Pvt. Roy E. Maghan was born on February 11, 1915, to Arthur M. Maghan & Eva Lou Hunt-Maghan. He grew
up in Brainerd, Minnesota, and with his sister and brother, attended local schools. He was a graduate of
Washington High School as a member of the Class of 1932. After high school, he worked as a mechanic and
joined the Minnesota National Guard, in Brainerd, and was called to federal duty on February 10, 1941. He was
sent to Fort Lewis, Washington where he trained as a member of A Company, 194th Tank Battalion. It is
believed that he was a tank mechanic.
In September 1941, the 194th rode a train to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California, and
ferried, on the
U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe, to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island. B Company of the battalion had been
detached and was later sent to Alaska. The battalion received inoculations and those with medical
conditions were replaced.
The tankers boarded the
S.S. President Calvin Coolidge on September 8th at 3:00 P.M. and sailed at 9:00 P.M. for the Philippine
Islands. To get the tanks to fit in the ship's holds, the turrets had serial numbers spray painted on them
and were removed from the tanks. They arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Saturday, September 13th at 7:00
A.M., and most of the soldiers were allowed off ship to see the island but had to be back on board before the
ship sailed at 5:00 P.M.
After leaving Hawaii, the ship took a southerly route away from the main shipping
lanes. It was at this time that it was joined by a heavy cruiser, the
U.S.S. Astoria, and an unknown destroyer which were its escorts. During this part of the trip, on
several occasions, smoke was seen on the horizon, and the Astoria took off in the direction of the smoke.
Each time it was found that the smoke was from a ship belonging to a friendly country.
The ships crossed the International Dateline on Tuesday, September 16, and the
date changed to Thursday, September 18. The ships entered Manila Bay at 7:00 A.M. and reached Manila
several hours later. The soldiers disembarked at 3:00 P.M., and were driven on buses to Clark Field.
The maintenance section of the battalion and members of 17th Ordnance remained at the dock to unload the
battalion's tanks and reattach the turrets.
On December 1, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against
Japanese paratroopers. Two members of each tank and half-track crew remained with their vehicles at all
times and received their meals from food trucks.
On December 8, 1941, Roy lived through the Japanese attack of Clark Field. For the
next four months, he took part in the Battle of Bataan. On April 9, 1942, he became a Prisoner of War when
Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese.
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. They lived through two more
attacks on December 10th. The night of the 12/13, the battalion was ordered to bivouac south of San
Fernando near the Calumpit Bridge. Attempting to move the battalion at night was a nightmare, and they
finally arrived at their new bivouac at 6:00 A.M. on December 13th.
The battalion received 15 Bren Gun carriers on the 15th, and gave some to the 26th
Cavalry, Philippine Scouts. They used the carriers to test the ground to see if it was solid enough to
support tanks. They next were ordered to support the 71st Division in the area of Rosario on the 22nd, but
the division's commanding officer ordered them out of the area, since he believed they would interfere with
The night of the 22nd/23rd, the battalions were operating north of the Agno River when
it they found that the bridge they were suppose to use had been bombed. On December 23 and 24, the
battalion was in the area of Urdaneta and found the bridge they were going to use to cross the Agno River was
destroyed. The tankers made an end run to get south of river and ran into Japanese resistance early in the
evening, but they successfully crossed at the river in the Bayambang Province.
Later on the 24th, the battalions formed a defensive line along the southern bank of the
Agno River with the tanks of the 192nd holding the Agno River from Carmen to Tayung, and the 194th holding the
line on the Carmen-Alcala-Bautista Road. The tanks held the position until 5:30 in the morning on December
27 when they withdrew, following the Philippine Army, to the Tarlec-Cabanatuan Line and was near Santo Tomas and
Cabanatuan on the 28 and 29.
The tank battalions next covered the withdrawal of the Philippine Army at the Pampanga
River. The battalion's tanks were on both sides of the on December 31 at the Calumpit Bridge.
On January 1, conflicting orders, about who was in command, were received by the
defenders who were attempting to stop the Japanese advance down Route 5 and allowing 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 bridge over the Pampanga River about withdrawing from the bridge with half of the defenders
withdrawing. 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 2 to 4, the 192nd held the road
open from San Fernando to Dinalupihan so the southern forces could escape.
At 2:30 A.M., on January 6, the Japanese attacked at Remlus in force using smoke which
was an attempt by the Japanese to destroy the tank battalions. That night 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.
The night of January 7, the tank battalions were covering the withdrawal of all troops
around Hermosa. Around 6:00 A.M., before the bridge had been destroyed by the engineers, the 192nd crossed
The next day, the battalion was between Culo and Hermosa and assigned a road to enter
Bataan on which was worse than having no road. The half-tracks kept throwing their rubber tracks and
members of 17th Ordnance assigned to each battalion had to re-track them in dangerous situations. After
daylight, Japanese artillery fire was landing all around the tanks.
The next day, a composite tank company was formed under the command of Capt. Donald
Haines, B Co., 192nd. Its job was to protect the East Coast Road north of Hermosa open and to stop Japanese
tanks attempting to use it to overrun the next defensive line that was forming. While in this position, the tanks
were under constant enemy artillery fire. The rest of the tanks were ordered to bivouac south of the
When word came that a bridge was going to be blow, all the tanks were ordered out of the
area, which included the composite company. This could have resulted in a catastrophe, but the Japanese did
not take advantage of the situation.
The tanks bivouacked south of the Pilar-Bagac Road and about two kilometers from the
East Coast Road. It had almost been one month since the tank crews had a rest and the tanks had maintenance
work done on them by 17th Ordnance. It was also on this day that the tank platoons were reduced to three
tanks per tank platoon. The men rested and the tanks received the required maintenance. Most of the
tank tracks had worn down to bare metal and the radial engines long past their 400 hour overhauls.
It was at this time the tank battalions received these orders which came from Gen.
"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."
The battalions were sent to cover the junctions of the Back Road and East Road with the
Abucay-Heicienda Road on January 25. While holding the position, the 45th Infantry, Philippine Scouts,
fought its way to the position at 3:00 A.M. One platoon was sent to the front of the the column of trucks
which were loading the troops. The tanks provided heavy fire so that the infantry could withdraw and
inflicted heavy losses on the Japanese.
Later on January 25, both the 192nd and 194th held a defensive line on the
Bakanga-Cardre-BaniBani Roads until the withdraw was completed at midnight. They held the position until
the night of January 26/27, when they dropped back to a new defensive line roughly along the Pilar-Bagac
Roads. When ordered to withdraw to the new line, the 192nd found that the bridge at Balanga, that they were
suppose to use had been destroyed by enemy fire. To withdraw, they had to use secondary roads to get around
the barrio and tanks were still straggling in at noon.
The tank battalions, on January 28, were given the job of protecting the beaches, while
the battalion's half-tracks were used to patrol the roads. The Japanese later admitted that the tanks
guarding the beaches prevented them from attempting landings.
The tank battalions, on their own, took up the job of protecting the airfields at
Cabcaban, Bataan, and Mariveles, since Japanese paratroopers were known to be available. The tanks and
half-tracks were well hidden in the jungle around the airfields and different plans were in place to be used
against Japanese forces. There was only one major alert in March when 73 Japanese planes came over.
In March, the amount of gasoline was reduced to 15 gallons a day for all vehicles except
the tanks. This would later be dropped to ten gallons a day. At the same time, food rations were cut
in half again. Also at this time, Gen. Weaver suggested to Gen. Wainwright that a platoon of tanks be sent
The Japanese lunched an all out attack on April 3. On April 7, the 57th Infantry,
Philippine Scouts, supported by tanks, attempted to restore the line, but Japanese infiltrators prevented this
from happening. During this action, one tank was knocked out but the remaining tanks successfully
withdrew. C Company, 194th, which was attached to the 192nd, had only seven tanks left.
The tanks became a favorite target of the Japanese receiving fire on trails and while
hidden in the jungle. and could not fight back. The situation was so bad that other troops avoided being
near the tanks, and the 26th Cavalry turned down a tank company's offer of assistance in a counter-attack.
The tank battalion commanders received this order
on April 8th
, "You will make plans, to be communicated to company commanders only, and be prepared to destroy within one
hour after receipt by radio, or other means, of the word 'CRASH', all tanks and combat vehicles, arms,
ammunition, gas, and radios: reserving sufficient trucks to close to rear echelons as soon as
When it became apparent to Gen. Edward King that the situation was hopeless and he
wanted to prevent a massacre since he only 25% of his troops were healthy enough to fight, while approximately
6,000 troops were hospitalized from wounds or disease. In addition, there were approximately 40,000
civilians. The night of April 8th, he sent his staff officers to negotiate surrender terms with the
The tankers received the order
sometime between 6:30 and 6:45 on April 9, and destroyed anything that had military value for the
Japanese. To destroy their tanks, they circled them, fired an armor piercing shell into the engine of each
tank, opened the gasoline cocks in the crew compartments, and dropped hand grenades into them. Once this
was done, they were ordered to Provisional Tank Group Headquarters and ordered to remain there.
The Japanese arrived the morning of April 10th and ordered the Prisoners of War to the
trail that ran near the headquarters. 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. The
Prisoners of War were then left in the sun for the rest of the day. That night they were ordered
north. The members of the 194th did receive orders to march until around 7:00 P.M. and were marched until
3:00 in the morning. At that time, the marchers were given an one hour break. At 4:00 A.M., they
began to march again. They reached the barrio of Lamao at around 8:00 A.M. the morning of April 11. There
the POWs were allowed to try to find food, but little was found.
The POWs again were ordered to move at 9:00 A.M. and reached Limay at noon. It was
at this time the Japanese put officers, with the rank of major and higher, in trucks and drove them to to
Balanga. These officers were than marched to Orani. For the lower ranking officers and enlisted
men, Limay was where they really started the death march. Up to this time, the guards, regular combat
soldiers, had shown a great deal of respect for them. As they got further north, and the guards were
changed, the treatment got worse.
They marched north through Orani and arrived there on the 12th. There, at 6:30
P.M., the higher ranking officers rejoined the march. The men noticed they were being marched at a faster
pace and that the guards seemed nervous.
The POWs made their way north to Hermosa, where the road went from gravel to
pavement. The change in surface made the march easier on the men. When they were allowed to sit,
those who attempted to lay down were jabbed with bayonets.
They resumed the march and at some point it began to rain. Many of the POWs
attempted to get drinks from the rain. About 4:00 P.M., the POWs reached San Fernando amd were herded into
a bullpen. The ground was covered in human waste from previous POWs. They next made their way to the
train station. At 4:00 in the morning, the Japanese woke the POWs and marched them to the train station and
packed into boxcars that could hold forty men or eight horses. The Japanese packed 100 POWs into each car
and closed the doors. The POWs rode the train to Capas arriving there at 9:00 A.M. They disembarked
from the cars and walked the last eight kilometers to Camp O'Donnell.
Camp O'Donnell was an unfinished Filipino Army Base that the Japanese put into use as a POW
camp on April 1, 1942. They believed the camp could hold 15,000 to 20,000 POWs. When the POWs arrived
at the camp, they were searched and anyone found with Japanese money were separated from the other POWs and sent
to the guardhouse. These POWs were accused of looting the bodies of dead Japanese soldiers. Over
several days, gunshots were heard coming from southeast of the camp as they were executed.
The Japanese also took away any extra clothing that the POWs carried with them and
refused to return it. Since there was no water to wash their clothing, the POWs threw away soiled clothing
and stripped the dead of their clothing. Few of the POWs in the camp hospital had clothing.
There was only one water faucet for the entire camp and men stood in line from 2½ to 8
hours waiting for a drink. The Japanese guard in charge of the spigot would turn it off, for no reason, and
the next man in line would have to wait up to four hours for it to be turned on again. Water for cooking food had
to be hauled three miles to the camp. Mess kits could not be cleaned.
Since most of the POWs had dysentery, the slit trenches overflowed which resulted in
flies being everywhere in the camp including the camp kitchen and in the food. The camp hospital had no
water, soap, or disinfectant which also caused diseases to spread. When the ranking American doctor
presented a letter with the medicines and medical supplies they needed to treat the sick, the camp commander,
Captain Yoshio Tsuneyoshi, told him never to write another letter. He also said that the only thing he
wanted to know about the POWs were their names and serial numbers after they died.
The Archbishop of Manila sent a truck full of medical supplies to the camp, but
the Japanese refused to let it into the camp. When a representative of the Philippine Red Cross told a
Japanese lieutenant that they could set up an 150 bed hospital for the POWs, he was slapped in the face by the
lieutenant. Medicines sent to the camp by the Red Cross were confiscated by the Japanese for their own use.
The POWs called the hospital "Zero Ward" because most of the men who entered it never
came out alive. The Japanese were so afarid of contracting an illness that they put a barbed wire fence up
around it. The POWs in the hospital lay elbow to elbow on the floor and operations were performed with
knives from mess kits. Only one medic, out of every six assigned to treat the sick, was healthy enough to
perform his duties.
Each morning, the POWs walked around the camp and collected the bodies of the dead and
placed them under the hospital building. To clean the ground, the POWs moved the bodies, scrapped the
ground, put down lime to sterilize the ground, moved the bodies back, and repeated the process where the
bodies had been. It took two to three days to bury a man after he died.
Any POW, if he could walk, went out on a work detail for the day such as the one
collected wood for the POW kitchen. Some POWs went out on work details which lasted for months to get out
of the camp. The worse detail a man could be put on was the burial detail. On this detail, two POWs
carried a dead man to the camp cemetery. Once there, they put the body in a grave and held the body down
with a pole, since the water table was high, and covered it with dirt. The next morning, when the burials
resumed, the dead were often sitting up or had been dug up by wild dogs. The Japanese finally acknowledged that
they had to do something to lower the death rate, so they opened a new POW camp.
On June 1, 1942, the POWs formed detachments of 100 men each and were
marched to Capas. There, the were put in steel boxcars with two Japanese guards. At Calumpit, the
train was switched onto another line which took it to Cabanatuan. The POWs disembarked and were taken to
a schoolyard where they were fed cooked rice and onion soup. From there, they were marched to Cabanatuan
which had been the headquarters of the 91st Philippine Army Division and was known as Camp Panagaian.
The camp was actually three camps. Camp 1 was where the men who captured on
Bataan and taken part in the death march where held. Camp 2 did not have an adequate water supply and was
closed. It later reopened and housed Naval POWs. Camp 3 was where those men captured when
Corregidor surrender were taken. In addition, men from Bataan who had been hospitalized when the
surrender came were sent to the camp. Camp 3 was later consolidated into Camp 1.
Once in the camp, the POWs were allowed to run the camp. The Japanese only
entered if they had an issue they wanted to deal with. To prevent escapes, the POWs set up a detail that
patrolled the fence of the camp. The reason this was done was that those who did escape and were caught,
were tortured before being executed, while the other POWs were made to watch. It is believed that no POW
successfully escaped from the camp.
In the camp, the Japanese instituted the "Blood Brother" rule. If one man
escaped the other nine men in his group would be executed. POWs caught trying to escape were
beaten. Those who did escape and were caught, were tortured before being executed. It is not known
if any POW successfully escaped from the camp.
The barracks in the camp were built to house 50 POWs, but most had between 60 to 120
POWs in them. The POWs slept on bamboo slats, without mattresses, bedding, or mosquito netting.
Many quickly became ill. The POWs were assigned to barracks which meant that the members of their group
lived together, went out on work details together, and would be executed together since they were Blood
The POWs were sent out on work details to cut wood for the POW kitchens. The two
major details were the farm detail and the airfield detail which lasted for years. A typical day on any
detail lasted from 7:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M.
Rice was the main food given to the POWs fed to them as "lugow" which meant "wet
rice." During their time in the camp, they received few vegetables and almost no fruit. Once in
awhile, they received bread.
The POWs were sent out on work details to cut wood for the POW kitchens. The two
major details were the farm detail and the airfield detail which lasted for years. A typical day on any
detail lasted from 7:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M. The POWs on the farm detail would have to go to a shed each
morning to get tools. As they left the shed, the Japanese guards thought it was great fun to hit them
over their heads.
The detail was under the command of "Big Speedo" who spoke very little English.
When he wanted the POWs to work faster, he told the POWs
Although he was known to
have a temper, the POWs thought he was
Another guard was "Little Speedo" who was
maller and a
he wanted the POWs to work faster. The
POWs also felt he was
in his treatment of them.
"Smiley" was another guard who always had a smile on
but could not be trusted. He was the meanest of the guards and beat
The camp hospital was known as "Zero Ward" because it was missed by the Japanese when
they counted barracks. The sickest POWs were sent there to die. The Japanese put a fence up around
the building to protect themselves, and they would not go into the building. There were two rolls of wooden
platforms around the perimeter of the building. The sickest POWs were put on the lower platform which had
holes cut into it so the they could relieve themselves. Most of those who entered the ward died.
Not too long after arriving, he became ill and was admitted into the hospital on Sunday, June
7, 1942. He remained in the hospital until Tuesday, September 22, 1942, when he was discharged for duty.
Roy remained at Cabanatuan until October 1942.
On October 26, 1942, the Japanese sent Roy and other POWs on a work detail to the Island of
Mindanao. With him on the detail, were
James McComas and
Joseph Lamkin of A Company. He and the other POWs were loaded onto the
Erie Maru and taken to
there on October 28th. One group of POWs remained at Davao, at the penal colony, and worked on a farm, while
the rest of the POWs were sent to Lasang, on November 7th. Roy spent the next twenty months building
On June 6, 1944, some of the POWs were sent to Manila, while the
remainder of the men remained on the island until August 19, 1944. Several weeks earlier, the POWs had seen
their first American plane in two and one half years. The plane flew over the airfield they were working at
and dropped four bombs at the far end of the runway.
Over the next two weeks the atmosphere at the airfield changed. The Japanese posted
guards with bayonets on their rifles by the POW barracks as air raids became daily. The Japanese
camouflaged the airfield and hid their planes in revetments. The POWs heard rumors that the Americans had
landed at Palau.
During this time, the POWs rations were cut to a single cup of rice a day. The POWs
were now so hungry that they raided the Japanese garbage pile for remnants of vegetables. Many ate the
weeds that grew inside the camp until it was bare.
Air raids soon were nightly events. The POWs noticed that Japanese planes flying out
of the airfield were loaded with bombs and carried extra gasoline tanks.
Finally, all work on the airfield was stopped. On that day, the POWs were lined up by
fours. The outside men had rope tied to their wrists to prevent escape. They were marched shoe-less
to the Tabunco Pier and arrived at noon. They were packed into the two holds of the
Erie Maru. 400 POWs were put in the first hold while the remaining 350 POWs were put in the second
hold. In addition, several tons of Japanese baggage was packed into the hold. Around six that
evening, the ship sailed
As the ship made its way north it swayed in the waves. Many of the prisoners became
seasick. They retched when they tried to throw up since there was no food in their stomachs.
The next day, the POWs heard the sound of a plane. An American plane flew over the ship. Moments
later bombs exploded near the ship. The sound of machinegun fire was heard by the POWs. The Japanese
once again tied down the hatch covers cutting off the air. Over the next three days, there were several
more alerts. Each time the hatch covers were battened down leaving the POWs in darkness.
On August 24th, the ship arrived in Zamboanga where it waited for ten days until the
arrived. The POWs were not allowed out of the holds and the conditions in the ship's holds were
terrible. The holds were hot and steamy and the floors were covered with human waste. In addition, the
longer the POWs were in the holds the stench became worse. During this time, the POWs were allowed on deck
and sprayed with salt water.
It should be noted that the United States had intercepted the order from Japanese command
sending the Shinyo Maru to Zamboanga. Someone misinterpreted the order as saying the ship would be
"750 military personnel"
"750 military prisoners"
to Manila. The U.S.S. Paddle was sent to the area to intercept the ship. Pfc. Victor Mapes
talked about being in the ship's hold
, "I was down in the hold with 750 other Americans. They had us stripped down to G-strings. We'd
left 22 days before from the southern Philippines -- Davao."
On September 4th, the POWs were transferred onto the Shinyo Maru. 250 POWs were put in
the ship's smaller hold while 500 POWs were put into its larger hold. That night, bombs from American
planes landed alongside of the ship rocking and shaking it. The POWs prayed for the ship would be
The ship sailed on September 5th at 2:00 a.m. Before the ship
sailed, the hatch covers were secured so that the POWs could not lift them from below. The ship headed north
in a zigzag pattern in an attempt to avoid submarines. The ship was now part of a convoy designated as
C-076. U.S. submarines began to pick off the ships one at a time.
The POWs were no longer allowed on deck. Their lips and
throats were covered with dust from cement that had previously been hauled by the ship. For the next two days
the ship made good time. It was at this time that the Japanese guards threatened to kill the POWs if the ship
came under attack by American planes. Since the POWs had not heard any air raid alerts, they assumed that
they were safe.
At 4:37 p.m., on September 7, 1944, the U.S.S Paddle spotted the
convoy off the west coast of Mindanao at Sindangan Point. It fired two torpedoes at the ship. The first
torpedo hit the ship in its main hold killing many POWs. Moments later, a second torpedo hit the ship.
There was a gaping hole in the ship's side. Those POWs still alive saw the bodies of the dead floating in the
water as the hold filled with water. Some POWs were blown out of the hold through the hole during the
Sgt. Onnie Clem, U.S.M.C., recalled what it was like when the torpedoes hit.
"I was just flying, just twisting and turning....I couldn't couldn't see anything but these billowy forms like
pillows. I thought I was dead....I was underwater in the hold and these pillows were the bodies of other
guys in there, some dead, some trying to get out."
Pfc. Mapes recalled the event
, "The Jap freighter Number 83 -- was ripped apart by the Sub's torpedo."
The surviving POWs found that the hatch cover had been blown off
the hold by the explosion. As the water level rose, they were able to climb out. Seven Japanese
officers were on the bridge with rifles. As the POWs emerged from the hold, they picked them off. The
lucky POWs made it through their fire and dove into the water.
The POWs in the smaller hold were also wounded from the torpedo hits. But,
the hold remained dry. Many of these POWs also were able to make it onto the deck and attempted to swim to
shore. It was believed that only 250 POWs made it into the water and that the remaining 500 died on the
According to the POWs in the water, the Shinyo Maru began to capsize on
its port side. There was a tremendous crushing sound and the ship seemed to bend upward in the
middle. The ship split in two and sunk into the sea.
Japanese seaplanes dropped depth charges in an attempt to sink the
American submarine. When they spotted the POWs in the water, they strafed them. They stopped strafing
when they realized that there were Japanese in the water too. The good thing about the depth charges was
that they kept sharks away from the POWs.
A Japanese tanker that had been hit by torpedoes spilled oil and gasoline into the
water. The ship ran aground. The Japanese quickly set up machine guns and fired on the POWs.
Boats from the other ships in the convoy attempted to hunt down the POWs swimming in the water cruising in and
out of the debris field hunting and shooting the swimming Americans. If they found a man, they shot
him. One officer recalled seeing a young soldier struggling in the water and asked him if he could
swim. The soldier replied
, "No sir, not very well."
The officer began to say
, " Don't worry, well make it somehow,"
but before he could finish, a shot rang out the young soldier's head fell into the water. There was
a bullet hole in his head. What saved many lives was that with dusk it became harder for the Japanese to
Pfc. Mapes recalled
, "The men began swimming toward shore three miles away --- like a herd of sheep. The Japs from the
other ships in the convoy were cutting them to pieces. I figured that the only way to survive was to break away
from the bunch and swim to the opposite side."
The Japanese announced to the Americans that if they surrendered that
they would be treated with compassion, and about 30 men gave up after hearing this. Sgt. Denver R. Rose was
one of the 30 men. He recalled
, "They tied our hands behind us and took us to another prison ship. They roped us together and stood us
in a line along the rail. They then started shooting us one at a time.
"Using his sword a Jap cut the rope to lose the first man in line. He was taken to
the stern of the boat and shot in the back. He fell into the water.
"Meanwhile, I found the frayed end of a steel cable by feeling with the fingers behind my
back and rubbed the ropes across the sharp edges until I got free. I decided I just as soon be shot trying
to get away as the other way, so I made a break for it. I ran to the front of the ship and slipped
down into the anchor hole After awhile, I heard shooting again, so I let myself down into the
water." Rose was the only man, of the 30 POWs, not to be
Of the 750 POWs who were boarded onto the ship, 82 POWs escaped. One man died on
shore while the remainder were rescued by Filipino guerillas who moved them from village to village. The
guerillas contacted American forces and submarines were sent to t the island to pick the POWs up and bring them
to safety. Roy was not one of these men.
It is not known exactly when or how Pfc. Roy E. Maghan died, but he died on Thursday,
September 7, 1944 during the sinking of the Shinyo Maru. On December 31, 1944, the United States
acknowledged that the sinking of the
Shinyo Maru was a result of the content of the message being misinterpreted.
Since he was lost at sea, Pfc. Roy E. Maghan's name appears on the Tablets of the
Missing at the American Military Cemetery at Manila. His family also had a memorial headstone placed at
Rock Island National Cemetery in Rock Island, Illinois.