Adair County KY
Prisoners of War
World War Two
Other POWs Mentioned in the Adair County News
PVT Blakey, Joe Leonard
CPL Bolt, Dillard
SGT Calhoun, C. Beckham
SGT Holt, Arvis Ray
CPL Linger, Dale Von
----- McKinney, Alfred
SGT Vannoy, Howard Henry
Prisoners of the Japanese
Of the several Adair County men who were taken prisoner of war during World War II, four were surrendered or captured early in the war-- the spring of '42--and remained prisoners of war of the Japanese until August, 1945.
Those four were Earl M. Conover, Richard Cooley, James L. Robertson, and Nathaniel Simmons.
The first hints of the ominous news to come appeared in the News just three days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
In the Adair County News, December 10, 1941
Adair Men in War Zone
Several Adair County men are known to be in places which have been attacked by the Japs though none have been reported as casualties.
James Robertson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Olen Robertson, a Marine, supposed to be in the Philippines.
Richard Cooley, son of Mr. and Mrs. R.L. Cooley, is with the Fourth Marines in the Philippines.
Earl Conover, son of Mr. and Mrs. W.R. Conover, is stationed at Ft. Stotsenburg, which is in Clark Field, the Philippines, a point which has received much bombing.
Three other Adair Countians named in this article, Weldon Janes, of Toria; Robert Patterson, of Chance; and C.D. Moore, of Cane Valley later were found to have been neither captured nor harmed in the Japanese bombings or other attacks.
The family of James Robertson didn't hear directly from him until October, 1943, a period of nearly two years. The other three families received brief notes from their POW soldiers a few months earlier, in August '43.
In the Adair County News, August 18, 1943:
Adair Boys Write From Jap Prison
Cards Are Received By Three Families From Prison Camp In Philippine Islands.
Stilted Typed Messages
Three Adair County families received word last week from men in the Armed Forces, all of whom have been captives of the Japanese for more than a year. In each case it was the first direct contact since the men were taken by the enemy. The messages were typewritten, un-dated postcards in the required stilted form of the Japanese, but the signatures in long hand, written above the typewritten signatures, were recognized by those receiving the messages.
The card, which Mrs. W.R. Conover, of Columbia, got from her son, Pfc. Earl M. Conover, on Friday read:
"I am interned at the Philappine Island Military Prison Camp No. 1. My health is fair. I am under treatment. I am improving."
R.A. Cooley, of Columbia, and Mrs. Laura Simmons, of Fairplay, received similar cards from their sons, Sgt. Richard Cooley, of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Sgt. Nathaniel H. Simmons, of the U.S. Army, both of whom are held prisoners at the Philippine Island Military Prison Camp No. 1. However, Cooley and Simmons stated that they were in good health.
The following article doesn't pertain specifically to any of the four men above, but it does give a brief look at the horrors endured by those held prisoners of war by the Japanese.
In the Adair County News, September 12, 1945:Lt. Eva Frazer Helps Rescue Prisoners Of War
Lt. Eva Frazer, of Columbia, was one of five nurses in a U.S. 8th Army rescue group of 24, who ventured 365 miles into unoccupied Japan on a Japanese troop train to reach 603 prisoners of war at Kobe last Friday. The journey took 13 hours and the group was unmolested.
The prisoners said 25 per cent of their number failed to survive the first winter at Kobe where they were beaten, worked very hard and given no medical attention.
S/Sgt. Earl M. Conover, 17th Ordnance Co., U.S. Army, born 09-17-1917 Adair Co., parents Wyatt R. & Ila (Epperson) Conover. He volunteered for military service shortly after the draft was instituted in the fall of 1940 and was called for active duty in January, 1941. Earl left the States in August 1941 for duty in the Philippine Islands, where he was first stationed at Fort Stotsenburg in the Islands but "...was later transferred to the Bataan Peninsula where he is thought to have been stationed when the Japs took over complete control of the islands."
In early April, 1942, his family received a letter Earl had written on February 1. The letter, as it appeared in the April 9 issue of the Adair County News, read thus:
"No chance to write before. Am in the best of health, although losing a little sleep and getting two meals a day. Have been both bombed and strafed but only dirt thrown on me so far. Guess you know more about the war than I do. We hear nothing. At present we are in a hot spot. Jap planes bomb across from us almost every day. Have done lots of shooting with .50 cal. machine gun. Know I've hit the planes but haven't brought any down as yet. Will be home when this is over. /s/ Earl."
That was the last anyone heard of Earl for nearly a year. Then in late January, 1943, the War Department notified his family that Earl was being held prisoner of war in the Philippine Islands. Not until August '43 did his family hear directly from Earl; that message appears under the headline "Adair Boys Write From Jap Prison" at the beginning of this (Prisoners of the Japanese) section.
Family members received another brief note in September '43 and three cards in December '43, including this one:
"Hoping this finds everyone well. Am homesick at times, but time passes fast. I hope [my niece] Rochelle remembers me. Give my regards to all my friends. Do not get too many gray hairs. I'll be back some day. I have great plans for the future. /s/ Earl M. Conover."
Not until January, 1945, did the family hear from Earl again, this time from Philippine Military Prison Camp No. 4. In July '45, bare-ly a month before the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, his kin received notification from the Provost Marshall General that Earl had been transferred to Tokyo Camp, Japan.
No further word of Earl was received until late September or early October '45.
In the Adair County News, October 3, 1945
Pfc Earl Conover Freed From Japs
The entire City of Columbia rejoiced with the Conover family when Mrs. W.R. Conover received a message from the War Department stating that her son, Pfc. Earl M. Conover, had been released from the Japs. His father, who works in Louisville, was notified of the good news at once.
The message said, "Your son, Pfc. Earl Conover, has been returned to military control and will be in the United States in the near future. He will be given the opportunity to communicate with you upon arrival."
Conover, who operated a jewelry shop entered the service in January, 1941, and was sent to the Pacific area in September of the same year prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was with the 17th Ordnance. When the war started he was stationed at Fort Stotsenburg, in the Philippine Islands. He was captured when Bataan Peninsula fell on April 9, 1942. He was first at Military Prison Camp No. 1 in the Philippines and later at camp No. 4.
The above article also stated Earl was the last of the four Adair County Japanese-held prisoners of war to be liberated.
[The following was inset in the above article.]
Letter This Morning!
The following letter from Pfc. Conover reached his mother this morning:
"Japan, Sept. 14
"In good health. Waiting at Yokohama Airport for plane to Manila. Will write from there. Very homesick but will soon be home. Can't tell you in words how I feel but maybe you have same feeling. Love to all. /s/ Earl."
Less than a month later, Earl was given a hero's welcome home to Columbia and Adair County.
In the Adair County News, October 31, 1945
Crowd Welcomes Sgt. Earl Conover
S/Sgt. Earl M. Conover, accompanied by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.R. Conover, and his sister, Mrs. Frances Smith, all of whom met him in Louisville, arrived here Saturday morning.
A cavalcade of more than 50 cars filled with friends, met Sgt. Conover near Columbia and formed an escort into the city. In the group was his grandfather, Mr. B.L. Conover, his two aunts, Miss Lula Epperson and Mrs. R.P. Marshall, and his niece, Rochelle Smith.
Friends of this popular young soldier, who spent more than three years as a captive of the Japanese, will be interested to know that he was promoted to Sergeant before the fall of Bataan, though news of the promotion had never reached his family.
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.
Sgt. Conover returned to Nichols General Hospital on Monday morning, but came that afternoon for a 15 day furlough. He expects to be discharged early in January.
Earl's discharge came on January 16, 1946, four days short of six years after he had sworn to protect and defend his country.
Ms. Ivy R. French, a friend and neighbor of Earl's in later years, posted at the World War Two Memorial site, this glimpse of the horrors Earl endured: "[He] served in the Asiatic-Pacific theatre; [was] surrendered at Bataan. Survived the death march; prisoner; slave labor camps at Formosa, Philippines and Japan for 3 years. Liberated in northern Japan, working in a lead mine."
Qm/Sgt. Richard Cooley, 4th Marines, USMC, born 11-02-1911, parents Robert A. & Minnie (Weatherford) Cooley. Quit high school (Columbia High) about 1930 to join the armed forces.
In the Adair County News, May 13, 1942
Columbia Man Cited As Hero
Sgt. Richard Cooley, son of Robert A. Cooley, of this place, was one of the 176 officers and enlisted men of the U.S. Marine Corps 4th Regiment decorated and commended for heroism in the Philippines according to an announcement made at Washington on Saturday.
Sergeant Cooley...received the Silver Star...
Mr. Cooley has not heard from him for six months according to reports. Sergeant Cooley was in Shanghai, China, when he last wrote his father. His brother, Robert A. Cooley, Jr., was inducted into the army last July.
No information was available as to the actions for which the decorations and commendations were made.
The Fourth Marines, commanded by Col. Samuel L. Howard, 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 bold print inset in the above article headlined "Reported Missing!" gave grim counter-point to the news of Sgt. Cooley's medal. The inset stated that his father had received the previous day a message from Lt. General T. Halcomb of the U.S.M.C. which reported Richard was missing. The message read, in part, "[He] 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... Sincere sympathy is extended to you in your anxiety..."
(Sadly, Mr. Cooley would never see his son again.)
Not until March 23, 1943 did Richard's father and other family members learn his fate -- that he was being held prisoner of war in the Philippines by the Japanese. The March 24 article in the News also stated "The place of Sgt. Cooley's internment was not stated but his address is: Supply Sergeant Richard Cooley, U.S.M.C., Serial Number 230833. Prisoner of War. Philippine Islands, cr Japanese Red Cross, Tokyo, Japan, via New York, N.Y."
It was another five months -- August, 1943 -- before Sgt. Cooley's family heard directly from him -- see Adair Boys Write From Jap Prison at the beginning of this (Prisoners of the Japanese) section.
No further mention of Sgt. Cooley appeared in the News until the September 12, 1945 edition.
Japs Release Richard Cooley
A message from the War Department came here Friday [September 7] for R.A. Cooley, who died on Monday, August 27, stating that his son, Sgt. Richard Cooley, had been liberated from a Jap prison camp September 5, and placed aboard an American ship for transportation home...
The October 17 issue stated that Sgt. Cooley had arrived stateside and was in the U.S. Naval Hospital in Oakland, Calif., and the November 28 edition mentioned that he had arrived in Columbia on the 26th to a cousin, Mrs. Alton Lacy, after visiting his sister, Mrs. W.L. Wooten, in Louisville. The latter article also mentioned that Richard was currently stationed at Portsmouth, Va.
Richard's wife Jean posted this at the World War Two Memorial site: "[He] served in the Asiatic-Pacific theater. He was captured in Japan on May 6, 1942 at Fort Mills, Corregidor..."
Military records indicate that he was liberated from the Tokyo POW Camp (Shinjuku) in the Tokyo Bay Area.
Cpl. James Lossen Robertson, USMC, born Adair Co., parents Olen and Ray (Morris) Robertson. He entered military service about 1939.
In the Adair County News, May 13, 1942
James L. Robertson Is Reported As Missing
Mr. and Mrs. Olen Robertson, who live near Holmes, were notified by the War Department Monday that their son, James L. Robertson, who has been serving with the U.S. Marine Corps in the far East, was reported as missing after the battle of Manila Bay. No further de-tails were given and the supposition is that Robertson has been killed or captured by the Japs.
The article further stated that he had last been heard from in October, 1941, and at that time was stationed in Shanghai, China.
The next report of Cpl. Robertson came in March, 1943, when the U.S.M.C headquarters informed his parents that he was a prisoner of the Japanese. The News reported that the message read, in part,
"A partial list of American prisoners of war in the Manila Bay area has just been received from the International Red Cross containing the name of Pfc. James L. Robertson, U.S. Marine Corps, confirming the fact that he is alive and a prisoner of war. The report did not state place of internment but you can communicate with him by mail at the following address: Private First Class James L. Robertson, U.S.M.C., Serial Number 273009, Prisoner of War, Philippine Islands, cr the Japanese Red Cross, Tokyo, Japan, via New York, N.Y."
Cpl. Robertson's parents next heard from James some seven months later, in October '43. The typewritten note stated simply:
"I am feeling fine and hope you are the same. Tell everyone hello for me. Write to me but see Red Cross for regulations."
His parents identified the long-hand signature as James' handwriting. The News also reported that "The card came from Mukden Prisoner of War Camp, Mukden, Manchoukuo. Manchoukuo is a division of China, now occupied by the Japanese..."
The Robertson's heard from James again in mid March, 1944 and a year later, in March '45, his sister, Mrs. Howard Willis, of Pleasant Plains, Ill., received a note in which James stated he had received no mail from home in almost two years.
The story of his rescue in mid August, 1945, read thus:
In the Adair County News, September 12, 1945
Adair Marine Writes of Rescue
James L. Robinson Released From Prison In Manchuria When Japs Surrender City To 6 Yanks.
Mr. and Mrs. Olen Robertson, of the Holmes section, received a letter last week from their son, Marine Cpl. James L. Robertson, who had been a prisoner of war for more than three years, which let them know that at last he is free.
Robertson told his parents of the never-to-be-forgotten thrill he experienced when six men with radio equipment bailed out of an American plane on August 16, 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...
By September 30, 1945, Cpl. Robertson was in a rest camp on Guam, awaiting transportation home. On November 7, he was finally reunited with his family in Adair County, and on Christmas Day, a reunion in which all family members were present, the first in ten years, was held in his honor at the home of his parents in the Holmes community.
In the Adair County News, March 6, 1946
Truman Commends Adair Marine
Qm. Sgt. James L. Robertson, of the Marine Corps, who has been in a U.S. Naval Hospital, Memphis, Tenn., for several weeks, is spending a 60 day furlough with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Olen Robertson, near Columbia. He was a prisoner of the Japs for about 40 months and was liberated soon after the surrender.
Robertson was given his discharge on February 21, and immediately re-enlisted for two years. At the conclusion of his furlough he will report to Quantico, Va., for duty.
He received the following letter from President Harry Truman, written November 28:
"It gives me special pleasure to welcome you back to your native shores, and to express, on behalf of the people of the United States, the joy we feel at your deliverance from the hands of the enemy. It is a source of profound satisfaction that our efforts to accomplish your return have been successful.
"You have fought valiantly and have suffered greatly. As your Commander-In-Chief, I take pride in past achievements and express the thanks of a grateful nation for your services in combat and your steadfastness while a prisoner of war.
"May God grant you happiness and a successful future."
Sgt. Nathaniel H. Simmons, born 1901; entered military service about 1925.
In the Adair County News, February 3, 1943
Adair County Boy Prisoner Of Japs
Mrs. Laura Simmons, of Fairplay, has been informed by the War Department that her son, Corp. Nathaniel H. Simmons, is a prisoner of war in the Philippine Islands. He was reported missing in action in May, 1942, and it was through the efforts of the American Red Cross that more definite information was secured.
In the Adair County News, Sept. 26, 1945
Adair Soldier Writes Of Release From Jap Prison
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. Sgt. Simmons, a son of Mrs. Laura Simmons, of Fairplay, has been in the Army for twenty years. He was taken prisoner when Corregidor fell more than three years ago.
In the Adair County News, October 10, 1945, Fairplay newsletter (this newsletter apparently delayed; see next entry)
Mrs. Laura Simmons, of this place, received a telegram Saturday from her son, Sgt. Nathaniel
Simmons, stating that he had arrived safely in San Francisco, Calif., and expected to reach home this week. Sgt. Simmons has been a Jap prisoner for more than three years.
In the Adair County News, October 10, 1945, Gadberry newsletter:
Sgt. Nathaniel Simmons, who has been a Japanese prisoner for the past three years, is spending a ten day furlough with his mother, Mrs. Laura Simmons, and brother, Duncan Simmons, of Fairplay. He will return to the hospital for a while. We were all delighted to hear of his arrival.
U.S. military records indicate that Sgt. Simmons was taken prisoner on 02 May 1942; that he was liberated from Tokyo POW Camp (Shinjuku) in the Tokyo Bay Area; and that he re-enlisted in military service on 05 Feb. 1946.
Prisoners of the Germans
Pfc. Charlie A. Beard, born June 13, 1913 Adair Co., parents George & Kate (Rudd) Beard. He entered military service June 1940 & was with the first U.S. troops sent to North Africa in November, 1942. He was reported MIA in North Africa on February 20, 1943.
In early May, 1943, his mother, a resident of Milltown, received the following letter, dated March 16, 1943:
"I guess that you have found out by now that I am missing in action but not killed, just captured. I was lucky at that. Five hundred were captured at the same time and I am now in Germany in a prison camp. 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. I am well satisfied in this camp now.
"By the way, I can write only four letters a month but you can write as many as you like. All you send comes through the Red Cross. Most of the boys wrote for packages. You and Hattie can send me all the cigarettes you want to. There is no limit on the number of packages you can send but they must not weigh over ten pounds.
"Your son, Charlie Beard."
Another of his letters, dated July 4, 1943, was received by his mother on November 2nd. It read, in part:
"As this is a big day will send you a few lines. I am in the best of health. There are two other Columbia boys and one Ozark boy here with me. We pass the time playing soft ball and have all kinds of games in the camp. We are planning for some big dances when we come home. We will swing those girls and really turn on. I have just eaten my supper. Had good old American milk to drink, fried steak and bread, blackberry jam and really feel fine just at the present...
"Tell everyone in Milltown hello and tell them I will be there one of these days. It will not take as long to get there as it does a letter to come, 4 or 5 months. I could walk it by that time. That isn't bad for this place and such a mess, too.
"Will close, so long, goodbye. From your son,
The notice of his release from the German POW camp appeared in the May 16, 1945 edition of the Adair County News:
Charlie Beard Notifies Mother Of Release
Sgt. Charlie Beard, who was captured by the Germans in North Africa more than two years ago, has notified his mother, Mrs. George Beard, of Milltown, that he has been released.
His letter written April 12, was received Wednesday of last week. He gave no details concerning his release but stated that he is in the best of health and hoped to be home soon.
Military records indicate he was captured in Tunisia on February 20, 1943 and liberated from Stalag 2B, Hammerstein.
Pfc. Henry Clavis Brown, born Dec 01,1924, son of Ariel Coomer and Robert Brown. He enlisted in the armed service on November 11, 1943 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
In the Adair County News, February 14, 1945, Gradyville newsletter
Word has been received here by the sisters of Clavis Brown, that he has been missing in action on the fighting front. Much sympathy is felt for the sisters in their hour of sadness. We hope to hear better news in the near future.
In the Adair County News, May 16, 1945, Basil newsletter
We rejoice with Mrs. Elsie Sneed and Mis Merle Brown over hearing of their brother, Clavis, being out of German prison and on his way home.
In the Adair County News, May 23, 1945, Gradyville newsletter (deferred)
Pvt. Clavis Brown, who has been overseas and was a German prisoner for several weeks, is here on a two months furlough with his sister[s], Mrs. Richard Sneed, and... Mrs. Murrell Brown, who has a job in Louisville.
In the Adair County News, June 27, 1945, Basil newsletter
Pfc. Clavis Brown and sister, Merle, recently visited relatives here over the week-end. He has a great experience as he is a liberated prisoner from Germany, after doing a heroic deed, which was wonderful for a boy his age.
The above entries from community newsletters were the only mentions found in the Adair County News of Pfc. Brown's capture and eventual liberation.
Military records indicate he was captured December, 20, 1944 and was liberated from Stalag 4B, Muhlberg, Sachsen.
Pvt. Montford Elwood Coomer, born March 26, 1924 Adair Co., parents Walter and Gladys (Harvey) Coomer.
In the Adair County News, October 4, 1944
Pvt. Montford E. Coomer Is Missing In Action
Mr. and Mrs. Walter E. Coomer, of Columbia, were notified by the War Department on Wednesday, September 27, that their son, Pvt. Montford E. Coomer, 20, had been missing in action since September 6.
Pvt. Coomer, who was serving in the Infantry, entered the armed forces December 23, 1943, and had been overseas since early in July, took his basic training at Camp Blanding, Fla.
In the Adair County News, November 22, 1944
Sparksville Boy German Prisoner
Mr. and Mrs. Walter Coomer, of the Sparksville section, were notified by the International Red Cross on Thursday that their son, Pvt. Montford E. Coomer, was a prisoner of war in Germany.
The War Department notified Mr. and Mrs. Coomer on September 27, that their son was missing in action and this was the first news they had received since that time. The telegram stated that a letter would follow.
In the Adair County News, February 7, 1945
Parents Hear From Son
Mr. and Mrs. Walter Coomer received a letter last Thursday from their son, Pfc. Montford Coomer, who is a prisoner in Germany. He said that he was getting along fine and for them not to worry. He was captured the 6th day of September, 1944. The letter was written December 18.
In the Adair County News, May 23, 1945, Sparksville newsletter
Mr. and Mrs. Walter Coomer received the glad news that their son, Pvt. Elwood Coomer, who has been a prisoner of the Germans for some time, is free. We rejoice with them and all parents who are receiving the glad news.
In the Adair County News, June 13, 1945
Returns to States After Release From German Prison
Pfc. Montford E. Coomer, who recently returned to the States, after having been released from a German prison camp, is spending a 60 day furlough with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Coomer, near Sparksville.
Military records indicate he was captured September 6, 1944 and liberated from Stalag 7A, Moosburg, Bavaria.
Cpl. James Nolan Cundiff, born August 13, 1922 Adair Co., parents Perry and Mattie (Smith) Cundiff. He enlisted in the armed service October 29, 1942, Ft. Thomas KY.
In April, 1943, Cpl. Cundiff's mother, Mattie Cundiff, received word that he had safely arrived in North Africa. The War Department declared him missing in action as of July 27, but his family wasn't notified of his MIA status until September, and it wasn't until late October that they found out he was a prisoner of war.
In the Adair County News, November 3, 1943
James N. Cundiff Is Prisoner In Italy
Mrs. Mattie Cundiff, of Cane Valley, recently received a letter from her son, Cpl. James N. Cundiff, written from a prison camp in Italy. He said that he was in a hospital but was getting along all right. The letter was brief and he told his mother that he was allowed to write only one letter a week.
In the Adair County News, January 5, 1944
Cane Valley Soldier Writes From Germany
Mrs. Mattie Cundiff, of Cane Valley, received an interesting letter from her son, Corp. James N. Cundiff, who is a prisoner in a German Prison Camp, at Stalag [sic], Germany, on December 13. It was written October 2. The letter, which follows, was the first communication received since he had been sent from an Italian hospital to Germany:
"Well, I finally got a chance to write again. I've been moving some. I moved from Italy to Germany, making it just fine and liking a lot better here than I did there. We get plenty of food parcels here. There's lots more boys from home. There is one from Crawfordsville, Ind., and one from Kentucky. They were on the same job with Victor Hancock. I think I'll be here for the duration. We have all kinds of games to play. It is not like we have always heard it was here. I can't write but four cards and two letters a month here. I have an English uniform. They sent my address home. Tell everybody to write while I'm here. I don't think I'll be here too long. I will write every chance.
His sister, Miss Elizabeth Cundiff, received a card written on October 12.
In the Adair County News, March 8, 1944
Adair Soldier Writes From German Prison Camp
Mrs. Mattie Cundiff, of Cane Valley, received a letter and card from her son, Cpl. James N. Cundiff, who is a prisoner in Germany. The letter was written December 20 and the card December 25. He said that he had never had a letter from home but was still hoping. He also said it was very cold and that he was doing some Red Cross work. He wished to be remembered to all his friends and expressed the hope that he would be home next Christmas. He stated that the Christmas dinner was good and said he had received some Christmas packages.
In the Adair County News, April 5, 1944
Mrs. Mattie Cundiff Visits War Hero At Nichols
Mrs. Mattie Cundiff visited Nichols General Hospital, in Louisville, on Tuesday where she met Lt. Jerry H. Kister, of Indiana, who was with her son, Sgt. James Cundiff, when he was taken prisoner in Tunisia by the Germans. Lt. Kister is one of the outstanding heroes of the war and has been awarded many decorations.
In the Adair County News, May 16, 1945
Friday 13th Lucky Day For Adair Soldier
Cpl. James N. Cundiff, who was taken prisoner by the Nazis in July, 1943, was released by U.S. troops on Friday, April 13, according to a letter recently received by his mother, Mrs. Mattie Cundiff of the Cane Valley community.
Cundiff wrote that 500 other Allied prisoners were released at the same time. He said that he was in good health and hoped to be returned to the states soon. "The old saying about Friday the 13th don't go. It's the luckiest day for all of me," wrote the released soldier in the excitement over gaining his freedom.
In the Adair County News, May 23, 1945, "Society" column
Cpl. James N. Cundiff, who was a prisoner of war in Germany, and was recently released, reached home last Thursday. He is spending a 62 day furlough with his mother, Mrs. Mattie Cundiff, and his brothers and sisters.
Military records indicate Cpl. Cundiff was liberated from Stalag 2B, Hammerstein. He was discharged from military service on September 25, 1945, at the Fort Knox Separation Center. His name erroneously appeared in the March 26, 1947 edition of the news in a list of Adair Countians who died during World War Two.
S/Sgt. Donald H. Goodin, born c. 1921, parents William and Bertha (Bryant) Goodin.
In the Adair County News, November 17, 1943
Sgt. Goodin Reported Missing In Action
Staff Sgt. Donald H. Goodin, 22, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Goodin, of Indianapolis, Ind., formerly of Garlin, has been reported missing in overseas action by the War Department. He was a radio operator on a Flying Fortress.
Sergeant Goodin enlisted in October, 1942, was inducted at Fort Benjamin Harrison and received early training in several southern camps. He had been in service less than nine months when sent abroad.
A sister, Miss Wilma F. Goodin, enlisted in the WAVES several months ago and is attached to the naval air corps as a technician. Sgt. Goodin also has four brothers and other four sisters. Mr. Goodin is a war worker at the Alliance division of General Motors.
In the Adair County News, June 27, 1945
Former German Prisoner Returned to States
S/Sgt. Donald Goodin, who was a German prisoner for three years, has been released and at present is visiting his parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Goodin, in Indianapolis, Ind. He was reared near Ella, Adair County, and will also visit relatives there. At the end of his 60 day furlough he will report to Camp Blanding, Fla., for reassignment.
Military records indicate he was captured October 9, 1943. The information about from which camp he was liberated is given as "Stalag Luft 3 Sagan‑Silesia Bavaria (Moved to Nuremberg‑Langwasser)."
Pfc. Ulis Hoover, born September 15, 1919 Adair Co., parents Parvin and Mary (Gipson) Hoover. He enlisted August 26, 1940, Louisville KY. He was a resident of Adair Co.
In the Adair County News, March 17, 1943
Adair Casualties In North Africa
...The parents of Pfc. Ulis Hoover, Mr. and Mrs. Parvin Hoover, of Chance, received word last Wednesday from the War Department that he had been seriously wounded in battle in North Africa on Sunday, February 14. Pvt. Hoover volunteered for service in the U.S. Army in 1940...
In the Adair County News, June 30, 1943, Chance newsletter
Mr. Parvin Hoover received word from his son, Pfc. Ulis Hoover, stating that he had been captured by the Germans.
In the Adair County News, November 10, 1943
Captive of Germans Praises Red Cross
Inroad Parents Hear For The First Time From Son Reported Missing Last February.
Mr. and Mrs. Parvin Hoover, of Inroad, received a letter last week from their son, Pvt. Ulis Hoover, written from a prison camp in Germany and dated June 13, 1943. It was the first communication they had received from their son since he was reported missing in action last February.
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. If you want to send me a letter or packages see the Red Cross for instructions. So far they have not put me on any working detail and I spend most of my time in close order drill and playing ball and time passes fast. I have been a prisoner almost four months and surely would like to hear from you all. The Red Cross has given us clothing and packages and has been wonderful to us. When I get back home I will never refuse to give to the Red Cross. Had better close.
In the Adair County News, May 30, 1945
Pfc. Hoover Released From German Prison
Pfc. Ulis Hoover, who was captured by the Germans in North Africa over two years ago, was released by U.S. troops on April 14, and is now spending a 67 day furlough with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Parvin Hoover, of Chance. At the conclusion of his furlough Pfc. Hoover will be sent to Miami, Fla. He volunteered for service in the army about five years ago.
In the Adair County News, May 30, 1945, Inroad newsletter
Mr. Ulis Hoover, son of Mr. Parvin Hoover, who spent over two years in a German prison camp, arrived home Saturday. Ulis gives most of his thanks to the American Red Cross for his survival. We rejoice with the family over his safe return.
In the Adair County News, August 22, 1945
Ulis Hoover Given Discharge At Atterbury
Pfc Ulis Hoover, of Chance, son of Parvin Hoover, a prisoner in Germany for 26 months, was discharged under the point system at camp Atterbury, Ind., on Tuesday, August 14.
Hoover entered the army in August, 1940, and served overseas for three years in England, Ireland and Africa. He was wounded in February, 1943, while fighting with the 1st Armored Division at Casserine Pass and captured by the Nazis. He wears the European Theatre Ribbon and has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal, American Defense Medal, Good Conduct Ribbon and Purple Heart. He was released when Germany fell and returned to the States in May.
Military records indicate he was liberated from Stalag 2B, Hammerstein.
Pfc. K.C. Montgomery, born 1926 in Ky., enlisted in the armed service on August 1, 1944 in Louisville, Ky. He was a resident of Adair Co. at the time.
In the Adair County News, May 16, 1945
Adair Soldier Reported Captured Is Released
Mrs. Ada Montgomery was notified May 1, by the War Department that her son, Pfc. K.C. Montgomery, had been missing in action in Germany since April 16. Several days later she 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...
Pfc. Montgomery wrote that he had four cuts on his right arm and several on the right side of his face. This is the second time he has been wounded. He has been awarded the Purple Heart, which is being sent to his mother.
(No POW information found.)
TEC 5 Wesley R. Norman, born Adair Co. February 14, 1922, parents Foy and Dora (Whitehead) Norman. He enlisted November 24, 1942, in Indianapolis, Ind.
In the Adair County News, June 13, 1945, Allen community newsletter
We're proud to report that 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. He wrote that he was okey. He expects to be home soon.
Military records state he was captured Jan. 1, 1945 and liberated from Stalag 4B, Muhlberg, Sachsen.
S Sg Warren B. Pendleton, born Jefferson Co. KY, April 26, 1924, mother Pearl Pendleton. Enlistment info not found. POW info stated he was a resident of IL at the time of his enlistment.
In the Adair County News, November 1, 1944
Former Adair Boy Missing Over Germany
Guy D. Pendleton, of Chicago, Ill., formerly of Columbia, informs the News that his son, Warren B. Pendleton, has been listed as missing over Germany.
Warren 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, on which day he was reported missing.
The News was told by his father that Warren had just written him, telling that he was receiving the Air Medal, European Theatre Ribbons, and several stars for the bombing missions he had been upon.
Military records indicate he was captured 27 September 1944 and liberated from Stalag Luft 1, Barth‑Vogelsang, Prussia.
Sgt. Morsel Roy, born 1921 KY. He enlisted July 4, 1940 at Ft. Knox. He was a resident of Adair Co at the time he enlisted. Birth info not found.
In the Adair County News, December 2, 1942
In North Africa
Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence Roy received a cablegram last week from their son, Morcel Roy, stating he was safe and well somewhere in North Africa.
In the Adair County News, March 10, 1943
Sgt. Roy Reported Missing in Africa
Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence E. Roy, of this city received a telegram from the War Department, Washington, D.C., Tuesday stating that their son, Sgt. Morsel Roy, was missing in action in North Africa. According to the telegram he had been missing since February 18...
In the Adair County News, May 5, 1943
Sgt. Morsel Roy Is German Prisoner
Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence E. Roy received a letter Saturday from their son, Sgt. Morsel Roy, written from a prison camp in Germany. He said that he was safe and sound and suggested to his parents that they contact the Red Cross if they wished to send him packages.
Sgt. Roy was reported "missing in action," on February 18, by the War Department. His many friends here are glad to know that he is safe. He volunteered for service in July, 1940, and was sent to Ireland in April, 1942. He was with the first U.S. troops which went to Africa in November.
In the Adair County News, August 11, 1943
Sgt. Morsel Roy Writes From Germany
Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Roy recently received a letter from their son, Sgt. Morsel Roy... stating that he was all right and requesting them not to worry about him.
In the Adair County News, May 30, 1945
Pvt. Roy Released From Nazi Prison
Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Roy, of Columbia, were notified by the War Department on Thursday that their son, Pvt. Morsel Roy, who had been a German prisoner since February 18, 1943, had been released. A telegram on Sunday from the Adjutant General stated that he was being returned to the States and as soon as he landed he would be allowed to communicate with them.
Pvt. Roy volunteered for service on July 2, 1940, and was a Signal Corps radio operator with the First Armored Division. He was sent overseas in June, 1942, and was captured by the Nazis at Casserine Pass, in North Africa, February 18, 1943.
In the Adair County News, June 6, 1945
Returns to States
Pvt. Morsel Roy, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Roy, of Columbia, notified his parents on Saturday that he had landed in the United States. He was recently released from a German prison camp, where he had been held since his capture at Casserine Pass in North Africa, February 18, 1943. *****
Military records indicate Sgt. Roy was captured February 18, 1943. The camp from which liberated isn't indicated in at-hand military records. On Saturday, January 26, 1946, Morsel married, in Jamestown, Ky., Opal Dehoney, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Dehoney, of Columbia.
Pvt. Louis Murrell Sharp, born Adair County March 14, 1924, mother Lera Stotts.
In the Adair County News, January 17, 1945
Missing In Action
Mrs. Bill Yarberry, of Garlin, received a telegram yesterday that her son, Pvt. Louis Murrell Sharp, had been reported missing in action on December 21. Mr. Sharp was sent overseas in October.
In the Adair County News, April 11, 1945
Prisoner In Germany
Mrs. Murrell Sharp, of Chicago, Ill., who was notified that her husband, Pvt. Murrell Sharp, was missing in action December 21, 1944, recently received a card from him stating that he was a German prisoner. His wife was Miss Thomasine Jessie, granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. O.W. Breeding, of Sparksville.
In the Adair County News, May 16, 1945
Pvt. Murrell Sharp Released From Nazis
Mrs. Murrell Sharp, of Chicago, formerly of Adair County, was notified by the War Department a few weeks ago that her husband, Pvt. Murrell Sharp, was missing in action in Germany. Last week she received word that he had been captured by the Nazis and later liberated by U.S. troops.
Military records indicate he was captured December 21, 1944 and liberated from Stalag 4B, Muhlberg, Sachsen.
Pvt. L.J. Willis, born May 10, 1920 Adair Co., parents George H. and Annie Squires Willis. He enlisted May 3, 1944 at Ft. Thomas Ky. He was a resident of Adair Co. at the time.
In the Adair County News, June 20, 1945
Pvt. L.J. Willis Returns From Overseas Duty
Pvt. L.J. Willis arrived Thursday from Camp Atterbury, Ind., to visit his wife, daughter, and parents, Mr. and Mrs. G.H. Willis. He recently returned from the European Theatre of Operations, after spending 7 months overseas. He was wounded three times and was a prisoner of the Germans for five days.
No POW information found in at-hand military records.
Other POWs Mentioned
in the Adair County News
Pvt. Joe Leonard Blakey (Russell Countian)
In the Adair County News, June 20, 1945, Montpelier newsletter
We are all rejoicing with the parents and friends of four young enlisted men whose homes are in Russell County, near Montpelier, and who have recently been released from Ger-man prison camps. They [include]: Joe Leonard Blakey, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Blakey.
In late December, 1944 or early January, 1945, Pvt. Blakey's wife received erroneous notification of his death. Military records indicate he was captured December 12, 1944 and liberated from "Stalag 12A to 9B Limburg An Der Lahn Hessen‑Nassau, Prussia."
Cpl. Dillard Bolt (Casey Countian)
In the Adair County News, April 19, 1944, Gradyville newsletter # 1
Mr. and Mrs. F.L. Bolt, of Liberty, visited their daughter, Mrs. J.C. Bassett, and Rev. Bassett, the first of the week. The Bolts received a message sometime ago that their son was missing in action since January 22. They have had a telegram from the son saying he was a German prisoner. He also stated that he had been wounded but was all right and hoped to see them soon, which was good news for his family and friends. *****
Military records indicate he was captured January 22, 1944 in the North African Theatre (Italy) and liberated from Stalag 2B Hammerstein, West Prussia.
Sgt. Charles Beckham Calhoun (Russell Countian)
Earlier Montpelier newsletters stated that he had lived in Chicago for nearly 20 years; that he held a "responsible position" with the Continental Glass Co. there; and that he enlisted in the armed service in May, 1942.
In the Adair County News, December 1, 1943, Montpelier newsletter
Messrs. Browder Calhoun, of Chicago, and Sgt. Beckham Calhoun, now located at an army camp in New Jersey, visited their mother, Mrs. Myrtie Calhoun, last week. [Their father, William "W.L." Calhoun died July 11, 1944.]
In the Adair County News, June 28, 1944, Montpelier newsletter:
Mrs. Myrtie Calhoun was notified last week by the War Department that her son, Sgt. Beckham Calhoun, who had been fighting with General Clark's Army in Italy for several months, was missing in action. His disappearance dating from May 12th.
In the Adair County News, September 27, 1944, Montpelier newsletter
On September 18, Mrs. Myrtie Calhoun received a card from her sone, Sgt. Beckham Calhoun, who was captured by the Germans in Italy on May 12th. The card was dated May 18th, six days after he was captured. He is in a German prison camp at Munich, Germany. The card states that he is well. Mrs. Calhoun has received several communications from the War Department lately concerning her son. Beckham's many friends here hope that he will come through all right.
In the Adair County News, December 13, 1944
Mrs. Myrtie Calhoun received a card a few days ago from her son, Sgt. Beckham Calhoun, who was captured by the Germans in Italy last May. The card states that he has been moved to another prison camp in Germany.
In the Adair County News, June 20, 1945, Montpelier newsletter
We are all rejoicing with the parents and friends of four young enlisted men whose homes are in Russell County, near Montpelier, and who have recently been released from German prison camps. They [include]: Sgt. Beckham Calhoun, son of Mrs. Myrtle Calhoun... Beckham writes his mother that he is very well and resting in a hospital in France. He hopes to be at home in a few weeks.
In the Adair County News, August 1, 1945, Montpelier newsletter
Mr. and Mrs. Henderson Bradshaw and two sons, Bobby and Billy, of Chicago, and Shirley and Ann Royce, little daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Felix Royce, Dearborn, Mich., and Sgt. Beckham Calhoun, recently discharged from a German prison camp, are visiting the family of Mrs. Myrtle Calhoun, near this place. Sgt. Calhoun was captured with a large detachment of American troops near the Anzio Beachhead and lacked only a few days staying a year in the German prison camp when rescued by the American forces.
Military records indicate he was captured May 12, 1944 and liberated from Stalag 7A, Moosburg, Bavaria. Sgt. Calhoun was nearly 37 when he volunteered for military service.
Sgt. Arvis Ray Holt (Russell Countian)
In the Adair County News, December 13, 1944, Montpelier newsletter
Mr. and Mrs. Albert Holt recently received a letter from a young American soldier, recently exchanged, who had been in a German prison camp with their son, Arvis Holt... Arvis sends word to his parents that he is well and faring very well, all things considered.
In the Adair County News, June13, 1945, Jamestown (Russell Co.) newsletter
Mr. and Mrs. Albert Holt, of the Montpelier community, lately received word that their son, Sgt. Arvis Holt, who was captured in North Africa in February, 1943, had just been released from a German prison camp by the American forces and was on his way home.
In the Adair County News, June 20, 1945, Montpelier newsletter
We are all rejoicing with the parents and friends of four young enlisted men whose homes are in Russell County, near Montpelier, and who have recently been released from Ger-man prison camps. They [include]: Arvis Holt, son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Holt, captured at Hellfia Pass, Africa, February, 1943...
Military records indicate Arvis was captured February 17, 1943; the camp from which he was liberated isn't listed. However, the POW information for Hobert Skaggs, another Russell Countian with whom Arvis Ray was interned, states he (Skaggs) was liberated from Stalag 3B Furstenberg, Brandenburg, Prussia.
Cpl. Dale O. von Linger, resident of Ohio
In the Adair County News, May 16, 1945
Nephew Of Mrs. Lawrence Roy Released From Jap Prison
Mrs. Lawrence Roy has been notified of the arrival in the States of her nephew, Cpl. Dale Von Linger, of Mansfield, Ill. He was one of the prisoners recently liberated from the Cabanatuan Prison in the Philippines, and a picture in the March 28, issue of the Courier-Journal showed him being greeted by his mother, who lives in Urbana, Ill.
Cpl. Linger has been in the service 5 years and was an instructor at Clark Field when Bataan fell and he was captured by the Japs.
Military records indicate he was captured May 7, 1942 in the Philippine Islands and liberated from PW Camp #3 ‑ Old Bilibid Prison, Rizal, Manila, Philippines. Cpl. von Linger was one of over 500 prisoners of war freed in a daring rescue in early 1945. The liberation was recently (summer 2005) recounted in the movie The Great Raid.
___ Alfred McKinney (Russell Countian)
In the Adair County News, June 20, 1945, Montpelier newsletter
We are all rejoicing with the parents and friends of four young enlisted men whose homes are in Russell County, near Montpelier, and who have recently been released from German prison camps. They [include]: Alfred McKinney, son of Mr. and Mrs. Grover McKinney.
(No enlistment or POW information found.)
Sgt. Howard Henry Vannoy
In the Adair County News, November 11, 1942, "Society" column
Visitors in Henry Home
Mrs. Howard H. Vannoy and son, Howard H. Vannoy, Jr., of Greenville, S.C., have concluded a week's visit with Rev. & Mrs. V.P. Henry. Mrs. Vannoy's husband, Corp. Howard H. Vannoy, is an aviation gunner with the American Air Forces in Europe.
In the Adair County News, March 29, 1944
Nephew of Rev. Henry Missing in Action
Notice was sent to Rev. V.P. Henry Sunday that his nephew, Sgt. Howard Henry Vannoy, had been missing in action since March 8, over Europe. The word was sent to the father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. C.L. Vannoy, of Madisonville, on Saturday.
...He was a gunner on a bomber crew and had been on active duty for exactly 18 months and was scheduled to come home. He had gone to England on September 8, 1942, and was reported missing March 8, 1944.
In the Adair County News, June 21, 1944
Nephew of V.P. Henry Prisoner In Germany
Mrs. C.L. Vannoy, of Madisonville, sister of V.P. Henry, of Columbia, received a letter last Thursday from her son, Sgt. Howard H. Vannoy, of the U.S. Army Air Forces, from a hospital in Germany... The letter was written March 12.
A letter from the war department earlier in the week stated that when last seen the bomber on which he was a gunner, was being attacked by two German planes and that some of the crew bailed out. The letter direct from Sgt. Vannoy was the first word that had come concerning him...
In the Adair County News, February 7, 1945
Rev. Henry's Nephew Will Return To States
The War Department wired the parents of Sgt. Howard Vannoy, of Madisonville, that he will be a passenger on the next trip of the Gripsholm... Sgt. Vannoy is nephew of Rev. V.P. Henry, president of Lindsey Wilson Junior College.
In the Adair County News, May 2, 1945
Wounded Veteran Returns to Nichols Hospital
Sgt. Howard Vannoy has completed a visit with his uncle, Rev. V.P. Henry, and Mrs. Henry at their home here and returned to Nichols General Hospital for further treatment of wounds received when he was shot down over Germany in March, 1944.
Sgt. Vannoy, who was with the U.S. Army Air Forces in England, was a turret gunner on a B-25. The plane was so badly damaged over Germany that all the crew except the pilot and Vannoy, who was seriously wounded and knocked out, bailed out. The pilot landed the plane in the outskirts of Berlin and both were made prisoners.
Military records indicate he was captured March 8, 1944 and was detained at Stalag 9C, Bad Sulza, Saxe‑Weimar.