My great uncle James Howard Hart fought and died in World War II. He not only gave his life to protect our freedoms but freedoms of the Philippine people. He is an American hero, please help me save his legacy...
The Banbam Museum and James H. Hart Memorial library in Banbam, Tarlac, Philippines in in desperate need of assistance. With the road widening project of the Government DPWH to be undertaken in April 2021, the lounge, along with the main gallery, will be demolished. Without a replacement gallery to house the artifacts and important collections and exhibits, the Bamban Museum is facing an uncertain future. Now with the devastation that was inflicted upon the Philippines on October 31 by typhoon Goni, one of the strongest storms in recorded history, followed just days later by typhoon Vamco the museum is in an even more dire situation. Repairs to the destruction caused from the storms must be repaired quickly as to not give the government any additional leverage in their bid to demolish the museum to build a larger road. In the event that we can not save the museums current building, the museum, library and exhibits will need to find a new location. Along with saving the museum we must not forget what the museum was built for and that is preserve to legacy of the people who both fought and died in WWII, with that we are also raising money for research project on which we are attempting to locate and return one of the fallens remains home(please see project description below). So with funds to keep the mission of this place alive as well as repairs and possibly a new location, as well as the fight to save the current home of the museum complex we are asking for your help, anything you can give is greatly appreciated and if you you can not give we humbly ask you to share this with your friends and family. Many people do not know the incredible history of American fighting forces in the Philippines during WWII and how many Americans lost their lives there. A great many of our soldiers were never returned home and remain interred there, the Banbam Museum is the only museum dedicated to the preservation of history of the American guerilla fighters in the Philippines and the their historical society is the keeper of their legacy, so although this small museum may seem a world away it is a valuable resource for keeping a part of America’s history alive and safe for future generations. I believe we can rise from this challenge and that Bamban Museum will continue to carry on the legacy of those who fought and died for our freedoms.
2nd Lt. James Howard Hart
Born August 21, 1917 Ellis, Oklahoma
Died September 3, 1943 Tarlac, Philippines
James enlisted in the army in February 1941, six months after his younger brother joined, his younger brother was my grandfather Jay Elvin Hart, who fought in the European theatre. He was originally in the the 40th Tank Company created in California which was merged into the 194th Tank Battalion. It was sent to the Philippines in September 1941. James became a 2nd lieutenant in Company A, 194th Tank Battalion.
While fighting against the Japanese on January 6, 1942, Lt. Harts tank came under heavy fire. he ordered the other tanks to retreat. It was reported that Lt. continued to “create havoc” for the Japanese while his brothers escaped to safety. When he could fight no more Lt. Hart abandoned the tank and escaped into the jungle. James is known as the father of the Luzon Guerilla Forces. He spent the next 17 months as part of the 101st Squadron, Luzon Guerrilla Force with the rank of captain.
The Japanese got a tip on the location of Captain Hart and his guerrillas in the Tapuak Hills in the Bamban area of Tarlec. They tried to surprise them on the morning of September 3, 1942 but a dog warned the guerrillas. Hart ordered the others to escape while he engaged the Japanese. He kept fighting after wounded, taking down as many enemy soldiers as he could, fighting till his last bullet. He was killed on the banks of a creek and on the banks of that creek where his body fell is where our research project begins. It was always assumed to his family that is remains lie with his grave marker in Harmon, Oklahoma. The belief was that his remain were recovered and returned in 1949 and interred in Oklahoma but in working with the Banbam Historical Society and the library named in his honor, that belief is in question, there seems the possibility he was left on the side of that creek. There are contradicting reports one not only the whereabouts of his remain but also the date he was actually. We aim to finally locate Lt. Harts remains and attempt to spectate fact from fiction and lay to rest Lt. Hart properly. It is our hope to also build a memorial to Lt. Hart and all the Luzon Guerilla Fighters in the place that Hart fell so that their bravery and sacrifice is not forgotton. Please help us honor and preserve the memory of an American hero who paid the ultimate price.
SAVE BAMBAN MUSEUM
“The Visitors Lounge “
The Museum visitors’ lounge was constructed two years ago, along with the renovation of the main gallery with the help of the late Mr. Bob Zaher of the Veterans of Foreign War VFW Post 2485 based in Angeles City.
An exhibition of the Tarlac Prisoner of War Enclosure is in placed at the lounge, with the photo mural of the American generals held captives at the camp and the list of the general officers, field commanders and their aides.
The Tarlac POW Enclosure is the forgotten WWII historical site where the said officers and aides were incarcerated from May 10 to August 11, 1942 after the fall of Bataan and Corregidor. The historical narratives of the Tarlac camp can be found only at the Bamban Museum.
- Gene Eiring
- Richard Slater
- James Hart
- Michael Reinboldt
- Mimi Rogando
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