Terence Sumner Kirk

Terence S. Kirk was born June 10, 1916, in Harrisburg, Ill., one of seven children born to Benjamin Kirk and Anne Sumner Kirk. Sadly at age 3, with a tragic turn of events, Terence and his siblings were sent to Mooseheart Orphanage, where he was raised and educated. In 1937, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps. As a young Marine he was stationed in northern China, attached to the U.S. Embassy, and was captured on Pearl Harbor Day by the Japanese. Sent through a series of prison camps, he and other Allied POWs were sent by hell ships to mainland Japan, where he was used as slave labor. In his last camp, he built a pinhole camera from scraps of cardboard, took a handful of pictures of sick and dying men, and hid them away until the end of the war. These are the only pictures taken inside a prison camp by a POW in mainland Japan. Their camp in Kokura was slated to be the primary target for the second atomic bomb, but divine intervention moved the bomb to Nagasaki. He remained in the Corps for 30 years, and retired from the FAA. He later recorded his POW memoirs in his book, "The Secret Camera," originally published 38 years after leaving camp. He passed away Wednesday, May 10, 2006.







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