Ignacio Baca, Luis Lopez Cemetery, Socorro County, New Mexico - Photo by B. Charley Gallegos

“Surface ships from the Coast Guard and the Navy approached the Honda Knot and led her through a misting rain to anchorage off Marina Point, where a gathering of five thousand mourners waited to pay tribute to the war dead that the ship was delivering home to American soil from the Pacific theater.”

 

— The Memorial Day Foundation

On October 8, 1942, the “Hell Ship” Tottori Maru, with about 1,200 POWs on board, left Manila bound for Japan via Takao, Formosa and Pusan, Korea. The ship and men survived a torpedo attack and rode out a typhoon. Arriving at Pusan on Armistice Day 1942, all but a few hundred prisoners were sent by train to Hoten POW Camp in Mukden, Manchuria; 100 or so men were hospitalized in Korea, some never to be seen again; with the remaining men sent on to Japan.

 

Ignacio Baca died of dysentery one month and one day later at Hoten camp. He was 27 years old.

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