Allen, Cpl. John J.

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allen J

Cpl. John Jay Allen
Born: 24 October 1921 – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Parents: Hiram Allen and Maybelle Shelrue-Allen
Siblings: 3 sisters, 2 brothers
Hometown: 717 North Eighth Street – Brainerd, Minnesota
Nickname: Jay
Enlisted: Minnesota National Guard
Inducted:
– U. S. Army
– 10 February 1941 – Brainerd, Minnesota
– 82 men passed Army physicals
– the company remained at armory until 19 February 41
– left by train at 12:19 A.M. – 20 February 1941
– designated: A Company, 194th Tank Battalion
– arrived at Fort Lewis with two tanks, one reconnaissance car, and six trucks
Training:
– Fort Lewis, Washington
– described as constantly raining during the winter
– many men ended up in the camp hospital with colds
– Typical Day – after they arrived at Ft. Lewis
– 6:00 A.M. – first call
– 6:30 A.M. – Breakfast
– During this time the soldiers made their cots, policed the grounds around the barracks, swept the floors of their barracks, and performed other duties.
– 7:30 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. – drill
– 11:30 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. – lunch
– 1:00 P.M. – 4:30 P.M. – drill
– 5:00 P.M. – retreat
– 5:30 P.M. – dinner
– men were free after this
– a canteen was located near their barracks and was visited often
– the movie theater on the base that they visited.
– The theater where the tanks were kept was not finished, but when it was, the tankers only had to cross the road to their tanks.
– Saturdays the men had off, and many rode a bus 15 miles northeast to Tacoma which was the largest town nearest to the base
– Sundays, many of the men went to church and services were held at different times for the different denominations
– later the members of the battalion received specific training
– many went to Ft. Knox, Kentucky for training in tank maintenance, radio operation, and other specific jobs
– Fort Knox, Kentucky
– radio operator school – 3 months
– qualified as a radio operator
Overseas Duty:
– On August 15, 1941, from Ft. Knox, Kentucky, the 194th received orders 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, with a flag, in the water. He came upon more flagged buoys that lined up – in a straight line – for 30 miles
   to the northwest, in the direction of a Japanese occupied island, with a large radio transmitter, hundreds of miles away.
– The squadron continued its flight plane and flew south to Mariveles and then returned to Clark Field. When the planes landed, it was too late to do
   anything that day.
– The next day – when planes were sent to the area – the buoys had been picked up and a fishing boat – with a tarp covering something on its deck – was
    seen making its way toward shore.
– communication between the Air Corps and the Navy was poor, so the boat escaped
– the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines
Deployment:
– rode the train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
– Arrived: 7:30 A.M. – 6 September 1941
– ferried, on the U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe, to Angel Island
– given physicals and inoculated by battalion’s medical detachment
– 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. – the same day
– Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii – Saturday – 13 September 1941 – 7:00 A.M.
– Sailed: 5:00 P.M. – the same day
– escorted by the heavy cruiser, U.S.S. Astoria, an unknown destroyer, and the U.S.S. Guadalupe a fleet replenishment oiler
– heavy cruiser intercepted several ships after smoke was seen on the horizon
– ships belonged to friendly countries
– Arrived: Manila – Friday – 26 September 1941
– disembark ship – 3:00 P.M.
– taken by bus to Fort Stotsenburg
Stationed:
– Ft. Stotsenburg
– lived in tents upon arriving
– received their meals from food trucks
– 15 November 1941 – moved into barracks
– the barracks were open three feet from the bottom of the exterior walls
– above that, the walls were woven bamboo that allowed the air to pass through
Work Day:
– 5:15 A. M. – reveille
– washing – the lucky man washed by a faucet with running water
– 6:00 A.M. – breakfast
– 7:00 to 11:30 A.M. 
– Noon – lunch
– 1:30 to 2:30 P.M. – worked
– the shorter afternoon work period was based on the belief that the climate made it too hot to work
– the tankers worked until 4:30 P.M.
– the term “recreation in the motor pool” was used for this work time
Tank Crews:
– during this time, the tank crews learned about the M3A1 tanks
– tank commanders read manuals on tanks and taught crews about the tanks
– learned about the 30-caliber and 50 caliber machineguns
– spent three hours of each day taking the guns apart and putting them back together
– did it until they could disassemble and assemble the guns blindfolded
– could not fire guns since they were not given ammunition which had been requested by Gen. King but not released by Gen. MacArthur
– 5:10 – dinner
– after dinner, the soldiers were free to do what they wanted to do
Uniforms:
– the battalion wore fatigues to do the work on the tanks
– the soldiers were reprimanded for not wearing dress uniforms 
– they continued to wear fatigues in their barracks area to do their work
– if the soldiers left the battalion’s area, they were expected to wear dress uniforms
– this included going to the PX
Recreation:
– the soldiers spent their free time bowling, going to the movies,
– they also played horseshoes, softball, badminton, or threw a football around
– on Wednesday afternoons, they went swimming
– they also went to Mt. Aarayat National Park and swam in the swimming pool there that was filled with mountain water
– men were allowed to go to Manila in small groups
– they also went to canoeing at Pagsanjan Falls in their swimsuits
– the country was described as being beautiful
Alert:
– 1 December 1941
– tanks ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field
– 194th guarded the north end of the airfield and the 192nd guarded the south end
– two crew members of each tank and half-track remained with the vehicles at all times
– meals served by food trucks
– those not assigned to a tank or half-track remained at the command post
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1941 – 6 January 1942
– During this time Hq Company supplied the tank companies as they fought to cover the withdrawal toward Bataan
– 8 December 1941
– lived Japanese attack on Clark Field
– heard that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor
– half-tracks were ordered to the airfield
– 12:45 P.M. – the tankers watched planes approach the airfield from the north
– many had the time to count 54 planes
– lived through the Japanese attack on Clark Field
– tanks had orders not to fire at planes
– many of the tankers disobeyed the orders
– planes did not go after tanks
– after the attack, the wounded were taken to the hospital on anything with wheels including bomb carriers
– the 194th was sent to a bivouac three kilometers north of Clark Field
– from there they were sent to Barrio of San Joaquin on the Malolos Road
– 12 December 1941
– moved to new bivouac south to San Fernando near Calumpit Bridge
– arrived at 6:00 A.M.
– 15 December 1941
– received 15 Bren gun carriers
– turned some over to 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts
– Allen sent home a telegram 
“Everyone O.K.”
– 17 December 1941 – his mother received the telegram a little over 24 hours after he sent it
– 22 December 1941
– sent to Rosario
– west and north of the barrio
– ordered out of the 71st Division Commander
– said they would hinder the cavalry’s operation
– 22/23 December 1941
– operating north of Agno River
– main bridge at Carmen bombed
– 24/25 December 1941
– tank battalions make an end run to get south of Agno River
– ran into Japanese resistance but successfully crossed the river
– 25/26 December 1941
– held south bank of Agno River from west of Carmen to Carmen-Akcaka-Bautista Road
– 192nd held from Carmen to Route 3 to Tayug to the northeast of San Quintin
– the 192nd received an order to withdraw but the 194th did not receive the order
– 26/27 December 1941
– ordered to withdraw
– learned from 1st Lt. Harold Costigan that they were behind enemy lines and would have to fight their way out
– 1 platoon forced its way through Carmen
– lost two tanks
– one tank belonged to company commander – Captain Edward Burke
– believed dead, but was actually captured
– one tank crew rescued
– new line Santa Ignacia-Gerona-Santo Tomas-San Jose
– rest of battalion made a dash out
– lost one tank at Bayambang
– another tank went across front receiving fire and firing on Japanese
– 2nd Lt. Weeden Petree’s platoon fought its way out and across Agno River
– D Company, 192nd, lost all its tanks except one
– the tank commander found a crossing
– Japanese would use tanks later on Bataan
– 29/30 December 1941
– new line at Bamban River established
– tank battalions held the line until ordered to withdraw
– 30/31 December 1941
– tank battalions held Calumpit Bridge
– covering withdraw of Philippine Divisions south on Rt. 3, San Fernando
– 2 January 1942
– both tank battalions ordered to withdrawal to Lyac Junction
– 194th withdrew there on Highway 7
– 5 January 1942
– C Company and A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, withdrew from Guagua-Porac Line and moved into position between Sexmoan and Lubao
– 1:50 A.M. – Japanese attempted to infiltrate
– bright moonlight made them easy to see
– tanks opened fire
– Japanese lay down smoke which blew back into them
– 3:00 A.M. – Japanese broke off the engagement
– suffered 50% casualties
– Remedios – established a new line along a dried creek bed
– 6/7 January 1942
– 194th, covered by 192nd, crosses Culis Creek into Bataan
– both battalions bivouacked south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road
– rations cut in half
– Battle of Bataan – 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
– January 1942
– tank companies reduced to three tanks per platoon
– 8 January 1942
– composite tank company made up of tanks from the 192nd and 194th sent to protect East Coast Road north of Hermosa
– their job was to keep the East Road open north of Hermosa and prevent the Japanese from driving into Bataan before the main battle line had been
  formed
– the remainder of tanks ordered to bivouac for night south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road
– tankers had been fighting for a month without a rest
– tanks also needed overdue maintenance
– 17th Ordnance
– all tank companies reduced to ten tanks
– three per tank platoon
– sent to reopen Moron Road so General Segunda’s forces could withdraw
– tanks knock out an anti-tank gun
– two tanks disabled by landmines but recovered
– mission abandoned
– Gen. Segunda’s troops escaped using beach but lost their heavy equipment
– 12 January 1942
– C Company, with D Company, 192nd, sent to Cadre Road
– a forward position with little alert time
– 13 January 1942
– mines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching Cadre Road
– returned to battalion
– 16 January 1942
– C Company sent to Bagac to reopen Moron Highway
– the highway had been cut by Japanese
– Moron Highway, and Junction of Trail 162
– tank platoon fired on by antitank gun
– tanks knock out the gun
– cleared roadblock with support of infantry
– 20 January 1942
– Bani Bani Road -tanks sent in to save 31st Infantry command post
– 24 January 1942
– tanks order to Hacienda Road in support of troops
– landmines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching the road
– 26 January 1942
– the battalion held a position a kilometer north of the Pilar-Bagac Road
– four self-propelled mounts with the battalion
– 9:45 A.M. – warned by Filipino a large Japanese force was coming
– when the enemy appeared they opened up with all the battalion had
– 10:30 A.M. – Japanese withdrew after losing 500 of 1200 men
– prevented new defensive line being formed from being breached
– 28 January 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.”
– 194th tanks given beach duty protecting southern beaches
– guarded coast from Limay to Cabcaben
– half-tracks patrolled roads
– maintained radio contact with on-shore and off-shore patrols
– Mother received a letter from him that was dated – 8 February 1942
– the letter had been censored by 2nd Lt. Lawrence S. Schoeneck of his battalion:
“Dear Mom, This is the first chance I have had to write to you since the war started. About all I allowed to say is that I am fine and I hope you don’t worry any more than you did when I was back in the states. You were right about religion. A person has more to think about than himself in times like these. I’m a corporal now and drawing more money.”
– March 1942
– two tanks were bogged down in mud
– the tankers were working to get them out
– Japanese Regiment entered the area
Lt. Col. Ernest Miller ordered tanks and artillery to fire at point-blank range
– Miller ran from tank to tank directing fire
– wiped out Japanese regiment
– 3 April 1942
– Japanese launch new offensive
– tanks sent into various sectors to stop the 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 the junction of Trails 8 & 6
– other tanks covered withdraw
– 3rd Platoon sent up the west coast road
– near Mt. Samat the tanks ran into heavy Japanese force
– the tanks withdrew to Marivales
– 8 April 1942
– Gen. Edward P. King decided that further resistance was futile since approximately 25% of his men were healthy enough to fight
– 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
– His troops were on one-quarter rations, and even at that ration, he had two days of food left.
At 6:00 P.M. that 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.”
– 10:30 P.M. – decision made to send white flag across the battle line
– 11:40 P.M. – ammunition dumps were blown up
– At 2:oo A.M. April 9, Gen. King sent a jeep under a white flag (The driver was from the tank group and the white flag was bedding from A Company, 192nd
   Tank Battalion)
 carrying Colonel Everett C. Williams, Col. James V. Collier and Major Marshall Hurt to meet
   with the Japanese commander about terms of surrender.
– Shortly after daylight Collier and Hunt returned with word of the appointment
– the tankers received this message over their radios at 6:45 A.M. – 9 April 1942
– circled tanks and fired an armor-piercing shell into each tank’s engine
– opened gasoline cocks and dropped grenades into the crew compartment
– Gen. King with his two aides, Maj. Cothran and Captain Achille C. Tisdelle Jr. got into a jeep carrying a large white flag
– They were followed by another jeep – also flying another large white flag – with Col. Collier and Maj. Hurt in it
– As the jeeps made their way north they were strafed and small bombs were dropped by a Japanese plane
– The drivers of both jeeps and the jeeps were provided by the tank group and both men managed to avoid the bullets
– The strafing ended when a Japanese reconnaissance plane ordered the fighter pilot to stop strafing
– About 10:00 A.M. the jeeps reached Lamao where they were received by a Japanese Major General who informed King that he reported his coming to
   negotiate a surrender and that an officer from the Japanese command would arrive to do the negotiations
– The Japanese officer also told him that his troops would no attack for thirty minutes while King decided what he would do
– After a half-hour, no Japanese officer had arrived from their headquarters and the Japanese attack had resumed. King sent Col. Collier and Maj. Hunt back
   to his command with instructions that any unit inline with the Japanese advance should fly white flags
– Shortly after this was done a Japanese colonel and interpreter arrived. King was told the officer was Homma’s Chief of Staff and he had come to discuss
   King’s surrender
– King attempted to get insurances from the Japanese that his men would be treated as prisoners of war, but the Japanese officer – through his interpreter
– he was accused of declining to surrender unconditionally
– At one point King stated he had enough trucks and gasoline to carry his troops out of Bataan
– He was told that the Japanese would handle the movement of the prisoners
– The two men talked back and forth until the colonel said through the interpreter, “The Imperial Japanese Army are not barbarians.” 
– King found no choice but to accept him at his word
Prisoner of War:
– 9 April 1942
– received order to destroy equipment and report to kilometer marker 168.2.
– Provisional Tank Group Headquarters
– Japanese officers told Col. Ernest Miller to keep them there until ordered to move
– 10 April 1942
– 7:00 P.M. – started the march from Provisional Tank Group headquarters
– 3:00 A.M. – halted and rested for an hour
– 4:00 A.M. – resume march
– 11 April 1942
– 8:00 A.M. – reached Lamao
– allowed to forage for food
– 9:00 A.M. – resumed march
– Noon – reached Limay and the main road
– officers separated from enlisted men
– 4:00 P.M put on trucks
– officers arrived at Balanga
– Japanese find a handgun in the field bag of an officer
– he was clubbed and bayoneted
– because of this, they were not fed
– Dusk – officers ordered to form ranks and marched
– marched through Abucay and Samal
– 12 April 1942
– 3:00 A.M. – reached Orani
– herded into a fenced-in area and ordered to lie down
– in the morning found they had been lying in human waste
– latrine in one corner was crawling with maggots
– Noon – fed rice and salt
– first meal
– Afternoon – enlisted men rejoin officers
– 6:30 P.M. – ordered to form 100 men detachments
– POWs marched at a faster pace
– fewer breaks
– when given break, the POWs sat on the road
– North of Hermosa the POWs reached pavement
– made march easier
– 13 April 1942
– 2:00 A.M. – POWs were given an hour rest on the road
– those who attempt to lay down are jabbed with bayonets
– POWs march through Layac and Lubao
– rains – POWs drank as much as they could
– 4:30 P.M. – reached San Fernando
– POWs put in groups of 200 to be fed
– one POW sent to get a box of rice for each group
– pottery jars of water given out the same way
– 14 April 1942
– 4:00 A.M. – POWs awakened
– formed detachments of 100 men and marched to train station
– POWs put into small wooden boxcars used to haul sugarcane
– each boxcar could hold eight horses or forty men
– 100 POWs packed into each car
– POWs who died remained standing since they could not fall to the floors
– 9:00 A.M. – Capas – dead fell to the floors as living left boxcars
– as POWs formed ranks, Filipinos threw sugarcane to POWs
– also gave them water
– POWs walked last 8 kilometers 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, gunshots 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 the entire camp
– POWs waited 2½ hours to 8 hours to get a drink
– water frequently turned off by Japanese guards and the next man in line waited as long as 4 hours for the 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
– the 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
– the ranking American officer was beaten with a broadsword after requesting medicine, additional food, and material to repair the leaking POW huts
– 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 the camp hospital lay on the floor elbow to elbow
– operations on POWs were performed with mess kit knives
– only one medic – out of six medics 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
– the ground under hospital was scraped and covered with lime to clean it
– the dead were moved to the cleaned area and the area where they had lain was scraped and covered 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
– Japanese opened a new POW camp to lower death rate
– 1 June 1942 – POWs formed detachments of 100 men
– POWs marched out the gate and marched toward Capas
– Filipino people gave POWs small bundles of food
– the guards did not stop them
– At Capas, the POWs were put into steel boxcars and rode them to Manila
– the train stopped at Calumpit and switched onto the line to Cabanatuan
– POWs disembark the train at 6:00 P.M. and put into a schoolyard
– fed rice and onion soup
– in May or early June 1942, his parents received a message from the War Department

“Dear Mrs. M. Allen:

        “According to War Department records, you have been designated as the emergency addressee of Corporal John J. Allen, 20, 700, 215, who, according to the latest information available, was serving in the  Philippine Islands at the time of the final surrender. 

        “I deeply regret that it is impossible for me to give you more information than is contained in this letter.  In the last days before the surrender of Bataan, there were casualties which were not reported to the War Department.  Conceivably the same is true of the surrender of Corregidor and possibly other islands of the Philippines.  The Japanese Government has indicated its intention of conforming to the terms of the Geneva Convention with respect to the interchange of information regarding prisoners of war.  At some future date, this Government will receive through Geneva a list of persons who have been taken prisoners of war.  Until that time the War Department cannot give you positive information. 

        “The War Department will consider the persons serving in the Philippine Islands as “missing in action” from the date of surrender of Corregidor, May 7, 1942, until definite information to the contrary is received.  It is to be hoped that the Japanese Government will communicate a list of prisoners of war at an early date.  At that time you will be notified by this office in the event that his name is contained in the list of prisoners of war.  In the case of persons known to have been present in the Philippines and who are not reported to be prisoners of war by the Japanese Government, the War Department will continue to carry them as “missing in action” in the absence of information to the contrary, until twelve months have expired.  At the expiration of twelve months and in the absence of other information the War Department is authorized to make a final determination.

        “Recent legislation makes provision to continue the pay and allowances of persons carried in a “missing” status for a period not to exceed twelve months;  to continue, for the duration of the war, the pay and allowances of persons known to have been captured by the enemy; to continue allotments made by missing personnel for a period of twelve months and allotments or increase allotments made by persons by the enemy during the time they are so held;  to make new allotments or increase allotments to certain dependents defined in Public Law 490, 77th Congress.  The latter dependents generally include the legal wife, dependent children under twenty-one years of age and dependent mother, or such dependents as having been designated in official records.  Eligible dependents who can establish a need for financial assistance and are eligible to receive this assistance the amount allotted will be deducted from pay which would otherwise accrue to the credit of the missing individual.

                                                                                                                                                                    “Very Truly yours

                                                                                                                                                                            J. A. Ulio (signed) 
                                                                                                                                                                       Major General
                                                                                                                                                                   The Adjutant General”
 

– Cabanatuan:
– original name: Camp Panagatan
– Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
– actually three camps
– Camp 1: POWs from Camp O’Donnell
– Camp 2: four 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
– POWs later moved to 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
– 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
– assigned to Barracks 5, Group 2
– 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 camotes, cassava, taro, sesame, and various greens
– Japanese took what was grown
– Guards:
– Big Speedo – spoke little English
– in charge of the detail
– fair in the treatment of POWs
– spoke little English
– to get POWs to work faster said, “speedo”
– Little Speedo
– also used the word when he wanted POWs to work faster
– fair in the 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 wheelbarrows
– 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
– Meals:
– 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
– rice was the 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 the bottom tier
– each POW had a 2 foot by 6-foot area to lie in
– Zero Ward
– given the 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
– Camp Hospital:
– 30 Wards
– each ward could hold 40 men
– frequently had 100 men in each
– two tiers of bunks
– sickest POWs on the bottom tier
– each POW had a 2 foot by 6-foot area to lie in
– Zero Ward
– given the 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
– many deaths caused by malnutrition
– others became ill because of lack of bedding, covers, and mosquito netting
– hospitalized – 8 July 1942 – malaria
– discharged – 5 February 1943
– it was in July 1942, that his family received another message from the War Department. The following is an excerpt from it.

“The last report of casualties received by the War Department from the Philippines arrived early in the morning of May 6. Through this date, Corporal John J. Allen had not been reported as a casualty. The War Department will consider the persons serving in the Philippine Islands as “missing in action” from the date of the surrender of Corregidor, May 7, until definite information to the contrary is received.

“Efforts to secure prisoner of war lists from the Philippines have not been successful to this date due to the lack of communication and the fact that the Japanese Government has not yet given permission for the Swiss representative and the International Red Cross delegates to make visits to prisoner of war camps in the islands. When the lists of prisoners are received, we will clear the name of your son and send you any additional information that we may have.”

– Burial Detail:
– POWs worked in teams of four men to bury dead
– carried as many as six dead POWs in litters to the cemetery
– buried in graves that contained 16 to 20 bodies
Davao:
– October 1942 – The Japanese needed 1000 POWs to go on a work detail to Davao
– On October 24, the POWs were marched to the barrio of Cabanatuan
– they were loaded into boxcars, and sent by train to Manila arriving in the afternoon – During the trip, the doors of the boxcars were left open so there was
   ventilation.
– they arrived at Manila but remained in the boxcars until after dark
– after dark, they were marched through the empty streets to Bilibid Prison
– Once at Bilibid, they were fed mutton soup and rice.
– The next day they were assembled in 100 men formations
– marched to the Port Area of Manila where they boarded the Erie Maru
– The hold was divided into box spaces and twelve men were assigned to each box.
– There was only enough room in a box for six men to sleep at a time.
– The POWs quickly became infested with bedbugs and lice.
– The hold smelled from the gasoline that was being stored in it
– it quickly was joined by the smell of human excrement.
– The next morning the POWs were fed rice and spinach soup.
– At noon, they received rice and dried fish.
– For dinner, they had corned beef and rice.
– The POWs assigned to cooking discovered the Japanese officers had a large stock of captured American pork and slipped it to the men in the holds
– many of the POWs developing dysentery
– The trip to Lasang took thirteen days
– the ship made stops at Iloilo, Panay, and Cebu, Mindanao
– At Iloilo, they buried one man who had died.
– November 7 – the POWs arrived at Lansang 
– The POWs were in such bad shape that the ranking Japanese officer, Major Mida, ordered them fed.
– They ate pork and beef, rice cabbage pinch, squash onions, potatoes, and peanuts which were all produced on the farm.
– From the orchards, they were given fruit which included raw and cooked plantains. – The sick were given medical treatment and there was enough water
   for drinking, bathing, and laundry.
– When the recuperation took too long, their diet was cut to rice and greens soup.
Various Work Details:
– 30 men were assigned to work as carpenters, 25 POWs worked in the orchards, 50 POWs made rope, 20 POWs worked the bodega (storeroom) detail, and
   for four months the POWs cut and picked coffee.
– smaller details – 2 to 35 men that lasted weeks or months
– other details were continuous, such as the farm detail that 250 to 300 POWs worked on plowing fields and harvesting crops.
– 50 to 100 POWs were sent to a plantation and given the job of building roads
– In the opinion of the POWs, they did more damage than good and intentionally kept the roads impassable.
– The Japanese decided that they were getting nowhere, so they sent the POWs to the ricefields to plant rice.
– 350 to 750 POWs were used in the rice fields.
– The POWs were responsible for planting 1600 acres of rice
– The POWs attempted to grow as little rice as possible and would drop the rice stalks in the mud and “unintentionally” step on them.
– The number of POWs on the detail varied 
– planting and harvesting took more men.
– Many of the POWs became ill with what was called, “Rice Sickness” 
– This illness was caused by the POWs cutting their feet or legs on a rice stalk.
– The POWs developed a rash and suffered from severe swelling.
– POWs who bruised themselves often developed ulcers
– POWs moved to Lasang and built runways and revetments 
– 550 POWs worked on the airfield at Lasang each day
– 50 POWs went to coral pits at Trabuco
– dug coral broke it up, and loaded it on trucks
– coral was used as surface of the airfield’s new runway
– Most, if not all the prisoners, suffered from malaria.
– At first, the work details were not guarded as the POWs plowed, planted, and harvested the crops.
– The sick POWs, who could not do this work, made baskets.
– In April 1943, the POWs working conditions varied.
– The treatment the POWs at this time changed.
– Those POWs working the rice fields received the worst treatment.
– They were beaten for not meeting quotas, and there were misunderstandings between the POWs and guards.
– In addition, the translator could not be trusted to tell the truth.
– Punishment:
– Beatings were common
– usually, the guards slapped the POWs in their faces
– on occasion, there were severe beatings
– This occurred if the Japanese suspected the POWs were planning an escape.
– POWs made to kneel on the sharp edge of a railroad rail
– sticks placed behind their knees
– when one POW was caught stealing tin snips he was stripped naked
– “Little Caesar,” Lt. Hashimoto, used judo on him
– POWs were hit across the face, thrown to the ground kicked in his groin, kicked in other parts of his body
– his face was stamped on with Little Caesar’s boots
– the beating went on for an hour
– dragged to the kitchen where he had stolen the snips and had to reenact the crime
– afterward, he was beaten again for another three hours
– thrown into guardhouse for 21 days
– made to stand at attention, kneel for an hour, then stand halfway erect
– stood at attention 18 hours a day
– beaten every day
– 13 April 1943 – mother received word he was a Prisoner of War

“REPORT JUST RECEIVED THROUGH INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS STATES THAT YOUR SON CORPORAL JOHN J ALLEN IS A PRISONER OF WAR OF THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT IN PHILIPPINE ISLANDS LETTER OF INFORMATION FOLLOWS FROM THE PROVOST MARSHALL GENERAL=
        “ULIO THE ADJUTANT GENERAL=”

– it was a few days later that his family received another message

“Maybelle Allen
717 Eighth Street
Brainerd

“The Provost Marshal General directs me to inform you that you may communicate with your son, postage free, by following the inclosed instructions:

“It is suggested that you address him as follows:

“Cpl. John J. Allen, U.S. Army
Interned in the Philippine Islands
C/O Japanese Red Cross, Tokyo, Japan
Via New York, New York

“Packages cannot be sent to the Orient at this time. When transportation facilities are available a package permit will be issued you.

“Further information will be forwarded you as soon as it is received.

                                                                                                                                                “Sincerely

                                                                                                                                               “Howard F. Bresee
                                                                                                                                               “Colonel, CMP
                                                                                                                                               “Chief Information Bureau”

– Meals:
– The POWs were still receiving three meals – which were measured – with a sardine tin – a day
– they received one water buffalo a week but they were being worked harder and longer
– At times, after the POWs had slaughtered the water buffalo and had it ready to cook it, the Japanese made them bury it.
– Trees at the experimental farm were loaded with bananas, oranges, and other fruits – these fell to the ground and rotted since the POWs were not allowed
   to eat them
– 4 April 1943 – Capt. William Dyess, LTC Melvyn McCoy, Maj. Stephen Mellnik, Maj. Michael Dobervitch, and another POW escaped
– the 600 remaining POWs from their barracks were moved to another compound
–  their rations reduced and they were confined to quarters
– they were physically abused
– they were not allowed to sit down
– The Japanese commanding officer ordered and allowed collectives punishment on all the POWs.
– If the POWs were found to have food on them when they returned from work, they were brutally beaten.
– At night the guards walked through the barracks a poked the sleeping POWs with bamboo poles to disrupt their sleep.
– two other POWs escaped
– 22 other POWs were confined to the guardhouse for ten days.
– They were made to stand at attention all day in the cells.
– The cells were eight feet long and three and one-half feet wide.
– Eleven prisoners were put into each cell
– At night they were beaten with sticks when they attempted to lie down
– They were fed one meal a day of rice with a little salt.
– The Japanese ended the detail at the farm
– 2 March 1944 – the POWs to Lasang 
– The POWs thought that it would not be as bad as the farm; they were wrong.
– The barracks of the POWs were only 400 yards from the airfield.
– The POWs believed this was done so if American planes attacked, they would kill their own countrymen.
– 550 POWs either built runways
– other POWs were sent to a quarry to mine coral for runways
– The POWs dug out the coral, broke it up, and loaded it onto trucks that were driven to the airfield.
– When the POWs slowed the pace of their work down, the Japanese resorted to torture to get them to work.
– American forces got closer to the Philippines
– 6 June 1944 – many of the POWs boarded trucks
– Japanese took their shoes
– POWs had on outside of column had their wrists tied to each other with a string to prevent escapes
Hell Ship:
– Yashu Maru
– POWs were taken by truck to Lasang – 6 June 1944
– hands tied and shoes removed to prevent escapes
– POWs put in forward holds
– remained in holds for six days
– Sailed: 12 June 1944
– the ship dropped anchor off Zamboanga, Mindanao – 14 June 1944
– Arrived: Cebu City – 17 June 1944
– POWs disembark put in a warehouse
– Sailed: unnamed ship – 21 June 1944
– POWs called the ship “Singoto Maru”
– Arrived: Manila – 24 June 1944
POW Camp:
– Bilibid Prison
– most likely remained at the prison after arriving
Hell Ship:
Nissyo Maru
– Sailed: Manila – 17 July 1944
– Arrived: Takao, Formosa – 27 July 1944
– Sailed: 28 July 1944
– Arrived: Moji, Japan – 3 August 1944
Note: Convoy was attacked by American submarines. One torpedo missed the ship and sunk another ship
– POWs were issued Japanese boots, shirts, and heavy coats
POW Camp:
– Japan
Fukuoka #4-B
– Housing:
– POWs housed in YMCA building
– POWs worked as stevedores on docks loading and unloading ships, and in the warehouse district near the train station in Moji
– Clothing:
– Cpl. Nagakura Seiso refused to issue or repair POW clothing
– if he considered a POWs clothing did not need to be replaced, he beat the POW with his fists and kicked him
– after the war, large quantities of American and South African clothing was found in a warehouse
– Japanese told ranking American officer there were no shoes available for the POWs
– POWs worked barefooted in cold weather resulting in many developing coughs, lung conditions, and pneumonia
– Japanese guards wore American shoes
– Hospital:
– remained in their beds
– given light work to do
– food rations reduced
– Red Cross medicines and supplies were misappropriated
– sick POWs received very little medicine
– after the surrender, large quantities of Red Cross medicines were found in a warehouse
– POWs knew it was there since they unloaded it from the ships
– Punishment:
– beaten, kicked, and forced to stand at attention for long periods of time
– stood at attention for long periods of time
– forced POWs to assume painful positions
– put in the camp brig
– Food:
– mainly rice
– Work:
– POWs worked on docks as stevedores
– worked on Moji docks, warehouses, train station
– POWs who were sick, weak, and suffering from disease were forced to work
– Red Cross Packages:
– misappropriated
– Japanese soldiers were seen wearing Red Cross boots meant for POWs
– when Red Cross packages arrived, the camp commandant forced the POWs to eat large quantities of food resulting in many becoming ill and some dying
– Burials:
– POWs who died were cremated in the city crematory and their ashes were put in an urn and held in a Buddhist temple
– when the temple burnt down, the ashes were buried in a grave on the side of a hill
Liberated:
– 13 September 1945
– POWs broke into the camp warehouse and found 500 pairs of Japanese shoes and 250 pounds of leather that were intended to be used to repair the POWs’ 
  shoes
– 1300 uniforms for the POWs were also found
– former POWs were taken Nagasaki
– parents received word of his liberation – 28 September 1945
– returned to the Philippines
– 14 September 1945 – POWs taken to Dejima Docks at Nagasaki
– boarded hospital ship and given a medical examination
– his condition was found to be “fair”
– returned to the Philippines for additional medical treatment
– his family received a message from the War Department

“Mr. and Mrs. H. Allen: The secretary of war has asked me to inform you that your son, Cpl. John J. Allen was returned to military control Sept. 14 and is being returned to the United States within the near future. He will be given the opportunity to communicate with you upon his arrival if he has not already done so.

“E. F. Witsell

Acting Adjutant General of the Army”

Transport:
S.S. Simon Bolivar
– Sailed: About September 29, 1945
– Arrived: 21 October 1945 –  San Francisco, California
– his sister, Gertrude, met him when he arrived
– taken to Letterman General Hospital
– sent to Birmingham General Hospital – Van Nyes, California
– sent to a hospital in North Carolina
– retuned to Birmingham Hospital due to Dengue Fever
– met his future wife
– sent to Dibble General Hospital in Menlo Park, California
– Birmingham Hospital was being shut down
Discharged: 20 August 1946 – San Francisco
Married:
– Penny Wiggington
– 7 December 1946
Children:
– 2 daughters, 3 sons
Residence: Saint Ansgar, Iowa
Occupation: U.S. Post Office
Died:
– 16 December 2005 – Mason City, Iowa
Buried:
– St. Ansgar Cemetery – St. Ansgar, Iowa

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