Service Number: 294979
Birth and Early Life:
Harold Thomure was born on November 12, 1916; he grew up in Bonne Terre, Missouri, and went to work with his father in a local foundry in his teens. The rest of the family was composed of mother Susie, and his younger siblings Aleta, Paul, and Augustus Junior.
Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Thomure joined the Marines on September 13, 1940. He was sent to MCRD San Diego for boot camp, and on November 9 received his first orders to report to a permanent unit – Company I, Third Battalion, Sixth Marines. (1)
Service Prior to 1941:
Private Thomure served with the Sixth Marines until he and a handful of other enlisted men were reassigned to “an Asiatic station.” For Thomure, this meant the Navy Yard at Cavite; he embarked on the USS Henderson and sailed for the Philippines on April 9, 1941.
For the next several months, Thomure had a relatively peaceful time in the Philippines. He was promoted to Private First Class on October 3, as elements of the Fourth Marines – the famous “China Marines” – began to arrive. Japanese aggression had compelled the Corps to withdraw the regiment to the Philippines to prepare a better defensive stance. Thomure spent several weeks pulling guard duty on the Bataan peninsula before his garrison was absorbed into the Fourth Marines. Suddenly, PFC Thomure found himself as a rifleman in Company K/3/4; when Pearl Harbor and the Philippines were attacked in December 1941, he would have realized that this new regiment was the one with which he would fight, and potentially die.
Thomure made corporal on April 18, 1942; nine days had passed since the fall of Bataan, and his regiment was holed up on the island of Corregidor. By the time the Japanese invaded on May 6, all hope of victory had vanished, and the Marines put up a fierce fight before finally being overwhelmed. Thomure was listed as a prisoner of war by the Japanese, and as missing in action by the Americans. (2)
Date Of Loss:
The last report known to contain information about Harold Cyril Thomure was dated September 15, 1942. He died in captivity at an unknown location in the Philippines; how he died, and what became of his body remains a mystery to this day.
Next Of Kin:
Father, Mr. Augustus Thomure
Status Of Remains:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.
(1) Harold’s brother, Marvin P. Thomure enlisted on the same day and at the same station in St. Louis as Harold; they went through boot camp together and both were sent to the 6th Marines. Marvin would survive the war and be discharged in 1946 as a Technical Sergeant. He died in 2013.
(2) Thomure is mentioned in the book Oh God, Where Are You? by Abie Abraham, a survivor of the Bataan Death March; unfortunately, I have not been able to locate a copy of this memoir.
(3) The website www.bataanmissing.com lists Thomure as having died and been buried in a cemetery near Cabanatuan; he may have been re-buried as an unknown in the Manila American Cemetery.