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Claude A. Hatch Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1945

Claude With His Family, 1983

Last Name: `
First Name Middle Initial:
Nick Name:
Street:  P.O. BOX 64 City & State: FRUITLAND, NM E-Mail: 
Zip: 87416 Phone:  (505) 598-6196 Spouse: VIRGINA
Conflict: WW II Service Branch: ARMY Unit: 200 COAST ARTILERY HQ 2 BAT.
Theater: ETO Where Captured: BATAAN, P.I. Date Captured: 04/09/42
Camps Held In: VILIBID How Long Interned: 1032 days
liberated / repatriated: liberated Date Liberated: 02/04/45 Age at Capture: 30
Occupation after War:  CLERK

Military Bio:

On March 27, 1941, Claude Hatch left home at Fruitland, New Mexico for Santa Fe and was sworn into the Army the next day. Arrived at Reception Center, Ft. Bliss, Texas March 29, 1941 and on April 3, 1941 was assigned to the 200th Coast Artillery Headquarters, Second Battalion and was stationed a short distance away at Logan Heights cantonment, Ft. Bliss at El Paso, Texas. On May 12, 1941 he was sent to William Beaumont Hospital for an appendix operation and on June 1, 1941 left the hospital for Fruitland for a twenty-day sick leave and then returned to Logan Heights June 20, 1941.

On August 15, 1941 the 200th Coast Artillery left on a tour of New Mexico and at Albuquerque, NM he met with his mother, his sister Myrtle Ashcroft, and her son Clyde, his brother Stewart Hatch and his niece Sarah Hatch for a three-day visit. On August 31, 1941 the 200th Coast Artillery, 2nd Battalion left El Paso by train for San Francisco, CA arriving September 3, 1941. They were stationed at Ft. McDowell on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. On September 8, 1941 they boarded the President Coolidge Liner destination the Philippine Islands. They arrived at Manilla, P.I. September 26, 142 and were transported by bus to Ft. Statenburg, Pampanga, P.I. and stationed at Clark Field Air Base.

On November 11 he went on a pleasure trip to Alangapo Navy Base. On December 7, 1941 Japan bombed Clark Field. On December 25, 1941 he left Clark Field on way to Bataan and was captured by the Japanese April 9, 1941 at Marivales, Bataan Peninsula.

His first prison camp was at Camp O’Donnell Capas, Tarlac. Arrived there mid-April, 1942 and on June 3, 1942 he was sent to Camp No. 1 Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, P.I. and on December 25 received his first Red Cross food box for Christmas. On June 8, 1943 he was transferred from Cabanauan camp to Nichols Field Rizal, P.I. and on November 2, 1943 received second Red Cross food box. Claude spent December 25 Christmas at Pasay and on September 2, 1944 Claude was transferred from prison camp at Pasay to the Old Bilibid prison in Manila. Claude remembers on September 21, 1944 the first flight of American bombers over Manila. October 9, 1941 he had hernia operation at Bilibid in building number 6, Dr. Boone was his doctor. November 15, 1944 he was sent with a small group of Bilibid prisoners to Fort William McKinley just outside of Manila. The Japanese called this camp number 24 Sakura.

December 25, 1944 Christmas at number 24 Sakura. The Christmas dinner menu was steamed rice, gabi soup, corn, oil and rice. Each prisoner received 3 pieces of gum, 1 mint candy, 2 vitamin capsules of cod liver oil, 1-1/3 cigarettes, 1 rolling Bull Durham Tobacco. Shortly after Christmas 1944 he returned to Bilbid prison for Fort. William McKinley and this camp was closed. February 4, 1945 American soldiers entered the City of Manila arriving at Bilibid prison late that evening. After several days they were able to be moved from Manila to Angeles, a small town near Ft. Statenburg and from there by plane to the Island of Leyte and the town of Tacloban. From Tacloban by ship to New Guinea, Hawaii and San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.

In 1950, after being released from the VA hospital in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Claude was for a year, his youngest brother Stewart and Claude started the Hatch Brothers Trading Post in Fruitland, New Mexico. In 1958 he met his wife to be when her father brought her with him to the store to trade. He married Virginia Hoskie in Cortez, CO at the county courthouse in February 1959. They made their home in Fruitland on the Navajo reservation across the river from the store, where they still live today. Claude has been retired from the store for 25 years. The store will be open 50 years very soon with Stewart still running it. Virginia and Claude now have four children and 2 grandchildren. Thier oldest daughter Myrtle lives in Montana working for Yellowstone Park. Their second daughter Rachel lives here with her 2-1/2 year old daughter Claudia and does bead work with her mother. Nora their youngest daughter is married and has 3 children. Her husband, Garen Hart, is from Hubbard, Oregon where he works installing water softeners. Their children are Sarah, Danylen and Wyatt. Their youngest child and only son is Michael who is 18. He lives with Myrtle and works there too.

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