Perpetuation of Testimony of
Tillman J. Rutledge
(formerly PFC ASN 18033924)
Merkel, Texas

My name is Tillman J. Rutledge. My permanent home address is Merkel, Texas.  I am 22 years old.  I was formerly a PFC, ASN 18033924, in the 2nd Bn. Hqrs., 31st Inf., having enlisted March 14, 1941.  I went overseas March 31, 1941 and returned to the United States November 1, 1945.  I was discharged from the Army, March 31, 1946, reinlisted, April 1, 1946.

I was captured on Bataan, Philippines Islands, April 9, 1942 by an infantry and tank unit, the name of which I do not know.

After we were captured, April 9, 1942, we began marching from Kilometer Post 174 and marched day and night from there for five days.  There was a Jap Captain, who spoke English, who promised us food and rest at each successive town, but we received none until we reached San Fernando, an esimated distance of 55 miles.  When we reached San Fernando, they gave us one-half canteen cup of rice and one cup of water, and then loaded us on a train, and took us to Capas, Tarlac, Camp O'Donnell.  They loaded 100 men in each box car for this trip.  The boxcars were about one half the size of the box cares one sees in the United States.

We we reached Camp O'Donnell, they took all blankets we had.  There was no water in the camp, and we had to carry it from a river, some distance away.  The water we got there was poluted and gave us dysentery, if we did not boil it before we drank it.  They made us stand in formation for two hours in the sun, taking count.  The Japanese in charge was named "Yoshio Tsuneyoshi."  He was a captain.  It was nothing uncommon, in this camp, to see Filipinos and some Americans buried alive.   They buried 20 to 30 of them, in a hole, in some cases, with no dog tags.

We left here June 1, 1942 and went to Cabanatuan, by train.  While we were there, some men tried to escape.  They were caught and tied up.  They were put in a cage, in the sun, where the Japanese guards would beat them each time they passed by.  There were two Lt. Colonels and one Major that tried to escape.  They took them out one day, presumably to give them a beating, but as far as I know, they never returned.

I left Cabanatuan January 27, 1943 and went to Lipa, Batangas. There were two Japanese I remember, one we called "Gocho" and the other "Menato."  While I was there, "Gocho" stabbed a marine by the name of Kaiser, with his bayonet.

I left there September 6, 1943 and went to Bilibid, in Manila, and from there to Cabanatuan, arriving there September 30, 1943.  While at Cabanatuan, I learned of a Jap by the name of "Air Raid" who would beat Americans for no reason at all.

From Cabanatuan, we went to Las Pinas.  The Jap in command was a teller in a bank in Manila, before the war.  He also lived in New York City.  He was a Warrant Officer, in the Jap Navy.  He had an American by the name of "Marshall" stand out in front of his quaters bowing to him, and then, he would let several Jap Marines beat him.  This happened several times.

A Taiwanese by the name of "Cho" beat me one day, because I did not work fast enough.  This all started, because I would not give him cigarettes I had received in a Red Cross package.   The stick he beat me with was about the size of a hoe handle.

I sailed for Japan, July 17, on a boat called "Nissiyo Maru."  They tried to put 1,500 men in one hold of this boat, but they could not.  They finally put 936 in the forward hold and kept the rest in the other hold.

We had no room to lie down and 200 men had to stand all the time.  We were given one fourth cateen of water a day and they cooked our rice in salt water.

We arrived in Moji, Japan, on August 4, and from Moji, we went to Tanagawa.  While we were there, I saw on Jap, whom we nicknamed, "The Bandit" beat our first sergeant on the head with his rifle.

We went from Tanagawa to Fukuoka, to the coal mines.  There, a Japanese who we called "Two Striper" would kick the POWs in the groin.  One day, he beat me with a stick and kicked me in the ribs for not sending the men I was in charge of into the coal mine, when they were blasting it.

Another Japanese, who was at the coal mine was nicknamed "Slimy."  He carried a wooden rifle and time and again, he would beat the POWs with this toy rifle.  I saw him beat a POW, one day, who had broken an arm and had 103 degree temperature, for not saluting him.

Tillman J. Rutledge

Subscribed and sworn be me, this 20th, day of August, 1946.

W.O. Bouey
A Notary Public
Taylor County, Texas

Certified True Copy
Angel G. Miranda
2nd Lt., Inf. PA

National Archives

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