Lieutenant William Frederick “Bill” Harris was 25 years old when captured by Japanese forces during the Battle of Corregidor in May 1942. This son of a decorated Marine general escaped from hell on earth by swimming eight hours through a shark-infested bay; but his harrowing ordeal had just begun.
Shipwrecked on the southern coast of the Philippines, he was sheltered by a Filipino aristocrat, engaged in guerilla fighting, and eventually set off through hostile waters to China. After 29 days of misadventures and violent storms, Harris and his crew limped into a friendly fishing village in the southern Philippines. Evading and fighting for months, he was betrayed by treacherous islanders and handed over to the Japanese. Held for two years in the notorious Ofuna prisoner-of-war camp outside Yokohama, Harris was continuously starved, tortured, and beaten, but he never surrendered. Teaching himself Japanese, he eavesdropped on the guards and created secret codes to communicate with fellow prisoners. After liberation on August 30, 1945, Bill represented American Marine POWs during the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay before joining his father and flying to a home he had not seen in four years.
Through military documents, personal photos, and an unpublished memoir provided by his daughter, Harris’ experiences are dramatically revealed through his own words in a riveting new look at the Pacific War.
Written by Dan Hampton. Published by St. Martin's Griffin, 2023. Paperback, 368 pages.