6:45 A.M., the order "bash" was given.  This meant the the tank battalions were to destroy their tanks and any other equipment that had military value to the Japanese.

    HQ Company was ordered the next day, to move to the headquarters of the Provisional Tank Group, which was at kilometer marker 168.2.  At 7:00 P.M. on the 10th, the POWs were ordered to march.  They made their way from the former command post, and at first found the walk difficult.  When they reached the main road, walking became easier.  At 3:00 A.M., they were given an hour break before being ordered to move again at 4:00 A.M.  The column reached Lamao at 8:00 A.M., where the POWs were allowed to forage for food before marching again at 9:00.
    When the POWs reached Limay, officers with ranks of major or higher, were separated from the enlisted men and the lower ranking officers.  The higher ranking officers were put on trucks and driven to Balanga from where they march north to Orani.  The lower ranking officers and enlisted men reached the barrio later in the day having march through Abucay and Samal.
    At 6:30 in the evening, the POWs were ordered to form detachments of 100 men.  Once this was done, they resumed the trip north, but this time they were marched at a faster pace and were given few breaks.  When they did receive a break, they had to sit in the road until they were ordered to move.
    When they were north of Hermosa, the POWs reached pavement which made the march easier.  At 2:00 A.M., they received an hour break, but any POW who attempted to lay down was jabbed with a bayonet.  After the break, they were marched through Layac and Lurao.  It was at this time that a heavy shower took place and many of the men opened their mouths in an attempt to get water.
    The men were marched until 4:00 P.M., when they reached San Fernando.  Once there, they were herded into a bull pen, surrounded by barbwire, and put into groups of 200 men.  One POW from each group went to the cooking area which was next to the latrine, and received a box of rice that was divided among the  men.  Water was given out in a similar manner with each group receiving a pottery jar of water to share.
    At 4:00 A.M., the Japanese woke the men up and organized them into detachments of 100 men.  From the compound, they were marched to the train station, where they were packed into small wooden boxcars known as "forty or eights."  Each boxcar could hold forty men or eight horses, but the Japanese packed 100 men into each car and closed the doors.  The POWs were packed in so tightly that the dead could not fall to the floor.  At Capas, as the living left the cars and those who had died - during the trip - fell to the floors of the cars.  As they left the cars, the Filipino civilians threw sugarcane and gave the POWs water.
   From Capas the POWs walked 8 kilometers, to Camp O'Donnell.  was an unfinished Filipino military camp that the Japanese put into use as a POW camp on April 1, 1942.  The Japanese estimated that the camp could hold from 15,000 to 20,000 POWs.  When the men arrived at the camp they were searched and those found to have any Japanese items on them were separated from the other POWs and accused of looting the bodies of dead Japanese soldiers.  They were taken to the guardhouse and held there until they were taken to as area southeast of the camp and shot.
    The other POWs had any extra clothing taken away from them and the Japanese did not return it to them.  Since there was no water available for washing clothes, since the POWs could not bathe and their clothing became soiled, they threw it away.  They also stripped the dead of their clothing before they were buried.  Most of those who were ill and in the camp hospital had little to no clothing.  In addition, there was no water to wash the mess kits.
    The only water in the camp came from one spigot which the Japanese guards would arbitrarily turn off.  If it was turned off, the next man in line for a drink could wait as long as 4 hours for it to be turned on again.  The average wait for one drink of water was from 2 to 8 hours.  For cooking rice, the water was carried from a river located 3 miles from the camp.  The Japanese installed a second water spigot which made things better.
    The POW bathrooms were slit trenches which quickly overflowed since most of the POWs had dysentery or diarrhea.  Flies from the latrines where everywhere in the camp including the kitchens and on the food which caused disease to spread.
    The camp hospital had no soap or disinfectant.  When senior ranking American doctor wrote a letter to the Japanese commandant of the camp, Captain Yoshio Tsuneyoshi, stating the medical supplies he needed, he was told never to write another letter, and that the only thing that he wanted from the hospital were the names and serial numbers of the dead.
    When a representative of the Philippine Red Cross offered a 150 bed hospital for the POWs in the camp, a Japanese second lieutenant slapped him in the face.  When the Catholic Archbishop of Manila sent a truckload of medicine to the camp, the Japanese turned the truck away.  Medicine sent by the Philippine Red Cross was appropriated by the Japanese for use on their troops.  The medical staff at the hospital did surgery with mess kit knives since their were no medical supplies.  For every six medics assigned to work in the hospital, only one man was healthy enough to perform all his duties.
    The death rate in the camp rose to 50 men dying each day.  Each morning, the POWs collected the bodies of the dead, which were found all around the camp and carried them to the camp hospital.  There, the bodies were placed under the hospital awaiting burial which usually took two to three days.  To clean the dirt under the hospital, the POWs moved the dead, scrapped the ground and spread lime on the soil.  They moved the bodies back into the area and repeated the process where the bodies had lain while they were cleaning the other area.
    A burial detail worked daily to bury the dead.  Two POWs carried a body, in a sling to the camp cemetery and placed it in a shallow grave.  The graves were shallow because the water table was high, and as they dug the graves, the graves would quickly start to fill with water.  To hold the body down in the grave a POW used a pole while the other men threw dirt on the body.
    Daily work details left the camp to cut fire wood for the POW kitchen and to perform other duties for the Japanese.  Long term work details also were sent out, and many of the POWs volunteered to go out on them so that they could escape the camp. 

    It was at that time that Ralph began to keep a record of his POW experience.  According to the dairy, he left Camp O'Donnell on April 27, 1942, for Bataan.  He may have been one of the POWs who went out on the Bridge Building Detail.  It is not known how long he was on the detail, but it is known that when he returned to from the detail, he and the other POWs were sent to Cabanatuan.

   Cabanatuan had been the home of the 91st Philippine Army and was previously known as Camp Panagaian.  The camp was actually three separate camps.  Camp #1 was were those men who had been POWs at Camp O'Donnell were sent.  Camp #2 was four miles away from Camp 1, and because of its water problem closed quickly.  It was later reopened and house Naval POWs.  Camp #3 was six miles from Camp 2 and later housed the POW from Corregidor, from the hospitals on Bataan, and those who had been at Camp 2.  These POWs were generally in better shape then the men who had taken part in the march.  Frank was assigned to Barracks 10 at Camp 1.
    Details at Camp 1 went out daily to cut wood for the camp kitchens, plant rice, and farm.   Each morning, when the POWs lined up for roll call, it was common practice, of the Japanese guards, to kick the POWs in their shins with their hobnailed boots.  They also, for no apparent reason, frequently hit the POWs, as they stood at attention, with a pick handle as they counted off.
    The POWs who went out on the rice planting detail had to get their tools from a tool shed.  As they left the shed, it was the common practice of the guards, to hit the POWs, on the top of their heads.  If a guard on the detail decided that a POWs was not working hard enough, he was beaten.  They also would push the man's face into the mud and stepped on his head to force it down deeper.  The POWs returning from the details often were able to smuggle food, medicine, and tobacco into the camp.
    The POWs were underfed and typical meal was 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, and sweet potato or corn.  This resulted in many becoming ill since they could not fight off illnesses.  The camp hospital consisted of 30 wards which each holding 40 men.  It was more common for them to have 100 men in them.  A ward had two tiers of bunks with the sickest POWs lying on the lower bunk.  Each man had approximately an area of 2 feet by 6 feet to lie in.  A hole was cut into the platforms so that those suffering from dysentery could relieve themselves without leaving the tier.
    Zero Ward, which is where those who had little or no hope of recovering, were sent.  It got its name because it was missed when the wards were being counted.  The Japanese were so afraid of becoming ill from being that they put up a fence around it and would not go near it.

    In his diary, Ralph wrote down what was being said about the defenders of Bataan by the American media after the surrender.  How he was able to get these quotes is not known.  Perhaps he got them from members of his battalion who had escaped to Corregidor.  Of the fall of Bataan, the San Francisco Chronicle said, "The war was not won or lost on Bataan.  Bataan won a bugle call to the attack.  Bataan had told us how to win the war."  The British Broadcasting Company said, "Tonight we must close with on a note of  sorrowful pride; Britain has been moved almost to beyond words to learn that the four months' defense of Bataan had ended.  They have written a story that will never be forgotten."  The complete text of the BBC broadcast can be found in Gen. Johnathan Wainwright's press release on the fall of Bataan.

    After Ralph arrived at Cabanatuan, he began to have a problem with a tooth.  From what he wrote in the diary, the tooth was removed by Lt. Col. Fields an Army dentist.  Fields, chiseled the tooth to the bone and then pulled the root.  It was also about this time on August 16, 1943, that his mother received a POW postcard from him.  The postcard was the first word received by his family from him in eighteen months. His wife received another post card from him in August, 1944.

     In his diary, Crandall also told how a POW, Conley, who had escaped from the garden detail on July 11th and was captured in a barrio.  He stated that about 11:00 PM, there was a lot of noise in the camp.  The next morning, at the camp morgue, he described what he saw.  Conley's jaw had been crushed, the top of his skull had been crushed, his teeth had all been knocked out with a rifle butt, his left leg had been crushed, and he had been bayoneted in the eyes and scrotum.  Crandall comment was, "It doesn't pay to escape from the Japanese."

    At some point, Ralph was sent to Bilibid Prison outside of Manila.  On December 12, 1944, the POWs heard rumors that a detail was being sent out.  The POWs went through what was a farce of an inspection.  They were told cigarettes, soap, and salt would be issued.  The POWs were also told that they would also receive a meal to eat and one to take with them.  The Japanese stated they would leave by 7:00 in the morning, so the lights were left on all night.  At 4:00 a.m. the morning of December 13th, Jack and the other POWs were awakened.

    By 8:00, the POWs were lined up roll call was taken and the names of the men selected for transport to Japan were called.  The prisoners were allowed to roam the compound until they were told to "fall-in."  The men were fed a meal and then marched to Pier 7 in Manila.  During the march down Luzon Boulevard, the POWs saw that the street cars had stopped running and many things were in disrepair.

    The POWs saw that the American bombers were doing a job on the Japanese transports.  There were at least forty wrecked ships in the bay.  When the POWs reached Pier 7, there were three ships docked.  One was a old run down ship, the other two were large and in good shape.  They soon discovered one of the two nicer ships was their ship. 

     It was at this time that the POWs were allowed to sit down.  Many fell asleep and slept until 3:45 in the afternoon when they were awakened.  At about 5:00 PM and boarded the Oryoku Maru for transport to Japan.
    700 POWs including the high ranking officers were the first put into the ship's forward hold.  Being the first on meant that they would suffer many deaths.  Another 100 POWs were in the middle hold, with the remaining 800 POWs put in its aft hold.  Around the perimeter of the holds were two tiers of bunks for the POWs.  The heat was so bad that men soon began to pass out.

    Ralph was put into the ship's forward hold with 700 POWs.  The sides of the hold had two tiers of bunks that went around its diameter.  The POWs near the hatch used anything they could find to fan the air to the POWs further away from it.  One survivor said, "The fist fights began when men began to pass out.  We knew that only the front men in bay would be able to get enough air."  The POWs who were closer to the hold's hatch, used anything they could find to fan air toward those further away from it.
    After the POWs were on board, the ship moved and dropped anchor in the bay.  It remained there for two days while other ships were loaded.  It next moved to off Corregidor, where the ships dropped anchor and waited for more loading to be completed.

    The ship left Manila on December 14, at about 3:30 AM, as part of the MATA-37 a convoy bound for Takao, Formosa.  The ships sailed without lights in an attempt to avoid submarines.  By the swells in the water, the POWs could tell that the ship was in open water.  The cries for air began as the men lost discipline, so the Japanese threatened to cover the holds and cut off all air.  When the Japanese sent down fried rice, cabbage, and fried seaweed, those further back from the opening got nothing.
    At 10:00 P.M., the Japanese interpreter threatened to have the guards fire into the holds unless the POWs stopped screaming.  Some of the POWs fell silent because they were exhausted, and others because they had died.  One major of the 26th Cavalry stated the man next to him had lost his mind.  Recalling the conversation he had with the man he said, "Worst was the man who had gone mad but would not sit still.  One kept pestering me, pushing a mess kit against my chest, saying, 'Have some of this chow? It's good.'  I smelled of it, it was not chow.All right' he said, 'If you don't want it. I'm going to eat it.' And a little later I heard him eating it , right beside me."
    The Japanese covered the holds and would not allow the slop buckets to be taken out of the holds.  Those POWs who were left holding the buckets at first asked for someone else to hold it for awhile.  When that did not work, they dumped the buckets on the men around them.
    As light began to enter the hold as morning came, the POWs could see men who were in stupors, men out of their minds, and men who had died.  The POWs in the aft hold which also had a sub-hold, put the POWs who out of their minds into it.
    On the side of the holds, water had condensed on the walls so the POWs tried to scrap it off the wall for a drink.  The Japanese did allow men who had passed out to be put on deck, but as soon as they revived they went back into the holds.  The Japanese would not allow the bodies of the men who had died to be removed from the holds.

    The POWs received their first meal at about at dawn.  Meals on the ship consisted of a little rice, fish, and water.  Three fourths of a cup of water was shared by twenty POWs.   It was 8:00 A.M., off the coast of Luzon, and the POWs had just finished eating breakfast when they heard the sound of anti-aircraft guns.  At first, they thought the gun crews were just drilling, since they had not heard any planes.  It was only when the first bomb hit that they knew it was no drill.  The POWs heard the change in sound of the planes' engines as they began their dive toward the ships in the convoy. 

     At first it seemed that most of the planes were attacking the other ships in the convoy.  Commander Frank Bridgit, had made his way to the top of the ladder into the hold and sat down.  He gave the POWs a play by play of the planes attacking, "I can see two planes going for a freighter off our starboard side.  Now two more are detached from the formation.  I think they may be coming for us."
    The POWs heard the change in the sound of the planes' engines as they began their dives toward the ships in the convoy.  Several more bombs hit the water near the ship causing it to rock  Explosions were taking place all around the ship.  In an attempt to protect themselves, the POWs piled baggage in front of them.  Bullets from the planes were ricocheted in the hold causing many casualties.  .
    Lt. Col. Elvin Barr of the 60th Coast Artillery came up to Maj, John Fowler of the 26th Cavalry on the cargo deck and said, "There's a hole knocked in the bulkheads down there.  Between 30 and 40 men have already died down there."  Barr would never reach Japan.  The attack by 30 to 50 planes lasted for about 20 to 30 minutes.  When the planes were ran out of bombs they strafed.  Afterwards, the planes flew off, returning to their carrier, and there was a lull of about 20 to 30 minutes before the next squadron of planes appeared over the ships and resumed the attack.  This pattern repeated itself over and over during the day. 
    In the hold, the POWs concluded that the attacking planes were concentrating on the bridge of the ship.  They noted that the planes had taken out all the anti-aircraft guns leaving only .30 caliber machine guns to defend the ship.  
    At four-thirty in the afternoon, the ship experienced its worse attack.  It was hit at least three times, by bombs, on its bridge and stern.  Most of the POWs were wounded by ricocheting bullets or shrapnel from explosions.  Bombs that exploded near the ship sent turrets of water over it.  Bullets from the fighters hit the metal hull plates at an angle that prevent most from penetrating the hull.  Somewhere on the ship a fire had started but was put out after several hours.The attack ended when dusk came.  During the attack Chaplain Cummings, a Catholic priest, led the POWs in the Our Father.  The POWs lived through seven or eight attacks before sunset.  Overall, six bombs hit the ship.  One hit the stern of the ship killing many POWs.

    At dusk the ship raised anchor and headed east.  It turned south and after awhile it turned again this time heading west.  The next turn it made was north.  It headed in this direction for a good amount of time before dropping anchor at about 8:00 P.M.  The POWs figured out that they had just sailed in a circle.  What had happened is that the ship's had been hit during the attack and the ship could not be steered. 
  
Sometime after midnight, the POWs heard noise on deck as women and children were unloaded.  During the night, the medics in the ship's hold were ordered out by a Japanese officer to tend to the Japanese wounded.  One of the medics recalled that the dead, dying, and wounded were everywhere.
    The ship reached Subic Bay at 2:30 in the morning and steamed closer to the beach where its anchor was dropped.  At 4:00 A.M., the POWs were told that they would disembark at daybreak at a pier.  The moaning and muttering of POWs who were losing their minds kept the POWs up all night.  That night 25 POWs died in the hold. 

    It was December 15th.  The POWs sat in the hold hours after daybreak when the sound of planes was heard.  They would live through three more attacks.  When the U.S. Navy planes resumed their attack, the attacks came in waves.  Each wave consisted of 30 to 50 planes and lasted from twenty minutes to a half-hour. After an attack, there was usually a twenty to thirty minute lull before the next wave of planes attacked.  The other POWs noted that attack was heavier then the day before. 

    At 8:00 AM, a Japanese guard yelled to the POWs, "All  go home; Speedo!"   He also shouted that the wounded would be the first evacuated.  Suddenly, he looked up and shouted, "Planes, many planes!" As the POWs were abandoning ship, the planes returned.  The pilots of the planes had no idea that the ship was carrying prisoners.  The ship bounced in the water from the explosions.  Chief Boatswain Clarence M. Taylor who was in the water said, "I saw the whole thing.  A bomb fall, hit near the stern hatch, and debris go flying up in the air."

    In the hold the POWs crowded together.  Chips of rust fell on them from the ceiling.  After the raid, they took care of the wounded before the next attack started.  A Catholic priest, Fr. John Duffy, began praying, "Father forgive them.  They know not what they do."  

    When the attack resumed, the ship bounced in the water from the explosions.  Overall, six bombs hit the ship.  One hit the stern of the ship killing many.  About a half hour later, the ship's stern started to really burn.     
    The Japanese guards and interpreter had abandoned ship, but the ship's captain remained on board.  He told the POWs - with his limited English - that they needed to get off the ship to safety.  The POWs made their way over the side and into the water.  As they swam to shore, the Japanese fired at them, with machine guns, to prevent them from escaping.   
    Four of the planes flew low over the water above the POWs.  The POWs waved frantically at the planes so they would not be strafed.  The planes banked and flew lower over the POWs.  This time the pilots dipped their wings to show that they knew the men in the water were Americans.  About a half hour later, the ship began to really burn and the bodies of the dead could be seen on the decks.
    The Japanese sent out a motorboat with a machine gun and snipers on it.  The POWs attempting to escape were hunted down and shot.  It is believed as many as 30 men died in the water.
    There was no real beach so the POWs climbed up on a seawall and found the the Japanese Naval Landing Party had set up a machine gun and had just laid flat to rest when the gun opened up on them.   Those who came ashore were warned to stay in the water, but only did so when one man climbed up on the seawall and was wounded.  There were also Japanese snipers in wait to shoot anyone who attempted to escape.

    After the POWs had abandoned ship, the Oryoku Maru was sunk by American planes.  One POWs stated there were men, who had been wounded, still alive in its holds.  The surviving POWs were herded onto a tennis court.  When roll was taken, it was discovered that 329 of the 1,619 POWs had been killed during the attack.  Ralph was one of these POWs. 

    1st Lt. Ralph Crandall in the sinking of the Oryoku Maru in Subic Bay, off Olongapo Navel Base, on December 15, 1944.  His death was reported on July 25, 1945, but his family received official word of his death in August 1945.  Since the remains of 1st Lt. Ralph Crandall were not recovered, his name appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery at Manila.






 

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