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Hamilton man who died in WWII POW camp positively identified

Wayne M. Evans WWII POW IDd
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Posted at 10:28 AM, May 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 09:37:00-04

A soldier from Hamilton who died during WWII in a Prisoner of War camp has been positively identified.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced Monday that US Army Private Wayne M. Evans, 21, of Hamilton -- who was captured and died as a prisoner of war during World War II -- was accounted for on March 30, 2020.

According to a news release, in late 1941, Evans was a member of Battery G, 59th Coast Artillery Regiment, when Japanese forces invaded the Philippine Islands in December.

Intense fighting continued until the surrender of the Bataan Peninsula on April 9, 1942, and of Corregidor Island on May 6, 1942. Thousands of U.S. and Filipino service members were captured and interned at POW camps.

Evans was among those reported captured after the surrender of Corregidor and held at the Cabanatuan POW camp where more than 2,500 POWs perished in this camp during the war.

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According to the prison camp and other historical records, Evans died July 19, 1942, and was buried along with other deceased prisoners in the local Cabanatuan Camp Cemetery.

American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) personnel exhumed those buried at the Cabanatuan cemetery following the war and relocated the remains to a temporary U.S. military mausoleum near Manila.

Then in in late 1947, the AGRS examined the remains in an attempt to identify them.

“Due to the circumstances of the POW deaths and burials, the extensive commingling, and the limited identification technologies of the time, all of the remains could not be individually identified,” the news release states.

The remains were disinterred from the present-day Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in January 2018 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii for analysis.

Evans will be buried in his hometown at a date yet to be determined.