THE BATAAN DEATH MARCH IS NOT Forgotten...Especially, By One Local Blue Blood Family Member!
Many members of the families of the survivors of THE BATAAN DEATH MARCH, are looking forward to the release by PBS of the Home video version of the television documentary film, "The Tragedy Of Bataan" by writer/producer Jan Thompson. The series was created by Thompson after she engaged Alec Baldwin, a well known actor and a local Hamptons resident, to narrate the film. In a historic twist to the epic story, the home version of the film will be presented to local high school and Junior high school students by Patricia Birks, the daughter of one of the survivors of the Death March, over the next few months.
THE BATAAN DEATH MARCH was a tragedy of epic proportions with 76,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war forcibly transferred, on foot, by the Imperial Japanese Army to the Bataan Peninsula. Even as the American and Filipino troops repelled the Japanese for several months, they were forced to retreat to the Bataan Peninsula to wait for supplies and reinforcements. But the Japanese had cut off all routes to the Philippines, preventing a rescue by United States Military and the troops were forced to surrender on April 4, 1942. View the trailer here: http://www.tragedyofbataan.com
A HISTORIC PERSPECTIVE
Among those who surrendered was William Rogers Birks, a direct descendant of the earliest Southampton settler, Thomas Rogers.
Patricia Birks father, William Rogers Birks, was a prisoner of war in The Bataan Death March, and appears on the "Wall Of Heroes" photo gallery in the film.
Patti Birks is a fellow real estate professional who works in the Prudential Douglas Elliman Westhampton Office. Her enthusiasm about the soon to be released 30 minute television documentary, is understandable given her connections to the Death March and her memory of her father's story of that event.
Patti Birks is a blue blood descendant of Thomas Rogers who signed the Mayflower Compact and his son William Rogers from Stratford-Upon-Avon England who came to Southampton in 1640.
Patti was born on October 13, 1950 on Navy Day, after her father Chief Naval Officer William Rogers Birks survived the Bataan Death March in the Philippines and 3 1/2 years in a Japanese POW camp.
The Rogers Memorial Library, Rogers Beach and Rogers Mansion Southampton Historical Society are named after this founding family.
I spoke to Patti this morning and she told me how excited she is to have the opportunity to share what she knows from the local perspective of the Bataan Death March survivor stories. Her father left her with a lengthy story to tell about this tragic event and his forced surrender, along with many of those who survived the desperate march.
As a young and passionate soldier, he found himself in the tangle of prisoners that were being marched to the very end of the Bataan Peninsula, where they found hunger, disease, cruel treatment and murder awaiting them.
Patti is more than anxious to get copies of the soon to be released film, with Alec Baldwin narrating it. She will be presenting the documentary film to the local schools in Westhampton and Sag Harbor, New York. On her agenda for next year is the Westhampton Rotary Club and a possible presentation to Scotland Yard in London.
Patti's email contact is firstname.lastname@example.org if anyone would like to connect with her to ask her questions and to possibly plan a presentation of the film to a school or other historic public forum.
Please note: Photographs are from the "Bataan Death March Images" website.