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Remembering World War II
Thomas Read Blackadar
Thomas Read Blackadar Sergeant 18059896 Air Forces Far East, U.S. Army Air Force Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron Prisoner of War Medal and the Purple Heart August 31, 1917 Brooklyn, New York, US August 12, 1941 Houston, Texas, US Galveston, Texas, US 23 5 feet, 5 1/2 inches Light Hazel Brown Single Free Lance News Correspondent Capt. Frederick Smith Blackadar (Father) Galveston, Texas October 24, 1944 (Lost at Sea) 27 Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila, Philippines Thomas Read Blackadar was the son of Frederick Smith Blackadar (1879-1958) and Helen Blackadar (1895-1940). His father was born in Hebron, Yarmouth Co., NS, and his mother was born in New York. They married in Brooklyn, New York. Frederick Smith Blackadar served in WWI as Commander of the USS Clara Santa, a US troop ship. Thomas completed a WWII draft Card in 1940 and enlisted on August, 12, 1941, in Houston, Texas. He was assigned to the Air Forces Far East, U.S. Army Air Force. Stationed in the Philippines, he became a prisoner of war of the Japanese Army in April-May, 1942, and held at the Japanese POW Camp No 1 at Cabanatuan, Nueva Province, Luzon, Philippines. October 10, 1944, Sergeant Blackadar was one of 1,782 prisoners of war loaded on the Japanese cargo ship Arisan Maru for transport to Japan. They suffered through unsanitary conditions, extreme heat within the hold (120 °F, 49 °C) and a lack of water. The ship sailed south on October 11th to the west coast of Palawan and waited for several days while Allied air raids hit Manila. Then, on October 20th, the freighter returned to Manila. On October 21st, the Arisan Maru departed Manila joining convoy MATA-30 heading for Takao, Taiwan. Due to an American submarine threat the convoy was broken up and the Arisan Maru, one of the slowest ships in the convoy, was sailing alone. On October 24, 1944, The USS Shark, an American submarine, unaware that there were American prisoners of wr on board fired three torpedoes at 5:30 pm that hit the ship. The Arisan Maru broke into two pieces that floated before sinking. Except for nine of the prisoners aboard died in the sinking, the largest loss of American lives in a single disaster at sea. No prisoners were killed by the torpedo strikes and nearly all were able to leave the ship's holds but the Japanese only rescued Japanese. Nine American prisoners survived. Sergeant Blackadar was declared "Missing In Action" in the sinking of the Arisan Maru.
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