Saturday, March 11, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Cpt. Leon Chabot, Marine, Philippines POW

Captain Leon Chabot's photo while at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Leon Edmond Chabot could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on March 11, 1917 in Massachusetts. His parents were both born in Canada. His French speaking father was a barber his whole working life. Leon had an older sister and a younger sister, plus two younger brothers. By 1940 Leon was a midshipman at the US Naval Academy. where he excelled in track including holding the Naval Academy 100 yard dash record (9.6 seconds).

Upon graduating, he was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment which was deployed in China. As the situation between the United States and Japan deteriorated and China became more unstable, the marines were moved to the Philippines shortly before the Japanese invaded. The 4th Marine Regiment was assigned the duty of defending Corregidor Island. Leon was likely a junior officer, but rose to the rank of captain. Perhaps this was of necessity if those who were the original captains became casualties.

When Bataan fell on April 9, 1942, The Japanese were able to concentrate all their forces on the last American holdout on Corregidor. The marines held out until May 6 and all survivors became POWs.
When the Americans threatening to invade the Philippines in the fall of 1944, the Japanese decided to move prisoners to Japan. Captain Chabot was one of 750 Americans who embarked on the cargo steamer Shinyo Maru.  

Shinyo Maru

It was part of a convoy of Japanese ships that was attacked on September 7, 1944 by the submarine USS Paddle which was unaware that it was carrying prisoners. Although many prisoners died when the ship sank, others were killed by the Japanese who shot them in the water rather than rescue them. Eighty-two did manage to swim away to Sindangan Bay and were later rescued by another US submarine.

Captain Chabot was one of the 687 prisoners who were killed that day. His remains were never recovered.

Thank you Leon for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Leon.

Thanks to Darillyn Lamb Starr for recommending that Leon be profiled.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Join public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100


  1. (This is Darillyn, on my daughter's computer.) I'm SO glad you found more about him! I just found the citation for his Silver Star, and I'm SO glad you found more about his service as a Marine. I had wondered about his rank, too. The young men from his class had made 0-4 by war's end, but they were still 0-1, at the bombing of Pearl Harbor, where ten of his classmates were lost, three on the Oklahoma, and seven on the Arizona. There is a claim that he was a Major, by his death, and some of his classmates may have made it that far, shortly before the time of his death, but I didn't know how they handled advancement in rank of those who were POWs. I'm just honored to be a part of remembering these young men we owe so much, who are so often forgotten.

  2. I just interviewed a man who was held prisoner of the Japanese to build the Burma railroad. The atrocities done to these soldiers were awful. Thanks for putting effort into remembering our fallen. You're a good writer. has stories of WWII vets I've interviewed.

  3. My mom was engaged to Leon while he was at the Naval Academy at Annapolis. When he was taken prisoner and the boat was sunk, she joined the Red cross and worked in Australia, somehow hoping to find him again.