Pvt. William James Haviland
William J. Haviland was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in April 1919. He was
the son of Paul & Cecila Haviland. After his parents divorced,
with his brother, he was raised at
his maternal grandparent's house at 9516 Leo Avenue in Cleveland.
On March 22, 1941, William was inducted into the U. S. Army and sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky for basic training. At Ft. Knox, he was assigned to the 753rd Tank Battalion. During this time he was trained as a radio operator.
William's battalion was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, but did not take part in the maneuvers being held there. While they were there, the 192nd Tank Battalion received orders for overseas duty. Replacements were sought for the National Guardsmen who were released from federal service. William volunteered to join the 192nd and was assigned to A Company. He then received a leave home to say goodbye to friends and family.
Upon returning to Camp Polk, the battalion boarded trains and headed to San Francisco. They then took ferries to Angel Island where they received physicals and inoculations.
The 192nd was boarded onto transports which sailed for the Philippine Islands. Arriving in Manila, the battalion was sent to Fort Stotsenburg. There, they lived in tents along the main road and Clark Airfield. They spent the next two weeks preparing their tanks for use in maneuvers.
The morning of December 8, 1941, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field. They had received the news that morning of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Around 12:45 in the afternoon, planes approached the airfield, the tankers thought they were American until bombs began exploding around them.
During the next four months, William fought to slow the Japanese conquest of the Philippines. On April 9, 1942, he became a Prisoner of War when Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese. From Mariveles at the southern tip of Bataan, William began what became known as the Bataan Death March.
William made his way from Mariveles to San Fernando with little food and almost no water. At San Fernando, he and the other POWs were packed into small wooden boxcars used for hauling sugarcane. Each car could hold eight horses or forty men. The Japanese put 100 men into each car. Those who died remained standing since there was no place for them to fall. At Capas, those still living left the boxcars and walked the last few miles to Camp O'Donnell.
Camp O'Donnell was a death trap with only one water faucet for 12,000 men. As many as 75 men died each day from disease and lack of food. He was next held at Cabanatuan. It is known William was selected for a work detail to build runways at Las Pinas. He would later build runways at Clark Field and remained on this detail until August 20, 1944. He was sent back to Manila and held as a POW at Bilibid Prison.
On August 27, 1944, William was one of 1,035 POWs who were boarded onto the Noto Maru. The ship sailed to Formosa and after a stop there sailed for Japan on September 7th. After a stop at Formosa, the ship arrived at Moji, Japan on September 9th. The POWs then were taken by train to Hanawa 300 miles away.
At Sendai #6 outside of Hanawa, William and the other POWs were worked in a copper mine owned by Mitshubishi. The mine had been reopened after being closed as unsafe. To get to the mine, the POWs had to walk up a road to the mountain where the mine was located. Often, they walked through snow that was waist deep. They climbed stairs to the mine's rim and then descended into the mine. The guards used an entrance that had been cut to reach the mine at the mountain's base.
Sometime during his imprisonment, William developed pneumonia and tuberculosis. On June 1, 1945, Pvt. William J. Haviland died of tuberculosis at Sendai #6. After the war, William's remains were returned to the Philippines. He is buried at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.