2nd Lt. Edwin E. Fitchett
U.S. Army 165th Field Artillery Battalion
In Memory: Edwin Fitchett passed away September 6, 2020.
His WWII color 16mm films area available at Ed Fitchett's Army Memories
Edwin E. Fitchett was born on April 20, 1922 in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York. At a young age, Fitchett developed an interest in photography and movie cameras at a young age. After high school, attended Cornell University enrolling during the summer of 1940. At Cornell University, he joined U.S. Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) and was assigned to the 165th Field Artillery Battalion, which had returned from Alaska.
On September 29, 1942 while enrolled at Cornell University, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in the field artillery with the rank of private with serial number 12097169 but was allowed to complete his studies. After graduating, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and traveled to San Francisco and embarked aboard SS Dashing Wave for the voyage across the Pacific to Manila and proceeded to San Jose where his unit the 165th Field Artillery Battalion was based while preparing for "Operation Olympic" the planned invasion of Japan.
POW Camp Commander
On August 15, 1945 after the surrender of Japan, the 165th Field Artillery Battalion became a Military Police (MP) unit to assist with Japanese Prisoners Of War (POWs) and was moved to Manila. Fitchett was assigned as the commander of the Manila POW Camp No. 2 in Quezon City near the University of the Philippines (UP) with 1,000 Japanese, Korean and Formosan Prisoners Of War (POWs).
Exploring the Philippines
When the war ended and censorship was lifted, Fitchett asked his parents to mail his 16mm Kodak Cine movie camera to him overseas. When it arrived, he began shooting color film footage in the Philippines. During free time, Fitchett toured many places on Luzon. He visited Manila, Bataan, Corregidor, Baguio and other places on Luzon using their L-4 artillery spotters based at Wack Wack Country Club. Once, he visited Corregidor by boat an excursion trip sponsored by the Red Cross. Walking around the island, he visited Battery Wheeler, Battery Way, Malinta Tunnel and Mile Long Barracks and many other sites.
On one trip, he and a friend flew from Wack Wack aboard an L-4, overflying Kenyon Road and Baguio, then landed at Loakan Airfield. He stayed over overnight at the Baguio Golf Club and toured the city briefly.
Later, he volunteered to accompany a group of Japanese and Korean Prisoners Of War (POW) aboard SS John L. Sullivan picking up a group of prisoners (including nurses, Formosan and Japanese) from Tacloban then proceeded northward to repatriate the Formosans to Takao and the Koreans at Pusan. Afterwards onward to Japan arriving at Uraga to unload the remained of the prisoners. Finally, the ship docked at Yokohama for a week, explored Tokyo then returned to Manila.
Returning to the Philippines, Fitchett worked in the Manila PX. On July 4, 1946 he attended the Philippine Independence ceremony and shot 16mm film of the ceremony including General Douglas MacArthur.
Afterwards, he returned home via San Francisco and remained in the Army reserves for ten years. He completed his education at Cornell and worked for his family business, Fitchett Brothers Dairy based in Poughkeepsie, NY and lived in retirement. Ed Fitchett's Army Memories is available for sale on DVD including all his color 16mm film footage.
Fitchett passed away September 6, 2020 at his home in Poughkeepsie, NY surrounded by his family. He will be buried at the First Baptist Church in Poughkeepsie, NY.
Ed Fitchett's Army Memories is available for sale on DVD including all his color 16mm film footage
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Edwin E. Fitchett
Associated Press (AP)
"WWII in color: NY vet's rare footage made into DVD" by Chris Carola, November 10, 2011
Vassar Brothers Institute "Ed Fitchett's Army Memories" December 14, 2011
Poughkeepsie Journal Obituary Edwin E. Fitchett September 9, 2020
Legacy - Edwin E. Fitchett 1922–2020 (obituary and memories)
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