Holland

2nd Lt. Arthur A. Holland


    2nd Lt. Arthur A. Holland was born on April 13, 1920, in Newark, New Jersey, to Joseph & Molly Holland.  With his parents and two brothers, he lived in Maywood and at 7436 West Madison Street, Forest Park, Illinois.  He attended  Irving School and Proviso Township High School in Maywood. 

    At Proviso, Arthur participated in the student council and was a member of  the National Honor Society.  After he graduated, he became associated with his father in the Joseph Holland Hardware Firm.  In 1942, his father sold his business and the family moved to Hinsdale.

    Arthur joined the Illinois National Guard and became a member of the 33rd Tank Company headquartered in an armory at Maywood, Illinois.  In November of 1940, Arthur was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky, to train with his company when it was federalized as Company B, 192nd Tank Battalion.  He attended Mess Sergeant and cook school and was B Company's mess sergeant until he was promoted to tank commander.

    In the late summer of 1941, the battalion took part in maneuvers in Louisiana, from September 1 through 30, and was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana.  It was there that the members of the battalion learned that they had been selected for duty overseas.  Those National Guardsmen who were 29 years old or older were given the chance to resign from federal service.  They were replaced by men from the 753rd Tank Battalion.
    The decision for this move -  which had been made in August 1941 - was the result of an event that took place in the summer of 1941.  A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf, in the Philippines, when one of the pilots, who was flying at a lower altitude, noticed something odd.  He took his plane down and identified a flagged buoy in the water and saw another in the distance.  He came upon more buoys that lined up, in a straight line for 30 miles to the northwest, in the direction of an Japanese occupied island which was hundred of miles away.  The island had a large radio transmitter.  The squadron continued its flight plan south to Mariveles and returned to Clark Field.
     When the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.  The next day, when another squadron was sent to the area, the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat - with a tarp on its deck - which was seen making its way to shore.   Since communication between the Air Corps and Navy was difficult, the boat escaped.  It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
    Over different train routes, the battalion traveled by train to San Francisco, California, where they were ferried, on the U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe, to Fort McDowell on Angel Island were they inoculated and given physicals by the battalion's medical detachment.  Those who were found to have a medical condition were held back and told that they would rejoin the battalion at a later date.  Other men were simply replaced.
    The 192nd boarded onto the U.S.A.T. Gen. Hugh L. Scott and sailed on Monday, October 27.  During this part of the trip, many tankers had seasickness, but once they recovered they spent much of the time training in breaking down machine guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP.   The ship arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2nd and had a two day layover, so the soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island.
    On Wednesday, November 5, the ship sailed for Guam but took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes.  It was at this time it was joined by, the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Louisville and, another transport, the S.S. President Calvin Coolidge.  Sunday night, November 9, the soldiers went to bed and when they awoke the next morning, it was Tuesday, November 11.  During the night, while they slept, the ships had crossed the International Dateline.  On Saturday, November 15, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon.  The Louisville revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it shot off in the direction of the smoke.  It turned out the smoke was from a ship that belonged to a friendly country.
    When they arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables before sailing for Manila the next day.  At one point, the ships passed an island at night and did so in total blackout.  This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way.  The ships entered Manila Bay, at 8:00 A.M., on Thursday, November 20, and docked at Pier 7 later that morning.  At 3:00 P.M., most of the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg.  Those who drove trucks drove them to the fort, while the maintenance section remained behind at the pier to unload the tanks.

    Upon arrival of at Ft. Stotsenburg, the tankers were greeted by Gen. Edward P. King who apologized to them for having to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Field.   King made sure that the tankers received what they needed and their Thanksgiving Dinners before he went to have his own dinner.
    Since their barracks were not completed the men lived in four men tents.  For the next seventeen days they removed the cosmoline from their guns and loaded ammunition belts.  On Monday, December 1, the tank battalion was ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field.  The 192nd was given the southern end of the airfield to defend, while the 194th Tank Battalion protected the northern half of the airfield.  Having the job of transportation officer most likely meant that Arthur was in the battalion's bivouac.
    War came for Arthur and the other men of the 192nd when the Japanese bombed Clark Field just ten hours after their attack on Pearl Harbor.   The tankers were eating lunch at 12:45 P.M., when planes approached the airfield from the north.  When bombs began exploding, they knew the planes were Japanese.  Those men in the battalion's bivouac could do little more than take cover.
    When the Japanese were finished, there was not much left of the airfield.  The soldiers watched as the dead, dying, and wounded were hauled to the hospital on bomb racks, trucks, and anything that could carry the wounded was in use.  When the hospital filled, they watched the medics place the wounded under the building.  Many of these men had their arms and legs missing.
    That night, most men slept under their tanks since it was safer than sleeping in their tents.  They had no idea that they had slept their last night in a bed.  They lived through two more attacks on December 11 and 13.

    As the Filipino and American troops withdrew toward Bataan, Arthur, as transportation officer, attempted to get ammunition and other supplies to the tanks of the 192nd.  He could not always deliver the supplies because whenever he thought he had found the tanks, the tanks had moved.  During one incident, it took Arthur's detachment six days to deliver the supplies needed by the tanks. 
    The tank battalion received orders on December 21 that it was to proceed north to Lingayen Gulf.   Because of logistics problems, the B and C Companies soon ran low on gas.  When they reached Rosario, there was only enough for one tank platoon, from B Company, to proceed north to support the 26th Cavalry.
    On December 23 and 24, the battalion was in the area of Urdaneta.   The bridge they were going to use to cross the Agno River was destroyed and the tankers made an end run to get south of river.  As they did this, they ran into Japanese resistance early in the evening.  They successfully crossed at the river in the Bayambang Province.
    On December 25, the tanks of the battalion held the southern bank of the Agno River from Carmen to Tayung, with the tanks of the 194th holding the line on the Carmen-Alcala-Bautista Road. The tanks held the position until 5:30 in the morning on December 27.
    The tankers were fell back toward Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December 27, and December were at San Isidro south of Cabanatuan on December 28 and 29.  While there, the bridge over the Pampanga River was destroyed, they were able find a crossing over the river.  
       
    Around the beginning of the new year, A Company was sent to reinforce the 194th which had lost several tanks.  During this move, A Company tried to go through Guagua, but the barrio had been taken by the Japanese.  The tank company supported a counter attack to retake the barrio.  The attack failed.  During the counterattack, the 11th Division thought the tanks were Japanese, and fired at the with mortars.  The company did reach the 194th and supported its withdraw, but it had lost three tanks. 

    During the Battle of Bataan, the Japanese attempted to land troops behind the main Filipino and American defensive lines.  It was around this time that Arthur was transferred to A Company and put in command of a tank platoon.  The tanks were ordered into the "pockets" to wipe out the enemy troops.  Before the attack, the ranking American officer ordered the Japanese to surrender.  In very plain English, a Japanese soldier responded with, "Nuts to you, Joe." 

    The tanks were involved in the Battle of the Pockets to wipe out Japanese soldiers trapped behind the main defensive line.  The tanks rolled into the pockets with sirens blaring running into trees, with snipers in them, and knocking them down.  They wiped out numerous machine gun nests and chased many Japanese soldiers from their foxholes.

    With the help of B Company tanks, the tankers destroyed a .37 millimeter gun.  As the tanks rolled over the battlefield, soldiers riding on their backs dropped hand grenades into enemy foxholes.  Those Japanese who attempted to flee were shot.  In one trench, Kenneth counted the bodies of 37 Japanese soldiers.

    In an attempt to stop the tanks, the Japanese planted disk shaped land mines.  The mines had little to no effect on the tanks and all returned to their respective bases safely.

    At one point during the Battle of Bataan, A Company was ordered to attack the Japanese at a certain point.  According to orders, the tanks were suppose to go up a specific road shown on military maps.  It is known that while attempting to accomplish his mission, he radioed military command that he could not reach his objective because the road drawn on the map did not exist.

    On April 9, 1942, Arthur became a Prisoner of War when the Filipino and American Forces were surrendered.  He took part in the death march and was imprisoned at Camp O'Donnell. 

    The Japanese pressed the camp into use as a POW camp on April 1, 1942.  When they arrived at the camp, the Japanese confiscated any extra clothing that the POWs had and refused to return it to them.  They searched the POWs and if a man was found to have Japanese money on them, they were taken to the guardhouse.  Over the next several days, gunshots were heard to the southeast of the camp.  These POWs had been executed for looting.
    There was only one water faucet in the camp, and the prisoners stood in line from two to eight hours waiting for a drink.  The Japanese guards at the faucet would turn it off for no reason and the next man in line would stand as long as four hours waiting for it to be turned on again.  This situation improved when a second faucet was added.
    There was no water for washing clothes, so the POWs would throw out their clothing when it had been soiled.  In addition, water for cooking had to be carried three miles from a river to the camp and mess kits could not be washed.  The slit trenches in the camp were inadequate and were soon overflowing since most of the POWs had dysentery.  The result was that flies were everywhere in the camp including the POW kitchens and in the food.
    The camp hospital had no soap, water, or disinfectant.  When the ranking American doctor at the camp wrote a letter to the camp commandant, Capt. Yohio Tsuneyoshi, asking for medical supplies, he was told never to write another letter.  Tsuneyoshi also told the doctor that the only thing he wanted to know about the Americans was their names and serial numbers when they died.
    The Archbishop of Manila sent a truckload of medical supplies to the camp, the Japanese commandant refused to allow the truck into the camp.  When the Japanese Red Cross sent medical supplies the camp the Japanese took 95% of the supplies for their own use.
    The POWs in the camp hospital lay on the floor elbow to elbow and only one of the six medic assigned to care for 50 sick POWs was healthy enough to care for them.  When a representative of the Philippine Red Cross stated they could supply a 150 bed hospital for the camp, he was slapped in the face by a Japanese lieutenant.
    Each morning, the bodies of the dead were found all over the camp and were carried to the hospital and placed underneath it.  The bodies lay there for two or three days before they were buried in the camp cemetery by other POWs who were suffering from dysentery and/or malaria.  To clean the ground under the hospital, the ground was scraped and lime was spread over it.  The bodies of the dead were placed in the area, and the area they had been laying was scrapped and lime was spread over it.
    Work details were sent out on a daily basis.  Each day, the American doctors gave a list of names to the Japanese of the POWs who were healthier enough to work.  If the quota of POWs needed to work could not be met, the Japanese put those POWs who were sick, but could walk, to work.  The death rate among the POWs reached 50 men dying a day.
    The burial detail would carry the dead to the cemetery and put the corpse in the grave. Since the water table was high, so that it could be covered with dirt, one POW held the body down with a pole while dirt was thrown on the corpse.  The next day when the burial detail returned to the cemetery, the dead often were dug up by wild dogs or sitting up in their graves.
    On June 1, 1942, the POWs formed detachments of 100 men each and were marched to Capas.  There, the were put in steel boxcars with two Japanese guards.  The trip was not as bad since the POWs had more room in the boxcars.  At Calumpit, the train was switched onto another line which took it to Cabanatuan.  The POWs disembarked and were taken to a schoolyard where they were fed cooked rice and onion soup.  From there, they were marched to Cabanatuan which had been the headquarters of the 91st Philippine Army Division and was formerly known at Camp Panagaian.
    The camp was actually three camps. Camp 1 housed the POWs who had been captured on Bataan and held at Camp O'Donnell.  Camp 2 was two miles from Camp 1 and was closed because it lacked an adequate water supply.  It was later reopened and held Naval POWs.  Camp 3 was eight miles from Camp 1 and six miles from Camp 2.  It housed the POWs fro Corregidor and those men who had been hospitalized when Bataan surrendered.  The camp was later closed and the POWs were sent to Camp 1. The camp was actually three camps. Camp 1 housed the POWs who had been captured on Bataan and held at Camp O'Donnell.  Camp 2 was two miles from Camp 1 and was closed because it lacked an adequate water supply.  It was later reopened and held Naval POWs.  Camp 3 was eight miles from Camp 1 and six miles from Camp 2.  It housed the POWs from Corregidor and those men who had been hospitalized when Bataan surrendered.  Camps 1 and 3 were later consolidated into one camp.
    The barracks were built for 50 men, but most had 60 to 120 men in them.  Each man had a are two feet wide by six feet long to sleep in.  The POWs slept on bamboo slats without mattresses, bedding, and mosquito netting.  Disease soon spread quickly.  Arthur was assigned to Barracks 9 which was mostly officers.
    To prevent escapes, the POWs set up a detail that patrolled the fence of the camp.  The reason this was done was that those who did escape and were caught, were tortured before being executed, while the other POWs were made to watch.  It is believed that no POW successfully escaped from the camp.
    The POWs were sent out on work details to cut wood for the POW kitchens.  Meals on a daily basis consisted of 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, and sweet potato or corn.  Other POWs worked in rice paddies.  Each morning, after arriving at the farm, the POWs went into a tool shed to get their tools.  As they left the shed, the guards hit them on their heads.  While working in the fields, the favorite punishment given to the men in the rice paddies was to have their faces pushed into the mud and stepped on by a guard.  Returning from a detail the POWs bought, or were given, medicine, food, and tobacco, which they somehow managed to get into the camp even though they were searched when they returned.
    The Camp 1 hospital was made up of 30 wards.  Zero ward had been missed when the wards were being counted so it was given the name of "Zero Ward."  The ward became the place were POWs who were going to die were sent.  The Japanese were so terrified by it, that they put a fence up around it and would not go near the building.   Inside the buildings were two rolls of wooden platforms along the walls.  The sicker POWs were put on the lower platform which had holes cut into them.  This allowed the POWs to relieve themselves without having to get off the platform.  When Red Cross packages were given out, and other changes were made, the death rate dropped.
While he was a POW in the camp, he was hospitalized.  According to records kept by the medical staff, he was admitted to the hospital on July 17, 1942.  Why he was admitted and when he was discharged were not recorded.  He remained in Cabanatuan until late September, 1944.  It was at that time that he was sent to Bilibid Prison.  At the docks of Manila, Arthur and other POWs were boarded onto the Arisan Maru for transport to Japan.

    On October 10, 1944, Arthur was boarded onto the Arisan Maru.  With him on the ship were the same members of B Company who had been worked with him in Manila.  He and 1805 other POWs were packed into the ship's number one hold.  Along the sides of the hold were shelves that served as bunks.  These bunks were so close together that a man could not lift himself up.  Those standing had no room to lie down. The latrines for the prisoners were eight five gallon cans.  Since the POWs were packed into the hold so tightly, many of the POWs could not get near the cans.  The floor of the hold was covered with human waste.

    On October 11th, the ship set sail but took a southerly route away from Formosa.  Within the first 48 hours, five POWs had died.  The ship anchored in a cove off Palawan Island where it remained for ten days.  The Japanese covered the hatch with a tarp. During the night, the POWs were in total darkness.  This resulted in the ship missing an air attack by American planes.  The ship was attacked by American planes on a later date. 

    Each day, each POW was given three ounces of water and two half mess kits of raw rice.  Conditions in the hold were so bad, that the POWs began to develop heat blisters.  Although the Japanese had removed the lights in the hold, they had not cutoff the power.  Some of the prisoners were able to wire the ship's blowers into the power lines.  This allowed fresh air into the hold.  The blowers were disconnected two days later when the Japanese discovered what had been done.  

    The Japanese realized that if they did not do something many of the POWs would die.  To prevent this, they opened the ship's number two hold and transferred 600 POWs into it.  At some point, one POW was shot while attempting to escape.

    The Arisan Maru returned to Manila on October 20th.  There, it joined a convoy.  On October 21st, the convoy left Manila and entered the South China Sea.  The Japanese refused to mark POW ships with red crosses to indicate they were carrying POWs.  This made the ships targets for submarines.  The POWs in the hold were so desperate that they prayed that the ship be hit by torpedoes.

    According to the survivors, on October 24, 1944, at about 5:00 pm, POWs were on deck preparing the meal for those in the ship's two holds.  The ship was, off the coast of China, in the Bashi Channel.  Suddenly, sirens and other alarms were heard.  The men inside holds knew this meant that American submarines had been spotted and began to chant for the submarines to sink the ship.

    The Japanese on deck began running around the ship.  As the POWs watched, a torpedo passed the bow of the ship.  Moments later, a second torpedo passed the ship's stern.  There was a sudden jar and the ship stopped dead in the water.  It had been hit by two torpedoes amidships in its third hold where there were no POWs.  It is believed that the submarine that fired the torpedoes was the U.S.S Snook.

    One of the Japanese guards took a machine-gun and began firing on the POWs who were on deck.  To escape, the POWs dove back into the holds.  After they were in, the Japanese put the hatch covers on the holds.

    As the Japanese abandoned ship, they cut the rope ladders into the ship's two holds, but they did not tie down the hatch covers.  Some of the POWs in the second hold were able to climb out and reattached the ladders.  They also dropped ropes down to the POWs in both holds.

    The POWs were able to get onto the deck of the ship.  At first, few POWs attempted to escape the ship.  A group of 35 swam to a nearby Japanese ship, but when the Japanese realized they were POWs, they were pushed away with poles and hit with clubs.  The Japanese destroyers in the convoy deliberately pulled away from the POWs as they attempted to reach them.

    As the ship got lower in the water, some POWs took to the water.  These POWs attempted to escape the ship by clinging to rafts, hatch covers, flotsam and jetsam.  Most of the POWs were still on deck even after it became apparent that the ship was sinking.   The exact time of the ship's sinking is not known since it took place after dark.

    Five of the POWs found a abandoned lifeboat, but since they had no paddles, they could not maneuver it to help other POWs.  According to the survivors, the Arisan Maru sank sometime after dark.  As the night went on, the cries for help grew fewer until there was silence.

    2nd Lt. Arthur A. Holland lost his life when the Arisan Maru was torpedoed in the South China Sea.  Of the 1803 POWs on the ship, only nine survived the sinking.  Eight of these men would survive the war. 

    Since he was lost at sea, 2nd Lt. Arthur A. Holland's name is inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.


 

 


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