Posts Tagged ‘Camp No. 3’

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Lacking eight days, I was in Camp No. 3 for four months. I have no way of knowing how many P.O.W.’s died of either starvation or of disease, but to my knowledge, the only four men shot were the ones I mentioned earlier. This does not mean that the Japs let up on us. Someone was always getting beat up for no good reason at all. The Japs told us that we would never win the war, and that they were willing to fight a ten year war. We had no news in camp except rumors, but according to the Japs’ story, they must have sunk our total fleet five or six times while I was in this camp.

Forgotten Men

In a camp of nipa barracks,
Lost deep in the Philippines,
Are a bunch of forgotten warriors
With nothing left but dreams.

We’re fighting a greater battle now
Than the battle that we fought and lost.
It’s a battle against the elements;
A battle with life that cost.

But not it’s not how much you know,
Or how quick you hit the ditch.
It’s not the rank that you once held,
Or whether or not you’re rich.

No one cares who you know back home,
Or what kind of life you led.
It’s just how long you can stick it out
That governs your lot instead.

This battle we’re fighting at present
Is a battle against flies and diseases.
And with decent living conditions,
We’d win this fight with ease.

It’s rice for breakfast, noon and night,
And rain most every day.
Then sleep on bamboo slats at night,
With no better place to lay.

We eat from most any old tin can
We’re lucky enough to get.
And the medical supplies we ought to have,
We haven’t seen as yet.

Yes, we’re the forgotten men of Corregidor,
Fighting the greatest battle yet.
Struggling for bare existence,
Through hunger and sickness and sweat.

Those of us who do come through,
Perhaps we can prove our worth
When we tell the strangest tale yet told
Of a veritable Hell on earth.

(Written by a fellow prisoner)

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Returning to the 92nd Garage area, four or five days after the surrender, I was again called upon by the Japs to work on a detail that was loading supplies and materials on board a Jap ship that was docked at the south dock. We were carrying Portland cement from Queen’s Tunnel, which was about half a mile. There was a large detail doing the loading. The Japs did give us some water and going in and out of the tunnel, we could manage to sneak a bite of food now and then. It was about mid-afternoon when on our way to the ship, each with a sack of cement, that I said to the four men closest to me, “Let’s take five.” (meaning a short break or rest). [sic] When I spoke, I did not see any Jap guards, but we had rested no more than three or four minutes when two Japs charged us with their fixed bayonets and marched us on down the road toward the ship that we had been loading. Here we had to pass by an old rock quarry; there was but one way in and out of this hole, and the walls must have been about fifteen or twenty feet straight up and down. The Japs forced us to go into this hole. After getting to the bottom of it, they made us move to the south edge of this hole. Not until this time did I know that there were three other Japs on the opposite rim of the hole. When one of the guards yelled something, we looked up and saw three Japs sitting behind a machine gun. The two that brought us down, and the three that were on the rim talked back and forth for a minute or so, and then one of the Japs brought over some rope. Before tying our hands behind our backs, they gave us a drink of water and offered us a cigarette. We each drank the water, but refused the cigarett. [sic] Then they tied our hands. Realizing that we were about to be shot down in cold blood, I again whispered a prayer. There was a loud shout and the guards with us moved back. The Japs on the rim cleared the machine gun, traversed it from left to right and aimed it in the pit at us. They seemed to be toying with us as a cat toys with a mouse. Then it finally happened: a loud command, and the machine gun began to fire. They fired about four or five feet over our heads. The three on the rim cleared their gun again, pushed down on the butt of the gun and laughed as though it was a big joke. The two guards in the hole with us then cut our hands loose, and told us to go back to work. I was not only scared that I would die in that hole, but believe that I came as near death that time as at any time while I was in prison.

Until the day that we left Corregidor, I had any number of minor experiences, but not any more like the two that I have stated above. I had a real bad wound now. I had been grazed by gun fire on the defending of Water Tank Hill, and the wound had not seemed much at the time, but infection had set in and my leg was beginning to look swollen and black and blue. I managed to get hold of two sulfa tablets and mashed them up and put them on my leg. This helped, but my leg continued to give me a lot of pain. It was not healed until some time later in Camp No. 3 in Cabanatuan.