Woodbury County

Pfc. Charles W. Ellis




Two Sioux Cityans, Private Laurie J. Gillespie, son of Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Gillespie, 1029 Hill avenue and Private Charles W. Ellis, son of Mrs. Effie Ellis, 1303 12th street, were announced by the War Department at Washington Saturday as being prisoners of the Japanese.

Private Gillespie has been in the service since before the United States entered the war and was in the Philippine islands when the Japanese invaded. His parents received word May 30, 1942, that he was missing in action and recently were informed by Washington that he was held prisoner.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, April 24, 1943


Pfc. Charles W. Ellis, son of Mrs. Effie Ellis, 1303 12th street, was among the prisoners released from a Japanese prison camp by the American forces. His mother received a telegram from the War Department Sunday night informing her of her son’s safety and telling here that further details would be forwarded.

She said, “It was such a relief. I was so afraid that it was bad news when the telegram came.” Mrs. Ellis had had but three cards from her son during the two years he was interned in the camp, the last one having arrived December 14, 1943. He was in the Philippine-Corregidor camp No. 1, she stated.

Pfc. Ellis enlisted in the army on January 13, 1941, and went overseas in April of that same year. He arrived in the Philippines in May stationed there until he was captured. He was in the coast artillery. He was seriously wounded in action in April 1942, and was taken prisoner in May of that year.

Prior to entering service he attended Woodrow Wilson school and worked in various gasoline stations.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, February 19, 1945 (photo included)

Pfc. Charles Ellis, Out of Jap Prison, Sends Wire Here

Mrs. Effie Ellis, 1303 12th street, Wednesday received a telegram vis the War Department from her son, Pfc. Charles Ellis, who was reported among prisoners released from a Japanese camp, Philippine-Corregidor No. 1, February 19.

“Feeling great. Tell dad that I will be home soon, I hope. Signed, C. Ellis,” read the message forwarded by the War Department.

Source:  The Sioux City Journal, March 1, 1945

Sioux Cityan Freed from Japanese Prison in Manila Arrives Home

Pfc. Charles W. Ellis, who was freed February 4 from a Japanese prison camp, Bilibid in Manila, has arrived in Sioux City and will spend a 21-day furlough with his mother, Mrs. Effie Ellis, 1303 12th street.  He was flown from Manila all the way home.

Pfc. Ellis said he was not allowed to divulge any information regarding the treatment he received while he was a prisoner, but his relief and joy at being freed were obvious.  When his mother asked him to name is first dinner menu, he said, “anything but rice.”

Enlisting in the army January 14, 1941, he became a member of the coast artillery and was sent to the Philippines in May of that year.  On April 15, 1942, he lost his right arm in action and on May 6, he was taken prisoner at Corregidor.  He was first placed in the Cabantuan prison camp, then in the prison camp which was Fort William McKinley before the Japanese took it, then was sent to Bilibid at Manila.

At the end of his furlough Pfc. Ellis will report to Percy Jones hospital in Battle Creek, Mich., where he will be given an artificial  right arm and where he will be taught to use it.  When he was wounded he lost his arm just below the shoulder.

He was released from the prison camp February 4, he said.  His mother was notified February 19, by the War Department that he was among the prisoners released from a Japanese prison camp by the American forces.

Pfc. Ellis wears six service medals, including the Purple Heart, the good conduct medal, the Asiatic Pacific theater ribbon, a ribbon signifying that he was a prisoner of war and a unit citation.

Prior to entering the service he attended Woodrow Wilson school and worked in various gasoline stations.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, March 13, 1945 (photo included)

Charles William Ellis was born Sept. 18, 1916 to Charles William and Effie Reid Ellis. He died Oct. 21, 1968 and is buried in Graceland Park Cemetery, Sioux City, IA.

Cpl. Ellis served in World War II with the U.S. Army 809th Military Police Battalion. He was awarded the Purple Heart.

Source: ancestry.com

Death Takes Veteran of World War II
Charles W. Ellis, 52, 1309 12th St., who was captured by the Japanese when Corregidor in the Philippines fell to the enemy in 1942 and who was a prisoner of war the next three years, died Monday night at the Veterans Hospital in Sioux Falls after a long illness.

He had been confined to a wheelchair because of disabilities received during the war years. He enlisted in the Army Jan. 13, 1941, and was stationed in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked. He lost his right arm in action April 15, 1942. On May 6 of the same year, he was captured by the Japanese, and was released Feb. 4, 1945.

A lifelong Sioux Cityan, Mr. Ellis was born here Sept. 18, 1916.

He was a citizen’s band radio enthusiast and belonged to a Flea Watters radio club. He was member of Shull Post 580, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and formerly belonged to Monahan Post 64, American Legion.

Survivors include his mother, Mrs. Effie Ellis of Sioux City; a brother, Wilford of South Sioux City and a sister, Mrs. Mary Cardwell of Sioux City, The body was taken to the Anderson Funeral Home.

Source: Sioux City Journal, October 22, 1968