Tec 5 Fred William Lovering Jr.
| T/5. Fred William Lovering
Jr. was born July 16, 1918, in Oak Park, Illinois,
to Frederick W. Lovering Sr., & Francis M.
Kruchow-Lovering and was one of the couple's four
children. As a child, he grew up at 330
South 22nd Street in Bellwood, Illinois.
When he was eleven, his father died leaving his
mother to raise the children alone.
To work, Fred's mother placed her children in the Bensenville Home which was an orphanage in Bensenville, Illinois. After graduating from Tioga Grade School, Fred started school at Bensenville High School but transferred to Proviso Township High School when he was brought home to Bellwood before his sophomore year.
Fred enlisted in the Illinois National Guard's 33rd Tank Company which was headquartered in an armory in Maywood. He did this in spite of mother's objecting to his enlisting. On October 11, 1940, before he left for Ft. Knox, Kentucky, Fred married Thelma McMullin.
On November 25, 1940, Fred traveled to Fort Knox when the tank company was federalized. His company was now B Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. At first, Fred and the other members of the company lived in tents until their barracks were completed.
When Headquarters Company was formed in January
1941, Fred was transferred to the company.
It is not known what his duties with the company
were, but the company's main job was to ensure
that the letter companies tanks were
operational, received ammunition, and get
gasoline to the tanks.
The battalion traveled west over different train
routes to San Francisco, California.
Arriving there, they were taken by ferry to
Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. At Ft.
McDowell, on the island, they were given
physicals and inoculated for overseas
duty. Those men found to have a
minor medical condition were held back and
scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later
date. Other men were simply replaced.
Fred and the other members of HQ Company spent
the next four months working to supply the
letter companies. The
evening of April 8, 1942, Capt. Fred Bruni,
HQ's commanding officer, gave his men the news
of the surrender. While informing the
members of the company of the surrender, he
waved his arm toward the tanks and told the
men that they would no longer need them.
As he spoke, his voice choked. He turned
away from the men for a moment, and when he
turned back he continued. He next told
the sergeants what they should do to disable
the tanks. During the announcement,
Bruni emphasized that they all were to
surrender together. He told the
soldiers to destroy their weapons and any
supplies that could be used by the
Japanese. The only thing they were told
not to destroy were the company's
trucks. The men waited in their bivouac
until ordered to move. Somehow, Bruni
had found enough bread and pineapple juice for
what he called,
"Their last supper."
HQ Company finally boarded trucks and drove to Mariveles where they were ordered out of their trucks. From there, they walked to Mariveles Airfield and sat and waited. As they waited, Fred and the other men noticed a line of Japanese soldiers forming across from them. They soon realized that this was a firing squad and the Japanese were going to kill them.
As they sat watching and waiting to see what the Japanese intended to do, a Japanese officer, in a car, pulled up to the soldiers. He got out and spoke to the sergeant in charge of the detail. The officer got back in the car and drove off. As he drove away, the sergeant ordered the soldiers to lower their guns.
Later in the day, Fred and the other POWs were moved to a school yard in Mariveles. In the school yard, they found themselves in front of Japanese artillery firing on Corregidor and Ft. Drum. When Corregidor and Ft. Drum began returning fire, shells began landing among the POWs who had no place to hide. Some of the POWs were killed. The American guns did knock out three of the Japanese guns.
The POWs were again ordered to move by the
Japanese and had no idea that they had started
what became known as the death march.
During the march, Fred received no water and
little food. At San Fernando, he was put
into bull pen and ordered to sit. The POWs
remained there until the Japanese ordered them
to form detachments of 100 men. They were
marched to the train station and packed into
small wooden boxcars
known as "Forty or Eights." They were
called this because each car could hold forty
men or eight horses. The Japanese packed
100 men into each car and closed the
doors. Those who died remained standing
since they could not fall to the floor. As
the prisoners disembarked from the cars, the
bodies of those who had died fell to the
floors. From Capas, they walked the last
few miles to Camp O' Donnell.
While he was in the camp, his promotion to T/5 was made official in June 1942. At some point, he developed cerebral malaria and was admitted to the camp hospital on Thursday, July 9, 1942, and assigned to Barracks 10. According to medical records kept at Cabanatuan, T/5 Fred W. Lovering died of cerebral malaria on Monday, July 13, 1942, at approximately 3:30 PM. His family did not learn of his death until July 1945.
The POWs had the job of burying the dead.
To do this, they worked in teams of four
men. Each team carried a litter of four to
six dead men to the cemetery where they were
buried in graves containing 15 to 20
After the war, Fred's remains were returned to Illinois, in November 1949, at the request of his mother. T/5 Fred W. Lovering Jr. was reburied, next to his father, at Elm Lawn Cemetery in Elmhurst, Illinois, on November 26, 1949. Since his mother could not afford to pay to have a headstone placed on his grave, T/5 Fred W. Lovering was laid to rest in an unmarked grave.
In early November 2004, through the efforts of the President of the Maywood Bataan Day Organization, Col. Richard McMahon, U.S.A., Retired, a military headstone was placed on T/5 Fred W. Lovering Jr.'s grave. The placement of the headstone ended fifty-five years of Fred Lovering lying in an unmarked grave.