Cpl. Robert M. Harrie
Robert M. Harrie was the son of Charles F. Harrie & Bessie Gordon-Harrie. He
was born on November 9, 1922, in Whitestown, Wisconsin. His mother
died and his father remarried. Robert moved to
Janesville, Wisconsin, with his family, where he attended elementary
school and high school.
It is known that he had two sisters, two
half-brothers, and three half sisters. After high school, he
worked for the Janesville Gazette.
While he was in high school, Robert joined the Wisconsin National Guard's 32nd Tank Company headquartered in the armory in Janesville. Since he was sixteen, he was discharged. In 1940, he reenlisted in the National Guard.
While he was still in high school, the tank company was federalized as A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. Robert left high school in November, 1940 and traveled to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, for nine months of training.
In the late summer of 1941, Robert as a member of the 192nd took part in the Louisiana maneuvers of 1941. After the maneuvers he and the other members of the battalion learned that their time in the military had been extended.
After receiving a leave home to say goodbye to his family, Robert reported to Camp Polk. From there the battalion traveled by train to San Francisco. From Angel Island, the battalion left the United States for the Philippine Islands.
It was during the battalion's trip to the Philippines that Robert celebrated his 19th birthday. As the convoy approached the International Date Line, Robert realized that, with the change of date, he would miss his birthday entirely. To solve the problem, the convoy went without November 10th.
On December 8, 1942, just ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Robert lived through the Japanese attack on Clark Field. For the next four months, he fought to slow the Japanese conquest of the Philippines.
On April 9, 1942, Robert became a Prisoner of War when the Philippines were surrendered to the Japanese. He took part in the death march with the other members of A Company and was held as a POW at Camp O'Donnell.
When Cabanatuan was opened, Robert was transferred there with most of the other prisoners. Sometime during his imprisonment there, Robert developed dysentery. Cpl. Robert M. Harrie died from dysentery on November 21, 1942. He was 20 years old. His parents learned of his death in August 1943.
After the war, his family asked that Robert's remains be returned to Janesville. He was reburied at Milton Lawn Cemetery in Janesville on July 23, 1949.