From the Archive — 07 December 2011

On the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 8, 1941, the Japanese attacked Clark Field in the Philippines. The Nunn Center has an interview in its Colonel Arthur L. Kelly Veterans Oral History Collection with Morgan French about this day.  French served as a maintenance crew chief for the 192nd Tank Battalion, Company D. He participated in the delaying action in the Philippines, and describes the Japanese bombing of Clark Field, the subsequent battles, and the fall of Bataan. When the rest of the battalion surrendered, French and his maintenance section escaped to Corregidor. They were eventually captured by the Japanese at Fort Drum and taken to a prison camp in Cabanatuan. There, French was selected to go to Japan on a work detail. He recalls his “hell ship” voyage, prison camps in Tanagawa and Tsuruga, illness among the prisoners, and the prisoners’ work and acts of sabotage.  Check out his interview on the Kentuckiana Digital Library, it is quite moving.

An interview with Morgan French, July 25, 1985

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