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Shaw, Dwight

Document Type

Oral History

Date of Interview



Dwight Shaw was born on 3 November 1920 in Berger, Idaho, the youngest of eight children. He grew up in the Berger area, graduating from Hollister High School in 1939; after living briefly in Washington, D.C., in October 1940 Dwight enlisted in the US Army Air Corps and was assigned to the 5th Air Base Group at Fort Douglas, Utah. In late fall 1941 this unit was stationed in the Philippines, on the island of Mindanao. When Japanese forces attacked the Philippines in December 1941, Dwight's unit was at Del Monte Airfield, Mindanao. With thousands of other US military personnel, Dwight became a POW in May 1942. He was at Camp Casisang, on Mindanao, until approximately October 1942, then was transported with other American POWs to the Davao Penal Colony, also on Mindanao. Dwight did various work details, including in the rice paddies, and endured hunger, poor treatment, and different tropical illnesses. In mid-1944 Dwight was in a group of POWs placed on a hell ship for transport to Japan; the journey took more than two months, ending at the Japanese port of Moji, on the island of Kyushu. POWs were transported by train to Yokkaichi, by Nagoya, where Dwight worked for several months in a plant that produced fertilizer. In June 1945, Dwight was in a group of about 150 POWs moved to Camp #7 at Toyama; here the work was in a factory, a scrap iron smelter. American B-29s firebombed Toyama on the night of 2 August 1945, destroying over ninety percent of the city, but the POW compound was spared destruction. Two weeks later the war ended, and on 5 September Dwight and the POWs at this facility were evacuated by US forces. Dwight spent some days in the Philippines before boarding a ship for the United States. He was at several military hospitals before his discharge in April 1946. Again a civilian, Dwight returned to the Berger area and, after 1946-48 with the Sheriff's Department, took a position with the Postal Service, retiring in 1975. Dwight re-married in September 1946 (wife Phyllis), and helped to raise five children; after a divorce he married again in 1964 (wife Susan). Dwight Shaw was interviewed in February 2004 at his winter home in Yuma, Arizona.


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Dwight Shaw - Transcript.pdf (845 kB)
PDF Transcript of Interview with Dwight Shaw