ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande will commemorate the life of the Rev. Ted Howden, an Army chaplain who survived the Bataan Death March while serving with the New Mexico National Guard’s 200th Coast Artillery Regiment, at four diocese churches on Thursday – the 72nd anniversary of his death.
Services are set for: 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 1500 Chelwood Park NE; 10 a.m. at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Glencoe; 11 a.m. at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in El Paso; and at noon at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Santa Fe.
After serving at churches throughout the diocese, Howden became chaplain to the 200th during World War II.
Following the fall of Bataan to Japanese forces in April 1942, Capt. Howden was among the roughly 1,800 New Mexico National Guard soldiers forced to march for six days up the Bataan Peninsula to prisoner-of-war camps. The marchers were denied food, water or medical care, and some were bayoneted, shot or beheaded along the 65-mile route.
An estimated 5,000 to 10,000 Filipino and 600 to 650 American POWs died during the march. Only about half of the New Mexico Guardsmen survived the war.
After ministering to fellow soldiers at Camp O’Donnell and Cabanatuan prison camps – often giving his tiny ration of food to those in greater need – Howden was imprisoned at the Davao Prison Colony on Mindanao Island, where he died of dysentery and starvation-induced pellagra on Dec. 11, 1942.
Howden was buried by his men in a small cemetery near Davao. In 1948, his remains were reinterred in Albuquerque’s Fairfield Cemetery, according to a biography provided by the diocese.