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
            - one company reorganized as 17th Ordnance Company
        - 17th Ordnance Company

            - August 1941 - 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:
        - 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: U.S.S. President 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 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:
            - 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 covered 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          

    - Tarlac 

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

Japan:

    - Hakodate #2

        - Work: Sumitomo Coal Mine
            - Arrived: 13 March 45
                - during time in camp the Japanese denied the POWs Red Cross packages
                - Japanese took canned meats, fruit, and soup from boxes for their own use
                    - also denied POWs of Red Cross medicines and medical supplies
                - POWs forced excessively long hours even when sick
            - Transferred:
                - 7 June 1945
    - Hakodate Camp #4
        - camp opened - 24 June 1945
            - Jisakuno Mining
                - coal mine

    - Bibai-Machi, Japan
        - transferred there to be repatriated

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

    - Taiko Maru

        Sailed: Keelung, Formosa -27 February 1945

        Arrived: Moji, Japan - 5 March 1945

Liberated:

    - 15 August 1945

Died: 4 February 2002 - Shelby, Ohio

Buried:

   -  Myers Cemetery - Shelby, Ohio


 


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