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Francis Callaghan - World War II

Francis Callaghan served with the U.S. Army's 530th Engineer Light Ponton Company, which saw action in the Philippines in 1944 and 1945 on both Leyte and Luzon Islands. Callaghan's company built bridges during the Army's advance down Luzon Island, and also performed a wide variety of other tasks. While his unit was constructing a bridge across the Pasig River in Manila, Francis traveled through the dangerous streets of Manila and found his cousin and his three young daughters at the Bilibid Prison Camp. They had been held captives by the Japanese for over three years.

Interview Links

Feature Excerpt

Finding Bilibid Prison

Abstract

Interview Session 01 (Audio)

Early life, training as an engineer, and unit’s service in Leyte, Philippines

Interview Session 02 (Audio)

Service with 530th Engineer Co. in Luzon, and rescuing relatives

Photos

Caption

This photo of Francis Callaghan was included in the unit’s yearbook, published immediately after the war.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

The title page to the 530th Engineer Light Ponton Company’s yearbook, commemorating the unit’s service during World War II.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Francis Callaghan’s entry in the 530th Engineer Company’s yearbook. The book gave a detailed account of the 530th exploits during the war.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Francis Callaghan relaxes during training in California in early 1944.

Where:

California

When:

1944

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo



Caption

Francis Callaghan and his buddies get some downtime during training at Camp Beale, California in the spring of 1944. Callaghan is on the front, left holding a Thompson sub machinegun.

Where:

Camp Beale, California

When:

Spring of 1944

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Callaghan and his buddies get ready to clean up after a day at the infiltration course at Camp Beale, California. “Some fun – crawling in the mud” wrote Callaghan on the photo.

Where:

Camp Beale, California

When:

1944

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Francis takes a moment for a photograph in front of the family home in Chicago with his mother Ann prior to his deployment overseas circa April, 1944.

Where:

Chicago

When:

Circa April, 1944

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

The 530th Engineer Company artist, Alex Young of Chicago, made this rendering of a convoy forming prior to the invasion of Luzon at Lingayen Gulf in January, 1942. The picture was included in the 530th’s yearbook.

Where:

Luzon at Lingayen Gul

When:

January, 1942

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

The 530th’s artist, Alex Young, drew this sketch depicting the convoy’s approach to the Lingayen beachhead and the American assault onto Luzon Island in January, 1945.

Where:

Luzon Island

When:

January, 1945

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

The 530th’s resident artist, Alex Young of Chicago, drew this humorous look at the unit’s service during World War II, from induction to discharge.

Where:

Chicago

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

This picture of an amphibious vehicle crossing one of the ponton bridges constructed by the 530th Engineer Company illustrates the critical role the unit played during the liberation of both Leyte and Luzon Island in the Philippines.

Where:

Philippines

When:

Circa 1944

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Francis’ unit was attached to the 37th Infantry Division, and was constructing a bridge across the Pasig River when Francis headed north on his own on February 4, searching for his relatives, who he hoped to find in either Bilibid Prison or Santo Tomas.

Where:

Pasig River

When:

February 4, 1945

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

Francis made his way from a bridging operation on the Pasig River to Bilibid prison by himself, dodging sniper fire and encountering scenes like this on the way. The photo was taken by Life Magazine photographer.

Where:

Philippines

When:

1945

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

The main gate for Bilibid prison, where Francis discovered his cousin Sanford Ladic on February 4, 1945, along with his three young daughters, who survived three years in captivity.

Where:

Bilibid prison

When:

February 4, 1945

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

This photo of two emaciated Bilibid Prison survivors, Americans Lee Rogers and John C. Todd, appeared in February edition of Life Magazine. Francis arrived at the prison on February 4th while looking for his relatives, who were prisoners there.

Where:

Bilibid Prison

When:

February, 1945

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

Brothers Billy and Francis Callaghan with the Ladic sisters shortly after their return to the United States in 1945. The Ladics lived for a short time with their Aunt Kitty in the Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago.

Where:

US

When:

1945

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Francis with his wife Louise (center), and his cousin Mary Ann (Ladic) Koucky, who was ten years old in February 1945 when Francis found her at Bilibid Prison, Manila. This photo was taken on a much happier day decades later at the Callaghan home in LaGrange, IL.

Where:

Callaghan home in LaGrange, IL.

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Francis and Bill Callaghan relax while waiting for their Honor Flight on August 24th, 2010. The experience of visiting the World War II Memorial was memorable and humbling for both men.

Where:

Unknown

When:

August 24th, 2010

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Francis Callaghan at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. during his Honor Flight on August 24th, 2010. He is standing in front of the Southwest Pacific portion of the memorial.

Where:

Washington D.C.

When:

August 24th, 2010

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Francis found this commemorative photo book in a cave during the fight for Manila in February, 1945. The Japanese clearly published it to celebrate their victory in the Philippines in 1942. The title reads Expeditionary Force to the Philippine Islands.

Where:

Manilla, Philippines

When:

February, 1945

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

A photo of the allied officers during the surrender American and Filipino forces to the Japanese in April, 1942. The photo is from Francis’s war souvenir, a commemorative book of Japan’s victory in the Philippines.

Where:

Philippines

When:

April, 1942

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

A Japanese stands guard over a group of American and Filipino prisoners in the spring of 1942. The photo is from Francis’s war souvenir, a commemorative book of Japan’s victory in the Philippines.

Where:

Philippines

When:

Spring of 1942

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain

Caption

A crowd of Filipinos look enthusiastic about their liberation by the Japanese. The reality was just the opposite. Guerrilla groups sprang up throughout the islands resisting the occupation. The photo is from Francis’ souvenir book discovered in a cave.

Where:

Philippines

When:

Circa 1942

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

A triumphant Japanese soldier quenches his thirst during the Japanese conquest of the Philippines. The photo is from Francis’s war souvenir, a commemorative book of Japan’s victory in the Philippines.

Where:

Philippines

When:

Circa 1942

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

A Japanese soldier stands guard somewhere in the Philippines following Japan’s occupation of the island nation. The photo is from Francis’s war souvenir, a commemorative book of Japan’s victory in the Philippines.

Where:

Philippines

When:

Circa 1942

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

A Japanese convoy on the road during their conquest of the Philippines in early 1942. The photo is from Francis’s war souvenir, a commemorative book of Japan’s victory in the Philippines.

Where:

Philippines

When:

Early 1942

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

The Japanese still relied heavily on horses to support their armies during the conquest of the Philippines in early 1942. The photo is from Francis’s war souvenir, a commemorative book of Japan’s victory in the Philippines.

Where:

Philippines

When:

Early 1942

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.



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