to the

Memory of

James Noel Cooper

James Noel Cooper was born 15 May 1915 in Walnut Ridge, Lawrence, Arkansas. He died 24 June 1978 in Poplar Bluff, Butler, Missouri. He was my father.

He grew up in the Moran Community just north of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas then moved to the Neelyville area south of Poplar Bluff, Missouri. The Moran Community became the Walnut Ridge Air Base and is now Williams Baptist College. In June of 1939 he went into Poplar Bluff and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was in the Philippines aboard the USS Canopus when Pearl Harbor was bombed. There was just enough time to get the ship out of Manila Bay before Manila was also bombed.

On 6 May 1942, when Corregidor fell, he was taken prisoner by the Japanese and held as a Prisoner of War until 7 September 1945 when he was officially released. During the time he was held prisoner, he was transported to Japan aboard one of the infamous "Hell Ships." After arriving in Japan, he and his fellow prisoners were used as "slave labor" by the Japanese.

When World War II was over and my dad returned to the United States, he married Evelyn Holder on 1 November 1945 in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. He chose to remain in the Navy and retired in December 1959. After retirement, he settled in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Along with two more retired "Navy Men" he established Heart of America Realty, selling real estate until ill health forced him to retire completely. He remained in Poplar Bluff until his death.

Prison Camps

CABANATUAN Camps 1 and 3 until 2 October 1942.
Transported to Japan aboard the "Nagata Maru"
TANAGAWA arrived on 26 November 1942
UMEDA BUNSHO arrived 16 May 1943
TSURUGA arrived 21 May 1945

Medals & Ribbons

Purple Heart

Combat Action

Navy Pres. Unit Citation
(3 times)


Good Conduct

American Defense

American Campaign

Asiatic-Pacific Campaign

WWII Victory

National Defense

Philippine Presidential Unit Citation

Philippine Defense

American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Memorial Society

Center for Research
Allied POWS Under the Japanese

Japanese-POW Home Page

Hellships Memorial Page

Pearl Harbor Casualty List

If you can read this, thank a teacher....
If you are reading it in English, thank a Veteran

Nancy Matthews

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