Pvt. Clement F. Martini was born to Andrew & Mary Martini in East Connersville, Indiana, in August 1918. He had five sisters and two brothers. When he was inducted, he was working as a machinist in a machine shop. Clement was a replacement from Delhi Township, Hamilton County, Ohio, who joined the 192nd Tank Battalion after the maneuvers of 1941 at Camp Polk, Louisiana. He most likely was a volunteer from the 753rd Tank Battalion. Upon joining the battalion, he was assigned to Headquarters Company.
On April 9, 1942, Clement became a Prisoner Of War when the Filipino and American defenders of Bataan were surrendered to the Japanese. He took part in the Death March and was held as a prisoners at Camp O'Donnell. He was next held at Cabanatuan. It is not known what work details he worked on.
Clement remained at Cabanatuan when the Japanese began evacuating POWs to prevent them from being liberated by the advancing American forces. He was sent to Bilibid and then the Port Area of Manila.
On October 10th, Clement, with other prisoners, was marched to the Port Area of Manila and boarded onto the Arisan Maru. 1803 POWs were packed into the ship's number two hold which was large enough for 400 men. This was not the ship they were scheduled to be on for the trip to Japan.
Within the first 48 hours, five POWs had died. The ship sailed but instead of heading to Japan, it headed south to Palawan Island. In a cove off the island, the ship hid from American planes. During this time, the ship was attacked by American planes. Acknowledging that the situation in the hold was extremely bad, the Japanese opened the first hold and moved 800 POWs to it.
On October 20th, the ship returned to Manila to join a twelve ship convoy. On October 21, 1944, the Arisan Maru sailed for Takao, Formosa. On October 24th around 5:00 pm, twenty POWs were on deck preparing dinner. The Japanese on deck ran toward the bow of stem of the ship and watched a torpedo pass in front of the ship. Moments later the Japanese ran to the stern of the ship as another torpedo missed the ship.
The ship shook and came to a dead stop in the water. It had been hit by two torpedoes amidships. The Japanese guards fired on the POWs on deck to get them back into the ship's holds. After they were in the holds, the Japanese put the hatch covers on. A short time later, the Japanese abandoned ship. Before they left, they cut the rope ladders hanging down into the holds. They also put the hatch covers in place.
Since the hatch covers had not been tied down, some of the POWs made their way back on deck. These men reattached and dropped rope ladders to the men in the holds. For the next two hours, the ship remained afloat. At some point, the ship split in two. The POWs who could not swim stuffed themselves with food from the ship's kitchen. Others attempted to find anything that would float. Some POWs swam to other Japanese ships, but they were pushed away with poles and clubbed.
Five POWs reached a lifeboat that the Japanese had abandoned. Since it had no oars, they could not maneuver it to rescue other POWs. According to these men, the cries for help became fewer and fewer until there was silence.
Of the 1803 men who boarded the Arisan Maru, only nine survived the attack. Eight of these men survived the war. Pfc. Clement Martini was not one of them. Since he was lost at sea, his name appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery outside Manila