***NEW MEETING LOCATION - 700 DAWSON RD***
WWII Prisoner of War
by Charles H. (Tim) McCoy
introduction by Lion Jim Overton
Charles H. McCoy was born in 1924 in San Angelo, Texas. Before America’s entry into WWII, Charles enlisted the Navy. He entered active duty on November 1, 1941, went through basic training in San Diego and then was assigned to duty aboard the Submarine USS Trout, (SS-202).
In 1943 Charles was assigned to the Submarine USS Grenadier (SS-210) and he was a Seaman First Class when he reported on board. On the night of April 20, 1943, during its 6th war patrol, when hunting in the Strait of Malacca off the coast of the Malay Peninsula about 10 miles northwest of Penang Island, Grenadier was discovered, attacked and damaged by enemy aircraft.
Losing all power and lighting, the submarine sank in 270 feet of water and settled to the bottom while still leaking badly and with a fire burning in the control cubicle. After lying helpless on the bottom for nearly an entire day, and against all odds the crew was able to contain the damage and effect repairs sufficiently to raise the disabled vessel to the surface just as night fell on the following day. With a damaged propeller shaft, Grenadier could barely move, was vulnerable on the surface and unable to dive.
They were detected by a Japanese ship and as it closed in on them, the Captain ordered the men to scuttle the sub.
All hands were then taken prisoner on board the enemy ship and brought ashore at Penang where they were confined in the buildings of the Catholic Convent on Light Street. The crew suffered cruel torture at the hands of secret police interrogators every day for the next five months that they were in the convent in Penang. The men were then moved to Changi Prison in Singapore and after two months there were sent to Yokohama in Japan. At Yokohama, the crew of Grenadier was split up and Charles McCoy was part of the half that was sent to Fukuoka #3 Camp on Kyushu, the southernmost island of Japan. Until liberation at the end of the war, he would remain in that POW camp as a slave laborer, working in the Yahata Steel Mills, a part of what at that time was the second largest steel mill and shipyard in the world.
After WWII, he remained in the Navy and was commissioned as an Ensign on July 2, 1958. He retired June 25, 1965 in the grade of Lieutenant after more than twenty-four years active duty. Except for the period he had been a Prisoner Of War, the entire time was in assignments to Submarines, Submarine Rescue Vessels, Submarine Tenders or Submarine support activities of the Pacific Fleet.
Upon retirement from the Navy, Charles McCoy came to Austin, Texas as Director of the Military Division for National Western Life Insurance Company. He was promoted to Director of all Marketing Divisions of the company and served in that position until he resigned in 1972 to establish his own business, NEAT Management Group.
NEAT Management Group has grown to be one of the largest National Insurance Brokerage firms in the United States, marketing specialized plans designed for the senior age market.
He lives with his wife of 59 years, Jean, and his son, Timothy J. McCoy, who is President and CEO of NEAT Management Group.