Cpl. Martin William Camfferman Jr.
Martin W. Camfferman Jr. was born on November 22, 1920, and raised at
1500 South 56th Court in Cicero, Illinois. He was
the youngest of five children of Martin W. Camfferman Sr., & Clasine
While he was
still a child, his mother passed away which resulted in his sister
quitting school to take care of Martin so that their father could work.
Martin attended Morton High School where he was a member of the Class of 1938. While in high school, he was a member of the swimming team. After high school, he worked as a truck driver for an automobile parts wholesaler.
Like many young men of his age, Martin knew that with the new draft act it was just a matter of time before he would be drafted into the army. To avoid this, Martin joined the Illinois National Guard in Maywood, Illinois. In November of 1940, Martin was inducted into the regular army when the National Guard unit was federalized.
On April 6, 1941, while he was on leave, he married his grade school sweetheart, Catherine Gray. He last saw her on October 6, 1941, as his company prepared to leave for overseas duty.
As a member of the B Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, he trained at Fort Knox, Kentucky. There he was taught to operate all the equipment used by the company. In January, 1941, Headquarters Company of the 192nd Tank Battalion was created. At this time, Martin was transferred into this newly created company.
Next, Martin participated in the maneuvers of 1941 in Louisiana. After the maneuvers at Camp Polk, Louisiana, his battalion was informed that they had been selected by General George S. Patton for duty overseas. He and the other members of the battalion received furloughs home so that they could take care of unfinished business and say goodbye to family and friends.
Martin returned to Camp Polk, Louisiana, From there, the battalion traveled by train to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay where he received the necessary inoculations. By ship, Martin and the other members of the battalion sailed to the Philippine Islands. After a stop in Hawaii, the ships made their way to Guam and then Manila. The soldiers knew that war was coming because this part of the journey was completed under total "blackout."
The 192nd Tank Battalion arrived in the Philippine Islands on Thanksgiving Day, 1941, a little more than two weeks before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. During this time, the soldiers worked to prepare their equipment for use on the expected maneuvers.
When war came on December 8, 1941, Martin lived through the Japanese bombing of Clark Field. Having received word of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the tanks of the Provisional Tank Group were sent to the perimeter of Clark Field to defend against a possible Japanese paratrooper attack.
During the Battle of the Philippines, the battalion was used as the rear guard to slow the Japanese advance and to allow the Filipino and American Forces to withdraw into the Bataan Peninsula. Being with HQ Company, Martin's job was to insure that the letter companies received the necessary supplies they needed to fight the Japanese. At times doing this was difficult because the tanks moved frequently to plug leaks in the defensive positions. To demonstrate how bad the situation was on Bataan, the last time Martin's family heard from him was in a letter dated February 2, 1942.
When the Filipino and American Forces in the Philippine Islands were surrendered on April 9, 1942, Martin became a Prisoner of War. He took part in the death march and was imprisoned at Camp O'Donnell. When the new POW camp opened at Cabanatuan, Martin was transferred there. According to U. S. Army records, Cpl. Martin W. Camfferman died of dysentery and malaria on July 27, 1942, at Cabanatuan Camp #1.
After the war, Cpl. Martin W. Camfferman Jr.'s remains were reburied in Plot N, Row 12, Grave 70, at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.