Dockins
 

S/Sgt. Warren Richard Dockins


Born: 8 May 1921 - Logan County, Kentucky

Parents: Homer Dockins & Flodie Hester-Dockins

Siblings: 2 sisters, 1 brother

Hometown: Lewisburg, Kentucky

Enlisted:

    - 19 January 1941

        - Ashford General Hospital, West Virginia

Unit:

    - Company A, 19th Ordnance Battalion

        - 17th Ordnance Company was organized from A Company of the battalion

Training:

    - Fort Knox, Kentucky
        - trained alongside the 192d Tank Battalion
        - received orders for overseas duty
Note: The decision for this move -  which had been made on August 15, 1941 - was the result of an event that took place in the summer of 1941.  A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf, in the Philippines, when one of the pilots, who was flying at a lower altitude, noticed something odd.  He took his plane down and identified a flagged buoy in the water and saw another in the distance.  He came upon more buoys that lined up, in a straight line for 30 miles to the northwest, in the direction of an Japanese occupied island which was hundred of miles away.  The island had a large radio transmitter.  The squadron continued its flight plan south to Mariveles and returned to Clark Field.
     When the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.  The next day, when another squadron 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.

Overseas Duty:

    - rode train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
    - ferried on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe to Angel Island
        - given physicals and inoculated by battalion's medical detachment
        - men with medical conditions replaced
    - Ship: S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
        - Boarded: Monday - 8 September 1941 - 3:00 P.M.
        - Sailed: 9:00 P.M. - same day
        - Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii - Saturday - 13 September 1941 - 7:00 A.M.
        - Sailed: 5:00 P.M. - same day
            - escorted by the heavy cruiser - U.S.S. Astoria and an unknown destroyer
                - smoke seen on horizon several times
                -  cruiser intercepted ships
        - Arrived: Manila - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - disembark ship - 3:00 P.M.
            - taken by bus to Fort Stostenburg
            - maintenance section with 17th ordnance remained behind to unload the tanks and attached
              turrets
                -27 September 1941 - job completed at 9:00 A.M.
    - Stationed:
        - Ft. Stotsenburg, Philippine Islands
            - lived in tents until barracks completed - 15 November 1941 

Engagements:

    - Battle of Luzon

        - 8 December 1942 - 6 January 1942

    - Battle of Bataan

        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942

Prisoner of War:

    - 9 April 1941

        - Death March

            - POWs started march at Mariveles on the southern tip of Bataan
            - POWs ran past Japanese artillery shelling Corregidor
                - American artillery returning fire - knock out three of the four Japanese cannons

                - each boxcar could hold eight horses of forty men

            - San Fernando - POWs put in small wooden boxcars used to haul sugarcane
                - 100 POWs were packed into each boxcar
                - POWs who died remained standing
            - Capas - POWs left boxcars - those who died fall out of boxcars
            - POWs walked the last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell

POW Camps:

    - Philippine Islands:

        - Camp O'Donnell
            - unfinished Filipino training base Japanese put into use as a POW camp - 1 April 1942
                - Japanese believed the camp could hold 15,000 to 20,000 POWs

            - POWs searched upon arrival at camp
                - those found with Japanese money were accused of looting

                - sent to guardhouse

                - over several days, gun shots heard southeast of the camp

                    - POWs who had money on them had been executed
            - Japanese took away any extra clothing from POWs as they entered the camp and refused to
              return it

                - since no water was available for wash clothing, the POWs threw soiled clothing away
                - clothing was taken from dead
                - few of the POWs in the camp hospital had clothing
            - POWs were not allowed to bathe

            - only one water spigot for entire camp
                - POWs waited 2 hours to 8 hours to get a drink
                    - water frequently turned off by Japanese guards and next man in line waited as long as 4
                      hours for water to be turned on again

                    - mess kits could not be cleaned

                - POWs had to carry water 3 miles from a river to cook their meals

                - second water spigot installed a week after POWs arrived

            - slit trenches overflowed since many of the POWs had dysentery

                - flies were everywhere including in camp kitchens and food
            - camp hospital had no water, soap, or disinfectant
            - the senior POW doctor wrote a list of medicines he wanted to treat the sick and was told by the
              camp commandant, Capt. Yoshio Tsuneyoshi, never to write another letter

                - Tsuneyoshi said that all he wanted to know about the American POWs was their names and
                   numbers when they died

                    - refused to allow a truckload of medicine sent by the Archbishop of Manila into the camp
                    - 95% of the medicine sent by Philippine Red Cross was taken by the Japanese for their own
                       use
            - POWs in camp hospital lay on floor elbow to elbow
            - operations on POWs were performed with mess kit knives
            - only one medic out of six assigned to care for 50 sick POWs, in the hospital, was well enough to
              work

            - as many as 50 POWs died each day

                - each morning dead were found everywhere in the camp and stacked up under the hospital
                - ground under hospital was scrapped and cover with lime to clean it
                - the dead were moved to this area and the section where they had laid was scrapped and cover
                  with lime

               - usually not buried for two or three days
                   -
POWs on burial detail had dysentery and malaria
         - Work Details: if a POW could walk, he was sent out on a work detail
        - Japanese opened new POW camp to lower death rate
            - 1 June 1942 - POWs formed detachments of 100 men
                - POWs marched out gate and marched toward Capas
                    - Filipino people gave POWs small bundles of food
                        - the guards did not stop them
                - At Capas, the POWs were put into steel boxcars and rode them to Manila
                - train stopped at Calumpit and switched onto the line to Cabanatuan
                    - POWs disembark train at 6:00 P.M. and put into a school yard
                    - fed rice and onion soup         

      - Cabanatuan
            - Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
            - "Blood Brother" rule implemented
                - if one POW in the group of 10 escaped, the other nine would be killed
            - work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens, plant rice, and farm
                - when POWs lined up, it was a common practice for Japanese guards, after the POWs lined up,
                  to kick the POWs in their shins with their hobnailed boots
                - if the guards on the detail decided the POW wasn't doing what he should be doing, he was
                  beaten

            - men who attempted to escape and caught were usually executed
            - daily POW meal - 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn

            - hospitalized - 9 July 1943
                - discharged - no date given
            - July 1944 - selected for transport to Japan
            - 15 July 1944
                - 25 to 30 trucks arrived at camp to transport POWs to Manila 
                - POWs left at 8:00 P.M.
                - arrived Bilibid Prison - 16 July 1944 - 2:00 A.M.
                    - only meal they received were rotten sweet potatoes

Hell Ship:

    - Nissyo Maru
        - Friday - 17 July 1944 - POWs left prison at 7:00 A.M.
        - Boarded ship: same day
            - Japanese attempted to put all the POWs in one hold
            - when they couldn't, they put 900 POWs in the forward hold
            - 600 POWs held in rear hold
        - Sailed: Manila - same day
            - dropped anchor at breakwater until 23 July 1944
            - POWs were not fed or given water for over a day and a half after being put in the ship's hold
            - POWs fed rice and vegetables twice a day and received two canteen cups of water each day
            - 23 July 1944 - 8:00 A.M. - ship moved to area off Corregidor and dropped anchor
        - Sailed: Monday - 24 July 1944 - as part of a convoy
            - some POWs cut the throats of other POWs and drank their blood
            - convoy attacked by American submarines
                - four of the thirteen ships in the convoy were sunk
                - a torpedo hit the ship but did not explode
        - Arrived: Takao, Formosa - Friday - 28 July 1944 - 9:00 A.M.
        - Sailed: same day - 7:00 P.M.
        - 30 July 1944 -  2 August 1944 - sailed through storm
        - Arrived: Moji, Japan - Thursday night - 3 August 1944 - midnight
            - POWs issued new clothing
        - Disembark: 4 August 1944 - 8:00 A.M.
            - POWs disembarked and taken to movie theater
                - sat in the dark
                - later divided into 200 men detachments and sent to different POW camps
            - taken by train to POW camps along train lines
            - POWs arrived at Fukuoka Train Station
                 - POWs walked three miles to Fukuoka #23
                 - Arrived: Saturday - 5 August 1944 - 2:00 A.M. 
POW Camp

    - Japan
        -
Fukuoka #23
            - camp consisted of a mess hall, hospital, six unheated barracks on top of a hill
            - ten foot high wooden fence surrounded camp
            - POWs slept in 15 X 15 foot bays in the barracks
                - six POWs shared a bay
            - POWs worked in coal mine
            - POWs worked in two shifts                
                - A Group worked in mine during the day
                - B Group worked in mine at night
                    - every ten days the groups would swap shifts
                    - POWs were marched to the mine where they were turned over to civilian supervisors
                        - the civilians treated the POWs worse than the Japanese Army guards
                    - the POWs quickly realized that the harder they worked the more coal the Japanese wanted

                       from them
                    - the POWs and Japanese reached an agreement on how many coal cars the POWs had to fill 

                       each day
                    - only good thing about working in the mine was the temperature was 70
                      degrees during the winter
                - the longer the POWs were in the camp the less food they received     
                    - from the reduction in rations, the POWs knew the Japanese were losing the war  

Liberated: September 1945
    - returned to the Philippine Islands

Promoted: Staff Sergeant

Transport:
    - S.S. Klipfonstein - Dutch ship
        - Sailed: Manila - 9 October 1945
        - Arrived: Seattle, Washington - 28 October 1945
            - taken to Madigan General Hospital - Ft. Lewis, Washington
Reenlisted:
    - 19 January 1946
        - Ashford General Hospital - West Virginia

Military Career:

    - U.S. Air Force 

Married: Marie Paisley
Occupation: radio station announcer and new director

Died: 18 August 1970 - Russellville, Kentucky
    - heart attack

Buried:

    - Pleasant Hill Cemetery - Auburn, Kentucky



 

 


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