Pvt. Harold Dale Lane
| Pvt. Harold
D. Lane was born on November 13, 1921, in
Litchfield, Illinois. He was the son of Mary
Evaline Beck-Lane & Homer Lane. His
family lived at 622 South 24th Avenue in Bellwood
and later 142 South Eleventh Avenue in
Maywood. Harold attended local schools in
Bellwood and was a member of the class of 1939 of
Proviso Township High School, but he left school
early and worked at American Can Company in
In 1939, Harold joined the Illinois National Guard. On November 25, 1940, he was called to federal service when the tank company was called to federal service for one year.
Harold trained at Fort Knox, Kentucky, for
almost a year. During this time, he
qualified as a motorcycle messenger for his
company. He then took part in maneuvers in
Louisiana from September 1 through 30.
After the maneuvers, the battalion was ordered
to Camp Polk, Louisiana, instead of returning to
Ft. Knox. None of thesoldiers had any idea
why they had not returned to Ft. Knox.
Traveling west over different
arrived in Ft.
Mason in San
ferried on the
M. Coxe to
Those who did
not pass the
out of the
unit, or held
battalion at a
At the fort, they were greeted by Gen. Edward
that the men
had to live in
the main road
fort and Clark
fact was that
he had learned
He made sure
that they had
that they all
he went to
have his own
was the date
members of the
expected to be
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 pocket.
On April 9, 1942, Harold
became a Prisoner Of War. He most likely took part in what
would become known as the "Bataan Death
March." The march started at Mariveles at
the southern tip of Bataan. The POWs
received little food or water. At San
Fernando, they went put into a bull pin which
was covered in human waste from previous POWs.
Realizing that Camp O'Donnell was a death trap, Harold volunteered to go out on a detail to Pampanga Province. The POWs on the detail tied together vehicles which had been disabled during the withdraw into Bataan. They drove the vehicles to San Fernando. From there, the vehicles were taken to Manila and sent to Japan.
some point on the detail, Harold came down with
malaria, and he also developed beriberi.
He was returned to Cabanatuan. According
to medical records kept at the camp hospital, he
was admitted to the camp hospital on July 4,
He remained in the hospital until he was
discharged on August 3, 1942.
At some point Harold became ill and was admitted to the hospital at Bilibid Prison on October 26, 1942. According to medical records kept at the hospital suffering he was suffering from kidney disease. The records also show that he was discharged on June 28, 1943 and sent to Cabanatuan.
On August 17, 1944, Harold and other POWs were sent to Bilibid Prison. There, they we remained for about two weeks. During this time he was given a physical. It was determined that he was healthy enough to be transported to Japan.
Harold and 1000 other POWs were taken to the Port Area of Manila and boarded onto the Noto Maru July 15th. All 1033 POWs were packed into the ship's only hold. These ships were known as "Hell Ships" because of the conditions that the prisoners endured.
On July 17, 1944, the Noto Maru sailed for Takao, Formosa, as part of a convoy. During the trip, the convoy was attacked by an American submarine. Another ship carrying 1500 POWs was sunk. Arriving in Formosa on July 27th, the ship anchored for the night before sailing the next day for Moji, Japan. The ship arrived at Moji on August 3rd. From there, the POWs were dispersed among various POW camps.
Harold was sent to
Tokyo Base Camp #1 at Omori.
There, he and the other prisoners worked in a
coal mine. The diet of the POWs in the
camp consisted of barley, millet. miso
soup. Once in awhile the POWs would
receive potatoes, seaweed, octopus,
and a giant radish known as daikon.
Like in many other camps, the Japanese needed little reason to beat the POWs. Many of the prisoners were beaten across the face with wooden shoes and received judo chops. This was done as they stood at attention for hours. One guard found it amusing to have the POWs salute trees. If a man was ill and in the camp hospital, his food rations were cut in half. The POWs were also put in punishment cells without adequate water or food.
The POWs were frequently punished by being made
to stand at attention, for long periods of time,
during morning assembly as a collective
punishment because one POW had broken a
rule. In addition, as they stood at
attention, the guards would slap them and beat
Harold returned to the Philippines, by plane,
for medical treatment. It was at this time
that he was promoted to staff sergeant.
Harold was boarded onto the U.S.S. Yarmouth
and arrived in San Francisco on October 8,
1945. He was sent to Letterman General
Hospital for further medical treatment.
Harold D. Lane died on January 22, 1994, and was buried in Section 9, Site 1826, at Santa Fe National Cemetery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.