Bio: Depa, Cpl. Edward G. (Remembering One Who Served - 2010)
Contact: Dolores Mohr Kenyon
----Source: Thorp Courier (Thorp, Clark Co., WI.) November 10, 2010
Depa, Cpl. Edward G. (Remembering One Who Served - 2010)
Cpl. Edward G. Depa was born on September 3, 1916, to Marek and Ludwina Depa. He was raised in Wisconsin with his three brothers and three sisters. His mother died while he was a child, leaving his father to raise the children. Edward came to Chicago looking for work in 1936 and lived at 717 North Paulina Street. It was while living in Chicago that Edward was drafted in April of 1941.
Edward was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky, where he became a member of Company B, 192nd Tank Battalion. He participated in the Louisiana Maneuvers of 1941 with the battalion. It was after the maneuvers, at Camp Polk, Louisiana, that he and the other members of the battalion learned that they were being sent to the Philippine Islands.
On December 8, 1941, Edward lived through the attack on Clark Field. He then spent the next four months fighting to slow the Japanese conquest of the Philippines. When the Filipino and American forces on Bataan were surrendered to the Japanese, Edward became a POW.
Edward took part in the death march, and as a prisoner of war was imprisoned at Camp O’Donnell and Cabanatuan in the Philippines. In November of 1942, he was boarded onto the "hell ship", the Tottori Maru, to Korea. From there, Ed took a train to Manchuria. In Manchuria, he was held at Hoton Camp in Mukden. From Mukden, Ed was sent to Shenyang POW Camp. At this sub-camp, which was also known as Camp #3, the POWs worked in a machine shop or wood shop. Edward was assigned to the tool shop. He would remain there until 1944.
In May 1944, Ed was sent on another "hell ship" to Kamioka, Japan. The ship arrived on May 29th. There he was held at Nagoya 7-B and worked in a lead mine. For the POWs, climbing the 340 stairs out of the mine was one of the most difficult things they had to do after working in the mine all day. After the atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima, the Japanese made Ed and the other prisoners do close order drill as punishment for the bomb. The prisoners learned about the bomb by smuggling a newspaper into the camp.
After the surrender, the POWs took control of the camp. Ed remained in the camp until he was liberated by American forces on September 15 or 16, 1945.
Edward Depa married and would later move to Thorp, Wisconsin. Edward G. Depa passed away on December 16, 2003.
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