The Proud 41 Quartermaster Company

By Dr. Hargis Westerfield, Division Historian

       

Continued from Salamaua, Biak and Zamboanga…

 

41 Quartermaster also helped in what you could call "Graves Registration" on Palawan Island. This Japanese atrocity did happen to 140 prisoners they held.

      Fearing US invasion, they gave a phony air raid alarm, and herded the 140 into bomb proofs. These shelters were merely 30 feet by 5 feet covered trenches, open at both ends on the brink of a cliff. The Japs poured gas down the shelters and fired them. Machine guns slew 136 of them. Three dropped down the cliff. Only two survived.

At first, we found only charred remains and some sets of teeth.

But a Captain who was also an unidentified charred head in the holocaust was of great help. Stuffed in a BAR pouch under the wooden roof of one shelter which the Japs failed to burn, he had prepared records of the name, rank, and serial number of all 140 prisoners. We even found their court martial records.

So a Chaplain conducted services, and we buried the pitiful remains. We forwarded the tooth patterns to the State: for identification.

 

P.S. Only Quartermaster names mentioned are Staff Sergeant Nick Nelson, Major Frank Moore, who was seriously wounded by bomb fragments in fire caused by Jap planes and had 30 days in hospital on his stomach, and Colonel Clarence Reid who received many medals and was promoted to Captain.

 

CREDIT: In four pages of the QM Training Journal (1 September 1945) Major Frank Moore describes the many varied works which QM performed.