[pow mia flag]   WWII - TEXAS MIAs - HELL SHIPS   [tex flag]

1,622 American Prisoners of War boarded onto the Oryoku Maru at Manila. The ship sailed on December 14, 1944, for Subic Bay. After arriving there the same day, it was bombed by American planes while it was picking up Japanese personnel. As dusk came, the planes broke off the attack. The next day, the planes returned and resumed the attack. The Japanese abandoned ship. They then ordered the POWs to abandon ship during an air raid on the ship. When the American pilots saw the large number of men climbing from the ship’s holds, they stopped their attack. As the POWs swam to shore, the POWs were shot at by Japanese soldiers with machine guns. The surviving POWs were herded onto tennis courts. Those who stated they were too sick to go on were taken into the mountains and beheaded at a cemetery. The remaining POWs were taken to San Fernando La Union and boarded onto a second ship, the Enoura Maru, which reached Takao, Formosa. While in harbor, on January 9, 1945, the ship was bombed by American planes resulting in the deaths of many POWs. They were buried in a mass grave on the island. The survivors were put on a third ship, the Brazil Maru. Those who died on this ship were thrown overboard before the ship reached Japan on January 29, 1945. Only 403 of the POWs, who boarded the ship at Manila, survived the war.