Knowing how the members of this forum love a good Corregidor mystery, here's a good one.
Here are links to X files on three sets of remains found in isolated graves on Corregidor. There's not many clues, not even a location where they were found, but the fact that they were found in isolated graves rather than a cemetery means they were likely killed during the May 6 attack on tailside. There are three of them and due to the similarities in the files, I'd guess that they were found in close proximity, if not the same grave. Based on the equipment found with them, they may have been Marines. Most intriguing, a piece of gold braid was found with one of the remains. While that would seem to indicate an officer, why would anyone be wearing a dress uniform under these circumstances? The fact that they were not found until late 1947 might indicate that they were buried in a very isolated location, perhaps in their fighting position.
Hey John...Here are a couple of extreme SWAGs (as our Buddy Chad would call them) regarding that braid found with the remains of the "Unknowns". These guesses are coming from way out in "Left Field", but here they are anyhow. Being Ex-USAF I'm not into USMC or Army uniform decorum, but don't "Aide de Camp" types wear a braided cordlike gizmo on their right upper arm or shoulder. I do know that this is so with dress uniforms, but could they also wear one of these that is not so "dressy" on a field khaki shirt to denote their status or function??? If so, I wonder if this "gold braid" fragment might be something akin to what I am attempting to describe. Also, don't some Bugles have a braid/tassel like thing hanging from the instrument??? Bugles I have seen on Dress Parade sported something like this. I would doubt that a Bugle being utilized in the field would have such a thing dangling from it, but under the situation existing on Corregidor in early May 1942, who knows what might be in use by the besieged Defenders cornered on the "Rock". These two, "shots in the dark" are all that I can conjure up at this point, but ain't this fun?
Your post piqued my curiosity immediately and I've been digging through photographs all day. Thanks for posting the data sheets for these unknowns. The one who puzzles me the most is #334, found with the gold braid. Here are my thoughts, or as many members like to say, my SWAG.
The gold braid is quite a mystery. He's (334) the only one of the three that wasn't found with a helmet. Could be, as the documents indicate, that it was from a Navy dress hat. However, it would have been strange for a sailor or any soldier or marine to have been in combat when the Japanese landed on Corregidor without a helmet, especially considering that a gold braid or white hat would present an easy target for a Japanese rifle or machine gun. Not to mention the tremendous amount of artillery fire that was being pounded onto the island, slinging shrapnel, concrete, debris etc. But things were chaotic and haphazard, of course supplies were always a problem, and some men probably lost their helmets or simply didn't get one. It could also be that the gold braid did not come from headwear.
Unknown #336 was found with a USMC bayonet and the report seems to suggest that he was a Marine. If the three remains were found together, in the same spot, then I would say there is a high probability that they were Marines. But when the Japanese landed, the battle in many ways became a free-for-all, with whoever wanted to get in on the action simply grabbing a weapon (if they didn't already have one, which was the case for some of the coast artillerymen) and heading into the fight. I've heard multiple stories of Marine officers and noncoms handing out rifles to whoever would rush out of the East entrance of Malinta with them. It is my understanding that there were instances of "We need more men! You, come with me!" or "Follow him!" Out they went into the darkness or dawn to meet the Japanese with whatever weapon was at hand. So there is a faint possibility that the USMC bayonet could've been held by someone other than a Marine, but I think this is very unlikely.
Back to the golden braid. If #334 was a Marine, here is one possibility for where the braid might have came from. Members of the 4th Marine Regiment Band wore gold braids on their dress uniforms. The following is a 1937 image of the 4th Marines Band in Shanghai from the website chinamarine.org
Now, it's unimaginable that a Marine would have been wearing his dress uniform during combat. But it's possible that he held on to the gold braid for luck or something of the like. A keepsake of the good ole days perhaps. Who knows? This is only a SWAG!
This is kind of a stretch, but let me further confuse things. *Assuming* the gold braid indicates this was an officer and *assuming* this was a Marine, the ABMC database lists two USMC officers who died on May 6, 1942 and whose remains were not recovered.
CLARK GOLLAND LEE JR MAJ CASTLE NOEL OKER CAPT
I think there have been several threads about Capt Castle. I wonder if he wore wire rimmed glasses?
FWIW, ABMC lists (worldwide) 114 missing who died on May 6, 1942, 39 of whom were Marines.
Great find with that photo! I love seeing things like that on this site.
I do not think that this is the gold braid that is in question. In the file it reads that the gold braid was "from a hat, probably navy".
You can see this gold braid on barracks style hats along the front third of the hat just above the brim. I have seen pictures of them but sorry, I don't have any to post. Maybe someone here can find one.
You were navy, perhaps you can shed some light on this for us. Are you familiar with the style cap I am referring to?
I agree guys and am inclined to think that the braid probably came from a hat too, and it would seem likely that it may have belonged to an officer. I just don't know of that many officers (Navy or Marine) that died during the siege. Major Golland L. Clark actually survived the fight for Corregidor and died on the Enoura Maru. Interestingly, on May 6, 1942, Wainwright sent Major Clark forward with the white flag. There were others with him too, I can't remember who all went with him at the moment (maybe just one other guy went with him). I'm out of town and away from my books. There was also a Major Harry Lang, USMC (I think I've got his name and rank right) who was KIA in early May (I think May 4).
It would be interesting to know if Captain Castle did wear wire rimmed glasses, John. I will check into this and see what all I can find about him. I've got some testimony of his death.
I cannot think of a single Naval officer who died on Corregidor, but I'm running only on memory of what I've read. But wait, I just happened to remember I stuck a Corregidor KIA list in my backpack. Much of the information I've compiled on this list is thanks to you, John, especially those KIA on May, 5/6 1942. Here are the officers I have on the list who died in May 1942 on Corregidor:
2d Lt. Walter Gage, Ordinance Aviation Unit, KIA May 6, 1942 Cpt. Noel O. Castle, Co. D 1st Bn. 4th Marines KIA May 6, 1942 Maj. Harry Cox Lang, Co. A 1st Bn. 4th Marines KIA May 4, 1942 Lt. Phillippi d. May 14, 1942 Lt. Duck d. May 6, 1942 3d Lt. Baltazar B. Goligado, Philippine Army Air Corps, KIA May 4, 1942 2d Lt. Cesar G. Calayag, Philippines Army Air Corps, KIA May 4, 1942 Cpt. Charles C. James, 729th Ordinance attached 4th Marines, KIA May 4, 1942 Cpt. William G. Thompson, Btry. D 59th CAC, KIA May 6, 1942
The source of this list of officers is a mixture of Chaplain Perry O. Wilcox's records and Cabanatuan testimonials. I only have the printout in front of me and not the actual file, which contains more details. I feel like I'm getting fairly close to a complete list of deaths on Corregidor. The totals are nearing 500, but I have more threshing to do. I'm not only compiling a list of Americans but those of every nationality who died on Corregidor during the siege. This thread is motivating me to do more work on this.
OK, here's the 7 officers who died on May 5 or 6 and whom ABMC lists as still missing. No way to know if they died on Corregidor, but all of these units were there.
PHILLIPPE HERSEL E 1LT CORPS OF ENGINEERS WOOLERY EDWARD R 1LT 3 PUR SQ 24 PUR GP DAVIS BERNARD D 1LT 31 PUR SQ 37 PUR GP CASTLE NOEL OKER CAPT USMC TISDALE RYLAND D CDR USN WINTERS ROBERT C LT CDR USN CLARK GOLLAND LEE JR MAJ USMC
There's been quite a bit written about Capt Castle and the story of his death certainly fits with the few facts we have to work with. I googled the others and didn't find much except that some have different dates of death listed.
I'm really curious about the 2 Navy Commanders on your list. I'll have to check into those two guys. Here's what I have about the circumstances of Captain Noel Castle's death on Corregidor as told by an eyewitness:
Cpl. L.R.[Lee Rae] Clark, USMC, 280447, swore on September 17, 1943 as follows (at Cabanatuan POW Camp):
"During the engagement with the enemy in the vicinity of Kindley Field, following the hostile landing on Ft. Mills, and at about 0200 6 May 1942 I observed Capt. Noel O. Castle, C.O., Co. D, 1st Bn., 4th Mar, walking across the Malinta Point trail at RJ 21 toward the north side of the road. Pfc. Edward G. Free, USMC, and I were manning a machine gun about 20 yards away. Upon recognizing Capt. Castle I called out “Go Back, there is a sniper shooting this way.” Without stopping Capt. Castle continued on. About a yard from the embankment on the north side of the road he was hit by what I believe to be rifle or machine gun bullets. I saw him fall forward and disappear from sight over the edge of the road. Shortly after this the enemy opened up with an artillery concentration from Bataan and Free and I were forced to take cover. I jumped into a nearby hole and Free ran across the road into the draw where Capt. Castle lay. The concentration lasted about 10 or 15 minutes after which each of us returned to our gun. Free then told me that Capt. Castle was hit in the chest and abdomen and was in a bad way. He told me that the Captain could not move and that he had loosened his pistol belt and other equipment. We then moved our gun to a new position and continued in the fight. I did not see Capt. Castle after he fell over the edge of the road."
If we had Castle's IDPF then that should/could tell us whether or not he wore glasses. It appears from the above story that Capt. Castle would have been the only guy to fall in that particular spot. I wish we knew where these 3 unknowns were found on Corregidor and whether they were found together, in the same spot.
It sounds as if you have made some progress with the Corregidor burial records. Below is a list of all the Corregidor X files which I have found so far. Perhaps you can match grave numbers to the X file numbers. These are all buried in Manila as Unknowns. The ABMC column is the Manila grave number. The grave column is the original burial location on Corregidor.
FILE NUMBER ABMC POD GRAVE REMARKS
MANILA2 X-73 N 10 41 CORREGIDOR CORREGIDOR C-1-14 MANILA2 X-74 G 1 6 CORREGIDOR CORREGIDOR C-3-70 MANILA2 X-76 H 13 101 CORREGIDOR CORREGIDOR C-3-65 MANILA2 X-77 G 7 1 CORREGIDOR CORREGIDOR C-3-66 MANILA2 X-78 F 10 26 CORREGIDOR CORREGIDOR C-3-68 MANILA2 X-79 N 8 47 CORREGIDOR CORREGIDOR C-3-69 MANILA2 X-80 L 14 105 CORREGIDOR CORREGIDOR C-3-71 MANILA2 X-121 N 9 71 CORREGIDOR CORREGIDOR MANILA2 X-122 N 4 42 CORREGIDOR CORREGIDOR C-5-40 MANILA2 X-123 N 3 19 CORREGIDOR CORREGIDOR C-5-36 MANILA2 X-155 G 3 9 CORREGIDOR FILIPPINO CEM CORREGIDOR FILIP B-1-17 SHOE SIZE 8C MANILA2 X-156 H 2 143 CORREGIDOR CORREGIDOR C-6-26 EST AGE 40 MANILA2 X-157 G 2 4 CORREGIDOR CORREGIDOR C-6-27 MANILA2 X-1062 D 15 21 CORREGIDOR LITTLE BAGUIO CORREGIDOR 1-1-17 MANILA2 X-1257 N 3 188 CORREGIDOR LITTLE BAGUIO CORREGIDOR 1-4-7 MANILA2 X-1258 D 1 73 CORREGIDOR LITTLE BAGUIO CORREGIDOR 1-3-19 MANILA2 X-1259 N 5 169 CORREGIDOR LITTLE BAGUIO CORREGIDOR 1-5-10 MANILA2 X-1260 A 9 4 CORREGIDOR LITTLE BAGUIO CORREGIDOR 1-3-2 MANILA2 X-1261 D 10 154 CORREGIDOR LITTLE BAGUIO CORREGIDOR 1-6-12 MANILA2 X-1262 N 4 72 CORREGIDOR LITTLE BAGUIO CORREGIDOR 1-7-15 MANILA2 X-3658 L 9 19 CORREGIDOR CIV CORREGIDOR CIV COL HARRISON NOT IN ABMC DATABASE
EDIT: As soon as I click save this table loses its formating and I'm not able to put it in to columns. Sorry.
Last Edit: Aug 24, 2015 23:17:09 GMT 8 by JohnEakin
In sorting through other Corregidor X files, I've found a couple of other files that may give us a clue to the owner of the gold braid. In addition, some of the related files reference casualties from Denver Hill and others that were buried outside the East entrance of Manila Tunnel and I think both have been discussed in other threads.
Very interesting thread. I have doubts that X-334 could be Captain Noel Castle, though, having come across five photographs of him, none of which show him wearing glasses. He was also a member of the USMC Rifle and Pistol Marksmanship Team which leads me to believe he had extremely keen eyesight.
Captain Noel O. Castle
I am inclined to SWAG that X-334 is the remains of a naval officer from the 4th Provisional Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment that was almost entirely composed of USN personnel (about 95%) including many from the USS Canopus. They were the reserve force that was thrown into battle in the Denver Hill water tanks area on May 6th. According to several accounts including John Gordon's Fighting for MacArthur (p. 235, 291) many men in 4/4 were not issued steel helmets, which may explain why X-334 did not have one.
I am aware of the names of only two naval officers that were KIA on May 6th. Lieutenant Bethel V. Otter had been the gunnery officer aboard the Canopus and commanded Company T of 4/4. At about 0730, he and Ensign William R. Lloyd, formerly of the gunboat USS Oahu, led four volunteer sailors in an assault against a Japanese machine gun located in a pit near the Battery Denver-fresh water tank area. They wiped out the enemy gun crew with grenades but the weapon was soon manned again. The six Americans then rushed the gun pit and in the ensuing fight only one man survived (Ghosts of Canopus, p. 123 and Fighting for MacArthur, p. 292).
Lieutenant Bethel V. Otter
Ensign William R. Lloyd
X-3741 contains a map showing where the remains BTB (believed to be) those of Otter and Lloyd were recovered. See pages 19, 21 and 25 in the file.
Given that the remains of Otter and Lloyd were apparently recovered after the war, we still do not have an identity for X-334. The name of Commander Ryland D. Tisdale has been mentioned. He began the war at Cavite and then transferred to Corregidor, but several accounts state that he escaped to Mindanao and was killed on May 23, 1942 at Tamparan in Lanao Province while fighting Moros who were collaborating with the Japanese. I have been unable to learn anything about Lieutenant Commander Robert C. Winters. But Lieutenant Otter is widely reported to have been the senior USN officer KIA on Corregidor May 6th.
Captain Harold E. Dalness, US Army, commanded Company R of 4/4. After the war he wrote a monograph about the battle for the Advanced Infantry Officer Course at Fort Benning. According to John Gordon, Dalness wrote that 4/4 suffered at least 15 officer casualties (as well as about 150 enlisted casualties) in the final battle for Corregidor. While the numbers are not broken down into KIA and WIA, Gordon notes that many of the wounded left behind were almost certainly killed by the advancing Japanese as 4/4 retreated from Denver Hill to the final line outside Malinta Hill. In Fighting for MacArthur (p.234) Gordon wrote that the officer ranks for 4/4 comprised 1 Marine, 9 Army and 16 Navy officers. Therefore, there must have been more USN officer casualties than Otter and Lloyd.
I will SWAG that X-334 is one of these 15 officer casualties from 4/4, and a USN. Another possibility is that a USN CPO or senior petty officer may have been given a battlefield promotion to an "O" in the final days and was wearing that cover during the battle. Probably no paperwork survives indicating this-
Chad - I thought the same thing about glasses and the rifle team, but just recently I came across a magazine photo and ad of a target shooter wearing some very fancy eyewear which provided vision correction specifically for target shooting. I can imagine that back in the WWII era they well might have employed such glasses to get a little extra edge. In those days, telescopic sights were very uncommon and probably not allowed in matches.
With that said, I like your analysis better than mine. The only hole in your theory is that the remains of Otter and Lloyd were identified and buried in the States - which is why their names don't appear in the ABMC database as MIA's. However, I know from sad experience that while the AGRS identified most of the remains they found, their identifications were very, very suspect. Unfortunately, we don't have their Individual Deceased Personnel Files which would tell us how they were identified (and then allow us to speculate about whose remains were identified as Otter and Lloyd).
Of course, you do lose points for being absent for so long. <G>
Last Edit: Aug 25, 2015 10:04:47 GMT 8 by JohnEakin
Very informative post, Chad, and excellent photos. I've spent most of the evening reading the x files that John posted and am finding that they are full of insightful information, particularly the letters from Chaplain Borneman and the bodies found near the East entrance of Malinta Tunnel. One of the things that continuously inspires me to research Corregidor is the fact that there were hundreds of men that died during the siege whose names exist only in obscure documents, scattered in archives and personal collections all over the world. One of the pieces from these files that fascinates me is that the very landscape on which these men died and were buried had changed since the day they were laid to rest, making it more difficult to locate the remains after the war. The re-taking of The Rock plays into the picture when thinking about this, and I have overlooked this fact for a long time, until recently.
Hundreds, if not thousands of eyewitness accounts exist, especially when dealing with information on those who died. Whether it be on Corregidor, Bataan, in POW Camps, or Hellships, these guys went to extraordinarily great lengths to document their fallen comrades. I'm optimistic that a true accounting can be made. However, that doesn't mean that all of the unknowns can be determined from these records, but I believe some of them can.
I believe the "gold braid" probably was Navy as mentioned in the report. Navy officers wore gold braid chinstraps on the service cap in all forms of dress, and the cap cover would have been khaki for wear during active duty, which was worn by Navy officers on Corregidor. Marine officers chinstraps were gold with a central red stripe, but they were only worn with the white or blue cover for dress. The chinstrap in active duty was cordovan leather. So this remains a mystery.
Additionally, I recall reading somewhere that the 4th Marines lost all their dress uniforms during their transfer to PI. They would only have had their khaki during the battle. Those cords worn by the musicians would not not have been present, and the colors on them were red and gold, the Marine's colors. So Chadhill may be on to something here.
Post by Pat McConnell on Apr 7, 2018 0:58:13 GMT 8
Re: LCDR Robert Chalmers Winters, the US Naval Academy Register of Alumni lists "5/6/1942, Pearl Harbor". Haven't confirmed, but I suspect he might have been aboard a Patrol Squadron (VP) 13 plane that crashed that day. (When I do confirm, it will be posted to usnamemorialhall.org/index.php/ROBERT_C._WINTERS,_LCDR,_USN )
The April 1, 1941 Navy Directory lists him as a LT with VP-25 in Pearl Harbor. Obviously a lot happened in that year, but it's a data point.
norm grossman: The Fall of the Philippines 1941-42 has always interested me and now at 67 years old and retired I have the time to surf the internet and find great website like yours to get answers to my questions on this subject.
Mar 11, 2019 7:30:56 GMT 8
norm grossman: How can I post or upload photos on my posts that are off my computer and don't have URL links? Thanks
Mar 11, 2019 7:35:09 GMT 8
EXO: Norm Grossman - most of us arrange our own third-party image storage. Flickr, or Photobucket are two in the market.
Mar 14, 2019 5:35:52 GMT 8
Marine Niece: Can anyone tell me where the cliff caves on Caballo/Fort Hughes are located?
Mar 24, 2019 7:30:16 GMT 8
Henry J. Kaden: Does anyone know of the date the "Test Platoon" completed their training and were awarded their wings?
Apr 14, 2019 4:01:25 GMT 8
Boy V: Hi Im Boy Villanueva loves travelling across the Philippines. I love searching American History during the WW 2. I came across the Villa Verde which inetrest me more. I have some photos of the new improvement of the road. and how can i upload it.
Apr 26, 2019 12:33:38 GMT 8
tmayer: Test Platoon- First jump from airplane was on August 16, 1940. First mass jump from airplane was on August 29, 1940. September 16 ,1940 War Department authorized the 1st Parachute BN. October 2, 1940 document was amended to read 501st Parachute BN (i
May 14, 2019 0:25:08 GMT 8
Marine Niece: Chadhill: Thank you for the sources! They've become part the story I'm writing about James's Marine service and his death. Do you think it's at all possible for me to recover my uncle's body and bring it home?
May 31, 2019 5:31:37 GMT 8
chadhill: Marine Niece: Very possible. Call USMC Service Casualty Office to register as family member at 800-847-1597. They will want a DNA sample. See FAQ at www.dpaa.mil/Contact/Contact-Us. Be sure to request his Individual Deceased Personnel File.
Jun 5, 2019 7:16:36 GMT 8
Marine niece: About 5PM 5/6/42, my uncle swam from the shelter of some Caballo cliff caves to help someone swimming from Corregidor. Returning, he was resting in the water by rocks when he was bombed and killed. Are there cliff caves east of the north dock near Fuger
Jun 11, 2019 22:50:33 GMT 8
cbuehler: Marine Niece,
Jun 13, 2019 0:33:51 GMT 8
cbuehler: Caballo Island is almost all cliffs etc. I have to say that a swim from Corregidor to there would be quite a feat even for an outstanding swimmer, given the distance, frequently rough water and sharks that were there.
Jun 13, 2019 0:39:22 GMT 8
batteryboy: There were a number of natural caves along the steep and rocky shoreline of Caballo. Not that deep though. There is a slight slope from the shore line leading to Battery Fuger but I cant recall any natural caves when i circled the island.
Jul 29, 2019 18:30:52 GMT 8
fortune40: Has anyone heard of government plan to build bridge between Bataan and Cavite passing by Corregidor? If its true going to the island in the future is easier to any tourists coming from Bataan or Cavite but the influx may change the landscape too..!
Sept 17, 2019 20:40:04 GMT 8
Rmcnnlly: My Gr-Uncle Lt. Col. Cyril "Bud" Marron died on the Oryoku Maru. I recently heard there will be an attempt to recover the remains of the those who died on the ship. Does anyone know who to contact about this?
Sept 18, 2019 3:26:06 GMT 8
SGantner: Hello, does anyone now where my grandfather Kurt Gantner is burried? I will come soon to Manila. I never had the opportunity to say him goodbye. Thank you for your help.
Oct 1, 2019 3:13:07 GMT 8