Pvt. Charles Louis Urban
Born: 6 November 1925 - Kentucky
Mother: Lou Urban & Mollie Cox-Urban
    - father died when he was three
    - mother remarried - Rom Hurst
Home: 2917 Central Avenue - Ashland, Kentucky
Enlisted:
    - U.S. Army
        - 7 May 1940
            - 14 years old
Training:
    - Fort Knox, Kentucky
Units:
    - 19th Ordnance Battalion
        - trained alongside 192nd Tank Battalion at Ft. Knox
        - learned to repair the 57 different vehicles used by the Army
        - August 1941 - maneuvers in Arkansas
            - A Company ordered to Ft. Knox
    - 17th Ordnance Company
        - 17 August 1941  A Company designated 17th Ordnance Company
             - received overseas orders the same day
Note: On August 15, 1941, orders were issued to the company, for duty in the Philippines because of an event that happened during the summer.  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.  By the time the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.
    The next morning, another squadron was sent to the area and found that the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat which was seen making its way toward shore.  Since communication between and Air Corps and Navy was poor, the boat was not intercepted.  It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
Overseas Duty:
    - 1 September 1941 - traveled by train to California
        - while on train informed they were being sent to the Philippines
    - Arrived: 5 September 1941 - Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
        - ferried to Ft. McDowell, Angel Island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
        - given physicals and inoculations
        - men with medical conditions replaced
    - Ship: S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
        - Boarded: San Francisco, California - Monday - 8 September 1941       
        - Sailed: 9:00 P.M.
        - Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii - Saturday - 13 September 1941 - 9:00 A.M.
        - Sailed: 5:00 P.M.
            - soldiers given shore leave for the day
        - Tuesday, 16 September 1941 - ships crossed International Dateline
            - became Thursday, 18 September 1941
        - Arrived: Manila, Philippine Islands - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - 17th Ordnance remained behind to unload the tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion
                - reattached the turrets to the tanks.
        - rode bus to Ft. Stotsenburg
        - lived in tents at Ft. Stotsenburg
           -barracks completed - 15 November 1941
Engagements:
    - Battle of Luzon
        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942
    - Battle of Bataan
        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942
    It was at this time the tank battalions received these orders which came from Gen. Weaver, "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."      
        - March 1942
            - two tanks were bogged down in mud
            - the tankers were working to get them out
            - Japanese Regiment entered the area
            - Lt. Col. Miller ordered tanks and artillery to fire at point blank range
                - Miller ran from tank to tank directing fire
            - wiped out Japanese regiment
        - 4 April 1942
            - Japanese launched major offensive
            - tanks sent into various sectors to stop Japanese advance
        - 6 April 1942
            - four tanks sent to support 45th Philippine Infantry and 75th Infantry, Philippine Scouts
                - one tank knocked out by anti-tank fire at junction of Trails 8 & 6
                - other tanks covered withdraw
            - 3rd Platoon sent up west coast road
                - near Mount Samat ran into heavy Japanese force
                - the tanks withdrew to Marivales
        - 8 April 1942
            - fighting on East Coast Road at Cabcaban
            - Gen. Edward King decided further resistance was futile
             - 25% of his troops healthy enough to fight
            - 6,000 of his troops were sick or wounded
            - feared 40,000 civilians would be massacred
            - 10:30 P.M. - sent his staff officers to negotiate with Japanese
            - 11:40 - ammunition dumps blown up
            - Tank battalion commanders received this order, "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 accomplished."   
        - 9 April 1942
            - 7:00 A.M. - Bataan surrendered
Prisoner of War
    - 9 April 1942
        - Death March
            - started march at Mariveles on the southern tip of Bataan
            - POWs ran past Japanese artillery firing on Corregidor
                - American Artillery returned fire
                    - knocked out three Japanese guns
            - San Fernando - POWs put into small wooden boxcars

                - each car could hold eight horses or forty men
                - Japanese packed 100 POWs into each boxcar
                - POWs who died remained standing
            - Capas - POWs leave boxcars - dead fall out of cars
                - walked last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell
POW Camps:
    - Philippines:
        - 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 2 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
                    - put into use by Japanese as a POW camp
                - actually three camps
                    - Camp 1: POWs from Camp O'Donnell sent there in attempt to lower death rate
                    - Camp 2:  two miles away
                        - all POWs moved from there because of a lack of water
                        - later used for Naval POWs
                    - Camp 3: six miles from Camp 2
                        - POWs from Corregidor and from hospitals sent there
                        - camp created to keep Corregidor POWs separated from Bataan POWs
                        - Corregidor POWs were in better shape
                            - January 1943 - POWs from Camp 3 consolidated into Camp 1
        - Camp Administration:
            - the Japanese left POWs to run the camp on their own
                - Japanese entered camp when they had a reason
                - POWs patrolled fence to prevent escapes
                    - Note: men who attempted to escape were recaptured
                    - Japanese beat them for days
                    - executed them
            - Blood Brother Rule
                - POWs put into groups of ten
                    - if one escaped the others would be executed
                    - housed in same barracks
                    - worked on details together
            - Barracks:
                - each barracks held 50 men
                    - often held between 60 and 120 men
                    - slept on bamboo slats without mattresses, covers, and mosquito netting
                        - diseases spread easily
                    - no showers
            - Morning Roll Call:
                - stood at attention
                    - frequently beaten over their heads for no reason
                - when POWs lined up for roll call, it was a common practice for Japanese guards, after the POWs lined up, to kick the POWs in
                  their shins with their hobnailed boots because they didn't like the way the POWs lined up
            - Work Details:
                - Two main details
                    - the farm and airfield
                        - farm detail
                            - POWs cleared land and grew comotes, cassava, taro, sesame, and various greens
                            - Japanese took what was grown
                    - Guards:
                        - Big Speedo - spoke little English
                            - in charge of detail
                            - fair in treatment of POWs
                            - spoke little English
                                - to get POWs to work faster said, "speedo"
                        - Little Speedo
                            - also used "speedo" when he wanted POWs to work faster
                            - fair in treatment of POWs
                        - Smiley
                            - always smiling
                            - could not be trusted
                            - meanest of guards
            - Airfield Detail:
                - Japanese built an airfield for fighters
                    - POWs cut grass, removed dirt, and leveled ground
                        - at first moved dirt in wheel barrows
                        - later pushed mining cars
                   - Guards:
                        - Air Raid
                            - in charge
                            - usually fair but unpredictable
                                - had to watch him
                        - Donald Duck
                            - always talking
                            - sounded like the cartoon character
                            - unpredictable - beat POWs
                            - POWs told him that Donald Duck was a big American movie star
                                - at some point, he saw a Donald Duck cartoon
                                - POWs stayed away from him when he came back to camp
                - Work Day: 7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
                    - worked 6 days a week
                        - had Sunday off
            - Other Details:
                - work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens and plant rice
                    - they also were frequently hit with a pick handle, for no reason, as they counted off
                - POWs on the rice planting detail were punished by having their faces pushed into the mud and stepped on
                - the POWs had to go into a shed to get the tools, as they came out, they were hit on their heads
                - 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
            - daily POW meal
                - 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
                - rice was main staple, few vegetables or fruits
        - 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
                    - medical staff had little to no medicine to treat sick
                    - many deaths from disease caused by malnutrition
        - Burial Detail:
            - POWs worked in teams of four men to bury dead
                - carried as many as six dead POWs in slings to cemetery
                - buried in graves that contained 16 to 20 bodies
Hell Ship:
    - Noto Maru
        - Sailed: Manila - 25 August 1944
        - Arrived: Takao, Formosa - 28 August 1944
        - Sailed: Unknown
        - Arrived Keelung, Formosa
        - Sailed : Unknown
        - Arrived: Moji, Japan - 4 September 1944 POW Camp:
    - Japan:
        - Sendai #6
           - POWs arrived - 9 September 1944
            - Barracks:
                - wood with dirt floors
                - there were two tiers of bunks with straw mats on them for the POWs to sleep on
                - Japanese did not supply adequate heat
                    - the only insulation was the snow - as deep as ten feet - on the roofs
            - Clothing:
                - POWs issued a nice, green, cotton outfit
                    - these were only worn when the Red Cross visited the camp
                - their other set of clothing was burlap
            - Rations:
                - 625 grams a day
                    -sick received 500 grams
                - meals included rice, barley, and millet
                - breakfast was a small bowl of grains
                - lunch a bowl of rice with another grain and shark head soup
                    - soup had a lot of bones in it
            - Collective Punishment:
                - if one man broke a rule all the POWs were punished
                    - beaten with belts, sticks, sabers, kicked and punched
                - food, of each man, was reduced by 20 percent
            - Red Cross Packages:
                - Japanese misappropriated Red Cross food, medicine, clothing, blankets, and shoes
                - not known if the POWs ever received a Red Cross package
            - Medical Treatment:
                - at one point the American doctors and medics received orders preventing them from treating sick and injured
            - Work:
Note:  The POWs woke up at 5 A.M. and ate breakfast.  They arrived at the mine at 7 A.M., had a half hour lunch, and worked to 5:00 P.M.  The POWs returned to camp, usually after dark, had supper and went to bed.  The POWs worked in a mine owned by Mitsubishi and under company supervision.
    To get to work, the POWs often walked through two feet of snow, climbed up the side of a mountain, and descended 472 steps into the mine.  The POWs noticed that the guards never seemed to be winded when they arrived at the mine.  They later learned that the Japanese had cut a ground level entrance to the mine which the guards used to enter it.
     The POWs believed these supervisors wanted to work them to death.  At the mine, the POWs were divided among drillers, car loaders, and car pushers, with the miners having the worst job.  The work in the mine was dirty, dangerous, and difficult. Each miner was furnished a carbide headlamp as his only lighting. A quota was set but the Japanese and the Japanese were always raising the quota.  The number of carloads mined by the men were never enough.  The POWs were beaten for not working hard enough or fast enough.  Many shafts of the mine were so low that the miners had to crawl through to get to the ore. Some shafts had standing water with threats of sudden flooding. Lighting was poor and most areas were not even shored up to prevent cave-ins.  Accidents were frequent and many POWs were hurt.  There was no gas detecting equipment and there was always the danger of setting off an explosion from the open burning carbide headlamps.
    While working in the mine from November 1944 until August 15, 1945, the POWs were abused by the civilian foreman, Hichiro Tsuchiya, who was known to the POWs as "Patches."  Tsuchiya used any excuse to abuse the POWs.  He was known to hit the POWs for no reason in their faces and to also use a wooden club or pick axe handle.  He also used a sledge hammer to hit the POWs on their heads.
Liberated: September 1945
    returned to the Philippine Islands

Transport:
    - U.S.S. Rescue
        - Sailed: Manila - not known
        - Arrived: San Francisco - 10 October 1945
            - taken to Letterman General Hospital
Discharged: Unknown
Residence: Ashland, Kentucky
Married: Virginia Urban - 1953
Children: 1 son
Died: 2 November 2002 - Brandon, Florida
Buried: Hillsboro Memorial Cemetery - Brandon, Florida

 


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