To: Angus Lorenzen:
Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2011 8:38 AM
Subject: Snyder,Samuel L. POW Civilian in P.I. in
WW2-on Arisan Maru
My father was a POW in P.I.,Civilian and died on the Arisan Maru torpedoed by the U.S.
Shark. What POW camp was he in in the P.I.?
My name is Fred. Angus Lorenzen
forwarded your e-mail to me in regards to your query about your father's days
as a POW. Here is what I have found, so far.
Before the war, in a roster dated July 9, 1941, your father
was working for the "Office of the Engineering
Department/Manila." He was a Civil Service Employee with the
Adjutant Generals Office. Sometime after the war began, between Dec. 8, 1941 to Dec. 24, 1941, he was transferred to
the island of Corregidor. On Corregidor,
he worked for the "Office of Engineering/Ft. Mills."
He was in the Administrative Division, Cost-Finance
Department. I assume this meant his work consisted of
"Cost Accounting." He drew a yearly salary of $2,300,
which was in the mid-range compared to the other employees.
Obviously, his war time duties in a besieged island would have been somewhat
different than what he did in Manila. I don't know
what, exactly, he did on Corregidor, but I can assume he did not crunch
numbers like he did in Manila.† This is from a roster dated Jan. 16, 1942.
Since the beginning of the war, Corregidor
was assaulted with artillery fire and aerial bombings. Prior to the fall
of Bataan, these
were sporadic and intermittent. After the fall of Bataan,
on April 9, 1945, the artillery fire and bombings intensified, both in strength
and frequency. On the Evening of May 5, 1942, the Japanese began a series
of three landings which culminated in the early morning hours of May 6.
At noon on May 6, Gen. Wainwright
decided to surrender his forces on Corregidor.
His surrender was not accepted by Gen. Homma, who insisted that he would only
accept the surrender of all the forces in the Philippines and not just the surrender of Corregidor. The next day, May 7, Gen. Wainwright
surrendered all the forces in the Philippines,
and therefore, his surrender of Corregidor was
accepted by the Japanese.
Here is the sequence of events in your
fatherís life in the Philippines....
1. Your father was in Manila
working for the Dept. of Engineering, AGO, until sometime before Dec. 24, 1941,
after which he went to Corregidor. He
was an accountant and he was 37 years old.
2. He stayed in Corregidor
throughout the entire Defense of the Philippines, in 1942.
3. Officially, he was surrendered
to the Japanese, on Corregidor, by Gen.
Jonathan Wainwright on May 7, 1942.
4. On May 10, he was moved to the 92nd Garage, the hangar area, in Kindley Field on Corregidor
and kept there for almost two weeks.
5. On May 23, all but about
300 men, were put on boats and sent to Manila.
The boats dropped them on the shore line on Dewey Blvd. After wading ashore,
they were forced to march through the streets of Manila, for all to see, until they reached Bilibid, approximately, 2 miles away.
6. He remained in Bilibid until around May 27, where he was marched to the
train station in Manila.
The train took him to Cabanatuan
City, Nueva Ecija. From the train station in Cabanatuan City,
he was forced to march another few miles until he reached a former Army
base for the 91st Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army.
This Army base was later known as Cabanatuan POW Camp. His name
appears in a roster dated September 8, 1942. He was kept with Group II,
in Building #10. All the buildings in Cabanatuan were numbered, except for the two
triage building where they kept the terminally ill. Those two buildings
were called Ward Zero. One was a dysentery building and the other was for
malaria and other diseases.
7. In November 1943, I find your
father in a roster of POWs who were in the Las Pinas
Work Detail. Las Pinas was a sleepy little
beach town, south of Manila. Today
it is part of Metro Manila. The POWs were used to build an air field for
the Japanese Air Force. This air field was never completed. In
June, 1944, the Las Pinas Work Detail was
shutdown and the men were transferred to Bilibid,
first, and then most of them to Cabanatuan.
8. On October 11, 1944, your
father boarded the Arisan Maru.
The ship first went to Palawan to pick up prisoners there, and then returned
back to Manila.
From Manila, this second time, it sailed
for Moji, Japan, carrying 1800 men. On
October 24, 1944, approximately 200 miles southeast of Tokyo, the Arisan took
two two torpedoes in her from the Submarine, USS Shark. She broke in
half and sunk very quickly. There were only five survivors.
I constructed that sequence of events
using four dated rosters in which I found your father listed: the
Corregidor, Cabanatuan, the
Las Pinas, and Arisan Maru roster. The Japanese had a policy of
treating POWs as slave laborers, so they moved them around as they were
needed. Although your father never reached Japan,
like a slave, he was sold, to a Japanese corporation for whom he would have
worked for, if he had reached Japan.
For example, my own father, from Cabanatuan, was sold to the Mitsubishi Corporation and he
was shipped to Mukden, Manchuria, where he
worked in facility that made pistons and other spare parts for Japanese
airplanes and other vehicles, such as tanks. It is an alien concept,
but Japanese corporations bought POWs to work as their slaves from the Japanese
That is what I have on your
father. If you have any questions, or if I may be of more help to you,
feel free to write to me.