CPO Alfred Glenn Seidel, USN, died POW, December 19, 1942 Hosted by RootsWeb, 
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"No man was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." -- Calvin Coolidge

USS Houston during the 1930's
USS Houston during the 1930's

Alfred Glenn "Bus" Seidel

The Western Star , March 20, 1942.
Protection Young Man on Ill Fated Houston Sunk by Japs

EM2c Alfred Seidel Alfred Glenn (Bus) Seidel, son of Mr. and Mrs. A. A. Seidel, formerly of Protection but now of Tucson, Ariz., and a brother of Mrs. C. W. Dodson and Albert Seidel of Coldwater, was reported by the War Department at Washington as being missing after a battle off Java about March 1. The message was sent to the recruiting station at Wichita and was telephoned from Wichita to Coldwater. Mr. Seidel, a C. P. O. electrician's mate, and all other members of the crew of the S. S. Houston, were reported lost following an engagement in a sea battle with the Japanese forces.

Mr. Seidel was reared in the Protection community, graduating from the Protection high school in 1934. The following year he joined the navy and served a four year enlistment, first on the S. S. Chester and after three months was transferred to the USS Louisville. With him on the ship were Ralph and Bill Griffith of Coldwater, whose enlistment's in the navy terminated a few years ago. Also on the Louisville at the time was Squire Boone Zane of Protection, who was killed in action by the Japs on December 7 while serving on a mine tender off the Philippines.

Mr. Seidel would have been 29 years of age next May. He made a fine record as a sailor and was advanced in rating each year he was in the service of his country. He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. A. Seidel, five sisters; Mrs. Faye Jarnagin of Protection, Mrs. Cora Ritter of Tucson, Ariz., Mrs. Lillie Cline of Selman, Okla. Mrs. Bill Wasinger of Sitka, Kans., and Mrs. C. W. Dodson of Coldwater, and by two brothers, Albert Seidel of Coldwater and Arthur Seidel of Tucson, Ariz.

The heartfelt sympathy of our people is extended to the sorrowing relatives.

The Western Star, June 9, 1944
Alfred G. Seidel Succumbs to Inhumane Treatment by Japs.

The people of Comanche County were saddened last week when word reached here that Alfred Glenn Seidel, a brother of Mrs. Colin Dodson and Mrs. Bill Wasinger of this city and a son of Mr. and Mrs. A. A. Seidel of Tucson, Ariz., had died, most likely of malnutrition and exposure, in a Japanese prison camp.

On May 20, Mr. and Mrs. Seidel received the following information as a part of a letter from the United States War Department:

"As you have been informed, your son, Alfred Glenn Seidel, has been missing for over two years. It is now the sad duty of this bureau to inform you that it is in receipt of a cablegram from the International Red Cross in Tokyo dated May 4th, stating that your son died a prisoner of war in Hakodate Camp, Japan, of acute bronchitis, on December 19, 1942.

The delay in the arrival of this information is the result of the slowness with which the Japanese Government has provided information concerning prisoners of war."

Alfred Glenn (Buss) Seidel was born at Protection, Kans., April 15, 1914, and died as a prisoner of war in Hakodate Camp, Japan, December 19, 1942 at the age of 28 years, 8 months and 4 days.

He attended the Protection schools, graduating from the high school in that city in 1933. The following year he enlisted in the Navy and served four years. Following his discharge he worked for two years at the Dodson Electric Shops in Emporia and in Coldwater and in construction work with his father in Tucson, Ariz.

In 1940 Alfred joined the Navy for his second enlistment and was a sailor on the "cruiser," U. S. S. Houston, which was sunk on February 20, 1941, in the battle of the Java Sea. At the time of his death he was an Electricians Mate Second Class Petty Officer.

He and most of the other Americans on the Houston were taken prisoners by the Japanese and Alfred managed to live 10 months before expiring. He made a fine record as a sailor and was a dependable and upright young man in every respect. His untimely death is mourned by all.

He leaves to mourn their loss his mother and father, three brothers, Arthur Seidel of Tucson, Ariz., Everett Seidel of Tacoma, Wash., and Albert Seidel of Wichita, Kans.; also five sisters, Mrs. Lee Ritter of Tucson, Ariz., Mrs. Fay McDonald of Portland, Ore., Mrs. John Cline of Ness City, Kans., and Mrs. Colin Dodson and Mrs. Will Wasinger of Coldwater.

The Protection Post, June 9, 1944

Protection relatives have received word from Mrs. A. A. Seidel of Tucson, Ariz., that the Red Cross from Tokyo had finally reported there that her son, Glen, or "Bus" as he was better known here, had died in a Japanese prison camp on December 19, 1942. He had originally been reported missing in action when the U. S. Houston was sunk in the Java Sea in January, 1942. He was serving as electrical engineer on the ship when captured.

The information sent by the Red Cross indicates that he had been a prisoner in a Japanese concentration camp at Hakapoke for ten months prior to his death.

He was born and reared in Protection and graduated in 1933 from Protection High School. In the fall of 1934 he joined the navy and spent four years in training. About two years after receiving an honorable discharge he re-enlisted when war seemed imminent and was in the navy when Pearl Harbor was attacked. During the interval between his enlistments he worked at the Dodson Electric Shop in Coldwater.

His mother, who is a sister of Jay Rich, received on May 4th the first definite word concerning her son since he was reported missing. The last time the family had seen him was at the time he embarked in 1941 when they went to California to be with him until his ship left port.

He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. A. Seidel of Tucson; five sisters, Mrs. Colon Dodson and Mrs. Bill Wassinger of Coldwater; Mrs. Johnnie Cline of Scott City; Mrs. Bill McDonald of Washington State; Mrs. Lee Ritter of Douglas, Ariz.; three brothers, Arthur of Tucson; Everett of Washington State; and Albert of Wichita, Kans.

Many local people who knew him will be interested to know of his fate and will share with the family in the grief over his untimely departure from this life.

The Western Star, December 17, 1948.

Body of Sailor Home for Burial

Final Rites for Alfred Seidel
At Protection Friday Afternoon

The remains of the late Electrician's Mate 2c Alfred Seidel, a brother of Mrs. W. A. Wasinger of Coldwater and of Albert Seidel of Ashland, which was returned November 30 from the Pacific area aboard the U. S. army transport Dalton Victory, will be laid at rest in the Protection cemetery Friday afternoon following services in the Baptist church in that city at 3 o'clock.

The graveside services will be in charge of the Protection American Legion.

Thanks to Shirley Brier for transcribing and contributing the above news articles!

Many bodies were returned from overseas after the war for reburial in home town or national cemeteries. See: Will Return Bodies of Men Killed Overseas, The Western Star , February 7, 1947.

More about the USS Houston:

1. "World War II by ship" (11 ft.) is arranged alphabetically by name of vessel (with nominal and alpha-numeric designations intermixed). The records consist of correspondence, forms, lists, inquiries, and other material focused on identifying and accounting for all casualties, both wounded and dead. For many vessels, the details or circumstances of casualty-related events are provided. For others, especially large vessels with large losses, only name and rank lists are found. Information about aircraft carriers includes pilots and crewmen, and many ships' files include information on accidents as well as on combat-related casualties. Occasional files contain a wealth of detail, such as that of the heavy cruiser Houston, sunk in the Java Sea in March 1942. This file contains data on the disposition of survivors to various Japanese POW camps, descriptions of camp conditions, and reconstructions of crew losses suffered in the actual sinking. Although the files extend to such auxiliary ships as oilers and harbor tugs, some gaps in coverage remain. For instance, no entry is found for the extensive losses in the August 1945 sinking of the heavy cruiser Indianapolis.   -- A Finding Aid to Records Relating to Personal Participation in World War II: American Military Casualties and Burials

Lost Battalion Soldiers And USS Houston Crewmen Who Died While Prisoners of War

USS Houston (i) (CA 30) - Heavy cruiser of the Northampton class


USS Houston Discussion Group

The USS Houston: The Galloping Ghost Of The Java Coast

"Houston's fate was not known by the world for almost 9 months, and the full story of her courageous fight was not fully told until after the war was over and her survivors were liberated from prison camps. Captain Rooks received posthumously the Medal of Honor for this extraordinary heroism. -- USS Houston CA-30

"In November 1940, Houston returned to the Philippines for her second deployment as Asiatic Fleet flagship. When Japan escalated its disputes with the U.S. into open warfare in December 1941, the cruiser was sent south to Australian and Netherlands East Indies waters. As the heaviest unit of the Allied naval force in that area, she was actively employed in the desperate struggle against the Japanese East Indies' offensive. A enemy bomb disabled her after gun turret on 4 February 1942, but she remained in the combat zone, fighting off air raids and taking part in the Battle of the Java Sea on 27 February. The next day, with the situation in the East Indies now hopeless, Houston was ordered to leave the area. Steaming in company with the Australian light cruiser Perth, she encountered a strong Japanese navy force supporting an amphibious landing on western Java, near the Sunda Strait. In a valiant night battle against overwhelming odds, Houston and Perth were sunk by enemy gunfire and torpedos." -- USS Houston (CA-30, originally CL-30), 1930-1942

"Receiving word that the major Japanese invasion force was approaching Java protected by a formidable surface unit, Admiral Doorman resolutely determined to meet and seek to destroy the main convoy. Sailing 26 February with Houston, HMAS Perth, HNMS De Ruyter, HMS Exeter, HNMS Java and 10 destroyers, he met the Japanese support force under Admiral Takagi consisting of 4 cruisers and 13 destroyers. In the Battle of the Java Sea which followed, Doorman's forces fought valiantly, but were doomed by lack of air cover and communication difficulties. The ships met for the first time in the late afternoon, and as Japanese destroyers laid smoke the cruisers of both fleets opened fire. After one ineffective torpedo attack the Japanese light cruisers and destroyers launched a second at 1700, this attack sinking Kortenaer. Exeter and destroyer Electra were hit by gunfire, Electra fatally, and at 1730 Admiral Doorman turned south toward the Java coast, not wishing to be diverted from his main purpose, the destruction of the convoy itself. With dogged fighting spirit he dodged another torpedo attack and followed the coastline, during which time Jupiter was sunk, either by mine or internal explosion. Then Encounter was detached to pick up survivors from Kortenaer, and the American destroyers, their torpedoes expended, were ordered back to Surabaya. Now with no destroyer protection, Doorman's four remaining ships turned north again in a last gallant attempt to stop the invasion of Java." --
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Naval History Division * Washington
USS Houston II (CA-30)

NavSource Online: Cruiser Photo Archive -- CL/CA-30 USS HOUSTON

Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1940-1945: CA-30 USS Houston

"Northampton-class cruiser (2f/2m). L/B/D: 600.3 66.1 23 (183m 20.1m 7m). Tons: 11,420 disp. Hull: steel. Comp.: 735-1,200. Arm.: 9 8 (3 3), 8 5, 32 40mm, 27 20mm; 6 21TT; 4 aircraft. Armor: 3 belt, 1 deck. Mach.: geared turbines, 107,000 shp, 4 screws; 32.5 kts. Built: Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock, Newport News, Va.; 1929." -- USS Houston (CA-30)


Appendix : List of 135 work sites where Chinese force labours taken -- Table of the 135 work sites where Chinese people were taken, their locations, the number of Chinese labours and the deceased victims

Return to World War II Casualties

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