Pvt. Samuel L. Raynes was
born on May 9, 1922, in Jefferson Davis County,
Mississippi, to Holland Raynes and Frances A.
Smith-Raynes. With his six sisters and
three brothers, he grew up on the family farm
near Oakvale, Mississippi, and left school,
after the sixth grade, and worked on the
Samuel was enlisted in the
U.S. Army on September 20, 1940, and sent to
Fort Benning, Georgia, for basic training.
While he was stationed at the base, he was
assigned to the 29th Infantry Division before
being assigned to the 753rd Tank
Battalion. When the near battalion
was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, in the late
summer of 1941. Maneuvers were going on
there, but the battalion did not take part in
While Samuel was at Camp
Polk, the 192nd Tank Battalion was given orders
to go overseas. Since most of the members
of the battalion were National Guardsmen, those
29 years or older were allowed to resign from
federal service. It was at that time that
Samuel volunteered to join the battalion.
He was assigned to C Company.
The soldiers boarded the S.S.
President Calvin Coolidge at 3:00 P.M. and
sailed at 9:00 P.M. on September 8, 1941.
The ship arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, at 7:00
A.M. on Saturday, September 13. The
soldiers were allowed off ship, but they needed
to be back on board before the ship sailed at
5:00 P.M. After it sailed, it took a
southerly route away from the main shipping
lanes. It was at this time that it was
joined by the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S.
Astoria, and an unknown destroyer.
Several times during this part of the voyage
smoke was seen on the horizon. Each time,
the cruiser revved its engines and took off in
the direction of the smoke. All the ships
it intercepted belonged to friendly countries.
The ships crossed the
International Dateline on Tuesday, September 16,
and the date became Thursday, September
18. On Friday, September 26, the ships
entered Manila Bay at about 7:00 in the
morning. The soldiers remained on board
and disembarked at 3:00 P.M. and where taken by
bus to Fort Stotsenburg. The battalion's
maintenance section, remained behind at the
pier, with 17th Ordnance, to unload the tanks
and reattach the tanks' turrets which had been
removed so the tanks would fit in the ship's
At the fort, the tankers were
met by Col. Edward King, who welcomed them and
made sure that they had what they needed.
He also was apologetic that there were no
barracks for the tankers and that they had to
love in tents. The fact was he had not
learned of their arrival until days before they
arrived. King remained with the tankers
until they had their Thanksgiving Dinner, he
then went to have his own dinner.
For the next seventeen days
the tankers spent much of their time removing
cosmoline from their weapons. They also
spent a large amount of time loading ammunition
belts. The plan was for them, with the
194th Tank Battalion, to take part in maneuvers.
The tanks were ordered to the
perimeter of the Clark Field on December 1st to
guard against paratroopers. Two members of
each tank remained with their tank at all
times. The morning of December 8th, the
officers of the battalions met and were informed
of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor hours
earlier. The tankers returned to the
perimeter of Clark Airfield.
All morning long, the sky was
filled with American planes. At noon, all
the planes landed and the pilots went to
lunch. At 12:45 planes approached the
airfield from the north. The tankers on
duty at the airfield counted 54 planes.
When bombs began exploding, the men knew the
planes were Japanese. After the attack the
192nd remained at Ft. Stotsenburg for almost two
weeks. They were than sent to the Lingayen
Gulf area where the Japanese had landed.
The tank battalion received orders on December
21st that it was to proceed north to Lingayen
Gulf. Because of logistics problems, the
B and C Companies soon ran low on gas.
When they reached Rosario, there was only enough
for one tank platoon, from B Company, to proceed
north to support the 26th Cavalry.
December 23rd and 24th, the battalion was in the
area of Urdaneta. The bridge they
were going to use to cross the Agno River was
destroyed and the tankers made an end run to get
south of river. As they did this, they ran
into Japanese resistance early in the
evening. They successfully crossed at the
river in the Bayambang Province.
On December 25th, the tanks
of the battalion held the southern bank of the
Agno River from Carmen to Tayung, with the tanks
of the 194th holding the line on the
Carmen-Alcala-Bautista Road. The tanks held the
position until 5:30 in the morning on December
The tankers were fell back
toward Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December
27th, and December were at San Isidro south of
Cabanatuan on December 28th and 29th.
While there, the bridge over the Pampanga River
was destroyed, they were able find a crossing
over the river.
At Cabu, C Company's tanks
were hidden in brush. The Japanese troops
passed the tanks for three hours without knowing
that they were there. While the troops
passed, Lt. William Gentry was on his radio
describing what he was seeing. It was only
when a Japanese soldier tried take a short cut
through the brush, that his tank was hidden in,
that the tanks were discovered. The
tanks turned on their sirens and opened up on
the Japanese. They then fell back to
C Company was re-supplied and withdrew to
Baluiag where the tanks encountered Japanese
troops and ten tanks. It was at Baluiag
that C Company's tanks won the first tank battle
victory of World War II against enemy
tanks. After the
battle, C Company made its way south.
When it entered Cabanatuan, it found the
barrio filled with Japanese guns and other
equipment. The tank company destroyed as
much of the equipment as it could before
On December 31, 1941, the commanding officer of
C Company sent out reconnaissance patrols north
of the town of Baluiag. The patrols ran
into Japanese patrols, which told the Americans
that the Japanese were on their way.
Knowing that the railroad bridge was the only
way into the town and to cross the river, the
company set up it's defenses in view of the
bridge and the rice patty it crossed.
Early on the morning of the 31st, the Japanese
began moving troops and across the bridge.
The engineers came next and put down planking
for tanks. A little before noon Japanese
tanks began crossing the bridge.
Later that day, the Japanese had assembled a
large number of troops in the rice field on the
northern edge of the town. One platoon of
tanks under the command of 2nd Lt. Marshall
Kennady were to the southeast of the
bridge. Lt. Gentry's tanks were to
the south of the bridge in huts, while third
platoon commanded by Capt Harold Collins was to
the south on the road leading out of Baluiag.
2nd Lt. Everett Preston had
been sent south to find a bridge to cross to
attack the Japanese from behind.
Major Morley came riding in his jeep into
Baluiag. He stopped in front of a hut and
was spotted by the Japanese who had lookouts in
the town's church's steeple. The guard
became very excited so Morley, not wanting to
give away the tanks positions, got into his jeep
and drove off. Bill had told him that his
tanks would hold their fire until he was safely
out of the village.
When Gentry felt the Morley was out of danger,
he ordered his tanks to open up on the Japanese
tanks at the end of the bridge. The tanks
then came smashing through the huts' walls and
drove the Japanese in the direction of Lt.
Marshall Kennady's tanks. Kennady had been
radioed and was waiting.
Kennady's platoon held it's fire until the
Japanese were in view of his platoon and then
joined in the hunt. The Americans chased
the tanks up and down the streets of the
village, through buildings and under them.
By the time Bill's unit was ordered to disengage
from the enemy, they had knocked out at least
eight enemy tanks.
tankers withdrew to Calumpit Bridge after
receiving orders from Provisional Tank
Group. When they reached the bridge, they
discovered it had been blown. Finding a
crossing the tankers made it to the south side
of the river. Knowing that the Japanese
were close behind, the Americans took their
positions in a harvested rice field and aimed
their guns to fire a tracer shell through the
harvested rice. This would cause the rice
to ignite which would light the enemy troops.
The tanks were spaced about 100 yards
apart. The Japanese crossing the river
knew that the Americans were there because the
tankers shouted at each other to make the
Japanese believe troops were in front of
them. The Japanese were within a few yards
of the tanks when the tanks opened fire.
Lighting the rice stacks, the Americans opened
up with small fire. They then used their
.37 mm guns. The fighting was such a rout
that the the tankers were using a .37 mm shell
to kill one Japanese soldier.
The tank company was next sent to the barrio of
Porac to aid the Filipino army which was having
trouble with Japanese artillery fire. From
a Filipino lieutenant, Gentry learned where the
guns were and attacked. Before the
Japanese withdrew, the tankers had knocked out
three of the guns.
After this, the tanks withdrew to the Hermosa
Bridge and held it on the north side until all
the troops were across. The tanks then
crossed to the south and destroyed the bridge
which held the Japanese up for a few days.
This was the beginning of the Battle of Bataan.
In addition to serving as a rear guard, the
tankers burnt everything that was being left
behind. They burnt warehouses, banks, and
businesses that would help the
The company took part in the
Battle of the Pockets. The Japanese had
lunched an offensive and were pushed back to the
original battle line. Two pockets of
Japanese soldiers were trapped behind the
line. The tanks were sent in to the
pockets to wipe them out. One platoon of
tanks would relieve another platoon. The
tanks would do this one at a time.
The tanks used two strategies
to do this. In the first, the tanks would go
over a foxhole. Three Filipino soldiers
were sitting on the back of the tanks.
Each man had a bag of hand grenades. As
the tank was passing over the foxhole, the three
soldiers would drop hand grenades into the
The second method was to park a
tank over a foxhole. The driver would then
spun the tank, in a circle, on one track until
it ground itself into the ground wiping out the
Japanese. The tankers slept upwind from
the tanks so they didn't have to smell the
On April 7, 1942, the
Japanese broke through the east side of the main
defensive line on Bataan. C Company was
pulled out of their position along the west side
of the line. They were ordered to
reinforce the eastern portion of the line.
Traveling south to Mariveles, the tankers
started up the eastern road but were unable to
reach their assigned area due to the roads being
blocked by retreating Filipino and American
morning of the April 9, 1942, at 6:45 the
tankers received the order "crash" and destroyed
their tanks. When the Japanese made
contact with them, they were ordered to
Mariveles where they started the death march.
From Mariveles, the
members of C Company made their way north along
the east coast of Bataan. The first five
miles of the march the were more difficult since
the march was uphill. The POWs also were
denied food and received little water.
Those who attempted to get water from the
artesian wells that flowed across the road were
When the POWs
reached San Fernando, they were put into a
bull-pin. In one corner, was a trench that was
used as a toilet by the POWs. The surface
was alive with maggots.
At some point, the POWs were
organized into detachments of 100 men, marched
to the train station at San Fernando, and packed
into small wooden boxcars
used to haul sugarcane. The cars were
known as forty or eights. This was because
each car could hold forty men or eight
horses. Since the detachments were made up
of 100 men, the Japanese packed 100 POWs into
each car. The POWs who died remained
standing until the living left the cars at
The POWs walked the last ten miles to
Camp O'Donnell which was an unfinished Filipino
training base which the Japanese pressed the
camp into use as a POW camp on April 1,
1942. When they arrived at the camp, the
Japanese confiscated any extra clothing that the
POWs had and refused to return it to them.
They searched the POWs and if a man was found to
have Japanese money on them, they were taken to
the guardhouse. Over the next several
days, gunshots were heard to the southeast of
the camp. These POWs had been executed for
There was only one water
faucet in the camp, and the prisoners stood in
line from two to eight hours waiting for a
drink. The Japanese guards at the faucet
would turn it off for no reason and the next man
in line would stand as long as four hours
waiting for it to be turned on again. This
situation improved when a second faucet was
There was no water for
washing clothes, so the POWs would throw out
their clothing when it had been soiled. In
addition, water for cooking had to be carried
three miles from a river to the camp and mess
kits could not be washed. The slit
trenches in the camp were inadequate and were
soon overflowing since most of the POWs had
dysentery. The result was that flies were
everywhere in the camp including the POW
kitchens and in the food.
The camp hospital had no
soap, water, or disinfectant. When the
ranking American doctor at the camp wrote a
letter to the camp commandant, Capt. Yohio
Tsuneyoshi, asking for medical supplies, he was
told never to write another letter. When
the Archbishop of Manila sent a truckload of
medical supplies to the camp, Tsuneyoshi refused
to allow the truck into the camp. When the
Japanese Red Cross sent medical supplies to the
camp the Japanese took 95% of the supplies for
their own use.
The POWs in the camp hospital
lay on the floor elbow to elbow and only one of
the six medic assigned to care for 50 sick POWs
was healthy enough to care for them. When
a representative of the Philippine Red Cross
stated they could supply a 150 bed hospital for
the camp, he was slapped in the face by a
Each morning, the bodies of
the dead were found all over the camp and were
carried to the hospital and placed underneath
it. The bodies lay there for two or three
days before they were buried in the camp
cemetery by other POWs who were suffering from
dysentery and/or malaria. To clean the
ground under the hospital, the ground was
scraped and lime was spread over it. The
bodies of the dead were placed in the area, and
the area they had been laying was scrapped and
lime was spread over it.
Work details were sent out on
a daily basis. Each day, the American
doctors gave a list of names to the Japanese of
the POWs who were healthier enough to
work. If the quota of POWs needed to work
could not be met, the Japanese put those POWs
who were sick, but could walk, to work.
The death rate among the POWs reached 50 men
dying a day. The Japanese finally
acknowledge that they had to do something, so
the opened a new POW camp at Cabanatuan.
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
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 Brothers.
The POWs were sent out on
work details one was 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
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 "speedo."
Although he was known to have a temper, the POWs
thought he was fair. Another guard was
"Little Speedo" who was smaller and also used "speedo" when he
wanted the POWs to work faster. The POWs
also felt he was pretty fair in his treatment of
them. "Smiley" was another guard who
always had a smile on his face but could not be
trusted. He was the meanest of the guards
and beat men up for no reason. He liked to
hit the POWs with the club. Any prisoner
who he believed was not working hard enough got
knocked over with it. Any prisoner who he
believed was not working hard enough got knocked
over with it. Each morning, after arriving
at the farm, the POWs went into a tool shed to
get their tools. As they left the shed,
the guards hit them on their heads.
Other POWs worked in rice
paddies. While working in the fields, the
favorite punishment given to the men in the rice
paddies was to have their faces pushed into the
mud and stepped on by a guard to drive their
faces deeper into the mud. Returning from
a detail the POWs bought, or were given,
medicine, food, and tobacco, which they somehow
managed to get into the camp even though they
were searched when they returned.
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
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.
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 bodies.
On July 30, 1942,
Samuel developed dysentery and was admitted to
the camp hospital. Since the doctors had
little medicine to treat the POWs, there was not
much that they could do for the sick.
According to the records kept by the medical
staff at the camp, Pvt. Samuel L. Raynes died of
dysentery at approximately 2:00 P.M. on
Thursday, October 8, 1942, at Cabanatuan
POW. His family learned of his death on
July 6, 1943.
After his death, Samuel was
buried at the Cabanatuan camp cemetery.
After the war, the U.S. Army's recovery team
could not positively identify his remains, so he
was buried as a "Unknown" at new American
Military Cemetery at Manila. His name also
appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the
cemetery. His family learned of his death
in July 1943.