Furr

 


Pfc. Paul Edward Furr


Born: 13 February 1919 - West Virginia
Parents: Clyde Furr & Cora L Hawkins-Furr
Siblings: 3 sisters, 2 brothers

Hometown: Smithville, West Virginia

Nickname: "Jack"

Occupation: roughneck -oil and gas fields

Inducted:

    - U.S. Army 

        - 7 January 1941 - Fort Hayes, Columbus, Ohio

Training:

    - Fort Knox, Kentucky
        - 19th Ordnance Battalion

            - learned how to maintain 51 vehicles

            - trained with the 192nd Tank Battalion
        - 17th Ordnance Company

            - 17 August 1941
                - company organized from A Company, 19th Ordnance Battalion
                 - received orders for overseas duty the same day
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:
        - traveled by train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
            - arrived Thursday, 5 September 1941
        - ferried to Ft. McDowell, Angel Island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
            - given physicals and inoculations
            - men with medical conditions replaced
        - removed turrets from tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion
     - 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

        - Tuesday, 16 September 1941 - ships crossed International Dateline
            - became Thursday, 18 September 1941
        - 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
            - headquartered in abandoned ordnance depot building
                - serviced tanks of the 192nd & 194th Tank Battalions
        - 8 April 1942
            - 10:30 P.M. - Gen. King announced that further resistance would result in the massacre of 6,000 sick or wounded troops and 40,000
              civilians
            - less than 25% of his troops were healthy enough to continue fighting
            - he estimated they could hold out one more day
            - sent his staff officers to negotiate the surrender of Bataan
            - 11:40 P.M. - ammunition dumps blown up

Prisoner of War:

    - 9 April 1942

        - Death March

            - POWs started march at Mariveles on the southern tip of Bataan
            - ran past Japanese artillery firing on Corregidor
                - American artillery returned fire

                    - three Japanese guns knocked out
            - San Fernando - POWs packed into small wooden boxcars
                - each boxcar could hold eight horses or forty men
                - Japanese packed 100 POWs into each boxcar
                - POWs who died remained standing
            - Capas - POWs leave boxcars - dead fall out of cars
            - POWs walked last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell

POW Camps:

    - Philippines 

        - Camp O'Donnell
            - 1 April 1942 - unfinished Filipino training base Japanese put into use as a POW camp
                - 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
            - work details: if a POW could walk, he was sent out on a work detail
                - POWs on burial detail often had dysentery and malaria
        - 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    

               - 4 June 1942 - transfer of POWs completed
                   - only sick POWs remained at Camp O'Donnell

        - Cabanatuan
            - original name - Camp Panagaian
                - Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
                    - put into use by Japanese as a POW camp
                - actually three camps
                    - Camp 1: POWs from Camp O'Donnell sent there in attempt to lower death rate
                    - Camp 2:  two miles away
                        - all POWs moved from there because of a lack of water
                        - later used for Naval POWs
                    - Camp 3: six miles from Camp 2
                        - POWs from Corregidor and from hospitals sent there
                        - camp created to keep Corregidor POWs separated from Bataan POWs
                        - Corregidor POWs were in better shape
                            - POWs from Camp 3 consolidated into Camp 1
        - Camp Administration:
            - the Japanese left POWs to run the camp on their own
                - Japanese entered camp when they had a reason
                - POWs patrolled fence to prevent escapes
                    - Note: men who attempted to escape were recaptured
                    - Japanese beat them for days
                    - executed them
        - Barracks:
            - each barracks held 50 men
                - often held between 60 and 120 men
                - slept on bamboo slats without mattresses, covers, and mosquito netting
                    - diseases spread easily
                - no showers
        - Morning Roll Call:
            - stood at attention
                - frequently beaten over their heads for no reason
            - when POWs lined up for roll call, it was a common practice for Japanese guards, after the POWs lined up, to kick the POWs in
              their shins with their hobnailed boots because they didn't like the way the POWs lined up
        - Work Details:
            - Two main details
                - the farm and airfield
                    - farm detail
                        - POWs cleared land and grew comotes, cassava, taro, sesame, and various greens
                        - Japanese took what was grown
                - Guards:
                    - Big Speedo - spoke little English
                        - in charge of detail
                        - fair in treatment of POWs
                        - spoke little English
                            - to get POWs to work faster said, "speedo"
                    - Little Speedo
                        - also used "speedo" when he wanted POWs to work faster
                        - fair in treatment of POWs
                    - Smiley
                        - always smiling
                        - could not be trusted
                        - meanest of guards
        - Airfield Detail:
            - Japanese built an airfield for fighters
                - POWs cut grass, removed dirt, and leveled ground
                    - at first moved dirt in wheel barrows
                    - later pushed mining cars
                   - Guards:
                       - Air Raid
                           - in charge
                           - usually fair but unpredictable
                               - had to watch him
                       - Donald Duck
                           - always talking
                           - sounded like the cartoon character
                           - unpredictable - beat POWs
                           - POWs told him that Donald Duck was a big American movie star
                               - at some point, he saw a Donald Duck cartoon
                               - POWs stayed away from him when he came back to camp
                - Work Day: 7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
                    - worked 6 days a week
                        - had Sunday off
        - Other Details:
            - work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens and plant rice
                - they also were frequently hit with a pick handle, for no reason, as they counted off
                - POWs on the rice planting detail were punished by having their faces pushed into the mud and stepped on
                  - the POWs had to go into a shed to get the tools, as they came out, they were hit on their heads
                  - if the guards on the detail decided the POW wasn't doing what he should be doing, he was beaten
                  - many POWs on details were able to smuggle in medicine, food, and tobacco into the camp
        - Meals:
            - 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
            - rice was main staple, few vegetables or fruits
        - Camp Hospital:
            - 30 Wards
                - each ward could hold 40 men
                    - frequently had 100 men in each
               - two tiers of bunks
                   - sickest POWs on bottom tier
               - each POW had a 2 foot by 6 foot area to lie in
            - Zero Ward
                - given name because it had been missed when counting wards
                - became ward where those who were going to die were sent
                - fenced off from other wards
                    - Japanese guards would not go near it
                    - POWs sent there had little to no chance of surviving
                    - medical staff had little to no medicine to treat sick
                    - many deaths from disease caused by malnutrition
        - Burial Detail:
            - POWs worked in teams of four men to bury dead

                - carried as many as six dead POWs in slings to cemetery
                - buried in graves that contained 16 to 20 bodies

Hell Ships:
    - Nagara Maru
        - Sailed: Manila - 12 August 1942
        - Arrived: Takao, Formosa - 14 August 1942
              -  two days later POWs were transferred to another ship
    - Suzuya Maru
        - Sailed: Takao, Formosa - 16 August 1942
        - Arrived: Keelung, Formosa 17 August 1942

Formosa:

    - Karenko Camp

    - Heito Camp

        - Work: POWs picked up rocks from a dry riverbed so it could be used to

           grow sugarcane.

        - POWs often beaten by camp commandant for not working hard enough
Hell Ship:

    - Taiko Maru

        Sailed: Keelung, Formosa -27 February 1945

        Arrived: Moji, Japan - 5 March 1945

Japan:

    - Hakodate #2 - Dispatch Camp
            - Arrive: 13 March 1945

            - Work: POWs worked in coal mine
            - camp closed
            - Transferred: 7 June 1945
    - Hakodate Camp #2
        - POWs worked in coal mine
            - Jisakuno Mining
                - coal mine
        - conditions similar to those at main camp
        - 7 June 1945 - camp terminated
        - POWs transferred

    - Hakodate Main Camp

        - Work: Sumitomo Coal Mine
Note:  Red Cross medicines and medical supplies from the POWs that would have helped the sick were withheld from them.  Each morning the medical parade took place at which the camp commander attended.  Many POWs reported for sick call but were sent to work without ever receiving medical treatment.  When a POW was obviously extremely ill, the Japanese doctors said, "I think you will die tonight," but they would not treat the man.  The doctors often said that they would kill more enemies at the prison camp than at the front.
    POWs who had sores on them did not receive treatment because there were no new bandages or gauze were available to treat them.  The Allied medical staff washed used bandages to reuse them.  To go to the washroom, the medical staff had to carry sick POWs to latrines in the cold even though some had pneumonia.  The sick were put in small rooms with no stoves.  Anyone on the sick list had his food ration cut.
    Upon arrival in the cam, each POW received five blankets which were never cleaned again.  The POWs also lived in barracks - which had four stoves - but that were poorly heated because there wasn't enough fuel to keep the barracks properly heated during the winter.  One bucket of coal was issued for every two stoves.  The huts were always overcrowded and housed 150 POWs each.  The barracks were divided into 12 foot by 9 foot rooms and six POWs lived in each room.  The POWs slept on straw mats, on the floors, with each man having having a 3 foot wide area to sleep in which spread colds and influenza.  When it rained - which happened frequently in the winter - the rain poured through the roofs which meant the men were always wet.  The barracks were also infested with lice.
    There were no proper sanitation facilities which caused the spread of disease with most of the POWs suffering from scabies, dysentery, and diarrhea.  No real treatment for these illnesses was ever provided by the Japanese which resulted in many of the deaths in the camp.
    Food in the camp was poor and consisted of rice, which had grit in it, three times a day.  As the war went on, the daily ration dropped from 400 grams a day to 200 grams.  The POWs at times also got a few rotten potatoes, a little cabbage, some fish, and a small amount of salt the last two years of the war.  Those POWs who somehow managed to get extra food were beaten.  The POWs often went through the Japanese garbage for fish heads that they roasted and ate.  Those POWs who were desperate attempted to trade clothing for food.  The Japanese camp doctor withheld the food until it spoiled before issuing it to the POWs.  If a stray dog or cat was caught, it was slaughtered and given to the POWs as food.
    Red Cross clothing and shoes were in a warehouse and not issued to the POWs.  The shoes issued to the POWs were made of straw and fell apart in the snow.  According to post war documents, the POWs received Red Cross packages on three occasions when they were brought to the camp.  The camp commandant allowed Japanese personnel, military or civilian, to hit the POWs.

Liberated:

    - 15 August 1945

Died: 4 February 2002 - Shelby, Ohio

Buried:

   -  Myers Cemetery - Shelby, Ohio


 


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