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WWII Hellships with ADBC Museum

October 24, 2023
12:00pm - 1:00pm

WWII Hellships with ADBC Museum

Rich Lizza of the National American Defenders of Bataan & Corregidor (ADBC) Museum, Education & Research Center in Brooke County will tell us about the horrors of WWII “Hellships.” Additional speakers will include: "POWs as the Museum’s Founders" with Mary Kay Wallace; "Experiences as Pows. e.g. the 'Hellships'with James Brockman; "Liberation, Coming Home, and the Pows’ Postwar World" with Joseph Vater.

This program will be available to watch live on Facebook Live, on YouTube, and on the OCPL website's LWB Livestream page Log into your Facebook or YouTube account during the program to leave questions for our presenters in the comments box. They will answer them during the live broadcast. 

Tuesday | 2023 at noon


PRESENTER BIOS:  Rich Lizza; "POWs as the Museum’s Founders" with Mary Kay Wallace; "Experiences as Pows. e.g. the 'Hellships'with James Brockman; "Liberation, Coming Home, and the Pows’ Postwar World" with Joseph Vater

FEATURED STORY:  From South Wheeling to the South China Sea: The Ordeal of Freddie Elkes On Board a Ship to Hell

by Sean Duffy for

October 24, 1944. 5 o’clock p.m. South China Sea.

The nearly 7,000-ton Japanese freighter, Arisan Maru, is churning toward Formosa. Packed in the stifling heat of the ship’s holds are 1,782 mostly American and some Allied war prisoners of the Empire of Japan. The men are destined for forced labor camps.

Seeing only an unmarked enemy vessel, a U.S. Navy submarine, the USS Shark, fires three torpedoes. Direct hit. Split in two, the Arisan Maru slips beneath the waves in less than two hours. While most of the POWs escape the sinking ship, they are left to die on the open sea. The Japanese navy attempts no rescue. Only nine men survive. It is the largest loss of life at sea in American history.

Among the dead is 42 year-old Private First Class Frederick William Elkes, a 17-year veteran of the U.S. Army Air Force, 17th Pursuit Squadron, 24th Pursuit Group. Stationed in the Philippines, the South Wheeling boy who grew up on McColloch Street, was captured during the fall of Bataan.


Lunch With Books Livestream starts at noon on Facebook and YouTube.

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"Lunch With Books" is the library’s flagship program for adult patrons. These lunchtime programs feature authors, poets, musicians, historians, and more every Tuesday at noon. Bring lunch (to your computer), feed your brain!

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