E. "Gabby" Hays, 4th Marines, 1st Battalion, "D"
Company was captured on Corregidor in May of 1942.
was in Camp 17 when the war ended. The Americans were dropping food on the
camp in 55 gallon drums attached to parachutes.
Roy said he did not know what made him think to do it, but he
gathered one of the parachutes, cut or tore off a piece and wrote his name
on it. Roy then passed it around for those around him to sign too. He
thinks they signed it in pencil because he said they didn't have such
things as pens. 38 men including Roy signed their names on it and added
where they were from. He brought it home with him. A few years later after
Roy was home and had married, his wife suggested to him that they hire a
woman to embroider the names before they faded, and so they did.
A daughter’s request
Although Roy has passed away - any friend or family member
who knows or has information of a name on the parachute,
these were the names that were hard to read and Roy just could not remember the name exactly.
The Rest of the Story - Where is the Parachute Now?
All those years later, until about 2002, his parachute fragment hung on his bedroom wall with thumb tacks. My husband and I had it framed for him that year, and at that time we wrote down all the names and put it out on this Japanese POW list in hopes that men on the list and/or their families might see it and be able to get in touch with dad.
Roy was so pleased and happy to be able to talk to several former POWs and/or their families as a result of the parachute story being told. He spoke to them on the phone and corresponded by mail - with letters and pictures. In 1998, Roy and his wife, Vera, attended the dedication of the National Prisoner of War Museum at Andersonville, Georgia. Roy passed away in March of 2012, and he always thought his parachute fragment should be donated to a museum when he passed. Last month, Vera and Roy’s daughter, Annette, donated Roy's parachute to the Andersonville museum. Annette and her husband personally delivered it to the Curator of the National Prisoner of War Museum, where it will be displayed to tell Roy’s “Parachute Story” and assure his service and sacrifice, and that of his fellow POWs, will not be forgotten.