For Veterans Day

For Veterans Day

In honor of Veterans Day, a letter from the Manny Lawton Papers (mss 260) written home while he was a Prisoner of War during World War II. Lawton, Clemson Class of 1940, survived the infamous Bataan Death March and three and half years as a POW in inhumane conditions. This letter was written just before he and 1,600 other POWs boarded the Oryoku Maru, known as one of the “hell ships,” which was subsequently bombed, burned and sunk. Lawton wrote the story of his POW ordeal in the book Some Survived, published in 1985.

mss260Lawtonletter
Dear Folks,
Leaving on this date for points unknown, probably Japan. [not readable] of being released soon, but now it will probably be a while longer. Maybe its fore the best.
Am getting along pretty well. Colonel Hardee, the kind bearer of this note – one of our own Southern gentlemen – can tell you about conditions. Am hoping and praying that all of you are well & we will be together soon.
My love to Paul and his wife, Tison & Adelaide, Ella, Walter, Aunt Carrie & family, Uncle Tom & Emily, Bill, Agnes, Aunt Evelyn & family, Nan Nan & household, Mary Lawton, Mary Fitts and all the relatives and friends.
To date have recived about 100 letters, the latest July 4 44 from Ella – recived 1 personal package from you, Agnes, Cousin Aggie & family –
With a heart full of love and devotion always
– Manny
Paige will know the boy to whom this envelope is addressed – from Aiken
[Background note: Colonel David. L. Hardee was in the prison hospital so was not transported with the other POWs at that time. At this point Lawton had been a POW for over 2½ years. Although the letter is simple, it was an attempt by Lawton to contact and reassure his family and friends since he didn’t know what would happen to him once they left Manila. He left the letter with Hardee hoping Hardee might eventually get back to the US.
The note at the bottom refers to the letter being written on a re-used envelope.]