Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Just a Boy From North Dayton

James Tipton, circa 1960
The man in this picture is James Tipton.  He was the older brother of Fred Tipton, who was one of Dad’s best friends from his youth.  I wish I had a better picture of him, this is a screen capture from a home movie taken at Fred’s wedding in the early 1960’s.

I wanted to tell you about him, because, although he was just a boy from North Dayton, he endured some of the most brutal treatment one human can impose on another.  I guess it can happen to any of us.

Jim joined the US Armed Forces in the late 30’s while he was still in his teens.  After finishing his training, Jim had the misfortune to be sent to the Philippines

Jim’s unit fought in the Battle of Bataan.  He survived the battle and then endured the Bataan Death March.  After more than three years in a Japanese POW camp in the Philippines he was loaded onto a “Hell Ship" for transfer to Japan.

His ship suffered the same fate as the Shinyo Maru or the Oryoku Maru -- attacked and sunk by Allied units who thought it was transporting Japanese soldiers.  After it sank, Jim drifted in the sea for hours before being picked up by another Japanese ship which delivered him to Japan.

When he was liberated after the war he weighed less than 80 pounds.

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