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PFC Frank Spear

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PFC Frank Spear Veteran

Birth
Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA
Death
19 Jul 1945 (aged 26)
Niigata, Japan
Burial
Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines GPS-Latitude: 14.5389528, Longitude: 121.0502722
Plot
E, Row 5, Grave 21
Memorial ID
View Source

Frank Spear

Service # 19011594

Entered Service From: Missouri

Rank: Private First Class, U.S. Army Air Forces

Unit: 4th Chemical Company, Aviation / I Company, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment

Date of Death: 19 July 1945, executed by the Camp Commandant in the POW Niigata Camp 5-B, NIIGATA-ken, NAKAKAMBARA-gun, OGATA-mura, on the northwest coast of Honshu Island, Japan

Buried: Manila American Cemetery – Plot E, Row 5, Grave 21

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Frank Spear was born Floyd Cantrell Pruett, Jr. son of Floyd Cantrell Pruett and Leola Louise Krebs Pruett.


1920 United States Federal Census (17 January 1920): Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona (sheet 15B, family 374, 502 N 11th St) – Floyd C. Pruett (9/12 Arizona).


Sometime between 1923 and 1930 his parents divorced. After the divorce, the boys were placed in the Maude B. Booth Home for Boy and Girls in Los Angeles, California.


1930 United States Federal Census (06 April 1930): Maude B. Booth Home for Boy and Girls, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California (sheet 1A, household 1, 501 South Boyle Avenue) – Floyd C. Pruett (10 Arizona) along with his brother, Allen K. Pruett (9 California). There were 71 children in the home ages 2 2/12 to 18.


The boys were eventually reunited with their mother.


After his parents divorced and his mother *remarried to **Spear, he changed his name to Frank Spear.

*his mother was married a number of more times:

to Charles Edward Hoffmeister (1879-1938) on 01 September 1932 in Florence, Pinal County, Arizona (Divorced)

to Frank Howard Schultz (1889 - ?) on 06 July 1937 in Denver, Denver County, Colorado (Divorced)

to Amel Ernest Brockman (1895-1950) on 11 March 1943 in Belton, Cass County, Missouri (Divorced).

**1940 "he said his real name was Floyd Cantrell Pruett, but that his father is dead and his stepfather, who lives at Ajo, Arizona, is named Spear." I can find no Spear that she married.


October 1939 – Frank Spear, 1537 Wabash St., Kansas City.


February 1940

Boy Collapsing On Highway Is Brought Here

States He Was On A Hitch-Hike To Kansas City

A 20-year-old youth, who gave his name as Frank Spear, and his address as 1537 Wabash St., Kansas City, collapsed on highway 50, about a mile west of Dresden about 11:15 o'clock last night, and was picked up by Highway Patrolmen Paul E. Corl and Lester Estes. It is the opinion of the patrolmen, after questioning the youth today, that he was weakened from hunger.


A motorist, with a Warrensburg license, waved the patrolmen down on the highway, and reported seeing a man they believed dead on the slab. The patrolmen drove on to the place and found the boy, lying on the slab about two feet from the center. They worked with him, found he was breathing, and brought him to Sedalia where he was kept at the county jail for the night. A motorist who stopped at the scene with the officers offered the boy 50 cents, which he refused, saying he had money. To the officers later he admitted he had only a dime.


Today, when questioned by the patrolmen, he said his real name was Floyd Cantrell Pruett, but that his father is *dead and his stepfather, who lives at Ajo, Arizona, is named Spear.


He was on his way home, he said, from New York, to which place he had hitch-hiked, to have an audition in Major Bowes studio. He was given the audition, he said, remained in New York just four hours, and started back to Kansas City and was on his way hoe when he collapsed.


The youth said he had been selected as one of the twenty-five best singers in high school, having a high tenor voice. When in New York he said he was told that he would receive a letter in about a week from the Major Bowes studio, and that he would be given a place on his program, possibly not from a month or six weeks as their programs are planned so far ahead.


After fingerprinting Spear and questioning him today the officers released him. Source: The Sedalia Democrat (Sedalia, Missouri), Wednesday, 21 February 1940, page 1.

* his parents were divorced.


Frank Spear (21, 15 April 1919, Phoenix, Arizona), a resident of 1537 Wabash St., Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri, signed up for his World War II Draft Registration Card (Serial No. 2715, Order No. 1426) on 16 October 1940 in Hooper, Weber County, Utah for Local Board No. 11, Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri. He was employed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, Company 794, in Hooper, Weber County, Utah. Frank listed his mother, Mrs. Leola Louise Pruett, as the person who would always know his address. He was described as 5' 8" in height, 145 lbs., with a ruddy complexion, brown hair and blue eyes.


Frank Spear (1919 Missouri), a resident of Jackson County, Missouri, enlisted at a Private (S/N 19011594) in the U.S. Army Chemical Warfare Service on 13 August 1941 in Salt Lake City, Utah. His enlistment was for the Philippine Department. Frank was single and had completed 3 years of high school.


Spear arrived in Manila aboard one of the last transports before the war began and was assigned to the Far East Air Force's 4th Chemical Company (Aviation). The duty of the Chemical Warfare Service in the P. I. was to support units of the Far East Air Force at Clark, Iba and Nichols Air Fields.


"HAWAII BOMBED–WAR!" On 07 December 1941 Japan attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. Ten hours later, 08 December 1941 (Manila time), Japan attacked the Philippines. Over the next few days the Far East Air Force was virtually wiped out. Japanese forces (14th Army under Lieutenant General Masaharu Homma) began a full-scale invasion of Luzon on 22 December. In response, General Douglas MacArthur, ordered American and Filipino forces to withdrawal to the Bataan peninsula where they could to delay the invading enemy forces until promised reinforcements arrived – reinforcements that never came.


On 06 January, the siege of Bataan started. By the middle of January, the Japanese attacked the Abucay line in wave after wave – "the cane field seemed to vomit Japanese in great numbers, screaming, howling, yelling "Banzai" as they charged. They continued to come, threw themselves against our wire and the waves behind them leaped on their comrades up and over... The attacks for now were repulsed "we were a little awed by the great numbers of dead in our position. They were everywhere in our gun positions, and trenches, in the open ground to our front, hanging on our barbed wire." Source: The Operations of the 57th Infantry (Philippine Scouts) Philippine Division in the Abucay – Bataan Defensive – January 1942 (Personal experience of a Company Commander) by Major Ernest L. Brown, Infantry (The Infantry School, General Section, Military History Committee, Fort Benning, Georgia, Advanced Officers Course 1946-1947), pages 10-16.


If the Japanese had been successful in breaching the line at Abucay the fall of Bataan would have been in January instead of April. But the line held. General Masaharu Homma, commander of Japanese forces in the Philippines, met with his 14th Army staff on 08 February. All attempts at reducing the American position had failed miserably.


With no planes to support and with the 31st Infantry depleted in combat, Frank Spear and the rest of 4th Chemical were assigned to the regiment because they had infantry training. PFC Spear was assigned to I Company after the Battle of Abucay Hacienda.


The 31st Infantry was in some of the fiercest fighting with the Japanese Fourteenth Army on Bataan in places like Layac Junction, Abucay and Orion-Bagac.


From the very beginning, Bataan men were cut to 1/2 rations, and very soon, to 1/4 rations. About four weeks later, they were living on 1/8 rations, that is, when food was available to them. Towards the end, it was changed to 1/16th of their rations...Quite often, they would go several days with no food, unless they could catch something in the jungle." Source: Federico Baldassarre letter


Unfortunately, dengue fever, malaria, scurvy, beriberi and dysentery began to take its toll on many of the soldiers. Inadequate amounts of medicine available only amplified the severity of what would have been very treatable afflictions. The average American soldier lost 15-25 pounds and malaria was as high as 35 percent among front line units. During the first week of March 1942, soldiers were issued quarter rations. It was becoming apparent that supplies and support were not going to come. Ammunition was in short supply. Around the latter part of March, Gen. King and his staff assessed the fighting capabilities of his forces, in view of an impending major assault planned by Gen. Homma. Gen. King and his staff determined the Fil-American forces, in Bataan, could only fight at 30% of their efficiency.


By the middle of March, fifty percent of the regiment was sick with malaria or dysentery. They continued to fight on in places like Mount Samat, San Vicente and the Alangan River but were repeatedly forced to withdraw against the relenting Japanese forces.


It was also during this time that Japanese forces brought in significant reinforcements. The Japanese 4th Division had arrived from Shanghai. The 21st Regiment (part of the 21st Division) had been diverted in route to Indo-China. Finally, several thousand replacements arrived to revitalize the 16th Division and the 65th Brigade. Japanese air attacks became progressively worse. The Japanese set up artillery across Manila Bay and fired accurately with the help of highflying aerial observers.


The month of April 1942 marked the beginning of the end for Bataan's defenders. On Good Friday, 03 April 1942, General Homma, with the addition of fresh troops, began an all-out offensive on Bataan. By the evening of 08 April, the situation was clearly hopeless. With ammunition, rations and supplies practically exhausted and most of his best units destroyed, Major General Edward P. King, commander of the forces on Bataan, was convinced his troops could not physically resist any more and decided to surrender to prevent further loss of life. On 09 April 1942, Maj. Gen. King surrendered the Luzon Force to the Japanese.


After hearing of the surrender, General Wainwright on Corregidor sent a cable to President Roosevelt, stating "I have done all that could have been done to hold Bataan, but starved men without air support and with inadequate field artillery support cannot endure the terrific aerial and artillery bombardment that my troops were subjected to."


Private First Class Frank Spear along with 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war captured by the Japanese, were subjected to the infamous Bataan Death March.


Taken a couple of days after the surrender the photo (attached) of the three men is probably one of the most iconic images to come out of the Bataan Death March. The men with hands bound were being questioned by a Japanese officer through an interpreter. The photo was taken either the 8th or the morning of the 9th of April. Gallagher died 09 April 1942.

Left to right, Private First Class Samuel Stenzler, Private First Class Frank Spear and Captain James McDonald Gallagher. None of the three men would survive captivity.

Source: Captured Japanese Photo, National Archives and Records – NWDNS-127-N-11.


Based on the account found in Captain James McDonald Gallagher's FaG memorial, PFC Frank Spear would have been captured in the Mt. Samat area probably sometime on the 7th of April. Two days before all of Fil-American Forces on Bataan were surrendered on 09 April 1942.


08 April 1942:

"Around 7 a.m. we were lined up prepared to march...We marched all day until about 5 p.m... After we had rested around an hour we were placed on trucks and were taken to Balanga, capitol of Bataan. We were locked up in the basement of a large dwelling and kept there all nite..."


09 April 1942:

The next morning the Japs fed us some rice and canned fish...After breakfast we loaded on trucks and left for Orani... We detrucked at Orani and were questioned by the Japs and left on trucks an hour later... Source: Letter from Sgt. Emanuel Hamburger dated 28 September 1946 to James' father, Joseph F. Gallagher. Found in: Letters of Captain James M. Gallagher, page 37.


To read more about those first couple of days in captivity go to Captain James McDonald Gallagher's FaG memorial.


When the Fil-American soldiers began the Death March they were in terrible physical condition. For 6 to 9 days (depending on their starting point) they were forced to walk the roughly sixty-five miles to San Fernando, enduring abuse by Japanese guards and seeing the deaths of thousands of fellow soldiers. At San Fernando, the Japanese stuffed about 100 men into steel-sided boxcars for the twenty-five-mile trip to Capas. The scorching hot boxcars were packed so tight that the men could not even sit down. When the train arrived at Capas the POW's were offloaded and marched the final nine miles to Camp O'Donnell.


Surviving the brutal treatment by the Japanese at Camp O'Donnell (about 1500 American and 22,000 Filipino prisoners of war died in just three months) PFC Frank Spear was transferred to the Cabanatuan POW Camp No. 1, approximately 8 kilometers east of the town by the same name.


In early June of 1942, prisoners from Camp O'Donnell began to stream into Camp No. 1, joining the men from Corregidor and increasing the number of prisoners to over 7,300 men. Most of the POWs were assigned to work details and farm labor.


HEARS OF PRISONER SON

A postcard from Pfc. Frank Spear to his mother, Mrs. E. A. Brockman, 1537 Wabash avenue, received yesterday, is the first word of her son she has had since he was taken prisoner on Bataan. The card said Spear is in a military prison in the Philippines and in good health. Source: The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Kansas), Sunday, 15 August 1943, page 13.


In August 1943, the Japanese held a draft and selected the next group POWs to be sent to Japan. PFC Frank Spear was one of the POWs on the list. The POWs were taken to the port area of Manila. There they were boarded on the small (4,291-ton) Japanese freighter, IJA KOHO MARU (also known as the CORAL MARU and misidentified in a number of articles as the TAGA MARU). In peace time it was a cargo ship but it had been requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) and allotted Army No. 887.


On 20 September 1943 the KOHO MARU left the Philippines with a draft of 882 American and two British prisoners of war from Cabanatuan. The POWs included men from the Army Air Air Force 27th Bomb Group, 34th Pursuit Squadron, soldiers of 31st Infantry Division and men of the 200th Coast Artillery and other units. On 23 September 1943 the KOHO MARU arrived at Takao, Formosa (now Kaohsiung, Taiwan). On 28 September 1943 the ship departed Takao in convoy No. 207 (nine ships escorted by the destroyer KARUKAYA). At 7:30 p.m. on 04 October 1943 the KOHO MARU safely docked at Moji, Japan. One POW died en route. Source: IJA KOHO MARU: Tabular Record of Movement (http://www.combinedfleet.com/koho_t.htm)


On 05 October, almost 350 men of the group (including Spear), were sent by train to Camp No. 5B at Niigata arriving on 07 October 1943.


Located about 160 miles Northwest of Tokyo, Camp No. 5B was one of the more remote camps in the Tokyo Group of P.0.W. camps. It was situated on the northern outskirts of Niigata (37° 58' N., 139° 02 E.), a seaport on the Sea of Japan along the west coast of Honshu island.


The Camp 5B internees were used as slave laborers in dirty and dangerous tasks. Those who were deemed healthy by the Japanese Medical Corpsman Takahashi, were engaged in three work projects outside of the camp.


1) The Rinko Coal Yard detail located at the docks almost two miles from the original camp site was reputed to be the toughest assignment. Coal was shipped to Japan from mines in occupied Manchuria and the P.0.W.s unloaded it into small cars each holding about a half ton. The cars were pushed along rails mounted on an archaic, rickety trestle about 30 feet off of the ground and dumped at different stockpiles around the dock or at times directly into a railway coal carrier on the tracks below.


2) The Shintetsu Iron Foundry detail did general labor within this primitive and hazardous facility. The only advantage to working at the foundry was that it was an inside job and warm during the winter months.


3) The Marutsu Dock Yard detail did the work of stevedores on the Niigata piers. This job was considered the choicest of the three since it provided the P.O.W.s with the opportunity to pilfer food and other valuable commodities shipped home from the occupied lands of the Co-Prosperity Sphere. Source: North China Marines (http://www.northchinamarines.com/id52.htm)


The barracks consisted of about 10 large rooms separated from each other by paper thin walls connected by a narrow hall running down one side of the structure. About 30 or more P.0.W.s were crammed into each room with a 3 1/2' x 6 1/2' space for each mans cotton blanket and hard little pillow. One outdoor pump provided the water supply with no other washing facilities. The outdoor toilet or "benjo" at one end of the barracks was totally inadequate for the number of men, most of whom suffered from chronic dysentery. In addition, a small hut in the yard served as a cook shack. Originally intended only as a temporary camp until construction of the permanent camp was completed, it remained in use almost 4 months until 24 December 1943. On that date the approximately 550 P.O.W.s were transferred to a new camp only partially completed, which was in even worse condition than the abandoned camp. At 2:00 A M on New Years Day 1944, only a week after arrival at this horrendous, unfinished facility, one of the barracks collapsed with 50 sleeping P.O.W.s inside, killing eight and seriously injuring 12.


By mid-January of 1944 the Japanese acknowledged the obvious failure of this second camp and relocated the men to their third place of residence in four months. With this move the original camp was split into two sections. Shintetsu (the iron foundry group) were now billeted in a building near the foundry and had no contact with the P.0.W.s in the other two work parties.


The remaining P.0.W.s in the Rinko Coal and the Marutsu Dock details were moved to a greatly improved although still overcrowded building closer to their work site on the Niigata docks. On 01 April 1944 this group was returned to the now completed camp located on a rise of ground just outside of Niigata and here they remained for their last 18 months of internment at Niigata Camp No 5B. This permanent camp was surrounded by a high wooden fence with a double gate in the center of one side with an unused watch/bell tower in one of the corners opposite the gate. The camp contained 13 or 14 various sized wooden structures including the following; several larger barracks for the P.O.W.s, the camp Commandant and guards quarters and a guardhouse, a shack utilized as a first-aid dispensary, a kitchen, a large and very welcome bathhouse, latrines, a few storage and other miscellaneous sheds and a vital necessity, running water. Source: North China Marines (http://www.northchinamarines.com/id52.htm)


In September of 1944 Lt. Tetsutarō Katō took over as Camp Commandant. He was tall and big-boned for a Japanese, and wore heavy horn-rimmed glasses. He soon acquired the nickname of "Four Eyes." A strict disciplinarian with both P.O.W.s and guards, he improved conditions in the camp. However, at times he would fly in to uncontrollable, wild rages, followed by apparent periods of remorse. This madman, affectionately raised six egg laying hens in an enclosure behind his quarters. On 09 July 1945 Katō personally executed Frank Spear who was recaptured after wandering off in a *mentally unbalanced state on another of his unsuccessful escape attempts. Spear was bayoneted several times in front of the whole camp. His body was cremated at the Sumida crematory.

*another description said "after Spear became insane with hunger and attempted to escape several times." Source: North China Marines (http://www.northchinamarines.com/id52.htm)


"In Niigata 5B, there is one famous case of the execution of Private Frank Spears. This POW was thought to be insane by both Japanese guards and his fellow prisoners, because he exhibited bizarre behavior, and constantly tried to escape from the camp. He was always captured and brought back. Eventually, he was seen as a nuisance to the commandant at the time, Tetsutarō Katō, and he personally executed Spears." Source: A Study of POW Camps in Niigata Prefecture (2005), page 17


PFC Frank Spear was executed just three weeks before the war ended.


Learn Son Was Killed In Japan

Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Brockman, 1822 South Ingran avenue, Saturday evening, received a message from Acting Adjutant General Edward F. Whitsell, U.S. Army, informing them of the death of their son, Pvt. Frank Spear, 27, killed in Japan July 19, 1945.


The message stated the War Department has mailed a letter informing Private Spear's mother, Mrs. Brockman, of details and confirmation of his death.


Private Spear was born September 19, 1919, at Phoenix Arizona, attended the public school of that city and was graduated from the Phoenix high school. He enlisted in the U.S. Army September 8, 1941, and after 60 days of training was sent to the Philippine Islands, McKinley Field.


He was transferred to Corregidor and served on Bataan and was captured on Bataan by the Japanese. He was held prisoner at Cabanatuan until November, 1943, when transferred to the Japanese concentration camp, Niigata.


According to information given the Brockmans by Paul Goldman, St Louis, also a prisoner at Niigata when Pvt. Spear was there, Pvt. Spear was taken with a group of other prisoners from the camp and *shot.

* he was bayoneted.


Pvt. Spear was in the Chemical Warfare division of the army. Source: The Sedalia Democrat (Sedalia, Missouri), Sunday, 28 October 1945, page 1.

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Long Sought Japanese War Criminal Is Nabbed

TOKYO, Dec 9. – Allied Headquarters announced today the arrest of a suspected Japanese war criminal who has been hunted for three years.


Former Lieutenant Tetsutarō Katō had been sought since November 1945, on charges of bayonetting to death Private Frank Spear, 26, son of Mrs. Luise Pruett of Kansas City, Missouri.


Spear had escaped from a prisoner of war camp near Niigata in July, 1945, and was bayonetted when recaptured by a Japanese search party. Katō also is accused of beating and kicking five other Allied internees, one of whom lost an eye.


The Japanese police arrested Katō and two other suspects, charged with other atrocities, and turned them over to Allied Headquarters. Katō was traced through former schoolmates. Source: The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, California), Thursday, 09 December 1948, page 23.; and many other newspaper articles.


Former Army Lt. Tetsutarō Katō was put on trial for the killing of Frank Spear by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. He was convicted and initially sentenced to be hanged to death (December 1948). In a highly unusual move, however, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers in Japan General Douglas MacArthur ordered a retrial where Katō was given a life sentence (24 June 1949). In August 1949 his sentence was commuted to thirty years by (in part due to testimony from some former American prisoners of war that said he had tried to improve conditions at their camp). Katō "acted beyond what his superior officers deemed necessary to assist the prisoners."


In March 1958, he was paroled from Sugamo Prison (where Japanese war criminals were being held) with time served. In 1958 Katō wrote ""Watashi wa Kai ni Naritai" ("I Want To Be A Shellfish") a novel dramatizing his wartime experiences and incarceration, claiming he was ordered to kill Spear by his superiors. The novel was made into a successful television movie in 1959 by Tokyo Broadcasting Service, and remade for television in 2007 and into a theatrical film in 2008. Spear's insanity, brought on by years of malnutrition, confinement and torture, is not mentioned, nor is Spear mentioned by name.


After the war, Frank's ashes were brought 7748 USAF Mausoleum, Manila #1, Philippine Islands. His ashes were placed in Grave 922 (D-D No. 900). From there, according to the wishes of his next of kin (mother, Mrs. Leola Louise Brockman), Private First Class Frank Spear was buried in his final resting place "side by side with *comrades who also gave their lives for their country" in 7701 Fort William McKinley Military Cemetery (now known as the Manila American Cemetery) – Plot E, Row 5, Grave 21.

*16,859 graves of our military dead are buried in the Manila American Cemetery. It has the largest number of graves of any cemetery for U.S. personnel killed during World War II. Another 36,286 names are inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing.


At least 33 members of the 4th Chemical Company (Aviation) died at the hands of the Japanese during WW II.


He was one of 64 men from his Company I that died in captivity. In all 1155 men from the 31st Infantry Regiment died in captivity, roughly half of the regiment's strength on the day the war began.

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None of the three men in that iconic Bataan Death March photo survived the war.

Private First Class Samuel Stenzler died at Camp O'Donnell on 26 May 1942 from dysentery.


Private First Class Frank Spear was executed by the the camp commander in the Niigata Camp 5-B prison in Japan on 09 July 1945.


Captain James McDonald Gallagher died shortly after that famous photo was taken at about 3 p.m. on 09 April 1942, in Orani, Bataan. After the war his body was never recovered.

Frank Spear

Service # 19011594

Entered Service From: Missouri

Rank: Private First Class, U.S. Army Air Forces

Unit: 4th Chemical Company, Aviation / I Company, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment

Date of Death: 19 July 1945, executed by the Camp Commandant in the POW Niigata Camp 5-B, NIIGATA-ken, NAKAKAMBARA-gun, OGATA-mura, on the northwest coast of Honshu Island, Japan

Buried: Manila American Cemetery – Plot E, Row 5, Grave 21

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Frank Spear was born Floyd Cantrell Pruett, Jr. son of Floyd Cantrell Pruett and Leola Louise Krebs Pruett.


1920 United States Federal Census (17 January 1920): Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona (sheet 15B, family 374, 502 N 11th St) – Floyd C. Pruett (9/12 Arizona).


Sometime between 1923 and 1930 his parents divorced. After the divorce, the boys were placed in the Maude B. Booth Home for Boy and Girls in Los Angeles, California.


1930 United States Federal Census (06 April 1930): Maude B. Booth Home for Boy and Girls, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California (sheet 1A, household 1, 501 South Boyle Avenue) – Floyd C. Pruett (10 Arizona) along with his brother, Allen K. Pruett (9 California). There were 71 children in the home ages 2 2/12 to 18.


The boys were eventually reunited with their mother.


After his parents divorced and his mother *remarried to **Spear, he changed his name to Frank Spear.

*his mother was married a number of more times:

to Charles Edward Hoffmeister (1879-1938) on 01 September 1932 in Florence, Pinal County, Arizona (Divorced)

to Frank Howard Schultz (1889 - ?) on 06 July 1937 in Denver, Denver County, Colorado (Divorced)

to Amel Ernest Brockman (1895-1950) on 11 March 1943 in Belton, Cass County, Missouri (Divorced).

**1940 "he said his real name was Floyd Cantrell Pruett, but that his father is dead and his stepfather, who lives at Ajo, Arizona, is named Spear." I can find no Spear that she married.


October 1939 – Frank Spear, 1537 Wabash St., Kansas City.


February 1940

Boy Collapsing On Highway Is Brought Here

States He Was On A Hitch-Hike To Kansas City

A 20-year-old youth, who gave his name as Frank Spear, and his address as 1537 Wabash St., Kansas City, collapsed on highway 50, about a mile west of Dresden about 11:15 o'clock last night, and was picked up by Highway Patrolmen Paul E. Corl and Lester Estes. It is the opinion of the patrolmen, after questioning the youth today, that he was weakened from hunger.


A motorist, with a Warrensburg license, waved the patrolmen down on the highway, and reported seeing a man they believed dead on the slab. The patrolmen drove on to the place and found the boy, lying on the slab about two feet from the center. They worked with him, found he was breathing, and brought him to Sedalia where he was kept at the county jail for the night. A motorist who stopped at the scene with the officers offered the boy 50 cents, which he refused, saying he had money. To the officers later he admitted he had only a dime.


Today, when questioned by the patrolmen, he said his real name was Floyd Cantrell Pruett, but that his father is *dead and his stepfather, who lives at Ajo, Arizona, is named Spear.


He was on his way home, he said, from New York, to which place he had hitch-hiked, to have an audition in Major Bowes studio. He was given the audition, he said, remained in New York just four hours, and started back to Kansas City and was on his way hoe when he collapsed.


The youth said he had been selected as one of the twenty-five best singers in high school, having a high tenor voice. When in New York he said he was told that he would receive a letter in about a week from the Major Bowes studio, and that he would be given a place on his program, possibly not from a month or six weeks as their programs are planned so far ahead.


After fingerprinting Spear and questioning him today the officers released him. Source: The Sedalia Democrat (Sedalia, Missouri), Wednesday, 21 February 1940, page 1.

* his parents were divorced.


Frank Spear (21, 15 April 1919, Phoenix, Arizona), a resident of 1537 Wabash St., Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri, signed up for his World War II Draft Registration Card (Serial No. 2715, Order No. 1426) on 16 October 1940 in Hooper, Weber County, Utah for Local Board No. 11, Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri. He was employed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, Company 794, in Hooper, Weber County, Utah. Frank listed his mother, Mrs. Leola Louise Pruett, as the person who would always know his address. He was described as 5' 8" in height, 145 lbs., with a ruddy complexion, brown hair and blue eyes.


Frank Spear (1919 Missouri), a resident of Jackson County, Missouri, enlisted at a Private (S/N 19011594) in the U.S. Army Chemical Warfare Service on 13 August 1941 in Salt Lake City, Utah. His enlistment was for the Philippine Department. Frank was single and had completed 3 years of high school.


Spear arrived in Manila aboard one of the last transports before the war began and was assigned to the Far East Air Force's 4th Chemical Company (Aviation). The duty of the Chemical Warfare Service in the P. I. was to support units of the Far East Air Force at Clark, Iba and Nichols Air Fields.


"HAWAII BOMBED–WAR!" On 07 December 1941 Japan attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. Ten hours later, 08 December 1941 (Manila time), Japan attacked the Philippines. Over the next few days the Far East Air Force was virtually wiped out. Japanese forces (14th Army under Lieutenant General Masaharu Homma) began a full-scale invasion of Luzon on 22 December. In response, General Douglas MacArthur, ordered American and Filipino forces to withdrawal to the Bataan peninsula where they could to delay the invading enemy forces until promised reinforcements arrived – reinforcements that never came.


On 06 January, the siege of Bataan started. By the middle of January, the Japanese attacked the Abucay line in wave after wave – "the cane field seemed to vomit Japanese in great numbers, screaming, howling, yelling "Banzai" as they charged. They continued to come, threw themselves against our wire and the waves behind them leaped on their comrades up and over... The attacks for now were repulsed "we were a little awed by the great numbers of dead in our position. They were everywhere in our gun positions, and trenches, in the open ground to our front, hanging on our barbed wire." Source: The Operations of the 57th Infantry (Philippine Scouts) Philippine Division in the Abucay – Bataan Defensive – January 1942 (Personal experience of a Company Commander) by Major Ernest L. Brown, Infantry (The Infantry School, General Section, Military History Committee, Fort Benning, Georgia, Advanced Officers Course 1946-1947), pages 10-16.


If the Japanese had been successful in breaching the line at Abucay the fall of Bataan would have been in January instead of April. But the line held. General Masaharu Homma, commander of Japanese forces in the Philippines, met with his 14th Army staff on 08 February. All attempts at reducing the American position had failed miserably.


With no planes to support and with the 31st Infantry depleted in combat, Frank Spear and the rest of 4th Chemical were assigned to the regiment because they had infantry training. PFC Spear was assigned to I Company after the Battle of Abucay Hacienda.


The 31st Infantry was in some of the fiercest fighting with the Japanese Fourteenth Army on Bataan in places like Layac Junction, Abucay and Orion-Bagac.


From the very beginning, Bataan men were cut to 1/2 rations, and very soon, to 1/4 rations. About four weeks later, they were living on 1/8 rations, that is, when food was available to them. Towards the end, it was changed to 1/16th of their rations...Quite often, they would go several days with no food, unless they could catch something in the jungle." Source: Federico Baldassarre letter


Unfortunately, dengue fever, malaria, scurvy, beriberi and dysentery began to take its toll on many of the soldiers. Inadequate amounts of medicine available only amplified the severity of what would have been very treatable afflictions. The average American soldier lost 15-25 pounds and malaria was as high as 35 percent among front line units. During the first week of March 1942, soldiers were issued quarter rations. It was becoming apparent that supplies and support were not going to come. Ammunition was in short supply. Around the latter part of March, Gen. King and his staff assessed the fighting capabilities of his forces, in view of an impending major assault planned by Gen. Homma. Gen. King and his staff determined the Fil-American forces, in Bataan, could only fight at 30% of their efficiency.


By the middle of March, fifty percent of the regiment was sick with malaria or dysentery. They continued to fight on in places like Mount Samat, San Vicente and the Alangan River but were repeatedly forced to withdraw against the relenting Japanese forces.


It was also during this time that Japanese forces brought in significant reinforcements. The Japanese 4th Division had arrived from Shanghai. The 21st Regiment (part of the 21st Division) had been diverted in route to Indo-China. Finally, several thousand replacements arrived to revitalize the 16th Division and the 65th Brigade. Japanese air attacks became progressively worse. The Japanese set up artillery across Manila Bay and fired accurately with the help of highflying aerial observers.


The month of April 1942 marked the beginning of the end for Bataan's defenders. On Good Friday, 03 April 1942, General Homma, with the addition of fresh troops, began an all-out offensive on Bataan. By the evening of 08 April, the situation was clearly hopeless. With ammunition, rations and supplies practically exhausted and most of his best units destroyed, Major General Edward P. King, commander of the forces on Bataan, was convinced his troops could not physically resist any more and decided to surrender to prevent further loss of life. On 09 April 1942, Maj. Gen. King surrendered the Luzon Force to the Japanese.


After hearing of the surrender, General Wainwright on Corregidor sent a cable to President Roosevelt, stating "I have done all that could have been done to hold Bataan, but starved men without air support and with inadequate field artillery support cannot endure the terrific aerial and artillery bombardment that my troops were subjected to."


Private First Class Frank Spear along with 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war captured by the Japanese, were subjected to the infamous Bataan Death March.


Taken a couple of days after the surrender the photo (attached) of the three men is probably one of the most iconic images to come out of the Bataan Death March. The men with hands bound were being questioned by a Japanese officer through an interpreter. The photo was taken either the 8th or the morning of the 9th of April. Gallagher died 09 April 1942.

Left to right, Private First Class Samuel Stenzler, Private First Class Frank Spear and Captain James McDonald Gallagher. None of the three men would survive captivity.

Source: Captured Japanese Photo, National Archives and Records – NWDNS-127-N-11.


Based on the account found in Captain James McDonald Gallagher's FaG memorial, PFC Frank Spear would have been captured in the Mt. Samat area probably sometime on the 7th of April. Two days before all of Fil-American Forces on Bataan were surrendered on 09 April 1942.


08 April 1942:

"Around 7 a.m. we were lined up prepared to march...We marched all day until about 5 p.m... After we had rested around an hour we were placed on trucks and were taken to Balanga, capitol of Bataan. We were locked up in the basement of a large dwelling and kept there all nite..."


09 April 1942:

The next morning the Japs fed us some rice and canned fish...After breakfast we loaded on trucks and left for Orani... We detrucked at Orani and were questioned by the Japs and left on trucks an hour later... Source: Letter from Sgt. Emanuel Hamburger dated 28 September 1946 to James' father, Joseph F. Gallagher. Found in: Letters of Captain James M. Gallagher, page 37.


To read more about those first couple of days in captivity go to Captain James McDonald Gallagher's FaG memorial.


When the Fil-American soldiers began the Death March they were in terrible physical condition. For 6 to 9 days (depending on their starting point) they were forced to walk the roughly sixty-five miles to San Fernando, enduring abuse by Japanese guards and seeing the deaths of thousands of fellow soldiers. At San Fernando, the Japanese stuffed about 100 men into steel-sided boxcars for the twenty-five-mile trip to Capas. The scorching hot boxcars were packed so tight that the men could not even sit down. When the train arrived at Capas the POW's were offloaded and marched the final nine miles to Camp O'Donnell.


Surviving the brutal treatment by the Japanese at Camp O'Donnell (about 1500 American and 22,000 Filipino prisoners of war died in just three months) PFC Frank Spear was transferred to the Cabanatuan POW Camp No. 1, approximately 8 kilometers east of the town by the same name.


In early June of 1942, prisoners from Camp O'Donnell began to stream into Camp No. 1, joining the men from Corregidor and increasing the number of prisoners to over 7,300 men. Most of the POWs were assigned to work details and farm labor.


HEARS OF PRISONER SON

A postcard from Pfc. Frank Spear to his mother, Mrs. E. A. Brockman, 1537 Wabash avenue, received yesterday, is the first word of her son she has had since he was taken prisoner on Bataan. The card said Spear is in a military prison in the Philippines and in good health. Source: The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Kansas), Sunday, 15 August 1943, page 13.


In August 1943, the Japanese held a draft and selected the next group POWs to be sent to Japan. PFC Frank Spear was one of the POWs on the list. The POWs were taken to the port area of Manila. There they were boarded on the small (4,291-ton) Japanese freighter, IJA KOHO MARU (also known as the CORAL MARU and misidentified in a number of articles as the TAGA MARU). In peace time it was a cargo ship but it had been requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) and allotted Army No. 887.


On 20 September 1943 the KOHO MARU left the Philippines with a draft of 882 American and two British prisoners of war from Cabanatuan. The POWs included men from the Army Air Air Force 27th Bomb Group, 34th Pursuit Squadron, soldiers of 31st Infantry Division and men of the 200th Coast Artillery and other units. On 23 September 1943 the KOHO MARU arrived at Takao, Formosa (now Kaohsiung, Taiwan). On 28 September 1943 the ship departed Takao in convoy No. 207 (nine ships escorted by the destroyer KARUKAYA). At 7:30 p.m. on 04 October 1943 the KOHO MARU safely docked at Moji, Japan. One POW died en route. Source: IJA KOHO MARU: Tabular Record of Movement (http://www.combinedfleet.com/koho_t.htm)


On 05 October, almost 350 men of the group (including Spear), were sent by train to Camp No. 5B at Niigata arriving on 07 October 1943.


Located about 160 miles Northwest of Tokyo, Camp No. 5B was one of the more remote camps in the Tokyo Group of P.0.W. camps. It was situated on the northern outskirts of Niigata (37° 58' N., 139° 02 E.), a seaport on the Sea of Japan along the west coast of Honshu island.


The Camp 5B internees were used as slave laborers in dirty and dangerous tasks. Those who were deemed healthy by the Japanese Medical Corpsman Takahashi, were engaged in three work projects outside of the camp.


1) The Rinko Coal Yard detail located at the docks almost two miles from the original camp site was reputed to be the toughest assignment. Coal was shipped to Japan from mines in occupied Manchuria and the P.0.W.s unloaded it into small cars each holding about a half ton. The cars were pushed along rails mounted on an archaic, rickety trestle about 30 feet off of the ground and dumped at different stockpiles around the dock or at times directly into a railway coal carrier on the tracks below.


2) The Shintetsu Iron Foundry detail did general labor within this primitive and hazardous facility. The only advantage to working at the foundry was that it was an inside job and warm during the winter months.


3) The Marutsu Dock Yard detail did the work of stevedores on the Niigata piers. This job was considered the choicest of the three since it provided the P.O.W.s with the opportunity to pilfer food and other valuable commodities shipped home from the occupied lands of the Co-Prosperity Sphere. Source: North China Marines (http://www.northchinamarines.com/id52.htm)


The barracks consisted of about 10 large rooms separated from each other by paper thin walls connected by a narrow hall running down one side of the structure. About 30 or more P.0.W.s were crammed into each room with a 3 1/2' x 6 1/2' space for each mans cotton blanket and hard little pillow. One outdoor pump provided the water supply with no other washing facilities. The outdoor toilet or "benjo" at one end of the barracks was totally inadequate for the number of men, most of whom suffered from chronic dysentery. In addition, a small hut in the yard served as a cook shack. Originally intended only as a temporary camp until construction of the permanent camp was completed, it remained in use almost 4 months until 24 December 1943. On that date the approximately 550 P.O.W.s were transferred to a new camp only partially completed, which was in even worse condition than the abandoned camp. At 2:00 A M on New Years Day 1944, only a week after arrival at this horrendous, unfinished facility, one of the barracks collapsed with 50 sleeping P.O.W.s inside, killing eight and seriously injuring 12.


By mid-January of 1944 the Japanese acknowledged the obvious failure of this second camp and relocated the men to their third place of residence in four months. With this move the original camp was split into two sections. Shintetsu (the iron foundry group) were now billeted in a building near the foundry and had no contact with the P.0.W.s in the other two work parties.


The remaining P.0.W.s in the Rinko Coal and the Marutsu Dock details were moved to a greatly improved although still overcrowded building closer to their work site on the Niigata docks. On 01 April 1944 this group was returned to the now completed camp located on a rise of ground just outside of Niigata and here they remained for their last 18 months of internment at Niigata Camp No 5B. This permanent camp was surrounded by a high wooden fence with a double gate in the center of one side with an unused watch/bell tower in one of the corners opposite the gate. The camp contained 13 or 14 various sized wooden structures including the following; several larger barracks for the P.O.W.s, the camp Commandant and guards quarters and a guardhouse, a shack utilized as a first-aid dispensary, a kitchen, a large and very welcome bathhouse, latrines, a few storage and other miscellaneous sheds and a vital necessity, running water. Source: North China Marines (http://www.northchinamarines.com/id52.htm)


In September of 1944 Lt. Tetsutarō Katō took over as Camp Commandant. He was tall and big-boned for a Japanese, and wore heavy horn-rimmed glasses. He soon acquired the nickname of "Four Eyes." A strict disciplinarian with both P.O.W.s and guards, he improved conditions in the camp. However, at times he would fly in to uncontrollable, wild rages, followed by apparent periods of remorse. This madman, affectionately raised six egg laying hens in an enclosure behind his quarters. On 09 July 1945 Katō personally executed Frank Spear who was recaptured after wandering off in a *mentally unbalanced state on another of his unsuccessful escape attempts. Spear was bayoneted several times in front of the whole camp. His body was cremated at the Sumida crematory.

*another description said "after Spear became insane with hunger and attempted to escape several times." Source: North China Marines (http://www.northchinamarines.com/id52.htm)


"In Niigata 5B, there is one famous case of the execution of Private Frank Spears. This POW was thought to be insane by both Japanese guards and his fellow prisoners, because he exhibited bizarre behavior, and constantly tried to escape from the camp. He was always captured and brought back. Eventually, he was seen as a nuisance to the commandant at the time, Tetsutarō Katō, and he personally executed Spears." Source: A Study of POW Camps in Niigata Prefecture (2005), page 17


PFC Frank Spear was executed just three weeks before the war ended.


Learn Son Was Killed In Japan

Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Brockman, 1822 South Ingran avenue, Saturday evening, received a message from Acting Adjutant General Edward F. Whitsell, U.S. Army, informing them of the death of their son, Pvt. Frank Spear, 27, killed in Japan July 19, 1945.


The message stated the War Department has mailed a letter informing Private Spear's mother, Mrs. Brockman, of details and confirmation of his death.


Private Spear was born September 19, 1919, at Phoenix Arizona, attended the public school of that city and was graduated from the Phoenix high school. He enlisted in the U.S. Army September 8, 1941, and after 60 days of training was sent to the Philippine Islands, McKinley Field.


He was transferred to Corregidor and served on Bataan and was captured on Bataan by the Japanese. He was held prisoner at Cabanatuan until November, 1943, when transferred to the Japanese concentration camp, Niigata.


According to information given the Brockmans by Paul Goldman, St Louis, also a prisoner at Niigata when Pvt. Spear was there, Pvt. Spear was taken with a group of other prisoners from the camp and *shot.

* he was bayoneted.


Pvt. Spear was in the Chemical Warfare division of the army. Source: The Sedalia Democrat (Sedalia, Missouri), Sunday, 28 October 1945, page 1.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Long Sought Japanese War Criminal Is Nabbed

TOKYO, Dec 9. – Allied Headquarters announced today the arrest of a suspected Japanese war criminal who has been hunted for three years.


Former Lieutenant Tetsutarō Katō had been sought since November 1945, on charges of bayonetting to death Private Frank Spear, 26, son of Mrs. Luise Pruett of Kansas City, Missouri.


Spear had escaped from a prisoner of war camp near Niigata in July, 1945, and was bayonetted when recaptured by a Japanese search party. Katō also is accused of beating and kicking five other Allied internees, one of whom lost an eye.


The Japanese police arrested Katō and two other suspects, charged with other atrocities, and turned them over to Allied Headquarters. Katō was traced through former schoolmates. Source: The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, California), Thursday, 09 December 1948, page 23.; and many other newspaper articles.


Former Army Lt. Tetsutarō Katō was put on trial for the killing of Frank Spear by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. He was convicted and initially sentenced to be hanged to death (December 1948). In a highly unusual move, however, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers in Japan General Douglas MacArthur ordered a retrial where Katō was given a life sentence (24 June 1949). In August 1949 his sentence was commuted to thirty years by (in part due to testimony from some former American prisoners of war that said he had tried to improve conditions at their camp). Katō "acted beyond what his superior officers deemed necessary to assist the prisoners."


In March 1958, he was paroled from Sugamo Prison (where Japanese war criminals were being held) with time served. In 1958 Katō wrote ""Watashi wa Kai ni Naritai" ("I Want To Be A Shellfish") a novel dramatizing his wartime experiences and incarceration, claiming he was ordered to kill Spear by his superiors. The novel was made into a successful television movie in 1959 by Tokyo Broadcasting Service, and remade for television in 2007 and into a theatrical film in 2008. Spear's insanity, brought on by years of malnutrition, confinement and torture, is not mentioned, nor is Spear mentioned by name.


After the war, Frank's ashes were brought 7748 USAF Mausoleum, Manila #1, Philippine Islands. His ashes were placed in Grave 922 (D-D No. 900). From there, according to the wishes of his next of kin (mother, Mrs. Leola Louise Brockman), Private First Class Frank Spear was buried in his final resting place "side by side with *comrades who also gave their lives for their country" in 7701 Fort William McKinley Military Cemetery (now known as the Manila American Cemetery) – Plot E, Row 5, Grave 21.

*16,859 graves of our military dead are buried in the Manila American Cemetery. It has the largest number of graves of any cemetery for U.S. personnel killed during World War II. Another 36,286 names are inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing.


At least 33 members of the 4th Chemical Company (Aviation) died at the hands of the Japanese during WW II.


He was one of 64 men from his Company I that died in captivity. In all 1155 men from the 31st Infantry Regiment died in captivity, roughly half of the regiment's strength on the day the war began.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

None of the three men in that iconic Bataan Death March photo survived the war.

Private First Class Samuel Stenzler died at Camp O'Donnell on 26 May 1942 from dysentery.


Private First Class Frank Spear was executed by the the camp commander in the Niigata Camp 5-B prison in Japan on 09 July 1945.


Captain James McDonald Gallagher died shortly after that famous photo was taken at about 3 p.m. on 09 April 1942, in Orani, Bataan. After the war his body was never recovered.

Gravesite Details

Entered the service from Missouri.



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  • Maintained by: steve s
  • Originally Created by: War Graves
  • Added: Aug 8, 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID:
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/56780440/frank-spear: accessed ), memorial page for PFC Frank Spear (15 Apr 1919–19 Jul 1945), Find a Grave Memorial ID 56780440, citing Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines; Maintained by steve s (contributor 47126287).