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Finance Department and Signal Corps in Malinta Tunnel, Lateral #12, Corregidor

Image Information
View taken by Major Paul W. Wing, 228th Signals Operations Company, in Malinta Tunnel Lateral #12, Fort Mills, Corregidor, Manila Bay, Phillippines on April 24, 1942. The photograph shows the tunnel where the United States Army Finance Department, closest to the camera, and the Signal Corps operated. The men in the photo are, from left to right: Staff Sergeant Walter A. Wernher, Manila Finance Department, 6948955 (January 1, 1912-July 23, 1942). Walter Wernher was born in New York City, to Jessie and Ernest Wernher. Descended from German immigrants, they were Iowans who tried to improve their lot by moving to New York. His father Ernest ran the Adams Mattress Company and later was an assistant manager for the Chester Shipyard in Pennsylvania. Walter‘s mother Jessie died when he was three and his sister Dora may have died very young. Walter moved with his father to Swarthmore, Pennsylvania when Ernest began working for the shipyard. There they attended Trinity Church. Wernher joined the army and was detailed to the Finance Department. After the surrender on May 7, 1942, Walter Wernher and the other prisoners from Corregidor were forced to live for weeks on the beach near the 92nd Coast Artillery Garage in Little Baguio, Corregidor. Food and water were scarce and the sun relentless. After a few weeks, Wernher and the others were forced to wade ashore at Manila and then paraded through the streets to Bilibid Prison. Unlike the prisoners forced to undertake the Bataan Death March on foot, the Corregidor survivors were packed into boxcars and taken by train to Cabanatuan Prisoner of War Camp #1. There, due to lack of food, water and medical supplies, thousands of Americans and Filipinos died. Wernher died around July 23, 1942. There were so many deaths he was buried in an unmarked mass grave and his remains were never recovered. The graves were so shallow, and registration so hurried, one American prisoner digging graves remembered his shovel would hit previously burie
Image Filename wwii1456.jpg
Image Size 1.1 MB
Image Dimensions
Photographer Wing, Paul R.
Photographer Title Major, Signal Corps
Caption Author Jason McDonald
Date Photographed April 24, 1942
Location Malinta Tunnel Lateral #12
City Corregidor
State or Province Luzon
Country Philippines
Archive National Archives and Records Administration
Record Number 111-SC-249636
Status Caption ©2013, ©2024 MFA Productions LLC
Please Do Not Duplicate or Distribute Without Permission

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