Lieut Richard Beebe “Bill” Williams

Lieut Richard Beebe “Bill” Williams

Birth
Gettysburg, Potter County, South Dakota, USA
Death 15 Dec 1944 (aged 30)
Philippines
Burial Body lost at sea, Specifically: His body was never recovered, but the family was allowed to place a military gravestone in his memory at the Gettysburg Cemetery, Gettysburg, Potter County, SD, USA.
Memorial ID 144090692 · View Source
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Richard Beebe "Bill" Williams, son of Jay H. and Vera Bonnie (Beebe) Williams, graduated from the Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD, in 1937 with a degree in engineering. He married Anne Lucile Fuller, daughter of Howard G. and Anne (Billinghurst) Fuller, on Aug. 20, 1937 in Long Beach, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

By Sept. 1941, he was the executive officer aboard the USS Oahu, a gunboat in service on the Yangtze River in China. As signs of approaching war with Japan became clearer, the USS Oahu was sent from China to the Philippine Islands, arriving just three days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor (Dec. 1941). The Oahu operated in Manila Bay in support of US forces. After Bataan fell, Bill was ordered ashore in charge of gun crews at Fort Hughes where he was taken prisoner by the Japanese on May 6, 1942. From there he and the other prisoners were marched to Camp Cabanatuan where they endured starvation, brutality, and torture. In the Fall of 1944 Bill was relocated to Bilibid Prison in Manila. His final letter home was dated 13 Dec. 1944 at which time he told his wife that he was being taken to Japan.

On Dec. 13, 1944, Bill was one of the 1619 prisoners forced into the unventilated hold of the Japanese ship Oryoku Maru. Because the Oryoku Maru was not marked as a POW vessel, it was strafed by American planes from the aircraft carrier Hornet until it sank in Subic Bay (Philippine Islands) on Dec. 15, 1944. It isn't known whether Bill died in the ship or if he was shot in the water by the Japanese as he tried to escape. His body was never recovered, but the family was allowed to place a military gravestone in his memory at the Gettysburg Cemetery, Gettysburg, Potter County, SD, USA.

Bill was survived by his parents, his wife, his sister Florence Elizabeth, and his brother Terrence who was a POW in Germany at the time, but survived the war.




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  • Created by: DB6654
  • Added: 23 Mar 2015
  • Find A Grave Memorial 144090692
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Lieut Richard Beebe “Bill” Williams (12 Nov 1914–15 Dec 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 144090692, ; Maintained by DB6654 (contributor 48558131) Body lost at sea, who reports a His body was never recovered, but the family was allowed to place a military gravestone in his memory at the Gettysburg Cemetery, Gettysburg, Potter County, SD, USA..