Lawrence, Pvt. Hayden R.

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Pvt. Hayden Reed Lawrence
Born: 7 March 1919 – Rapides Parish, Louisiana
Parents: John S. Lawrence & Addie Curtis-Lawrence
Siblings: 2 sisters
Nickname: Reed
Home: Rapides Parish, Louisiana
– lived on the family’s farm
Graduated: Buckeye High School – Deville, Louisiana
– Class of 1939
Resided: Liberty, Texas -1940
Occupation: roughneck – oil well drilling
– U.S. Army
– 21 February 1941 – Jacksonville Army Air Force Base, Florida
Basic Training:
– Fort Knox, Kentucky
– truck driver
– 19th Ordnance
– trained alongside the 192nd Tank Battalion
– learned to repair 57 different vehicles
– first six weeks was the primary training
– Week 1: infantry drilling
– Week 2: manual arms and marching to music
– Week 3: machine gun
– Week 4: pistol
– Week 5: M1 rifle
– Week 6: field week – training with gas masks, gas attacks, pitching tents, and hikes
– Weeks 7,8,9: Time was spent learning the weapons, firing each one, learning the parts of the weapons and their functions, field stripping and caring for 
   weapons, and the cleaning of weapons
Classroom: courses lasted 3 months
– Weapons: soldiers assigned to ordnance issued a pistol, and possibly a machine gun or submachine gun
– Vehicle Training: soldiers attended different schools
– tank maintenance, truck maintenance, scout car maintenance, motorcycle maintenance, and carpentry
– Company’s machine shop, welding shop, and kitchen were all on trucks
– August 1941 – took part in maneuvers in Arkansas
– 17th Ordnance Company
– A Company, 19th Ordnance designated 17th Ordnance Company
– received orders to go overseas the same day
– received overseas orders the same day
Note: The decision for this move – which had been 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 a Japanese occupied island which was hundreds 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:
– traveled by train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
– Arrived: Thursday, 5 September 1941
– ferried to Ft. McDowell, Angel Island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
– given physicals and inoculations
– men with medical conditions replaced
– removed turrets from tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion
– Ship: S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
– Boarded: San Francisco, California – Monday – 8 September 1941
– Sailed: 9:00 P.M.
– Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii – Saturday – 13 September 1941 – 7:00 A.M.
– soldiers were given shore leave for the day
– Sailed: 5:00 P.M.
– escorted by the heavy cruiser, U.S.S. Astoria, and an unknown destroyer
– smoke was seen on the horizon several times
– cruiser intercepted ships
– 16 September 1941 – crossed International Dateline
– the date became Thursday – 18 September 1941
– Arrived: Manila, Philippine Islands – Friday – 26 September 1941
– Disembarked:
– 17th Ordnance remained behind to unload tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion
– reattached turrets to tanks
– worked in shifts
– slept on the ship that night
– finished attaching turrets at 9:00 A.M. the next day
– rode a bus to Ft. Stotsenburg
– serviced tanks of Provisional Tank Group
– Ft. Stotsenburg, Philippine Islands
– lived in tents until barracks completed – 15 November 1941
– 8 December 1942 – lived through the Japanese attack on Clark Field
– the company went to a bamboo thicket where they could disperse vehicles
– the company set up its bivouac
– set up machine shop trucks, half-tracks, and trucks
– received orders to return to Ft. Stotsenburg
– 12:45 P.M. – Japanese attacked
– Japanese wipe out Army Air Corps
– dead and wounded were everywhere
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1942 – 6 January 1942
– set up fuel dumps for the tanks
– converted WWI anti-personnel shells to be used by tanks
– 30 December 1942 – sent parents telegram saying he was fine
– Battle of Bataan – 7 January – 9 April 1942
– drove gasoline and ammunition to tanks of the 192nd & 194th Tank Battalions
– repaired the tanks on the front lines in combat conditions
– manufactured and salvaged spare parts for the tanks
– 1 February 1942 – wrote a letter home
– 3 April 1942 – parents received the letter
– 9 April 1942
Death March:
– Hayden started the march at Marivales at the southern tip of Bataan
– escaped into the hills with PFC Robert Schletterer, PFC James Boyd, Capt. Richard Kadel, Pvt. Frank Gyovai, and Pvt. George Mogyorosi of 17th Ordnance
– May 1942 – his family received this letter from the War Department

“Dear Mrs. A. Lawrence:

        “According to War Department records, you have been designated as the emergency addressee of Private Hayden R. Lawrence, 34,070,428, 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 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”

  • it is not known if his family received any further notifications from the War Department
    Guerilla Information:
    – HQ XI Corp. – Zambales, Luzon, Philippine Islands
    – fought under command of Col. Gyles Merrill
    Prisoner of War:
    – captured by Japanese – Tuesday – 16 September 1943
    – taken to Angeles City, Central Luzon
    – two days without food or water
    – Held:
    – Zambales Provincial Jail
    – Japanese tried Hayden for breaking the capitulation
    – Hayden was found guilty of the crime
    – Thursday – 23 September 1943
    – tied to a tree and used for bayonet practice at Angeles City Catholic Cemetery, Angeles City,
       Central Luzon, Philippine Islands
    Note: Parents received a letter
    – Dated: 24 April 1945
    – the letter was from a Filipino boy employed by the Japanese to clean at the Zambales Jail
    – the boy said he saw Hayden in the jail
    – he described him so accurately that his parents believed the boy had seen him
    – he described the meager rations Hayden received and that he smuggled food and cigarettes to him
    – during their meetings, Hayden told him of his 17 months as a guerrilla and how he was captured
    – Hayden stated he ate fruits and berries he picked and at times risked his life to get them
    – he was captured attempting to get papaya from a tree on the edge of a mountain
    – he was spotted by the Japanese who happened to be in the area
    – September 1943 – after being captured, he was taken to the Presidencia Building
    – 23 September 1943 – a little over a week later he was executed
    – Angeles City Catholic Cemetery
    – the Filipino boy who sent the letter kept the grave clean and, with the help of other Filipinos, put a cross on the grave
    – after the war, his family requested that his remains be returned to the United States
    Posthumously Promoted: Tec 4 – rank equal to Sergeant
    Note: Hayden R. Lawrence Upper Elementary School in Deville, Louisiana, was named after him
    – Bethel United Methodist Church Cemetery – Bethel, Rapides Parish, Louisiana
    – Row: 8

Lawrence Grave

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