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Innovator in prisoner-of-war camp
Compiled by Carol Stokes and Lisa Alley
One innovative signaler secretly operated a radio inside a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp.
The radio, placed inside a GI canteen, was created by Capt. Russell Hutchinson of the Engineer Corps. When Hutchinson was transferred out of the POW camp, he gave the canteen to radio electrician William Gibson, an RCA employee on Corregidor who had been commissioned as a Signal Corps lieutenant only a few hours before Corregidor fell.
The one-tube radio didn't work when Gibson "inherited" it. He repaired it with a new tube another GI stole from the Japanese and, through his and his fellow POWs' innovation and courage, sent messages to the Allies from inside the POW camp.
The canteen radio hung on Gibson's bed, undetected by the Japanese. Gibson left it behind when he and his comrades were liberated Jan. 30, 1945.
To read more about this story, see Pgs. 274-275 of The Signal Corps: The Outcome, part of "The Technical Services" subseries of the U.S. Army in World War II historical series; written by George Raynor Thompson and Dixie Harris; published by the Army's chief of military history in 1966.
For more information on Gibson and his time in Corregidor, also see the article on the fall of Corregidor.
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