Morgan French, 92, the last surviving member of the Harrodsburg Tankers, died Thursday in Plano, Texas.
The Harrodsburg Tankers were a group of 66 Kentucky National Guardsmen who fought on the Bataan Peninsula of the Philippines during World War II. Many of them were captured by the Japanese and endured the Bataan Death March and other horrors as prisoners of war. Only 37 of the men survived the war.
Mr. French grew up working on farms in the Harrodsburg area with his family, according to an obituary.
He joined the National Guard in 1937. He, his brother Edward and the rest of the Harrodsburg Tankers, the 38th Tank Co., shipped out for the Philippines in November 1941.
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Edward French was killed in action in Bataan on April 22, 1942. Morgan French was captured less than a month later at Fort Drum in Manila Harbor. He was at first taken to Bilibid Prison, then spent five months in Cabanatuan POW Camp before being put on a "hell ship" and sent to Japan.
He and other prisoners were liberated by Allied Forces on Sept. 10, 1945.
After returning home, Mr. French returned to active duty in the Army, serving two tours in Korea. He also served in Germany and at various posts in the United States during his 23-year career. He earned the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
Later, he taught at the Armored School at Fort Knox.
He lived in Radcliff most of his adult life.
Mr. French, who was preceded in death by his wife, Maxine, is survived by his sons Morgan French of Houston and Stewart French of Dallas.
Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday at Nelson-Edelen-Bennett Funeral Home in Radcliff. Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Friday at Vine Grove Baptist Church, where Mr. French was a member for many years.