From those that were there… (4)

Just prior to starting the Bataan Death March

Just prior to starting the Bataan Death March

Lester Tenney was out of Chicago, Illinois and into the US Army 192nd Tank Battalion when the Bataan Death March made it’s infamous mark in history.  It has been 69 years since since his released ______

Lester Tenney

Lester Tenney

“The march became known as the Bataan Death March, not just because of how many died, but because of they way they died.  If you stopped, you were killed.  If you had a malaria attack and had to stop for help, you were killed.  If you had dysentery and had to stop to relieve yourself, you were killed. Without food or water and with constant beatings, the march became unbearable.  Seeking a drink  of water from a caribou wallow resulted in dysentery and drinking water from a free-flowing artesian well resulted in being killed.

“And how did they kill you?  By shooting or bayoneting you or by decapitation.  And in one instance, burying the soldier alive.  The March was the beginning of 3½ years of hell.  If you survived the Bataan Death March, you were then sent to Japan on old Japanese freighters [Hell Ships] whose military officers refused to place Red Cross or POW markings on the ships — thereby making them targets for American submarines and air force fighter planes.

Lester Tenney

Lester Tenney

If you survived the Bataan Death March, the POW camp in the Philippines and the ship to Japan, you were then placed into forced labor with some of Japan’s leading industrial giants and required to work their mines, on their docks or in their factories.

Hospital building at POW camp # 17

Hospital building at POW camp # 17

“The companies failed to feed us adequately, failed to take care of our medical needs and failed to stop the physical abuse that was orchestrated and carried out by the civilian workers of those same Japanese companies.  The everyday beatings with shovels, hammers and pick-axes caused severe lifetime injuries to those of us who survived.”

A more recent photo of Mr. Tenney

A more recent photo of Mr. Tenney

Mr. Tenney’s WWII profile lists: Camp O’Donnell, Camp Cabanatuan, and the Fukuoka camp # 17, Matsui coal mine.  He has written his autobiography in “My Hitch in Hell.”  The story and information in this post is from: CNN.com and www. CVCRA. org.

Book cover of "My Hitch in Hell" released in Japan.

Book cover of “My Hitch in Hell” released in Japan.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –  Rivalries___

Silent Observer

Silent Observer

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638ccff978b16b8959bbcfb07eb30ca3

 

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Farewell Salutes – border

Albert Adler – Brooklyn, NY; US Navy, Quartermaster, USS Ault

James Brickel – DC & FL; US Air Force, LtGeneral, pilot, Silver Star, Air Force Cross

Amerigo “Mickey” Dezuzio – Paterson, NJ, US Army16292

John Farley – Saskatoon, CAN; RC Navy, WWII

Lewis Johns – Middlemore, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 442756

Glen Noel – Portland, OR; US Army, WWII

Judith Stinson – Sydney, AUS; Australian Army Nursing Corps

George Storch – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII

Paul Tidwell Jr. – Delray, FL; US Air Force, Korea

Raimond Winslow – Falmouth, ME; USMC, WWII, PTO, 1st Marine Division

Bernard Zimmerman – Palos Park, IL; US Army, WWII, Signal Corps

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on December 18, 2014, in First-hand Accounts, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 100 Comments.

  1. This article will always make me angry on what the Japanese did to our Servicemen during the War. There was really no reason on this Earth for them to treat POW’s in that horrible manner. What was wrong with the Japs at that time? Did they go nuts? To this day, I will never, ever give or make friends with a Japanese from that time long ago. Pearl Harbor is another.

    Like

    • I can understand your feelings. Many of the Japanese did commit suicide because of knowing what they did was wrong. Many were cruel because the Japanese officers punished their own troops as easily as the POWs. It is difficult for us to put ourselves in anyone’s shoes of that era simply because it was another world in another time and can not be judged by today’s rules.
      I did not wish to upset anyone with this post, but ALL history needs to be recorded and repeated, in my opinion. I do not go along with the textbooks only showing what each government wishes it’s citizens to know.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, it is difficult to understand why the Japanese were so cruel to the Allied Troops during the War. I sure will never understand that. It should never happen again.

        I’m also disappointed in knowing that the Education system in this Country does not teach much about the War that took so many Lives. Even, the Vietnam War is not mentioned, which I find deplorable! Being a Vietnam Vet of the US Navy, the System should teach about this “Conflict” so it does not happen again. Trouble is, it probably will sometime in the future.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Before the ‘wars’ of the Middle East of today began, I looked at a fellow worker and said that will become your generation’s Vietnam, mark my words – and, how many years has it been going on? Sometimes I HATE being right.
          And Please, do not call Vietnam a ‘conflict’ – for anyone who saw one day on the ground of that horrid place knows it was a war.
          Thank you for your service. The generals of ww2 tried to warn the politicians to stay the hell away from that place!!

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      • That last line is so meaningful and true.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Another great informative post gp, I need to follow it up further, so once again t5hanks for the reference to his book.
    Ian

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  3. Thank you so much for the great effort to articulate the plight of our Bataan marchers. By doing so, you are giving honor to our forebears. My salute, dear friend!

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  4. I’ve read about this march. Horrid.

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  5. What a terrible event in the history of our military. Thanks for sharing to remind us of the sacrifices made by these men.

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  6. Thanks for the response on the series “Hunters…” which I found on YT. I have a copy of John Toland’s “But Not In Shame”; when I first read it many years ago, I never stopped being disgusted with FDR> Those men could, and should have been reinforced. P*** on his “Hitler first” policy.

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    • All of John Toland’s books are very informative. The more I research the Pacific, the more amazed I am that they accomplished as much as they did! FDR – I dislike even having to mention his name, but it’s history.

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  7. Indescribable hell. I cannot imagine how those who survived, did so.
    Just awful

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  8. It’s almost too sad to click ‘like’. But i apreciate and thank-you for teaching me something I knew nothing about. Another informative post.

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  9. I really can’t imagine how anyone survived such torture during and after the march. Do you have any numbers of walkers and / or survivors? Perhaps you have listed them before, but I have to admit I don’t recall. Thanks for sharing the story.

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    • Bev, I’m afraid no one knows the exact figures. I have been to numerous sites and the numbers range wide. Captured [American and Filipino], go from 60 – 100,000 men. In the march to Camp O’Donnell alone 2,500 – 10,000 died. About 30 – 50 died per/day. After here, the train ride killed hundreds,the Hell Ships and Japanese POW camps cost thousands more – the historians and records can only guess.

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      • Thanks for the attempt. I had a feeling they were vague, but didn’t realize they was that wide of a span in estimates. The march was just the beginning of the end for so many. Keep up the great reporting.

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        • No problem, Bev. Any question here, if I don’t have the answer handy, I will research – but the estimates here will never be narrowed – they just don’t know. Thank you for having such an interest.

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  10. Whenever I read your blog, I always feel grateful to the men and women who gave their lives for the freedoms I now enjoy. I think it’s important for people like you to share stories of the suffering that so many people endured during World War II, and the amazing resilience of those that survived. I also try to live in a way that is worthy of their sacrifice. Thank you for your blog.
    Karen

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  11. That sounds like a living hell.

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    • I wouldn’t know any other way to describe it, Kerbey. How anyone came out alive is still making people scratch their heads. It can only be chalked up as a miracle. Thank you for visiting.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Tank you auch eine schöne Weihnachtszeit Grüße und Kisses Gislinde

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  13. well this brief post was such an honor to Lester = and moved my heart – those marches were horrid – and the boat ride, etc. I might just have to get his book – but I first have to narrow down my wait list… anyhow…

    and all day I have been messing around on “photofunia” and so just for fun I made one for Mr. Tenney

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Since we’re so ready to apologize for our mis-steps in the past, have the Japanese ever offered to apologize for this? Maybe I missed it…

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  15. Ah, young Jamie just lay 5 wreaths in the Wreaths Across America celebration for our deceased veterans. Woof!

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  16. i’m currently watching a film (in German language) with no subtitles.
    it’s really good, but i have no idea what they are saying.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalingrad_%281993_film%29

    Like

    • It appears they made the film as authentic as possible. I’m afraid I don’t have the time to watch it, especially since the only German I know is – counting to ten and the song “O Tannenbaum. Thanks for the link, Sedge.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I cannot imagine, or begin to absorb, what these men endured. I can’t. Thank you for continuing to share their stories.

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  18. It’s a miracle that anyone survived this torture. I cannot imagine living after this and having to deal with horrific nightmares they must had to endure. Sad just terribly sad.

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  19. Reblogged this on mikefullerauthor and commented:
    Fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers and what they did for us. Thank you.

    Like

  20. America is ever so lucky to have John McCain and his consistent voice against all such torture as a result of his Vietnam experience.

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  21. Back in high school (my fresmam year and I was 12 then ). I first came upon some articles about POW during the WWII – one of the features was about the Bataan Death March. (Bataan is our neighboring province back then) It was real tragic and a wee bit traumatic for me. I feel for these soldiers and my kababayans. I could never imagine nor would ever know how anyone could survive it but I’m so glad that there are records of these atrocities that somehow make you lose faith with humanity but at the same time, feel so grateful that there were survivors of these events that lived to tell the tales of their bravery – they’re the people that helped me restored some of those lost beliefs. I always get emotional reading and hearing what the likes of Mr.Tenney have gone through. I hope those late soldiers and surviving ones would know that they will never be forgotten esp here in the Philippines. Maraming Salamat.

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    • I appreciate you commenting on the Filipino viewpoint and thank you for bearing up under these heart breaking tales. I know the islands will never forget and I appreciate that, just as I thank you and your people for the honor they have given the 11th Airborne, especially at Los Banos. In the days of your parents and grandparents, they did what they could to help the men in these stories despite the threat of violence to themselves – that said thank you stronger than words!!

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  22. There’s an old saying: ‘It all comes out in the wash’.
    Another is that ‘history is written by the victor’.

    It’s currently fashionable to gasp in shock and horror at what ‘we’ did to ‘them’ (Dresden, Hamburg, Hiroshima, Nagaski …) whilst overlooking the fact that at the time what we did was actually a cause for wide celebration, and widely celebrated. O tempora, o mores …

    It’s good that you put before all people some of the reasons for doing unto them what they did unto us, as it were. More to the point though—where (and how) does it all stop?

    (And that cartoon, the Navy guy got it in one~!) (Yay!)

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    • It won’t stop as long as there is ignorance and greed. When a person is reading, learning, creating, working – there is NO time for planning acts of cruelty. Every disagreement has more than one side to it, therefore I merely list the facts and allow the reader to make up their own minds. I would never profess to think I am re-writing history. I go into Japanese sites, Filipino, British, etc, etc, etc. and there are many more educated than I to watch over me here in the event of a faux pas.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. How terrible and agree hard to read. Glad that you are getting the message out there. Really a miracle that they survived!

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  24. The human spirit is capable of such extremes of cruelty and courage.

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  25. gp, Lester Tenney, reveals, perhaps, the the most graphic details of the Bataan Death March I have ever read or heard. His story beyond the March is not better. Americans could at the least learn of what our soldiers suffered. Good job as always. Have a Merry Christmas to you! Phil

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    • Thank you, Phil, for reading, commenting and the well wishes….You know I want everyone here to have the ultimate of Holiday Seasons!!! I’ll be sending mine out in 1942 style – I hope!!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. I once knew a man who was captured on Bataan. He’s been gone now for over a decade. He was captured on Bataan by the Japanese before he was twenty. Later he was sent to Japan to work in the coal mines. I think he relived his experiences in the Philippines and Japan everyday for the rest of his life. The abuse he received and that he observed remained with him always. He despised all things Japanese . . .

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  27. It is difficult to read, and grieves me more that it seems we do not really know how many actually died on that march.

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  28. Reblogged this on A Conservative Christian Man.

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  29. It is so necessary to preserve these stories so that. hopefully, they do not recur. Loved the humour section too as always. And finally, a Merry Christmas to you and your family

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    • Thank you very much, John. You get what it is I’m trying to do here, plus the humor adds a bit of relief after such horrid war events. I wish you and yours the best Christmas and New Year!!

      Like

  30. So sad, so hard to read. It really is hard to believe that anyone survived.Thanks you for shining a light on these stories.

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    • Just as we did for D-Day, all these men need to be remembered and with only 2 more stories left, there will be many that other sites will need to publish. Thank you for managing to get thru these tales of horror.

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  31. Thank you for this factual report. this brings back memories of a story told to us long ago. My uncle was one of those who died in the Death March. he was a member of the Philippine Scouts. He had been weak from malaria, and was being half-carried, half-dragged by a cousin. Knowing that his cousin would only get in trouble because of him, my uncle decided to just let go. His cousin narrated how he was bayoneted as he lay down on the road.

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  32. Horrible. Are you going to watch the film ‘Unbroken’?

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  33. I feel so sad… seeing this picture…

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  34. Surviving all that……….

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  35. Man’s inhumanity to man seems to know no bounds. It’s amazing anyone survived this kind of hell.

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  36. P.O.W’s of every nation lived through hellish situations that most of us could not even imagine. I wonder how the crime rates would free fall if the prisons were run like these P.O.W. camps? Sadly, there are still P.O.Ws and the war never ends for these people even if the conflict has been declared over. Geneva conventions do little to protect P.O.Ws from harm because most never believe they will get caught abusing their prisoners and be held accountable for their war crimes.

    Like

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