2nd Lt. Theodore I. Spaulding was born September 28,
1913, in Sherwood, North Dakota to John I. Spaulding & Louisa Sherritt-Spaulding and had three brothers
and two sisters. He moved to San Francisco in 1933 and worked on the docks before he took a job with
the John Mansville Company where he worked for a year. On January 19, 1937, he joined the California
National Guard as a member of the 40th Division's Coast Artillery.
During his time in California, Ted attended Salinas Junior College in Salinas,
California, and the University of California, Berkley. During this time he transferred to the 40th
Division's tank company in Salinas. Later while at Berkley studying engineering, he learned the tank
company was being federalized. In November 1940, the company was designated C Company, 194th Tank
Battalion, but because of a lumber strike, it was not called up until February 10, 1941. He attempted
to transfer to another unit, so he could continue his studies, but was told that transfers from the company
The members of the company spent a week getting their equipment ready for movement to
Fort Lewis, Washington, where it was joined by A Company from Brainerd, Minnesota, and B Company from Saint
Joseph, Missouri. It was after arriving there that he was put in charge of company's
reconnaissance platoon. Ted went to the fort as a sergeant and while there, he was one of 20 men
selected to attend Officer Candidates School in June 1941. He successfully completed the training and
on July 15, 1941, was commissioned a second lieutenant.
One of the biggest problems for the tankers was that the regular
Army seemed to have a problem with them since they were National Guardsmen. After arriving at the
fort, they trained in whatever clothing they had. One day, while they were training three officers,
on horseback, rode up and asked why they weren't training in the proper uniforms. It was explained
that what they were wearing was what they had. That afternoon, a truck loaded with army clothing
showed up at the 194th's barracks. As it turned out one of the officers was the chief of staff of the
camp's commander, the officer's name was Dwight D. Eisenhower.
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,
who was flying at a lower altitude - noticed something odd. He took his plane down and identified a
flagged buoy in the water and saw another in the distance. 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 that a large
radio transmitter. The island was hundred of miles away. The squadron continued its flight plan
and flew south to Mariveles before returning to Clark Field. When the planes landed, it was too late
to do anything that day.
The next day, another squadron was sent to the area and found that the buoys had
been picked up by a fishing boat that was seen making its way to shore. Since communication between
the Air Corps and Navy was poor, the boat escaped. It was at that time the decision was made to build
up the American military presence in the Philippines.
The battalion, except B Company, was sent to San Francisco, California, and taken
to Angel Island on the ferry the
U.S.A.T General Frank M. Coxe. On the island they were given physicals and inoculated for
overseas duty. Those who officers who were “too old” for their grade were released from
service. Enlisted men, who were 29 years old or older, were also given the opportunity to resign from
service. It should be mentioned that Ted on gotten engaged to Catherine Eaton, the sister of Orrin
Eaton of C Company.
th boarded the
S.S. President Calvin Coolidge.
The tanks were placed in the ship’s holds, but to make them fit,
the turrets were removed.
The serial numbers of each tank was painted on its turret so
they could be matched later.
The soldiers also were housed in the holds. Ted being an
officer shared a stateroom with 2nd Lt. Russell Sweaingen while four officers shared the other rooms.
The ship sailed at 9:00 P.M. on September 8.
It arrived in Hawaii on September 13 at 7:00 A.M.
The soldiers were given a day pass, but had to be back aboard
ship before it sailed at 5:00 P.M.
The ship took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes.
It was escorted by the cruiser the
U.S.S. Astoria and an unknown destroyer.
On several occasions the cruiser intercepted unknown ships after
smoke was spotted on the horizon, but each time the ship belonged to a friendly country. At 7:00 A.M.,
the ship arrived at Manila Bay on September 26 and arrived at Manila later in the morning.
It’s tanks were completed unloaded by 10:00 A.M. and the
soldiers rode buses to Ft. Stotsenburg.
The battalion was taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg
about sixty miles north of Manila.
During their time at the army base, they prepared their
equipment for use in the maneuvers that were scheduled with the arrival of the 192nd Tank Battalion.
In October, the battalion was allowed to practice a movement to
Lingayen Gulf to simulate a enemy landing there.
On December 8, 1941, Ted lived through the Japanese
attack on Clark Airfield. That morning the officers of the tank were called together and ordered to the
perimeter of Clark Airfield. The 194
th was given the north end of the airfield to protect, while the 192
nd was given the southern end of the airfield to defend. It was at this time that he was
made battalion reconnaissance officer. The tanks of the 194th were ordered to Mabalacat.
They remained there until December 12, when A Company was sent
north to the Agno River area while the rest of the battalion
remained south of Manila.
During the withdrawal into Bataan, Ted on one
occasion had to represent the battalion in a conversation with General Weaver.
Weaver was fuming that the tanks were not in their assigned
The problem was that no one knew where the assigned positions
As Weaver ranted, Lt. Colonel Ernest Miller and Ted noticed that
Weaver was in his underwear.
Ted was able to get his laughter under control which is why he
dealt with Weaver and found out where he wanted the tanks.
On another occasion, the 194th was on the Banibani
Ted and Lt. Charles Fleming came up the road looking for
the battalion to find out why they had not fallen back and crossed the bridge they had been guarding.
Not too long after they found the battalion, a battle broke out.
Ted and Fleming were ordered out of the area.
As they drove back toward the bridge, their jeep swerved
repeatedly to avoid fire from Japanese planes which were strafing them.
Ted also served as liaison officer with II Corp.
The reason he did this was that it was the only way to keep the
His job was to report developments to Lt. Col. Miller when they
On April 9, 1942, Ted became a Prisoner of War when
Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese. The next morning, the Japanese entered the battalion’s bivouac
and ordered the tankers to Mariveles.
It was from there that the tankers started the march from
The Japanese guarding them at the start of the march were
combat harden troops.
Because of this, they viewed the Americans as fellow soldiers.
Many were surprised that the Americans had surrendered since
they had fought so well.
The POWs were treated well by these guards.
It was at Limay were the treatment changed when the guards were
The tankers were now guarded by non-combat troops
who mistreated the POWs.
They were forced to march at a faster pace.
When the POWs were given a rest, Filipinos came with buckets of
The POWs drank their fill. The march continued into the
night, and at one point it rained. At 4:00 A.M., on April 12, the tankers reached Orani and placed in a
barbed wire enclosure.
Before they reached the enclosure, the Americans
could smell it.
Once in the enclosure, they were ordered to sit down.
Since there were already POWs in the enclosure, all they could
do was sit.
At 7:00 A.m. the guards allowed the POWs to move around the pen.
A pit had been dug in one corner of the bull pen as a washroom.
The pit alive with movement from the maggots that covered it.
The POWs soon found that the sun was now the enemy.
The pen had no cover for them and beat down on them.
They soon realized that they were being given “the Sun
They were left in the pen all day.
Those who could not take the sun grew delirious and began to
This was soon followed by death.
During the afternoon, the Japanese finally fed the
Each man received three tablespoons of rice.
Many of the POWs developed hiccups after eating the rice.
The POWs were ordered to fall-in at 7:00 P.M. They began to march again. As the POWs made their
way north they were passed by Japanese soldiers in trucks. Some could speak English and shouted insults
Filipino civilians appeared and threw turnips to the
They did this in spite of the fact that they were risking their
lives. At day break, they reached Remedios. This was the location of one
the tank battles the 194th had taken part in.
The POWs finally reached San Fernanado. There, the POWs were put into another
bull pen. Once again, they received the sun treatment. In addition, the bodies of the dead were
left in the pen. The Japanese would not allow them to be moved. At last the POWs were marched to
the train station. Where, they were packed into small wooden boxcars.
The boxcars could hold forty men or eight horses. The Japanese packed 100 men
into each car. The POWs were so close together that those who died remained standing until the living
left the cars at Capas. From there, the prisoners walked the last miles to Camp O'Donnell.
About the march and the water in the ditches the POWs were allowed to drink from, he
, "I could see the ditches were not real clean. They were used as latrines regularly and at the
time of our walk, their were bodies dead people and horses in them. I remember this kid went over and
started drinking out of one. I told him I would kill him but he just told me where to go. Ten
miles later he was down and didn't get up. And there was no effort to retrieve bodies like this."
The camp was an unfinished Filipino training base that was
pressed 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 added.
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 Japanese lieutenant.
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 Panagaian.
The transfer of POWs was completed on June 4.
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. When he arrived there, he was assigned to Barracks #9, Group 2.
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 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 "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 bread.
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
Of his time in the camps he sai
"I'll be honest, there was no dog that ever got through camp alive. And we
used to catch mice to eat. We were pretty quick. You'd catch one, dip it in a cup of hot water
until it was well cooked, then pulled the hid off. You'd have a little piece of meat. It tasted
good with a little salt."
Ted went to the sick ward one day to visit a colonel who was a friend.
"I asked him if there was anything I could do. And he said, 'I sure would
appreciate it if you could wash out my socks.
So he stuck his feet out from under the blanket. I took off his socks, and
there must have been a tablespoon of lice that fell out of each. They were eating him up."
After the Americans landed in the Philippines, the
Japanese began to send large numbers of POWs to other parts of their empire. On September 24, 1944, Ted
and the other prisoners were sent to Bilibid Prison.
On December 8th, the Japanese told the American medical staff of
the prisoners to put together a list of POWs who were healthy enough to be sent to Japan.
On the morning of December 12th, row was taken and
Ted's name and the names of the other men on the list were read.
That evening, Ted said his goodbyes to his friends.
At 4:00 A.M. on December 13th, the POWs were awakened and fed
They were also given a meal to take with them.
In addition, the POWs were told they would receive, cigarettes,
soap, and salt.
The POWs were allowed to roam the prison until
ordered to form ranks.
When the order was given, 1,619 POWs were marched down Luzon
Boulevard to Pier 7 in Manila.
As they marched they noticed that the street cars were not
When they reached the harbor, they noticed many of the ships in
the harbor were damaged from American attacks.
After arriving at Pier 7, the POWs were allowed to sit
Many fell asleep and slept to around 3:45.
About 5:00 P.M., they boarded the
Oryoku Maru for transport to Japan. The high ranking officers were the first put into the ship's
aft-hold. Being the first on meant that they would suffer many deaths. Around the perimeter of the
hold were two tiers of bunks for the POWs. The heat was so bad that men soon began to pass out. One
"The fist fights began when men to pass out. We knew that only the front men in bay would be able to
get enough air."
The POWs who were closer to the hold's hatch, used anything they could find to fan air
toward those further away from it. It is not known in which hold Ted was held in, but the sides of the
hold had two tiers of bunks that went around the diameter. The POWs near the hatch used anything they
could find to fan the air to the POWs further away from it.
The ship remained docked in Manila and did not
sail until 3:30 A.M. as part of the Convoy-37.
Inside the holds, the temperature was near 100 degrees.
The ship sailed and became a part of a convoy which moved out
without lights. The cries for air began as the men lost discipline, so the Japanese threatened to cover
the holds and cut off all air. When the Japanese sent down fried rice, cabbage, and fried seaweed,
those further back from the opening got nothing. The POWs could tell they were in open water from the
At 10:00 P.M., the Japanese interpreter threatened to have the guards fire into the
holds unless the POWs stopped screaming. Some of the POWs fell silent because they were exhausted, and
others because they had died. One major of the 26th Cavalry stated the man next to him had lost his
mind. Recalling the conversation he had with the man he said
, "Worst was the man who had gone mad but would not sit still. One kept pestering me, pushing a
mess kit against my chest, saying, 'Have some of this chow? It's good.' I smelled of it, it was not
chow. 'All right' he said, 'If you don't want it. I'm going to eat it.' And a little later I
heard him eating it , right beside me."
The Japanese covered the holds and would not allow the slop buckets
to be taken out of the holds. Those POWs who were left holding the buckets at first asked for someone
else to hold it for awhile. When that did not work, they dumped the buckets on the men around them.
As light began to enter the hold as morning came, the POWs
could see men who were in stupors, men out of their minds, and men who had died. The POWs in the aft hold
which also had a sub-hold, put the POWs who out of their minds into it.
On the side of the holds, water had condensed on the walls so the POWs tried to scrap
it off the wall for a drink. The Japanese did allow men who had passed out to be put on deck, but as soon
as they revived they went back into the holds. The Japanese would not allow the bodies of the men who had
died to be removed from the holds.
The POWs received their first meal at dawn. It was 8:00 A.M. and the
prisoners were receiving breakfast. Suddenly, they heard the sound of guns.
At first, they thought the gun crews were just drilling, because they had not
heard any planes. It was only when the first bomb hit in the water and the ship shook that they knew it
was not a drill.
At first it seemed that most of the planes were attacking the other ships in
the convoy. Commander Frank Bridgit, had made his way to the top of the ladder into the hold and sat
down. He gave the POWs a play by play of the planes attacking
, "I can see two planes going for a freighter off our starboard side. Now two more are detached
from the formation. I think they may be coming for us."
The POWs heard the change in the sound of the planes' engines as
they began their dives toward the ships in the convoy. Several more bombs hit the water near the ship
causing it to rock, and explosions were taking place all around the ship. In an attempt to protect
themselves, the POWs piled baggage in front of them. Bullets from the planes were ricocheted in the
hold causing many casualties.
Lt. Col. Elvin Barr of the 60th Coast Artillery came up to Maj, John Fowler of the
26th Cavalry on the cargo deck and said,
"There's a hole knocked in the bulkheads down there. Between 30 and 40 men have already died down
arr would never reach Japan. The attack by 30 to 50 planes lasted for about 20 to
30 minutes. When the planes were ran out of bombs they strafed. Afterwards, the planes flew off,
returning to their carrier, and there was a lull of about 20 to 30 minutes before the next squadron of planes
appeared over the ships and resumed the attack. This pattern repeated itself over and over during the
In the hold, the POWs concluded that the attacking planes were concentrating on the
bridge of the ship. They noted that the planes had taken out all the anti-aircraft guns leaving only .30
caliber machine guns to defend the ship.
At 4:30 P.M., the ship went through the worse attack on it. It was hit at least
three times by bombs on its bridge and stern. Most of the POWs, who were wounded, were wounded by
ricocheting bullets and shrapnel from exploding bombs. During the attack Chaplain Cummings, a Catholic
priest, led the POWs in the Our Father. As they prayed, the bombs that exploded near the ship sent
torrents of water over the ship. Bullets from the planes hit the metal plates, of the haul, at an angle
that prevented most of them from penetrating the haul. Somewhere on the ship a fire started, but it was
put out after several hours. The POWs lived through seven or eight attacks before sunset. Overall,
six bombs hit the ship. One hit the stern of the ship killing many POWs.
At dusk, the ship raised anchor and headed east. It turned south and turned
again this time heading west. The next turn it made was north. It headed in this direction for a good
amount of time before dropping anchor at about 8:00 P.M. The POWs figured out that they had just sailed
in a circle. What had happened is that the ship's had been hit during the attack and the ship could not
Sometime after midnight, the POWs heard the sound of the Japanese civilians being
evacuated from the ship. During the night, the POW medics were ordered onto the deck to treat the
Japanese wounded. One medic recalled that the dead, dying, and wounded were everywhere.
The ship reached Subic Bay at 2:30 in the morning and steamed closer to the beach
where its anchor was dropped. At 4:00 A.M., the POWs were told that they would disembark at daybreak at a
pier. The moaning and muttering of POWs who were losing their minds kept the POWs up all night.
That night 25 POWs died in the hold.
It was December 15th and the POWs sat in the ship's holds for hours after dawn.
The first 35 POWs were taken out of the hold and went into the water. At 8:00 A.M. as the other POWs
waited, the sound of A Japanese guard yelled into the hold at the POWs
"All go home; speedo!"
He shouted that the wounded would be the first to be evacuated. Suddenly, he looked
up and shouted,
"Planes, many planes!"
As the POWs were abandoning ship the planes returned and continued the attack. The
ship bounced in the water from the explosions. Chief Boatswain Clarence M. Taylor who was in the water
, "I saw the whole thing. A bomb fall, hit near the stern hatch, and debris go flying up in the air."
In the hold, the POWs crowded together. Chips of rust fell
on them from the ceiling. After the raid, they took care of the wounded before the next attack
started. In the hold a Catholic priest, Father Duffy, began to pray
, "Father forgive them. They know not what they do."
The Japanese guards and interpreter had abandoned ship, but the ship's
captain remained on board. He told the POWs in his limited English that they needed to get off the ship
to safety. The POWs made their way over the side and into the water. As they swam to shore, the
Japanese fired at them, with machine guns, to prevent them from escaping.
Four of the planes flew low over the water above the POWs. The POWs waved
frantically at the planes so they would not be strafed. The planes banked and flew lower over the
POWs. This time the pilots dipped their wings to show that they knew the men in the water were
Americans. About a half hour later, the ship began to really burn and the bodies of the dead could be
seen on the decks.
The Japanese sent out a motorboat with a machine gun and snipers on it. The POWs
attempting to escape were hunted down and shot. It is believed as many as 30 men died in the water.
There was no real beach so the POWs climbed up on a seawall and found the the Japanese
Naval Landing Party had set up a machine gun and had just laid flat to rest when the gun opened up on
them. Those who came ashore were warned to stay in the water, but only did so when one man climbed
up on the seawall and was wounded. There were also Japanese snipers in wait to shoot anyone who attempted
Once on shore the POWs were herded onto a tennis
court at Olongapo Naval Station which was 500 yard from the beach.
A Japanese officer, Lt. Junsaburo Toshio, told the ranking
American officer, Lt. Col. E. Carl Engelhart, that those too badly wounded to continue the trip would be
returned to Bilibid.
Fifteen men were selected and loaded onto a truck.
They were taken into the mountains and never seen again.
They were buried at a cemetery nearby.
The POWs remained on the tennis court for nine days.
During that time, they were given water but not fed.
The POW also watched as American planes attacked the area around
The men watched as the fighter bombers came in vertically
releasing bombs as they pulled out of their dives.
On several occasions, the planes dove right at the POWs, dropped
their bombs, and pulled out.
The bombs drifted over the POWs and landed away from them
exploding on contact.
Since the POWs had no place to hide, they
watched and enjoyed the show.
They believed that the pilots knew they were Americans but had
no way of knowing if this was true.
But what is known is that not one bomb was dropped on them even
though they could be seen from the planes.
The evening of December 16, the Japanese
brought 50 kilo bags of rice for the POWs.
About half of the rice had fallen out of the bags because of
Each POW was given three spoons of raw rice, and a quarter of a
spoon of salt.
At about 8:00 AM on the morning of December
22nd, 22 trucks arrived at the tennis court.
Rumors flew on where they were going to be taken.
At about 4:00 PM, a Taiwanese guard told the POWs, in broken
, "No go Cabanatuan. Go Manila; maybe
The guard knew as little as the POWs.
On December 22, the POWs were taken by truck to San
Fernando, Pampanga, arriving there about four or five in the afternoon.
Once there, they were put in a movie theater.
Since it was dark, the POWs saw it as a dungeon.
During their time at San Fernando, Pampanga,
the POWs lived through several air raids.
The reason for the air raids was the barrio was military
headquarters for the area.
Most of the civilians had been moved out of the barrio.
Many of the Americans began to believe they had been taken there
so that they would be killed by their own countrymen.
At 10:00 P.M. on December 23, the Japanese interpreter came
and spoke to the ranking American officer about moving the POWs.
The Japanese loaded the seriously ill POWs into a truck.
Those remaining behind believed they were taken to Bilibid.
The remaining POWs were moved to a trade school building in the
After 10:00 AM on December 24, the POWs were taken
to the train station.
The POWs saw that the station had been hit by bombings and that
the cars they were to board had bullet holes in them from strafing.
180 to 200 were packed into steel boxcars with four guards with
The doors of the boxcars were kept closed and the heat in the
cars was terrible.
Ten to fifteen POWs rode on the roofs of each car along with two
The guards told these POWs that it was okay to wave to the
On December 25, the POWs disembarked at San
Fernando, La Union, at 2:00 AM.
They walked two kilometers to a school yard on the southern
outskirts of the barrio.
The POWs were held in the school house overnight.
The morning of December 26, the POWs were marched to a beach.
During this time the prisoners were allowed one handful of rice
and a canteen of water.
The heat from the sun was so bad that men drank seawater.
Many of those men died.
The remaining prisoners were put on barges and
boarded onto another "Hell Ship" the Enoura Maru.
On this ship, the POWs were held in three different holds.
The ship had been used to haul cattle, and the POWs were held in
the same stalls that the cattle had been held in.
In the hold, the POWs were lined up in companies of 108 men.
Each man had four feet of space.
Men who attempted to get fresh air by climbing the ladders were
shot by the guards.
The daily routine for the POWs on the ship was to
have six men climb out of the hold.
Once on deck, they used ropes to pull up the dead and also pull
up the human waste in buckets.
Afterwards, the men would lower ten buckets containing rice,
soup, and tea.
During the night of December 30, the POWs heard the
sound of depth charges exploding in the water.
The ship arrived at Takao, Formosa, on December 31 and docked
around 11:30 AM. After arriving at Takao, each POW received a six inch long, 3/4 inch wide piece
hardtack to eat.
This was the first bread they had since receiving crackers in
their Red Cross packages in 1942.
While in the harbor, the POWs received little water.
From January 1 through the 5, the POWs received one meal and
This resulted in the death rate among the POWs to rise.
On January 6, the POWs began to receive two meals a day.
The Enoura Maru also came under attack by American
planes the morning of January 9. The POWs were receiving their first meal of the day, when the
sound of ship's machine guns was heard.
The explosions of bombs falling closer and closer to the ship
were also heard.
The waves created from the explosions rocked the ship.
One bomb that hit the ship exploded in the
corner of the forward hold killing 285 prisoners.
Ted was hit by shrapnel, in several places from the
explosion. The surviving POWs remained in in the hold for three days with the dead, and the stench from
the dead filled the air. Of this, he said
"We sat for three days, with bodies scattered all over the floor. With
no aid from the Japanese. Those of us who survived were too weak to lift a body. But I realized
we would have to do something about the decomposing bodies."
On January 11 a work detail was formed and about half the dead were
removed from the hold.
The dead were unloaded from the ship, and a POW detail took the
corpses to a large furnace where they were cremated.
These men reported that 150 POWs had been cremated.
Their ashes were buried in a large urn.
Later in the day, the survivors of the forward hold were moved
into another hold.
The Japanese sent medics into the holds to treat the
Any POW determined to be near death was not treated.
At the same time. A detail was organized to remove the remaining
bodies from the holds.
These bodies were buried in a mass grave.
After the war, the remains were buried in Hawaii.
On January 13, the surviving POWs were boarded onto
a third "Hell Ship" the Brazil Maru.
On the ship, the POWs found they had more room and were actually
issued life jackets.
The ship sailed for Japan on January 14 as part of a convoy and
arrived in Moji, Japan, on January 29, 1945.
During this part of the trip, as many as 30 POWs
died each day.
The ship also towed one or two other ships which had been
Of the original 1619 men that boarded the
Oryoku Maru, only 459 of the POWs had survived the trip to Japan.
The POWs were disembarked and taken to POW
camps. Ted was held at Fukuoka #3.
The POWs in the camp worked at the Yawata Steel Mills.
Since he had originally been scheduled to go to Korea, he was
sent to Fukuoka
#22, Moji, Japan, until June 1945, when he was sent to Korea.
The POWs made the trip overnight on an interisland steamers and
arrived at Pusan and took a train to Kajo, (Seoul) Korea. In somewhat of a ironic situation, the
POWs rode in the passenger cars and the Japanese troops rode in boxcars.
From there, the POWs boarded trucks and take to Jinsen Camp
which was located near Inchon.
The POWs in the camp worked on three details. One was tending a garden in the
camp, the other was working at an garden outside the camp where the POWs hauled human waste to be used as
fertilizer. The third job the POWs did was haul partially made Japanese uniforms from a factory, five
miles from the camp, to the camp and sew buttonholes into them. If the POW completed the required
number, he would receive a half a biscuit extra in his meal. If he completed two sets of uniforms, he
would receive a whole bun.
On August 15, the Japanese guards told the POWs that the war was over. The
commanding officer spoke to the ranking American officer and told him the same news. The former POWs
were allowed to leave the compound and tour Inchon, but had to be escorted by a Japanese guard to protect
them from the civilians. B-29s appeared over the camp and dropped food, medicine, and uniforms to the
former POWs. When Ted was liberated, he weighed 90 pounds which was half of his normal weight. He
was also promoted to captain after liberation and returned to the Philippines.
Ted returned to California after the war.
In Mohall, North Dakota, he married Ardes Holmberg in 1946.
He later moved to South Dakota after he left the regular army,
and enlisted in the South Dakota National Guard.
He was promoted to major, on April 1, 1953, and lieutenant
colonel, on May 15, 1957, colonel, and finally Brigadier General.
Ted taught high school for nine years and owned a
cattle business for the rest of his life.
From 1976 until 1977, he served as a state senator representing
Huron, South Dakota, in the state senate. In recalling his time as a POW, he said
, "I think it's important for people to know what we went through, we tried to stay alive. We
didn't give up."
On January 4, 2002, Theodore I. Spaulding passed
away in Huron, South Dakota, and was buried at Union Cemetery in Sherwood, North Dakota.