Arthur H. Ellis

  • Private First Class
  • WW II


Arthur Howard Ellis was born and grew up in the Greystone section of Providence, Rhode Island. He was the youngest of three boys born to Mr. William Arthur Ellis and Mrs. Lydia (Howard) Ellis. He was a 1936 graduate of Central High School, Providence, Rhode Island. He was very active in sports, school activities and Boy Scouts having earned his “Eagle Scout Award.”

He entered Rhode Island State College (RISC) in September 1936 with the class of 1940, majoring in Agriculture. He participated in the Army ROTC program for two years while a student at RISC. On 9 October 1940, Arthur enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces. He attended basic training for six weeks at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri and advanced technical training at Keesler Field, Mississippi before arriving at the Southern Pacific Theatre, Philippines Islands.

On 8 December 1941, the Battle of the Philippines began with the invasion by Japanese military forces. The defending forces outnumbered the Japanese invaders by three to two, but they were a mixed force of inexperienced American and Philippine units. The Japanese used their best first-line troops and overran most of Luzon in the first month of the campaign. Private 1st Class Ellis, like many of the Air Force ground troops, was assigned as an infantryman with the 31st Infantry Division to fight against the invading Japanese forces. The American and Filipinos fought with courage and determination; however, they were no match with the best first-line Japanese troops.

During the “Battle of the Philippines” on 8 December 1941 through 8 May 1942, allied losses were 25,000 killed, 21,000 wounded and 100,000 captured. Private 1st Class Ellis was captured during the battle for Luzon. He was first reported at the Japanese POW Camp #4, Tariac, Luzon.

Private 1st Class Arthur Howard Ellis, U.S. Army Air Forces died of wounds while imprisoned in the Japanese POW camp. Private Ellis was awarded the Purple Heart Medal and is listed on the Tablets of the Missing, Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines. He volunteered to serve our country during World War II and died from wounds received during combat. He was a true Rhode Island and American hero who served with courage and honor.