If you read the later comments of Bunker and those who wrote about him, Bunker’s actions that night may have been guided more by his feelings towards Filipinos and ship captains than feeling the weight of the free world. Seventy years after the fact, I wouldn’t over inflate his importance on the island either. He was Army "middle management" and took orders like everyone else.
The SS Corregidor’s captain was the most at fault but his actions alone would not have resulted in the loss of his ship if Bunker had deactivated the mine fields. (Leaving it on "Supervisary" would have let him know if any other ship was entering the harbour).
I will not let Bunker off the hook at all. His decision cost many innocent lives.
There are no demerit points for disagreements. Thank-you for the comments.
Yes fots, I have read comments like this before. There is obviously more to this tragic story either way. It doesn't appear that he was overly enamored with the average Filipino, and he likely had good reasons for this.
In view of the captains reckless behavior, I think Bunker made the right choice ,,, And if it wasn't him, it very likely just would have been someone else to make the same choice.
I don't propose Bunker as "King of Corregidor". He had a very responsible position, the weight of which no one here can easily imagine ,, And of course, he took orders, as well as gave them. Being in command of coastal artillery on a heavily besieged island fortress is a title not many men in history have taken - There is no need to over rate, or under rate.
Here is a snippet, I am guessing you have seen before, from a person who had relatives who died at sea that night. Very extensive narrative, well worth the read for those with the time and inclination.
The following is an e-mail sent to Frank Steiger September 30, 2005 by Kerwin M. Ronquillo providing further background information regarding the above incident:
Hello Frank, I lost family members in the SS Corregidor. The 760 so called refugees were actually-mostly college students attending schools in Manila, colleges like Ateneo, La Salle, Santo Tomas, San Juan de Letran, Assumption, St. Pauls, St. Josephs, UP (University of the Philippines), etc. Usually, students would come home for Christmas vacation, given it was December and Christmas was just week ahead. This is a regular event even up to now 65 yrs. later. Students study in Manila and come home to the other regions of the country for the Christmas Holidays. Also due to the fact that Pearl Harbor was attacked a week before, many parents of these college students told their children to come home. We lost 3 relatives, two young women in their college years and their uncle, who was sent to bring them back home. If there was anybody at fault, it would be the captain of the ship who left the dock near Pasig River in Manila ahead of schedule. It was to leave the port with a ship escort to guide it through the mine grid. It left without an escort. It is said that he, the captain was worried about getting bombed by japanese airplanes so he left early. We really don't know the exact reason but his decision to leave without waiting for an escort cost several hundred young innocent lives.
edit: I have just started to read through the original Bunker thread, obviously no need to rehash here. Suffice it to say that I respect all opinions, and there can be no "right" or "wrong" opinion concerning events that we will never have full info about
I have seen that before but thanks for positing it anyway. Steiger’s book reminds me of the difficulties we have in assembling a single factual story out of multiple accounts that often do not agree. Here is an example regarding the explosion of Battery Geary.
"May 2. Battery Geary sustained a direct hit and was blown up. One of the gun barrels weighing fifty tons was lifted 100 feet and drifted laterally about 200 feet to the middle of the golf course Topside. Of one hundred men only seven survived". (from Frank Steiger’s book)
"Remarkably, Captain Davis, seeing the Japanese 240mm shells begin to bracket Geary, anticipated the explosion and had ordered his men to take cover in the far right magazine, and only 6 were killed, and the same number wounded". (from Corregidor.org)
Other accounts say twenty seven were killed.
If anything new develops regarding the SS Corregidor, I will post it here.
1. Depth measured by wire drag in 2005, so the wreck today may show deeper than 29 metres, due to natural decaying or sweeping trawlers.
2. It is strange that this object is being reported as an obstruction and not as a wreck. In any case, not a rock.
3. There were more big ships sunk in this heavily mined and attacked area, so it could also be a warship or big cargo vessel.
4. The hydrographic measurements in any case, do match +/- Corregidor's dimensions and historical sinking description (SW from Corregidor Island).
5. I have knowledge of an East-European salvaging company that has signed an agreement with the Philippine government to unfortunately clean up the area of valuable wrecks. If they are going with permission after Corregidor, I don't known, but it certainly is an interesting wreck for these guys. In my opinion, the wreck should be protected and left in peace.
6. Today these depths are nothing special for even an amateur diver. A diver could easily bring an end to the doubts. The area is heavily navigated, so probably permission is needed to dive.
Thank-you very much for the reply and providing this excellent information. The fact that it is in agreement with what we have learned is icing on the cake. I think you have moved our margin of error as close to 0% as we can get without diver proof.
Let’s hope someone with authority does consider the SS Corregidor to be a protected site.
Here is a Google Earth satellite photo using your corrected co-ordinates showing the probable location of the SS Corregidor wreck.
Hey Chad....It would seem that your SWAG is not such a SWAG as you might have feared. It is strange that, as far as is known, that nobody has dived on this location to confirm whether SS Corregidor rests at this spot. Cheers. Postscript....Again, I say, this is super, good stuff.
"I have knowledge of an East-European salvaging company that has signed an agreement with the Philippine government to unfortunately clean up the area of valuable wrecks. If they are going with permission after Corregidor, I don't known, but it certainly is an interesting wreck for these guys. In my opinion, the wreck should be protected and left in peace."
The S.S. Corregidor is recognized as a War Graves Site internationally.
What could possible be salvaged after 70 years from it, and the other shipwrecks near Corregidor Island if they are included, rust?
Maybe a further search for the millions in silver still shifting around on the bottom where it was dumped in 1942. Wait........... that's where some of the wrecks are located to be harvested.............Silly me..........
I'm sure there are many prominent Filipino families in the Visayas and Mindanao who would want to know their children's grave-site is to "Salvaged" for scrap .....if indeed that is the case.
Okla, yes, it is hard to believe that no one has dived on the site yet.
Here is an excerpt from a patrol report of the submarine S-36. It deals with entering and exiting the minefield safety channel at night, while enroute from the Cavite Navy Yard to the South China Sea:
FIRST DAY WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 3, 1941
At 0100 underway in accordance with verbal orders of Commander Submarines, Asiatic Fleet. At 0300 having received permission to pass thru minefield darkened ship and rigged ship for dive. The passage of the field was made without incident, there being bright flashing lights on the two inner buoys*, a dim white light on the turn buoy, and the buoys on the outer field** were illuminated by Army searchlights from Corregidor. In respect to the latter it is suggested that a signal be arranged so that after the ship has picked up the buoys and is squared away the searchlights will be extinguished, as they tend to blind the conning officer.
*These must be the buoys outlining the minefield safety channel in the North Channel.
**The outer field must be the La Monja minefield. Apparently those buoys were not lighted.
I guess the question begs to be asked: were the North Channel buoys and the turn buoy illuminated the night of December 16-17? According to Gordon in "Fighting for MacArthur" (p. 76) it appears that they were. That could explain how the SS Corregidor managed to penetrate the North Channel minefield and make the turn south, only to meet its fate in the La Monja minefield when no searchlights illuminated to reveal the unlighted buoys there.
But then there is the PT-41 story fots posted. I'm scratching my head some more...
BLussier: I am the niece of Pvt. Robert D. Turner 13030357 listed as MIA on Corregidor. Still working with DPAA on Robert’s case. In the first entry on thread you mention a report and give info from Col. (Chaplain) Boerman that references cremating bodies in tunnel
Mar 6, 2021 10:58:01 GMT 8
BLussier: Is it possible to get a copy of that report? DPAA analyst never heard this before. I read the same info in a book. It was reported by a doc in the tunnel. Unfortunately I did not write the book title/ author info so can not use that info as evidence this
Mar 6, 2021 11:02:20 GMT 8
BLussier: is what could have happened to Robert’s body. Thank you! Bobbye (Turner) Lussier
Mar 6, 2021 11:04:28 GMT 8
raycoinhound: I sugest all members read this one!!!Fowlerville news and views 11/08/20 page 15.. The article shows Andy age 99 My mother Jackie age 95 and me in the middle age 68> . Andy saw all the paratroopers jump off his distroyer which shelled Corregdor in Feb 1945
Apr 20, 2021 12:06:19 GMT 8
raycoinhound: all members you better read this one.Fowlerville news & Views 11/08/20pg 15. Andy saw the 503 jump into battle on Corregidor. His Distroyer shelled the island and as soon as they stopped down came the 503rd!Andy is 99, my mother 95 and me 68.I take him out
Apr 20, 2021 12:09:58 GMT 8
raven316: Which tin can, my dad was on the USS Crosby, APD 17
Apr 21, 2021 1:55:19 GMT 8