Sgt. William Bennett Mitchell Jr.

Born: 3 July 1914 - Cook County, Illinois
Parents: Othelia E. Novak-Mitchell & William B. Mitchell Jr.
Siblings: 5 brothers, 1 sister
Home: 1712 South 8th Avenue, Maywood, Illinois
    - Garfield School
    - Proviso Township High School
        - left after three years
Occupation: hatchery worker
    - 7 September 1938
        - U.S. Army
    - not known
    - H Battery, 60th Coast Artillery
Overseas Duty:
    - Philippine Islands
    - Battle of Luzon
        - 7 December 1941 - 6 January 1942
    - Battle of Bataan
       - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942
Prisoner of War:
     - 9 April 1942
         - Death March
POW Camps:
    - Camp O'Donnell
            - 1 April 1942 - unfinished Filipino training base Japanese put into use as a POW camp
                - Japanese believed the camp could hold 15,000 to 20,000 POWs
            - POWs searched upon arrival at camp
                - those found with Japanese money were accused of looting
                - sent to guardhouse
                - over several days, gun shots heard southeast of the camp
                    - POWs who had money on them had been executed
            - Japanese took away any extra clothing from POWs as they entered the camp and refused to return it
                - since no water was available for wash clothing, the POWs threw soiled clothing away
                - clothing was taken from dead
                - few of the POWs in the camp hospital had clothing
            - POWs were not allowed to bathe
            - only one water spigot for entire camp
                - POWs waited 2½ hours to 8 hours to get a drink
                    - water frequently turned off by Japanese guards and next man in line waited as long as 4 hours for water to be turned on again
                    - mess kits could not be cleaned
                - POWs had to carry water 3 miles from a river to cook their meals
                - second water spigot installed a week after POWs arrived

            - slit trenches overflowed since many of the POWs had dysentery
                - flies were everywhere including in camp kitchens and food
            - camp hospital had no water, soap, or disinfectant
            - the senior POW doctor wrote a list of medicines he wanted to treat the sick and was told by the camp commandant, Capt. Yoshio
              Tsuneyoshi, never to write another letter
                - Tsuneyoshi said that all he wanted to know about the American POWs was their names and numbers when they died
                - refused to allow a truckload of medicine sent by the Archbishop of Manila into the camp
                - 95% of the medicine sent by Philippine Red Cross was taken by the Japanese for their own use
            - POWs in camp hospital lay on floor elbow to elbow
            - operations on POWs were performed with mess kit knives
            - only one medic out of six assigned to care for 50 sick POWs, in the hospital, was well enough to work
            - as many as 50 POWs died each day
                - each morning dead were found everywhere in the camp and stacked up under the hospital
                - ground under hospital was scrapped and cover with lime to clean it
                - the dead were moved to this area and the section where they had laid was scrapped and cover with lime
                - usually not buried for two or three days
            - work details: if a POW could walk, he was sent out on a work detail
                - POWs on burial detail often had dysentery and malaria
                    - to bury the dead, the POWs held the body down with a pole while it was covered with dirt
                    - the next day when they returned, the bodies often were sitting up in the graves or had been dug up by wild dogs
            -POWs volunteered to go out on work details to get out of camp
        - Cabanatuan
            - original name - Camp Panagaian
            - Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
            - camp had been opened to lower death rate among POWs

            - three camps
                - Camp #1
                    - housed POWs captured on Bataan
                - Camp #2
                    - 2 miles from Camp 1
                    - closed because of lack of adequate water
                    - later reopened and used to house Naval POWs
                - Camp #3
                    - 6 miles from Camp 2
                    - POWs taken on Corregidor sent there
                    - POWs from Bataan hospitals also sent there
                    - later closed and the POWs were sent to Camp 1
            - "Blood Brother" rule implemented
                - if one POW in the group of 10 escaped, the other nine would be killed
            - work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens, plant rice, and farm
                - when POWs lined up, it was a common practice for Japanese guards, after the POWs lined up, to kick the POWs in their
                  shins with their hobnailed boots
                - POWs hit across the top of their heads as they stood in line for roll call
                - if the guards on the detail decided the POW wasn't doing what he should be doing, he was beaten
                - POWs on rice planting details went to a tool shed to get tools
                    - as they exited, the guards would hit them over their heads
                    - if a guard decided a POW was not working hard enough, he would shove the man's face into the mud and step on his head
                      driving the man's face deeper into the mud
                - if the guards on the detail decided the POW wasn't doing what he should be doing, he was beaten
                - many POWs on details were able to smuggle in medicine, food, and tobacco into the camp
            - men who attempted to escape and caught were executed
            - daily POW meal - 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
        - Camp Hospital:
            - 30 Wards
                - each ward could hold 40 men
                    - frequently had 100 men in each
               - two tiers of bunks
                   - sickest POWs on bottom tier
               - each POW had a 2 foot by 6 foot area to lie in
            - Zero Ward
              - given name because it had been missed when counting wards
              - became ward where those who were going to die were sent
              - fenced off from other wards
                  - Japanese guards would not go near it
                 - POWs sent there had little to no chance of surviving
         - 5 October 1942 - Bill was among the POWs taken by truck to Port Area of Manila
    - Bilibid Prison
        - POWs given physicals to see if they were healthy
Hell Ship:
    - Tottori Maru
        - Boarded: 7 October 1942
            - 1961 POWs boarded ship
            - 500 front hold, 1461 rear hold
        - Sailed: Manila - 8 October 1942 - 10:00 A.M.
            - meals: 3 small loaves of bread equal to one American loaf
            - passed Corregidor - noon
         - 9 October 1942 - two torpedoes fired at ship
             - ship's captain maneuvered ship so that the torpedoes missed
                 -POWs cheered him
             - ship passes mine laid by American submarine
             - meal - 3 candy bags of soda crackers and hardtack
         - Arrived: Takao, Fromosa - 11 October 1942
         - Sailed: 16 October 1942 - 7:30 A.M.
             - returned to Takao - 10:00 P.M.
             - meals: POWs received two bags of hardtack and one meal of rice and soup each day
         - Sailed: 18 October 1942
         - Arrived: Pecadores Islands - same day
             - remained anchored off island for several days
             - two POWs died
         -  Sailed: 27 October 1942
         - Arrived: Takao - same day
             - 28 October 1942 - POWs taken ashore and bathed with firehoses
         - Sailed: 30 October 1942
         - Arrived: Makou, Pecadores Islands - same day - 5:00 P.M.
         - Sailed: 31 October 1942
             - 7 ship convoy
         - 5 November 1942 - one ship sunk
             - meal: two meals of rice and soup and one bag of hardtack
         - Arrived: 7 November 1942 - Fusan, Korea
         - Disembarked: 9 November 1942
             - issued new uniforms and fur-lined coats
                 - two day train trip to Hooten Camp
             - sick POWs left behind at Fusan
             - those who recovered sent to Mukden, Manchuria
             - those who died cremated
             - white boxes with ashes sent to Mukden

POW Camp:
    - Mukden, Manchuria
        - Shenyang Camp
            - POW Number:
        - lived in dugouts until they were moved into two story barracks
        - each enlisted man received two thin blankets to cover himself with
        - Meals the same everyday
            - Breakfast - cornmeal mush and a bun
            - Lunch - maze and soy beans
            - Dinner - soy beans and a bun
            - trapped wild dogs to supplement meals
                - this ended when they saw a dog eating a dead Chinese
        - POWs worked in factory or at lumber mill
            - walked 3 miles to factories
            - 7:30 A.M. until 5:30 or 6:00 P.M.
                - committed acts of sabotage to prevent anything useful from being made
                - Japanese blamed the Chinese workers because they believed the Americans were too stupid to
                  commit the sabotage
            - When Japanese searched for contraband in barracks, the POWs had to stand in the cold and snow
                - Japanese made them strip
                - stood there until all 700 POWs had been searched
            - Food rations were cut in half if the Japanese believed one POW was not working hard enough
            - on one occasion, the POWs were ordered to remove their shoes
                - A Japanese lieutenant, Murado, beat each man with that man shoes
    Note: In the camp with him was his good friend Sgt. James H. Smith
Extermination Order:
    - Camp commander received order to march the POWs into the forest and execute them
    - 16 August 1945 - Four American OSS officers parachuted into camp and told the commander the war was over
    - the team was held as POWs for one night and sent to Sian Camp
        - this was the camp where high ranking officers were imprisoned
Liberated: 18 August 1945 - Russian Army arrives
    - 29 August 1945 - American Recovery Team enters camp
    - POWs taken by train to Darien, China
    - taken by ship to Okinawa
    - returned to the Philippine Islands

Promoted: Staff Sergeant
Married: Rosa Asuncion
    - Date: before the war
    - 1 son - born - 28 April 1942 - Manila, Philippine Islands
    - 1 daughter, 1 son
Reenlisted: 20 March 1947 - Fort Sheridan, Illinois
    - Master Sergeant
Died: 15 April 2001 - Seaside, California
Buried: San Carlos Catholic Cemetery - Monterey, California
Note: Photo at top of page was taken after he returned home.

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