In Memory of
US Army Air Force Second Lt.
Wallace F. Churchill
Wessington Springs, South Dakota
Jerauld County
August 18, 1919 – September 7, 1944
Killed as a Prisoner of War in the Pacific

Memorial dedication horizontal image rule

Wallace F. Churchill, son of Andrew and Jessie Churchill of Wessington Springs,  graduated from Wessington Springs High School in 1937.  Wallace then attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, from where he enlisted in the Army Air Corps prior to 1942.  After graduating from college, he joined the Army Air Corps and trained in several airfields in the United States with all different kinds of planes. 

Prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Wallace joined the AF  28th Bomber Squadron.  He was stationed at Clark Field in the Philippines, where he was wounded by the initial attack by the Japanese.  After recovering from the wounds, he was transferred to ground forces.  Around this time he came under the command of General Sharp in Mindanao, P.I. then Mindanao fell.  The Japanese at Camp Davao then imprisoned Wallace. When Wallace was held prisoner, his family only received two postcards, which were nearly two years apart.  Only ten words were allowed on each postcard.

In 1944 the Japanese started moving the prisoners of war to Japan.  Wallace was imprisoned and sailed on an unmarked ship, the Shinyo Maru, August 20, 1944, along with 800 other POWs.  American submarines thought that the ship Wallace was on carried escaping Japanese, so they bombed and sank it off the coast of Mindanao. According to http://harrisonheritage.com/adbc/hellship.htm, There were 750 American POWs aboard - 668 died.” Long after the bombing, Wallace’s parents and sister talked to three of the men who reached the shore that fateful day. His body was never recovered; he received a Purple Heart with an Oak Leaf Cluster posthumously.

Wallace is listed on the Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery, Philippines.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Kaela Ventrella, 8th Grade West,
Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, February 9, 2000.
Information for this entry was taken from an article on pg. 43 of The Making of a Community by Marie McVey, sent to us by Edna Hawley of Wessington Springs, South Dakota, newspaper clippings, and http://harrisonheritage.com/adbc/hellship.htm.