William Perry Norman was born January 5, 1921 to John D. and Laura Edalene Norman in Mt. Clare, Harrison County, West Virginia. William spent most of his growing up years in Harrison County, but before his enlistment in the armed forces he was living in Rosemont, Taylor County, West Virginia.
William enlisted in the United States Army on February 6, 1941 at Fort Hayes, Ohio. He was sent overseas to the Pacific to serve in the Philippines on March 31, 1941. In the Philippines, William served as a private first class with the 60th Coast Artillery Regiment.
William served with bravery in the Philippines until the troops were forced to surrender when the islands fell to the invading Japanese army in 1942. It was then that William was captured as a prisoner of war. William was held as a prisoner of war in the Philippines for two years. While being transported to Japan on the Arisan Maru, William 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.
William was awarded the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Clusters and his body was buried at sea. In recognition of his honorable service in World War II, and for his ultimate sacrifice, William Perry Norman's name is inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery in Manila, Philippines, and William'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