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DOUGLAS C. JONES

1918 - 2008

Fishing Village on the Island of Palawan

Painting by Doug Jones (May 1999)

Doug Jones, 4th Marines - Palawan

 

Doug Jones, a Shanghai Marine in 1939, was with the 4th Marines on Corregidor when that island fortress was surrendered on 6 May 1942. Mr. Jones became a prisoner of war, interned at Cabanatuan prisoner of war camp.

“One morning I woke up and there were six men dead on one side of me and five men dead on the other. You can imagine then I was pretty low, so I volunteered for a work party.”

Mr. Jones ended up on the Island of Palawan, sent there as a slave laborer to build an airfield for the Japanese.

When the Japanese began moving prisoners of war out of the Philippines ahead of the advancing allies, guards barked out an order to a group of about 150 men of the 300 prisoners left on Palawan, “You are leaving, you have 30 minutes to get ready!”

With no idea where he and the other prisoners being taken, Mr. Jones found himself being loaded onto a Japanese “Hell Ship” headed for Formosa.

“There were fourteen ships in that convoy, twelve were sunk on the way.”

When the ship carrying Jones was forced to take refuge in port, bombers flew over and dropped their loads which landed along either side of the ship, rocking it wildly back and forth.

The remaining prisoners on Palawan were loaded into makeshift air-raid shelters on 14 December 1944. The shelters were torched, and as men on fire ran out, they were shot down.

Palawan is a rocky island, two miles wide by 300 miles long. A Filipina friend told Mr. Jones the story of how Palawan got its name several years ago:

“A long time ago, when the island was uninhabited, a Chinese junk was thrown against the rocky island during a storm. With no resources in which to repair their boat, the woman, whose name was Pala, decided she and her husband, Wan, should name the island. They chose the name Palawan.”

Doug Jones, survivor and first-hand witness to man’s brutality and the atrocities of war, came home with a memory of a beauty, a fishing village on the island of Palawan. He graciously donated his painting to the Bataan Veterans Organization, Albuquerque Chapter as a means to raise funds. The painting was raffled during the BVO's Installation of Officers Banquet on January 13, 2000.

Mr. Jones pointed out the red roof of the middle hut. He said villagers would steal road signs to reinforce their roofs against rain. Over time, the metal would rust. This hut has such a roof. And, if you look closely to the trees, you will see one is male and one is female — Pala and Wan.