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Corregidor/Hellship/ Colonels Canteen and Mussette


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#1 Jason G

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 03:45 PM

So, there I was, minding my own business a few nights ago on shift, when a co-worker says "Hey, I have an old canteen and a bag with some writing on them, can I bring them in for you to look at?" "Sure" says I...never expecting to get what walked through the door a few hours later.

On first glance, I see what appears to be the standard WWI Canteen and M37 Mussette bag, with a name.

"Ahh, good, should be easy to research" I tell him.

Taking the canteen out of the pouch, I see it's nicely engraved/marked, with not only a Colonel's name (Hmmm...that's sorta different) but also a unit of the Coast Artillery (Oh, well, probably stateside..might be a nice homefront piece) and a Fort (in the darker area where I work, I mistook one of the letters, the last, as an "I". Plus some dates.

I set the items aside after that, thinking I'd get to them later. Nothing really special but might be a fun little research project. I wrote down the information on the canteen and gave it and the bag back to my co-worker. Told him they were neat, probably worth about 60 bucks or so, seeing the nice engraving and naming.

Two nights later, I finally get around to digging out the paper I wrote the information on.

First up...the Coast Artillery unit. 92nd Coast Artillery.

Hmmm...say I....because google shows this to be a "Philippine Scouts" outfit. Strange...

Ok, lets try the name....

Well, after several 'holy....' "OH MY GOD's" later.....


You see, what I had discovered, was that Colonel Octave DeCarre had been the Commanding Officer of the 92nd Coast Artillery Regiment (Harbor Defense), Philippine Scouts, stationed at Fort Mills, "R.P" (the 'P' had looked like an 'I' when I first looked). The unit surrendered to the Japanese on 6 May 1942...(the date on the Canteen...the first date was the day Colonel DeCarre took command).

The Colonel apparently took his canteen, cover, cup, and mussette with him (The canteen, a WWI 1918 dated piece, was likely his from his prior service in WWI...) and retained them throughout his imprisonment! This is no doubt where the engraving was done on the canteen, and probably the lettering on the cover as well.

I'm still researching him, but from all I've been able to find, he graduated Cornell as a Civil Engineer sometime in 1911 or 1912, and was commissioned as a Lt sometime later. Served with the AEF in WWI, completed his advanced schooling (Including Command and General Staff) in the 1920's, and served a tour in Hawaii. Posted to the 92nd in 1940. After the surrender, spent time in Formosa and was on a hellship, transferred to Mukden POW camp where he was liberated. Enroute back stateside, he was diverted back to Corregidor for a tour with other officers, to show them his positions and bomb damage. It appears he retired in 1947. He died in 1967, and is buried in Arlington. Married, his wife died in 1971, and his only (?) Daughter died in 2004. His wife lies with him in Arlington, his daughter is in Cheltenham Veterans Cemetary in Md.

When I asked my co-worker how he came to have these pieces, he stated "They were in the basement of the house we moved to (In Frederick, Md) and I kept them...used the bag to carry my army men and BB guns when I was a kid".


Presented for your comments and viewing without further boredom and stories...


The Canteen set and Mussette
CIMG7524.jpg

The Canteen inside the cover
CIMG7525.jpg

#2 Jason G

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 03:49 PM

The canteen itself:
CIMG7526.jpg

#3 Jason G

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 03:55 PM

Canteen reverse:
CIMG7528.jpg

Canteen closeup. "HDMSB" means "Harbor Defense Manila Subic Bay"
CIMG7530.jpg

#4 m1ashooter

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 03:57 PM

Wow its interesting his captures let him keep them.

#5 Jason G

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 03:58 PM

The canteen cup:
CIMG7531.jpg

CIMG7533.jpg

#6 Jason G

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 04:02 PM

Name on the cup as well:
CIMG7532.jpg

#7 Jason G

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 04:06 PM

Canteen cover front:

CIMG7535.jpg


Reverse:

CIMG7536.jpg

#8 Jason G

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 04:10 PM

The Mussette.
CIMG7537.jpg

Closeup
CIMG7538.jpg

It's an Atlantic Products bag, dated '41

CIMG7539.jpg

#9 kphfun

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 04:13 PM

Now that is really cool Jason. :thumbsup:

What is the date of the pack? I can never seem to find one that has a 30's date for some reason.

Cheers,
Kevin

#10 Jason G

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 04:16 PM

And, the reverse:
CIMG7540.jpg




So, that's it folks. I can tell you this much, I am in awe of these two pieces....

It's likely the Japanese, because Col DeCarre was a Field Grade officer (Full bird Colonel), as well as older than most (He was born in 1887, making him 54 years old) let him keep his canteen and mussette.

I'll be ordering his records from NARA, of course.

My co-worker knows what he has and has gratiously allowed me to post these things up, as well as continue to hold them for a time. I have no conceiveable clue what these are now worth. But to me, they are 'Holy Grail' type of things. Maybe I'm just overly sentimental about this stuff......but it's just 'WOW'.

As soon as I get a more coherent timeline of the Colonel's service I'll post it up.

#11 Jason G

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 04:18 PM

The bag is an Atlantic Products, dated 1941. The canteen cover has no date. Nor does the cup.

#12 marr708

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:02 AM

Wow, awesome find. Fascinating, the items survived such a harsh environment.

#13 Rakkasan187

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:44 AM

Wow Jason,

That gets a 4.0 grade in my book. Great grouping with provenance..

Leigh...

#14 plick27

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 05:43 PM

wow, they're in amazing condition for what they've probably been through.
thanks for sharing.

#15 13M40 (RET)

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 01:52 PM

That is really nice. I'm pretty sure that the Geneva Convention states that prisoners are allowed to keep items related to personal protection and welfare. Helmets, protective masks, canteens and so on. Of course the Japanese were not big followers of the Convention either.

#16 KASTAUFFER

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 03:01 PM

VERY COOL! I collect POW material ( see my avatar ) and really like what you have found. I have seen a number of etched canteens owned by Bataan POW's and yours is one of the nicer ones. I have a couple in my collection and am always looking for more.

Kurt

#17 Jason G

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 05:18 PM

Thanks to everyone for the kind commentary....I"m still in awe...and I'm trying to put together a better timeline.

Edited by Jason G, 29 July 2010 - 05:19 PM.


#18 Dirk

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 02:12 AM

Jason: A very nice find and a great story behind it! Well done :thumbsup:

#19 Darktide

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 02:50 AM

That's a great find!

This is a 92nd Coast Artillery, Philippine Scouts collar disc. It's a screwback. Found it in a tunnel on Corregidor.

 

Attached Images

  • COLLAR007.jpg

Edited by Brig, 17 May 2014 - 04:59 AM.


#20 teufelhunde.ret

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 05:32 AM

These "finds" come about in the most remarkable ways! This one is a perfect example!

#21 m1ashooter

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 09:25 AM

I watched the Great Raid last night with my son. This post is even more important after watching the suffering of our troops caught by the Japs during WW2.

#22 Patriot

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 03:06 PM

Just tell him you will be keeping them as "evidence"...

#23 Jason G

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 10:40 PM

LOL!!! Much as I'd like to, I have that danged 'integrity' gene :)

#24 USAFnav

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 02:41 AM

Jason,
Good work and great find. I'm a bit confused, though. It looks like the canteen does indeed say "Fort Mills, P.I." I don't see "R.P." -- I would guess P.I. is correct, for Philippine Islands?
Pete

#25 Jason G

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 07:49 PM

Yes, it does. Sorry, my mistake. Was thinking of "Republic of the Philippines", what it is 'now' not what it was 'then'.


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