Caswell County Genealogy
1916 - 1994 (78 years)
||Whitlow, Evelyn Barbara  |
||17 Apr 1916
||Caswell County, North Carolina
||World War (Lieutenant US Army Nurse Corps) |
||3 Jun 1994
||Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California
||Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles County, California
||13 Oct 2023 |
||Whitlow, Robert Norwood, b. 8 Jul 1878, Leasburg, Caswell County, North Carolina d. 8 Sep 1949, Danville, Virginia (Age 71 years) |
||Stephens, Ruth Caroline, b. 25 Feb 1891 d. 19 Oct 1974, Durham, Durham County, North Carolina (Age 83 years) |
||10 Feb 1907 
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
- Evelyn Barbara Whitlow Greenfield (1916-1994)
(click on photograph for larger image)
Second Photograph: The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, North Carolina) · 5 Mar 1945, Mon · Page 10.
Third Photograph: Evelyn Whitlow in Philippines. The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC), 6 Nov 1943.
Find A Grave
The following is from The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 568-569 (Article #781 "Evelyn Barbara Whitlow" by Jeannine D. Whitlow):
Evelyn was born April 17, 1916, the daughter of Robert Norwood Whitlow and Ruth Carolina Stephens Whitlow. She was educated in the Caswell County schools and was trained as a Registered Nurse at Memorial Hospital in Danville, Virginia.
She joined the Army Nurse Corps May 1940 at Ft. Bragg, N.C. She was sent to Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia, and later to Ft. Benning, Georgia for training. In November of 1941 she sailed on the USS Coolidge and landed in Manila, Philippine Islands, where she served first at Sternberg General Hospital.
World War II began with the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands and the attack on Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines December 7, 1941. On Christmas Day 1941, Evelyn was shipped out to a hospital on Lamay, an island off Batan. Manila was declared an open city by General Douglas MacArthur on December 26, 1941, after his forces had cleared Manila on their withdrawal to Bataan and Corregidor.
As the Japanese came closer, everyone had to be evacuated, and they went on to what was called Hospital No. 1 where barracks had been prepared for them. Later she was transferred to Hospital No. 2 where nurses were desperately needed. There were no rooms -- only cots awaiting the wounded. The area, deep in the bamboo forest, was very primitive and had no sanitary facilities. Evelyn contracted malaria and was shipped to Corregidor where she remained three weeks in the hospital inside Malinta Tunnel.
About one-hundred Army and Navy nurses staffed General MacArthur's Corregidor headquarters inside Malinta Tunnel, but twenty-one were evacuated before General Jonathan Wainwright was forced to surrender to superior Japanese forces May 6, 1942. Eleven of the nurses escaped in a submarine, and twenty were flown out on an amphibious Convair PBY. Evelyn was one of the last nurses to leave the island before the surrender, but the PBY transporting her and nine other nurses crashed on Mindanao. Inside, water was waist deep before they all got out. They were taken prisoner along with the nurses from Corregidor and sent to Santo Tomas University, which had been turned into an internment camp in Manila.
Santo Tomas had about four thousand civilian prisoners. Each had a measured space of forty-six inches for a bed and personal belongings. For the first two years of imprisonment they had some contact with the outside world through native Filipinos, who were allowed to come to the camp to sell fruits and vegetables to those who had money to buy them. Later these Filipinos were not even allowed to come to the camp to give food to the internees. The Army Nurses interned at Santo Tomas served as camp nurses who took care of civilians interned there.
The drug supply was scarce, and many people died of malnutrition. They were fed two meals a day consisting mostly of rice from which they picked out bugs and other foreign objects. They had some seeds and occasionally water buffalo to eat. Those who were able tended little garden plots on the grounds and supplemented their diet in this way. They were given an ounce of salt a month, which some of them crushed and used to brush their teeth.
Evelyn was reported missing in action May 1942, and it was not until December 1944 that her parents received word that she was still alive.
In describing their liberation by United States armed forces and the events leading up to it, Evelyn said, 'One plane came over the camp and somebody said they dropped a message saying: 'Roll out the barrel, we'll be here tonight.' That night they came. We heard a big noise that night, but for three days we had been hearing the sound of buildings being blown up all over town, and there had been so much of it we couldn't tell what was really happening. Bombardment by our own forces and the Japanese was almost continuous from September 21 until February 3. About 8:30 that night we really began to hear noises. Shrapnel from the Japanese was falling like rain around us. Lights were thrown up that could be seen everywhere. In spite of the shrapnel, we broke over the ropes that had been put up to hold us back, and rushed for the doors. We saw two tanks coming. Someone yelled that they were Japanese and to watch out, but we soon saw they were Americans.
"Everybody was yelling, crying and shouting. We could smell that good American gasoline. We were soon out patting the tanks. They were the most beautiful things we had ever seen."
During their liberation, Evelyn received a small shrapnel wound in the shoulder, but after nearly three years of imprisonment, it seemed of little consequence to her.
The nurses who were taken prisoner were called "The Angels of Bataan and Corregidor." Newspapers carried many stories and pictures of these nurses. From the time they landed in California, newspaper articles reported their progress as they journeyed across the country to be reunited with their families. Upon arriving at home, they were bombarded with requests for speaking engagements. Evelyn accepted many of these requests, one of which was before the N.C. General Assembly at John O. Gunn's invitation. Years later he told this writer that Eleanor Roosevelt had been there just before Evelyn was, but Evelyn received a standing ovation and a warmer welcome from the group.
Evelyn left the Army Nurse Corps as a 1st Lieutenant. On January 2, 1946, she married Milton Greenfield, who she had met at Santo Tomas. He was an American civilian engaged in manufacturing in the Philippines when the war began. They were at Las Vegas celebrating their twenty-third wedding anniversary when he died in 1969 following Hong King 'flu and a heart attack. They had no children.
Evelyn has returned to the Philippines many times since her prisoner-of-war days and lived there part of the time with her husband, Milton. Her most recent visit, which she said would be her last, was in April 1980 when she and twenty-five other nurses gathered to take part in a ceremony honoring the "Angels of Bataan and Corregidor." A memorial inscribed with the names of all the nurses who served was placed at the Shrine of Valor at the foot of Mount Samat on the island of Bataan. Two of Evelyn's sisters accompanied her on this trip.
Eight-one women were captured by the Japances in their World War II takeover of the Philippines, becoming the only American women military members ever to be listed as POWs. Of the sixty members of that group still living, thirty-four attended a reunion in Washington, D.C., when President Ronald Reagan proclaimed April 9, 1983, as POW-MIA Day. Evelyn was among those in attendance.
Evelyn Barbara Whitlow Greenfield now lives in a retirement village in Camarillo, California.
The following is from the North Carolina Museum of History:
Evelyn B. Whitlow, Nurse and POW
The Whitlow family of Leasburg in Caswell County saw six (four sons and two daughters) of their twelve children in military service during World War II. Evelyn B. Whitlow was the first of the family to join the military. In May 1940 she joined the Army Nurse Corps (ANC) as a second lieutenant. Whitlow was serving as a nurse in the Philippines when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941. She was among the eighty-one army and navy nurses captured following the fall of the Philippines on May 7, 1942. Known as the Angels of Bataan and Corregidor, these nurses were the first group of American women taken as prisoners of war. For three years she remained in Santo Thomas, a Japanese internment camp outside Manila, until being liberated on February 3, 1945. After the war she left the ANC, married a fellow POW from Santo Thomas, and moved to California. Whitlow died at the age of 78 in 1994.
We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese, Elizabeth M. Norman (1999).
Report Two Tar Heels Held Jap War Prisoners
Washington, Dec. 18.--(AP)-- "The War department made public today the names of 112 U.S. army personnel held as prisoners of war of Japan, including these two North Carolinians:
"Pvt. William Allen; Mrs. Ridly N. Allen, mother, Route 1, Angier, N.C.
"Second Lt. Evelyn B. Whitlow; mother, Mrs. Carolina S. Whitlow, Leasburg, N.C."
The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC), 19 December 1943.
Leasburg Nurse Aiding Jap Civilian Captives
Mormugao, Portuguese India, Oct. 15.--(Delayed)--(AP)-- "Dozens of Army nurses left behind in the Philippines after occupation have been administering to the ills of interned American civilians, repatriates who arrived here aboard the exchange liner Gripsholm said. The list of nurses engaged in this work includes Evelyn Whitlow of Leasburg, N.C."
The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC), 6 November 1943.
North Carolina Birth Index, 1800-2000
Name: Evelyn B. Whitlow
Date of Birth: 17 Apr 1916
Birth County: Casawell
Parent1 Name: Robert Norwood Whitlow
Parent2 Name: Ruth C Whitlow
Roll Number: B_C021_68003
1920 United States Federal Census
Name: Evelyn Whitlow
Home in 1920: Leasburg, Caswell, North Carolina
Age: 3 years 1 month
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1916
Birthplace: North Carolina
Relation to Head of House: Daughter
Father's Name: Robt
Father's Birth Place: North Carolina
Mother's Name: Ruth
Mother's Birth Place: North Carolina
Marital Status: Single
Household Members: Name Age
Robt Whitlow 41
Ruth Whitlow 27
Janie Whitlow 9
Dora Whitlow 11
Ruth Whitlow 7
John Whitlow 6
Martin Whitlow 4 8/12
Evelyn Whitlow 3 1/12
Ralph Whitlow 2 6/12
1930 United States Federal Census
Name: Evlyn Whitlow
Home in 1930: Leasburg, Caswell, North Carolina
Estimated birth year: abt 1917
Relation to Head of House: Daughter
Father's name: Robert N
Mother's name: Carrie
Household Members: Name Age
Robert N Whitlow 50
Carrie Whitlow 39
James R Whitlow 20
Ruth Whitlow 18
John Whitlow 17
Martin Whitlow 15
Evlyn Whitlow 13
Ralph Whitlow 12
Carlton Whitlow 6
Elizabeth Whitlow 10
Dorsett Whitlow 5
Marion Whitlow 3
World War II Prisoners of War, 1941-1946
Name: Evelyn Whitlow
Residence State: North Carolina
Report Date: 28 Dec 1943
Latest Report Date: 15 Feb 1945
Grade: Second Lieutenant or Nurse or Dietitian or Physical therapy aide
Grade Notes: Nurse or Dietitian or Physical therapy aide
Service Branch: Army
Arm or Service: Army Nurse Corps
Arm or Service Code: Medical Department Or Anc: Army Nurse Corps
Area Served: Southwest Pacific Theatre: Philippine Islands
Detaining Country: Japan
Camp: Santo Tomas (PW and Civ) Manila Luzon Philippines 14-121
Status: Returned to Military Control, Liberated or Repatriated
Report Source: Individual has been reported through sources considered official.
California Death Index, 1940-1997
Name: Evelyn W Greenfield
Social Security #: 224101919
Birth Date: 17 Apr 1916
Birthplace: North Carolina
Death Date: 3 Jun 1994
Death Place: Los Angeles
Mother's Maiden Name: Stephens
Father's Surname: Whitlow
Social Security Death Index
Name: Evelyn W. Greenfield
Last Residence: 93012 Camarillo, Ventura, California, United States of America
Born: 17 Apr 1916
Died: 3 Jun 1994
State (Year) SSN issued: Virginia (Before 1951)
- Details: 1850 US Federal Census.