Preston, Everett R. (P2, C3, L38)
Second Lieutenant Everett Rogers Preston, 25, of Mercer County, died on 21 April 1945 of Acute Enteritis on the island of Kyushu in southwestern Japan while being held as a prisoner of war at Fukuoka Camp #1-D where he had been sent to work in the Onoda Coal Mine. He was on federal active duty with the 192nd Tank Battalion. During his time on Bataan, Everett was assigned to C and A Companies, 192nd.
Preston was the son of William Preston and Josephine Auton-Preston, born October 27, 1917 in Harrodsburg.
Preston enlisted in the Harrodsburg National Guard unit on 30 April 1936 while he was still in high school at the age of eighteen. He is believed to have graduated high school in 1937. He advanced quickly in the Harrodsburg tank unit and was promoted to Private First Class on 30 March 1937 and to Corporal on 10 April 1937. He was promoted to sergeant on 12 November 1937. He reenlisted on 30 April 1939 and was promoted and staff sergeant on 1 May 1940 and served as first sergeant beginning on 10 August 1940. He went onto federal active duty with his unit 25 November 1940 listing his civilian occupation as electrician. He was promoted to second lieutenant on 15 January 1941 while at Fort Knox.
Moving under secret orders, Company D arrived in the Philippines by Thanksgiving Day, 1941. War came to them when the Japanese attacked Clark Field just a few hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Harrodsburg Tankers along with the allied forces fought the Japanese valiantly without reinforcements or resupply until they were ordered to surrender in April 1942. They had delayed the Japanese Army's timetable from 50 days to four months, giving the allies vital time to protect Australia and recover from the attack on Pearl Harbor.
During his time on Bataan, Everett was assigned to C and A Companies. On February 2, 1942, while assigned to C Company, in the area of the Agloloma and Anyasas Rivers, Everett received the Purple Heart after receiving wounds in an engagement against the Japanese. He was taken prisoner on 9 April 1942. He survived the Death March. He was held at Camp O'Donnell, Cabanatuan and Bilibid Prison.
On January 9, 1943, Preston's family learned he was a POW by letter.
As the American forces got closer to the Philippine Islands the Japanese began to send as many POWs to Japan or other occupied countries as possible. On June 6, 1944. Of his time in Cabanatuan, what is known is that he was admitted to the camp hospital on August 14, 1944 but no reason was recorded as to why he was admitted and when he was released.
By the time Preston arrived in Moji, Japan he was extremely ill and sent to Fukuoka Camp #1-D for work in the Onoda Coal Mine. Preston died of Acute Enteritis on 21 April 1945. After his death, Everett's remains were cremated and put in an urn with the remains of 98 other POWs. His remains were returned to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis in 1949 and buried at plot: 82 1B-1D with the others whose cremated remains could not be individually identified.
An in memory of stone is located in the Spring Hill Cemetery in Harrodsburg.
SEE Also: Bataan Commemorative Research Project Website Preston Bio
2nd Lt. Everett Rogers Preston was the son of William Preston and Josephine Auton-Preston. He was born on October 27, 1917, in Mercer County, Kentucky, and raised on Magoffin Street in Harrodsburg. He attended local schools and was a 1937 graduate of Harrodsburg High School.
After high school, Everett was employed as an electrician in refrigeration repair. He also joined the 38th Tank Company of the Kentucky National Guard. The tank company was headquartered in Harrodsburg. He held the rank of staff sergeant when the company was federalized.