Serpell

 


Cpl. Edward Patrick Serpell


Born: 26 February 1919 - Lexington, Kentucky

Parents: Jane Farrell-Serpell & John Serpell

Sibling: 1 brother

Nickname: "Pat"

Hometown: Lexington, Kentucky

    - 1930 - lived with maternal grandmother at 220 Market Street 

    - 1935 - resided in San Francisco, California
                 - student at University of California

    - 1940 - living with maternal grandfather in unincorporated Jefferson County
Residence: Box 123, Brownsboro Road, Louisville, Kentucky

    - U. S. Army

        - 6 March 1941 - Louisville, Kentucky

Training:
    - Fort Knox, Kentucky
        - basic training
    - Camp Polk, Louisiana
        - assigned to 753rd Tank Battalion
        - volunteered or had his name drawn to join the 192nd Tank Battalion which was going
          overseas as part of Operation PLUM
            -PLUM acronym for Philippines, Luzon, Manila
        - replaced a National Guardsman who was released from federal service
Note: The reason for this move was an event that took place in the summer of 1941.  A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf when one of the pilots noticed something odd.  He took his plane down and identified a buoy in the water.  He came upon more buoys that lined up, in a straight line for 30 miles to the northwest, in the direction of an Japanese occupied island, with a large radio transmitter, hundred of miles away.  The squadron continued its flight plane and flew south to Mariveles and then returned to Clark Field.  When the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day, and the next day - when a Navy ship was sent to the area - the buoys had been picked up.  It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
    - Fort McDowell, Angel Island, California
        - ferried to island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
        - received physicals from medical detachment - 25 October 1941 - 26 October 1941
            - men with minor health issues held back and scheduled to rejoin battalion at later date
            - other men simply replaced

Overseas Duty:
    - soldiers arrived by train in San Francisco, California
    - taken by ferry to Angel Island
        - inoculated and given physicals
        - men with minor medical conditions held back and scheduled to rejoin battalion at a later
          date
    - Boarded: U.S.A.T Hugh L. Scott
    - Sailed: San Francisco - Monday - October 27, 1941
    - Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii - Sunday - 2 November 1941
        - soldiers given shore leave
    - Sailed: Tuesday - 4 November 1941

        - took southern route away from mains shipping lanes

        - joined by the U.S.S. Louisville and S.S. Calvin Coolidge

        - 11 November 1941 - crossed International Date Line
        - 15 November 1941 - smoke seen on horizon
            - Louisville intercepts ship from a friendly county 
    - Arrived: Guam - 16 November 1941
        - ship took on water, bananas, vegetables, and coconuts
    - Sailed: 17 November 1941
    - Arrived: Manila, Philippine Islands - Thursday - 20 November 1941
        
    - soldiers disembark ship three to four hours after arrival
            - boarded buses
    - Stationed: Ft. Stostenburg
            - housed in tents along main road between fort and Clark Airfield
            - General Edward King greeted them and apologize about their living quarters
            - made sure that the soldiers had Thanksgiving dinner before they he had his own
 

    - Philippine Islands

        - transferred to Headquarters Detachment, Provisional Tank Group 

Engagements: 

- 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942  

            - D Company tanks went north to Lingayen Gulf, in support of

              B Company, where Japanese were landing troops

                  - 21 December 1941

            - fought in battle at Agno River - 24 December 1941

    - Battle of Bataan

        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942

            - major tank battle near the Bagac Road - 21 March 1942

                - last major battle

Prisoner of War: 

    - 9 April 1942

        - Death March

            - Mariveles - POWs start march at southern tip of Bataan
            - POWs ran past Japanese artillery firing at Corregidor
                - Americans on Corregidor returned fire
            - San Fernando - POWs put into small wooden boxcars
                - each boxcar could hold eight horses or forty men
                - 100 POWs packed into each car
                - POWs who died remained standing
            - Capas - dead fell to floor as living left boxcars
            - POWs walked last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell

POW Camps: 

    - Philippine Islands: 

        - Camp O'Donnell

            - unfinished Filipino training base
            - Japanese put camp into use as POW Camp
            - only one water spigot for entire camp
            - as many as 50 POWs died each day
            - Japanese opened new POW camp to lower death rate
 

        - Cabanatuan

Hell Ship:

    - Coral Maru

        - Sailed: Manila - 20 September 1943

            - Note: Ship stopped at Takao, Formosa

        - Arrived: Moji, Japan - 5 October 1943

POW Camp:

    - Japan:

          - Hirohata #12-B

            - Slave Labor: Seitetsu Steel Mills

                - Work: laborers, stevedores
            - family received a letter from Pat dated - 23 July 1944
                - while Ed was in camp POWs were beaten for stealing rice while unloading a ship
                - The guard, Cpl  Kitro Ishida hit them with a belt, rope, fists, and a club
                   - he also forced water down their noses and forced them underwater

                   - Ishida was sentenced to a year in prison after the war.
                - guards also stole from the POWs' Red Cross packages and took food assigned for POWs

Liberated: 9 September 1945
    - returned to Philippines

    - 20 October 1945 - arrived San Francisco, California
    - Ashford General Hospital - White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

Discharged:

Note:

    - Edward Serpell never married

    - The reason was he was too haunted by memories of his war experiences

Died:

    - 14 November 1985 - Louisville, Kentucky


 

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