Oryoku Maru Telegram and Letter

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“MRS HELENA CRANDALL=

1020 SENECA STREET ST JOSEPH MO=

“THE SECRETARY OF WAR DEEPLY REGRETS TO INFORM YOU THAT YOUR HUSBAND 2ND LT RALPH E CRANDALL WAS KILLED IN ACTION IN THE PACIFIC AREA 15 DECEMBER 44 WHILE BEING TRANSPORTED ABOARD A JAPANESE VESSEL=
CONFIRMING LETTER FOLLOWS=
=EDWARD F WITSELL ACTING         
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           ADJUTANT GENERAL OF THE ARMY

The telegram was followed a few days later by a letter.

“Mrs. Helena Crandall
1020 Seneca Street
St. Joseph, Missouri

“From information available, it appears that 1,619 prisoners of war were embarked 13 December 1944 on a Japanese vessel, presumably for transfer to Japan.  The ship was bombed and sunk in Subic Bay, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 15 December 1944.  After considerable delay there has been received from the Japanese government a confirmatory report of this sinking, with partial official lists of those lost and of survivors. Nine hundred and forty-two of the prisoners of war, among them your son, are officially reported by the Japanese to have lost their lives at the time. Of the survivors remaining in the hands of the Japanese fifty-nine are reported to have died and others to have been later transferred to Japan.  only two of the prisoners of war aboard are known to have evaded recapture and returned to our forces.

“I regret that the known circumstances and reports received offer no hope that your husband survived this catastrophe. He will be carried on the records of the War Department as killed in action 15 December 1944. However his pay will terminate and his accounts will be closed as of 25 July 1945, the evidence of his death having been received in the Was Department on that date.

“Please know that you have my heartfelt sympathy.

“Edward F. Witsell (signed)

                                                                                                          Edward F. Witsell
                                                                                                          Major General
acting for the Adjutant General of the Army”