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Veterans: World War II Veterans from Adair County held as Prisoners of War

The following men from Adair County were held as Prisoners of War during World War II.

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Beard, Charlie, Sgt, Native of Adair County; son of George and Kate Rudd Beard. He was with the first U.S. troops sent to North Africa in November, 1942 and was taken prisoner in North Africa on February 20, 1943. In a letter written in March, 1943 he stated, "I went six days and nights without anything to eat before I was caught. I was fighting hand-to-hand and was so bloody that the Germans asked me if I had been painted with red paint." He was held at Stalag 2B Hammerstein, West Prussia, and was liberated in early April, 1945.

Brown, Henry Clavis (Buckie), Pvt, Native of Adair County; son of Robert and Ariel Coomer Brown. Military records indicate Pfc. Brown was taken POW by the Germans on January, 19, 1945, and liberated on May 8, 1945. These records don't state the name of the POW camp at which he was held. Shortly before his capture, Pfc. Brown, of Company B, 23rd Infantry Regiment, was credited with single-handedly wiping out an entire German machine gun crew.

Conover, Earl Maurice, Pvt (S/Sgt), Native of Adair County; son of Wyatt (W.R) and Ila Epperson Conover. Volunteered for service in late 1940; inducted January 20, 1941, and soon thereafter was sent to the Philippine Islands. "When hostilities started December 7, 1941, Earl was stationed at Ft. Stotsenburg, P.I., forty miles North of Manila." He was surrendered in the spring of 1942 when the Islands fell, and survived the Bataan Death March and over three years of brutal treatment by the Japanese. He was held at Philippine Island Prison Camp No. 1 until the spring of 1945, when he was removed to Tokyo POW Camp (Shinjuku) Tokyo Bay Area. He was liberated shortly after Japan surrendered in mid-August, 1945. Upon his return to Columbia in the fall of 1945, Earl was given a parade and a hero's welcome. The News reported that "He was elevated to the rank of Staff Sergeant after liberation by the order of General MacArthur. He was awarded the American Defense, Asiatic- Pacific and Philippine Defense Ribbons with four Battle Stars, also the Good Conduct Ribbon and a Presidential Unit Citation with two Oak Leaf Clusters."

Cooley, Richard, Q/Sgt, Marines, Native of Adair County; son of Robert A. and Minnie Weatherford Cooley. Volunteered for service in the Marine Corps about 1930. The May 13, 1942 News reported that "The Fourth Marines...Washington, D.C., were transferred from Shanghai to the Philippines just before the war broke out between the United States and Japan. With Navy bluejackets they fought at Cavite Navy Yard, at Olongapo, at Mariveles, and various places during the final phases of the battle of Bataan. Since then, Corregidor has fallen, and Sgt. Cooley may have been among those taken by the Japs." A message dated May 12, 1942 from the War Department to Q/Sgt Cooley's father stated, in part, "[Y]our son...was performing his duty in the service of his country in the Manila Bay area when that station capitulated. He will be carried on the records of the Marine Corps as missing, pending further information. No report of his death has been received and he may be a prisoner of war. It will probably be several months before definite official information can be expected concerning his status." He was first held in a POW camp in the Philippines but was liberated on September 5th, 1945 from Tokyo POW Camp (Shinjuku) Tokyo Bay Area. Shortly before his surrender, he had been awarded the Silver Star for heroism.

Coomer, Montford Elwood, Pvt, Native of Adair County; son of Walter E. and Gladys Coomer. Reported missing in action on September 6, 1944, the day he was captured by the Germans. He was liberated from Stalag 7A,Moosburg, Bavaria, in the spring of 1945.

Cundiff, James Nolan, Cpl, Native of Adair County; son of John Perry and Mattie Smith Cundiff. Volunteered for service in late October 1942; was sent to North Africa in March, 1943, and was reported missing in action (one report says in Sicily; another says in Tunisia, North Africa) on July 27, 1943. Shortly before he was declared MIA, "he had recently been in a reconnaissance squadron." He was first held in an Italian POW camp (possibly a POW hospital camp) before being transferred to Germany. He was liberated from Stalag 2B, Hammerstein, West Prussia, on Friday, April 13th, 1945. "'The old saying about Friday the 13th don't go. It's the luckiest day of all for me,' wrote the released soldier in the excitement over gaining his freedom."

Goodin, Donald H., S/Sgt, Native of Adair County; son of William and Bertha Bryant Goodin. Inducted in October 1942; he was a radio operator on a Flying Fortress when reported missing in action. One source states the plane "was shot down by fighters on 9 Oct 1943. Crew bailed out when engine 3 caught fire" and Sgt. Goodin was taken POW. Military records indicate his place(s) of internment as "Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Silesia Bavaria (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser). He was liberated in the spring of 1945.

Green, Sanford Russell Army, World War II. Captured during The Battle of the Bulge.

Hoover, Ulis, Pfc, Native of Adair County; son of Parvin and Mary Gipson Hoover. Volunteered for service in 1940. He was variously reported as having been seriously wounded, having gone missing in action, and having been captured by the Germans on February 14, 1943, in North Africa. The November 10, 1943 News, in reporting a letter dated June 13, 1943 but just received by Pfc Hoover's parents, stated that "Hoover wrote that he was captured in North Africa, February 14. He said: 'I am now a prisoner of war in Germany and in good health...'" He was liberated by U.S. troops on April 14th, 1945 from Stalag 2B, Hammerstein, West Prussia.

Montgomery, Kenneth (K.C.), Pfc, Inducted from Adair County August, 1944; son of Mrs. Ada Montgomery. "He served as an expert rifleman in Germany for nineteen months and was a prisoner of the Germans for eight days just before the end of hostilities." Reported missing in action on April 16th; "Several days later [his mother] received a letter from him stating he had been wounded and captured by the Nazis. He was placed in a German hospital for treatment and shortly afterward released by U.S. troops."

Norman, Wesley R. (grade unknown), Native of Adair County; son of Foy and Dora Whitehead Norman. Inducted late November, 1942. "Mr. and Mrs. Foy Norman recently received a letter from their son, Wesley, stating that he was released from a German prison on April 23, [1945]." He was liberated from Stalag 4B Muhlberg Sachsen.

Pendleton, Warren B., S/Sgt, Enlistment information not found; son of Guy D. and (?)Pearl Pendleton. Listed as missing over Germany on September 27, 1944. "[He] was a Staff Sergeant with the 8th Air Force, stationed at a base in England. He was an Aerial Gunner with a B-24 Liberator Bomber crew and had been overseas for the past 6 months. He had several missions to his credit before September 27..." Military records indicate he was taken POW, held at Stalag Luft 1 Barth-Vogelsang Prussia, and liberated in the spring of 1945.

Robertson, James L., Cpl, Native of Adair County; son of Oren and Mattie Hardwick Robertson. Volunteered for service in the Marine Corps in 1938. Reported missing in action in May, 1942, after the Battle of Manila Bay. "When last heard from in October, 1941, [he] was stationed in Shanghai, China." He was (apparently) first held at a POW camp in the Philippines and later moved to the Mukden Prisoner of War Camp, Mukden, Manchoukuo (Manchuria). "Manchoukuo is a division of China, now occupied by the Japanese, in East Asia, north of the Chosen Sea and the Yellow Sea. Mukden is the capitol." "Robertson told his parents [via a letter] of the never-to-be-forgotten thrill he experienced when six men with radio equipment bailed out of an American plane on August 16, [1945] and landed in the camp at Mukden, Manchuria, where he was held prisoner. When the Jap Major announced that they were his prisoners, the men announced that on the contrary, the war was now over, the Japs had surrendered and he was their prisoner. After a little convincing the whole city of Mukden surrendered to the six men."

Roy, Morsel (Marsel), Sgt, Native of Casey County; son of Lawrence E. and Evona Harris Roy. Volunteered for service from Adair County in July, 1940; was sent to Ireland in April, 1942; and was with the first U.S. troops sent to Africa in November, 1942. He was reported missing in action on February 18, 1943; he had been captured by the Nazis at Casserine Pass, in North Africa, February 13th (or 18th). He was liberated from a German POW camp (the specific one not indicated in military records) in the spring of 1945.

Sharp, Louis Murrell, Pvt, Native of Adair County; son of Mrs. Lera Stotts Sharp (Yarberry) and husband of Thomasine Jessie Sharp. Reported missing in action as of December 21, 1944. In early May, 1945, his wife "received word that he had been captured by the Nazis and later liberated by U.S. troops." Military records indicate he was held at Stalag 4B, Muhlberg, Sachsen.

Simmons, Nathaniel H., Cpl, Son of James Sidney (J.S.) and Laura Aaron Simmons. Entered military service around 1925 (born 1904) and was reported missing in action as of May, 1942; he had been taken prisoner when Corregidor fell. His fate wasn't known until late January, 1945, when his mother was "informed by the War Department that her son, Corp. Nathaniel H. Simmons, [was] a prisoner of war in the Philippine Islands." The September 26, 1945 News reported that "Miss Carrie Loy received a card last week from Sgt. Nathaniel Simmons written from a Japanese prison camp, stating that he was still in the camp but would leave for home the next day and hoped to be here by Thanksgiving." (He arrived home in early October; Miss Loy was his wife-to-be.) He was liberated from Tokyo POW Camp (Shinjuku), Tokyo Bay Area, shortly after Japan surrendered in mid-August, 1945.



This story was posted on 2010-02-27 07:32:38
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