Within days of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese invasion of the Philippines began.
Four months later, with food and ammunition supplies running out, the American army surrendered to the Japanese. Forced to march over 50 miles up the Bataan peninsula, tens of thousands of soldiers, both American and Filipino, were subjected to unremitting brutality by their captors.
Harry J. Whittinghill was a survivor of the Bataan Death March. He had enlisted in April 1941 and arrived in the Philippines in November of that year. Following the grueling march and his harrowing transport on a Japanese “hell ship,” he spent over three years as a prisoner of war in a forced labor camp.
Whittinghill, who died in 1987, detailed the horrors he lived through while often commenting on the odds of his own survival. His memoir, discovered during a chance conversation with his grandsons, describes how luck and will power kept him alive. Essays on the Bataan Death March and General MacArthur provide additional historical context for the memoir.
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