LTJG Charles F. Letson

09-1944

Prior to entering the war Charles lived in Washington State.  Assigned to the USS Canopus.

The submarine tender U.S.S. Canopus (AS-9) received severe damage when hit by heavy bombers on December 29, 1941. She lost six of her crew in the attack, with another six wounded. She was later scuttled off Manila Bay rather than face capture by the enemy. Her crew was used in the defense of Bataan and Corregidor.

He became a prisoner of the Japanese Army while fighting in the Philippines during the war in 1942. He was held at Japanese POW Camp 2, Davao, Mindanao, Philippines.

Charles was declared "Missing In Action" while a POW of the Japanese Army in the sinking of the "Shinyo Maru".

He was awarded the Prisoner Of War Medal and the Purple Heart.

The Japanese ship "Shinyo Maru" was loaded with 750 U.S. POW's in the cargo holds. The U.S.S. Paddle (SS-263), not knowing that American POW's were on board, fired torpedoes at the ship off the coast of Mindanao and sank it. Some Japanese guards shot prisoners as they struggled from the holds after the attack or were in the water.

668 POW's died when the ship sank, leaving only 82 survivors. 47 of 52 Japanese guards also died.

His remains were not recovered.

Burial:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial 
Manila
Metro Manila
National Capital Region, Philippines
Plot: Tablets Of The Missing

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