Harrison County, Ohio

Glen H. Thompson

A member of the Civilian Conservation Corps, Glen Thompson was taken prisoner when the Japanese overran the Islands defenses on the 23 rd of December 1941. 98 civilian contractors remained after all military POWs were taken off the island and were forced to be slave laborers under horrendous conditions. Worried that they might be a problem to control as an American force to retake the island sat offshore, the Commanding Officer had them taken out and executed

The Headquarters Company commander, Lieutenant Commander Tachibana, was ordered by Admiral Sakaibara to move the prisoners from their compound to an antitank ditch on the northern tip of Wake Island. There, in the waning afternoon light of 7 October 1943, Lieutenant Torashi Ito of Headquarters Company, had the Americans lined up and seated along the ditch facing the sea. They were blindfolded with their hands and feet bound. Three platoons of Tachibana's company mowed them down with machine gun and rifle fire. The Americans then were dumped unceremoniously into the ditch and covered with coral sand. The indignity suffered by the prisoners was not complete, however. The following day, a report from an enlisted man that he saw one of the prisoners escape during the confusion of the massacre prompted the disinterment of the bodies. The corpses were dug up and counted, then hastily reburied. The sailor had been correct; one American was missing. That man, whose identity has not been discovered, was re-captured and was beheaded personally by Admiral Sakaibara three weeks later.

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