Just as there were two British nationals attached to the US POW contingent [see Section 3.7 below], Col. Toosey’s force at the Bridge site contained a US citizen. Eugene C Pomeroy was born in WASHDC in 1912. After leaving Princeton Univ, he went to work for the China Weekly Review in Shanghai. In 1941, he took a commission in the Indian Army as a Captain with the 12th Frontier Force and was taken as a POW at Singapore. He was one of Col. Toosey’s inner circle of officers during the building of the bridges at ThaMakam.
In Jan 1943, he and 5 others attempted to escape from that camp intending to use the rough mountains of the Thai-Burma border to make their way to China, some 1000 miles away. Needless to say, they lasted barely a week before being recaptured. It is thought that either Thai villagers or the police turned them in for a reward.
Per Col. Toosey’s biography, Pomeroy and Lt. Eric Howard and the 4 enlisted men were executed in FEB 1943 as lesson to the others. None of their remains were recovered and they are memorialized on a plaque in Singapore. [see the 2022 update below]
October 2022 Update:
A family member (nephew) found this profile on-line and contacted me with an interesting update. He confirmed the basic information about Capt Pomeroy being executed after an escape attempt but added that in 1955 Capt Pomeroy’s brother made a trip to Thailand and with the aid of some locals and gov’t officials was able to locate his grave site in Kanchanaburi. Subsequently, he was able to re-patriate the remains to the family burial plot in Hopewell, NJ. A seemingly simply statement like this is open to a host of questions. But we have the family’s word on this.
He also provided a few other facts that I have added to the ANCESTRY profile above,
It is quite gratifying that this website has been able to reach others who can expand the story.
It is also of passing interest that the remains of Lt Eric Howard who was one of the others executed at this same time is buried at the Don Rak cemetery. His was apparently the only set of remains that were recovered for re-burial.
Franklin Goedel 3.6.9b
While paging through a seemingly endless roster of POWs, a footnote seemed to jump off the page. It read “US in KNIL” along with the annotation that he had died in Jan 1944 at the Changaraya camp. I shifted over to ANCESTRY.com and searched with those two parameters. The following:GOEDEL-profile
As per usual for this era, there is not much of an electronic footprint beyond his military service records, but his name is unique enough to limit the choices. Finding the grave information confirmed the data. Linked information suggests that his father was Swiss but he was born In PHILA PA and therefore a US citizen. In his early 20s, he renewed his passport in Vienna Austria, suggesting that he had returned to Europe. There was no information about his mother but I’d assume that she must have been his connection to the Netherlands. The side-story of how he ended up in the Dutch Army (in his 40s) on the island of Java in 1942 will likely never be known, but could be interesting reading. And so we document another US POW albeit as part of the KNIL not the US ARMY! Lest we forget!
1 thought on “Capt Pomeroy 3.6.9a”
Eugene C. Pomeroy, Jr. was my uncle. My father, Robert L. Pomeroy, served with the OSS during the Second World War. In late 1944, after serving in the Italian Campaign, he volunteered to go to the Far East to look for his brother. When he finally located my uncle’s grave, my father disinterred him and cremated his remains, returning with them to New Jersey where they were buried in the family cemetery at Hunt’s House, Hopewell, New Jersey. My father never recovered from the death of his brother.