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War Heroine Sues Film Firm

 

ST. Louis, March 3, 1947 (AP) — Asserting she was portrayed without her consent as the so-called love interest in the movie “They Were Expendable.” Mrs. Beulah Greenwalt Walcher, Army nurse heroine of Bataan and Corregidor, asked for $40,000 damages from Lowe's, Inc., in a suit filed in circuit court.

A former prisoner of the Japanese, awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious achievement under fire, she contended she had been subjected to “public notoriety and inquisition” by the portrayal as a romance of her friendship with Lt. Robert Bolling Kelly of famed motor torpedo PT Boat Sq. 3.

The nurse was married last June to Capt. Bruce Walcher, of Witt, Ill., survivor of the Bataan Death March. They now live in Denver.

 


Greenwalt asked for $400,000.00 in damages.

Ted Jojola, Ph.D. Book Reviews — “We Band of Angels, The Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese” by Elizabeth Norman. Random House, 1999.

Beulah Mae 'Peggy' Greenwalt Walcher, Angel of Bataan

Prisoner of the Japanese

 

“Never forget the American girls who fought on Bataan and later Corregidor. Their names must always be hallowed when we speak of American heroes.”

 

— LtGen Jonathan Wainwright

 


Fourth from left with ankles crossed, Peggy Greenwalt and fellow nurses wait their fate outside Malinta tunnel following the surrender of Corregidor.

Lt Beulah Mae ‘Peggy’ Greenwalt was born in Idaho on December 6, 1911 to Samuel & Caroline (Stuber) Greenwalt. The family was living near Rolla, Missouri when Greenwalt last visited home in May 1941. By July, she was in the Philippines.

 

Greenwalt trained and nursed at an Albuquerque, New Mexico hospital. A friend convinced her to join the Army “to see the world”.

 

Lt Greenwalt was captured when Corregidor fell on May 6, 1942.

 

Samuel Greenwalt died in December 1942.

 

Rescued in February 1945 and returned to the States in March, Lt Greenwalt flew from San Francisco to Missouri to her mother's bedside, the family afraid their mother would never see Peggy again before she died.

 

On her return, she gave the following:

 

“We lived under strict military rule with plenty of regulations, especially after the Japanese Army took over the running of the camp from the Japanese civilian government in February 1944. We had a 6:30 curfew at night and weren't allowed out of our quarters. I didn't get my first letters from home until March, 1944, when the Japs allowed some mail to get through to us.

 

“Uniforms and shoes wore out, but we devised shorts from native materials and wore bakias, native wooden shoes with a strip across the top. You should have seen what a sight I was.”

 

Asked what her plans for the future were, she replied, “I want to go back. They need nurses.”

 

Hospitalized at Fitzsimmons General Hospital in Denver, Colorado, Greenwalt met Bataan Death March survivor Bruce Walcher, also a patient. Colonel Perry O. Wilcox, also a prisoner of the Japanese, reading from a prayer book given to him on Corregidor from his hospital bed, united the couple in marriage in June 1946.

 

Caroline Greenwalt died that August.

 

In December 1948, Greenwalt was awarded $290,000.00 by a federal court jury against the makers of the movie, “They Were Expendable.” Greenwalt contended the filmmakers used her as a prototype for the character of Sandy in a fashion that was humiliating and “cheapened her character.”

 

Lt Greenwalt's character was much in evidence when she was surrendered in 1942. Greenwalt saved the colors of the 12th Regimental Quartermaster Corps by convincing the Japanese the flag was a shawl. She hung on to the colors during the three years she was a prisoner of war. At war's end, Greenwalt presented the colors to the 12th Quartermaster's Regimental Commander. The colors are on permanent display at the US Army Quartermaster Museum at Fort Lee in Virginia, and used in the Quartermaster's “Values” training program.

 

Beulah Mae 'Peggy' Greenwalt Walcher died at Stanford University Hospital in February 1993.