In Memory of
Thomas Ching Arnold
Hermosa, South Dakota
April 27, 1911≠≠ -- October 24, 1944
Killed as POW on Japanese ship Arisan
Maru in South China Sea
Thomas C. Arnold was born in Hermosa, South Dakota, on
April 27, 1911, to Ching and Eleanor Arnold. He was the youngest of four and
the only boy in his family. Thomas lived on a large ranch where his family
raised both cattle and horses. He grew up in Hermosa and also attended school
there. Thomas was later married to Thelma Clarke and had a daughter they named
Thomas Arnold entered the army at Ft. Meade, SD, in 1940,
where he joined the Cavalry because of his love for horses. His daughter,
Barbara, was only eight years old when he enlisted.
The following is a letter Thomas wrote home to his
family; although mailed from Manila, Philippines, on November 24, 1941, it was
not delivered until 1944.
How is everything with you? I suppose
you are surprised to hear from me here. There was
a bunch of us sent to the Philippine Islands. Donít know how long we will be
there. There is
about fifteen hundred on this boat. I am going to the Coast Artillery, but we
know what outfit we are. Stopping at Guam for a few hours. I suppose it will
be about a
month before you get this. I will write as soon as we get there and get paid.
We will be in
quarantine for six weeks after we get there. It is awful hot here. I hope
Barbara is getting
along all right in school. I never had a chance to go anywhere before I left.
I didnít know
until one morning I was going and that afternoon I was on the train....
During WW II, Thomas C. Arnold was taken prisoner in 1941
when the Japanese invaded the Philippines. It is believed Thomas was on the
Bataan Death March, where so many American soldiers perished due to harsh
conditions and treatment. Detained in Philippine Military Prison Camp No. 4,
Thomas Arnold was allowed to write few messages but apparently survived his time
and worked as a cobbler.
Then, a few years later, 1,775 prisoners, including Mr.
Arnold, were evacuated from the Philippines, taken aboard a Japanese ship. On
October 24, 1944, Allied submarines sunk the ship, not realizing that American
POWs were aboard. According to family, only five prisoners survived this
terrible tragedy. Thomasí body was never recovered.
Thomasí daughter, Barbara,
told us this:
In 1941 I was 9
years old. I missed my father very much. We were all told
this was the war to end all wars. Donít we wish it were true.
Thomas Arnold, Company D, 59th
Coast Artillery Regiment, is listed on the Tablets of the Missing at Manila
American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines. He was awarded the Purple Heart.
This entry was
respectfully submitted by Bethany Jo Baker, 8th Grade West, Spearfish
Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, November 22, 2000. Information for this
entry was provided by Mrs. Barbara Eisenhauer, East Peoria, Illinois, daughter
of Thomas C. Arnold, and by Elouise Lintz, Hermosa, South Dakota, niece in-law
of Thomas Arnold.