Roy Edgar Hays
4th Marines, 1st Btn., "D" Co.
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
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
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
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
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
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 &
Roy Hays Parachute Story
on Corregidor" Account
Obituary - gone to a better home, but not forgotten