CAPT OTIS CONNOR BRYANT
LOST IN SINKING OF ARISAN MARU
Survive the battle;
Languish in captivity
To perish at sea.
— W. Michael Bryant, MD
The 200th Coast Artillery's Otis Connor Bryant addressed his prisoner of war post card to his wife Marjorie who is seen in the upper right corner of the collage at left, courtesy of Captain Bryant's son Dr. W. Michael Bryant.
Bryant undoubtedly was referring to his daughter Patricia, and son Michael on line 5.
1Lt Bryant was advanced to the rank of Captain prior to the surrender of Bataan. He was held at Davao Penal Colony on the Philippine island of Mindanao and was probably among the group removed to Bilibid and Cabanatuan in June 1944. In October 1944, he was loaded onto the Hell Ship Arisan Maru for shipment to Japan.
The Arisan Maru was sunk in the South China Sea October 24, 1944 by the submarine USS Shark. As the Japanese abandoned the sinking ship, they closed the hatches leaving prisoners below. Those that made it out of the holds and topside were fired on. Men who swam to nearby ships were beaten back and left to drown. Only nine of the 1,800 prisoners of war survived the sinking. Four men were re-captured with one later dying. Five made their way to freedom.
The sinking of the Arisan Maru is one of the greatest maritime disasters in American history. The sinking of the Junyo Maru, with 2,300 Dutch, British, American and Australian prisoners of war and 4,200 Javanese slave laborers on board, being the greatest maritime disaster with the loss of 5,620 men.