Tec 5 Fred William Lovering Jr.
| T/5. Fred William Lovering
Jr. was born July 16, 1918, in Oak Park, Illinois,
to Frederick W. Lovering Sr., & Francis M.
Kruchow-Lovering and was one of the couple's four
children. As a child, he grew up at 330
South 22nd Street in Bellwood, Illinois.
When he was eleven, his father died leaving his
mother to raise the children alone.
To work, Fred's mother placed her children in the Bensenville Home which was an orphanage in Bensenville, Illinois. After graduating from Tioga Grade School, Fred started school at Bensenville High School but transferred to Proviso Township High School when he was brought home to Bellwood before his sophomore year.
Fred enlisted in the Illinois National Guard's 33rd Tank Company which was headquartered in an armory in Maywood. He did this in spite of mother's objecting to his enlisting. On October 11, 1940, before he left for Ft. Knox, Kentucky, Fred married Thelma McMullin.
On November 25, 1940, Fred traveled to Fort Knox when the tank company was federalized. His company was now B Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. At first, Fred and the other members of the company lived in tents until their barracks were completed.
When Headquarters Company was formed in January
1941, Fred was transferred to the company.
It is not known what his duties with the company
were, but the company's main job was to ensure
that the letter companies tanks were
operational, received ammunition, and get
gasoline to the tanks.
The battalion traveled west over
different train routes to San
Arriving there, they were taken by
ferry to Angel Island in San
Francisco Bay. At Ft.
McDowell, on the island, they were
given physicals and inoculated for
overseas duty. Those men
found to have a minor medical
condition were held back and
scheduled to rejoin the battalion at
a later date. Other men were
Fred and the other members of HQ Company spent
the next four months working to supply the
letter companies. The evening of April 8, 1942, Capt.
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."
HQ Company finally boarded trucks and drove to Mariveles where they were ordered out of their trucks. From there, they walked to Mariveles Airfield and sat and waited. As they waited, Fred and the other men noticed a line of Japanese soldiers forming across from them. They soon realized that this was a firing squad and the Japanese were going to kill them.
As they sat watching and waiting to see what the Japanese intended to do, a Japanese officer, in a car, pulled up to the soldiers. He got out and spoke to the sergeant in charge of the detail. The officer got back in the car and drove off. As he drove away, the sergeant ordered the soldiers to lower their guns.
Later in the day, Fred and the other POWs were moved to a school yard in Mariveles. In the school yard, they found themselves in front of Japanese artillery firing on Corregidor and Ft. Drum. When Corregidor and Ft. Drum began returning fire, shells began landing among the POWs who had no place to hide. Some of the POWs were killed. The American guns did knock out three of the Japanese guns.
The POWs were again ordered to move by the Japanese and had no idea that they had started what became known as the death march. During the march, Fred received no water and little food. At San Fernando, he was put into bull pen and ordered to sit. The POWs remained there until the Japanese ordered them to form detachments of 100 men. They were marched to the train station and packed into small wooden boxcars known as "Forty or Eights." They were called this because each car could hold forty men or eight horses. The Japanese packed 100 men into each car and closed the doors. Those who died remained standing since they could not fall to the floor. As the prisoners disembarked from the cars, the bodies of those who had died fell to the floors. From Capas, they walked the last few miles to Camp O' Donnell.
Camp O'Donnell was a nightmare where as many as
50 men died each day from the disease. The
POWs had to stand in line for days to get water
from the only water spigot in the camp.
Many died of thirst as they waited to get a
drink. Those assigned to bury the dead had
to hold the bodies down with poles since the
water table was high and the bodies floated
until covered with dirt. In the morning,
when they returned with more dead, they found
wild dogs had dug up the dead or that the
corpses were sitting up in the graves.
When Cabanatuan was opened to relieve the
conditions at Camp O'Donnell, Fred was sent to
this new camp. While he was in the camp,
his promotion to T/5 was made official in June
1942. At some point, he developed cerebral
malaria and was admitted to the camp hospital on
Thursday, July 9, 1942.
According to medical records kept at Cabanatuan, T/5 Fred W. Lovering died of cerebral malaria on Monday, July 13, 1942, at approximately 3:30 PM. His family did not learn of his death until July 1945.
After the war, Fred's remains were returned to Illinois, in November 1949, at the request of his mother. T/5 Fred W. Lovering Jr. was reburied, next to his father, at Elm Lawn Cemetery in Elmhurst, Illinois, on November 26, 1949. Since his mother could not afford to pay to have a headstone placed on his grave, T/5 Fred W. Lovering was laid to rest in an unmarked grave.
In early November 2004, through the efforts of the President of the Maywood Bataan Day Organization, Col. Richard McMahon, U.S.A., Retired, a military headstone was placed on T/5 Fred W. Lovering Jr.'s grave. The placement of the headstone ended fifty-five years of Fred Lovering lying in an unmarked grave.