Cpl. Martin William Camfferman Jr.
| Cpl. Martin W. Camfferman Jr.
was born on November 22, 1920, to Martin W.
Camfferman Sr. & Clasine Godee-Camfferman and
was the youngest of their five children. The
family resided at 1500
South 56th Court in Cicero, Illinois,and
attended local schools. 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
Martin attended Morton High School where he was a member of the Class of 1938 and a member of the swimming team. After high school, he worked as a truck driver for an automobile parts wholesaler.
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, on
September 24, 1940, since the news that the
company was being federalized had been in the
paper. On November 25, 1940, Martin was
inducted into the regular army when the National
Guard unit was federalized and rode a train to
Fort Knox, Kentucky, on November 28th.
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 was created
and Martin was transferred into the
company. In April 1941, he received leave
home and married his grade school sweetheart,
Catherine Gray, on April 6, 1941.
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 leaves home so that they
could take care of unfinished business and say
goodbye to family and friends. He last saw his wife on October
6, 1941, before he returned to Camp Polk, as his
company prepared to leave for overseas duty.
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 at full strength at the perimeter of Clark Field.
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,
of April 8,
his men the
news of the
surrender. While informing the members
of the company
waved his arm
tanks and told
the men that
they would no
he spoke, his
He turned away
from the men
for a moment,
and when he
turned back he
He next told
should do to
that they all
He told the
that could be
used by the
The only thing
they were told
not to destroy
The men waited
juice for what
he called, "Their last supper."
After the war, Cpl. Martin W. Camfferman Jr.'s remains were disinterred on August 31, 1948, and identified. At the request of his wife, he was reburied in Plot N, Row 12, Grave 70, at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila on October 18, 1949.