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 and 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 inducted in the Army in July 1941, but it is not known where
he was stationed. 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.
The reason for this move was an event that took place in the summer of 1941. A
squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf when one of the pilots noticed something odd.
He took his plane down and identified a buoy, with a flag, in the water. He came upon more flagged buoys
that lined up - in a straight line - for 30 miles to the northwest, in the direction of an Japanese occupied
island, with a large radio transmitter, hundred of miles away. The squadron continued its flight plane and
flew south to Mariveles and then returned to Clark Field. When the planes landed, it was too late to do
anything that day.
The next day - when a when planes were sent to the area - the buoys had been picked up
and a fishing boat was seen making its way toward shore. Since communication between the planes and Navy
was poor, nothing was done to intercept the boat. It was at that time the decision was made to build up the
American military presence in the Philippines.
The battalion's new tanks came from the 753rd Tank Battalion and were loaded onto flat
cars, on different trains. The soldiers also cosmolined anything that they thought would rust. Over
different train routes, the companies were sent to San Francisco, California, where they were ferried, by the
U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe, to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island. On the island, they were given
physicals by the battalion's medical detachment and men found with minor medical conditions were held on the
island and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date. Other men were simply replaced.
The 192nd was boarded onto the
U.S.A.T. Gen. Hugh L. Scott and sailed on Monday, October 27th. During this part of the trip, many
tankers had seasickness, but once they recovered they spent much of the time training in breaking down machine
guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP. The ship arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2nd
and had a two day layover, so the soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island.
On Wednesday, November 5th, the ship sailed for Guam but took a southerly route away
from the main shipping lanes. It was at this time it was joined by, the heavy cruiser, the
U.S.S. Louisville and, another transport, the
S.S. Calvin Coolidge. Sunday night, November 9th, the soldiers went to bed and when they awoke the
next morning, it was Tuesday, November 11th. During the night, while they slept, the ships had crossed the
International Date Line. On Saturday, November 15th, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the
horizon. The Louisville revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it shot off in the
direction of the smoke. It turned out the smoke was from a ship that belonged to a friendly country.
When they arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16th, the ships took on water, bananas,
coconuts, and vegetables before sailing for Manila the next day. At one point, the ships passed an island
at night and did so in total blackout. This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent
into harm's way. The ships entered Manila Bay, at 8:00 A.M., on Thursday, November 20th, and docked at Pier
7 later that morning. At 3:00 P.M., most of the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg. Those
who drove trucks drove them to the fort, while the maintenance section remained behind at the pier to unload the
At the fort, they were greeted by Colonel Edward P. King, who apologized they had to live in
tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield. He made sure that they had what they needed
and received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own dinner. Ironically, November 20th was the
date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
The members of the battalion pitched the tents in an open field halfway between the
Clark Field Administration Building and Fort Stotsenburg. The tents were set up in two rows and five men
were assigned to each tent. There were two supply tents and meals were provided by food trucks stationed at
the end of the rows of tents.
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
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
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
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
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. 800 POWs gathered at 2:00 A.M. on October 6, and were given rice coffee, lugow rice, and a
big rice ball. After eating and packing their kits, the POWs marched out of the camp at 2:30 A.M. and
received two buns as they marched through the gate to the barrio of Cabanatuan which they reached at 6:00
A.M. There, 50 men were boarded onto each of the small wooden boxcars waiting for them at about 9:00
A.M. The trip to Manila lasted until 4:00 P.M. and because of the heat in the cars, many POWs passed out.
From the train station, the men were marched to pier 5 in the Port Area of Manila.
Some of the Filipinos flashed the "V" for victory sign as they made their war to the pier. The detachment
arrived at 5:00 P.M and were tired and hungry and were put in a warehouse on the pier. The Japanese fed
them rice and salted fish and let them eat as much as they wanted. They also were allowed to wash.
Before boarding the ship on October 7, 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, for those
in the holds, were indescribable, and those POWs those on deck were better off. This situation was made
worse by the fact that for the first two weeks of the voyage the prisoners were not fed, which resulted in many
of the POWs dying during the trip.
The ship did not sail until the next day at 10:00 A.M. and passed the ruins of
Corregidor at noon. In addition, there were sick Japanese and soldiers on the ship. That night some
POWs slept in the holds, but a large number slept on the deck. The first day, the POWs were given three
small loaves of bread for meals - which equaled one American loaf of bread - the loaves were suppose to last two
days, but most men ate them in one meal. The men did ration their water. The ship was at sea, when
two torpedoes fired at by an American submarine missed the ship. The ship fired a couple of shots where it
thought the sub was, but these also missed. A while later, the ship passed a mine that had been laid by the
submarine. The POWs were fed bags of buns biscuits, with some candy, and received water daily.
The ship arrived at Takao, Formosa, on October 11. Since most were sick with
something, the line to use the latrines went around the ship. The American doctors had no medicine to help
the sick, and some were seen as benefiting off the sick. It was at this time that the POWs on the ship, from
Mindanao, were moved to a second hold putting 500 POWs in each hold.
On October 14, food stuffs were loaded onto the ship, and each POW got two candy bags of
hard tack and one meal of rice and soup each day. The ship sailed on October 16 at 7:30 A.M. but turned
around at 3:30 P.M. arriving back at Takao at 10:30 P.M. It was believed the ship had turned around because
American submarines were in the area.
The ship sailed again on October 18 and arrived at the Pescadores Islands at 5:00
P.M.. There it dropped anchor off the Island of Makou, Pescadores Islands, where it remained anchored
until October 27 when it returned to Takao. During this time the quality of food deteriorated and was
barely edible. Two POWs also died and their bodies were thrown into the sea at 4:00 P.M. The
ship sailed again on October 27 and returned to Takao the same day. While it was docked food stuffs were
again loaded onto the ship.
The next day, the POWs were taken ashore and bathed with seawater at the same time the
ship was cleaned. They were again put into the holds and the ship and remained there until the ship sailed
on October 29. At 5:00 P.M. it again arrived at Makou, Pescadores Islands. During this time the POWs
were fed two meals of day of rice and soup. The ship sailed on October 31, as part of a seven ship
convoy. During this part of the voyage, it rode out a typhoon for five days on its way to Fusan,
Korea. On November 3, three more POWs died. On November 5, one of the ships was sunk by an American
submarine and the other ships scattered.
Tottori Maru arrived at Fusan on November 7, but the 1400 POWs leaving the ship did not disembark until
November 8 and were issued fur lined over coats and new clothing. Those POWs who were too ill to continue
the trip to
Mukden, Manchuria, remained behind at Fusan. Those who died
were cremated and had their ashes placed in small white boxes which were sent to Mukden. The 400 POWs still
on the ship were sent to Japan.
When they got there, they lived in dugouts and were later moved to a two story brick
barracks with electricity and cold running water. Each enlisted POW received two thin blankets to cover
themselves with at night. The officers got one blanket and a mattress. The barracks were divided into
10 sections with five on the ground floor and five on the second floor. Each section was divided into four
double-decked sleeping bays which held 8 men. In all, 48 men slept in a section which were infested with
lice, fleas, and bedbugs. There was a shelf two feet higher for the men's clothing. Heat was provided
by stoves known as"patchkas" which apparently provided adequate heat. Temperatures during the winter
average 40 degrees below zero and over 200 POWs died in the camp the first winter.
Meals were the same everyday. For breakfast they had cornmeal mush and a
bun. Lunch was maize and beans, and dinner was beans and a bun. The food was good, but the POWs did
not receive enough, and during the first winter 205 POWs died from malnutrition and not having the proper
Since they were underfed, the POWs trapped wild dogs to supplement their meals of soy
beans which usually came in the form of soup. They continued to trap dogs until, while marching to work,
they saw one eating a dead Chinese.
Stealing from the Japanese was a way of life, and the POWs stole the raw materials for
what they needed on a daily basis. From the raw materials, they manufactured what they needed.
Punishment was given out for no reason or for violating a rule. The POWs were
beaten, hit with bamboo poles, kicked, hit with shoe heals, hit with clubs, punched with fists as they stood at
attention. The Japanese, on one occasion, made the POWs come out of their barracks and line up at attention
as they searched the barracks. They had all the POWs strip bare because they believed some POWs had bought
cigarettes from the Chinese. All the POWs stood barefooted in the snow, for 45 minutes, as the Japanese
searched 700 POWs. Another time, when three POWs escaped and were recaptured, the other POWs watched as
they were hit on their heads, shoulders, and backs with sticks for hours. At other times, the POW's food
ration was cut in half because the Japanese believed POWs were not working as hard as he should have been, or
someone had been caught smoking in an unauthorized area. They would also withhold Red Cross packages.
One guard, Eiichi Nada, who was born, raised, and educated, in Berkley, California, was
considered to be the worse abuser of the POWs. It was common while the POWs were lined up at morning
assembly for him to hit men for no reason. He continued to hit them until they fell to the ground and said
, "Get up, you yellow, white son of a bitch."
Another guard walked through the barracks and hit the POWs,with a 3 foot club, for no real
reason. On one occasion, a Lt Murado ordered the prisoners to remove their shoes. After they had, he
hit each man in the face with his shoes.
Red Cross boxes were sent to the camp, but were raided by the Japanese. According
to POWs, the Chinese who they worked with, told them that there was a warehouse full of Red Cross food.
When the Red Cross visited the camp, the rations were larger and the sick were told to lounge around. None
of the POWs were allowed to talk to the Red Cross representative.
The POWs worked either at a machine shop or a saw mill from 7:30 A.M. until 5:30 or 6:00
P.M. each day. The machine shop never produced anything that was useful to the Japanese. Each
morning, the POWs were marched three miles to the shop where they worked manufacturing weapons for the
Japanese. To prevent the production of weapons, they committed acts of sabotage like pouring sand
into the machine oiling holes. The Japanese usually blamed these acts of sabotage on the Chinese in the
plant because they believed the Americans were not smart enough to commit the sabotage.
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 but could little since he and the other American doctors had few medical supplies. Many of the POWs who
died in the camp died from treatable illnesses. The Japanese Army doctor, Jeichi Kumashima, denied the POWs
Red Cross medicines that had been sent to the camp. The Chinese workers at the machine shop told the POWs
there was a warehouse full of Red Cross supplies. Another Japanese doctor, Juro Oki, who was a civilian,
smuggled medicine into the camp for the POWs. If he had been caught, he would have been shot. After the
war, Kumashima was hung for being guilty of war crimes.
In a letter his parents received in August 1944, he sai
"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
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."
As the war went on American planes began to appear over Mukden. On
one occasion, in December 1944, a bomb, from one B-29, hit the camp killing 20 POWs. The air raids became
more frequent until the end of the war. The Army Japanese doctor for camp attempted to get the POWs
wounded from the bombs to write letters to the International Red Cross to ask the Americans to stop the
bombing. Instead of doing this, the POWs wrote letters saying that they were happy to receive the bombs and
asked for more to be dropped.
On August 20, 1945, American OSS officers parachuted into the camp. He demanded to
meet with the camp commandant. On August 29th, Russian soldiers liberated the camp. The POWs were
taken by train to Dalian, China. From there they were returned to the Philippines.
On October 27th, they 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 from there he went to Letterman Hospital.
William returned to the United States and was discharged, from the army,
as a captain on August 3, 1946, and worked at Hines Veterans Hospital, Hines, Illinois. 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, and 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,