2nd Lt. Albert H. Hook was born to Henry & Beatrice Hook in 1917 in
California. His family resided at 1327 Alma Street in Alisal, California. He graduated from Salinas
High School in 1936. In 1940, he was working at a bank clerk and residing at 321
½ Hawthorne Street in Alisal.
At some point he enlisted in the California National Guard's tank company which was
based in an armory in Salinas, California.
On February 10, 1941, Albert's tank company was federalized and sent to Fort Lewis,
Washington, for training. It was now designated as C Company, 194th Tank Battalion. Albert went to
Ft. Lewis as a sergeant. After arriving, in June 1941, he was sent to Officer Candidate School. Upon
completing the school, he was commissioned a second lieutenant.
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.
The 194th, minus B Company, was sent to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California.
U.S.A.T. General Frank M.
oxe, they were ferried to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island, by train, where the members of the battalion
were given physicals and inoculated. On September 8, 1941, the battalion was boarded onto the
U.S.S. Calvin Coolidge at 3:00 P.M., and the ship sailed at 9:00. The battalion arrived at Hawaii
on September 13th, remained in port most of the day, and sailed later in the day, but took a southerly route
away from the main shipping lanes, where it was joined by the heavy cruiser, the
U.S.S. Astoria, it's escort.
During the voyage, on several occasions, smoke from unknown ships were seen on the
horizon. The cruiser revved up its engines and intercepted the ships. On each occasion, it turned
out that the ship belonged a friendly country.
On September 26, they arrived at Manila Bay at 7:00 A.M., but did not reach Manila
until later in the morning. The soldiers did not disembark until 3:00 P.M. The maintenance section
of the battalion helped 17th Ordnance unload the tanks and reattach the turrets.
The battalion rode buses to Fort Stotsenburg and taken to an area between the fort and
Clark Field, where they were housed in tents since the barracks for them had not been completed. They
were met by Colonel Edward P. King, commanding officer of the fort who made sure they had what they
needed. On November 15, they moved into their barracks.
The M-3 tanks that the battalion had were new to them. The fact they arrived in
the Philippines, in late September, allowed the tank crews to learn about their tanks. The members of
Albert's tank crew were
Bernard Fitzpatrick, and
The morning of December 8, 1941, the battalion was ordered to the
perimeter of Clark Airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers. Just hours early, the Japanese had
bombed Pearl Harbor. As the tankers guarded the airfield, they watched American planes flying in every
direction. At 12:45 in the afternoon, the planes landed and the pilots went to lunch.
At 12:45 P.M., the tankers were having lunch when planes approached the airfield
from the north. As they watched, some men commented they must be American. They counted 54
planes. When bombs began exploding on the runways, the tankers knew the planes were Japanese.
When the Japanese were finished, there was not much left of the
airfield. The soldiers watched as the dead, dying, and wounded were hauled to the hospital on bomb
racks, trucks, and anything that could carry the wounded was in use. When the hospital filled, they
watched the medics place the wounded under the building. Many of these men had their arms and legs
The 194th was sent to Mabalcat December 10th, and it was at this
time that C Company was sent to southern Luzon where the Japanese were landing. On the 12th, the A
and D Company, 192nd, were sent to a new bivouac south of San Fernando and arrived at 6:00 A.M.
They received Bren gun carriers on the 15th and used them to test the ground to see if it could support
the weight of a tank.
Around December 22, his tank platoon was ordered north, to Rosario, to slow the
advancing Japanese who had landed troops at Lingayen Gulf. On December 25, Harold's tank
platoon had taken positions west of Carmen. When they began taking fire from a strong Japanese
force, he ordered the tanks to open fire with their machine guns. Realizing that they had a very
good chance of being cut off, he ordered his tanks to withdraw through Carmen the evening of December
The battalions were holding the Tarlec Line on December 28 and withdrew to form
the Bamban Line the night of the 29th/30th which they held until they were ordered to +withdraw. On
January 2 the battalions withdrew to Layac Junction with the 194th using highway 7. The 194th,
covered by the 192nd, withdrew across the Culis Creek into Bataan. After the 192nd crossed the
bridge, it was blown starting the Battle of Bataan.
In January 1942, the tank companies were reduced to three tanks in each
platoon. This was done so that D Company, 192nd, attached to the 194th, would have tanks. The
company had abandoned its tanks after the bridge they were scheduled to use had been destroyed by the
engineers before they had crossed.
On January 20, A Company was sent to save the command post of the 31st
Infantry. On the 24th, they supported the troops along the Hacienda Road, but they could not reach
the objective because of landmines that had been planted by ordnance.
The battalion held a position a kilometer north of the Pilar-Bagac Road with
foour self propelled mounts. At 9:45 A.M., a Filipino warned the tankers that a large force of
Japanese were on there way. When they appeared the battalion, and self propelled mounts,
opened up with everything they had. The Japanese broke off the attack, at 10:30 A.M., after losing
500 of their 1200 men.
On January 28, the tank battalions were given beach duty with the 194th assigned
the coast from Limay to Cacaben. The half-tracks were used to patrol the roads.
In March, two of the 194th was attempting to free two tanks that were stuck in
the mud. As the tankers worked to get them out, Japanese Regiment entered the area. Lt. Col.
Miller ordered the tanks to fire at point blank range and ran from tank to tank directing fire.
When they stopped firing, they had wiped out the regiment.
Gen Weaver also suggested to Gen Wainwright that a platoon of tanks be sent to
Corregidor. This idea was rejected by Wainwright.
On March 30, 1942, his wife received a letter from him that was written on
January 20. In it he said he was well and in good spirits.
The Japanese brought fresh troops to Bataan since the Americans and Filipinos
with the help of tropical illnesses had fought the Japanese to a standstill. On April 4th, the
Japanese launched a major offensive. In an attempt to stop them, the tanks were sent into various
sectors. It was also at this time that tanks became the favorite targets of Japanese planes an
The tanks were fighting on the East Coast Road at Cabcaban when General King
determined that the situation was hopeless and sent his staff officers to meet with the Japanese command.
Somewhere between 6:30 and 6:45 in the morning the tankers received the order
"bash" and destroyed their tanks. The tanks were circled and an armor piercing shell was fired into
the engines of each tank. Afterwards, the gasoline cocks were opened in the crew
The evening of April 8, 1942, he and the other tankers received the order "bash"
which meant they were to destroy their tanks. The next morning, Bataan was officially surrendered
to the Japanese.
On April 9, 1942, the tankers received the order "bash." This meant they
were to destroy their tanks. After destroying their tanks, the tankers remained in their bivouac
until receiving further orders.
The company remained in its bivouac until April 10 when the Japanese
arrived. Albert now was officially a Prisoner of War. 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.
The POWs marched eight kilometers to Camp O'Donnell. The camp was an unfinished
Filipino Army Training Base. The Japanese pressed the camp 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 Japanese lieutenant.
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. The Japanese finally
acknowledge that they had to do something, so the opened a new POW camp at Cabanatuan.
On June 1, 1942, the POWs formed detachments of 100 men each and were marched to
Capas. There, the were put in steel boxcars with two Japanese guards. The trip was not as bad
since the POWs had more room in the boxcars. At Calumpit, the train was switched onto another line
which took it to Cabanatuan. The POWs disembarked and were taken to a schoolyard where they were
fed cooked rice and onion soup. From there, they were marched to Cabanatuan which had been the
headquarters of the 91st Philippine Army Division and was formerly known at Camp Panagaian.
The camp was actually three camps. Camp 1 housed the POWs who had been captured
on Bataan and held at Camp O'Donnell. Camp 2 was two miles from Camp 1 and was closed because it
lacked an adequate water supply. It was later reopened and held Naval POWs. Camp 3 was eight
miles from Camp 1 and six miles from Camp 2. It housed the POWs fro Corregidor and those men who
had been hospitalized when Bataan surrendered. The camp was later closed and the POWs were sent to
Camp 1. The camp was actually three camps. Camp 1 housed the POWs who had been captured on Bataan and
held at Camp O'Donnell. Camp 2 was two miles from Camp 1 and was closed because it lacked an
adequate water supply. It was later reopened and held Naval POWs. Camp 3 was eight miles from
Camp 1 and six miles from Camp 2. It housed the POWs from Corregidor and those men who had been
hospitalized when Bataan surrendered. Camps 1 and 3 were later consolidated into one camp.
The barracks were built for 50 men, but most had 60 to 120 men in them.
Each man had a are two feet wide by six feet long to sleep in. The POWs slept on bamboo slats
without mattresses, bedding, and mosquito netting. Disease soon spread quickly.
To prevent escapes, the POWs set up a detail that patrolled the fence of the
camp. The reason this was done was that those who did escape and were caught, were tortured before
being executed, while the other POWs were made to watch. It is believed that no POW successfully
escaped from the camp.
The POWs were sent out on work details to cut wood for the POW kitchens.
Meals on a daily basis consisted of 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, and sweet potato
or corn. Other POWs worked in rice paddies. Each morning, after arriving at the farm, the
POWs went into a tool shed to get their tools. As they left the shed, the guards hit them on their
heads. While working in the fields, the favorite punishment given to the men in the rice paddies
was to have their faces pushed into the mud and stepped on by a guard. Returning from a detail the
POWs bought, or were given, medicine, food, and tobacco, which they somehow managed to get into the camp
even though they were searched when they returned.
The Camp 1 hospital was made up of 30 wards. Zero ward had been missed
when the wards were being counted so it was given the name of "Zero Ward." The ward became the
place were POWs who were going to die were sent. The Japanese were so terrified by it, that they
put a fence up around it and would not go near the building. Inside the buildings were two
rolls of wooden platforms along the walls. The sicker POWs were put on the lower platform which had
holes cut into them. This allowed the POWs to relieve themselves without having to get off the
platform. When Red Cross packages were given out, and other changes were made, the death rate
dropped. According to medical records kept by the camp's doctors and medics, he was admitted into
the hospital on Tuesday, June 9, 1942, suffering from malaria and remained in the hospital until
discharged on Thursday, October 15, 1942.
Albert was admitted a second time into the hospital on Sunday, November 1, 1942,
suffering from Ariboflavinosis which caused soars in the mouth. He got this from Riboflavin which is
disease caused by the lack of vitamin B. He was discharged on Wednesday, November 4, 1942.
Other medical records indicate he was readmitted to the hospital on April 10, 1943. Again, no
information on why he was hospitalized or when he was released was given. At some point, he was
transferred to Bilibid Prison. The POWs there were starved of news from the outside world because
the camp was actually a prison.
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 13, the 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.
The POWs were allowed to sit, and many of them fell asleep. At 5:00 in the
afternoon, the POWs were boarded onto the Oryoku Maru and put in one of the ship's holds. The high
ranking officers were the first put into the ship's afthold. Being the first on meant that they
would suffer many deaths. Around the perimeter of the hold were two tiers of bunks for the
POWs. The heat was so bad that men soon began to pass out. One survivor said
, "The fist fights began when men 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.
The ship sailed and became a part of a convoy which moved without lights.
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
, 'Have some of this chow? It's good.' I smelled of it, it was not chow. 'All
, 'If you don't want it. I'm going to eat it.' And a little later I heard him eating it , right
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 dawn. Meals on the ship consisted of
a little rice, fish, some water, and three fourths of a cup of water was shared by 20 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 guns. At first, they thought the gun crews were just drilling, because they had not heard
any planes. It was only when the first bomb hit in the water and the ship shook that they knew it
was not a drill.
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
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 4:30 P.M., the ship went through the worse attack on it. It was hit at
least three times by bombs on its bridge and stern. Most of the POWs, who were wounded, were
wounded by ricocheting bullets and shrapnel from exploding bombs. During the attack Chaplain
Cummings, a Catholic priest, led the POWs in the Our Father. As they prayed, the bombs that
exploded near the ship sent torrents of water over the ship. Bullets from the planes hit the metal
plates, of the haul, at an angle that prevented most of them from penetrating the haul. Somewhere
on the ship a fire started, but it was put out after several hours. 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 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 the sound of the Japanese civilians
being evacuated from the ship. During the night, the POW medics were ordered onto the deck to treat
the Japanese wounded. One medic 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 15 and the POWs sat in the ship's holds for hours after
dawn. The first 35 POWs were taken out of the hold and went into the water. At 8:00 A.M. as
the other POWs waited, the sound of A Japanese guard yelled into the hold at the POWs
, "All go home; speedo!"
He shouted that the wounded would be the first to be evacuated. As the POWs were abandoning
ship the planes returned and continued the attack. 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
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. In the hold a Catholic priest, Father Duffy, began to pray
, "Father forgive them. They know not what they do."
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
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.
The POWs were gathered together and marched to the tennis court at Olongapo
Naval Station which was about 500 yards from the beach. There, they were herded onto a tennis
While the POWs were at Olongapo, a Japanese officer, Lt. Junsaburo
Toshio, told the ranking American officer, Lt. Col. E. Carl Engelhart, that those too badly wounded to continue
the trip would be returned to Bilibid. Fifteen men were selected and loaded onto a truck. They were
taken into the mountains and never seen again. What was learned is that these men were taken to a
cemetery and shot. They were buried at a cemetery nearby. The remainder of the POWs remained on the
tennis courts for five or six days. During that time, they were given water but not fed.
The POWs remained on the tennis court for nine days. During their time
on the courts, American planes attacked the area around them. The men watched as the fighter bombers came
in vertically releasing bombs as they pulled out of the dives. On several occasions, the planes dove
right at the POWs, dropped their bombs, and pulled out. The bombs drifted over the POWs and landed away
from them exploding on contact.
Since the POWs had no place to hide, they watched and enjoyed the show. They
believed that the pilots knew they were Americans but had no way of knowing if this was true. But what
is known is that not one bomb was dropped on them even though they could be seen from the planes.
The evening of December 16th, the Japanese brought 50 kilo bags of rice for
the POWs. About half of the rice had fallen out of the bags because of holes. Each POW was
given three spoons of raw rice, and a quarter of a spoon of salt.
At about 8:00 AM on the morning of December 22nd, 22 trucks arrived at
the tennis court. Rumors flew on where they were going to be taken. At about 4:00 PM, a Taiwanese
guard told the POWs, in broken English,
"No go Cabanatuan. Go Manila; maybe Bilibid."
The guard knew as little as the POWs.
On December 21st, the POWs were taken by truck to San Fernando,
Pampanga, arriving there about four or five in the afternoon. Once there, they were put in a movie
theater. Since it was dark, the POWs saw as a dungeon.
During their time at San Fernando, Pampanga, the POWs lived through several
The reason for the air raids was the barrio was military headquarters for the area. Most of the
civilians had been moved out of the barrio. Many of the Americans began to believe they had been
taken there so that they would be killed by their own countrymen.
December 23, at about 10:00 PM, the Japanese interpreter came and spoke to
the ranking American officer about moving the POWs. The Japanese loaded the seriously ill POWs into a
truck. Those remaining behind believed they were taken to Bilibid. The remaining POWs were moved
to a trade school building in the barrio.
After 10:00 AM on December 24, the POWs were taken to the train station. The
POWs saw that the station had been hit by bombings and that the cars they were to board had bullet holes in
them from strafing. 180 to 200 were packed into steel boxcars with four guards. The doors
of the boxcars were kept closed and the heat in the cars was terrible.
Ten to fifteen POWs rode on the roofs of the cars along with two guards. The
guards told these POWs that it was okay to wave to the American planes.
On December 25, the POWs disembarked at San Fernando, La Union, at 2:00 AM and
disembarked. They walked two kilometers to a school yard on the southern outskirts of the barrio.
From December 25 until the 26. The POWs were held in a school house. The morning of December 26, the
POWs were marched to a beach. During this time the prisoners were allowed one handful of rice and a canteen
of water. The heat from the sun was so bad that men drank seawater. Many of those men died.
The remaining prisoners at San Fernando, La Union, where they boarded another "Hell Ship"
Enoura Maru. On this ship, the POWs were held in three different holds. The ship had
been used to haul cattle. The POWs were held in the same stalls that the cattle had been held in. In
the lower hold, the POWs were lined up in companies 108 men. Each man had four feet of space. Men who
attempted to get fresh air by climbing the ladders were shot by the guards.
The daily routine for the POWs on the ship was to have six men climb
out of the hold. Once on deck, they would use ropes to pull up the dead and also pull up the human waste
in buckets. Afterwards, the men on deck would lower ten buckets containing rice, soup, and tea.
During the night of December 30, the POWs heard the sound of depth
charges exploding in the water. The ship arrived at Takao, Formosa, on December 31 and docked around 11:30
AM. After arriving at Takao, Formosa, each POW received a six inch long, 3/4 inch wide piece hardtack to
eat. This was the first bread they had since receiving crackers in their Red Cross packages in 1942. During
the time in the harbor, the POWs received little water. From January 1st through the 5th, the POWs received
one meal and day and very little water. This resulted in the death rate among the POWs to rise. On
January 6, the POWs began to receive two meals a day.
Enoura Maru also came under attack by American planes the morning of January 9. The POWs were
receiving their first meal of the day, when the sound of ship's machineguns was heard. The explosions of
bombs falling closer and closer to the ship was also heard. The waves created from the explosions rocked
One bomb that hit the ship exploded in the corner of the forward
hold killing 285 prisoners. The surviving POWs remained in in the hold for three days with the dead.
The stench from the dead filled the air. On January 11 a work detail was formed and about half the
dead were removed from the hold. The dead were unloaded from the ship, and a POW detail of twenty men took
the corpses to a large furnace where they were cremated. These men reported that 150 POWs had been
cremated. Their ashes were buried in a large urn. Later in the day, the survivors of the forward hold
were moved into another hold.
The Japanese sent medics into the ship's holds to treat the wounded. If a POW was
determined to be beyond aid, the medic moved on to another POW. The remaining corpses were removed by
another POW detail. Once on shore, the bodies were taken to a mass grave on a beach and buried.
The surviving POWs were moved to the
Brazil Maru on January 13th. The next day the ship sailed as part of a convoy.
On the ship, the POWs found they had more room and were actually issued lifejackets.
The ship sailed for Japan on January 14 as part of a convoy. Albert is reported to have died from wounds,
on January 23, 1945, he had received during the attack on the
Enoura Maru. After he died, his body was pulled from the ship's hold, by rope,
and thrown into the ocean. Of the original 1619 men that boarded the
Oryoku Maru, only 459 of the POWs had survived the trip to Japan.
After the war, 2nd Lt. Albert Hook's name was placed on the Tablets of
the Missing at the American Military Cemetery at Manila.