Josiah Wistar Worthington, Col. V.C., U.S.A. – 09496

Today is a day of remembrance on this Veterans Day.

There have been other references on this Blog about Josiah Wistar Worthington. He was my Grandfather’s younger brother.

Josiah Wistar Worthington

His story can be found in the book,

Hell and Beyond
A Diary of War and Captivity

It was compiled and edited by Frances Worthington Lipe, his daughter.

This book is his story of captivity during World War II.

His service record, below, was offered by World Vital Records today, for Veterans Day:

Name: Worthington, Josiah W

Serial Number: O&009496

Grade, Alpha: Colonel or Superintendent of Nurses

Service Code: Army

Arm or Service: Veterinary Corps or Service

Arm or Service Code: Vc: Veterinary Corps or Service

Report Date: 07 May 1942

Race: White

Residence State: Oklahoma

Area: Southwest Pacific Theatre: Philippine Islands

Report Date: 12 October 1945

Source of Report: Individual has been reported through sources considered official.

Status: Returned to Military Control, Liberated or Repatriated

Detaining Power: Japan

Camp: Hoten POW Camp (Mukden) Manchuria 42-123

A little about my Uncle Wistar:

He was born 12/29/1888, the 9th child of Samuel and Sarah Catherine Reeve Worthingon, McLouth, Kansas, and used the name “Wistar”; his name was suggested by his grandmother Elizabeth Worthington Leeds, as a “tribute of affection and gratitude from one towards whom he had shown such fatherly regard.

There are many stories of his life, but will note, on this day that we honor our veterans, will note a couple of dates here:

Date: 01/04/1941 Departed NY harbor bound for Philippine Islands aboard USAT Leonard Wood

Date: 01/29/1941 Departed San Francisco aboard USAT Grant

Date: 12/07/1941 Pearl Harbor attacked by Japanese

Date: 04/10/1942 he was Captured by Jap sub-chaser at 4 am, one hour from Lubang Island

Date: 05/08/1942 With the surrender of the Philippines, he was taken prisoner by the Japanese Army.

During the next 3 1/2 years as a POW, he endured extreme conditions and torture at the hands of the Japanese. He was imprisoned in the Philippines, the island of Formosa, the Korean Peninsula, and finally in Manchuria. He authored and memorized over 1500 lines of poems, dedicated to wife and children on their special days, which he wrote out as soon as he was released. These poems and the diary he kept, tell a fascinating story of the life of the Japanese POW’s.

These poems are recorded in the book mentioned earlier.

Date: 06/06/1945 Oldest son, Fay, is commissioned a Second Lieutenant following graduation from the US Military Academy.

Fay retired from the US Army after 30 years service as a Full Colonel.

Date: 08/1945 Returned to the US, following his release from the POW camp in Manchuria. Assigned to Ft. Sam Houston, Texas, where he underwent extensive rehabilitation, although he resided with his family in Brownsville, Texas.

Date: 06/17/1953 Four days before the marriage of his daughter, he is killed in his back yard in Brownsville, Texas, by an attorney neighbor, later judged to be insane; no motive ever even suspected; interred at the National Cemetery, Ft. Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas.

Military Awards:

Bronze Star Medal
Distinguished Unit Emblem with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
World War I and II Victory Medals
American Defense Medal with Foreign Service Clasp
Philippine Defense Ribbon with Bronze Star
Purple Heart
Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with Bronze Battle Star.

He was also awarded the Prisoner of War Medal after it was established.

May we remember Josiah Wistar Worthington, and all others who served our country. More especially the families of those left behind AND those who were captured and made POW’s in all wars.

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9 Responses to Josiah Wistar Worthington, Col. V.C., U.S.A. – 09496

  1. Ching-ching says:

    This is Ching-ching from Taiwan. I was planning to write you by mail but I couldn’t find one. I hope it’s okay to leave the message here.

    The post says he stayed in Hoten POW Camp where was at Muken in China. However, if allowed me, I’d like to add some information. Before Muken, he was in Taiwan, also named Formosa, between 1942-45. The first camp he stayed was Karenko Camp (east Taiwan) and the second Shirakawa Camp (south Taiwan).

    If noticed, I am from the island where Mr. Worthington was held as a POW. And as a matter of fact, my granddad was a guard in those two camps. I heard his stories in the camp from very recent and began to do research. That led me to Mr. Worthington’s book, which is very difficult to get though.

    Perhaps my intention to contact you is not proper. I apologize if I disturb you. Yet, if allowed, I’d like to ask for a photo of Mr. Worthington in 1942-45. I want to show it to my granddad and see if they knew each other back into the 1940’s.

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