Robert L. Chambers was born January 22, 1924 to Luther Chambers and Mae Blankinship in Lex, McDowell County, West Virginia. Robert was raised in Bradshaw by his mother and his step- father, Mr. John H. Greer. The family was of the Methodist faith, and Robert attended Iager High School.
Robert was inducted into the United States Army on February 7, 1941 at Angel Island, California. He was in the service for approximately six weeks before he was sent overseas to the Pacific in April, 1941 to serve in the Philippines. While in the Philippines, Robert served as a private in the 60th Coast Artillery Regiment .
Robert served with gallantry in the Philippines during the Japanese invasion of the islands, but he was captured as a prisoner of war on May 6, 1942 when the remaining troops were forced to surrender to the invading Japanese army. Robert was held as a prisoner of war in the Philippines for two years. While being transported to Japan on the Arisan Maru, Robert lost his life on October 24, 1944 when the unmarked ship was torpedoed by an Allied submarine in the South China Sea. His death was received by the War Department on June 16, 1945.
Robert was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and his body was buried at sea. In recognition of his honorable service in World War II, and for his ultimate sacrifice, Robert L. Chambers's name is inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery in Manila, Philippines, and Robert'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