Pvt. William H. Jardot was born on April 18, 1916, in Henderson County, Kentucky.
He was the son of John P. Jardot & Adella Groves-Jardot. It is known he had three sisters and two
brothers. He known as "Butch" to his friends and family. He grew up at 1300 Lock
Street in Henderson, Kentucky.
With his friend,
James T. Groves, William enlisted into the U.S. Army on January 20, 1941, in
Louisville, Kentucky. He was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky for basic training. There, he was assigned
to D Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. D Company had originated as a Kentucky National Guard Tank Company from
After training for eight months, William and the other members of his battalion were sent
to Louisiana to take part in maneuvers from September 1st through the 30th. After the maneuvers, the
battalion members were ordered to Camp Polk, Louisiana, instead of returning to Ft. Knox as was expected.
At the fort, they learned that their battalion was being sent overseas. William received a furlough home
to say his goodbyes and returned to Camp Polk.
The reason for this move was an event that took place in the summer of 1941. A
squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf when one of the pilots noticed something odd.
He took his plane down and identified a buoy in the water. 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, with a large
radio transmitter, hundred of miles away. The squadron continued its flight plane and flew south to
Mariveles and then returned to Clark Field. When the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that
day, and the next day - when a Navy ship was sent to the area - the buoys had been picked up. It was at
that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
The battalion's new tanks came from the 753rd Tank Battalion and
were loaded onto flat cars, on different trains. The soldiers also cosmolined anything that they thought
would rust. Over different train routes, the companies were sent to San Francisco, California, where they
were ferried, by the
U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe, to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island. On the island, they were given
physicals by the battalion's medical detachment and men found with minor medical conditions were held on
the island and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date. Other men were simply replaced.
The 192nd was boarded onto the
U.S.A.T. Gen, Hugh L. Scott and sailed on Monday, October 27th. During this part of the trip, many
tankers had seasickness, but once they recovered they spent much of the time training in breaking down machine
guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP. They arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2nd and
had a two day layover, so the soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island.
On Wednesday, November 5th, the ship sailed for Guam but took a southerly route away
from the main shipping lanes. It was at this time it was joined by, the heavy cruiser, the
U.S.S. Louisville and, the transport,
S.S. President Calvin Coolidge. Sunday night, November 9th, the soldiers went to bed and when they
awoke the next morning, it was Tuesday, November 11th. During the night, while they slept, the ships had
crossed the International Date Line. On Saturday, November 15th, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on
the horizon. The Louisville revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it shot off in the
direction of the smoke. It turned out the smoke was from a ship that belonged to a friendly country.
When they arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16th, the ships took on water, bananas,
coconuts, and vegetables before sailing for Manila the next day. At one point, the ships passed an island
at night and did so in total blackout. This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent
into harm's way. The ships entered Manila Bay, at 8:00 A.M., on Thursday, November 20th, and docked
at Pier 7 later that morning. At 3:00 P.M., most of the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft.
Stotsenburg. Those who drove trucks drove them to the fort, while the maintenance section remained behind
at the pier to unload the tanks.
At the fort, the tankers were met by Colonel Edward P. King, who welcomed them and
made sure that they had what they needed. He also was apologetic that there were no barracks for the
tankers and that they had to live in tents. The fact was he had not learned of their arrival until days
before they arrived. He made sure that they had Thanksgiving Dinner before he left to have his own
The members of the battalion pitched the tents in an open field halfway between the
Clark Field Administration Building and Fort Stotsenburg. The tents were set up in two rows and five men
were assigned to each tent. There were two supply tents and meals were provided by food trucks stationed
at the end of the rows of tents.
For the next seventeen days the tankers spent much of their time removing cosmoline
from their weapons. They also spent a large amount of time loading ammunition belts.
After arriving in the Philippines the paperwork began to be processed to transfer D
Company to the 194th Tank Battalion. Doing this meant that both battalions would have three letter
companies. With the start of the war, the transfer never was completed and the paperwork went up in
The morning of December 8, 1941, just ten hours after the Japanese attack on Pearl
Harbor, William and the other members of the battalion learned of the attack. They received orders to get
to their tanks at the perimeter of the airfield. At 12:45 in the afternoon, William lived through the
Japanese attack on Clark Field.
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 missing.
That night, most men slept under their tanks since it was safer than sleeping in their
tents. They had no idea that they had slept their last night in a bed.
One of the results of the attack was that the transfer of D Company, to the 194th, was
never completed. The company retained its designation of being part of the 192nd for both the Battle of
Luzon and the Battle of Bataan.
The 194th, with D Company, was moved, the night of the 12th, to an area south of San
Fernando near the Calumpit Bridge arriving there at 6:00 A.M. On December 13th, the tankers were moved 80
kilometers from Clark Field to do reconnaissance and to guard beaches. On the 15th, the battalion
received 15 Bren gun carriers but turned some over to the 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts. These were
used to test the ground to see if it could support tanks.
The tank battalions were sent to the area around the Lingayen Gulf. The company
was near a mountain, so many of the tankers climber to the top. On the mountain, they found troops,
ammunition, guns but were just sitting there watching the Japanese ships in the gulf. They had received
orders not to fire.
The tankers walked down the mountain and waited. They received orders to
drop back from the mountain and let the Japanese occupy it. They watched as the Japanese brought their
equipment to the top of the mountain. The Americans finally received orders to launch a counterattack
On December 22nd, the companies were operating north of the Agno River and after the
main bridge was bombed, on December 24/25, made an end tun to get south of the river and not be trapped by the
Japanese. The tanks held the south bank of the river from west of Carmen to the Carmen-Akcaka-Bautista
Road with the 192nd holding the bank east of Carmen to Tayug (northeast of San Quintin).
Christmas Day, the tankers spent in the night in a coconut grove. As it turned
out, the coconuts were all they had to eat. From Christmas to January 15, 1942, both day and night, all
the tanks did was cover retreats of different infantry units. The tanks were constantly bombed, shelled,
The tanks formed a new defensive held the Santa Ignacia-Gerona-Santo Tomas- San Jose
line on December 26th. When they dropped back from the line, all the platoons withdrew, except one which
provided cover, as the other platoons from the area. One tank went across the line receiving fire and
firing on the Japanese.
At Bayambang, Lt. Petree's platoon lost a tank. It was at this time that D
Company, 192nd, lost all their tanks, except one, because the bridge they were suppose to cross had been
destroyed. The company commander, Lt. Jack Altman, could not bring himself to totally destroy the tanks,
and the Japanese repaired them and used them on Bataan. The sergeant of the one tank, that had not
abandoned, found a place to ford the river a few hundred yards from the bridge.
The tankers were at Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December 27th, and at San Isidro
south of Cabanatuan on December 28th and 29th. On January 1st, conflicting orders were received by the
defenders who were attempting to stop the Japanese advance down Route 5. Doing this would allow the
Southern Luzon Forces to withdraw toward Bataan. General Wainwright was unaware of the orders since they
came from Gen. MacArthur's chief of staff.
Because of the orders, there was confusion among the Filipinos and American forces
defending the bridges over the Pampanga River. Due to the efforts of the Self Propelled Mounts, the 71st
Field Artillery, and a frenzied attack by the 192nd Tank Battalion the Japanese were halted. From January
2nd to 4th, the 192nd held the road open from San Fernando to Dinalupihan so the southern forces could escape.
At 2:30 A.M., the night of January 5th/6th, the Japanese attacked at Remlus in force
and using smoke as cover. This attack was an attempt to destroy the tank battalions. At 5:00 A.M.,
the Japanese withdrew having suffered heavy casualties.
The night of January 6th/7th the tanks withdrew into the peninsula with the 192nd
holding its position so that the 194th Tank Battalion could leap frog past it, cross the bridge, and then cover
the 192nd's withdraw over the bridge. The 192nd was the last American unit to enter Bataan, before
the engineers blew up the bridge at 6:00 A.M. It was at this time that the tank companies were reduced to
three tanks each. This was done to provide tanks to D Company, while those crews still without tanks were
used as replacements,
At Gumain River, on January 5th, D Company and C Company, 194th, were given the job to
hold the south riverbank so that the other units could withdraw. The tank companies formed a defensive
line along the bank of the river. When the Japanese attacked the position at night, they were easy to see
since they were wearing white t-shirts. The tankers were able to hold up the Japanese.
The night of January 6/7, the 194th, covered by the 192nd, crossed the bridge over the
Culis Creek and entered Bataan. This was the beginning of the Battle of Bataan. At this time, the
food rations were cut in half.
General Weaver also issued the following orders to the tank battalions around this
time. "Tanks will execute maximum delay, staying in position and firing at visible enemy until further
delay will jeopardize withdrawal. If a tank is immobilized, it will be fought until the close approach of
the enemy, then destroyed; the crew previously taking positions outside and continuing to fight with the
salvaged and personal weapons. Considerations of personal safety and expediency will not interfere with
accomplishing the greatest possible delay."
A composite tank company was created on January 8th under the command of Capt.
Donald Haines, B Company, 192nd, and sent to defend the Wast Coast Road north of Hermosa. Its job was to
keep the north road open and prevent the Japanese from driving down the road before a new battle line had been
formed. The Japanese never lunched an attack allowing the defensive line to be formed. The tanks
withdrew after they began receiving artillery fire.
The remainder of the tanks were ordered to bivouac south of the Aubucay-Hacienda
Road. While there, the tank crews had their first break from action in nearly a month. The tanks,
which were long overdue for maintenance, were serviced by 17th Ordnance. It was also at this time that
tank platoons were reduced to ren tanks, with three tanks in each platoon. This was done so that D
Company, 192nd, would have tanks.
The 194th was sent to reopen the Moron Road so that General Segunda's forces,
which were trapped behind enemy lines, could withdraw. Attempting to do this two tanks were knocked out
by landmines planted by ordnance, but recovered, and a Japanese anti-tank gun was destroyed. The mission
was abandoned the next day. Gen. Segunda's forces escaped but lost their heavy equipment.
The next action the tanks saw was on the 20th when they were sent to relieve the 31st
Infantry's command post. On the 24th, the tanks were ordered to the Hacienda Road to support
infantry, but again could not accomplish their mission because of landmines planted by ordnance.
The 194th was holding a position a kilometer north of the Pilar-Bagac Road on January
26th with four self-propelled mounts. At 9:45 A.M., a Filipino came down the road and warned the
battalion that a large Japanese force was coming down the road. When they appeared the tanks opened up on
them. At 10:30, the Japanese withdrew having lost 500 of 1200 men. This action prevented the new line of
defense from being breached.
On January 28th, the tank battalions were given the job of guarding the beaches so
that the Japanese couldn't land troops. The 194th guarded the coastline from Limay to Cabcaban.
During the day, the tanks hid under the jungle canopy. At bight they were pulled out onto the
beaches. The battalion's half-tracks had the job of patrolling the roads. At all times, the tanks
were in contact with on-shore and off-shore patrols.
For most of March, the situation Bataan was relatively quiet and the Japanese had been
fought to a standstill. On one occasion, two tanks had gotten stuck in the mud, and the crews were
working to free them. While they were doing this, a Japanese regiment entered the area. Lt. Colonel
Ernest Miller ordered his tanks to fire on the Japanese at point blank range. He also ran from tank to
tank directing the crew's fire. The Japanese were wiped out. On March 21st, the last major
battle was fought by the tanks.
Having brought in combat harden troops from Singapore, the Japanese lunched a major
offensive on April 4th. The tanks were sent to various sectors in an attempt to stop the advance.
On the 6th, four tanks were sent to support the 45th Philippine Infantry, Philippine Scouts. One tank was
knocked out from anti-tank fire at the junctions of Trails 6 & 8, and the other tanks withdrew. On
April 8th, the 194th was fighting on the East Coast Road at Cabcaban.
It was at this time that Gen. King knowing that the situation was hopeless sent
officers to negotiate the surrender of Bataan. The tanks were instructed that they would hear the order
"bash" on their radios, or that it would be given to them verbally.
When the order was given, the tankers circled their tanks, fired an armor piercing
shell into the engine of the tank in front of their tank, and opened up the gasoline cocks in the crew
compartments. They dropped hand grenades into each crew compartment setting the tanks on fire.
Later in the war, the Japanese dragged the tanks out of the jungle to send to Japan as scrap metal.
When Bataan surrendered to the Japanese, the tankers became a Prisoners of War.
The POWs were ordered to the bivouac of the Provisional Tank Group. It was from there that they were
marched to join the main column of POWs on the march out of Bataan.
On April 10th, the Japanese arrived and ordered the Prisoners of War onto the
road. They quickly stripped the POWs of their watches, pens, and sun-glasses. The POWs were taken
to a trail and found that walking on the gravel trail was difficult. They immediately witnessed
"Japanese Discipline" toward their own troops. The Japanese apparently were marching for hours,
and when a man fell, he was kicked in his stomach and hit in the head with a rifle butt. If he still did
not get up, the Japanese determined that the man was exhausted and left him alone.
The trial the POWs were on ended when they reached the main road. The first
thing the Japanese did was to separate the officers from the enlisted men and counted them. The POWs were
left in the sun for the rest of the day wondering what was going to happen. That night they were ordered
north which was difficult, on the rocky road, in the dark, since they could not see where they were walking.
The POWs made their way north against the flow of Japanese horse artillery and trucks
which were moving south. At times, they would slip on something wet and slippery which were the remains
of a man killed by Japanese artillery the day before. When dawn came, the walking became easier but as
the sun rose it became hotter and the POWs began to feel the effects of thirst. It was at this time
that the POWs saw a group of Filipinos being marched by the Japanese. Looking at them, they realized that
they had been hungry, but the Filipinos had been starving.
When the men crossed the Lamao River, they smelled the sweet smell of death. The
Japanese had heavily bombed the area causing many casualties and many of the dead lay partially in the
river. The air corps POWs in front of them ran to the river and drank. Many would later die from
dysentery at Camp O'Donnell.
At Limay on April 11th, the officers with the rank of major or above, were put into a
school yard. The officers were told that they would be driven the rest of the march. At 4:00 AM,
the officers were put into trucks for an unknown destination. It was there that the lower ranking
officers and the enlisted men joined the main column of POWs being marched out of Bataan. For the first time,
they began to witness the abuse of POWs as they walked through Balanga to Orani.
At Orani, the men were put into a bull pen where they were ordered to lay down.
In the morning, the POWs realized that they had been lying in the human waste of POWs who had already used the
bullpen. At noon, they received their first food.
When they resumed the march they were marched at a faster pace. The guards also
seemed to be nervous about something. The POWs made their way to just north of Hormosa. where the road
went from gravel to concrete, and the change of surface made the march easier. When the POWs were allowed
to sit down, those who attempted to lay down were jabbed with bayonets.
The POWs continued the march and for the first time in months it began to rain which
felt great and many men attempted to get drinks. When they arrived at San Fernando, the POWs were put
into another bull pen and remained until they were ordered to form detachments of 100 men.
At some point marched the POWs were marched to the train station, where they were
packed into small wooden boxcars known as "forty or eights." They were called this since each
car could hold forty men or eight horses, but the Japanese packed 100 men into each car and shut the
doors. The heat in the cars was unbearable and many POWs died but could not fall to the floors since
there was no room for them to fall. The POWs rode the train to Capas were they disembarked the
cars. As they left the cars, the dead fell to the floors. The POWs walked the last eight kilometers
to Camp O'Donnell.
Camp O'Donnell was an unfinished Filipino army base that the Japanese pressed into
use as a POW camp. There was only one water faucet for the entire camp and men stood in line for days for
a drink. Conditions in the camp were so bad that as many as fifty men died each day. The burial
detail worked continuously to bury the dead. Since the water table was high, they could only dig shallow
graves which quickly filled with water. Poles were used to hold the bodies down until they were covered
with dirt. The next morning, when the burials resumed, the dead were often found to be sitting up graves
or dug up by wild dogs.
The Japanese realized that they had to do something, so they opened a new POW camp at
Cabanatuan. Being considered one of the healthier POWs, William was sent to the camp. How long he
remained in the camp is not known. He remained in the camp until he was selected to go on a work detail
to Nichols Airfield on December 12, 1942.
The POWs on the detail were housed at the Pasay School in eighteen rooms. Thirty
POWs were assigned to a room. The POWs were used to extend and widen runways for the Japanese
Navy. The plans for this expansion came from the American Army which had drawn them up before the
war. The Japanese wanted a runway 500 yards wide and a mile long going through hills and a swamp.
Unlike the Americans, the Japanese had no plans on using construction equipment.
Instead, they intended the POWs to do the work with picks, shovels, and wheel barrows. The first POWs
arrived at Pasay in August 1942. The work was easy until the extension reached the hills. When the
extension reached the hills, some of which were 80 feet high, the POWs flattened them by hand. The
Japanese replaced the wheel barrows with mining cars that two POWs pushed to the swamp and dumped as
land-fill. As the work became harder and the POWs weaker, less work got done.
At six in the morning, the POWs had reveille and "bongo," or count, at 6:15
in detachments of 100 men. After this came breakfast which was a fish soup with rice. After
breakfast, there was a second count of all POWs, which included both healthy and sick, before the POWs marched
a mile and half to the airfield.
After arriving at the airfield, they were counted again. They went to a tool
shed and received their tools; once again they were counted. At the end of the work day, the POWs were
counted again. When they arrived back at the school, they were counted again. Then, they would rush
to the showers, since there only six showers and toilets for over 500 POWs. They were fed dinner, another
meal of fish and rice and than counted one final time. Lights were turned out at 9:00 P.M.
The brutality shown to the POWs was severe. The first Japanese commander of the
camp, a Lt. Moto, was called the "White Angel" because he wore a spotless naval uniform. He was
commander of the camp for slightly over thirteen months. One day a POW collapsed while working on the
runway. Moto was told about the man and came out and ordered him to get up. When he couldn't
four other Americans were made to carry the man back to the Pasay School.
At the school, the Japanese guards gave the man a shower and straightened his clothes
as much as possible. The other Americans were ordered to the school. As they stood there, the White
Angel ordered an American captain to follow him behind the school. The POW was marched behind the school
and the other Americans heard two shots. The American officer told the men that the POW had said,
"Tell them I went down smiling." There, the White Angel shot the POW as the man smiled at
him. As the man lay on the ground, he shot him a second time. The American captain told the
other Americans what had happened. The White Angel told them that this was what going to happen to anyone
who would not work for the Japanese Empire.
The second commanding officer of the detail was known as "the Wolf."
He was a civilian who wore a Japanese Naval Uniform. Each morning, he would come to the POW barracks and
select those POWs who looked the sickest and made them line up. The men were made to put one leg on each
side of a trench and then do 50 push-ups. If a man's arms gave out and he touched the ground, he was
beaten with pick handles.
On another occasion a POW collapsed on the runway. The Wolf had the man taken
back to the barracks. When the Wolf came to the barracks that evening and the man was still unconscious,
he banged the man's head into the concrete floor and kicked him in the head. He then took the man to
the shower and drowned him in the basin.
A third POW who had tried to walk away from the detail told the guards to shoot him,
the guards took him back to the Pasay School and strung him up by his thumbs outside the doorway and placed a
bottle of beer and sandwich in front of him. He was dead by evening.
The remains of the POWs who had died on the detail were brought to Bilibid Prison in
boxes. The Japanese had death certificates, with the causes of death and signed by an American doctor,
sent with the boxes. The Americans from the detail, who accompanied the boxes, would not tell the POWs at
Bilibid what had happened. It was only when the sick, from the detail, began to arrive at Bilibid did
they learn what the detail was like. These men were sent to Bilibid to die since it would look better
when it was reported to the International Red Cross. When this detail ended in April 1944, Ancel
was sent to Bilibid Prison.
In early October 1944, almost 1775 POWs were marched to the Port Area of Manila.
When this POW group arrived at the pier, the ship they where scheduled to sail on, the
Hokusen Maru, was ready to sail, but some of the POWs in the detachment had not arrived at the
pier. Another POW detachment had completely arrived, but their ship was not ready to sail. It was
at that time that the Japanese made the decision that they switch POW detachments so the
Hokusen Maru could sail.
On October 11, the POWs boarded the
Arisan Maru and 1775 prisoners were crammed into the first hold of the ship which could hold 400
men. They were packed in so tightly that they could not move. Those POWs who had lain down in the
wooden bunks along the haul could not sit up because the bunks were so close together. Eight large cans
served as latrines for the POWs. Anton Cichy said
, "For the first few days, there were 1800 of us together in one hold. I don't know how big
the hold was but we had to take turns to sit down. We were just kind of stuck together."
Calvin Graef said about the conditions in the hold, "We were packed in so tight most men couldn't
get near the cans. And, of course, it was a physical impossibility for the sick in the back of the
hold, the men suffering the tortures of diarrhea and dysentery. We waded in fecal matter. Most of
the men went naked. The place was alive with lice, bedbugs and roaches; the filth and stench were
Later in the day on October 11, the ship set sail but took a southerly route away from
Formosa. The ship anchored in a cove off Palawan Island where it remained for ten days. The
Japanese covered the hatch with a tarp so during the night, the POWs were in total darkness. Within the
first 48 hours, five POWs had died. Being in the cove resulted in the ship missing an air raid by
American planes on Manila, but the ship was attacked once by American planes returning from a mission against
the airfield on the island.
Although the Japanese had removed the lights in the hold, they had not turned
off the power to the lights. Some of the prisoners were able to hot-wire the ship's blowers into the
light power lines. This allowed fresh air into the hold, until the power was disconnected, two days
later, when the Japanese discovered what had been done.
After this was done, the POWs began to develop heat blisters. The Japanese
realized that if they did not do something many of the POWs would die. To prevent this, they opened the
ship's number two hold, which was partially filled with coal, and transferred 600 POWs into it.
During the treatment, one POW was shot while attempting to escape.
Arisan Maru returned to Manila on October 20, where it joined a twelve ship convoy. On October 21,
the convoy left Manila and entered the South China Sea. The Japanese refused to mark POW ships with red
crosses to indicate they were carrying POWs making them targets for American submarines. In addition,
U.S. military intelligence was reading the Japanese messages as fast as the Japanese. To protect this
secret, they did not tell the submarine crews that ships were carrying POWs which made the ships targets for
the submarines. The POWs in the hold became so desperate that they prayed for the ship to be hit by
Graef described the deaths of the POWs hold.
"There were so many (that died) out 1800. The conditions in the hold.....men were just dying in
a continuous stream. Men, holding their bellies in interlocked arms, stood up, screamed and died.
You were being starved, men wee dying at such a pace we had to pile them up. It was like you were
choking to death. Burial consisted of two men throwing another overboard."
, "The Japs told us that they'd be in Formosa the next day to pick up some cargo. They had
to make room on deck so they tossed a whole bunch of life preservers down into the hold. I held onto one but
didn't think anything about it."
It was about 4:00 P.M. on October 24, and some of the POWs were on deck preparing dinner for the
POWs in the ship's holds and had fed about half the POWs. Each day, each POW was given three ounces
of water and two half mess kits of raw rice. The waves were high since the ship had been through a storm
in the Bashi Channel of the South China Sea. Suddenly, bells and sirens sounded warning of
submarines. The POWs in the holds chanted for the submarine to sink the ship.
The waves were high since a storm had just passed. At about 4:50 P.M., about
half the POWs had been fed. As the POWs watched, the Japanese ran to the bow of the ship and watched as a
torpedo passed in front of it. Moments later, the Japanese ran to the ship's stern and watched as a
second torpedo passed behind the ship. There was a sudden jar and the ship stopped dead in the
water. It had been hit by two torpedoes, amidships, in its third hold where there were no POWs.
At first the POWs cheered wildly until they realized they were facing death.
, "When the torpedo hit everybody in the hold hollered 'Hit her again!' We wanted to get it
Lt. Robert S. Overbeck recalled
, "When the torpedoing happened, most of the Americans didn't care a bit--they were tired and
weak and sick."
He also said,
"The third torpedo struck squarely amidships and buckled the vessel but it didn't break in
Overbeck also commented on the reaction of the POWs in the holds. "
For about five second there was panic among us, but there were five or six chaplains who prayed fervently
and quieted the men. By then the Nips--300 of them on deck--were scurrying about, scared as hell.
The boilers exploded. I don't think any of us got hurt in the torpedoing or the explosion.
Most of the prisoners were American, with a few British. That was about 5:00 P.M."
It is believed that the submarine that fired the torpedoes was either the
U.S.S. Snook or
The guards took their rifles and used them as clubs to drive the POWs on deck into the
holds. Once in the holds, the Japanese cut the rope ladders into the holds and put the hatch covers over
the holds, but they did not tie the hatch covers down. Cichy recalled
, "The Japs closed the hatches and left the ship in lifeboats. They must have forgot about the
prisoners on deck who had been cooking. When the Japs were off the boat, the cooks opened the hatches and
told us to come up. I was just under the deck, but there were a lot of guys down below. One of them
escaped by simply walking into the water from a hole in the bulkhead. He was Lt. Robert S. Overback,
, "The Japs had already evacuated ship. They had a destroyer off the side, and they were saving
Some of the POWs from the first hold climbed out and reattached the ladders and
dropped them to the men in the holds. The POWs left the holds but made no attempt to abandon ship.
On the ship's deck an American major spoke to the POWs, he said
, "Boys, we're in a hellva a jam - but we've been in jams before. Remember just one
thing: We're American soldiers. Let's play it that way to the very end of the
Right after he spoke, a chaplain said to them
, "Oh Lord, if it be thy will to take us now, give us the strength to be men."
, "We broke into the ship's stores to get food, cigarettes, and water -- mainly water, we were so
thirsty. All of us figured we were going to die anyway. The Japs ships, except for the destroyers,
had disappeared. All we had were life belts which the Japanese had fortunately thrown down the hold the
"But as darkness settled and our hopes for life flickered, we felt absolutely no
resentment for the Allied submarine that had sent the torpedo crashing in. We knew they could not tell
who was aboard the freighter, and as far as the Navy could have known the ship could have been carrying Jap
troops. The men were brave and none complained.
"Some slipped off their life preservers and with a cherry 'so long'
The ship slowly sank lower into the water.
According to surviving POWs, the ship stayed afloat for hours but got lower in the water. At one point,
the stern of the ship began going under which caused the ship to split in half but the halves remained
afloat. Most of the POWs were still on deck even after it became apparent that the ship was sinking.
Some POWs attempted to escape by putting on lifebelts, clinging to hatch covers, rafts, and other flotsam and
jetsam. When they reached other Japanese ships, the Japanese pushed them away with poles. Glenn
, "They weren't picking up Americans. A lot of the prisoners were swimming for the destroyer,
but the Japanese were pushing them back into the water."
, "I could see people still on the ship when it went down. I could see people against the skyline,
just standing there."
In the water, he watched as the ship went under.
"I kept getting bumped by guys wearing life jackets. Nobody wanted to share my planks. I
didn't ask them."
Three POWs found an abandoned life boat and managed to climb in but
found it had no oars. With the rough seas, they could not maneuver it to help other POWs. According
to the survivors, the Arisan Maru and sank sometime after dark on Tuesday, October 24, 1944. Oliver, who
was not in the boat, stated he heard men using what he called "GI whistles" to contact each
"They were blowing these GI whistles in the night. This weird moaning sound. I can't
The next morning there were just waves. Olvier and three other POWs were picked up by a Japanese
destroyer and taken to Formosa. They later were sent by ship to Japan. The men in the boat picked up
two more survivors and later made it to China and freedom. Pvt. William H. Jardot was not one of them.
Since he was lost at sea, Pvt. William H. Jadot's name is inscribed on the
Tablets of the Missing at the
American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.
In 1945, his family received this message:
"The information available to the war department is that the vessel sailed from Manila on October 11,
1944, with 1775 prisoners of war aboard. On October 24 the vessel was sunk by submarine action in the
south China Sea over 200 miles from the Chinese coast which was the nearest land. Five of the prisoners
escaped in a small boat and reached the coast. Four others have been reported as picked up by the
Japanese by whom all others aboard are reported lost. Absence of detailed information as to what
happened to the other individual prisoners and known circumstances of the incident lead to a conclusion
that all other prisoners listed by the Japanese as aboard the vessel perished."
It should be noted that on the Tablets, it shows that William was a member of the
194th Tank Battalion. Although D Company was attached to the 194th, it was never officially transferred
to the battalion and remained a part of the 192nd Tank Battalion throughout the Battle of Bataan.