Corbett Harry Marks was born to George and Blanche Marks December 4, 1917 in Westmoreland County Pennsylvania. His father worked in a coal mine. Corbett was the eldest of six children.
Documentation of his life in Chester County has not been found but he is listed on government records from Chester County. He enlisted on June 25, 1941 in the Army Air Corps and after training was assigned to the 93rd Bomb Squadron, 19th Bomb Group. The Squadron was activated in 1939 flying the Douglas B-18 Bolo twin engined bombers and the new Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. Corbett’s squadron deployed to the Philippines at Clark Airfield on Luzon in October 1941.
The same day of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese also staged surprised attacks on the Philippines and destroyed most of the aircraft on the ground at Clark Field.
The Japanese started landing troops on Luzon on December 8–10 with a full scale assault on December 22nd. Survivors of Corbett’s Squadron fought as infantry during the Battle of Bataan. Bataan fell after months of furious defense on April 9th. Then began the notorious Bataan Death March, a 60 mile forced march of 60,000 to 80,000 Filipino and American prisoners. Any prisoner who hesitated, paused or stumbled were instantly and violently killed.
Corbett was a one of the prisoners who survived the Bataan Death March and was imprisoned at Cabanatuan, the infamous prision camp, This is the POW Camp in which Army Rangers staged a remarkable rescue behind enemy lines on January 30th 1945, the subject of the 2005 movie “The Great Raid”. US intelligence discovered orders were sent from the Japanese Command that prisoners were to be executed if the camps were in danger of being liberated. Indeed the Japanese burned alive some 150 POW’s on Palawan on December 14th, dousing them with gasoline and lighting them on fire. Although the daring raid was successful, liberating nearly 500 prisoners, Corbett had already succumbed two years before the raid.
Private Corbett H. Marks Died Non Battle in a Japanese prison on December 10th 1943.Funeral services were held at the St. Lutheran's Church in Youngstown. Interment was at the St. James Cemetery. Military services were attended by members of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Amvets.