Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 5, Number 3, September, 1995 Page: 169
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Supreme Sacrifice: Colorado County's World War II Dead
top of three months aboard a Jap transport on two meals a day they were bombed and
then strafed in the water after the ship was sunk. One Englishman said "Those bloody
Americans are too accurate." They are the most optimistic men in the camp. Instead of
blaming the planes for bombing and strafing them they call them "our" planes and brag
what good flyers they are and how accurate they lay their eggs. They say the prison ship
was hit with three out of five trys and it sank within five minutes. Only a few were even
able to leave the ship. Then they were strafed in the water. Out of two destroyers, three
transports and one tanker, one destroyer escaped. It came back after the raid and picked
up what Nips it could and left the prisoners to drown. They would pull a man out of the
water and if it wasn't a Jap, they would shove him back into the water and go on to the
next. They said the destroyer did throw over about three hundred oars that helped the
men keep afloat awhile. They were about four miles from shore so only the strongest
made it. The Filipinos helped them a lot. They took them in and fed them what they could.
They took all who wanted to go to the hills and hid them out. They don't know how many
went, but not a lot. The Nips later came down and picked up what they could find. They
had lost everything of course and the Nips kept them isolated somewhere and would not
even give them anything to eat. The little food they got, they had to use their hands-
leaves or whatever they could find. When they came in here we donated tobacco, toilet
articles and clothing for them. They were two ships of them which left Singapore about
three months ago. They arrived in Manila at the same time, but this one had engine
trouble and was left behind when the convoy left carrying the Davao bunch to Japan.
These boys had been in the bay ever since until the morning of the 21 of Sept., when
they started out only to meet with disaster a few hours later. There were about 300 men
on the ones that got out and about 64 out of 1250 survived from the one that didn't get
Two men with connections to Eagle Lake came to our attention too late for
inclusion in the main body of this article. One, Howard Van Martin, was killed in action
with General George S. Patton's Third Army in the spring of 1945. Martin's family had
moved to Eagle Lake from Vidor in 1941. He completed his junior year at Eagle Lake High
School the following spring, then skipped his senior year and took a job in the Beaumont
shipyards. His name was included on the Eagle Lake High School plaque. T-5 Perry E.
Hobbs has a stronger connection to Colorado County, but was not actually a war
casualty. He was born June 17, 1899, and entered the army at Fort Bragg, North Carolina
on May 18, 1939, a month before his fortieth birthday. He worked at the Eagle Lake
prisoner of war camp, serving in the military police. He was discharged from the service
on June 22, 1945, and remained in Eagle Lake. He was killed in an automobile accident
on November 22, 1945, and was buried in the Lakeside Cemetery.127
127 Eagle Lake Headlight, April 13, 1945, November 30, 1945; Colorado County Discharge
Records, Book 4, p. 239. Additional information provided by John Canaris.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 5, Number 3, September, 1995, periodical, September 1995; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151395/m1/61/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.