Sgt. Stanley J. Walsh was born on January 23, 1921, in Janesville, Wisconsin, to Arthur M.
Walsh & Florence Dickson-Walsh. He grew up, with his three brothers, at 514 South Third Street and
attended grade school and graduated from Janesville High School in 1939.
Stanley joined the 32nd Tank Company of the Wisconsin National Guard which was
headquartered in an armory in Janesville. Possibly one of the reasons he joined the tank company was that
Ernest, was a member.
Stanley was called to federal service when the company was federalized and traveled to
Fort Knox, Kentucky, on November 28, 1940. The company went there with four operational tanks and pulled
the remaining, M2A2s that the regular army had deemed obsolete, from the fort's junkyard. When
Stanley saw the tanks assigned to A Company, he commented, "Boy, are they crummy."
A typical day for the soldiers started in 6:15 with reveille, but most of the soldiers
were up before this since they wanted to wash and dress. Breakfast was from 7:00 to 8:00 A.M., followed
by calisthenics at 8:00 to 8:30. Afterwards, the tankers went to various schools within the
company. The classes consisted of .30 and .50 caliber machine guns, pistol, map reading, care of personal
equipment, military courtesy, and training in tactics.
At 11:30 the soldiers stopped what they were doing and cleaned up for mess which was
from noon to 1:00 P.M. Afterwards, they attended the various schools which they had been assigned to on
January 13, such as: mechanics, tank driving, radio operating. At 4:30, the soldiers called it a day and
returned to their barracks and put on dress uniforms for retreat which was held at 5:00, and was followed by
dinner at 5:30. After dinner, they were off duty and lights were out at 9:00 P.M., but they did not have
to turn in until 10:00 when Taps was played.
In the late summer of 1941, Stanley participated in maneuvers in Louisiana from
September 1 through 30. During the maneuvers, he commanded a scout-car. It was after these
maneuvers that his battalion, the 192nd Tank Battalion, was ordered to Camp Polk instead of returning to Ft.
Knox. There, the men learned they were being sent overseas. He was given a furlough home to say
goodbye to his friends and family.
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.
After the companies were brought up to strength with replacements, the battalion was
equipped with new tanks and half-tracks with came from the 753rd Tank Battalion. The battalion traveled
over different train routes to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California, where they were taken by the ferry, the
U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe to Angel Island. At Ft. McDowell, on the island, they received
physicals and inoculations. Men found with minor medical conditions were held back and scheduled to rejoin
the battalion at a later date. Other men were simply replaced.
A Company traveled to San Francisco, California, by train where it rejoined the other
companies of the battalion. The soldiers were ferried to Ft. MacDowell on Angel Island and received
physicals from the battalion's medical detachment. Those men with minor medical conditions were held on
the island and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date. Some men were simply replaced.
The 192nd was boarded onto the
U.S. A. T. Gen. Hugh L. Scott
and sailed on Monday, October 27. During this part of the trip, many tankers had seasickness, but once
they recovered they spent much of the time training in breaking down machine guns, cleaning weapons, and doing
KP. The ship arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2nd and had a two day layover, so the
soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island.
On Wednesday, November 5, the ship sailed for Guam but took a southerly route away from
the main shipping lanes. It was at this time it was joined by, the heavy cruiser, the
and, another transport, the
S. S. President Calvin Coolidge
. Sunday night, November 9, the soldiers went to bed and when they awoke the next morning, it was
Tuesday, November 11. During the night, while they slept, the ships had crossed the International
Dateline. On Saturday, November 15, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon. The
Louisville revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it shot off in the direction of the
smoke. It turned out the smoke was from a ship that belonged to a friendly country. During this part of the
voyage, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon. The cruiser that was escorting the two
transports revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it took off in the direction of the
smoke. It turned out that the unknown ship was from a friendly country.
When they arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16, the ships took on water, bananas,
coconuts, and vegetables before sailing for Manila the next day. At one point, the ships passed an island
at night and did so in total blackout. This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent
into harm's way. The ships entered Manila Bay, at 8:00 A.M., on Thursday, November 20, and docked at
Pier 7 later that morning. At 3:00 P.M., most of the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg.
Those who drove trucks drove them to the fort, while the maintenance section remained behind at the pier to
unload the tanks.
At the fort, they were greeted by Colonel Edward P. King, who apologized that they had
to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Field. He made sure that they had what they
needed and received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own dinner. Ironically, November 20 was
the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their
weapons. The grease was put on the weapons to protect them from rust while at sea. They also loaded
ammunition belts and did tank maintenance as they readied their tanks to take part in maneuvers. It was
also at this time that the battalions received half-tracks that replaced their scout-cars that had been left
behind at Camp Polk.
On December 1, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield to guard
against Japanese paratroopers. From this time on, two tank crew members, or half-track crew members,
remained with each vehicle at all times and received their meals from food trucks.
The morning of December 8, December 7 in the United States, the 192nd was guarding the
perimeter of Clark Field. A week earlier, they had been given assigned positions around the airfield.
At 8:30 in the morning, the American planes took off and filled the sky. They landed at noon and lined up
in a straight line, near the mess hall to be refueled. The pilots went to lunch.
The tankers were eating lunch when a formation of 54 planes was spotted approaching the
airfield from the north. The tankers believed the planes were American and commented how pretty they
looked. As they watched, raindrops fell from the planes. When bombs exploded on the runways, they
knew the planes were Japanese.
When the Japanese were finished, there was not much left of the airfield. The
soldiers watched as the dead, dying, and wounded were hauled to the hospital on bomb racks, trucks, and anything
that could carry the wounded was in use. When the hospital filled, they watched the medics place the
wounded under the building. Many of these men had their arms and legs missing.
That night, the tankers lived through several more air raids. Most slept under their
tanks since it was safer than sleeping in their tents. They had no idea that they had slept their last
night in a bed for the next three and one half years.
On December 12, the company was sent to the Barrio of Dau so it would be close to a
highway and railroad to protect them from sabotage. From there, the company was sent to join the
other companies of the 192nd just south of the Agno River.
On December 23 and 24, the company was in the area of Urdaneta, where the tankers lost
the company commander, Capt. Walter Write. In spite of his wounds, he continued to give orders to his
company. His main concern was for his soldiers safety. After he was buried, the tankers made an end
run to get south of Agno River. As they did this, they ran into Japanese resistance early in the evening
but successfully crossed the river in the Bayambang Province.
It was also at this time that the tankers was told by General Wainwright's
headquarters that he was their only commander. Up to this time, many officers held the belief that the
highest ranking officer, in an area, could countermand the tankers orders, It was only when tank command
made it clear that the tanks would only take orders from it that this ended.
On December 25, 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 27.
The 192nd and part of the 194th fell back to form a new defensive line the night of
December 27 and 28. From there they fell back to the south bank of the BamBan River which they were suppose
to hold for as long as possible.
A Company was sent, in support of the 194th, to an area east of Pampanga on December
30. It was there that they lost a tank platoon commander, Lt. William Read. That night on a road east
of Zaragoza, the company was bivouacked for the night and posted sentries. The sentries heard a noise on
the road and woke the other tankers who grabbed Tommy-guns and manned the tanks' machine guns. As they
watched, a Japanese bicycle battalion rode into their bivouac. When the last bicycle passed the tanks, the
tankers opened up on them. When they stopped firing, they had completely wiped out the bicycle
battalion. To leave the area, the tankers drove their tanks over the bodies.
At the Gumain River, the night of December 31 to the morning of January 1, the tank
companies formed a defensive line along the south bank of the river. When the Japanese attacked the
position at night, they were easy to see since they were wearing white t-shirts. The Japanese were taking
heavy casualties, so they attempted to use smoke to cover their advance, but the wind blew the smoke into the
Japanese. When the Japanese broke off the attack, they had suffered fifty percent casualties.
At Guagua, A Company, with units from the 11th Division, Philippine Army, attempted to
make a counterattack against the Japanese. Somehow, the tanks were mistaken, by the Filipinos to be
Japanese. The 11th Division accurately used mortars on them. The result was the loss of three
On January 1, the tanks of the 194th were holding the Calumpit Bridge allowing the
Southern Luzon Forces to cross the bridge toward Bataan. General Wainwright was attempting to hold the main
Japanese force coming down Route 5 to prevent the troops from being cut off. General MacArthur's chief
of staff gave conflicting orders involving whose command the defenders were under which caused confusion.
Gen. Wainwright was not aware these orders had been given.
Because of the orders, there was confusion among the Filipinos and American forces
defending the bridges over the Pampanga River. Due to the efforts of the Self-Propelled Mounts, the 71st
Field Artillery, and a frenzied attack by the 192nd Tank Battalion the Japanese were halted. From January 2
to 4, the 192nd held the road open from San Fernando to Dinalupihan so the southern forces could escape. It
was also in January 1942, that the food ration was cut in half. It was not too long after this was done
that malaria, dysentery, and dengue fever began hitting the soldiers. The company returned to the command
of the 192nd on January 8, 1942.
On January 28, the tank battalions were given the job of protecting the beaches.
The 192nd was assigned the coast line from Paden Point to Limay along Bataan's east coast. The Japanese
later admitted that the tanks guarding the beaches prevented them from attempting landings.
The company also took part in the Battle of the Pockets - from January 23 to February 17 -
to wipe out Japanese soldiers who had been trapped behind the main defensive line after a Japanese offensive was
stopped and pushed pack to the original line of defense. The tanks would enter the pocket one at a time to
replace a tank in the pocket. Another tank did not enter the pocket until a tank exited the pocket.
Doing this was so stressful that each tank company was rotated out and replaced by one that was being held in
To exterminate the Japanese, two methods were used. The first was to have three
Filipino soldiers ride on the back of the tank. As the tank went over a Japanese foxhole, the Filipinos
dropped three hand grenades into the foxhole. Since the grenades were from WWI, one out of three usually
The other method to use to kill the Japanese was to park a tank with one track over the
foxhole. The driver gave the other track power resulting with the tank spinning around and grinding its way
down into the foxhole. The tankers slept upwind of their tanks.
While the tanks were doing this job, the Japanese sent soldiers, with cans of gasoline,
against the tanks. These Japanese attempted to jump onto the tanks, pour gasoline into the vents on the
back of the tanks, and set the tanks on fire. If the tankers could not machine gun the Japanese before they
got to a tank, the other tanks would shoot them as they stood on a tank. The tankers did not like to do
this because of what it did to the crew inside the tank. When the bullets hit the tank, its rivets would
pop and wound the men inside the tank. It was for their performance during this battle that the 192nd Tank
Battalion would receive one of its Distinguished Unit Citations.
Since the stress on the crews was tremendous, the tanks rotated into the pocket one at a
time. A tank entered the pocket and the next tank waited for the tank that had been relieved to exit the
pocket before it would enter. This was repeated until all the tanks in the pocket were relieved.
What made this job so hard was that the Japanese dug "spider holes" among the
roots the trees. Because of this situation, the Americans could not get a good shot at the
The tankers, from A, B, and C Companies, were able to clear the pockets. But
before this was done, one C Company tank which had gone beyond the American perimeter was disabled and the tank
just sat there. When the sun came up the next day, the tank was still sitting there. During the
night, its crew was buried alive, inside the tank, by the Japanese. When the Japanese had been wiped out,
the tank was turned upside down to remove the dirt and recover the bodies of the crew. The tank was put
back into use.
At the same time, the tanks were also used to clear out the Japanese in what was called
"The Battle of the Points." The Japanese had attempted to land troops behind the main defensive
line and ended up with troops trapped on two different points on the peninsula.
The Japanese Marines were driven to the cliffs and hid in the caves below the cliff
lines. They used the caves for protection and would climb down the cliffs to enter them or leave
them. The tankers fired into the caves repeatedly until the Japanese were dead or came out of the caves.
During this time, his family received a letter from him, in it he said:
"Earnie and I are O.K. So is Joe McCrea. He is beside me now as I write,
listening to the news broadcast.
"There's not much I can tell you, but there's lots I'd like to tell
"The weather has been swell the last three months,; it has rained or two or three
times. But its time for the rainy season to begin, however, that
won't be so good.
"I am still in good shape - get to go swimming nearly every evening.
Haven't received any mail from you since the war started but hope your
getting our letters.
"Don't worry about us. We're doing all right - still getting plenty to
Stanley and Ernie had purchased an airplane before they went overseas.
"We're still going to do a lot of flying when we get home."
The tanks and half-tracks were used to guard three airfields starting on February
1. After that the company was sent to help wipe out the Japanese in the Battle of the Points.
The company's last bivouac area was about twelve kilometers north of Marivales and
looking out on the China Sea. By this point, the tankers knew that there was no help on the way.
Many had listened to Secretary of War Harry L. Stimson on short wave. When asked about the Philippines,
, "There are times when men must die."
The soldiers cursed in response because they knew that the Philippines had already been lost.
On April 3, 1942, the Japanese launched a attack supported by artillery and
aircraft. A large force of Japanese troops came over Mount Samat and descended down the south face of the
volcano. This attack wiped out two divisions of defenders and left a large area of the defensive line
open to the Japanese.
The Japanese broke through the east side of the main defensive line on Bataan on April
7. The tanks were pulled out of their position along the west side of the line and 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
It was the evening of April 8 that Gen. Edward P. King decided that further resistance
was futile, since approximately 25% of his men were healthy enough to fight, and he estimated they would last
one more day. In addition, he had over 6,000 troops who sick or wounded and 40,000 civilians who he
feared would be massacred. At 10:30 that night, he sent his staff officers to negotiate surrender terms.
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
On April 9, 1942, Stanley became a Prisoner of War when the Filipino and American
defenders of Bataan were surrendered to the Japanese. He and the other members of A Company made their
way to Mariveles at the southern tip of the Bataan Peninsula where they began the death march.
The POWs made their way north against the flow of Japanese horse artillery and trucks
which were moving south. At times, they would slip on something wet and slippery which were the remains
of a man killed by Japanese artillery the day before. When dawn came, the walking became easier but as
the sun rose it became hotter and the POWs began to feel the effects of thirst. It was at this time
that the POWs saw a group of Filipinos being marched by the Japanese. Looking at them, they realized that
they had been hungry, but the Filipinos had been starving.
When the men crossed the Lamao River, they smelled the sweet smell of death. The
Japanese had heavily bombed the area causing many casualties and many of the dead lay partially in the
river. The air corps POWs in front of them ran to the river and drank. Many would later die from
dysentery at Camp O'Donnell.
At Limay on April 11, the officers with the rank of major or above, were put into a
school yard. The officers were told that they would be driven the rest of the march. At 4:00 AM,
the officers were put into trucks for an unknown destination. It was there that the lower ranking
officers and the enlisted men joined the main column of POWs being marched out of Bataan. For the first time,
they began to witness the abuse of POWs as they walked through Balanga to Orani.
At Orani, the men were put into a bull pen where they were ordered to lay down.
In the morning, the POWs realized that they had been lying in the human waste of POWs who had already used the
bullpen. At noon, they received their first food.
When they resumed the march they were marched at a faster pace. The guards also
seemed to be nervous about something. The POWs made their way to just north of Hormosa. where the road
went from gravel to concrete, and the change of surface made the march easier. When the POWs were allowed
to sit down, those who attempted to lay down were jabbed with bayonets.
The POWs continued the march and for the first time in months it began to rain which
felt great and many men attempted to get drinks. When they arrived at San Fernando, the POWs were put
into another bull pen and remained until they were ordered to form detachments of 100 men.
At some point marched the POWs were marched to the train station, where they were
packed into small wooden boxcars known as "forty or eights." They were called this since each
car could hold forty men or eight horses, but the Japanese packed 100 men into each car and shut the
doors. The heat in the cars was unbearable and many POWs died but could not fall to the floors since
there was no room for them to fall. The POWs rode the train to Capas were they disembarked the
cars. As they left the cars, the dead fell to the floors. He walked the last miles to Camp
O'Donnell which was an unfinished Filipino training base that was pressed into use as a POW camp on April
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 looting.
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
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.
When the camp opened, Stanley remained behind at Camp O'Donnell in the camp hospital
suffering from beriberi and dysentery and was with his brother, Ernest, when he died. He was later
discharged and sent to Cabanatuan on July 3, 1942.
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
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 camp hospital consisted of 30 wards that could hold 40 men each, but it was more
common for them to have 100 men in them. Each man had approximately an area of 2 feet by 6 feet to lie
in. The sickest POWs were put in "Zero Ward," which was called this because it was missed by
the Japanese when they counted barracks. The Japanese put a fence up around the building to protect
themselves and would not go into the area. 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. At some point, Stanley was
admitted to the camp hospital.
On Friday, November 6, 1942, at approximately 6:00 PM, Sgt. Stanley J. Walsh died of beriberi
and dysentery at Cabanatuan. He was 21 years old. His body was buried in the camp cemetery.
His parents learned of his death in August 1943.
After the war, Stanley's parents requested that his remains be returned to
Janesville. On July 31, 1948, a funeral service for Sgt. Stanley J. Walsh and his brother, Ernest, was
held at St. Mary's Church. Former members of A Company, Dale Lawton, Forrest Knox, Philip
Parrish and Carl Nichols served as pallbearers for Stanley.
Sgt. Stanley J. Walsh remains lie next to those of his brother, Earnest, at Mount Olivet
Catholic Cemetery in Janesville.