George was born in Philadelphia, PA on February 3, 1921 and lived most
of his life in Harrisburg. In February 1941, shortly after graduation
from John Harris High School, Harrisburg, George enlisted in the United
States Army. He received his basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey and
was sent to the Philippines in July of 1941. George
served in the Air Warning Unit as a radio operator. When the
Japanese invaded, he managed to evade the Bataan Death March and served
with a local guerrilla outfit until captured by the Japanese on March
8,1943 in Abra Province in North Luzon. He was held prisoner of war in
Provincial Capitol. From there George was sent to Vigan in Illocos SVR
Province through to San Fernando in Launion Province for about one week,
and then transferred to San Fernando Pampanga. From there he went to
Cabanatuan. In July 1943, he went to Manilla, then by hell ship to Japan
via Taipei, Formosa to camp #17 Omuta, Furoka, Japan. While in prison
camp, he worked sixteen hours per day in coal mines existing on meager
George was released in August 1945, after the Atomic Bomb was dropped on
Hiroshima, thereby saving thousands of American lives, his included.
George returned to the United States via hospital ship as George was
declared too ill to travel by air.
George was hospitalized at Newton D. Banker General Hospital until it
closed May 18 1946 where he took a discharged rather than be transferred
to another Army Hospital. He returned to his home in Harrisburg, but
later spent several months in Deshan VA Hospital in Butler, PA.
his favorite stories was that upon returning to Harrisburg, the local Selective
Service Board notified him that he had never signed up for the draft.
his health improved, he was employed in Harrisburg and later by the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania, Department of Vocational Rehabilitation under the governor’s
George was married on September 15, 1952 to Helen Hammond
Skinner of Kearneysville, WV. They established a home in Harrisburg, and he
continued to work for the commonwealth as an accountant until his retirement
July 15, 1981. George enjoyed his retirement as it gave him more time for his
avid interest in reading, mostly history, and his personal stamp collection.
I served in World War II under the
command of Lt. Arnold in the Philippine Islands. I was stationed at IBA
Zambaies Province where I was a radio Operator. In early December or
late November of 1941, we were detached under Lt. Arnold to go to the
north to set up a new position at Cape Bojeador in Northern Luzon. I was
assigned as the radio operator with this group when we arrived at our
destination in early December, having been escorted by a Philippine
Engineer Group to reinforce bridges, etc. because of our heavy
equipment, we started to set up our unit. We did not have time to become
operational with either our radar unit or our radio.
December 8, 1941, between 9:00 and 10:00 A.M., we saw our camp, then
banked away after getting a good look at us. We were not bombed. I
particularly remember the following who were with us in the group under
Major Cushing: Ernest Zaidja , who was captured in February of 1943 and
sent to bilibid Prison. As far as I know, he never got to Cabanatuan;
Luis Goldbrum , as you already
know; Clyde Mchenry – I was with him until shortly before I was
captured. I was captured March 8, 1943 in Abra Province in Northern
Luzan, where I was held in prison in the Provincial Capital. From there,
I was sent to Vigan in Illocos SVR Province, then to San Fernando in LA
Union Province for about one week and then to San Fernando Pampange,
then Cabanatuan. In July 1943 I was sent to Manila, then transferred by
hell ships to Japan via Taipai , Formosa to Camp # 17 Omuta, Fukuoka
Japan. I was released in August of 1945.
In 1946, after my discharge, I was interviewed by army Intelligence
officers for about one week for a period of about two hours every day
concerning our guerilla activities, evasion tactics, etc.
It might be possible to get hold of these.
George D Benedum, Jr.