Webb_M

 


Pfc. Malcolm S. Webb


Born: 1 October 1916 - Jefferson County, Kentucky

Parents: Linsey Webb & Lucy Renfro-Webb

Siblings: 2 brothers, 3 sisters 

Home: 2603 South Fourth Street - Louisville, Kentucky

Education: grade school

Occupation: welder - Louisville & Nashville Railroad
Married: Regina Bush

Enlisted: 29 October 1940 - Fort Knox, Kentucky

Unit:

    - 19th Ordnance Battalion
        - learned to maintain 567 different vehicles used by the Army
        - maintained and repaired weapons used by a tank battalion
        - August 1941 - battalion takes part in maneuvers in Arkansas
            - A company ordered back to Ft. Knox
    - 17th Ordnance Company
        - 17 August 1941 - A Company reorganized as 17th Ordnance Company

Training:

    - Ft. Knox, Kentucky
Note: The decision was made to reinforce the Philippines -  the decision made on August 15, 1941 - was the result of an event that took place in the summer of 1941.  A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf, in the Philippines, 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 which was hundred of miles away.  The island had a large radio transmitter.  The squadron continued its flight plan south to Mariveles and returned to Clark Field.
     When the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.  The next day, when another squadron was sent to the area, the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat - with a tarp on its deck - which was seen making its way to shore.   Since communication between the Air Corps and Navy was difficult, the boat escaped.  It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.

Overseas Duty:
    - September  1941
        - battalion traveled by train to Ft. Mason in 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: Monday - 8 September 1941 - 3:00 P.M.
        - Sailed: 9:00 P.M. - same day
        - Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii - Saturday - 13 September 1941 - 7:00 A.M.
        - Sailed: 5:00 P.M. - same day
            - escorted by the heavy cruiser, U.S.S. Astoria, and an unknown destroyer
                - smoke seen on horizon several times
                -  cruiser intercepted ships
        - Arrived: Manila - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - disembark ship - 3:00 P.M.
            - taken by bus to Fort Stostenburg
            - maintenance section with 17th ordnance remained behind to unload the tanks and attached turrets
                -27 September 1941 - job completed at 9:00 A.M.
Stationed:

    - Ft. Stotsenburg - Philippine Islands

Engagements:

    - Battle of Luzon

        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942

    - Battle of Bataan

        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942

Prisoner of War:

    - 9 April 1941

        - Death March

            - started march at Mariveles on the southern tip of Bataan
            - San Fernando - POWs packed into small wooden
boxcars

                - boxcars could hold eight horses or forty men

                - 100 men put into each boxcar

                - those who died remained standing
            - Capas - POWs leave boxcars - dead fall out of cars
            - walk last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell
 

POW Camps:

    - Philippine Islands:

        - 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
        - 1 June 1942
            - healthier POWs sent to new POW camp at Cabanatuan

            - Webb left behind be he was considered "too ill" to be moved
            - Webb's death was recorded by the medical staff at Cabanatuan
                - in the report the cause of death was listed as starvation & dysentery

Died:

    - Monday - 29 June 1942 - beriberi & dysentery

        - approximate time of death - 9:00 AM
Promoted: Corporal

Buried:

    - Camp O'Donnell Cemetery

        - after the war, is remains could not be positively identified

        - buried as an "Unknown" at the new American cemetery 

Memorial:

    - Tablets of the Missing - American Military Cemetery - Manila, Philippine Islands

Memorial Service:

    - 9 December 1945 - Victoria Memorial Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky
Note: His brother, Leroy, was a German POW


 





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