Howard Marshall Batson, Jr., was born April 13, 1910 to Dr. Howard and Anna Batson of Mannington, Marion County, West Virginia. Dr. Batson was a former county health officer in Marion County, and he had served as a front-line medical officer during World War I, finally achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Howard was a graduate of Mannington High School, and he was then given the privilege of attending the United States Military Academy at West Point. Upon graduation from West Point in 1934 Howard was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army.
Eventually, Howard was sent to serve his country in the Philippine Islands. While in the Philippines, he held the rank of major and served with the 29th Field Artillery, 4th Division (Interestingly, Howard's father had served with the same division during the First World War). Howard served bravely in the Far East, but he was captured by the enemy forces when Bataan fell in 1942 and the remaining troops were forced to surrender to the Japanese.
Howard was held as a prisoner of war in the Philippines for two years. While being transported to Japan on the Brazil Maru, Howard lost his life on January 28, 1945 when the unmarked ship was torpedoed by an Allied submarine.
Howard's body was buried at sea. In recognition of his honorable service in World War II, and for his ultimate sacrifice, Howard Marshall Batson's name is inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery in Manila, Philippines, and Howard's was one of the original names inscribed on the West Virginia Veterans Memorial.
Hellships of World War II
West Virginia Veterans Memorial Archives Database
West Virginia Archives and History