Robin W Yearsley d.1945

Kindly shared by Robert (Bob) Baldwin (descendent)

Robin W. Yearsley - b.abt 1906 - d.1945

Robin was a Canadian national born in Manila, Philippines abt 1906. His parents were Robert John Yearsley and Pearl Irene Hatt, both of Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Robert John and Pearl eloped in 1904, went to the west coast of Canada, took the "slow boat to China" in 1904-05 and ended up in Manila in 1905`.

Robin worked for his father (movie theaters and appliance stores) and was fairly prominent in the local business community.

In 1930, he married Helen Ellison, an American and they had two daughters; my mother, Mary Louise (1931-1974), and (living).

In December, 1941, after the Japanese attack on the Philippines, Robin, although a Canadian national, volunteered to serve with General MacArthur's American/Philippine forces in the Battle for the Philippines. Due to his local prominence, he was commissioned an officer in the US Army (1st Lt.) and fought in the Battle of Bataan with General Wainwright's Army group.

He was captured either after the fall of Bataan (April, 1942) or Corregidor (May, 1942)...We believe it was Bataan, and that he was a participant in the infamous "death march". Either way, he ended up first at the transitional prisoner of war holding prison Bilibid and then on to Cabanatuan (the famous POW prison camp depicted in the film "Great Raid").

On December 13. 1944, he, along with many others, was moved to the Japanese ship Oryoku Maru for transfer to the slave labor camps in Japan. The OM was one of Japan's infamous "hell ships", due to the treatment of POWs on board. The American invasion of the northern Philippines was imminent (Jan., 1945). And he missed being freed by American forces by less than a month.

The Oryoku Maru was held over in Formosa on the way to Japan due to American air and submarine activity. We believe he was then transferred to the Brazil Maru which proceeded to Japan. His death was listed as 1/26/1945 and his name is not included on the lists of POWs in Japanese camps, so we believe he died at sea.

His name was mentioned during the Tokyo war crimes trials as a victim of inhumane treatment by the Japanese on the hell ships of 1944-45.

He was survived by his wife Helen (who later remarried), his parents Robert J. and Pearl and his two daughters.

He has eight surviving grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.

I hope this information is helpful...I also hope he is remembered for the courageous man he was.



Horace Ernest Yearsley d. 1944 Civilian

Horace Ernest Yearsley b 1893 in Greenwich, Kent, England; died on the 18th June 1944. He was living at 29 Croft Street, Poplar, London. He was married to Daisy Alise Yearsley (nee Martin) in 1914.

Irene Dorothy Yearsley d. 1941 Civilian

Irene Dorothy Yearsley b 1922, West Ham, Essex, Suffolk; died on the 20th April 1941 aged 18. Her address was 259 Bow Road, Poplar, London, England. She died alongside her father Thomas Edward Yearsley b abt 1896 Greenwich/Deptford, Kent, England. Her mother Louie Yearsley (Irons) was not listed amongst the dead.

Irene Dorothy Yearsley’s earliest known ancestor was James Yearsley b abt 1756, Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England; married to Ann Burgham b abt 1753.

Thomas Edward Yearsley d. 1941 Civilian

Thomas Edward Yearsley b abt 1896, Greenwich/Deptford, Kent, England; died on the 20th April 1941 aged 45. His address was 259 Bow Road, Poplar, London, England. He died alongside his daughter Irene Dorothy Yearsley b 1922, aged 18. Thomas Edward was married to Louie Yearsley (nee Irons), mother to Irene Dorothy.