Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ned King of Bataan / A Poem by General William E Brougher, Commander, 11th Division, Philippine Army

Ned King of Bataan
I’ll sing you a song of a soldier
I’ll tell you a tale of a man
A song I’ll sing of Old Ned King…
Ned King of doomed Bataan!

So prepare for thrills and heartaches
And prepare to shed some tears;
I’ll tell you a tale that cannot fail
To jar your jaded ears.

You plain John Does and GI Joes,
You wailing Sal and Sue,
Ned King turned up the bitter cup
And drained the dregs for you.

You post war boys with all your noise,
You homesick amateurs,
Ned King’s the chap who took the rap
And did his time and yours.

You chronic haters and “brass hat” baiters,
Now listen here to me,
Ned King was tried and crucified
That you may still be free.

Ned King was a gentleman born
With riches of heart and head,
A soldier and scholar, he scorned the dollar
And chose the service instead.

He ranked with the best of his time,
He met the Army’s needs,
In courage and brains and all that pertains
To the best the Service breeds.

Distinction had marked him soon
And merit had gained his star,
In school and camp he bore the stamp
Of one who must go far.

Grim Fate, the crafty old witch,
Was pranking with Ned’s career;
She was shifting the scenes in the Philippines
In the grim and fateful year.

She should have been shot at sunrise
The furtive and fickle old hag,
She was shuffling her cards and fixing the odds
For someone to hold the bag.

MacArthur was marked for Olympus
And Skinny was called to the Rock,
So Ned was the man to go to Bataan
And weather the withering shock.

A lifetime of waiting and work
High purpose that nothing could hinder,
Cards stacked in advance and Ned had his chance
To take command… and surrender!

The fate of Democracy’s General
The lot of the hapless Defender,
The cards were stacked, the jury was packed
And Ned was the first to surrender,

On a bit of a pestilent strip
Of tropical jungle land,
Starvation, disease, and mad Japanese
Were besieging the men of Bataan.

The Jap was poised for the kill,
He’d mopped up Singapore,
He has tasted the blood and found it good
And was licking his chops for more.

The fever got half of the men
In the wake of the winging pest,
While dysentery and beri-beri
Were doing for half the rest.

The men were willing to fight,
And all they had they’d give,
But the hollow shell where the main blow fell
Was weak as a rusty sieve.

The Jap was strong and bold,
His vict’ry was quickly won…
The end of the story and proud “Old Glory”
Must bow to the rising sun.

The horns of dilemma, cruel and sharp,
The heart of the General impale;
Surrender or fight? Well, neither was right
And any solution would fail.

Remember the Alamo friends,
And Christ in the Garden of Sorrow,
Then think of Ned while his tossed his bed
With thoughts of the sad tomorrow.

In the history of American arms
Since the day of the Nations birth,
The Yankee was proud his flag had bowed
To none on the face of the earth.

But when nothings to gain by fighting
And hope no longer survives,
Commanders must face the risk of disgrace
To save their soldiers lives.

Escape was open to Ned, of course
The way that shirkers go,
A steel jacket ball would end it all
And smash his cup of woe.

But Ned was not the kind
To dodge a dreaded task;
“God make me strong to do no wrong,”
Was all that he would ask.

So Ned went down on his knees
And wrestled with his God;
When morning broke he scarcely spoke
But gave his staff a nod.

A nod to his faithful staff,
And one last smile perhaps,
Then rose to his feet and taking a sheet
Went out to meet the Japs.

General William E Brougher


Anonymous said...

This poem was written by my grandfather, Brig. Gen. William Edward Brougher, commanding general of the 11th Division in the Philippines. My name is Morgan Joy O'Cailleigh, my mother was Mary Frances Brougher Garman, Gen. Brougher's third and youngest daughter. The poem comes from his volume "The Long Dark Road." I currently live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a state from which many of the Bataan survivors and deceased come from. My grandfather also kept a diary while in prison camp, "North to Mukden, South to Bataan."
There is an annual rememberance march in White Sands, NM, every march comemerating the survivors of the Death March every March. My younger sister, Georgia Berrenberg, and I are in the very early stages of planning a family reunion of sorts to honor our grandfather next year in 2011.
Grandadddy has a significant number of descendants and we are hoping to get as many as we can to participate in this endeavor.
I found your blog while googling my grandfather and truly appreciate that his poetry has found another home on the web.
Thank you, Mr. Hudson.

Anonymous said...

Gen Allan Cade, I understand surrender his 70,000 troops on the Philippine Islands, when I heard that number thought it was wrong. Some of the best armies start with 70,000 to go to battle, that will be like a surrendering on day one of the Iraq war with 80,000 troops in place. This is true, this General should be stripped of all privileges, and deemed a yellow bellied coward. There should be no honor that rests with his name or military heritage or homage. I would be ashamed to mention his name if I was related to him.

Anybody associated with this, surrender should also have shame, and should've stepped forward and shot this coward in the face, and took over the army.

Retired Air Force

Bataan Son said...

Dear Anonymous,
You are obviously not educated on the battle for Bataan or you would not have made the above comment. General Kings men loved him. General King made it known to all his men that he is the one who surrendered not them. No one can foretell the future and the general certainly could not. He was trying to save his men from annihilation which almost certain to occur, if not from the Japanese then from the elements. It easy to prophecize from the comfort of a computer chair.
A coward, I think not. You belong to an infinitly small minority if you believe he should have been shot. I shall have to respectfully disagree with you sir.

Thank you for taking the time to peruse my blog.


John said...

To "Retired Air Force", Listen up JACKASS! How uneducated are you? King, a yellow bellied coward? You have got to be kidding. First lets assume that that your logic regarding King's surrender is even sane. If he was a coward and "should be shot in the face", what about the powers that be in Japan around oh, let's say August, September 1945 when JAPAN SURRENDERED! By your logic, and the Bushido Code that the Japanese military lived by back then, they (the military) and the Emperor should have all been as you said "shot in the face. Japan would have made the U.S. a nice 51st state. And as far as anybody associated with this surrender should feel shame, you get the opposite, PRIDE. I grew up knowing my uncle who was part of the surrender and he or any other vet of Bataan or Corregider for that matter, should be and were proud that they did the job they were asked to do. I can say that I am proud to have known him. If you are going to have an opinion on any matter that is your right, but be a man and put your name on it. Anonymous posts are cowardly.

John Hicks
1st Sgt C.O. Snodgrass 803rd Eng.

frank said...

Thank you for putting this up on the web. We remember Bataan and will never forget.



New documentary scheduled to be shown.



Robert said...

Attempting to locate information regarding Private Errold T. Glew, serial number 11010492. Unit: 48th Material Squadron, 27th Bombardment Group.

Home state of Maine lists him FOD, Finding of death.

He must have been KIA during the early period of the battles, because he was not a POW.

Manila Cemetary and Memorial does not list him. (It even lists members that died on Hellships lost at sea).

There is no record located that describes cause or date of death.

Appreciate any information that would lead to answer.

Robert said...

John Hicks,

Did 1st Sgt C.O. Snodgrass 803rd Eng. receive full honors for combat service?


Bataan Son said...


Sgt Snodgrass as a Bataan veteran should have received an American Defense Medal, Asiatic Pacific Service Medal, a Philippine service Medal with one Bronze Service Star, A Distinguished Unit Badge with Two Bronze Oak Leafs, a POW Medal and most likely a Good Conduct Medal.
I believe all Philippine veterans received a Bronze Star for Valor.

Robert said...

>I believe all Philippine veterans received a Bronze Star for Valor.

Somewhat correct. All members receiving the Presidential Unit Citation during the battles were eligible for the BSM.

Company A, 803rd received a forth PUC for serving as infantrymen, thus earned the Combat Infantryman badge entitling a second BSM.


Bataan Son said...

On Dec. 13, 1941, 50 enlisted men and one officer from the 48th Material Squadron (part of the 27th Bomb Grp.) were sent to Waterous Field, in Mindoro. Traveling with these men were large quantities of aviation fuel. Along with being a refueling station, Waterous Field became something of an R & R base for the pilots flying from Luzon to Mindanao, since there was no brass around, they could spend time on beach and relax a little, at least until the Japs arrived. It was reported to have been a pleasant place to stop and the pilots took full advantage of it.

On March 15, 1942, while the fighting was still raging on Bataan, the Japs landed a task force in Mindoro. The men decided they were not going to be captured. They destroyed their storage of fuel, damaged the airfield, and anything else they could damage, and they took off for the hills, carrying with them as much food as possible and the small quantity of weapons they had with them. Very quickly, they began getting sick and getting into each others nerves. The young lieutenant that was suppose to be in charged proved not to be the alpha male they needed to maintain order in the group. They decided they were going to Australia. They comandeered a bunch of bancas and sailed south. At this time, they had already lost two men due to disease.

They got as far south as Cuyo Island, which is directly south of Mindoro. There 29 of them were captured. Six or seven of them were executed. The rest either escaped into the jungle and were not heard from since. A smaller group of them boarded bancas to continue their trip to Australia. They too were never heard of since. They were not in good physical shape, so it is assumed that the ones not accounted for died from diseases somewhere on Cuyo Island or on those bancas on their way to Australia.

Pvt. Errold Glew was with those men. His remains were never recovered.

Robert said...

Bataan Son,

Are you able to provide a reference to the above information involving Glew?


Robert said...

Is there an avenue to locate veterans and/or next of kin of same that were assigned to Headquarters, 71st Division, Philippine Army and 3rd Battalion, 1st Constabulary?

I located a document from a former POW's biography that entitles members the BSM [with] CIB.



Bataan Son said...


I have a secret weapon. His name is Fred Baldassarre, the archivist for the "Battling Bastards of Bataan".
He is the foremost authority on anything dealing with the Philippine conflict. I went to him for the information I provided for you. Rather than you going through me for what you need, I am going to give you his email address.
fbaldie@pacbell.net. Make sure you mention my name to Fred so that he doesn't consider you spam.
You may email me directly at roberthudson@yahoo.com. I do not check this blog regularly so at times it may be one to two weeks before I respond to comments here.

You may also want to contact Jim Erickson who is a researcher and board member of the "Descendants group of the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor"jwerickson@gmail.com


Anonymous said...

First of all, I would like to thank you for opening this blog. I just started listening to the book titled "Tears In The Darkness". It give me chills and tears to my eyes remembering all those courageous souls who fought for our freedom. And I am so grateful to them for giving me the chance to enjoy the life that I have right now. I hope more people will be able to read your blog especially Filipinos so they too can appreciate all the bloods and lives that have been offered for their freedom. To all the veterans that fought the WWII, family and descendants, I salute you! God Bless You All! And to that coward retired air force, may you come to your senses. It's easy for you to say what you said in your comment because you were not in their shoes and you were not the commander of those soldiers. I hope one day you'll wake up in your long slumber and realize that those poor souls deserves more respect and appreciation than one big bad mouth like yours. I think you are just sourgraping because your name were not written in the great history of mankind. I feel sorry for you for not even have the guts to identify yourself.

Bataan Son said...

Thank you for your comment. Please remember though that Tears in the Darkness is a partial attempt to legitimize the belief that General Homma was not responsible for the atrocities on the Death March. Supposedly his underlings were disregarding his orders according to the book. The Normans who wrote the book were guests of Homma's family while they were researching the book. Homma was no dupe. He knew exactly waht was going on and did nothing. He was hanged for his crimes and now there are those who wish to change history.