Mosiman

 

1st. Lt. William Dillon Mosiman, M. D.


    1st. Lt. William D. Mosiman, M. D., was the son of Edna Dillon-Mosiman & Levi Mosiman.  He was born on May 5, 1913, and had two sisters and a brother.  His father was the post master of Morton, Illinois, where William was raised and graduated from Morton High School in 1931.  As a child, his family felt the effects of the Depression, and he worked to earn the money to go to college.

    William attended the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and earned his undergraduate degree in 1935.  He also went to medical school there.  After serving his residency at Illinois Central Hospital in Chicago, William enlisted in the army in June 1941.

    William was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, in July 1941. In October 1941, he was assigned to the 192nd Tank Battalion as a replacement for Capt. James Salmon, M. D., who was too old to go overseas.  The battalion was made up of National Guard Units from Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, and Kentucky.

    After the tank battalion received new tanks to replace their M-2s, the battalion was sent to San Francisco by train.  Arriving there, they were ferried to Angel Island.  They were given physicals and inoculated for duty in the Philippine Islands. 

    Sailing from Angel Island in San Francisco Bay on Monday, October 27th, on the U.S.A.T. Hugh L. Scott for Hawaii, as part of a three ship convoy.  The ships arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2nd,.  After arriving, the soldiers were allowed to go ashore and see the sights.  After a two day stop, the ships sailed for Guam on Tuesday, November 4th. 
    At one point, the convoy passed an island at night in total blackout.  It was a sign that the men were being sent into harm's way.  At Guam, the ships loaded water, green vegetables, bananas, and coconuts.  The battalion arrived at Manila the morning of Thursday, November 20th, which was Thanksgiving Day.  The tankers boarded buses and were taken to Ft. Stotsenburg.  Ironically, this was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had been scheduled to be released from federal service.

    William and Capt Alvin Poweleit, M. D., spent most of the next two weeks going over records for the battalion.  D Company of the battalion was to be transferred to the 194th Tank Battalion, so their records needed to be in order.  The transfer never took place after the attack on Clark Field.

    On December 8, 1941, William lived through the Japanese bombing of Clark Field.  During the attack he sought cover in the ditches along a road.  In the trench with him was 2nd Lt. Emmett Gibson.  William looked at Gibson and asked if he was afraid.  He then said to Gibson, "Me too." 

    After the first wave of planes, William, Dr. Alvin Poweleit and other members of the medical detachment jumped into an ambulance.  At the same time, Japanese fighters came in at low altitude, William and the other soldiers dove out of the ambulance into a bomb crater.  Although the attack lasted for a half hour, the men felt like it went on for hours.

    During the Battle of Bataan, William lived through constant bombing and strafing.  On one occasion William,  Lt. Col. Wickord and Dr. Poweleit noticed that the retreating traffic had stopped.  Suddenly, they heard the sound of tanks. From their position, they could not identify the tanks.  As it turned out the tanks were Japanese.  Later they learned that they had been behind enemy lines.

    William is credited with saving the life of Lt. Jacques Merrifield.  Merrifield's Bren-gun carrier was crossing a bridge when a shell landed next to it,  The Bren-gun carrier went into the river.  Dr. Poweleit pulled Merrifield from the wreckage and brought him to shore.  William and Pvt. Curits Massey worked on Merrifield giving him mouth to moth resuscitation for forty-five minutes until he regained consciousness.  The driver, a Pvt.  Long, could not be saved. 

    It was at the field hospital that William became a Prisoner Of War when the medical staff was ordered to surrender.  William took part in the death march and saw Americans bayoneted and shot.  He and the other Prisoners of War went days without food or water.

    At San Fernando, William was boarded into a small wooden boxcar used to haul sugarcane.  The POWs were packed in so tightly that those who died remained standing until the living disembarked the cars.  At Capas, William left the boxcar and walked the last few miles to Camp O'Donnell.  

    Camp O'Donnell was deathtrap.  As many as 50 POWs died each day.  It was William's job to see if the POW had some type of medical treatment.  But without medication, there was not much he could do.

    William was sent to Cabanatuan when the new camp opened.  The death rate in the camp dropped when the Japanese issued Red Cross parcels.  It is known that Bill was admitted as a patient in the camp hospital on June 26, 1942.  His date of discharge was not recorded.  Bill remained in the camp until October.  At 2:00 AM in the morning on October 5th, Bill and other POWs were awakened and transported to Pier 7 in Manila.  Once there, they were housed in a warehouse on the pier.  They remained there for two days.  On October 7, 1942, Bill boarded a Tottori Maru

    The prisoners were divided into two groups. One group was placed in the holds while the other group remained on deck.  The conditions on the ship were indescribable, but those in the hold were worse off than those on deck.  This situation was made worse by the fact that for the first two weeks of the voyage the prisoners were not fed.  Many POWs died during the trip.

    At 10:00 A.M., on October 8th, the Totori Maru sailed passing Corregidor about noon.  The next day the ship was attacked by an American submarine which fired two torpedoes at it.  The captain of the ship maneuvered the ship and successfully avoided the torpedoes.  The ship also avoided a mine that had been laid by a American submarine. 

    The ship continued its voyage arriving at Takao, Formosa on October 11th.  The ship remained at Takao for four days before sailing at 7:30 A.M. on October 16th.  It returned at 10:30 P.M. to Takao for some unknown reason.  The ship sailed again on October 18th and reached the Pescadores Islands the same day.  It dropped anchor and remained off the islands until October 27th when it returned to Takao where food stuffs were loaded.  During this stay, the POWs were disembarked and washed down with fire hoses.

   The ship sailed again on October 30th and dropped anchor off Makou, Pesacadores Islands.  On October 31st, the ship sailed for Pusan, Korea, as part of a seven ship convoy.  During this trip, the ships were caught in a typhoon which took five days to ride out.  After the storm, the ships were attacked by an American submarine resulting in one ship being sunk. During the attack, the ships scattered.

    After 31 days on the ship, the Totori Maru docked at Pusan, Korea, on November 7th.  1300 POW's got off the ship and were issued new clothing and fur-lined overcoats.  They were taken to the train station and took a two day train trip north to Mukden, Manchuria.  There, they worked in a sawmill or a manufacturing plant.  On December 3, 1943, his parents received a POW postcard from him.

    William was sent to Shenyang sub-camp.  That POWs in this camp worked in either a machine shop or wood shop.  In William's case, being a doctor, he was assigned to the camp hospital.  In a letter his parents received in August 1944, he said:


    "Working each day in the camp hospital.  Not as busy now then in the winter.  Wish I had some medical books to read but perhaps they will be just that much more interesting when there are some." 


    In another part of the letter he said:


    "Have not received your package so you see it takes a long time for things to arrive here.  Do not worry about the packages."


    He ended the letter by telling his family:


    "I think of all of you so often and hope that we can soon meet again.  Home will be such a wonderful place after such a long absence."


    He remained in the camp until he and the other POWs were liberated by the Russians in September 1945.  After liberation, he took a train to Darren, China.  From Darren, he was taken to Okinawa before being returned to the Philippines.  On October 27th, his parents received word that he was on his way home.  He arrived in San Francisco on November 1, 1945, on the U.S.S. Marine Shark.

    William returned to the United States and was discharged, from the army, as a captain on August 3, 1946.  He worked at Hines Veterans Hospital.  The hospital was located just outside the town of Maywood which was the hometown of B Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.

    During his two years of employment at the hospital, William met his wife, Eileen, who was a second lieutenant.  He married Eileen Thomson on September 2, 1950, in Morton, Illinois.  They would move to Peoria and raise a family of five children. 

    Dr. William D. Mosiman died at the age of 76, from a heart attack, on January 18, 1989.  He was buried in Lot 11, Grave 4, at Fon du Lac Township Cemetery in East Peoria, Illinois.


 

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