McCollough, Tec 4 Henry M.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on pinterest
Share on print

T/4 Henry Millard McCollough
Born: 17 November 1904 – Vardaman, Mississippi
Parents: Ed and Mattie McCollough
Siblings: 2 sisters
Home: 134 Catalpa Street, Clarksdale, Mississippi
Nickname: Harry
Selective Service Registration: 16 October 1940
Contact Person: E. A. Enochs – uncle
Inducted: 19 February 1941 – Camp Shelby, Mississippi
– Ft. Knox, Kentucky
– 19th Ordnance Battalion
– trained alongside the 192nd Tank Battalion at Ft. Knox
– learned to repair the 57 vehicles used by the Army
– 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
– the company’s machine shop, welding shop, and kitchen were all on trucks
– tank mechanic school
– qualified as a tank mechanic
– Arkansas Maneuvers
– August 1941 
– A Company of the battalion was recalled to Ft. Knox
Overseas Duty:
-A Company inactivated
– 17 August 1941 – activated as 17th Ordnance Company
– 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
– traveled by train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
– on the train with them were the M3 tanks assigned to the 194th Tank Battalion
– Arrived: Thursday, 5 September 1941
– spent three days removing the turrets and spray painting the tanks’ serial numbers on the turrets
– put cosmoline on the guns to prevent rust
– 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
– sent a letter home
– stated he had not been seasick but most of the company was
– Sailed: same day
– took a southern route away from main shipping lanes
– 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
– Tuesday, 16 September 1941 – ships crossed International Dateline
– 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. Stotensburg
– lived in tents in a low lying area
– tents flooded the first night in a heavy rain
– barracks completed – 15 November 1941
– in November his family received a letter he wrote in October
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. – work
– the shorter afternoon work period was based on the belief that the climate made it too hot to work
– worked until 4:30 P.M.
– the term “recreation in the motor pool” was used for this work time
– during this time, they learned about the M3A1 tanks
– read manuals on tanks
– studied the 30-caliber and 50 caliber machineguns, and its 37-millimeter main gun
– 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
– tank crews could not fire guns since they were not given ammunition
– the base commander was waiting for General MacArthur to release the ammunition
– 5:10 – dinner
– after dinner, the soldiers were free to do what they wanted to do
– 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
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1942 – 6 January 1942
– 8 December 1942
– that morning the soldiers were laying rocks for sidewalks by their barracks
– informed by their commanding officer, Major. Richard Kadel, about Pearl Harbor
– the company went to a bamboo thicket where they could disperse vehicles
– the company set up a bivouac
– set up machine shop trucks, half-tracks, and trucks
– received orders to return to Ft. Stotsenburg
– the alert had been canceled
– lunch had just been served so they remained at the thicket
– 12:45 P.M. – Japanese attacked
– sauerkraut and hot dogs flew everywhere
– took cover under their trucks
– the Zeros banked and turned around over the thicket after strafing
– ordered not to fire at them
– one reason was the trucks had the only machines in the Philippines that could make parts for the tanks
– Japanese wiped out Army Air Corps
– dead and wounded were everywhere at the airfield
– after the attack on Clark Field, 17th Ordnance ordered to leave by General James R. N. Weaver to Pulilan
– the company moved as the tanks moved
– the company set up fuel dumps for tanks as they withdrew toward Bataan
– it also converted WWI anti-personnel shells for use by tanks
– the company was never on the front lines but lived with the bombings
– individuals did do tank repairs on the frontlines
– repaired disabled tanks
– converted shells into anti-personnel shells 
– 17th Ordnance was always in the same area where the tanks were fighting
Battle of Bataan
– the company was headquartered in an abandoned ordnance warehouse
– the headquarters was surrounded by ammunition dumps
– the men manufactured and scavenged parts for the tanks
– continued to service the tanks on the front lines under combat conditions
– 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 the 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
– near Mt. Samat 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.
– 6:30 P.M. – order went out. “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. – the decision was made to send a white flag across the battle line
– 11:00 P.M. – the company was given a half-hour to leave the ordnance depot
– 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
– Shortly after daylight Collier and Hunt returned with word of the appointment
– 9 April 1942 – the tankers received this message over their radios at 6:45 A.M.
– circled tanks and fired an armor-piercing shell into each tank’s engine
– opened gasoline cocks and dropped grenades into the crew compartment
– as King left to negotiate the surrender, he went through the tank group and spoke to them
– he told them he was going to get them the best deal he could get
– he also said, “When you get home, don’t ever let anyone say to you, you surrendered. I was the one who surrendered.”
– 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
– 6:45 A.M. – the order “CRASH” was sent for equipment to be destroyed
Prisoner of War:
– 9 April 1942
– Death March
– started the march at Mariveles on the southern tip of Bataan
– POWs ran past Japanese artillery firing on Corregidor
– American Artillery returned fire
– knocked out three Japanese guns
– San Fernando – POWs put into small wooden boxcars
– each car could hold eight horses or forty men
– Japanese packed 100 POWs into each boxcar
– POWs who died remained standing since they could not fall to the floors
– Capas – POWs leave boxcars – dead fall-out of cars
– walked last ten miles to Camp O’Donnell
POW Camps:
– Philippine Islands:
– Camp O’Donnell
– 1 April 1942 – unfinished Filipino training base Japanese put into use as a POW camp
– Japanese believed the camp could hold 15,000 to 20,000 POWs
– POWs searched upon arrival at camp
– those found with Japanese money were accused of looting
– sent to the 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 to 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 were 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 the 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
– in an attempt to stop the spread of disease, the dead were moved to one area
– the ground under the 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 the dead were not buried for two or three days
– work details: if a POW could walk, he was sent out on a work detail
Burial Detail:
– POWs on burial detail often had dysentery and/or malaria
– the next morning the dead were often sitting up in the graves
– wild dogs dug up the dead
– Japanese opened a new POW camp to lower the death rate
– in May, his family received a letter from the War Department

“Dear Mrs. M. McCollough:

        “According to War Department records, you have been designated as the emergency addressee if Technician Fourth Grade Henry M. McCollough, 34,018,598, 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”

– 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 disembarked the train at 6:00 P.M. and put into a schoolyard
– fed rice and onion soup
– Cabanatuan
– original name – Camp Pangatian
– Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
– put into use by the Japanese as a POW camp
– actually three camps
– Camp 1: POWs from Camp O’Donnell sent there in an attempt to lower the death rate
– Camp 2: two 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 sent there
– camp created to keep Corregidor POWs separated from Bataan POWs
– Corregidor POWs were in better shape
– January 1943 – POWs from Camp 3 consolidated into Camp 1
– Camp Administration:
– the Japanese left POWs to run the camp on their own
– Japanese entered camp when they had a reason
– June – four POWs escaped
– recaptured
– brought back to the camp and tied to posts and beaten
– after three days they were cut loose from the posts
– dug their own graves
– stood in graves facing a Japanese firing squad and shot
– a Japanese officer used his pistol and fired a shot into each grave
– Blood Brother Rule
– POWs put into groups of ten
– if one escaped the others would be executed
– housed in same barracks
– worked on details together
– 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
– Food
– rice was the main food
– fed to them as “lugow” which meant “wet rice”
– they received few vegetables and almost no fruit.
– bread was infrequent
– the fish they received was usually rotten
– mostly bones and scales
– 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 “speedo” when he wanted POWs to work faster
– made the POWs kneel on stones to punish them
– Smiley
– always smiling
– could not be trusted
– meanest of guards of details
– POWs on detail received the worse beatings
– 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
– 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
– Burial Detail
– POWs worked in teams of four
– carried 4 to 6 dead to the cemetery at a time in litters
– a grave contained from 15 to 20 bodies
– the bodies floated in the graves because of the high water table
– the POWs held the body down with a pole while it was covered with dirt
– June 1942 – first cases of diphtheria appeared in camp
– 26 June 1942 – six POWs were executed by the Japanese
– they had left the camp to buy food and were caught returning to camp
– tied to posts in a manner that they could not stand up or sit down
– no one was allowed to give them food, water, or hats to protect them from the sun – – left tied to the posts for 48 hours when their ropes were cut
– four were executed on the duty side of the camp
– the other two were executed on the hospital side of the camp
– July 1942 – diphtheria spread throughout the camp
– 130 POWs died before the Japanese released any anti-toxin for treatment
– July 1942 – A second letter was sent to the families. The following is an excerpt:

“The last report of casualties received by the War Department from the Philippines arrived early in the morning of May 6. Through this date, Technician Fourth Grade Henry M. McCollough 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 Detail – POWs built runways with picks and shovels
– Nichols Field Detail
– July 1942
– 150 POWs arrive to cut down cogon grass, bushes, and small trees with bolos (long, straight-bladed steel knives)
– 31 August 1942
– 500 POWs arrive
– heads were shaven
– POWs were in fairly good shape when they arrived at Las Pinas
– 6 December 1942
– 800 POWs on the detail
– Pasay School:
– 3 miles from Nichols Field
– POW housed in school rooms
– each room was 20 feet by 30 feet and accommodated 28 to 30 men
– men slept so close together, on thin mattresses, and could hardly turn over
– each POW had two small blankets
– room infested with bedbugs, ants, and mosquitoes
– Cherry Blossom
– got the name from floral insignia he wore on his shoulder pieces
– Japanese civilian in command of barracks
– temperamental and described as terribly, terribly stupid
– roll calls took forever since he could not count over 100
– American officers had to correct roll call
– Latrines:
– two toilets for 500 men
– cans also were put in rooms
– 300 POWs shared seven showers
– 500 POWs shared four showers
– waited in line for up to an hour to take a shower
– Meals:
– the main diet was boiled rice which was from sweepings of a warehouse floor
– nails, worms, dust, glass, bottle caps, were often in it
– POWs picked the rice to eat it
– each POW received 240 grams of rice
– later cut to 120 grams
– POWs grew squash, gourds, green beans, eggplant, and sweet potatoes
– did not meet their nutritional needs since they got scraps from Japanese mess
– the meat was in the form of a fish used as fertilizer
– fish usually rotten
– POWs also received 250 pounds of potatoes each day for 500 POWs
– Japanese would let potatoes rot before giving them to POWs
– 80 pounds of flour given to POWs each week
– 20 pounds of meat a week for 800 POWs
– although they worked where fruit grew, the POWs were not allowed to eat any
– when Red Cross packages were given to POWs the Japanese cut the food rations by one fourth for 15 days
– beriberi spread among POWs because of diet
– Clothing:
– Philippine Red Cross gave clothing for POWs
– Japanese did not give it to them
– also kept Red Cross packages containing clothing
– every 3 months, the Japanese gave 18 shirts and 18 trousers for 500 POWs
– there was enough clothing in a warehouse to furnish each POW with two sets of clothes including shoes
– Camp Commander:
– Capt. Kenji Iwataka
– called the “White Angel”
– wore a spotless naval uniform
– commanded camp for 13 months
– Beatings:
– a daily event
– POWs were beaten on their way to the airfield, at the airfield, at lunch, and on their way from the airfield at the end of the day
– one POW collapsed while working and the White Angel ordered him to get up
– four other POWs took the man back to the school
– Japanese guards gave the man a shower and straightened his clothes
– the rest of the Americans were ordered to Pasay School
– the White Angel took an American officer behind the school with him where the man was
– the other POWs heard two shots
– the White Angel told the remaining POWs this was what was going to happen to anyone who would not work for the Japanese Empire
– later the American officer told the POWs what the White Angel had done to the man
– Yakota – second in command and looked like a wolf
“The Wolf”
– civilian that wore a naval uniform
– each morning The Wolf selected POWs who looked the sickest and lines them up
– the POWs had to put one leg on each side of a slit trench and next do 50 push-ups
– if the man collapsed and touched the ground, he was beaten with pick handles
– A POW collapsed while working
– The Wolf had him taken to the school
– that evening the Wolf came to the barracks and the man was still unconscious
– he took the man and banged his head into the concrete floor and kicked him in the head
– the man was taken to the showers where The Wolf drowned him in the basin
– a third POW tried to walk away from the detail
– told the Japanese guards to shoot him
– he was taken back to the school by the guards
– he was strung up by his thumbs outside the doorway of the school
– a bottle of beer and a sandwich were placed in front of him
– he was dead by that evening
– Ikegami
– second in command behind the Wolf
– compared to The Wolf, he was good to the men
– he let them smoke, gave the sick breaks but told them to work if “The Wolf” or the captain showed up
– bought cigarettes, rice cakes, and sugar for POWs with their money
– he also would give a POW his shoes and exchange their shoes for another pair that he gave to another POW for his shoes
– did this repeatedly
– Work:
– 1 September 1942 – work started on the runway
– Reveille: 6:00 A.M.
– 6:15 A.M. – roll call was taken
– breakfast: fish soup and rice
– roll call was taken again
– both healthy and sick POWs were counted
– POWs marched a mile and a half to the airfield
– arrived at 8:30 A.M.
– Roll Call – after arriving at the airfield
– tools handed out at tool shed
– Initially, the POWs worked until 11:30 A.M. and did not work again until 1:30 P.M.
– the workday ended at 4:1
– Japanese took roll call
– POWs arrived at school at about 5:50 P.M.
– roll call was taken again
– rush to showers
– supper
– roll call again
– lights out at 9:00 P.M.
– workday got longer the detail went on
– Japanese wanted a runway 500 yards wide and approximately a mile long
– the runway would go through swamp ground southeastward and straight through the hills
– plans for the runway came from Americans who had planned to build it with construction equipment
– Japanese had no plans to use construction equipment
– POWs built runway with picks, shovels, and wheelbarrows
– most had dysentery, malaria, beriberi, diarrhea, and were malnourished
– POWs worked under the 103rd Construction Unit by order of the Southern Third Fleet
– work was easy at first because the ground was almost level
– about 400 yards from start, the runway hit the foothills as tall as 80 feet had to be leveled with picks and shovels
– work got harder
– literally removed the side of a mountain by hand
– called “The Cut”
– POWs worked barefooted on gravel, rocks, and sun-baked mud and left bloody footprints
– many only had g-strings for clothing
– others worked nude
– dirt was carried to the swamp in wheelbarrows and dumped as landfill to fill-in swampland
– Japanese bring in old mine cars and rail
– laid four sets of tracks
– four POWs assigned to each mine car to keep them moving
– POWs loaded mining cars with earth and two POWs pushed cars to a dumping area
– car returned to the loading area where two of the POWs had another load waiting
– all four of the POWs loaded mine car
– as tracks got longer, loading pushing, dumping, unloading took longer to do
– each track had a quota which had to be met before POWs before the POWs could stop working
– Medical Supplies:
– Japanese issued little of the Red Cross medical supplies that came into the camp
– POW doctors said there was not enough medicine to cure an ailment but just enough to prolong the ailment
– there was a lack of quinine and carborine
– there was no emetine to cure amoebic dysentery
– the request for medicines was repeatedly turned down
– operations performed without anesthetics or proper medical equipment
– only 80 POWs were allowed to be on sick call each day
– Japanese determined which men were sick enough not to work
– POWs who brought the dead to Bilibid for burial
– most died of exhaustion or beatings
– POW medical staff told to write “malaria,” or another disease, as the cause of death on death certificates
– POWs on detail would not talk about the detail
– attempts were made to open boxes containing dead to take fingerprints
– Japanese would not allow the boxes to be opened
– 8 June 1943 – his name was on a list released by the War Department of men known to be Prisoners of the Japanese
– his family had learned he was a POW weeks earlier


– Within days of receiving the first message, his wife received the following letter:

    “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:

        “T/4 Henry M. McCollough, 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.


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

– October 1943 – 4 February 1945
– 200 to 300 POWs were sent to the hospital at Bilibid Prison
– most of the sick POWs were from Pasay School
– many died after arriving at Bilibid
– it was then that the POWs at Bilibid learned what the Las Pinas Detail was like
– it appears he was sent to Bilibid and later returned to Cabanatuan
– Cabanatuan
– January 1944 – POWs on the work details were no longer beaten
– farm detail where the POWs received the worse beatings was now considered the best detail
– Red Cross Box
– 3 cans of beef, 4 cans of butter, 1 spam, 1 purity loaf, 1 salmon, 1 Pate, 1 canned milk, and jam
– POWs received packs of cigarettes
– February 1944 – rumor spread that the Marshall Islands and Gibert Islands had been retaken
– They also heard that the Marianas Islands had been bombed 
– heard there had been a sea Battle in the Java Sea.
– also heard that the Filipino civilian food ration had been cut to 120 grams of rice a day and that no one was allowed to leave Manila
– August 1944 – the POWs worked to move the hospital to the same area as the POW barracks
– Japanese forbid individual cooking of food
– POWs adopted a group cooking policy
– a group ordered food 24 hours in advance
– that amount was deducted from the group’s food stock
– POWs could purchase coffee
– Japanese attitude also had changed and that they wanted the POWs more involved in the running of the camp
–  food situation in the camp grew worse
– POWs resorted to cutting down papaya trees to eat the trunks
– had no nutritional value
– it made the men feel full
– the worse effect was some diarrhea or an upset stomach
– cutting down the trees, preparing them for cooking, then eating it gave them something to do and temporary pleasure
– their rations continued to be reduced
– 21 September 1944 – POWs see first American planes in nearly 3 years
– flew over camp on their way to bomb Manila
– October – 150 guards who had been at the camp for awhile left the camp by truck for duty at other places
– the POWs heard a rumor from guards Americans were on Mindanao Island
– it turned out the rumor was false
– 14 October 1944 – names posted of POWs being sent to Bilibid Prison
– Henry’s name was listed
– 15 to 18 October – six trucks arrived at the camp each night
– spent the night at the camp
– the next morning, the POWs leaving the camp that day were fed corn cakes and rice for breakfast
– also inspected at 7:30 A.M.
– POWs were loaded onto the six trucks with 50 men put on each one
– 11:00 A.M. – on their way to the prison
– the POWs saw two large formations of American planes 
– fifth or sixth straight day they had seen American planes
– the trucks stopped and the POWs were fed, but not allowed off the trucks
– POWs made their way to the side of the truck to urinate
– 4:00 P.M. – arrived at Bilibid
– POWs could see little but American planes flying over them
– Typhoon: 3 December – 13 December
– prevented air raids
– several ships made it into the harbor
– 12 December 1944 – heard a rumor a detachment of POWs was being sent out
– 13 December 1944 – names of POWs leaving Bilibid posted
– 14 December 1944 – 4:00 A.M. – these POWs were awakened
– 7:30 A.M. – 9:00 A.M. – roll call taken
– given a farce of a physical
– each man was issued cigarettes, soap, and salt
– fed and given a meal to take with them
– allowed to roam around 
– 11:30 – POWs assembled
– put into 100 man detachments
– marched two miles to Pier 7 in Manila
– saw at least 40 Japanese ships sunk in the harbor
Hell Ship:
Oryoku Maru
– Boarded: 13 December 1944 – 5:00 P.M.
– approximately 700 POWs put in the aft hold
– approximately 600 POWs put in the forward hold
– approximately 300 POWs put in amidships hold
– high ranking officers were the first put into the ship’s aft hold
– being the first one into the hold meant that they would suffer many deaths
– around the perimeter of the hold were two tiers of bunks for the POWs
– the heat was so bad that men soon began to pass out
– one survivor said, “The fist fights began when men began to pass out. We knew that only the front men in bay would be able to get enough air.”
– the POWs who were closer to the hold’s hatch used anything they could find to fan air toward those further away from it
– 700 POWs were put in the forward hold
– 800 in its middle hold
– 100 in its aft hold
– the ship moved to a point in Manila Bay and dropped anchor
– remained there for two days
– The Japanese hoped that a storm would provide cover for the ships
– sailed and became a part of a convoy that moved without lights
– the weather to improved
– cries for air began as the men lost discipline
– the Japanese threatened to cover the holds and cut off all air
– the Japanese sent down fried rice, cabbage, and fried seaweed
– those further back from the opening got nothing
– 10:00 P.M. – the Japanese interpreter threatened to have the guards fire into the holds unless the POWs stopped screaming
– Some of the POWs fell silent because they were exhausted
– others because they had died
– One major of the 26th Cavalry stated the man next to him had lost his mind. Recalling the conversation he had with the man he said, “Worst was the man who had gone mad but would not sit still. One kept pestering me, pushing a mess kit against my chest, saying, ‘Have some of this chow? It’s good.’ I smelled of it, it was not chow. ‘All right’ he said, ‘If you don’t want it. I’m going to eat it.’ And a little later I heard him eating it, right beside me.”
– the Japanese covered the holds
– did not allow the slop buckets to be taken out of the holds
– those POWs who were left holding the buckets asked for someone else to hold it for a while
– when that did not work, they dumped the buckets on the men around them
– daylight began to enter the hold as morning came
– the POWs could see men who were in stupors, men out of their minds, and men who had died
– the POWs in the aft hold which also had a sub-hold put the POWs who out of their minds into it
– water had condensed on the walls so the POWs tried to scrape it off to drink
– Japanese allowed men who had passed out to be put on the deck
– as soon as they revived they went back into the holds
– the dead were not allowed to be removed from the holds
– their first meal at dawn
– consisted of a little rice, fish, some water, and three-fourths of a cup of water
– the cup of water was shared by 20 POWs
– 8:00 A.M., off the coast of Luzon
– the POWs had just finished eating breakfast
– they heard the sound of guns
– at first, they thought the gun crews were just drilling
– they had not heard any planes from U.S.S. Hornet
– the first bomb hit in the water and exploded
– the ship shook and they knew it was not a drill
– most of the planes were attacking the other ships in the convoy
– Commander Frank Bridgit had made his way to the top of the ladder into the hold and sat down. He gave the POWs a play by play of the planes attacking,
   “I can see two planes going for a freighter off our starboard side. No two more are detached from the formation. I think they may be coming for us.”
– POWs heard the change in the sound of the planes’ engines as they began their dives toward the ships in the convoy
– Several more bombs hit the water near the ship 
– ship rocked
– explosions were taking place all around the ship
– POWs piled baggage in front of them
– attempt to protect themselves
– bullets from the planes ricocheted in the hold causing many casualties
– Lt. Col. Elvin Barr of the 60th Coast Artillery came up to Maj, John Fowler of the 26th Cavalry on the cargo deck and said, “There’s a hole knocked in the
 bulkheads down there. Between 30 and 40 men have already died down there.”
– Barr never reached Japan
– attack lasted for about 20 to 30 minutes
– by 30 to 50 planes were involved
– when the planes ran out of bombs they strafed
– afterward, the planes flew off
– returned to their carrier
– there was a lull of about 20 to 30 minutes before the next squadron of planes appeared
– resumed the attack
– this pattern repeated itself over and over during the day
– the POWs concluded that the attacking planes were concentrating on the bridge of the ship
– the planes had taken out all the anti-aircraft guns
– the ship’s 30 caliber machine guns were its only guns
– 4:30 P.M. – the ship went through the worse attack on it
– it was hit at least three times by bombs on its bridge and stern
– many POWs were wounded by ricocheting bullets and shrapnel from exploding bombs
– Chaplain William Cummings, a Catholic priest led the POWs in the Our Father
– bombs that exploded near the ship
– torrents of water went over the ship
– bullets from the planes hit the metal plates of the hull
– the angle that prevented most of them from penetrating
– somewhere on the ship a fire started
– it was put out after several hours
– the POWs lived through seven or eight attacks before sunset
– six bombs hit the ship
– one hit the stern of the ship killing many POWs
– the POWs believed the other ships in the convoy had been sunk
– at dusk, the ship raised anchor and headed east
– went south and turned again  heading west
– the next turn it made was north
– headed in this direction for a good amount of time
– 8:00 P.M. – dropped anchor
– they had just sailed in a circle
– it turned out that the ship could not be steered
– after midnight, the POWs heard a noise on deck
– the Japanese civilians were being evacuated.
– the POW medics were ordered onto the deck
– treated the Japanese wounded
– the dead, dying, and wounded were everywhere
– 2:30 A.M. – the ship entered Subic Bay
– steamed closer to the beach
– dropped anchor
 – 4:00 A.M. – POWs were told that they would disembark at daybreak at a pier
– There was moaning and muttering among the POWs
– some were losing their minds
– this kept the POWs up all night
– that night 25 POWs died in the hold
– 15 December 1944 – POWs sat in the ship’s holds for hours after dawn
– the first 35 POWs were taken out of the hold and went into the water
– 8:00 A.M. – POWs waited
– a Japanese guard yelled into the hold at the POWs, “All go home; speedo!”
– he shouted that the wounded would be the first to be evacuated
– Suddenly, he looked up and shouted, “Planes, many planes!” 
– the planes continued yesterday’s attack
– the ship bounced in the water from the explosions
– Chief Boatswain Clarence M. Taylor who was in the water said, “I saw the whole thing. A bomb fell, hit near the stern hatch, and debris goes flying up
 in the air.”
– the POWs crowded together inhold
– chips of rust fell on them from the ceiling
– after the raid, they took care of the wounded before the next attack started
– a Catholic chaplain, Major John Duffy, began to pray, “Father forgive them. They know not what they do.”
– guards and interpreter had abandoned ship
– the ship’s captain remained on board
– told the POWs in his limited English that they needed to get off the ship to safety
– POWs made their way over the side and into the water
– As they swam to shore, the Japanese fired at them, with machine guns, to prevent them from escaping
– four of the planes flew low over the water above the POWs
– POWs waved frantically at the planes so they would not be strafed
– the planes banked and flew lower over the POWs
– this time the pilots dipped their wings 
– they knew the men in the water were Americans
– a half-hour later, the ship began to really burn
– the bodies of the dead could be seen on the decks
– a motorboat with a machine gun and snipers hunted down and shot POWs
– as many as 30 men died in the water
– there was no real beach
– the POWs climbed up on a seawall
– a Japanese Naval Landing Party had set up a machine gun
– POWs had just laid flat to rest when the gun opened fire on them
– POWs warned others to stay in the water
– one man climbed up on the seawall and was wounded
– Japanese snipers also waited to shoot anyone who attempted to escape
– Japanese gathered POWs
– marched them to the tennis court at Olongapo Naval Station
– it was about 500 yards from the beach.
– POWs herded onto a tennis court
– roll call was taken
– it was determined that 329 POWs had died in the attack
–  a Japanese officer, Lt. Junsaburo Toshio said badly wounded would be taken to Bilibid
– Lt. Col. E. Carl Engelhart – ranking American officer
– asked to pick men
– fifteen men were selected and loaded on a truck
– they were taken into the mountains and never seen again
– the men were beheaded and buried at a nearby cemetery
– POWs remained on the tennis courts for nine days
– they were given water but not fed
– the POWs sat and watched American planes attacking Japanese positions
– one plane dropped a bomb over the POWs
– the bomb sailed over them
– hit a target away from them
– 22 December 1945
– 8:00 A.M. – trucks arrived at the tennis court
– Rumors flew on where they were going to be taken
– 4:00 PM, a Taiwanese guard told the POWs, in broken English, “No go Cabanatuan. Go Manila; maybe Bilibid.” 
– he knew as little as the POWs
– taken by truck to San Fernando, Pampanga,
– 4:00 or 5:00 P.M. arrived
– they were put in a dark movie theater
– the POWs saw as a dungeon
– the POWs lived through several air raids
– the barrio was the military headquarters for the area
– most of the civilians had been moved out of the barrio
– Americans began to believe they had been taken there to be killed by their own countrymen
– 23 December 1945 – 10:00 P.M. – Japanese interpreter came and spoke to the ranking American officer about moving the POWs
– the Japanese loaded the seriously ill POWs into a truck
– believed they were taken to Bilibid
– taken to Campo Santo de San Fernando cemetery and beheaded
– remaining POWs were moved to a trade school building in the barrio
– 24 December 1944 – 10:00 A.M. – taken to the train station
– the station had been hit by bombings
– freight the cars they boarded had bullet holes from strafing
– 180 to 200 men were packed into steel boxcars with four guards
– the doors of the boxcars were kept closed
– the heat in the cars was terrible
– 10 to 15 POWs rode on the roofs of the cars with two guards
– the guards told these POWs that it was okay to wave to the American planes
– 25 December 1944 – 2:00 A.M. – POWs disembarked at San Fernando, La Union
– walked two kilometers to a schoolyard on the southern outskirts of the barrio
– spent the night there
-26 December 1944 – POWs were marched to a beach
– they were allowed one handful of rice and a canteen of water
– the sun was so bad that men drank seawater
– many of those men died
– boarded – Brazil Maru
–  POWs were held in three different holds
– the ship had hauled cattle
– held in the same stalls cattle had been in
– lower hold, the POWs were lined up in companies 108 men
– each man had four feet of space
– 27 December 1944 – sailed
– men attempted to get fresh air by climbing the ladders
– shot by the guards
– daily routine for the POWs
– six men climb out of the hold
– on deck, they dropped ropes into holds
– pulled up the dead
– pulled up the buckets of human feces
– they also lowered ten buckets containing rice, soup, and tea
– 30 December 1944 – POWs heard the sound of depth charges exploding
– 31 December 1944 – ship arrived at Takao, Formosa
– 11:30 A.M. – dropped anchor in the harbor
– each POW received a six-inch-long, 3/4 inch wide piece hardtack to eat
– the first bread they had since receiving crackers in their Red Cross packages in 1942
– the POWs received little water.
– 1 January 1945 – 5 January 1945 – they received one meal a day and very little water
– death rate among the POWs rose
– 6 January 1945 – all the POWs moved to the forward hold of the Enoura Maru
– POWs began to receive two meals a day
– 9 January 1945 – Enoura Maru attacked by American planes
– POWs were receiving their first meal of the day
– heard the sound of the ship’s machine-guns
– explosions of bombs falling closer and closer to the ship were also heard
– the waves created from the explosions rocked the ship
– one bomb exploded outside the hull of the ship blowing a hole in its side
– a second bomb fell through the open hatch
– exploded killing approximately 285 prisoners
– surviving POWs remained in the hold for three days with the dead
– the stench from the bodies got worse each day
– the Japanese made no effort to remove the dead from the hold
– the POWs stacked the bodies directly under the hatch 
– the bodies were the first things the Japanese saw and smelled when they looked into the hold
– Japanese medics finally entered the hold and treated those with minor wounds
– 11 January 1945 – a work detail was formed
– about half the dead were removed from the hold
– placed on a barge that had been tied to the ship
– the barge took the bodies to shore
– the POWs on the detail were too weak to carry the bodies
– tied ropes to the legs of the dead and  dragged them to a grave on a beach
– Friday – 12 January 1945 – wounds
– buried in the mass grave on a Formosa beach
– the remains of the dead were reburied at the Punch Bowl in Hawaii
– Tablets of the Missing
– American Military Cemetery – Manila, Philippine Islands


Leave a Reply