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Remains of Rock Hill WWII Prisoner of War Identified

Historical POW identification ceremony.

Remains of Rock Hill WWII Prisoner of War Identified

Rock Hill soldier’s remains been accounted for

The remains of a Rock Hill soldier who was captured and tragically perished as a prisoner during World War II have been accounted for. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency recently announced that U.S. Army Private Cecil T. Hinson, a twenty-year-old soldier, was officially identified on November 15, 2023.

A soldier from Chemical Warfare Service

Private Cecil T. Hinson was a member of the United States Army’s Chemical Warfare Service in the summer of 1942. He found himself captured when Japanese forces commenced their invasion of the Bataan Peninsula. Along with several others, Hinson underwent the harrowing 65-mile Bataan Death March and later was held captive at the Cabanatuan POW camp.

Tragic death in captivity

The young soldier succumbed to malaria and dysentery on July 28, 1942, while detained at the camp. More than 2,500 POWs unfortunately met their end in that camp alone during the years of conflict. Hinson was laid to rest alongside other deceased prisoners in the local Cabanatuan Camp Cemetery in Common Grave 215, as per the available records.

Post-war recovery and analysis of remains

As the War concluded, personnel from the American Graves Registration Service exhumed those buried at the Cabanatuan cemetery and relocated the remains to a temporary U.S. military mausoleum near Manila. The AGRS attempted to identify these remains in 1947; five sets of remains from Common Grave 215 managed to be identified, but the remaining seven, including those of Private Hinson, were declared unidentifiable.

The unidentified remains found their final resting place at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, where they were interred as Unknowns. However, in early 2018, the remains linked with Common Grave 215 underwent disinterment and were transported to the DPAA laboratory for thorough analysis.

The identification process

In order to confirm the identity of Hinson’s remains, scientists from the DPAA performed dental and anthropological analysis, and considered circumstantial evidence. Furthermore, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System conducted mitochondrial DNA and Y Chromosome DNA analysis.

Carefully maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission

For more than 70 years, the grave Hinson was interred within as an Unknown was meticulously maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission. It is now known that Hinson will be laid to rest once more in Rock Hill, South Carolina, on an upcoming date which is yet to be determined.

Contact details and further information

Those seeking family and funeral information are advised to contact the Army Casualty Office at the toll-free number 800-892-2490. For further details on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving the country, visit the DPAA website.


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