Cpl. Thomas Davenport was born on May 13, 1914, in Murray City, Ohio, to George W. Hughes
& Mary E. Davenport. His mother placed him to live with his grandparents Edward & Sarah Davenport in
Murray City, Ohio. His grandparents adopted him and his legal name became Thomas G.
Hughes-Davenport. He attended school and completed two years of high school. In 1940, he was
living with his mother, Mary, and his step-father Henry P. Muncie, in Canal Winchester, Ohio, and working as a
bulldozer operator. He had three half-sisters and five half-brothers. He was known as "Tom"
to his friends and family.
Tom was drafted into the Army on January 24, 1941, at Fort Hayes in Columbus, Ohio. He
was using "Muncie" as his last name when inducted, but since his last name was legally Davenport, he was
required to use it on his military records. He was sent to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, for basic training and
assigned to C Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. The company had been an Ohio National Guard tank company from
Port Clinton. He attended tank school and qualified as a tank driver while at Ft. Knox.
In the late summer of 1941, the 192nd was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, to take part in
maneuvers. During the maneuvers, the Red Army, which the 192nd was part of, broke through the lines of the
Blue Army. As they approached the headquarters of the army, which was under the command of General George
Patton, the maneuvers were suddenly canceled. The 192nd was ordered to remain behind at Camp Polk instead of
returning to Ft. Knox. None of the members had any idea why this order was given.
On the side of a hill at Camp Polk, the tankers learned they were being sent overseas as part
of Operation PLUM. Within hours many men had figured out that "PLUM" stood for Philippines, Luzon,
Manila. Those men 29 years old or older were given the opportunity to resign from federal service.
Replacements for the men came from the 753rd Tank Battalion which had been sent to Camp Polk from Ft. Benning,
Georgia. The 192nd also received the battalion's tanks and half-tracks.
Over different train routes, the battalion was sent to San Francisco. Once there, they
were taken by ferry to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island. At the fort, they received physicals and inoculated
against tropical diseases. Those men with minor health issues were held back and scheduled to rejoin the
battalion in the Philippines.
The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.A.T. Hugh L. Scott and sailed from San Francisco on
Monday, October 27, for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy. They arrived at Honolulu on Sunday, November
2nd. The soldiers were given leaves so they could see the island. On Tuesday, November 4th, the ships
sailed for Guam. At one point, the ships passed an island at night. While they passed the island,
they did so in total blackout. This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into
harm's way. When they arrived at Guam, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and
vegetables. The ships sailed the same day for Manila and entered Manila Bay on Thursday, November 20th and
docked at Pier 7. Ironically, November 20 was the date that the National Guardsmen were scheduled to be
released from federal service. The soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg.
At the fort, they were greeted by Colonel Edward P. King, who apologized that they had to live
in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Field. He made sure that they had what they needed
and received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own dinner. Ironically, November 20 was the
date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their
weapons. The grease was put on the weapons to protect them from rust while at sea. They also loaded
ammunition belts and did tank maintenance.
The tanks were ordered to the perimeter of the Clark Airfield to guard against Japanese
paratroopers on December 1st. At all times, two members of each tank crew remained with their
tank. That morning of December 8, 1941, the tankers were informed of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
and reported to their tanks. That morning, when they looked up the sky, it was filled with American
planes. At noon, the planes landed, parked in a straight line outside the mess hall, and the pilots went
Around 12:45 in the afternoon, the tankers noticed planes approaching the airfield.
When bombs began exploding around them, they knew the planes were Japanese. Besides their .50 caliber
machine guns, they had few weapons to use against the planes. Most took cover and waited out the
attack. After it ended, they saw the destruction done by the bombs.
The tank battalion received orders on December 21st that it was to proceed north to
Lingayen Gulf. Because of logistics problems, the B and C Companies soon ran low on gas. When they
reached Rosario, there was only enough for one tank platoon, from B Company, to proceed north to support the 26th
On December 23 and 24, the battalion was in the area of Urdaneta, where they were going to
use a bridge to cross the Agno River which had been destroyed. The tankers made an end run to get south of
river and ran into Japanese resistance early in the evening. In-spite of the Japanese, they successfully
crossed at the river in the Bayambang Province.
On December 25, the tanks of the battalion held the southern bank of the Agno River from
Carmen to Tayung, with the tanks of the 194th holding the line on the Carmen-Alcala-Bautista Road. The tanks held
the position until 5:30 in the morning on December 27.
The tankers were fell back toward Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December 27, and December
were at San Isidro south of Cabanatuan on December 28 and 29. While there, the bridge over the Pampanga
River was destroyed, they were able find a crossing over the river.
At Cabu, seven tanks of the company fought a three hour battle with the Japanese. The
main Japanese line was south of Saint Rosa Bridge ten miles to the south of the battle.
The tanks were hidden in brush as Japanese troops passed them for three hours without knowing that they
were there. While the troops passed, Lt. William Gentry was on his radio describing what he was
seeing. It was only when a Japanese soldier tried take a short cut through the brush, that his tank was
hidden in, that the tanks were discovered. The tanks turned on their sirens and opened up on the
Japanese. They then fell back to
C Company was re-supplied and withdrew to Baluiag where the tanks encountered Japanese
troops and ten tanks. It was at Baluiag that Gentry's tanks won the first tank victory of World War II
against enemy tanks.
On December 31, 1941, Capt. William Gentry, commanding officer of C Company, sent out
reconnaissance patrols north of the town of Baluiag. The patrols ran into Japanese patrols, which told the
Americans that the Japanese were on their way. Knowing that the railroad bridge was the only way into
the town and to cross the river, Lt. Gentry set up his defenses in view of the bridge and the rice patty it
Early on the morning of the 31st, the Japanese began moving troops and across the
bridge. The engineers came next and put down planking for tanks. A little before noon Japanese
tanks began crossing the bridge.
Later that day, the Japanese had assembled a large number of troops in the rice field on
the northern edge of the town. One platoon of tanks under the command of 2nd Lt. Marshall Kennady were to
the southeast of the bridge. Gentry's tanks were to the south of the bridge in huts, while third
platoon commanded by Capt Harold Collins was to the south on the road leading out of Baluiag
2nd Lt. Everett Preston had been sent south to find a bridge to cross to attack the Japanese from
Major John Morley, of the Provisional Tank Group, came riding in his jeep into
Baluiag. He stopped in front of a hut and was spotted by the Japanese who had lookouts in the town's
church steeple. The guard became very excited so Morley, not wanting to give away the tanks positions,
got into his jeep and drove off. Gentry had told Morley that his tanks would hold their fire until he was
safely out of the village.
When Gentry felt the Morley was out of danger, he ordered his tanks to open up on
the Japanese tanks at the end of the bridge. The tanks then came smashing through the huts' walls and
drove the Japanese in the direction of Lt. Marshall Kennady's tanks. Kennady had been radioed and was
Kennady held his fire until the Japanese were in view of his platoon and then joined in
the hunt. The Americans chased the tanks up and down the streets of the village, through buildings and
under them. By the time C Company was ordered to disengage from the enemy, they had knocked out at least
eight enemy tanks.
C Company withdrew to Calumpit Bridge after receiving orders from Provisional Tank
Group. When they reached the bridge, they discovered it had been blown. Finding a crossing the
tankers made it to the south side of the river. Knowing that the Japanese were close behind, the
Americans took their positions in a harvested rice field and aimed their guns to fire a tracer shell through
the harvested rice. This would cause the rice to ignite which would light the enemy troops.
The tanks were about 100 yards apart. The Japanese crossing the river knew that the
Americans were there because the tankers shouted at each other to make the Japanese believe troops were in front
of them. The Japanese were within a few yards of the tanks when the tanks opened fire which caused the rice
stacks to catch fire. The fighting was such a rout that the the tankers were using a .37 mm shell to kill
one Japanese soldier.
Tom's tank company was next sent to the Barrio of Porac to aid the Filipino Army which was
having trouble with Japanese artillery fire. From a Filipino lieutenant, they learned where the guns were
located and attacked. Before the Japanese withdrew, the tanks had knocked out three of the
After this, the tanks withdrew to the Hermosa Bridge and held it on the north side until
all the troops were across. The tanks then crossed to the south and destroyed the bridge which held the
Japanese up for a few days. This was the beginning of the Battle of Bataan.
In early February, the Japanese attempted to land troops behind the main
battle line on Bataan. The troops were quickly cut off and when they attempted to land reinforcements,
they were landed in the wrong place. The fight to wipe out these two pockets became known as the Battle
of the Points.
The Japanese had been stopped, but the decision was made by Brigadier General Clinton
A. Pierce that tanks were needed to support the 45th Infantry Philippine Scouts. He requested the tanks
from the Provisional Tank Group. On February 2, a platoon of C Company tanks was ordered to Quinan Point
where the Japanese had landed troops. The tanks arrived about 5:15 P.M. He did a quick
reconnaissance of the area, and after meeting with the commanding infantry officer, made the decision to drive
tanks into the edge of the Japanese position and spray the area with machine-gun fire. The progress was
slow but steady until a Japanese .37 milometer gun was spotted in front of the lead tank, and the tanks
withdrew. It turned out that the gun had been disabled by mortar fire, but the tanks did not know this at
the time. The decision was made to resume the attack the next morning, so 45th Infantry dug in for the
The next day, the tank platoon did reconnaissance before pulling into the front
line. They repeated the maneuver and sprayed the area with machine gun fire. As they moved forward,
members of the 45th Infantry followed the tanks. The troops made progress all day long along the left
side of the line. The major problem the tanks had to deal with was tree stumps which they had to avoid so
they would not get hung up on them. The stumps also made it hard for the tanks to maneuver.
Coordinating the attack with the infantry was difficult, so the decision was made by to bring in a radio car so
that the tanks and infantry could talk with each other.
On February 4, at 8:30 A.M. five tanks and the radio car arrived. The tanks were
assigned the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, so each tank commander knew which tank was receiving an order. Each
tank also received a walkie-talkie, as well as the radio car and infantry commanders. This was done so
that the crews could coordinate the attack with the infantry and send so that the tanks could be ordered to
where they were needed. The Japanese were pushed back almost to the cliffs when the attack was halted for
The attack resumed the next morning the next morning and the Japanese were pushed to
the cliff line where they hid below the edge of the cliff out of view. It was at that time that the tanks
were released to returned to the 192nd.
C Company also took part in the Battle of the Pockets to wipe out Japanese soldiers
who had been trapped behind the main defensive line. The tanks would enter the pocket one at a time to
replace a tank in the pocket. Another tank did not enter the pocket until a tank exited the pocket.
To exterminate the Japanese, two methods were used. The first was to have three
Filipino soldiers ride on the back of the tank. As the tank went over a Japanese foxhole, the Filipinos
dropped three hand grenades into the foxhole. Since the grenades were from WWI, one out of three usually
The other method to use to kill the Japanese was to park a tank with one track over
the foxhole. The driver gave the other track power resulting with the tank spinning around and grinding
its way down into the foxhole. The tankers slept upwind of their tanks.
While the tanks were clearing out the Japanese, the Japanese sent soldiers carrying
cans of gasoline against the tanks. The soldiers would attempt to jump onto the tanks, pour gasoline into
the vents on the back of the tanks, and set the tanks on fire. If the tankers could not machine gun them
before they reached the tanks, they would shoot them as they stood on the tanks. The tankers did not like
to do this because of what it did to the crews inside the tanks. The bullets hitting the tank often
popped the tank's rivets which hit the crew members and wounded them.
The Japanese lunched an all out attack on April 3. On April 7, the 57th Infantry,
Philippine Scouts, supported by tanks, attempted to restore the line, but Japanese infiltrators prevented this
from happening. During this action, one tank was knocked out but the remaining tanks successfully
withdrew. C Company, 194th, which was attached to the 192nd, had only seven tanks left.
The tanks became a favorite target of the Japanese receiving fire on trails and while
hidden in the jungle. and could not fight back. The situation was so bad that other troops avoided being
near the tanks, and the 26th Cavalry turned down a tank company's offer of assistance in a counter-attack.
It was at this time that Gen. King decided that further resistance was futile.
Approximately 25% of his men were healthy enough to fight, and he estimated they would last one more day.
In addition, he had over 6,000 troops who were sick or wounded and 40,000 civilians who he feared would be
massacred. At 10:30 that night, he sent his staff officers to negotiate surrender terms.
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
About 6:45 in the morning of April 9, 1942, the tankers received the order
"crash." They destroyed their tanks and waited for the Japanese to make contact with them.
When they did, the Americans officially became Prisoners of War. They made their way, as a company, to
Mariveles at the southern tip of Bataan. There, they started what they simply referred to as "the
From Mariveles, the POWs made their way north to San Fernando. They received little
food and almost no water. At San Fernando, the POWs were packed into a bull pin. In one corner was a
slit trench that was used as a washroom. The surface moved from the maggots that covered it.
The Japanese ordered the POWs to form detachments of 100 men. They were marched to
the train station and put into small wooden boxcars that were used to haul sugarcane. The cars could hold
forty men or eight horses and were known as, "Forty or Eights." The Japanese packed 100 men into
each car. Those who died remained standing until the living left the cars at Capas. From there, they
walked the last miles to Camp O'Donnell.
Camp O'Donnell was an unfinished Filipino Army Training Base that the Japanese pressed
into use as a POW camp on April 1, 1942. When they arrived at the camp, the Japanese confiscated any extra
clothing that the POWs had and refused to return it to them. They searched the POWs and if a man was found
to have Japanese money on them, they were taken to the guardhouse. Over the next several days, gunshots
were heard to the southeast of the camp. These POWs had been executed for looting.
There was only one water faucet in the camp, and the prisoners stood in line from two to
eight hours waiting for a drink. The Japanese guards at the faucet would turn it off for no reason and the
next man in line would stand as long as four hours waiting for it to be turned on again. This situation
improved when a second faucet was added.
There was no water for washing clothes, so the POWs would throw out their clothing when it
had been soiled. In addition, water for cooking had to be carried three miles from a river to the camp and
mess kits could not be washed. The slit trenches in the camp were inadequate and were soon overflowing
since most of the POWs had dysentery. The result was that flies were everywhere in the camp including the
POW kitchens and in the food.
The camp hospital had no soap, water, or disinfectant. When the ranking American
doctor at the camp wrote a letter to the camp commandant, Capt. Yohio Tsuneyoshi, asking for medical supplies, he
was told never to write another letter.
The Archbishop of Manila sent a truckload of medical supplies to the camp, the Japanese
commandant refused to allow the truck into the camp. When the Japanese Red Cross sent medical supplies the
camp the Japanese took 95% of the supplies for their own use.
The POWs in the camp hospital lay on the floor elbow to elbow and only one of the six medic
assigned to care for 50 sick POWs was healthy enough to care for them. When a representative of the
Philippine Red Cross stated they could supply a 150 bed hospital for the camp, he was slapped in the face by a
Each morning, the bodies of the dead were found all over the camp and were carried to the
hospital and placed underneath it. The bodies lay there for two or three days before they were buried in
the camp cemetery by other POWs who were suffering from dysentery and/or malaria. To clean the ground under
the hospital, the ground was scraped and lime was spread over it. The bodies of the dead were placed in the
area, and the area they had been laying was scrapped and lime was spread over it.
Work details were sent out on a daily basis. Each day, the American doctors gave a
list of names to the Japanese of the POWs who were healthier enough to work. If the quota of POWs needed to
work could not be met, the Japanese put those POWs who were sick, but could walk, to work. The death rate
among the POWs reached 50 men dying a day.
To get out of the camp, POWs volunteered to go out on work details. Tom was selected to go
out on the bridge building detail. The American commanding officer of the detail was Lt. Colonel Ted
Wickord of the 192nd.
On the detail, the POWs were divided into two detachments. One detachment was sent to
various barrios to rebuild the bridges that the retreating Filipino and American Armies had destroyed as they
fell back into Bataan. The other detachment was sent Calauan to cut down the trees and mill the lumber that
was used in building the bridges.
According to records kept at the camp by the American doctors, Cpl. Thomas Davemport died
from dysentery on May 27, 1942, at Calauan and was buried in the Calauan Cemetery. His military records
tell a different story, since they indicate he was Killed in Action. It is known the Japanese would force
the American doctors to list a false cause of death for POWs who were executed.
Cpl. Thomas G. Davenport was buried at the Calauan Cemetery. Later, the Japanese
allowed the POWs to build a small wooden fence around Tom's grave and the grave of Sgt. Johnnie Bottoms who
was a member of D Company.
After the war, the family of Cpl. Thomas G. Davenport requested that his remains be
returned to Canal Winchester, Ohio. His remains arrived in the United States on September 22, 1948, on
U.S.A.T. Sgt. Morris E. Crain
. On October 24, 1948, with full military honors, the funeral of Cpl. Thomas G. Davenport was held at
David Lutheran Church, and he was reburied at the Lithopolis Cemetery in Canal Winchester, Ohio.