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Cpl. Harry Alfred King 


     Cpl. Harry Alfred King was born in Chicago, Illinois, on January 10, 1921.  He was the son of Charles R. King & Anna Allison-King.  With his two brothers, he grew up at 507 Quincy Street in Maywood.  He was a graduate of Garfield School and a member of the Proviso Township High School Class of 1938.  He was employed by a stationary company to run errands.

    In September of 1940, Harry enlisted in the Illinois National Guard as a member of the 33rd Tank Company from Maywood, Illinois.  He like many other men wanted to fulfill his military obligation.  On November 20, 1940, Harry, along with the other members of his company, was called to federal service when his company was federalized.  During his training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, he was trained as either a motorcycle messenger or in motorcycle reconnaissance.  

    During his training at Ft. Knox, it is known that he and other members of HQ Company were sent to Fort Wayne outside Detroit, Michigan.  In the late summer of 1941, he took part in maneuvers in Louisiana.  

    Like the other members of his company, Harry had hoped that his tour of duty would end after the maneuvers in Louisiana, but he soon learned that this was not to be.  President Roosevelt had signed orders that extended their time in federal service.  With this news, the members of the 192nd were given orders sending them overseas.  Those 29 years old or older were given the opportunity to resign from federal service.

    On Thanksgiving Day, 1941, Harry and the other members of the 192nd arrived in the Philippine Islands.  They were scheduled to receive further training since much of the equipment, including the tanks, was new to the soldiers, and they had never been trained in operating it.

    This lack of training was glaring during the first engagement against the Japanese.  On December 22, 1941, the American tank crews could be heard on the radio yelling at each other because they could not find the shells for their cannons.  It is during the fight against the Japanese that it is believed Harry worked to carry messages to the tanks and do reconnaissance to identify Japanese positions on his motorcycle.

    The Filipino and American Forces fought gallantly, but due to a lack of food and their poor physical shape they were surrendered to the Japanese.  Harry became a Prisoner of War and took part in the death march.  He marched the entire length from Mariveles to San Fernando.  There he and the other POWs were put into boxcars and sent to Capas.  At Capas the POWs disembarked the cars and they walked the last few miles to Camp O'Donnell.

    Harry was imprisoned at Camp O'Donnell.  When a new POW camp at Cabanatuan opened in May, Harry and the other prisoners who were considered to ill to be moved were left behind.  

    It was at Camp O'Donnell that Cpl. Harry A. King died on June 2, 1942, of a liver ailment at the age of 21.  After his death, Harry was awarded the Purple Heart.  After the war, Cpl. Harry A. King was buried in Plot L, Row 8, Grave 89 at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.


 

 


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