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First Name: Kenneth

Last Name: Beach

Birthplace: MI, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Otto

Date of Birth: 09 November 1912

Date of Death: 28 January 1945 (Official)

Rank: Captain

Years Served:
Kenneth Otto Beach

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Kenneth Otto Beach
Captain, U.S. Army

Kenneth Otto Beach was born on 9 November 1912 in Michigan. He graduated from the University of Miami Law School and entered the U.S. Army as an ROTC Second Lieutenant. He was then sent to the South Pacific.

From this point, the story of what transpired with Captain Beach is best told by his eldest brother, retired four-star General Dwight E. Beach [Honoree Record ID 186], and by a family friend. This story was conveyed to author Cynthia Furlong Reynolds and contained in her award-winning book, 'OUR HOMETOWN: America's History Seen Through The Eyes of a Midwestern Village.' It is provided here with her gracious consent.

General Beach winces when he tells his brother's story. "He was captured on Bataan when we surrendered there and he was interred on the island in the Philippines called Mindanao, in a prison camp. I finally got in there three months after the Japs abandoned it. I was the first point man to get there, but I couldn't find any trace of my brother."

The Japanese had tried to move all the prisoners of war to Japan. General Beach's brother was with a group of 1,200 Americans in fair physical shape that left Manila in December 1944. "But only 200 got back to the U.S. after the war," the General says. "They were jammed into unmarked ships and U.S. bombers sank a lot of those ships. The Japs made no efforts whatsoever to mark those ships as either hospital ships or ships carrying prisoners of war."

"Kenny survived the Bataan Death March and Mindanao, then survived the bombing of the ship and swam to an island," explains family friend Claude S. Rogers. "The account given to me by Kenny's brother David and by Dwight's son, Col. Dwight E. Beach, Jr., says that the Japanese recaptured Kenny and loaded him onto another ship, which was also bombed. He subsequently died from an infected and broken leg."

A Cenotaph for Captain Kenneth Otto Beach is located at the Lima Center Cemetery in Lima Center, Washtenaw County, MI, the cemetery where his parents and brother, Dwight, are buried.

The cenotaph is inscribed with a date of death that is different from official records, which indicates it was 28 January 1945. This is the inscription on the cenotaph:

Capt. Kenneth Otto Beach
9 NOV. 1912 - 26 JAN. 1945
Veteran of Bataan, The March of Death
33 Months Japanese Imprisonment
Died of Wounds and Buried at Sea
Near Okinawa, Pacific Ocean


Honoree ID: 3261   Created by: MHOH




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