Defenders of the Philippines

picture of captivity and picture of release from captivity

Mike Campbell

  Mike Campbell's prison log from Yodogawa Bunsho Camp Nov 26.-Nov.30 1942 (Retyped)

Yodogawa Bunsho, Osaka, Japan


NOVEMBER 26, 1942:  Our group of 400 arrived at our final destination on this day.  For record purposes we have under the very able leadership of Major William B. Reardon a total of forty-six (46) Officers, Forty-five (45) of which are Army personnel and one (1) Naval Officer; the balance of three-hundred-fifty-four (354) men are all enlisted personnel.  All branches of the service are therein represented.  Upon arrival in Japan, we disembarked at the Port of Mojii and there boarded a train enroute to Kobe.  Arrived at Kobe on the morning of the 27th and changed trains to continue on our way to our present living quarters in the center section of the factory area of Osaka, Japan.  Needless to say, we are a very disgruntled lot.  Tired, cold, hungry and hating our predicament more by the minute.  A young and very military young Japanese Lieutenant who later turned out to be our Camp Commander kept us out in the cold for three (3) hours listening to what was expected of us and setting down very explicit rules for us to live by.    Following the speech there then came a class in Japanese commands.  We were compelled to learn “forward March, Halt, Eyes Right, Salute and Attention.”  Freezing, in our Philippine dress we were a dense lot and needed lots of coaching and some persuasion at the end of a very determined Jeeps (Japs?) bayonet.  We then all swore on an oath that we would not attempt to escape and that to the best of our abilities we would faithfully discharge our new duties; Our New Camp has quite a title which of course we were supposed to memorize in three (3) minutes).  It is called, OSAKA PRISONER OF WAR CAMP, YODOGAWA BRANCH CAMP, OSAKA, JAPAN.  Assisting the Lieut. is a young and very personable young Sergeant of the “Gunso” rank.  His name as nearly as I can transcribe it is English sounds something like this; Yosharira Hirose.  I think he may be able to help us in the near future.  Our quarters are large and very airy.  They are seated in a remote corner of a barrel factory.  Comfort during the daylight hours is very difficult due to the cold.  Our bodies can’t stand this weather on the diet we are forced to subsist on.  The interpreter, a half-brained individual who states that America shall lose the war because of food shortage, maintaining rice in the states is being rapidly being used up, told us that soon we would move to more comfortable quarters which were now in the process of being built.  We hope so!  The balance of our total strength of 1500 which left Cabanatuan at the same time has met a same fate.  We were segregated by groups of four hundred each, they went in another direction.  We all wonder how many of them we will see again?


NOVEMBER 27, 1942:  Today we began office routine.  Reassignment of living area by rank Head counts, roll calls and Japanese Bangoe’s were the duties of the day.  All present still!  A Japanese Doctor is coming tomorrow.  Why?  God knows they never do anything when their examinations are complete.  Maybe this one will be different.
NOVEMBER 28, 1942:  The Japanese doctor came, saw and departed.  This day he found time to examine our number.  He found Beri Beri plentiful, serious cases, Pellagra, Pnemonia and Flu, in evidence everywhere, Dysentery and Diarrhea running rampant.  Unless something is quickly done our four hundred strong shall rapidly start declining.  Cold and hungry.  Soup and rice our main diet.  Very tasty, but hardly substantial.
NOVEMBER 29, 1942:  A hospital was established and 38 patients were entered there in.  Ensign Conley, our only Naval Office present, was admitted suffering from acute diarrhea.  Captain Starnes relieved the Ensign as Group six. C.O.  The hospital is run by Lieutenant Placko; a very good man who knows his chances of contracting these diseases from contact, but doesn’t care, he is deserving a word of praise.
NOVEMBER 30, 1942:  The Japanese Doctor completed his examination this A.M. and parted again.  He remarked however than medicine and better housing is forthcoming.  All we can do is wait and hope.  Weather is still cold.  Out mental conditions are poor.  It is very difficult to control the men now in their present mental state.  Dog eat Dog, seems to be the by-word here now may be the strongest survive and God help the weak.  Midst all this discomfort we are experiencing the Japanese are chasing us all outside, that is all of us that can walk, for physical drill.  Our clothing is inadequate for this type of treatment, our blood too this and our physical condition not up to this climate, however outside we go to stand shaking for two hours doing exercises, designed for strong healthy bodies.


Original typed document sent to ADBC


 An article about Mike Campbell

Corregidor '42 by
Dahli Aspirella

      I met Mike Campbell in Las Vegas last week. He was in Bataan and Corregidor. In Malinta Tunnel, he said he saw and rummaged through stacks of boxes overflowing with US dollar bills and Philippine pesos in the largest of denominations. That there were other hidden treasures in the Malinta Tunnel of Corregidor. He was all of 24.

I knew that I would want to spend the rest of the evening listening to Mike's Philippine war stories. He was visiting Las Vegas with his wife, from his home in California. That whatever else he had to narrate, I knew would be good listening for me. And interesting for my readers.

It was May 5, 1942. Pvt. Mike Campbell was assigned to Battery Geary on Corregidor. The Japanese launched a full scale attack with wave after wave of troops mounted on assault boats. The enemy fought their way on land toward Monkey Point, the southeast side of Corregidor.

Corregidor in WWII was also known as Fort Mills. Resembling the shape of a tadpole, the head in the west was the Top Side; the neck the Middle Side, and the tail the Bottom Side. It was a fortified island that consisted of Fort Drum, Fort Hughes, Fort Frank and Fort Mills, which was situated at the entrance of Manila Bay. Fort Mills had 30 gun batteries ranging in size from 8 to 12 inches at Battery Geary. Fort Drum was built like a battle ship on a small island completely self-contained. It was made of concrete and equipped with 14-inch disappearing guns (rifles) that were pointed west toward the China Sea. These were used from December '41 until Corregidor surrendered in May '42.

"I remember when the Japanese commenced shelling the beach area at Monkey Point about three miles from my Guard Post on Top Side. I could see them as they worked their way up the beach. Then suddenly, both sides opened fired forcing the Japanese to retreat back into the water."

Due to enemy strength, Mike narrates that the US troops were weary, short of rations, ammunition, lacked supplies and equipment. Corregidor was reduced to ground level, there were no facilities or utilities functioning. No troop or supply reinforcements were imminently available.

President Roosevelt reluctantly gave the order to surrender the garrison in compliance with the Japanese demand. There was order for the crew to destroy our weapons. That was when we were ordered to go hide in Malinta tunnel. It turned out to be in shambles, men were running about, shouting and looting.

Looking for clothes I could change into (the one I wore was filthy and in rags) I spied a huge steel door slightly ajar. The sight was startling. Boxes of US and Filipino currency stacked high. There were also millions of dollars strewn on the floor much like leaves scattered on the ground in the fall. I sat down and scooped up hands full. I remember taking off my shoes and stomped around, kicking the paper money. I gathered bundles of currency in my arms. I was amazed to see $100,000 bills. I did not know that bills were issued in that large denomination. It was a supreme thrill and I was ecstatic, here I was a low ranking private that was fighting a war risking my life for only $30 per month (and have not received any pay for six months and now were allowing in money).
The temptation was great to grab as much money as possible and run away, but where would I go to escape. The Japanese were coming in fast. There was no way that I could stash any money some place. I could not possible keep any for fear of punishment.

I picked up one of the $10,000 bills, folded it up into a paper airplane, pitched it into the air, and then slammed the vault door behind me without taking even one bill.