Roy Edgar Hays  4th Marines, 1st Btn., "D" Co.

"Captured on Corregidor"
Roy Edgar Hays

The Japanese wanted the island of Corregidor in the Philippines. "D" Company, a few 4th Marines and other soldiers were there to keep them from taking it. I was from "D" company and on Hooker Point manning a 30-caliber machine gun. Hooker point is a cliff at one end of the island of Corregidor and is shaped like a Scorpion's tail. The point itself was about 25 to 30 feet wide on top, 75 feet or so from the flat top down to the water and about one-half mile long.

My machine gun emplacement was dug down into the side of a hill facing the sea. From there we could see any Japanese trying to take the point. The Japanese bombed and shelled Corregidor from about any direction and at any given time.

Me and another guy were going up to chow one day when the bombing started. We got up there someplace and a shell came in close enough for the concussion to knock us down. We lost our meal that time because the chow truck turned back. Shells came from every direction. The night they landed you could see them coming across the water in barges. Our sergeant came down and told us not to start firing. He said to wait until he said it was ok to fire. We waited for him to come back and tell us to shoot but he never came back. Me and Bonnie finally thought they were close enough and we opened up. When we started shooting, Tommy and the B.A.R. boys opened up, too. In the morning there were 8 empty barges and the Japanese planes were flying so close you could almost see their eyeballs. We never shot at the planes because we were afraid of the bombs.

Lt. Lawrence was in charge. He thought we should line up and start marching to the road to see what we could see. When we started around the curve on the road, along came a bunch of Jap soldiers. We all stopped then, and they stopped too. They motioned us to come on up to them. We stopped and they took all our rifles, bayonets, any metal that could be dangerous. They took us on around the gravel road until it got pretty dark, then they told us to stop. We would spend the night there. They made us line up at arm's length. We lay down on the gravel for the night. When I got up to take a leak during the night, a Jap guard walked up, stuck a bayonet in my gut and said something in Japanese. I thought that was the end of it. He finally let me go.

The next morning they took us on around to what they called the 92nd garage where all the captured POWs were taken. While we were there, some of the boys and I had made a little shade for ourselves with some sticks and anything we could cover it with to get out of the broiling sun.

One day when we were trying to get out of the sun, the Lt. Came around and told us all not to tell who was out on the point because the Japanese were looking for those boys and intended to kill them. Not one ever talked.

I don't know how many days or weeks we spent there. About a week after I was at 92nd garage we all contracted dysentery and many died of it. The Japs sent us on scavenger details to get medicine or anything they could use.

When we left there, they marched us to the railroad and put us on cattle cars and took us to Manila for the night, then on to Cabanatuan.
I spent 2 years plus on Cabanatuan, then I got sent out on airfield detail. I got sick and had to come back. We only had rice to eat. We were sent out on farm details to plant sweet potatoes. As the vines got new leaves, they were picked to make soup. From there groups went on airfield detail where airfields were being built out of rice paddies for the Japs to land on. The Japanese built several of these.

After 2 years plus on Cabanatuan, I was on a detail they sent to Japan to mine coal. They put us on the Mati Mati Maru. It took about 60 days to get to Japan. One man died before we got there and they slid him off in the ocean.

We were stacked down in the hold like cattle. There was no room to move; we couldn't go topside - we used a bucket for the bathroom. We got half a canteen cup of water each day and it had to stretch for bathing, drinking, brushing teeth etc. We got two half cups of boiled rice every day to eat.

We were put to work in the coal mine when we got to Japan. We wore nothing but a G-string in the mines. We were always wet as the water dripped constantly from the ceiling onto us and we had to stand in it to work. We had to carry kabokes (little logs) which were used to prop up the ceilings of the mines.

I had lost many pounds and by this time only weighed about 90 pounds. These logs rested on the bones of our shoulders when we carried them. Sometimes the "logs" didn't hold and they fell on us. We picked and shoveled coal but running the jackhammer to drill into the face of the coal was the worst job for men as skinny and under nourished as we were. I nearly lost my right arm because of an infection in the thumb. It started out as a little white bump on the thumb which kept getting more and more infected. It got about 3 times normal size. I showed it to "Boon Tai Joe" (Korean soldier-boss). There was a red streak up my arm. When I showed it to him, he said "rest" in Korean. When he got to where he could take off, he took me topside and the Japs took a razor blade and slit it open and the pus flew. I was taken back down and didn't have to work the rest of the day. They took me to sick call and I had off a couple of days. I went back to work and it got worse, so they cut it open again. It was still swollen so they put in a drain tube. I still had to work. The last time they did it, it got worse and they just slit it open clear to the nail and let all the pus out. It healed flat and the nerve sticks out under my nail to this day.

I had malaria, 11 different positive smears for malaria while I was in prison camp and in the Philippines. I had Beri Beri, tropical ulcers on the back, Pellagra, Dengue Fever and yellow jaundice.

The Americans started bombing the Japan mainland about the end of the war. They bombed our barracks once and it burned the hospital down. No one was killed, everyone got out. When the Atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, we were across the bay from it. We could see the smoke from the bomb but we didn't know what it was then. On morning when we got up, there were no Jap guards around anywhere. So we did as we pleased. Two buddies and I went to the town of Omuta and when we found a chicken or rabbit we took it. That night we "quan'd" us up a good meal.

One day we went out and saw a truck with two Japanese in it. One of the buddies, Steve Malone, said we ought to take it over and drive around and see things; so we took it over. I got on the back of the truck and the other boys got in the front seat. I got to checking the things on the truck bed and one of the items was a keg of beer. That night when we got back to camp we had a fine beer party. Finally the Americans flew over with big cargo planes dropping food to us in 50 gallon drums attached to parachutes. One boy was killed by one of the drums of food. The drum mangled his leg and he bled to death before they could get it stopped.

When the war was over, an American reporter came in from Northern camp and told us some boys were going to town and catch a train that was going to the airfield that the Americans had established on southern Kyushu. Two buddies and me decided not to wait and be liberated. We decided to go down to town and catch the train and we did. When we got to the town we got off but didn't know which way to go. An American truck with soldiers on it came by. They got out and they looked like giants to us as we were skin and bones. They took us back to the airfield. They told us to clean up and they'd give us clean clothes and feed us. After me and a buddy got cleaned up, we explored around and found a storage shed with food in it. We found a can of condensed milk and a bottle of Maple syrup and went behind the shed and drank it and got sick. We threw it all back up but we still showed up for chow!

The next morning they flew all 13 of us to Okinawa. They fed us real good there again, then flew us to the Philippines the next day. They started processing us then to see if we were able to fly back to the States; paid us a little money. We splurged on cigarettes, beer and more eats. As we got fit and able, they put us on a list to fly back to the States. In the meantime a ship came through with combat troops on it, so they put us on it and sent us to Seattle, Washington. We had more liberty, more pay and then they sent us to the Great Lakes by train to be processed.

We got a 30-day furlough and I headed for Mt. Vernon, Illinois, my hometown. I got as far as Centralia (about 30 miles north of Mt. Vernon) by train and then took a taxi to Mt. Vernon. I went to my sister Faye's house because I didn't know where the rest of my family lived at that point. Then sis and her husband Gene took me over to mother's house. We all went out to the farm where dad lived and spent the rest of the night. The next day we went back to Faye's.

While I was home of furlough I bought a 1946 four door Ford - the one in the picture of Vera and me on our wedding day. I met Vera while I was on furlough. We were both in the Blue Goose Café. She thought I was good looking in my Marine uniform and I thought she was rich because she had on a fur coat. We started going out then. After the furlough was over, I drove my new Ford on up to the Great Lakes. While I was at the Great Lakes I called Vera and proposed. I bought her rings at the PX while I was still up there.

They made me Sergeant then and wanted me to re-enlist. They said they would give me so much money to re-enlist, but I told them I didn't want anymore to do with it. I got discharged March 15, 1946, and went home.

Roys Hays 1945      Roy, Vera  & Family   Roy & Medals

Roy Hays Parachute Story   Roy's "Captured on Corregidor" Account

Roy's Obituary - gone to a better home, but not forgotten

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