Joe Burleson Haigwood and John Henry Haigwood Military History

Joseph Burleson Haigwood
Joseph Burleson Haigwood

John Henry Haigwood
Odessa High School Senior Picture 1940

Unknown and maybe Joseph Burleson Haigwood


Vic and Jean Appel and their children were longtime friends of ours. Tragically Jean died much too young, devastaing all who knew her. Some years later, Vic renewed acqaintance with Betty Haigwood, who had been in a class of his at the University of Texas where he was a Professor of Educational Psychology. After an engagement, Vic and Betty married and enjoyed eight years of happiness. Betty died in 2018. While attending her funeral, I discovered that she had had two brothers that were captured at Corregidor and spent the war in Japanese prisoner of war camps. Since two men in our family had done the same I inquired of the family if there were any history of their service available. They reported that only bits and pieces were scattered throughout the family. Patricia Haigwood, wife of the son of Joe Haigwood offered to share some pictures and assist in anyway she could to help with a suitable write-up. This page is the tribute to these brave soldiers.

Family History

Joe Burleson Haigwood and John Henry Haigwood Jr. were sons of John Henry and Daisy Beauchamp Haigwood. Joe was born on November 13, 1921. John was born on November 13, 1921. Their siblings included Barbara (Batson), Betty (Morgan, Purcell, Appel) and Mary Ann (Graves). Their father was an executive with RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company in North Carolina. The depression forced the family to move to Enid, OK and Odessa, Texas. They attended Odessa High School. Both were active in the school's military corp. Joe enlisted on February 8, 1941, before Pearl Harbor. John also enlisted that year. Since they both served in the 60th Coastal Artillery Corp, it could be that they enlisted together. They both were sent to Corregidor Island in the Phillipines. Joe served in Battery E and John in Headquarters. After the fall of the island they were sent to different prisoner of war camps in the Phillipines, Joe was later sent to Japan and John to Manchuria. Below I have tried to follow their military careers. Corrections and additions are much appreciated.

Military History

Joe Burleson Haigwood (b. November 13, 1921–d. January 14, 1987)

Army Enlistment Date for WWII: February 8, 1941
Release Date: March 2, 1949
Air Force Enlistment Date for Korean War: May 26, 1949
Release Date: February 29, 1964

Haigwood, Joe B.,Corp,18015230,USA (CAC)

Joe Burleson Haigwood served in the 60th Coastal Artillery Corp (E) on Corregidor. He was captured by the Japanese and was a prisoner of war first at the Lipa Camp in the Phillipines. Then at the 509, Nissyo, Fuk-03-Yawata Prison Camp in Japan until the end of the war. His rank was Corporal. The photo at right is from Joe’s file that the Japanese kept on each of the prisoners.  He had to clean the office and didn’t want them to have his picture.  He stole it out of the file and carried it in his shoe the whole time he was in the prison camp and later carried it in his wallet for the rest of his life. 








Fukuoka #3 POW Camp
Prisoner of War Information Bureau states that the camp was first located in suburban section of city of Yawata (Yahata); a new camp was then erected in a suburb of Tobata (HQ and Military Hospital in Kokura); POWs always worked in Yahata Steel Mills; area now the city of KITAKYUSHU.These sites are shown in the upper right of the map below. Kokura #3 Location 2 was likely his camp, since his family reports he worked in the steel mills.
Exact location: the latitude and longitude of the camp are: 33 degrees 54 min 0 sec North and 130 degrees 51 min 2 sec East [Courtesy of John DeBriere]




Camp Timeline:
23 Sep 1942;
 Established at YAHATA-shi, NAKA-machi, Known as YAHATA Provisional POW Camp [Also known as "The Citadel"Satellite View
Nov 1942: 36 US Marines arrive from Woosung.
1 Jan 1943: Renamed FUKUOKA POW CAMP YAHATA Branch Camp
1 Mar 1943: Renamed 3-B
13 Sep 1945: Rescue effected


Military History of

John Henry Haigwood Jr. (born in Joplin, MO, November 9, 1919–d. August 21, 1995)

John Henry Haigwood was born to John Henry and Daisy Beauchamp Haigwood on November 9, 1919 in Joplin, MO. His siblings included Joe Burleson Haigwood, Barbara (Batson), Betty (Morgan, Purcell, Appel and Mary Ann (Graves). His father was an executive with RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company in North Carolina. The depression forced the family to move to Enid, OK. Joe attended Odessa High School in Odessa, TX. He was active in the school's military corp. he enlisted 1941. His brother, John, also enlisted that year. John married Shirley J. Backvold (1931–2010) in Belleville, Illinois on September 121, 1959. They had one son, John. John and Shirley volunteered many hours in support of American Ex-Prisoners of War.

Army Enlistment Date for WWII: 1941 in Odessa, TX (Other sources say Stephenville, 1942.)
Release Date:
Enlistment Date for Korean War: March 20, 1946, Camp Chaffee Fort Smith, AK. He enlistied for Hawaiian Department in Regular Army. Maybe recall to active duty.
Release Date:

John Henry Haigwood served in the 60th Coastal Artillery Corp (Hq) on Corregidor. He was captured by the Japanese and was a prisoner of war first at the Cabanatuan Camp in the Phillipines; then at the 709, Tottori, Mukden Prison Camp in Manchuria. His rank was Corporal. He is listed in Hoten Prison Camp in Manchuria. The ship that took him there was the Maru Tottori. His POW number was 111.

About 1400 men* from Cabanatuan were selected to go to the Mukden area based on their skills and general health. Many were too sick to go. They left Manila aboard the Totorri Maru on October 8, 1942. They were packed in tightly in the holds with little room, little food or water, and in darkness for days at a time. Buckets for human waste were passed up from the hold, and waste spilled on people below. Animals had been carried in the holds before the men and the holds were not cleaned. On October 9, an American submarine shot two torpedoes at the unmarked ship. The torpedoes simultaneously passed on either side of the ship.

The ship arrived in Pusan, Korea on November 9, 1942 where 1300 American POWs were unloaded and sent to the first Mukden POW camp called Fengtien. They arrived in China to encounter freezing weather while wearing the ragged remains of their tropical clothing. None of the men were given enough food at Mukden to regain their vigor. Many dropped to under 100 pounds. *There were women on both Bataan and Corregidor, but while they were also starved and deprived of medicine, none were sent to Mukden. Australians and New Zealanders fought alongside the British to defend Singapore. The Japanese bombed fuel supplies and fired a lethal barage of long range artillery fire, which damaged roads, the city of Singapore, comunication lines, and hospitals. British and Australian planes were rarely able to get off the ground. As soon as possible, they were moved off the island to save them. The Japanese overwhelmed the defenders with sheer numbers. A story that is told to illustrate the perception of how many Japanese soldiers there were, is this: The Japanese had so many men, that when they were ready to cross the swampy, causeway area between Malaysia and Singapore, the first waves of soldiers fell and drowned. Eventually enough of their own dead soldiers filled the swamp and the later soldiers could walk on their backs and cross into Singapore with dry feet.

Map below shows camp location at Mukden.


Mukden Camp Built 4 miles from Fengtien, Mukden was the only POW camp in China with block-walled barracks. The POWs moved in on August 1, 1943, and stayed there until they were freed. The Mukden camp became the showplace of Japanese camps. If the Red Cross or the Japanese propaganda unit wanted to inspect a camp, they were brought to Mukden. While the press or inspectors were present, conditions became tolerable with ball games, and adequate food and clothing allowed. However, when the guests and cameras went away, the treatment of the men became as brutal as usual, the ragged clothing came back out, and near-starvation resumed. The prisoners suffered from the results of disease, hunger, unprovoked beatings, lack of medicine, and mental torture the entire time they held by the Japanese. The Japanese Imperial Army did not abide by the Geneva Convention on treatment of POWs. The POWs were marched to work at the Mitsubishi heavy machinery plant. (MKK) An Iron works and a lumber factory were part of the complex which also made parts for Japanese airplanes. A tannery and a canvas making plant were near by, and the men worked in the gardens that grew food for the Japanese. The POWs got little of the food. From the air, the buildings looked like the industrial buildings. Just as ships carrying POWs were not marked, the Japanese Imperial Army chose not to mark POW housing. Because the buildings were unmarked, a US plane with a bomb stuck in its bay, decided to try to shake it loose over the camp, thinking they would be dropping it on part of the industrial complex. The bomb hit a barracks and a latrine, killing eighteen men immediately and injuring 35 more.

More details of the camp here.

Timeline for camp prisoners:

In August 1945, over 1,200 prisoners of war were liberated by Russian troops from Hoten POW camp in Mukden (Shenyang), Manchuria. Many were survivors of the Bataan Death March and the battle for Corregidor.

The Chinese government has supported the reconstruction of the Mukden Camp as a reminder of the damage done to not just Chinese by the Japanese Occupation.


Background on Corregidor Island


Map of Corregidor Island

Corregidor is a small rocky island in the Phillipines about 48 kilometers west of Manila. “The Rock” was strategically located at the entrance of Manila Bay. It served as the retreat headquarters for General MacArthur and the Philippine Commonwealth government following the successful invasion of Manila and the Bataan Peninsula by the Japanese.

Corregidor had been fortified to delay the Japanese progress. The Malinta Tunnel (see picture) was constructed to serve as a bombproof shelter that would house communications and medical units along with Allied Headquarters. John Henry Haigwood might have worked in the tunnel. The main tunnel was 835 ft long, 24 ft wide and 18 ft high at top of arch. There were 13 and 11 lateral tunnel averaging 160 ft. in length an 15 ft in width. It was in solid rock and provided total protection from artillery or air attacks.

Joe Haigwood was in CAC, Erie Battery, "E". Here is a brief description of the history and heroics of that Battery.

"Battery Way was constructed on the "Topside" level of Corregidor Island in Manila Bay of the Philippines between 1904 and 1914. Four M1890 model 12" (305mm) mortars were emplaced. A few years before the start to World War II Battery Way was deactivated. In April 1942, Battery Way was reactivated for combat. This is that story, and the story of Captain William Massello, its commander. The war in the Pacific had been going on for four months. Bataan had fallen on April 9, 1942. Things looked bleak for the United States and its military personnel in the Philippines. Captain Bill Massello and "Erie" Battery, 60th Coast Artillery had been unemployed ever since their authorized transfer from Bataan to Corregidor. They lived in part of the regimental headquarters tunnel complex below Battery Wheeler.

Starting at 2330 hours 5 May 1942 through 1100 hours 6 May 1942, Battery Way fired over 90 rounds at the Japanese forces on Bataan and Corregidor. With this amount of firing from Battery Way, it averaged one round fired at the enemy every seven minutes and 36 seconds, and this was done under constant heavy counter-battery fire from the Japanese. This is a true testament to the bravery and dedication of William Massello and the men of Battery E "Erie", 60th Coast Artillery Regiment. At 1200 hours, May 6, 1942, Lieutenant General Wainwright, ordered Colonel Bunker to lower the colors, and Corregidor was at its end.

For details of this battle and Battery Erie: Corregidor, Battery Erie

Fuse Setter. The island came under heavy and continuous artillery and air bombardment. My cousin Edward Lee was a fuse setter in the 60th Anti-Aircraft Batallion, Coast Artillery Corps, Battery B (nicknamed Boston) Click Here for Details. The 60th Coast Artillery (AA) (60th CA), during the World War II era, was part of USAFFE’s Harbor Defenses of Manila and Subic Bays, under the Philippine Coast Artillery Command. This anti-aircraft unit was to provide air defense over Manila Bay and the southern tip of the Bataan Peninsula. The 60th CA was equipped with 3 inch guns (an older model with a vertical range of 8,200 m), 37 mm guns, 50 -caliber machine guns and 60-inch Sperry searchlights. The task of the fuse setter was described by Paul Alexa, WWII veteran from Ohio. “And then he would give the command to the gun sergeant to commence firing, and then the loaders would take the gun -- we had a proximity fuse which had a little radar in it, and it had a vial of acid in it. And as it went through the lands and groove of the guns, centrifugal force would break the vial of acid and it would start a little radar and it would start to put out a signal. It was proximity. When it got close to the target, it would explode. It was a very good device. (The proximity fuse would not have been available to Edward Lee, it was a later development in the war.) The other way when we were using the mechanical fuse, the loader -- one of the loaders -- the gun would be sandbagged in a circle. And the shells were laid on the sandbags all the way in a circle so that the loaders just have to reach over, have a shell available. Well, the loader would pick it up and put it in the fuse setter device. And the fuse setter would then crank a handle, and he would crank the number of seconds that would be required for that shell to reach the target.(Length of fuse determine when the shell exploded.) And then -- one of the ammunition guys, he would put the shell on the breech of the gun. The loader would put it on the breech of the gun, and the gunner would be standing on the side, usually a corporal. And with the help of the loader, because sometimes you'd be at almost a 90-degree angle with a 65-inch shell, two men would have to push it up into the breech. And once it got into the breech and the breech block closed, he'd stand aside and pull the lanyard, and the gun would fire. The gun would eject the spent shell automatically in front of the fuse setter out to the front of the gunner, and the gunner would kick it out. Kick it out of the way. Usually good gunners could kick it out over the guys' heads. Then another shell would be placed in there.”

Surrender & Imprisonment. When it became clear that the Japanese would eventually take the island, MacArthur and his staff left for Australia vowing to return. Many on the island felt abandon and were very critical of MacArthur and later decisions by the Pacific Command not to rescue them. Edward was captured on May 7, 1942 by a Japanese ground unit. The Bataan Death March had occurred before his surrender. He was moved to Camp Three Cabanatuan, Philippine Islands until 29 January 1943. Edward adds a comment about Cabanatuan Camps, “We raised sweet potatoes and all we got were the vines to eat. That was at Cabanatuan Camp 1. In Camp 3 we were in prison about 1 month, all sick. (Beriberi, a result of thiamine (B1) deficiency from lack of unrefined cereals. Symptoms include weight loss, weakness & pain in limbs, edema and irregular heart rate.) The Japanese fed us fish soup, more worms than fish in it, this was to build us up so we could go to work.” From there he was moved to Camp 12, Liba, P. I. until about September 5, 1943. He then returned to Camp One Cabanatuan, P. I. until 6 March 1944.

With other prisoners he was put on a ship for transport to the mainland of Japan. The ship was the Taikoku Maru (Later sunk, 17 May 1944 by US Submarine Sand Lance, SS381 at 14'58"N-144'49"E.). It carried 308 Men for 17 days, fortunately no deaths en route. This was a very dangerous voyage, since Allied submarines sunk many of these transport ships without knowing that often 1000s of POWs were aboard. Lt. Colonel Arthur G. Christensen describes below the trip which included Edward Lee:

Transport from Cabanatuan, P.I., to Japan

Cabanatuan to Manila, P.I.

Movement 6 March 1944 from the camp near Cabanatuan to the railroad at the town of Cabanatuan was made by truck, a distance of about eight miles. Movement from Cabanatuan to Manila, 6 March 1944, was made in box cars. These cars were extremely crowded and carried a load of logs in addition to the men of our detail. The stopover in Manila, 6 March to 24 March, was made at Bilibid Prison.

Manila, P. I. to Hitachi, Japan

This trip was made on a small Japanese freighter of estimated 5,000 to 6,000 tons. [Actual 3000 tons] The only passengers carried on the ship were the prisoners and guards, and about half a dozen Japanese Navy personnel. Prisoners were housed in the upper part of number two hold, which had been left vacant for them. The remainder of the ship was loaded at the time that we left the Philippines with some sort of ore, probably chromite (sic), to which was added a load of camphor logs at Formosa. The ship was armed with two guns, probably about three inch, mounted fore and aft. Extreme crowding existed. At the time we sailed it was just possible for all, by crowding to lie down at the same time. However, after being at sea two or three days, it became stormy and rainy and water leaked through the cover of the hatch, under which were quartered about one quarter of the men. It was necessary for these men to move into the surrounding area and during the remainder of the trip it was not possible for all to lie down at once, necessitating sleeping in a sitting position, or in shifts. A few days out of the Philippines it became very cold. This coupled with the wetness of the hold, and the lack of adequate amounts of warm clothing and blankets, resulted in practically all members of the detail having colds, many having flu, and one case of pneumonia. Latrine facilities existed on the deck, consisting of a small shed built out over the side of the ship. Prisoners were allowed use of the latrines practically without restriction both day and night. Washing facilities were practically non-existent due to the shortage of water on the ship. Sufficient water was furnished, though, for the washing of mess equipment.

Food was comparatively good. Cooking was done on the after well deck by prisoner cooks under the supervision of a prisoner mess officer and without too great interference by the Japanese. Cooking facilities consisted of expedient stoves made by cutting 55 gallon drums in half transversely and using them as fire boxes. Upon these were placed large cauldrons in which the cooking was done. These proved adequate as long as the sea was calm and the weather good, but when bad weather was encountered, it was next to impossible to cook on them. Wood was used for fuel. Guards, commanded by Warrant Officer Sakashita, with Sergeant (Gunso) Ooga as second in command and interpreter, treated the prisoners well.

We sailed from Manila 24 March 1944, arrived in Takao, Formosa, 27 March, remained on the ship in the harbor until 3 April, and arrived in Osaka 9 April. We debarked at Osaka 10 April and boarded the train for Hitachi, arriving there 11 April 1944, after a trip of about eighteen hours. Rail travel was in coaches which were crowded. Food en route during the train trip was good and furnished in individual "bento” boxes.”

Captain Martin S. Christie, USMC gives further details, “Moving by electric train the following day and onward arriving at the mines in Motoyama on April 12, 1944. Our camp was on the southwest side of a bowl like valley. Almost directly across from us was another mine being worked by Korean Labor forces.”

Captain Christie continues, “In August 1944 this group of Americans was broken up leaving approximately 100 in camp. Other nationalities were transferred in with the final camp made up of about 300 American, British and Javanese Dutch troops in roughly equal proportions. I remember no incidents of brutality. Occasionally someone got slapped around but nothing of a serious nature. The Japanese Camp Commander was a graduate of Northeastern University and the interpreter was a mixture of Japanese-Caucasian ancestry. Working conditions in the mines were rough, but the civilian workers were in the most part kind to us.”

Another prisoner who served in this camp was Norman Johnny Skubinna(1922-45)(pictued at left). Norman was born in Minnesota. Norman was also in the 60th Coastal Artillery on Corregidor and survived the infamous Bataan Death March. His cousin, Martin Skubinna and friends have contributed information about his experiences. I include an excerpt related to the ship voyage and life in the mines. Norman was transferred to Matsushima in September of 1944 and suffered an injury which was cruelly neglected by the camp doctor, sadly resulting in Norman’s death.

To read more go to the site originally created and maintained by Roger Mansell and now maintained, following Mansell's death, Wes Injerd.

Martin Skubinna and his fellow contributors write, "After the fall of Corrigidor, Norman J. Skubinna was stationed in Philippine Military Prison Camp No. 10-A. From this time on, the Japanese Government was drafting these prisoners in work units of two to three-hundred in a group. Norman missed the draft until March 7, 1944, when he was ordered to stand by to be shipped to Japan in a work unit of three-hundred American boys. These boys were loaded abroad [sic] an old 60,000-ton freighter [Taikoku Maru] and marched down in the hold in which they made this voyage. They had a steel floor without any beds and steel walls. This trip was eventful. It stormed, was foggy, wet and cold. They rigged up an old 55 1/2 gallon gas barrel on deck over which they warmed themselves and cooked the little food that was given to them. On this trip, the boys most all were sick and in bad condition. They landed in Osaka, Japan [on] April 9, 1944. Due to the terrible weather enroute, they were spared being bombed or torpeoed [sic]. When they arrived in Osaka, they enjoyed warm rooms and warm food. The Japanese had some Korean girls to cook the rice for the boys. They were even given the most luscious treat of a few carrots and fish added to their skimpy ration of rice.

"They rested in this manner for a couple of weeks [Osaka Branch Camp #5 Kawasaki] then they were transferred to Hitatche [sic] where they were forced to work in a copper mine [Tokyo Branch Camp #8 Hitachi (Motoyama, see map at end of article)]. This mine was located in the mountains. The camp site was located a mile above the mine shaft, the terrain being so steep they had to carry or pull up their supplies. The path on which they went to and from work was so steep it would zig-zag up the mountain . . . . This mine was an old shaft straight down and in a very bad condition with water standing all over the mine floor. The boys were not permitted to wear their shoes as they were furnished with a sort of tennis shoe so their feet were wet continually. They went down in this mine with a lamp attached to their caps like a miner's lamp and they dug out this copper ore with picks in the slosh and loaded it in little cars. They were served two meals of rice each day and those that got sick had their rations cut as they were told they did not earn full rations.”

Life in the Camp. Edward worked in the Hitachi Camp (AKA Motoyama), Tokyo #12-D Ibaraki-ken, Hitachi-shi. The camp was established March 5, 1944 as Tokyo #12 D. Edward remained there until Aug 14, 1944 when 230 Americans leave the camp and are replaced by 150 Dutch and 80 British POWs. The primary labor performed by the prisoners was mining in the Hitachi Copper Mine. While there Edward probably received 3 or 4 Red Cross packages which contained a few ounces of cheese, corn beef, chocolate, coffee, sugar, prunes, pipe tobacco, salmon, jam, liver pate, milk powder, butter and eggs. Other items were tooth brush, soap, vitamin C, pencil, razor and blades, and toilet tissue. The Japanese issued one suit of working clothes, dress suit(Japanese soldier uniform), miner’s helmet, canvas shoes, straw pillow, pair socks, carbide lamp, carbide box match box, pair of worn socks and 7 cotton blankets.

Few cards or letters were received or “supposedly” sent. Prisoner treatment at Hitachi was rather fair compared to most of the camps. Occasional beatings were given men for infractions of the rules but were not a daily occurrence. Little medicine available to treat beriberi, malaria, dysentery, pneumonia and skin ulcers. Because of the dirty mine work they were permitted to bath each day. Their diet ranged from 1600-2500 calories per day. Small amounts of porpoise or stingray were sometimes provided; few vegetables available. Floor of buildings was sand and dirt.(See diagram) No air raid shelter for the prisoners. Lt. Colonel Arthur G. Christensen describes the camp location, “Camp located approximately eight to ten kilometers west of the town of Hitachi (on the east coast of Honshu, about 20 miles north of the town of Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture. I believe the small settlement at the site of the camp was known as Motoyama.”

For More Information see links below:

Corregidor, Then and Now. Under Siege

Oral History of Fuze Setter on Corregidor

History of 60th Coastal Artillery on Corregidor, Boston Battery









Joe and John Haigwood Gallery

Odessa High School, 1940. Maybe Joe Haigwood left end of front row.


Odessa High School, 1940. Joe Haigwood, left end of front row.


Odessa High School, 1940. Joe Haigwood, at right.


Photo accompanying article below
M-Sgt. Joe B. Haigwood

Article in Sheppard Senator Newspaper, 1953

M-Sgt. Joe B. Haigwood
Right: M-Sgt. Joe B. Haigwood
Sgt. Joe B. Haigwood
M-Sgt. Joe B. Haigwood