Sgt. Lawrence John Jordan
Sgt. Lawrence J. Jordan was born in Montana on August 10, 1919, the second of three children born to Anthony & Agnes Jordan. His family moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he lived at 2038 West Cullom Avenue. He graduated from Lake View High School and worked as a silver smith at a wholesale silver company.
He joined the Illinois National Guard as a member of the 33rd Tank Battalion in Maywood, Illinois. On November 25, 1940, Larry was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky, with his company. At Fort Knox, Larry was taught to operate all the equipment used by the company. During this time Larry became a tank commander.
At Ft. Knox, Larry
participated in boxing. He fought fellow B
Company member, John Cahill, for the Kentuckiana
Welter-weight Title. Larry had been a
Catholic Youth Organization Inter-City Boxing
Champion in Chicago.
The tanks came under
heavy enemy fire. During the attack the
tank of Larry's commanding officer, 2nd Lt.
Ben Morin, was knocked out. The
remaining tanks attempted to come to his aid
but withdrew because of the heavy fire.
Larry was wounded at this time. It is
not known if he was
hospitalized or how long he was treated.
What is known is that
is on December 23 and 24, the battalion was in the area of
going to use
to cross the
Agno River was
made an end
run to get
As they did
this, they ran
early in the
crossed at the
river in the
During the withdraw into the peninsula, the
night of January 6/7, the 192nd held its
position so that the 194th Tank Battalion could
leap frog past it, cross a bridge, and then
cover the 192nd's withdraw over the bridge. The
192nd was the last American unit to enter
Over the next several months, the battalion fought battle after battle with tanks that were not designed for jungle warfare. The tank battalions , on January 28, were given the job of protecting the beaches. The 192nd was assigned the coast line from Paden Point to Limay along Bataan's east coast. The Japanese later admitted that the tanks guarding the beaches prevented them from attempting landings.
B Company also took part in the Battle of
the Pockets to wipe out Japanese soldiers
who had been trapped behind the main
defensive line. The tanks would enter
the pocket one at a time to replace a tank
in the pocket. Another tank did not
enter the pocket until a tank exited the
When Bataan was surrendered on
April 9, 1942, at the age of 21, Larry became a
Prisoner of War with most of the other members
of his company. He took part in the death
march limping the entire length due to shrapnel
wounds in one leg. He was interred at Camp
To get out of the
camp, Larry was selected to rebuild bridges on a
work detail under Lt. Col. Theodore Wickord's
attempted to the detail with men from the 192nd,
194th, and 17th Ordnance. When the
Japanese realized what he was doing, they
On this detail, Larry and the other POWs heard that ten POWs on another detail at a nearby sawmill had been executed because one man had escaped. The POWs were forced to dig their own graves and then machine gunned as they stood in the graves.
One day, Larry and Jim Bashleben were on a break when a guard known as "Nikki" to the POWs began to ask them questions about their homes. Nikki looked at Larry and Bashleben and told each man that after the war was over, he was going to visit each man at his home. Under his breath, Larry said to Bashleben that if Nikki showed up at his front door, a bullet would be waiting for him.
After the detail was completed,
Larry was sent to Cabanatuan. On December
12, 1942, Larry was selected to go out on a work
detail to Nichols Field to build runways. 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.
The brutality shown to the POWs
the camp, a
Lt. Moto, was
the camp for
One day a POW
Moto was told
about the man
and came out
him to get
made to carry
the man back
to the Pasay
After the first American planes
appeared over the airfield, the detail was ended
the next day. Larry was sent to Japan on
the Canadian Inventor on
July 4, 1944. The ship sailed but returned
to Manila because of boiler problems After
repairs had been made, on July 16, the ship
sailed again. The ship again experienced
boiler problems, and the other ships in the
convoy left it behind to make the trip
alone. It arrived at Takao, Formosa on
July 23 and remained there for ten days.
While in port, salt was loaded onto the
On August 4, the Canadian Inventor left Takao and made its way along the west coast of Formosa to Keelung Harbor. Arriving there on August 5, it remained in port for twelve days while additional repairs to its boiler were made to its boiler.
It sailed again on August 17, and had more boiler problems, north of Formosa, near the Ryuku Islands. This time it made its way to Naha, Okinawa. After repairs again were made, it sailed for Moji, Japan. The trip ended on September 4, 1944, after 62 days, when the ship finally arrived at Moji.
In Japan Larry was held as a prisoner at the Nagoya #3-B, also known as Funatsu, until the end of the war. In the camp the POWs were beaten for the slightest violation of the camp rules. The Japanese used sticks, clubs, belts, swords, picks, and leather and rubber belts during the beatings. The POWs were hit over their heads, necks, arms, legs, buttocks, and backs until, in many cases, until the were unconscious. Many of the POWs had bruises, black eyes, and scars from being burned.
were forced to kneel on bamboo poles placed
under their kneecaps, for long periods of
time, while the guards jumped on the calves of
their legs to force the poles into the knees
more deeply. They were next kicked and
placed in the guardhouse of the time nude in
cold weather and had water poured on
them. They were not allowed medical
attention while in the guardhouse. In
addition, their food rations were cut, and if
a POW somehow escaped, he was returned to the
guardhouse and starved.
The POWs in
the camp were used as labor in the mining and
refining of lead and zinc. Nearly all
the prisoners were in poor health and
suffering from malnutrition, dysentery, and
beriberi. A Japanese sergeant, Takanori
Yamanaka, had medical supplies in his
possession from the Red Cross but would not
issue them to the POWs. If a POW was put
in the guardhouse, he was not permitted to
receive medical treatment. When medical
supplies were issued, only half the requested
supplies were given out. The Japanese
also would only allow 10 percent of the
prisoners to be hospitalized at any time.
One of the more interesting side stories of World War II involved Larry. In 1941, Larry was out with a friend, Herbert Hans Haupt. The two men had attended Lakeview High School in Chicago together. Haupt suggested that they visit a German Bund club he belonged to. When they entered the club, Larry knew that being there was a mistake. From the ceilings of the club hung Nazi flags. Larry got into an argument with Haupt about Hitler and the Nazis. One reason for the argument was that Haupt had begun to preach Nazi propaganda to Larry. Things were said and Larry punched Haupt in the nose. This was the last time that Larry saw Haupt.
Harold Hans Haupt would later return to Germany and trained as a spy. During the war, he was landed by submarine on the coast of Florida. He traveled to Chicago since his family was there. Haupt's job was to commit acts of sabotage to cripple the American war effort. To allow Haupt to perform these acts of sabotage, he took Larry Jordan's name off a list of American soldiers being held as POWs by the Japanese. The Nazis then created false identity papers for Haupt. Haupt selected the name because he had been friends with Larry in high school.
It was at this time that Haupt had a Social Security Card issued with Larry's name on it. Haupt was unaware that his espionage team had already been betrayed by one if its members. After Haupt was captured, Larry's mother had to travel to Washington D.C., to testify that Herbert Hans Haupt was not her son. Haupt was later executed for espionage. All this took place while Larry was suffering in Japanese POW Camps.
After Larry was liberated he
was told that he was being flown to
Hawaii. After a short stay, he and other
soldiers boarded C-54s and landed at
Hamilton Airfield in California. Before
leaving the Philippines, Larry teased the
other surviving members of B Company that the
important people were being flown home while
the less important people were being sent home
on troop ships. After landing at
Hamilton Field, Larry was selected to be one
of 80 former POWs honored at a ceremony in San
Francisco on September 25, 1941. During
the ceremony, they heard from Gen. Johnathan
Wainwright who was in New York. He said, "In the furture, our
greatest pride will be these words: I was
at Bataan, and then I was at
Corregidor." It should be noted that
Larry never fought on Corregidor.
On the flight from San
Francisco, the plane Larry was on flew over
Chicago, and he began to protest that it was
where he was suppose to get off.
Instead, Larry was flown directly to
Washington D.C. to give testimony about the
Herbert Hans Haupt affair.
Going on with his life, Larry married and worked as a sales representative in Chicago and Maryland. He was the father of one child. Larry and his wife divorced, and he returned to Chicago where he died on March 27, 1974. He was buried at Mount Carmel Catholic Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois.