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 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.
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
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 5 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 Tottori 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 Tottori 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.
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
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
In another part of the letter he said:
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
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, Illinois.