In Memory of
Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
John Coleman Bingham, Jr.
Belle Fourche, South Dakota
Butte County
June 11, 1903-October 24, 1944
Killed as a POW enroute from Philippines to Japan

John Coleman Bingham, Jr.

John Coleman Bingham, Jr. was born to John Coleman Bingham and Emma Reed (Baskerville) Bingham on June 11, 1903 in Harding, South Dakota. He had one sister Irene Henwood and one brother Robert Morris Bingham.  He attended and graduated from Spearfish High School.

John C. Bingham, Jr. joined the US Marine Corps on October 26, 1925. He played the cornet in the Marine Band. He was in the Marines for three four-year terms. The first lasted until October 25, 1929. He then went back on December 2, 1929 until December 1, 1933. He returned yet again on January 2, 1934 until February 26, 1938. He was shipped overseas on August 19, 1938. He was in China from November 6, 1938 until November 28, 1941. He was sent to the Philippine Islands on December 2, 1941 until December 6, 1941, until he was sent to participate in the Philippine Islands Operation on December 7, 1941.

He participated in action against the enemy in the Philippine Islands Operation (Bataan and Corregidor) from December 8, 1941 until May 5, 1942. He was captured May 6, 1942 during the fall of Corregidor and kept until the day he died on October 24, 1944 when his Japanese prison ship sunk. The prisoner ship which transported Bingham and the other prisoners was torpedoed by the U.S.

Mrs. Will Henwood, Spearfish, South Dakota, sister of Bingham, received this message on June 29, 1945, concerning Bingham’s death:

We deeply regret to inform you that delayed information has reached headquarters that your brother, John C. Bingham, Jr. U.S.M.C., lost his life 24 October 1944 when the ship on which he was being removed from the Philippines to Japan was sunk. He is carried on the records of the Marine Corps as having been killed in action in the performance of his duty and service of his country. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy.

-AA Vandergrift, General U.S.M.C. Commandant of the Marine Corps

John C. Bingham had no memorial service and has no formal burial site except for a commemorative stone at the Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines. He was buried at sea.

His enlistment was extended two years from February 26, 1942. Had his enlistment been terminated by discharge, his service would have entitled him to an Honorable Discharge. At the time of Bingham’s death, he had served in the Marines for 19 years. For serving his country, he received the following awards: the Purple Heart, Army Distinguished Unit Emblem with Oak Leaf Cluster, American Defense Service Medal with Base Clasp, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal, and China Service Medal No. 763.

The Arisan Maru

The Arisan Maru -- “During World War II she departed Manila on October 10, 1944, with 1800 American POWs.   Was torpedoed by the USS Snook on October 24, 1944; 1795 POWs died …”
Courtesy of

This entry was respectfully submitted by Mikayla Grusing and Jazmine Tarrant, 12th grade, American Literature, Belle Fourche High School, Belle Fourche, SD, on December 7, 2001.  Information for this entry was provided by Mildred Henwood Neisent, Spearfish, SD, niece of Marine Sergeant John C. Bingham, Jr.