Bataan Death March survivor behind campaign to correct photo dies

AP

John E. Love, a Bataan Death March survivor who led a campaign to change the caption on a historic photo from The Associated Press, has died. He was 91.

Love died Monday following a long battle with cancer, said Gerry Lightwine, pastor at La Vida Llena, the Albuquerque retirement home where Love lived.

As a 19-year-old member of the New Mexico Guard, Love was one of 75,000 Filipino and American soldiers taken captive by the Japanese in World War II when U.S. forces surrendered in the province of Bataan and Corregidor Island in April 1942.

In all, tens of thousands of troops were forced to march to Japanese prison camps in what became known as the Bataan Death March. Many were denied food, water and medical care, and those who collapsed during the scorching journey through Philippine jungles were shot or bayoneted.

“I was one of the first 300 or 400 off the march to enter Camp O’Donnell, and they (prisoners) began dying that same day,” Love told the Albuquerque Journal in 2009. He estimated he carried more than 1,000 bodies to the graveyard.

In 2009, Love joined a campaign with other Bataan Death March survivors to change the caption on one of the most famous photos in the AP’s library about the march. The photo, thought to be of the Bataan Death March, was actually an Allied POW burial detail. Following a six-month investigation, the AP corrected the caption in 2010, 65 years after the image was first published.