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Curt Davis


Lee and Curt

Born Alberta, Canada, October 10th 1922

31st IRS Regiment


Service Record

Entered service:- August 12th 1941

Army, Recruiting Service:- HQ 4th Infantry Division

Branch of service:- Army

Highest rank:- Warrant Officer from 1952

Location of service:- Philippine Islands, POW Japan, Army, Recruiting Service, HQ 4th Infantry Division

War, Operation, or Conflict Served in:- South Pacific (Philippine Islands) ” prisoner of war for 40 months

Battles, campaigns:- Philippines, South Pacific, American Defence, Army Occupation Germany

Battles, campaigns:- Philippines, South Pacific, American Defence, Army Occupation Germany

Wounded:- Purple Heart December 8th, 1941, and April 1942 and May 5, 1942, Corregidor

Medals or special service awards:- Purple Hearts with two Clusters; Bronze Star; Philippine Defence, Good Conduct with Three Loops

Medals or Special Service Awards:- Special Duties/Highlights/Achievements: Editor “Inside the Turret”, Fort Knox, Ky., Classification & Assignment Officer School Troops Fort Knox, Ky., Postal Officer & Finance Officer, 4th Infantry Division, Germany

Interesting Facts:- Ran away from home to join the service. Curt was underaged, but he went outside the recruiting office and talked a man on the street into signing permission for him.

He was a POW and taken to Japan, docking on Armistice Day, November 11th. He often feigned malaria to outsmart his captors. He worked in copper mines for the Japanese.

Punished for his art: From the black market, he was able to acquire art supplies. He painted many water colours, including a small America flag. He and the other American prisoners pledged allegiance to the flag daily while fellow British prisoners acted as lookouts. Curts flag was discovered and he was made to kneel for three days. If he nodded off or moved, he was whacked with a pole by his captors. After he was sent back to the mines, a fellow prisoner cleaning the Japanese officers quarters found the flag and returned it to Davis. He ended up bringing the flag home and donated it to the prisoner of war museum in Andersonville, Ga., along with some of his other artwork.

Mastery of poems: Davis has an uncanny memory for the dates of events in his life, and he memorised several poems as a POW. His most well-known may be a poem about the military uniform of which he is so proud. He always recites the poem when he speaks to groups and to school children. (His recitation of the uniform poem and two others can be heard online.

End of the war:- Curt learned about the end of the war when American planes flew over the prisoner of war camp and dropped food. The POWs, under Japanese guard, were allowed to go outside the compound to collect the food. Later on, planes dropped leaflets announcing the end of war.

After the war:- Curt remained in service until the mid-1950s, then entered private business. He eventually moved to Burlington and enjoyed life there.

Discharged:- January 25, 1955




Curt Davis, former POW and active veteran, passes away

June 17, 2009 - 5:54 PM

Jay Ashley / Times-News

The Flag Man is dead.

Curt G. Davis handed out little flags to school children, was a prisoner of war during World War II and was widely known as a patriot who never let people forget the worth of America's fighting force or the freedom that flourishes under the Stars and Stripes.

A native of Canada, he lived in Burlington from 1985 until November 2008. He passed away peacefully on June 7 in Claremont Nursing and Rehab Center in Carlisle, Pa. He was 86.

He grew up in Ohio and when he was 19, he ran away from home. Ending up in Oakland, California, he went into a recruiting office to join the Army. Being told he had to be 21 or have a parent's permission, he went down the street and told the first man he met about his predicament.

"Come along with me, son," the man took him by the arm. "I'll sign for you."

He volunteered for service in the Philippines, before the U.S. entered World War II. He was thrice wounded and was taken a prisoner of war at the fall of Corregidor and spent 3.5 years as a POW in Japan, working in a steel mill and a copper mine.

Through the prison black market, he obtained water colours and poster board and created art. He also painted a U.S. flag, which the prisoners would pledge allegiance to in secret.

The flag was discovered by his captors and Davis spent three days in what he politely called a Japanese "jail," forced to remain in a kneeling position.

"If I leaned, a man would whack me once or twice with a wooden pole," he recalled in a video interview as part of the Times-News "Winter of Our Warriors" series.

After his torture, he was released back into the camp and another prisoner, cleaning up a Japanese officer's quarters, found the flag and managed to spirit it away, returning it to Davis. That flag and Davis' other artwork and memorabilia were donated to the National Prisoner of War Museum in Andersonville, Ga.

During his service in the Army, Davis was awarded a Purple Heart with two clusters and two Bronze Stars; and the Prisoner of War, Philippine Defense, and American Defence with Star ribbons.

After 13 years in military service, in civilian life Davis worked for Olan Mills and the L.M. Berry & Company, retiring in 1979. He and his wife, Lee, were owners of Chicken Coop Antiques in Webster, N.Y. until December 1985 when they moved to Burlington and became active antique dealers at the Greensboro Super Flea.

This past April, Davis was honored for 60 years continuous membership in the American Legion. He was also a member of the Forty and Eight for 58 years and was a charter member of Voiture 1237 in Burlington. He was a charter member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 556 in Fayetteville and of the Greensboro Chapter and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, including Post 10607 in Burlington. He was a member of the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, Disabled American Veterans, and the Independent Telephone Pioneers of America. He was also instrumental in initiating the American Legion First Grade Flag Program in Alamance County, known to countless youngsters as "the Flag Man."

Davis had an uncanny memory for the dates of events in his life, and he memorised several poems as a POW. His most well-known may be a poem about the military uniform of which he was so proud. He always recited the poem when he spoke to groups and to school children.

You can see his interview and hear his recitation of the uniform poem at


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