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.
    In the late summer of 1941, the battalion took part in maneuvers in Louisiana. 
After the maneuvers, it was ordered to Camp Polk, Louisiana instead of returning to Ft. Knox as expected.  It was on the side of a hill, that the battalion members kearned they were being sent overseas.  The men were given leaves and returned home and said their goodbyes.  They returned to the fort where the battalion loaded their equipment onto trains.

    The battalion traveled west over different train routes to San Francisco, California.  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 simply replaced.
    The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.S. Hugh L. Scott and sailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th, as part of a three ship convoy that arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2nd.  Since the ships had a two day layover, the soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island.  On Wednesday, November 5th, the ships sailed for Guam, but took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes.
During this part of the voyage, smoke from an unknown ship, was seen on the horizon.  The cruiser that was escorting the two transports revved its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it took off in the direction of the smoke.  It turned out that the unknown ship was from a friendly country
When they arrived at Guam, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables, before sailing for Manila. At one point, the ships passed an island at night.  While they passed the island, they 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, at 8:00 A.M., entered Manila Bay on Thursday, November 20th.  They docked at Pier 7 later in the day, and at 3:00 P.M., the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg. 
  At the fort, they were greeted by Colonel Edward King, who apologized that the men had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Field.  He made sure that they all received everything they needed and had Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own dinner.  Ironically, November 20th was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons.  The grease was put on the weapons to protect them from rust while at sea.  They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance.
A little over two weeks later, he survived the Japanese attack on Clark Field. 

    On Monday, December 1st, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard it against paratroopers.  The 194th Tank Battalion was assigned the northern half of the airfield while the 192nd protected the southern half.  At all times, two crew members had two remain with their tank or half-track and received their meals from food trucks.  HQ Company made sure that the companies had what they needed.   
    The morning of December 8, 1941, just hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the tankers were ordered the perimeter of Clark Airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers.  All morning long as they sat on their tanks, they watched as American planes filled the sky.  At noon, the planes landed.       
    As the tankers were having lunch, 54 planes approached the airfield from the north.
When bombs began exploding on the runways, the tankers knew the planes were Japanese.  Since they had few weapons that could be used against Japanese, they could do is watch.
    On December 21st, the 192nd was sent to Lingayen Gulf in an attempt to stop the Japanese from landing troops.  Lyle, along with the other members of HQ Company  worked to keep the tank companies supplied and fueled.

    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. Fred Bruni, HQ's commanding officer, gave his men the news of the surrender.  While informing the members of the company of the surrender, he waved his arm toward the tanks and told the men that they would no longer need them.  As he spoke, his voice choked.  He turned away from the men for a moment, and when he turned back he continued.  He next told the sergeants what they should do to disable the tanks.  During the announcement, Bruni emphasized that they all were to surrender together.   He told the soldiers to destroy their weapons and any supplies that could be used by the Japanese.  The only thing they were told not to destroy were the company's trucks.  The men waited in their bivouac until ordered to move.  Somehow, Bruni had found enough bread and pineapple juice for what he called, "Their last supper."
On April 11th, the first Japanese soldiers appeared at HQ company's encampment.  A Japanese officer ordered the company, with their possessions, out onto the road that ran in front of their encampment.  Once on the road, the soldiers were ordered to kneel along the sides of the road with their possessions in front of them.  As they knelt, the Japanese soldiers, who were passing them, went through their possessions and took whatever they wanted from the Americans.  They remained along the sides of the road for hours. 

    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.



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