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UScitizen's avatar

How do I find the descendants (or family) of a US Navy sailor murdered by the Japanese in Cabanatuan, Phillipines POW camp?

Asked by UScitizen (4273points) November 19th, 2010

I have a yellowed 1942 “vintage” newspaper clipping with the picture of a US Navy sailor. Above it says “MISSING” ... below the pic… it says “JOHN PORTER DERRINGTON.” He died in Cabanatuan in September, 1942. If he has family, I would like to give this clipping to them. Can anyone help me find his family, or descendants?

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14 Answers

CyanoticWasp's avatar

The first place to start would be to look up the ship he served on, if he was assigned to a ship.

Just google the ship name (and number if you get it) and you’ll probably find several sites that former (and in some cases even ‘current’) sailors on that ship (and its new namesake, because a lot of names are recycled) and that might be enough to get you started.

jaytkay's avatar

There was an article in the LA Times a couple of weeks ago, about people looking for the men named on the POW/MIA bracelets they wore in the 1970s. Sometimes since the 70s. It might spark some ideas.

BarnacleBill's avatar

John Porter Derrington was from Paris, TN. I found him on

His parents appear in a family tree on there. PM me if you would like more information.

jaytkay's avatar

lol, while we putter around the edges of the question, @BarnacleBill walks right up to it, lol

Kayak8's avatar

DERRINGTON JOHN PORTER, WT2C, 2952825, USN, USS Canopus, 521

WT2c (Water Tender 2nd Class). He served in the US Navy on the USS Canopus. The seven digit number (2952825) is the service number of an enlisted man. The 521 seems to be the POW camp code.

There is a bit more information here

The second post (from September of 2010) on this site site is by a man named Chad Hill asking if anyone knows what happened to John Porter Derrington whose mother was a childhood acquaintance of Derrington.

His wife was Mrs. Marilyn Derrington, Rt. 6, Paris, TN (going along with @BarnacleBill) and there are still a number of Derrington’s listed in the Paris, TN phone book.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Awesome, guys.

Kayak8's avatar

In Paris, TN there is a James H. Derrington, Sr who appears to be 64 which would mean he was born in 46 which makes him too young but he might be a good candidate to know of other relatives about his same age.

Kayak8's avatar

By the way, several of the sites I included above are interested in getting photographs of sailors who served on the Canopus and Derrington’s is one of the missing photos, so you might want to make a copy of the clipping to share with those sites as well. The family might see it then.

UScitizen's avatar

Nice refernce @Kayak8… TY…. Best hit yet… I’m glad that so many realize how simple, yet important, this might be to someone.

Kayak8's avatar

@UScitizen No, I am glad that YOU realize how important this may be and didn’t just throw it away. I am curious how you came to have this clipping . . .

UScitizen's avatar

I’ve followed up on wat a few of you found above. Derrington is buried in Ft. Donelson National Cemetary, east of Paris, TN.

Kayak8's avatar

@UScitizen The Wiseman Funeral Home is now the Wilkinson-Wiseman Funeral Home and they might be able to look through their old records. They may have buried the wife or may know more about the two children mentioned in the clip you linked to above.

chadhill's avatar

Uscitizen, I am the Chad Hill mentioned by Kayak8 above. My mother was aquainted with John Porter Derrington as a girl. He has a nephew living in Murfreesboro TN that I know. Will you please scan the article and e-mail it to me. I will then contact the nephew for you if you would still like to send it to a family member. That is most thoughtful of you and I’m sure he would cherish receiving it. Thank you.

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