You raise some very valid points EXO. I am not denying that Capt. Steiger's diary is anything but accurate. There's no question as to Col. Bunkers attitude toward Filipinos either. I'm just thinking there may be some details that still could possibly be fished out on this topic. I'm going to start digging. I also have a hand drawn map that is in Charles Balaza's book of the approximate area that he remembers it going down at. I'm going to scan it a little later on today and put in on here.
Post by The Phantom on Apr 13, 2012 22:49:06 GMT 8
There are answers out there........
Maybe from Keith Barrow who edited Colonel Bunkers Diary?
The following is copied from the Bunker thread from this site.
gilbunker member is offline
Joined: Dec 2009 Gender: Male Posts: 2
Re: COL. PAUL D. BUNKER'S CORREGIDOR REVISITED « Reply #109 on Dec 23, 2009, 12:10pm »
I am very impressed and totally excited to discover this informative site about Col. Paul Bunker and his book. There are other diaries written by the colonel that predate his last one. I have not yet had an opportunity to read them as they are owned by Paul D Bunker III who is actually a nephew of the Colonel. Paul mentions about his genealogical research of the Bunker family history and disappointment about losing the material. He did send information back to the Bunker Family Association for their records and eventual publication. Paul was elected the first president of the Bunker Family Association (BFA) in 1913 and the research of our family continues as we approach our centennial celebration. We celebrated our 93rd reunion (2006) by visiting West Point with an appropriate ceremony at the graves of Paul, his wife and son, Paul Jr. Descendent's of the Colonel attended along with other members of the BFA. The museum had the flag remnant on display for us to gaze and ponder the heroic days on Corregidor. Paul and Paul Jr both graduated from The Point, Paul Sr in 1903, the same class as MacArthur, and they were on Corregidor together. Paul's diary is a fascinating read and now you gentlemen have brought the book to life. For the Bunker Family Association, I thank you for adding your personal experiences to this epic. There is so much to read on these pages and I must now re-read the colonel's book. I shall also inform our membership about your efforts and the OMG photographs. I'm blown away. I would certainly like to shake hands with those who experienced the last days in Corregidor and felt the wrath of Japanese brutality in the POW camps. I was a mere lad of seven in 1942 when Paul lowered the flag but after reading the book would like to add some personal thoughts about this particular event. Paul claims he saved a piece of the flag and sewed it under his arm patch, his secret till almost the end of his days. Knowing how the Japanese would react on finding the remnant, absolutely no one could be witness to the event including those who were there at the time the flag was lowered, and immediately retired to the flames. If he had needle and thread to hide the piece of red, surely he had a knife or razor blade to cut the piece. Just because those that attended the final ceremony didn't see the colonel save the small piece doesn't mean it didn't happened as Paul recorded it in his diary. He didn't want anyone to see it. Boy, would I ever like to walk the tunnels on Corregidor, please keep me informed of visits, maybe, just maybe... Merry Christmas and thanks for the great gift. gil
Hey Guys....My computer was "fried" by a power surge a few days back and I have been dead in the water. I didn't dream that I would return to one of the most intriguing discussions that has been put forth on this forum in quite some time, in my humble. EXO, I certainly can see where you might want to present this provoking topic out there with the other "center stage" stuff. The research you guys have contributed is first rate.
That is a great map which made me go search for more information on Charles Balaza. It was critical now to find out exactly what searchlight battery that he was manning that night.
Corregidor.org had an article about him visiting his searchlight position post war and it stated that they went to Searchlight #1 on Battery Point. From that, I created a post about what they could have illuminated from that position. It appears the information is incorrect and that post is now BS.
I expect nobody knows better as to what Searchlight he was at that than Mr. Balaza himself. With a little good luck I found out where he himself states what battery he was a member of. It was Searchlight #4 sitting on Wheeler Point.
This agrees with his map and text from the book "Life as an American Prisoner of War of the Japanese" now falls into place.
- He could directly look at Battery Monja.
- They could interlock with Searchlight #3.
- He mentions that his Searchlight controlled the “entrance (channel) from the South China Sea into Manila Bay and part of the North Channel between Corregidor and Bataan”. This is all possible from SL#4.
- He was in an ideal position to illuminate buoy markers.
- There was no moon that night.
- His comments about the fighter plane now make sense. The plane which came up from behind him would have had to bank right in order to fire on Searchlight #3.
- SL #4 is stuck out on the end of Wheeler Point and would have been a silhouette when seen from the air.
- Where the ship is shown to be sinking is near the outer row of mines. As Mr. Balaza says, he nearly made it out to the open sea.
This information and map certainly point to one of the Army mines as causing the sinking of the ship. It also agrees with other accounts we read about the disaster happening near La Monja Island/west of Corregidor.
So what do we learn from all the information we have collected? If everything is correct then it is looking like the actions of Col. Bunker directly resulted in the loss of many innocent lives on the SS Corregidor. He certainly could have prevented it.
There may be more information to be dug up so good luck to Will.
Thanks. In respect of the SS Corregidor incident, I owe first thanks to Fots, whose scholarship on the topic brought me to the realization that there is far, far more about this tragedy than has been left for us in the history books.
I am reminded of a quotation by Churchill about Russia, but which I will amend with reference to the present topic.
"It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is national interest."
It seems that all the evidence points to a catastrophic decision by Col. Bunker. I wasn't aware of which searchlights Mr. Balaza was referring to until I looked at his map. I'm very glad that he recorded his memories of that night, as it seems to be entirely accurate, as Fots' research has shown. One thing that I have learned is that many of the men that were there on Corregidor during the war, although many years have passed since these events happened, their memories are still very vivid.
Fots, that was a great effort in Reply 32 on your part. Zeroing in on searchlight # 1 was perfectly understandable at that point, and only a true authority such as yourself would have known of the restricted visibility that Morrison Point would have imposed on it. I still say cudos...
Very interesting story about Ensign Cox and PT-41, too. Hmm...
WW, I would like to take this opportunity to re-display your posting of Mr. Balaza's hand drawn map, but in full scale. When you get to be my age you'll appreciate that. It would appear that Mr. Balaza is depicting the SS Corregidor sinking slightly SE of La Monja.
Here is a portion of a 1983 chart based on soundings taken by the USS Maury in 1964 and the USS Shelldrake in 1966.
The numbers represent depths in meters. Several crossed symbols (meaning shipwreck with masts) surround Corregidor Island, and the letters "Wk" appear below San Jose, south of Hooker Point, above North Dock, and above the word "Channel". "Wk" means submerged wreckage, and if given with a number it indicates the minimum depth the structure rises to.
La Monja Islet is just below the the purple mark on the left of the chart. As can be seen, there are no shipwrecks or wreckage listed in the vicinity. However, to the SE of La Monja there are the letters "Obstr" (red arrow) which means an obstruction is present. In this case the obstruction rises to 30 meters below the surface, or about 100 feet. The surrounding depths are 54-56 meters or approximately 180 feet or so. In other words, this obstruction is about 80 feet high.
Of course this could be a natural obstruction, but I'm curious. It is roughly in the area where we believe the SS Corregidor sank, although somewhat further south than in Mr. Balaza's sketch. Were attempts made to recover remains from the wreckage after the war, or was that abandoned as in the case of the Oryoku Maru in Subic Bay? The water around La Monja is relatively shallow, and I wonder if the authorities possibly wanted the ship's exact location to remain obscurred, at least through the 1960s.
Last Edit: Jul 31, 2017 11:47:06 GMT 8 by chadhill
Hey Chad....This little exercise is driving me nuts, but I love it. Question...Doesn't the hand drawn sketch indicate the SS Corregidor as going down SW of La Monja and the obstruction, shown on your chart, as being SE of the Islet? I, respectfully, request that you straighten my mind out. After pondering this riddle it is bent completely out of kilter. As I stated to EXO, this latest Corregidor puzzle is a "keeper". Cheers.
Mr. Balaza's sketch is not oriented with north at the top. North is more like the upper right-hand corner of the sketch, about the 2:00 position. He was drawing this sketch as he remembered it from his vantage point at Searchlight 4 on Wheeler Point. I should have made that clear in the post above, since he didn't. The sinking ship is between La Monja and Corregidor, so it has to be on the eastern side of the isle. Also, if it sank on the SW side of La Monja it almost certainly would have sailed thru the Navy minefield instead.
Artem: I use to work in that shipyard. Heard of D. Cleland through my uncles who were previous generations that worked there. Saw a photo or two of D.Cleland in the shipyard library. If my memory is correct I saw his grave out in the city's protestant cemetery.
May 11, 2020 8:24:25 GMT 8
faulkvi2: Hi! My name is Vickie. I am here to learn more about the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor and to honor the life of my Uncle, Pvt Eugene Mott, who has not been returned to us after his death on the Oryoku Maru.
Jun 20, 2020 10:59:59 GMT 8