Monday, June 19, 2006

Korean War POW

This story of a son of Orlando1 was published on Friday, Nov. 11, 1988 in an unidentified newpaper. Crystal Kearns2 shares it with us.

In November, 1950 Bill Skinner had been fighting in Korea only two months but he had been told the war would soon be over. Suddenly everything changed. The Chineese entered the war in November. "We fought all night in the freezing temperatures, and the next morning, Nov. 30, 1950, I was taken prisoner"

While a prisoner, all but three toes turned black and rotted off due to frostbite and he remembered with resentment the many friends who were tortured, frozen to death or died from starvation and disease. The article quotes Bill Skinner:
"When the boys would die, it was so cold they would take the bodies out and pile them up, placing brush or rocks upon them. They would let the pigs run wild and they would eat the bodies."

The following year Bill Skinner was moved from the Korean POW camp to a Chineese POW camp. His weight was down from 185 to less than 100 pounds at that time, but in the Chineese camp it was even worse. The article says that they were "given some rice, but not enought to stay healthy. It continues:
"Skinner said that there were many missionaries who were taken prisoners during World War II. [sic] 'One time, I was very ill and they fed us only watered-down rice and a missionary traded her dried rice for mine so that I could start eating again.' "

Bill Skinner spent two years in the Chineese camp. He wasn't released until the war was over.

1. Bill Skinner is the grandson of William and Clara Skinner. (See July 11, '06 entry William Otto & Clara Onetta Skinner.)

2. Crystal is an Orlando descendent through Gideon & Sarah (Bennett) Skinner. (See the Feb 26, '06 entry Clover Fork Family ca. 1905.), their son Hayward and his wife Reva (Pritt) and their son, Alan.


  1. Did Mr. Skinner make a mistake when he said "WWII" (regarding missionaries)? Several were taken prisoner by the Chinese during WWII, but they would not likely have been there to help Mr. Skinner. Was he referring to the Korean War?

    Homer Heater

  2. I was surprised about the missionaries still imprisoned from WWII. I hope we can find an answer to your very good question.