PFC Frank Jefferson Burns
Born: 9 October 1924 – Humboldt County, California
Parents: Frank J. Burns Sr. and Georgia S. Cook-Burns
Hometown: Bakersfield, California
Education: Bakersfield High School
Home: Long Beach, California
Enlisted: California National Guard
Inducted: U. S. Army
– 12 April 1941 – Los Angeles, California
– asked to join the 194th Tank Battalion
– assigned to C Company
– 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
– the battalion went on long reconnaissance with trucks and tanks
– drove all over reservation following maps and learned from observation what the land surrounding the fort looked like
– the purpose was to collect tank data which they would use later
– often had to live off the land
– 30 April 1941 – battalion went on an all-day march
– ate dinner in woods brought to them by the cooks in trucks
– march was two hours one way and covered about 10 miles total
– stopped in an abandoned apple orchard in bloom
– first motorcycles arrived in May 1941
– all battalion members had to learn to ride them
– in early May 1941, the battalion, except men who had been drafted, went on its first overnight bivouac
– the new men did not have shelter halves
– left around noon and returned around noon the next day
– some members of the battalion received specific training
– many went to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, for training in tank maintenance, radio operation, and other specific jobs
– those men who remained at Ft. Lewis often found themselves policing the base collecting garbage and distributing coal for the base during the week
– the battalion did most of its tank training on weekends
– qualified: gunner
– 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
– rode a train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
– Arrived: 7:30 A.M. – 6 September 1941
– ferried on 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. – 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 the U.S.S. Guadalupe a replenishment oiler
– smoke was seen on the horizon several times
– cruiser intercepted ships
– Arrived: Manila – Friday – 26 September 1941
– disembark ship – 3:00 P.M.
– taken by bus to Fort Stotsenburg
– maintenance section with 17th ordnance remained behind to unload the tanks and attached turrets
-27 September 1941 – job completed at 9:00 A.M.
– Ft. Stotsenburg
– lived in tents upon arriving
– 15 November 1941 – moved into barracks
– the barracks walls were open and screened three feet from the bottom of the wall to the floor
– above that, the walls were woven bamboo that allowed the air to pass through
– washing facilities seemed to be limited with the lucky man being able to wash by a faucet with running water
– 5:15 A. M. – reveille
– soldiers washed
– 6:00 A.M. – breakfast
– 7:00 to 11:30 A.M.
– Noon – lunch
– 1:30 to 2:30 P.M. – worked
– the belief on the base was that it was too hot in the afternoon to work
– the tankers worked until 4:30 P.M.
– this was referred to as “recreation in the motor pool”
– 5:10 – dinner
– the soldiers spent their free time bowling and 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 put their names in to be 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
– the battalion wore coveralls to do the work on the tanks
– the soldiers were reprimanded for not wearing dress uniforms while working
– they continued to wear coveralls in their barracks area to do their work
– if the soldiers left the battalion’s area, they were expected to wear dress uniforms; including going to the PX
– 1 December 1941 – tanks ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field
– their job was to protect the airfield from enemy paratroopers
– two tank crew members remained with each tank at all times
– 194th guard north end of the airfield and the 192nd Tank Battalion guarded the south end of the airfield
– meals served by food trucks to men with the tanks
– those not assigned to a tank or half-track remained at the command post
– Battle of Luzon
– 8 December 1941
– lived Japanese attack on Clark Field
– planes did not go after tanks
– after attack 194th sent to a bivouac three kilometers north of Clark Field
– from there they were sent to Barrio of San Joaquin on the Malolos Road
– The 194th was sent to Mabalcat on December 10
– C Company was sent to southern Luzon and put under the command of Brigadier General Albert M. Jones
– To avoid Japanese planes, the company tried to cover the distance at night.
– They were successful and going 40 miles during the night but had to make a run for it during the day.
– They successfully reached Muntinlupa and made it to Tagatay Ridge on December 14th.
– The tanks remained at Tagatay until December 24th
– During this time, they did reconnaissance and hunted for fifth columnists who would signal planes with mirrors during the day near ammunition dumps
resulting in the dumps being bombed and shelled.
– At night, the fifth columnists shot off flares near the ammunition dumps.
– The activity ended, when the company shot up native huts suspected as being used by the fifth columnists.
– At 2:00 A.M. on December 24th, the Japanese landed 7,000 troops at Lamon Bay. – – The Japanese began advancing in the direction of Lucban.
– The company took a position to aid the 1st Infantry Regiment, Philippine Army, that was fighting the Japanese.
– One platoon of five tanks – on December 26 – was ordered to advance down a trail in an area where the Japanese were known to be.
– A major ordered the tanks to advance even though no reconnaissance had been done.
– The trail made a sharp turn, and when the tanks made the turn, the first was knocked out by a Japanese anti-tank gun killing the platoon commander and
the driver of the tank.
– The other two crewmen escaped into the jungle. The remaining four tanks were also knocked out by enemy fire resulting in two more men being killed.
– From this point on the tanks fell back toward Bataan and were serving as the rear guard for Gen. Jones’ troops when they withdrew past Manila.
– C Company at one point saw 100 to 150 trucks belonging to the Philippine Army pass warehouses full of food and other supplies.
– It was at this time that the 192nd Tank Battalion and A Company, 194th Tank Battalion were fighting to keep the roads open so that the troops
withdrawing from southern Luzon would not be cut off.
– The southern Luzon force with C Company serving as its rearguard crossed the Calumpit Bridge on January 1.
– After the company crossed the bridge was destroyed. the tanks went through San Fernando and formed roadblocks to keep the junction of Routes 3 and
– Also on January 1, conflicting orders were received by the defenders of the northern force who were attempting to stop the Japanese advance down
– The orders came from Gen. MacArthur’s chief of staff and told the units holding open the bridges to withdraw.
– General Wainwright – who was in command – was unaware of the orders.
– Because of the orders, there was confusion among the Filipinos and American forces defending the bridges over the Pampanga River and half of the
defenders had withdrawn.
– When Gen Wainwright became aware of what was going on, he countermanded the orders.
– 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
allowing the southern forces – including C Company – to escape
– 2 January 1942
– both tank battalions ordered to withdraw to Lyac Junction
– the 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
– At 1:50 A.M., the Japanese attempted to infiltrate their line in bright moonlight which made them easy to see.
– It also helped that the Japanese wore white shirts which reflected the moonlight.
– The tanks opened fire and in an attempt to cover their advance, the Japanese lay down smoke which blew back into them.
– It was 3:00 A.M. when the Japanese broke off the engagement having suffered 50% casualties.
– When the company withdrew, the barrio of Lubao was in flames.
– 6 January 1942
– A new defensive line was formed at Remedios along a dried creek bed.
– They fell back from this position and the tank battalions flanked the Layac Bridge over the Culo River
– The night of January 6, the 194th crossed a bridge covered by the 192nd.
– The 192nd crossed the bridge becoming the last unit to enter Bataan.
– After it crossed, the bridge was destroyed
– Battle of Bataan
– 7 January 1942
– tank companies reduced to three tanks per platoon
– One reason this was done was to give D Company, 192nd, tanks
– it had lost all its tanks but one when a bridge had been destroyed before they had been scheduled to cross
– 2nd Lt. Weeden Petree and Pvt Walter Martella wounded
– Martella shielded Capt Fred Moffit from enemy shrapnel
– Petree was also hit by shrapnel
– For the first time in a month, both battalions bivouacked south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road giving long overdue maintenance work to be done on the
tanks by the battalions’ maintenance crews and 17th Ordnance.
– 8 January 1942
– A 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 to prevent the Japanese from driving into Bataan before the main battle line had been
– The remainder of tanks ordered to bivouac for night south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road.
– The tankers had been fighting for a month without rest and tanks also needed long overdue maintenance by 17th Ordnance.
– It was at this time that all tank companies reduced to ten tanks or three per tank platoon
– 9 January 1942
– Pvt. Walter Martella died from gangrene
– 12 January 1942
– A platoon of tanks from C Company was sent to reopen Moron Road so General Segunda’s forces could withdraw.
– The tanks ran into an anti-tank gun that fired at the lead tank, but the shell went over the turret of the tank
– The tank returned fire and destroyed the gun before it got off its next round.
– Two tanks hit landmines disabling them and were abandoned but later recovered.
– the mission was abandoned
– Gen. Segunda’s troops escaped using the beach but lost their heavy equipment.
– C Company, with D Company, 192nd, sent to Cadre Road on January 12 which was a forward position with little alert time.
– 2nd Lt. Weeden Petree died from his wounds
– 13 January 1942
– mines planted by ordnance prevented tanks from reaching Cadre Road
– mission was abandoned
– 20 January 1942
– west of Bani Bani Road – tanks were sent to save the 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 tanks held a position a kilometer north of the Pilar-Bagac Road with four self-propelled mounts with the battalion.
– At 9:45 A.M., they were warned by Filipino that a large Japanese force was coming down the road.
– When the enemy appeared, the battalion opened up with all it had on the
– At 10:30 A.M., the Japanese broke off the engagement and withdrew after losing 500 of 1200 men. This action prevented the new defensive line that was
being formed from being breached.
– The tanks from both battalions were given beach duty on January 28, 1942, with the tanks of the 194th given beach duty protecting southern beaches
from Limay to Cabcaben with the half-tracks patrolling the roads.
– The tanks maintained radio contact with on-shore and off-shore patrols.
– Sometime in March 1942, two tanks were bogged down in the mud and the tankers were working to get them out when a Japanese Regiment entered the
– Lt. Col. Ernest Miller ordered tanks and artillery to fire at point-blank range to fire on the enemy troops.
– Miller ran from tank to tank directing fire and wiped out the Japanese regiment.
– The soldiers were hungry and began to eat everything they could get their hands on to eat.
– The Carabao were tough but if they were cooked long enough they could be eaten.
– They also began to eat horse meat provided by the 26th U.S. Cavalry.
– To make things worse, the soldiers’ rations were cut in half again on March 1, 1942. – This meant that they only ate two meals a day.
– The Japanese also were dropping surrender leaflets with a scantily clad blond on them.
– The Japanese would have been more successful at getting the
Americans to surrender if the picture had been hamburger and a milkshake since the men were so hungry that they most likely would have surrendered
for a good meal.
– Also in March, the amount of gasoline was reduced to 15 gallons a day for all vehicles except the tanks.
– This would later be dropped to ten gallons a day.
– Also at this time, Gen. Weaver suggested to Gen. Wainwright that a platoon of tanks be sent to Corregidor which Wainwright denied.
– at some point, Frank was hospitalized at Hospital #2, Cabcaben
– it is not known if he had been wounded or suffering from malaria or dysentery
– when he was released from the hospital is not known
– 3 April 1942
– Japanese launch new offensive
– tank sent in to attempt to stop the advance
– 7 April 1942 – Raymond sent to Medical Casual Hospital
– 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.
– 6:30 P.M. – order goes out to be prepared to destroy all equipment of use to the Japanese
– 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 carrying Colonel Everett C. Williams, Col. James V. Collier and Major Marshall Hurt to meet
with the Japanese commander about terms of surrender.
– The white flag was bedding from A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion
– the driver was also from the Provisional Tank Group
– 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 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.”
– Gen. King had to take 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
– at times slipped on remains of the dead who had been killed by Japanese shelling
– 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, majors and up, separated from lower-ranking officers and enlisted men
– lower-ranking officers and enlisted men joined the main march
– Death March
– marched through Abucay and Samal
– 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
– 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
– 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
– 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
– POWs 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
– 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
– 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
– 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 family received a message from the War Department:
“Dear Mrs. G. Dunn:
“According to War Department records, you have been designated as the emergency addressee of Private First Class Frank J. Burns, 20, 900, 025, 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)
The Adjutant General”
– original name: Camp Pangatian
– 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 1:
– work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens, plant rice, and farm
– 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
– 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
– to prevent escapes, the POWs set up patrols along the camp’s fence
– men who attempted to escape and caught were executed after being beaten
– the other POWs were forced to watch the beatings
– daily POW meal – 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
– each built to house 50 POWs
– 60 to 120 POWs were housed in each barracks
– POWs slept on bamboo slats
– many became sick from the lack of bedding and covers
– no showers
– 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 from disease caused by malnutrition
– others became ill because of lack of bedding, covers, and mosquito netting
– in July his family received a second message from the War Department. The following are excerpts 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, Private First Class Frank J. Burns 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.”
– Las Pinas Work Detail
– 27 October 1942
– sent there as a replacement for a POW who most likely died
– Nichols Field Detail
– POWs built runways with picks and shovels at Nichols Field
– literally removed the side of a mountain by hand
– POWs killed by Japanese for violating rules
– housed in Pasay School
– fed leftovers from Japanese kitchen
– may have replaced a POW who died or was too ill to continue working on the detail
– Bilibid Prison
– Hospital Ward
– Admitted: 20 May 1944
– Discharged: No date was given
– Canadian Inventor
– Sailed: Manila – 4 July 1944
– After one day at sea, the ship returned to Manila with boiler problems.
– the ship stayed in port for 11 days
– Sailed: 16 July 1944
– additional boiler problems – left behind by convoy
– Arrived: Takao, Formosa – 23 July 1944
– Sailed: 4 August 1944
– made way up the west coast of Formosa
– Arrived: Keelung, Formosa – 5 August 1944
– stayed in port for 12 days for more boiler repairs
– Sailed: 17 August 1944
– By the time the ship reached the Ryukyu Islands, north of Formosa, it was having additional boiler problems.
– Arrived: Naha, Okinawa – unknown
– the ship stayed in port for 6 days
– Arrived: Moji – 1 September 1944
– Nagoya # 3-B
– 4 September 1944 – 25 May 1945
– Work: lead and zinc mining
Note: The camp was built next to a hill that served as a wall on one side. The other three sides of the compound had a 10-foot high wooden wall around them. The POWs lived in wooden barracks. One building was 100 feet long and housed POWs, the commandant’s office, the hospital, a warehouse, and the guards quarters. The barracks were infested with fleas, lice, and rats. Each POW had one blanket to sleep within unheated barracks. The camp kitchen did not have an adequate water supply, so they utensils used to cook the POWs’ food were filthy. The POWs latrines had cans beneath the floor which they had to empty.
In the camp, the POWs were beaten for the slightest violation of the camp rules. The Japanese used sticks, clubs, belts, swords, picks, and leather and rubber belts during the beatings. The POWs were hit over their heads, necks, arms, legs, buttocks, and backs until, in many cases, until they were unconscious. Many of the POWs had bruises, black eyes, and scars from being burned.
They often were forced to kneel on bamboo poles placed under their kneecaps, for long periods of time, while the guards jumped on the calves of their legs to force the poles into the knees more deeply. They were next kicked and placed in the guardhouse of the time nude in cold weather and had water poured on them. They were not allowed medical attention while in the guardhouse. In addition, their food rations were cut, and if a POW somehow escaped, he was returned to the guardhouse and starved.
Nearly all the prisoners were in poor health and suffering from malnutrition, dysentery, and beriberi. A Japanese sergeant, Takanori Yamanaka, had medical supplies in his possession from the Red Cross but would not issue them to the POWs. If a POW was put in the guardhouse, he was not permitted to receive medical treatment. When medical supplies were issued, only half the requested supplies were given out. The Japanese also would only allow 10 percent of the prisoners to be hospitalized at any time.
During his time in the camp, one POW by the name of Mann, who had somehow got out of the camp, was recaptured four days later. He was systematically beaten with fists and clubs, every day for twelve days in the guardhouse and at the end of twelve days, he died on August 6, 1945.
– 28 May 1945 – Frank left the camp
– Nagoya #7-B
– Work: steel production
Note: The camp was built by and on the property of the Nippon Soda Company, Ltd., and opened on June 6, 1945, about 300 feet from its plant where the POWs worked. The first POWs arrived on July 7. The camp was made up of one barracks, a kitchen and a bathroom, a camp office, and an unknown building. All the buildings were wood and were surrounded by a 10-foot high wooden fence.
The POWs barracks was the largest building with the camp hospital at one end. Along the walls, were two decks of bunks which were merely platforms. Each POW had a 3 foot wide by 7-foot long area to sleep in on straw mattresses. The POWs slept on the side of the building nearest the fence until an air raid, on July 30th, when they moved to the bunks along the other wall because of damage to the barracks.
The POWs received three meals a day mostly of rice and beans with a few vegetables. Each meal was 4.8 grams and was eaten from mess kits, in the barracks, on tables down to the POWs. Once in a while, the POWs received beef bones which they used to make soup. The Japanese would later grind the bones down to bonemeal, but the POWs did not receive it.
The factory manufactured a steel alloy used in the war effort. The POWs were involved in the melting and forging of metal, and aid general labor around the factory. 65 POWs worked melting the ore, another 65 worked at forging the metal, and a final 65 did miscellaneous jobs. One detachment worked the night shift. A workday was 12 hours long and the POWs received two days off a month.
On August 1, the City of Toyama was bombed by American planes doing a great deal of damage leaving only five buildings standing. A bomb fell near the camp on July 20, blowing out windows, damaging walls, and roofs on the barracks, while the factory had a great deal of damage.
Liberated: 5 September 1945
– returned to the Philippines
– flown to Saipan and taken to Tinian Island
– flown to Hickam Field in Hawaii
– flown to Hamilton Field north of San Francisco
– U.S. Air Force- 12 April 1946
– Korean War
Retired: Sergeant First Class
Married: Chong Burns
Residence: Surprise, Arizona
Died: 19 October 2014 – Arizona
– National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona – Phoenix, Arizona
– Section: 55 Site: 3375
Note: The photo at the top of the page was taken after Cpl. Frank Burns arrived in Hawaii after the war.