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Spasm

WW2 USMC 4th Marines POW

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Gents

A WW2 4th Marine POW Group. The medals came with a fairly thick folder of paperwork - I assume copies of and from the USMC records that are obtainable from the US Archives. With a bit of Mr. Google's help and a sort through the folder: 

JJ Mott USMC.jpg

Purple Heart reverse.jpg

POW medal reverse.jpg

Edited by Spasm

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Mott, John James

263947 USMC

Semper Fidelis

 

56776903_137048669274a.jpg

Edited by Spasm

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7 January 1938

John James Mott, 19 years old, enlists into the United States Marine Corps at the Recruiting Station in Washington D.C.

4 February 1938

Gertrude Lawrence (John’s Mother), now divorced and re - married to Sheriff William Hiram Lawrence in Palm Beach, Florida, signs as Mother and Legal Guardian consenting to his 4 year service enlistment.

7 March 1938

Private John J. Mott is given his travel orders to report to the Commanding Officer, Recruit Depot, Paris Island, South Carolina. Commonly known as “boot camp” - 7 weeks of training that must be successfully completed in order to serve in the United States Marine Corps.

27 April 1938

John is posted to Sea School at the Marine Barracks, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia. 4 weeks training designed to prepare Marines for duty aboard the capital ships of the U.S.Navy Fleet.

26 May 1938

Assigned for two years service aboard ship. U.S.S. Honolulu was launched on 26 Aug 1937 and commissioned on 15 June 1938. After a ‘shake down’ cruise to England, she engages in fleet exercises in the Caribbean and is then based in New York. She then joins the Pacific Fleet arriving at San Pedro, California on 14 June 1939. For the remainder of the year and into 1940 she continues operations along the West Coast out of Long Beach, California.

USS_Honolulu_CL-48_1944.jpg

7 February 1940

Confirmed promotion to Private First Class on 1 June 1939

19 March 1940

Extends enlistment for a further 2 years

25 March 1940

Assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment (China)

29 April 1940

Boards U.S.S. Chaumont at San Diego for China. Calls at Pearl Harbour, San Pedro, San Francisco, Honolulu, Guam, Manila reaching Shanghai on 28 July 1940.

 

uss chaumont.jpg

2 December 1940

Promoted to Corporal

26 May 1941

Assigned to HQ Co. 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regt.

1 July 1941

Assigned back to D Co. 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regt.

The 4th Marines had been stationed in China since 1927 “protecting the lives, property and commerce of American citizens in the International Settlement of Shanghai”. For several months the Chinese area of Shanghai was controlled by the Japanese Army during the Sino-Japanese War. The Chinese withdrew in November 1937, though many Chinese residents remained in the International Settlement. While the Japanese military could not seize the International Settlement, they maintained pressure on the remaining foreign delegations through intimidation.

With Europe at war, foreign nations were withdrawing their troops from Shanghai, tensions between Japan and the United States steadily increased. Admiral Hart requested the Marines withdraw due to their position being untenable and his belief that war was inevitable.

Permission to withdraw was received on 10 November 1941.

27 November 1941

1st and HQ Battalions embark on U.S.S. President Madison bound for Subric Bay. The rest of the Regiment leave on U.S.S. President Harrison the following day. (6 Marines not found were left behind.)

4th depart shanghai november 1941.jpg

30 and 31 November 1941

U.S.S. President Madison and President Harrison arrive at Olongapo Naval Station. The Regiment is deployed to strengthen the defences at Naval bases preparing them for war. But war came earlier than expected.

 

old-olongapo-before-the-move.jpg

7 December 1941

The Japanese attack Pearl Harbour

8 December 1941

War is declared by the United States on Japan

1st Battalion 4th Marines are deployed to Mariveles Naval Base, Bataan to prepare defences.

Christmas 1941

Regiment is ordered to destroy stores, buildings, equipment at bases and to prepare for deployment elsewhere.

27 to 29 December 1941

Regiment is ordered to move to the Fortress of Corregidor to strengthen the beach defences.

15 January 1942

Order from General MacArthur to “read and explain the following message to all troops:-

Help is on the way from the United States. Thousands of troops and hundreds of planes are being dispatched...

We have more troops than the Japanese, a determined defence will defeat the enemy’s attack...

It is now a question of courage and determination. If we fight, we will win.”

7 January to 8 April 1942

An estimated thirty thousand Americans are killed or wounded during the 3 month battle for the Bataan peninsula. 75,000 U.S. and allied Philippine troops are taken prisoner.

Map_of_Corregidor_1941.jpg

9 April 1942

The Infamous Bataan Death March. The forcible transfer of prisoners from Mariveles to San Fernando and Camp O’Donnell some 65 gruelling miles away. During the trip as many as 26,000 Philippine troops and 1,500 Americans die of starvation, dehydration, malaria, or just being beaten to death by sadistic Japanese guards.

japanese-soldier-watches.jpg

9 April 1942

Gertrude Lawrence (John’s mother) writes a letter to the Adjutant General in Washington D.C. She hasn’t heard from John since the summer of 1941. Having heard the news about the fall of Bataan she is obviously very anxious. She wonders if he’s been captured and whether he needs anything.

10 April 1942 onwards

Corregidor is like the centre of a bullseye. The island is under constant artillery fire from Bataan and continuous bombardment from the aircraft above.

Half of the 1st Battalion of the 4th Marines had undergone an epidemic of gastroenteritis with 114 of the cases being severe. There were many cases of malaria and jaundice along with an outbreak of tonsillitis.

18 April 1942

The Asst. Adjutant USMC writes back to Gertrude telling her that John’s unit was evacuated to Corregidor and that it is hoped he is there. All reports have been checked and there is nothing to show that John has been injured or made a prisoner of war.

5 to 6 May 1942

The last stand on Corregidor, the 4th Marines are the stiffening of a composite force –- Coast Guard, Navy, Naval Reserve, Insular Force, US Army, Philippine Army, Philippine Scouts and Police.

The enemy lands at 11pm on the east of the island - right in the faces of 1st Battalion. Company A take the brunt of the attack, throw grenades onto the landing beaches and die in their positions.

Corregidor_Landings_May_1942.jpg

The defenders continue to inflict heavy casualties on the Japanese invaders, however, as dawn breaks they are no match for Japanese planes, tanks and artillery. The Japanese gain a foothold and expand it, pushing toward Corregidor’s headquarters. The Marines have lost all of their heavy guns and are almost out of ammunition.

Feeling that further resistance is useless and fearing a possible massacre of the 1,000 sick and wounded personnel in the headquarters, Gen. Wainwright decides to surrender. He radiosThere is a limit of human endurance, and that point has long been passed”. The National and Regimental Colours are burned rather than let them fall into the enemy’s hands.

7 to 23 May 1942

All forces on Corregidor, about 8,000 US Troops and 5,000 Philippine Troops, are rounded up and marched to a flat concrete area about 500 feet by 1500 feet on the South side of the Island. An old sign reads 92nd P.C. Garage.

Each prisoner is given a number that is painted on the back of their shirt or trousers. They are split into groups of about 1,000 men. Every prisoner is robbed of all possessions.

Tenko roll call.jpg

92nd Garage Corregidor.jpg

There is no water until the troops are allowed to lay a small pipe from the water tanks about 2 miles away. Men have to queue from 4 to 6 hours to get 1 canteen of water. After 3 days the Japanese issue a small amount of rice.

Open latrines are dug in the middle of the area and in the sweltering heat they attract swarms of insects and flies.

24 May 1942

All troops are loaded into the holds of 3 transport vessels and spend the night crowded in such a way that it is impossible to stand or move.

25 May 1942

The ships sail across Manila bay to the shore opposite Pasay. All POWs are loaded into landing craft and then forced overboard into about 4 feet of water to make their own way to shore and are assembled into columns of four.

Herded and kept in line by Japanese cavalry the POWs are marched the 5 miles to Bilibid Prison. About 12,000 prisoners are forced into a camp designed for about 4,000.

Over the following days large groups of POWs are marched to Torido Station and forced into small steel boxcars on a narrow gauge railway. Over 100 men to each car, wedged in so tight that they can’t even squat down. They disembark at Cabanatuan and are force marched the 12 miles to No3 Camp. Anyone falling by the wayside from heat prostration or exhaustion is severely beaten by the guards. If, having taken a beating they still can’t walk they are loaded into trucks.

13 June 1942

Taken to Philippine Islands Port Area Camp No.11,– Yamamoto Butai, which is directly behind the Customs House. About 400 of the strongest men from the Cabanatuan Camps were selected as a labour battalion to work as stevedores on the docks in Manila.

In “Horror Trek: A True Story of Bataan” by Robert W. Levering – - John is mentioned - “Tall, good natured Johnnie Mott, who fought with the 4th Marines, was well educated and often said he suffered from not having anything to read.”

15 October 1942

Moved to the Port Terminus Building across the street from Pier No.7. John spends almost 2 years working in the Dockyards under appalling conditions.

11 August 1943

Gertrude Lawrence writes to ask if she can be sent a copy of the War Prisoners Bulletin. A friend had phoned her to say that the latest copy has a photo showing a group of American POWs, one of which could be of her son John.

This is the only photo of any Japanese held POWs in the War Prisoners Bulletin –up to September 1943. None of these men, from Camp Zentsuti, Japan (in the July 1943 issue) are of John as he was still in the Philippines:

POWs July 1943 War Prisoners Bulletin.JPG

Edited by Spasm

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17 July 1944

Almost all the men of the Cabanatuam Camps, about 1600, are lined up along Pier No.7 in Manila harbour. They board the 6,527 ton rusting cargo ship “Nissyo Maru”. One of the infamous “Hell Ships” used to transport slave labour to Japan to help the war effort.

During WW2 some 50,000 POWs boarded Japanese ‘Hell ships’. 21,000 didn’t survive the journey.

NissyoMaru1939.JPG

The POWs are packed into the holds, at around 9pm a few large buckets of rice were lowered down. Men too weak didn’t eat, mouths too dry due to no water all day couldn’t swallow the rice. Most of the men have dysentery but have no where to go other than where they sit. No one gets any sleep the first night.

The next morning the ship leaves dock and anchors out in Manila bay to await other elements of the convoy. It waits for a whole week with the men locked in the holds.

The men are allowed their first water 30 Hours after boarding. Despite temperatures topping 120 degrees in the holds throughout the journey the men were issued with no more than 1 pint each per day. Some of the men drank their own urine.

24 July 1944

Other elements of Convoy HI68 arrive, 21 ships in all, head North towards Formosa.

25 July 1944

Submarine U.S.S. Angler spots the convoy at dawn and flashes word to her sister submarines U.S.S. Crevalle and U.S.S. Flasher.

At 12.22pm U.S.S. Crevalle fires 4 stern torpedoes at the Aki Maru and Tosan Maru. All 4 miss. The Japanese are now aware of their enemy and start dropping depth charges.

After dark U.S.S. Flasher regains contact with the convoy and fires 6 torpedoes at the same two freighters. The watch on the Aki Maru see the trails and the ship turns hard to port, only to be hit in the bow. Behind the Aki, Tosan Maru is hit twice.

ss_uss_crevalle_ss291.jpg

The alarm on the Nisso Maru wakes the POWs locked in the holds. Navy men recognise the sound of depth charges, torpedoes are heard running under the ship. Two of them hit the tanker Otoriyama Maru which explodes and sinks in minutes. Men on the Nissyo Maru remember hearing the boiling hiss as the burning tanker slipped under the sea.

26 July 1944

The submarines disengage as their torpedoes were almost exhausted. They had no idea how close they had come to killing 1600 of their own countrymen.

27 July 1944

Dock at Takao, Formosa at 1pm. Convoy is reorganised and more ships join up.

3 August 1944

Convoy HI68 arrives at Moji on the Island of Kyushu, Japan. The official death toll while on board ship is 12. POWs are loaded into train boxcars and travel onto their camps. The train travels from Moji through Hiroshima, Osaka, Nagoya and on through Tokyo. John is disembarked at Nagoya.

6 August 1944

John arrives, along with 193 other Americans at Osaka No.7 Branch Camp. Kamioka. Allocated to the “2nd American Company POWs”.

Kamioka Camp - established as Osaka POW Camp Kamioka Branch Camp, then renamed Osaka No.7 Branch Camp in February 1943 and finally in April 1945 as Nagoya No.1 Branch Camp.

NagGrpB.jpg

In all there were 594 POWs, (320 Americans, 269 Dutch and 5 British) used as slave labour by Mitsui Mining Company.

Each man was required to work 9 hours per day in the adjacent lead mines. They were supervised by civilian foremen armed with rubber pipes which they did not hesitate to use when a POW failed to accomplish the specified amount of labour.

Any man hurt or wounded in the mines (of which there were many given the conditions) were forced to remain in the mine until their shift was completed. All work was inspected and detailed by Mitsui Mining Company officials daily.

nag_07_aerial1.jpg

kamioka-barracks-1.jpg

The men eat nothing but cooked grain (rice and maize), about once per month each man is given about 1oz of meat, about every two weeks 3oz of fish and occasionally, as a reward for working hard, receives about 5oz of soy beans.

The POWs sleep on straw mats, 24 to a room designed for 10. Heating is provided by two hand fulls of charcoal per day. The rooms are so fragile that the snow has to be removed from the roof each day to prevent collapse.

Kamioka_bunk-Harle.jpg

The medical facilities are deplorable, once a man is hurt or falls sick, the Japanese place every obstacle in the way of his recovery. They withhold medicines sent by the Red Cross, do not issue enough fuel to warm the sick quarters, provide an insufficient number of blankets and greatly reduce the rations of the sick. Many lose the will to live.

25 January 1945

death roster 1.JPG

In file 3150 among the small handwritten pencil notes from the Osaka POW camps is the report of Corporal John Mott’s death from malnutrition. He was 26 years old.

The file cover says that the author of the notes is unknown. They are probably by the camp medical officer.

death roster 2.JPG

22 February 1945

A message is sent to John’s mother, Gertrude, that an enemy propaganda broadcast from the Japanese Government had been intercepted, it is quoted:

DEAR MOTHER, HOPING TO RECEIVE LETTERS AND PHOTOGRAPHS FROM YOU ALL SOON. ANXIOUSLY LONGING TO SEE EVERYONE AT HOME, AND TRY SOME OF CONNIE’S COOKING AND SOME HUNTING AND FISHING WITH HIRAM. EXPERIENCING FIRST SNOW SINCE 1939. KEEP YOUR HEALTH SO WE ALL CAN HAVE A GOOD TIME WHEN I RETURN. PASS THE WORD TO DAD AND ALL MY FRIENDS. I PRAY THAT WE ALL MAY BE TOGETHER VERY SOON. KEEP THE HOME FIRES BURNING. YOUR LOVING SON, JOHN. CPL JOHN J MOTT, USMC.

23 March 1945

Having received word of John in the Osaka area and knowing that the Americans were fire bombing there, she writes to the Provost Marshal’s office asking if the POW camps have been spared the bombing.

1 May 1945

The Provost Marshal’s office replies confirming John’s internment at Osaka Camp, Japan. But, as the Japanese will not allow any Red Cross visits, there is no information available on the welfare of American POWs.

25 August 1945

Telegram

From: COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS

To: MRS GERTRUDE LAWRENCE

DEEPLY REGRET TO INFORM YOU REPORT JUST RECEIVED STATES YOUR SON CORPORAL JOHN JAMES MOTT USMC DIED OF ACUTE BRONCHITIS ON 25 JANUARY 1945 IN JAPANESE PRISON CAMP. NO INFORMATION AVAILABLE REGARDING BURIAL. PLEASE ACCEPT MY HEARTFELT SYMPATHY.

A A VANDEGRIFT

GENERAL USMC

28 August 1945

A letter is received by Gertrude from USMC:

...Mere words can do little to console you in your sorrow, but I am sure the knowledge that your son died in the service of his country will help you bear your heavy burden of grief.”

2 April 1946

Gertrude is sent a letter confirming John’s medal entitlements:

Army Distinguished Unit Badge with oakleaf cluster

American Defence Service Medal with Fleet clasp

Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one star

Victory Medal

Philippine Defence Medal

Gertrude is sent the awards in 1947 and 1948.

In the following years, Congress authorise entitlement of a Bronze Star Medal, a Prisoner of War Medal and a posthumous Purple Heart.

26 April 1949

Gertrude receives her, applied for, Gold Star Lapel Button engraved with her initials G.M.L.

9 June 1949

John’s father W.W.Mott receives his, applied for, Gold Star Lapel Button engraved with his initials W.W.M.

3 May 1950

Gertrude receives a letter informing her that the remains of Cpl. John James Mott has been permanently interred in Plot B, Row 16, Grave 105, side by side with comrades who also gave their lives for their country, in Manila U.S. Military Cemetery.

 

CjmcDewVEAUTMAc.jpg

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs report on American POW and MIA states that of the 27,000 Americans captured in the Philippines from Dec 1941 to May 1942 almost 11,000 of them died in captivity.

56776903_136393896731a.jpg

certificate.JPG

On the Pacific War Memorial, Corregidor Island:

SLEEP MY SONS. YOUR DUTY DONE.

FOR FREEDOM’S LIGHT HAS COME.

SLEEP IN THE SILENT DEPTHS OF THE SEA

OR IN YOUR BED OF HALLOWED SOD.

UNTIL YOU HEAR AT DAWN

THE LOW CLEAR REVEILLE OF GOD.

Edited by Spasm

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During the completion of this, I found a contact for some of John's family while searching the internet. Lots of people do the ancestry thing these days.  I've been in touch and have sent them a copy of the above. 

Edited by Spasm

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Alex, thanks :cheers:

Edited by Spasm

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Excellent post and very informative. Well done on your research. Corporal Mott is not forgotten. Semper Fi.

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Why does the painted portrait, as seen at the bottom of post #4, show a medal bar with awards not listed?  

Thanks muckaroon 

Edited by Spasm

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Gents, thank you very much.

Just shows how a bit of research can bring a great big piece of history to light. I'm looking forward to see if his relatives can shed some more light on him.

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