Valor Friday

| April 22, 2022

As I research my subjects, I find some amazing stories. What drives me to tell these stories is to remember these men and women. By remembering who they were, what they did, and why they did it, I hope that I’m honoring their memory. On very rare occasions, I come across an article that’s written so well, with so much thought, source, and raw emotion that there’s no way I could possibly improve on it. This week’s hero is one of those.

For every case of documented valor in award citations, there are hundreds of other heroes out there. Captain Baldwin is one of many men whose sacrifices and courage in the face of untold horrors is of the utmost level of bravery. I have no doubt that a board of corrections would see the story of Captain Baldwin and find that he was deserving of the Silver Star or at the very least the Bronze Star Medal. He received neither.

The highest awards to which Baldwin is entitled are the Purple Heart and the POW Medal. Even the Purple Heart was denied to POWs wounded by the enemy during capture or during interrogation until 1996 and wasn’t awarded to POWs who died in captivity until 2008 (both policies are retroactive to 7 Dec 1941).

Captain Lawrence Chandler Baldwin was the son of a career US Army officer. Born in Tokyo during the Great War, it makes the way in which he died even more tragic. As a boy he met a president. He attended West Point and was commissioned into the Field Artillery and then served under Douglas MacArthur.

This eulogy is written by his father, Colonel Karl F Baldwin. The elder Baldwin served as a liaison officer with the Japanese in Tokyo during the First World War (when Japan was allied with us) and was a recipient of the Army Distinguished Service Medal for that service (at the time the highest award for non-combat service).

Colonel Baldwin served throughout World War II as well, also in the Pacific Theater. He was positioned most uniquely to be fully aware of what his son was suffering as it was happening. The feeling of helplessness must have been immense.

Colonel Baldwin’s eulogy of his son isn’t a short read, but it is powerful. Not the least because it is written with such love and genuine emotion. The latter of which is not something men, particularly of that generation, are adept at. Coming from a military man, it’s even more raw and heartfelt.

I for one will not be able to forget about Captain Chandler Baldwin. Have tissues ready at the end.



On September 15, 1945, the Secretary of War gave us official notice that Chandler died on March 4 in Japanese hands on the Island of Honshu, Japan. Ten weeks later the Adjutant General sent a further report placing the date of his death at February 4, 1945, and the place as Fukuoka Japanese Pris- oner of War Camp Number 22 in Japan.

Telegrams were originally sent to Kay, his loving wife, who, with little Patsy, was in Vermont, and to his devoted mother, Philena, in California. I received a cable at Mel- bourne, Australia, on the 17th from my good wife.

For months we had been very anxious, as we knew that Chandler shipped out of Manila with over 1,600 other Amer- icans in the hands of the Japanese on December 13, 1944, and that this boat was bombed off Subic Bay with heavy loss of life. Later we learned that the survivors were sent to San Fernando Union and from there were transshipped to Japan. It was not until Kay and Philena could interview some of the survivors who were rescued after the Japanese surrender that we learned the tragic facts. Chan landed at Moji on Kyushu Island on January 30 very ill with dysentery as a result of starvation and abuse, and he died a few days later, probably at Moji. The death list exceeded 80 per cent among those emaciated and tortured men. Some, like Chandler, had spent six years in the tropics-three years of which were under the brutalities of Japanese guards. Chandler is the last of the noble band of friends of West Point and Corregidor days to be reported dead. His ashes are now, for the time being, interred in the United States Military Cemetery No. 2, Manila, Philippine Islands.


What a wonderful word we have in what we call “memories.” And so today I look back upon the life of my splendid son and recount many of the incidents which went to make him such a grand man.

He was born in Tokyo on April 23, 1915. At that time I was a student officer at the American Embassy, and on that very day I, for the first time, met the Japanese Emperor, Yoshihito (Age of Taisho). That evening Chandler was born in a European-styled house at No. 4 Hikawacho, Akasaka.

As he was the second son, the Japanese considered we had been favored – especially honored – by the gods. The next day gifts of paper carp, papier-maché dogs, and foods of all sorts began to arrive. Among the gifts was a magnificent bouquet of orchids-nineteen varieties. They came from the First Secretary of the Embassy, and I learned later that they had been presented to him by the Philippine Commissioner, Manuel Quezon, late President of the Philippine Islands.

We named our second son after his mother’s side of the family and so called him “Lawrence Chandler,” which is a good name. Some three months after his birth we were surprised to receive a clipping of half a column in length. This was a syndicated article that appeared throughout the central part of the United States under the heading, “Fourteen Go-Carts to One Baby.” This amusing article, prepared by a cousin of mine, was a result of a telephone conversation in which my mother in Ohio had tried to tell her that the people of Tokyo had been exceptionally kind to us and had given our baby “14 cabs.” My cousin understood the word to be “cabs”- decided I had gone British and spread the story of the “14 go-carts.”

The house where Chandler was born burned on January 18, 1916. Most of his baby clothing thereafter came from a varied assortment of articles contributed by generous people of the city of Tokyo, for foreign items were difficult to obtain. There, as elsewhere, friends were most beneficent and kind when misfortune came. We thought the fire was a great disaster; however, it was just a preparation for many harder things to come.

John was born in 1918 and the three boys-Karl Jr., Chandler, and John-were a great group. The older boys, at the time we left Japan in late 1919, probably knew more Japanese than English, for in Japan foreign children were accompanied by native nurses at all times.

We moved to Washington, D. C., in January, 1920, and eight of the next nine years were spent there. These were the formative years in the Baldwin family and Chandler’s brightness and wit always stood out. He was a boy with an excellent humor, though, perhaps at times, a bit of a tease- especially toward his younger brother.

Philena recalls an early trip to Mt. Vernon, where Chandler had seen horses in an adjacent pasture. On the return to Washington he gave up his seat on the streetcar to a lady who asked him where he had been, to which he replied, “Mt. Vernon.” She then asked him what he had seen and he told her, “I saw George Washington’s horse, but George wasn’t there.”

A year or so later his mother took him to shake hands with President Harding at the White House. At that time Chandler had a habit of saying “What?” all too often and had been severely cautioned. As he approached Mr. Harding, he rushed up to him and extended his hand, saying, “I am pleased to meet you, Mr. President,” and this distinguished gentleman- quite overtaken-took Chan’s hand in his and graciously said, “I’m ‘most pleased to meet you, my little man.”

Chandler delivered papers in Washington for several years and was a thrifty boy. When he did spend from his earnings he would buy good presents for his mother-electrical equipment for the kitchen, and so on.

He took responsibility well. When the John Greenleaf Whittier School was dedicated, Chandler, then in the sixth grade, was selected to represent the student body because of the fine thesis he had written about the school.

I am proud of the fact that my boys went to Sunday School and to Church and that they usually went with me. We joined the Mount Pleasant Congregational Church, where our associations were splendid.

In 1928 I was sent to the Fort Monroe Coast Artillery School, Virginia, and in 1929 to the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Chandler graduated from high school at Leavenworth as a cadet captain in the ROTC. By that time he had shown himself to be a good student and stood within the top third of his class with his subjects well balanced.

The Boy Scout troops at Fort Leavenworth were models of efficiency. Chandler won thirty-nine awards and became an Eagle Scout with two palms. Six boys from his troop were at West Point with Chandler a few years later. In those days the Boy Scouts figured very largely in the forming of character of so many of the Army boys-most of whom aspired to follow their fathers by attending the United States Military Academy.

In the summer of 1931 the family made our last long trip together-this time across the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast, visiting the national parks en route. I will never forget the strolls we had together in Yellowstone Park-the spotting of elk, deer, and bear on the trails-the identifying of the tracks of the wolf and moose—and the fishing in mountain lakes, where we caught fine cut-throat trout. We had spent summer vacations previously on the St. Lawrence River and at other spots near the Canadian border, and we had toured through Maine and the other states of New England together, but on this western trip, all of the boys thoroughly enjoyed traveling and Chandler drove the automobile for the first time.

We returned to Washington in 1932, where Chandler entered Columbia Preparatory School for West Point. He con- tested for an appointment but, unfortunately, he was ill with “flu” and received only a second alternate position. In the spring of 1933 he entered the Presidential Contest open to sons of army officers and stood about twenty-fifth out of some 250 competitors. Actually we were advised that he had an appointment, but he never received it because of adjustments in appointments made necessary by the actions of certain Congressmen. We then canvassed the Halls of Congress. I wrote a hundred letters to members and personally visited about fifty-taking Chandler with me. One of our Congress- men said he had heard that appointments could be bought, and I will never forget the comeback that Chandler gave: “I will never enter West Point on an appointment that my father has to buy.” We, at last, found a friend in Stephen M. Young of Ohio, who provided an appointment for the following year.

It was a year of great worry. To keep up a sense of humor, I wrote a thesis on the subject of “West Point or Busted”- mainly busted. Chandler attended the University of Mary- land and rode to and from school every day of the year with Karl, who was also enrolled there. To have Chandler home another year was splendid and this gave him a better preparation for the academic struggles ahead at the Academy.

In 1934 he entered West Point, where the strain of the initiation during his first or “plebe” year reduced his weight some fifteen or twenty pounds. I heard later that the treatment of these men at the Academy prepared them better for facing the ordeal of being prisoners of war than the non-West Pointers. Although too light in weight for most athletics, Chandler did play some lacrosse and was cadet manager of the team his senior year.

As for the academics, his standing was good, though he was careful to avoid being a cadet officer his last year, saying with some emphasis that he did not wish to put himself in a position where he would have to report his own classmates for infractions of the rules.

During Chandler’s first leave from West Point, in the sum- mer of 1936, he was selected along with five other classmates to go on the midshipmen’s cruise to Europe. This was a splendid experience for him. He returned to the United States in time to visit the family (except Karl) on a Canadian lake about forty miles north of the town of North Bay, Ontario, where we were enjoying our vacation prior to my taking new duties at the University of Kansas. This was Chandler’s last chance to play with George, his beloved dog, and there were never better companions than these two. If dogs’ spirits accompany their masters, then I know that these two are together.

During his stay at West Point, Chandler naturally was attentive to many attractive girls, or “fems” or “drags” as they were called, who were within easy reach of the Academy. He had many of them at the proms, and, in fact, he really liked the ladies. The Christmas vacation of 1937 he spent at Burlington, Vermont. I have no doubt that the two weeks spent there crystallized the love he felt so deeply for Kathleen Kieslich.

In June of 1938 the whole family was at West Point for Chandler’s graduation, and two days later Kay and Chandler were married in the beautiful chapel there. Our friends, the Reads of Scarsdale, New York, provided the chapel with beautiful Silver Moon Roses and the church was well decorated.

After the wedding the two newlyweds drove northward in their little Plymouth coupe, and I left that night for Chicago for summer camp duty with the ROTC. Several weeks later we met again at a resort camp on a lake in Minnesota. Chandler and Kay were there for seventeen days-a time that we will never forget. How he loved to build sand castles on the beach. He was a real play-boy there with his bride, our family and friends. And then they drove away-after those few happy days. There was something at that time that gave me an awful feeling of fear-this was the last time that I was to see my boy.

The Lieutenant and his bride set up housekeeping at Fort Monroe, Virginia, but about six months later Chandler was ordered to Corregidor, Philippine Islands. Here the newlyweds had to adjust themselves to the tropics. They made many fine friends among the Army personnel on the “Rock.” Chandler was kept pretty busy on responsible and varied jobs, while Kay taught school for some time. They spent a short vacation at Baguio on Luzon, and in 1940 even went to Japan, where the treatment received at that time from the Japanese was pretty trying on their patience.

At the end of a two-year assignment Chandler was supposed to have returned to the States, and was under orders to sail within five days, when the authorities decided differently; and so a group of young men, including my son, were kept over- time in the Philippine Islands. Most of these boys paid with their lives.

Patsy (Patricia Ann) was born at Corregidor on October 24, 1940, and early in 1941 Kay and her infant daughter were forced to leave for the United States, along with most all of the other Army women and children from the Philippines. After a hectic trip on the Etolin, they arrived at San Francisco, where Philena met them and returned with them as far as Lawrence, Kansas. Kay and Patsy later went all the way to Burlington, Vermont.

I was ordered to Fort Winfield Scott, San Francisco, in July of 1941. In October Philena, John, and I each broadcast a message to Chandler. It was a great thrill for him. His last word to me (letter of November 29, 1941) was that he had a headquarters assignment operating in a tunnel.

Then came Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and-of course-worries were plentiful. It was hard to get messages through to the Philippines, and I’ll confess that I was pessimistic from the start. I knew the Japanese well, over a long period of time, so I felt sure the Philippines could not hold out. Also I knew the Japanese had no respect for a prisoner of war, whether he be one of their own men who surrendered or one of another country. During these years I tried my very first message, I referred to the Forty-sixth Psalm, which I would like to quote here:

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble;
Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swellings thereof. Selah.
There is a river, the streams whereof shall make the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
Be still, and know that I am God! I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

At Hawaii, en route to my post as military attaché to Australia, on April 20, 1942, I succeeded in sending a message to Chandler, telling him that the family was well and sent love. He was advised to communicate with me at the American Legation in Australia. Later I received an official radio confirmation of this message in which Chandler indicated that he was fine. The first few weeks after reaching my destination were most anxious ones. On May 5 I tried again to get a radio through to Corregidor. This message probably never arrived, as the “Rock” was then under terrific bombardment, and soon thereafter General Wainwright and his gallant army were forced to surrender.

Colonel A. D. Amoroso, Chandler’s immediate commander, has kindly given me the following account of his war service:

“As you know, Chan was in the 60th C. A. all during his tour at Corregidor except for a time at Hughes. While in the 60th he was in command of Battery B from about the beginning of 1941 to about August 1941, as I recall. During this period he did a great deal of work in preparing Battery B’s position near Battery Wheeler. He did an exceptionally fine job in preparing this position as well as preparing and training his battery for war. Only a few weeks before the war, Chan was transferred from the battery to the headquarters of the First Battalion. I was C. O. at this time but in the hospital. Upon my recommendation, Chan was made Battalion Adjutant and carried on as Battalion Executive during my absence. Soon after December 7, 1941, I rejoined the battalion and we established our command post at Wheeler Tunnel which, as you may remember, is quite close to the battery of the same name.

“Throughout the period of the war on Corregidor, Chan was Battalion Adjutant, S-3, Operations Officer, and Gas Officer. This work kept him at Wheeler Tunnel most of the time, although I would frequently send him out to the vari- ous batteries as a trouble-shooter, and sometimes he would stay with them for two or three days. He understood anti- aircraft gunnery very thoroughly, and had an exceptionally good idea of the practical application of same. I might add at this point that the tactical designation of this unit for which Chan was the Adjutant et al., was the Anti-Aircraft Gun Defenses of Corregidor and Fort Hughes. The organization consisted of the First Battalion plus two batteries (3-inch A. A. guns) of the 2nd. Bn. 60th C. A. and one battery of the 59th C. A. manning A. A. guns at Hughes. While the Japs were shelling from Bataan, the A. A. Gun Command had an additional assignment of spotting gun batteries on Bataan to assist the seacoast and other field guns in counter battery work. I know he rendered excellent service to these bat- teries. Chan was one of the first officers to reach Battery Geary after it was blown up, and he did much to help in the rescue of those caught in one of the magazines after the explosion.”

The Adjutant General has this to say of Chan’s service and citations:

“Captain Baldwin is entitled to the American Defense Service Ribbon with one bronze star, the Asiatic. Pacific Theater Service Ribbon with one bronze star for the Philippine Islands and the Distinguished Unit Badge with two oak-leaf clusters. The Coast Artillery with which he was serving was cited three times for action against the enemy, namely: 7 December 1941, from 29 December 1941 to 28 February 1942 and from 14 March 1942 to 9 April 1942. “Captain Baldwin is also entitled to the Victory Medal, which has been authorized for all members of the armed forces who rendered honorable service during the second World War, and to the Philippine Defense Ribbon with one bronze star for participation in the engagements against the enemy on Philippine Territory.”

We know now that Chandler left Corregidor about May 24, 1942, for Manila. He landed by barge at Pasay and marched to the old Bilibid prison. After about a week there, he was sent with others to Prisoner of War Camp No. 1 at Cabanatuan-north of Manila. In late October about 1800 who had volunteered were returned to Bilibid and embarked for Davao, Mindanao, arriving there on November 8.

After the surrender of Corregidor on May 6 there followed months and months of waiting on our part. We heard that the boys from the “Rock” were not as badly treated as those from Bataan, but their movements were uncertain for a long time.

Several cards were received by Kay and Philena toward the end of 1943. In one he says, “For Kay read Robert Burns’s ‘A Red, Red Rose’ and for the family to read Van Dyke’s ‘Prayer’ (God of the Open Air).”


O, my luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O, my luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly played in tune.

As fair thou art, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sane o’ life shall run.

And fare-thee-weel, my only luve!
And fare-thee-weel a while!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.

(God of the Open Air)

These are the gifts I ask
Of thee, Spirit serene:
Strength for the daily task,
Courage to face the road, God cheer to help me bear the traveller’s load,
And, for the hours of rest that come between,
An inward joy in all things heard and seen.
These are the sins I fain
Would have thee take away:
Malice, and cold disdain,
Hot anger, sullen hate,
Scorn of the lowly, envy of the great,
And discontent that casts a shadow gray
Of all the brightness of the common day.
These are the things I prize
And hold of dearest worth:
Light of the sapphire skies,
Peace of the silent hills,
Shelter of forests, comfort of the grass,
Music of birds, murmur of little rills,
Shadows of cloud that swiftly pass,
And, after showers,
The smell of flowers
And of the good brown earth,-
And best of all, along the way, friendship and mirth.
So let me keep
These treasures of the humble heart In true possession, owning them by love; And when at last I can no longer move
Among them freely, but must part
From the green fields and from the waters clear,
Let me not creep Into some darkened room and hide
From all that makes the world so bright and dear;
But throw the windows wide,
To welcome in the light;
And while I clasp a well-beloved hand,
Let me once more have sight
Of the deep sky and the far-smiling land,-
Then gently fall on sleep,
And breathe my body back to Nature’s care,
My spirit out to thee, God of the open air.

In one of the post cards to his mother, Chandler advised that his “sense of humor and morale were intact.” Following is the text of one of his cards which clearly showed this to be true:

“Farming daily for camp use.
“Please see that all of you keep strength, courage and patience and don’t worry.
“Please see that Dad tells ‘Mac’ I miss him, to get on the ball and that I hope his promise is taken care of.”

I sent this message to General MacArthur, who replied to me as follows: “Dear Baldwin, “I am so glad at the good news from your boy. Tell him ‘Mac’ is on the road back. “Cordially, “DOUGLAS MacARTHUR.”

On one of my subsequent cards, I wrote Chandler, “Mac is greatly improved and coming back rapidly.”

The Davao camp was not bad as Japanese prisoner of war camps went and the number of deaths there was quite low. Hard work was the order of the day, but the men got enough food. Their spirits were generally good. Those who were with Chan reported that his humor and high morale were life-savers.

One story which I heard was that Chandler and his West Point friend, Captain Charlie White, while at Davao wore white tropical helmets with large letters in black, “Captain Baldwin” and “Captain White” painted upon them. The only other garment worn was in each case a pair of shorts.

Chandler worked some of the time caring for chickens and pigs and spent about a year in the carpenter shop.

Two-thirds of these prisoners were sent from Davao by ship in June of 1944 and arrived at Manila after a transfer at Cebu. We knew of this movement but did not then know whether Chandler was in that lot, nor whether this group stayed in Luzon or went on to Japan.

In September of 1944 a second ship carrying the remainder of the Davao men was torpedoed north of Zamboanga and all but about eighty-two men perished. Chandler lost his good friend, Charlie White, and many other close friends with the sinking of this vessel. Both Kay and I were able to interview some of the survivors and obtain fairly good information on the Davao camp.

Later we learned that Chandler was interned at Cabanatuan and that in July he had received a large quantity of mail and some Red Cross supplies. There were letters and post cards from Kay, Mother, and Dad as well as many snap- shots of Kay and Patsy. He also received a parcel of food from Kay.

Chandler was thrilled with these gifts and messages and apparently in good spirits at this time. The prisoners were not treated too well here, however, and after the heavy strafing which the United States Naval planes gave Manila in September, the men were put on greatly reduced food rations. It was very tough on them all. During this period Chandler had two weeks of sickness in the camp hospital and thereby missed the fresh garden vegetables which he and others had carefully cultivated in small plots.

While in Davao Chandler compiled a history of the Philippine Campaign. This was prepared after conferences with hundreds of his mates and the final volume was written in collaboration with Captain Frank Anders, who specialized in the history of the non-regulars. The finished product consisted of hundreds of pages and about 300 maps and illustrations. It has been pronounced as most excellent by surviving officers. Both Captain Anders and Chandler made copies, but the Japanese by a surprise inspection of Bilibid just after the return of the men from Davao discovered and confiscated the copy possessed by Anders. A grapevine message to Chandler, who was bunked on an upper floor, enabled him to throw his volume out a window. It was kicked under some brush by other prisoners, later recovered, and a few weeks afterward buried at Cabanatuan. In early 1945, after the re- capture of the Philippines, the history was dug up and was seen by Anders and others, but all efforts to locate and secure the volume for Kay have so far been unsuccessful. Ninety- five per cent of the men who helped compile this history are now dead and it is most unfortunate that it cannot be found and properly utilized.

A ship left for Japan in October loaded with 1,600 American prisoners of war. This vessel was torpedoed by an Amer ican submarine and less than ten men appear to have been saved. As with the previous sinking, Chandler lost many friends.

About this time his group was moved from Cabanatuan to Bilibid, the native prison in Manila.

On December 13, 1944, the last of the physically-able Americans (about 1,620) were shipped out from Manila on the Oryoku Maru. This was strafed, bombed, and finally sunk in shallow water in Subic Bay, where about three hundred of our boys lost their lives.

The survivors were sent north via truck and rail to San Fernando Union. On December 27 they were loaded on two ships, Chandler sailing in the hold of the smaller ship with over two hundred others. Four tablespoons of water and two tablespoons of rice comprised the daily and monotonous ration. Many died en route to Takao, Formosa, where they arrived about a week later.

At this port Chandler’s group transferred to the larger ship which had brought most of the remainder from San Fernando Union. This vessel was badly bombed at Takao on January 9, 1945, at which time about 350 of our men were killed. Survivors were then transferred to another dirty and congested ship which sailed on January 15. After calling at many Chinese ports, this ship finally reached Moji on the Island of Kyushu, Japan, on January 30, landing about 450 men, of whom about 150 were very sick.

The trip had been very hard on the men and the life in the “hell holes” (holds) records the blackest page of Japanese inhumanity to other men. Men were starved beyond endurance. Scores died daily and were tossed into the sea. There was little water to be had. Since most of the men had little clothing and this was the dead of winter, they naturally were extremely cold. Snow even covered the deck of the ship. The filth was unbelievable. Dysentery and other ills were un- checked. Weights dropped to well below the 100-pound mark. It is little wonder then that some men went crazy and practically all were in depressed states of mind. Chandler was one of those afflicted with dysentery when the ship docked.

He had traded his West Point class ring, his last possession of any value, for medicine on this final trip. Just when he died is not really known, but it was probably about February 7, 1945. A few snapshots of Kay and Patsy were given to sick companions, who sent them to Kay. Of 51 sick officers who landed at Moji, not over five or six remain alive, and of the 1,620 men who left Manila together, only about 250 are now living. Many of these have been physically wrecked for the rest of their existence on this earth.

One of the last acts of Chan’s was to care for a friend before he died. The blow of this friend’s death was very hard on Chandler. Had this ship gone straight to Japan instead of slowly dodging from one Chinese port to another, his chances for survival would have been much better. At Moji a friend helped Chan over the side of the vessel and later into an ambulance. Better treatment was hoped for at the hospital but it was not received. Starvation, dysentery, and abuse at the hands of the Japanese took his gallant life.

A survivor has stated, “When one talks of the heroic and the good, don’t talk about us, the survivors. The generous men, the true men, the unselfish men are the men who for the most part perished.”

In mid-March of 1945 I visited Manila with Mr. Nelson T. Johnson, the American Minister to Australia. We went through Bilibid Prison and saw the conditions which our men had been required to endure. I looked over the death list and prison records, for at this time we did not know what had happened to Chandler. There were two officers listed by the name of Baldwin, who sailed for Japan with Chan and both reported as “probably dead” by the Japanese.

We flew over Corregidor, a terribly battered old “Rock.” Two batteries, Geary and Ramsey, which I had personally mounted and proof-fired back in 1912, had been practically obliterated from the face of the island. I could see the mouth of the tunnel where so many of our men had lived during the terrible siege. This caused me to wonder what Chandler’s part had been during those few enduring months. I hoped that his unit had accounted for a large number of Japanese planes. To me it seemed that my own life and Chandler’s life had been somewhat futile as far as Corregidor was concerned, for what we had built and manned was so utterly destroyed. Yet by a magnificent paratroop maneuver, our forces had recaptured the “Rock” with a loss of less than 150 men, and at the same time disposed of nearly 6,000 Japanese in the garrison.

Mr. Johnson and I had two chats with General MacArthur, who was always kind and spoke well of my son. On this occasion he told me that he had asked his generals to be on the lookout especially for Captain Baldwin, Colonel Baldwin’s son, as he hoped to recover him and send him to meet me in Australia. The General added, “We have no proof that he is not alive and it may be that he is in Japan with others.” Later, on learning of Chandler’s death, General MacArthur expressed his sincere condolence.

Early on the morning of March 19, I had a strange presentiment which seemed to come from Chandler telling me I must take back with me to Melbourne a British lad, Gordon Bennett, who had been interned in Santo Tomas since December, 1941. I had brought letters to the boy. With General MacArthur’s approval, Mr. Johnson and I brought him by air to Australia. His joyful reunion with his people thrilled my heart, then so very heavy in worry over my own son.

In February of 1945 we knew of the sinking of the Oryoku Maru in Subic Bay, and of course our worries were very great thereafter. Kay and Philena must have suffered very much. Kay and Patsy had been in California and Kay was chasing every possible thread of evidence. When she returned to Vermont later, she received several letters from friends indicating the ordeals that our men were undergoing. Many of Chandler’s friends had been lost and their wives, friends of Kay, notified. It was left for Chandler to follow those many intimate acquaintances of Corregidor days.

It should be realized that the Japanese have no use what- ever for a prisoner of war, but there was no excuse for the higher authorities who would not allow the sending of Red Cross food from stocks in Vladivostok, where relief ships were anchored for many months. This food could have saved the lives of most of our men then in their hands.

The Japanese would not consider exchanging prisoners, and in many instances they violated every principle of decency and justice toward our men. In Borneo, for example, there appears to be less than ten survivors out of 2,500 pris- oners of war. There were some exceptions to the usual brutality upon the part of the Japanese, but for the most part the lower ranking officers and enlisted men generally carried out orders.

This whole Japanese conception must be changed and the ruthless offenders taught proper lessons in international justice. Somehow when I think of what happened to my boy, all of the years of kindness given to the Japanese on the part of my good wife and myself appears to be poorly rewarded. If ever Americans in Washington, D. C., made special efforts to help the Japanese understand our nation, we did. After all this, I harbor no hatred for these people, but only demand prompt and stern justice wherever it is due.

Perhaps the United States should be blamed a bit for what happened. Our generals kept certain men in the Philippines a year longer than the normal standard tour of duty, and those men, like Chandler, entered the war under a physical handicap.

Our whole defense program was utterly inadequate, and even had General MacArthur possessed three times more men and equipment, he could not have held the Philippine Islands for too long a time without reinforcements. Our men knew in the end that they were without help or relief and that they would have to pay for our folly of being unprepared.

It was United States torpedoes and bombs which sank several of the ships carrying our boys as prisoners of war. I have no complaint to make, however, as these ships carried no indication of their cargoes, and of course it was necessary for us to destroy the Japanese merchant marine. The thou- sands of boys who perished in these sinkings was in fact quite small in comparison to the tens of thousands of Japanese that were also lost. We did a most remarkable job in cutting the enemy supply lines.

Words almost fail me when I think of the faith that Chan- dler had in God, his fellow-men, and in himself; of the confi- dence that he had in his country; in fact, the trust that he even had in Japanese justice. As we recall the thousands of prayers from hundreds of friends that were made in his behalf, and then realize what finally did happen … we are left shocked. Chandler had the highest conception of righteousness and honor, as his survivors all testify.

His love for comrades was extremely deep, but he accepted his lot and carried through. I never believed that Chandler would try to escape-his thought was concerned with the retribution and brutality that might have been meted upon his friends in case he did so. All surviving officers who knew Chandler have spoken of his patience and tolerance. He never took water or food from another, and when his own meager ration was stolen, he bore it like a man with great forbearance.

I have searched the Bible in vain for a record of worse earthly torture inflicted upon a Saint or Prophet than has been borne by men like Chandler. When I eat good food, I cannot help thinking, “If only a few of these morsels could have been given my boy.” I would gladly have exchanged places with him. It is hard to believe that he is gone. As sure as there is a God, He must know that these men gave all that they had for us and our Christian ideals through three years of the darkest hell on earth imaginable.

In October 1945, Kay held a beautiful memorial service for Chandler at St. Paul’s Church in Burlington, Vermont. The mayor had the flag on the city hall flown at half-mast in Chan’s honor. Kay and her many friends decorated the church with armfuls of asters and marigolds. There were boxes of gladiolas and chrysanthemums-huge and red. The organist played the West Point songs, “The Corps” and “Alma Mater.” It was a wonderful service, so reminiscent to Kay of the many splendid hours that she and Chandler had sat together side by side in the West Point Chapel. Eighty or ninety close friends were there to share with her the sincere sympathy that they all felt.

Kay received some time later a document signed by President Truman saying, “In grateful memory of Captain Lawrence C. Baldwin, who dared to die to set men free …” etc.

Among those who could readily sympathize with Kay was her sister, Harriet, who lost her husband, “Ace,” during the war in Sicily. Little Patsy must have felt it also, for one day, two weeks after the notification of Chandler’s death, she said at the dinner table, “Isn’t it a lovely day? My Uncle ‘Ace’ and Daddy up in Heaven decided we ought to have the sunshine and they made us a nice day, didn’t they, Mummy?”

There’s more here. I leave off at the end of page #37 in the digital document (page 23 if you go by the numbers printed on the original pages). The notes and messages shared from friends, family, and comrades in arms show how many people Captain Bladwin’s short life touched. Through his actions and sacrifice while a prisoner allowed untold numbers of men to go home to their families.

Category: Army, Historical, POW, Valor, We Remember

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What a POWERFUL story, Mason.

Thank You.

Picture and write up from his West Point Yearbook.

Salute. Never Forget. Rest In Peace, CPT Baldwin.


He was affectionally addressed as “Chan” and “Baldy” while at West Point.

Such irony that he was born and passed away in Japan.

Thank You, again, Mason for sharing this story of a Father’s love for his Son.

Never Forget.


I gotta quit reading these articles outside when the pine tree pollen is so bad. Makes it hard to focus my eyes on the words.

“…that such men lived…” Salute!

Thanks, Mason…and Thanks to ninja for the additional info.


The pollen seems to especially effect fathers with kids serving for some reason.

Only Army Mom

From the mouths of babes – “Isn’t it a lovely day? My Uncle ‘Ace’ and Daddy up in Heaven decided we ought to have the sunshine and they made us a nice day, didn’t they, Mummy?”

The innocent’s view of death is a comfort.