Officials have identified the remains of a 20-year-old Army corporal who died as a prisoner of war following the infamous 65-mile Bataan Death March in the Pacific theater during World War II.
Cpl. Franklin H. Bennett, of Glendive, Montana, died on July 19, 1942, and was buried along with other deceased prisoners in the Cabanatuan Cemetery, Philippines in Common Grave 312. That information was gathered from prison camp and other historical records, cited in a Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency release published Jan. 20.
Months before, in late 1941, Bennett served in the 54th Maintenance Company when Imperial Japanese military forces invaded the Philippine Islands in December, according to the release.
Both the Bataan peninsula and Corregidor Island had fallen to the invading force by early May.
The Japanese military captured and interned thousands of U.S. and Filipino troops in POW camps. Most of those captured endured the brutal Bataan Death March and then were held at the Cabanatuan Camp. More than 2,500 prisoners died in the camp during the war.
On Jan. 30, 1945, U.S. Army Rangers alongside Filipino fighters liberated more than 500 prisoners from the camp.
Following the war’s end, personnel with the American Graves Registration exhumed the remains of those buried at the camp and relocated them to a mausoleum near Manila, according to the release.
Personnel attempted to identify remains in 1947. A dozen sets of remains were identified in Common Grave 312. But others were declared unidentifiable.
Then, in early 2018, unidentified remains from the grave were disinterred and transported to the accounting agency laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii for further analysis, according to the release.
Bennett’s remains are scheduled for burial in Pensacola, Florida. A date has not yet been released.
For family and funeral information, contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.