Sheppard, PFC William J.

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PFC William Julian Sheppard 
Born: 12 August 1910 – West River Township, Randolph County, Indiana 
Hometown: Route 2, Lyman, Indiana  
Parents: William Z. Sheppard & Celina F. Gaddis-Sheppard  
Siblings: 3 sisters, 2 brothers  
Selective Service Registration: 16 October 1940 
– registration card has not been found 
Inducted: 10 January 1941 – Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana
Training: 
– Ft. Knox, Kentucky 
– Training: Machinist 
Unit:
– 19th Ordnance Battalion
– learned how to do maintenance on 57 different vehicles
– learned how to maintain different guns
– 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
– Maneuvers
– 1 August 1941- the battalion took part in maneuvers in Arkansas
– A Company ordered back to Ft. Knox
– name changed to 17th Ordnance Company
– The company received orders for overseas duty
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
– spent the next few days preparing equipment for transport to the Philippines
– removed turrets from tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion
Overseas Duty:
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 – 9:00 A.M.
– soldiers were given shore leave for the day
– Sailed: same day – 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
– Arrived: Manila, Philippine Islands – Friday – 26 September 1941
– Disembarked: 3:00 P.M.
– 17th Ordnance remained behind to unload the tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion
– reattached the turrets to the tanks.
– rode a bus to Ft. Stotsenburg
Stationed:
– Ft. Stotsenburg
– lived in tents
– barracks completed – 15 November 1941
Engagements:
– Battle of the Philippines – 8 December 1942 – 6 January 1942
– converted WWI anti-personnel shells so they could be used by the tanks
– set up fuel dumps for tanks as they withdrew toward Bataan
– Battle of Bataan – 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
– serviced tanks of the 192nd & 194th Tank Battalions on the front lines under combat conditions
– manufactured and scavenged spare parts for the tanks
– headquartered in an abandoned ordnance depot building
Prisoner of War:
– 9 April 1941
– 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 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 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 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
It was at this time that his family received this message.

“According to War Department records you have been designated as the emergency addressee of PFC William J. Sheppard, who according to the latest information available, was serving in the Philippine Islands at the time of the final surrender.
“We deeply regret that it is impossible for us to give you more information. 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 of other islands of the Philippines. The Japanese government has indicated its intentions of conforming to the terms of the Geneva convention with respects 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 the surrender of Corregidor, May 7, 1942, until definite information to the contrary is received. It is hoped that the Japanese government will communicate a list of prisoners of war at an early date. At this time you will be notified by this office in the event his name (William J. Sheppard) is contained in the list of prisoners of war.”

– 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 #1
– Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
– “Blood Brother” rule implemented
– if one POW in the group of 10 escaped, the other nine would be killed
– work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens, plant rice, and farm
– when POWs lined up, 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 they lined up
– POWs hit across the top of their heads as they stood in line for roll call
– if the guards on the detail decided the POW wasn’t doing what he should be doing, he was beaten
– POWs on rice planting details went to a tool shed to get tools
– as they exited, the guards would hit them over their heads
– if a guard decided a POW was not working hard enough, he would shove the man’s face into the mud and step on his head driving the man’s face deeper
  into the mud
– 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
– men who attempted to escape and caught were executed
– daily POW meal – 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
– 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
In July 1942, his parents received a second letter. 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, PFC William J. Sheppard 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.”

Hell Ship:
Tottori Maru
– Sailed: Manila – 8 October 1942
– Arrived: Takao, Formosa – 16 October 1942
– Sailed: Takao, Formosa – 19 October 1942
Note: Ship went to the other side of Formosa to avoid a typhoon.
Returned to Takao on October 29, before sailing for Pusan.
– Arrived: Pusan, Korea – November 1942
Note: POWs took the train to Manchuria
POW Camp:
– Mukden, Manchuria
– Hoten Camp
– POW Number: 167
– In the camp with him was his good friend Sgt. James H. Smith
– Barracks:
– two-story brick buildings
– buildings had electricity and cold running water
– heated with “petchka” stoves
– provided adequate heat
– building infested with fleas, bedbugs, and lice
– divided into ten sections
– five on the first floor and five on the second floor
– each section divided into four double-decked sleeping bays
– 8 POWs slept in a bay
– 48 POWs slept in a section
– Meals:
– Breakfast: cornmeal mush, beans, bun
– Lunch: maize and beans
– Supper: beans and a bun
– POWs made snares to catch wild dogs that roamed into camp
– stopped catching dogs when one was seen eating the body of a dead Chinese civilian
– Food rations were cut in half if the Japanese believed one POW was not working hard enough
– Hospital:
– many of POWs who died in the camp died due to illnesses caused by malnutrition
– many of those who died from illnesses that could be treated
– over 200 POWs died the first winter in the camp
– POWs who died during winter were stored in a building until the ground thawed and they could be buried
– Japanese doctor, Jiechi Kumashima, denied Red Cross medicine to the POWs
– overruled American doctors on who was ill
– sick forced to work
– later found guilty of war crimes and hanged
– Juro Oki, Japanese civilian doctor who smuggled medicine into the camp for POWs
– would have been shot if he had been caught
– Work:
– POWs worked in a machine shop and lumber mill
– walked 3 miles to factories
– 7:30 A.M. until 5:30 or 6:00 P.M.
– Japanese wanted POWs to produce guns
– committed acts of sabotage to prevent anything useful from being made
– Japanese blamed the Chinese workers because they believed the Americans were too stupid to commit the sabotage
– POWs sabotaged machines by dropping sand in oiling holes
– while pouring cement, the POWs would drop pieces of machines into the cement to sabotage them
– Punishment:
– POWs kicked, hit with clubs, sticks, bamboo poles, shoe heals, sabers, and fists
– any reason used to beat them
– Collective Punishment:
– when the Japanese suspected some POWs had smuggled cigarettes into their barracks, all the POWs were ordered outside and stood at attention
– POWs ordered to strip and stood nude in the code
– stood in the snow barefooted for hours as the barracks and the 700 POWs, who lived in it were searched
– Eiichi Nada – guard
– was considered the worse abuser of POWs
– born, raised, and educated in Berkley, California
– frequently beat POWs at morning assembly
– when they fell to the ground he screamed at them
– “Get up, you yellow, white, son of a bitch!”
– Lt. Mikki – walked through the barracks with a 3 foot and hit the POWs with it
– on one occasion, the POWs were ordered to remove their shoes
– Lt. Murado, beat each man with his own shoes
– Red Cross clothing withheld from POWs
– Chinese told them there was a warehouse full of Red Cross clothing
– Unit 731:
– POWs from camp selected to be used in Japanese germ warfare experiments
– injected with deadly diseases
– some of these men were dissected while alive
Note: Japanese medical officer, Jiechi Kuwashima, asked the POWs, wounded from bombings, to write letters asking the Allies to stop the bombing of Mukden. The POWs did write the letters but told the Allies that they wouldn’t mind more frequent bombings.
Extermination Order:
– The camp commander received an order to march the POWs into the forest and execute them
– 16 August 1945 – Four American OSS officers parachuted into camp and told the commander the war was over
– the team was held as POWs for one night and sent to Sian Camp
– this was the camp where high ranking officers were imprisoned
Liberated: 20 August 1945 – Russian Army arrived
– B-29s appeared over the area where the POWs lit oil drums to signal planes with smoke
– the lead plane came down and saw the POWs
– circle and dropped medical supplies, food, and clothing to POWs
– American planes dropped walkie-talkies to POWs
– allowed POWs to talk to aircrews
– POWs told the crews what they wanted
– planes dropped them ice cream to now fiddle strings
– 29 August 1945 – American Recovery Team enters the camp
– POWs were taken by train to Dalian, China
– taken by ship to Okinawa
– returned to the Philippine Islands
– parents learned he was a POW – 20 January 1943
Promoted: Staff Sergeant
Transport:
S.S. Simon Bolivar
– Sailed: not known
– Arrived: San Francisco – 21 October 1945
– taken to Letterman General Hospital
Married: Betty Ann Morris – 19 April 1946
Divorced: 16 April 1957
Children: 2 daughters, 1 son
Medical Treatment:
– Dayton V.A. Hospital
– received treatment for years
– still in and out of the hospital in 1958
Died: 2 April 1958 – Cincinnati, Ohio
Funeral: Huntsville Methodist Church
Buried:
– Huntsville Cemetery – Modoc, Indiana

Default Gravesite 1

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