WWII soldier who died in Japanese POW camp identified 81 years later

Military scientists have identified the remains of an Illinois soldier who died in a Japanese POW camp in the Philippines during World War II.

The remains of Army Pfc. Harry Jerere of Berkeley, Illinois, was identified in December, nearly 81 years after he died of pneumonia at the Cabanatuan POW camp, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Thursday.

Mr. Jerere, who was 26 when he died in December 1942, will be buried Oct. 6 at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, about 40 miles southwest of Chicago, the agency announced.

81 years later, in memory of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

His niece Rosemary Dillon, who lives in Chicago, said she was just a young child when Jerere went into the military, but she remembers him as a quiet person who loved singing and playing the guitar. he said. She said it was a “miracle” that his body was finally identified.

The identity of an Army soldier from Illinois who died in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in 1942 has been revealed. (Fox News)

“I wish my mother and grandmother could have been here to witness his return,” Dillon said in an Illinois National Guard news release.

Jerele was a member of the U.S. Army’s 192nd Tank Battalion when the Japanese invaded the Philippine Islands. After the surrender of American forces in Bataan in April 1942, he and thousands of other American and Filipino servicemen were captured by the Japanese and interned in a POW camp.

According to historical records, Jelele died on December 28, 1942 and was buried in a mass grave at the Cabanatuan POW camp along with other deceased POWs.


Remains from that grave were exhumed in 2020 and sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis. Jerere’s body was identified using anthropological analysis, circumstantial evidence and DNA analysis.