William "Bill" Ingram
Photograph of Chief Ingram is included on this record.
Bill Ingram joined the U.S. Navy in June 1941 on his seventeenth birthday. At the time of the Pearl Harbor attack he was on a transport ship in the Pacific steaming toward a rendezvous with the USS Houston, a heavy cruiser sailing in the seas west of the Philippines.
The Houston was sunk on February 28, 1942 in the Battle of Sunda Strait, and Ingram was eventually taken captive by the Japanese. After being interrogated and moved several times, Ingram spent the rest of the war as a POW working on the Burma Railroad and was forced to build the “Bridge on the River Kwai.” The brutal working conditions resulted in tens of thousands of deaths among the prisoners.
To read more about the experiences of Mr. Ingram and his fellow POWs, there are historical books about the building of the Burma Railroad by the Japanese who used Allied POWs for the hard labor. There is a novel about the famous bridge by Pierre Boulle that was turned into a motion picture starring Sir Alec Guinness.
Prisoners of War: Stolen Freedom