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Roll Call of all known Military Service Deaths. A Military Service Death is classified as the death of a member of the Chicago Police Department who has been killed serving their Country in the armed forces while on leave from the Department.

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Detective James W. Griffin

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Chicago Police Department
Appointed Date:
24 Sep 1938
Death Classification:
Military Service Death
Star #:
Incident Date:
20 May 1944
Cause of Death:
Gunfire - Enemy
End of Watch:
20 May 1944
Unit of Assignment:
40th District - Summerdale
Date of Birth:
12 Jan 1914
5 years, 7 months, 26 days
District of Incident (Present Day):
Manila, Philippines

Memorial Details:

Manila American Cemetery - Taguig City, Manila, Philippines
Superintendent's Honored Star Case:
Not Enshrined
Gold Star Families Memorial:
Not Listed
Illinois Police Officers Memorial:
Not Listed
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial:
Not Listed

Incident Details:


Sergeant James W. Griffin enlisted in the U.S. Army on April 7, 1941, Service #36017282, served in Company B, 192nd Tank Battalion and was a veteran of World War II. He was awarded a Purple Heart.

In October of 1941, Sergeant Griffin's Tank Battalion was sent to the Philippine Islands a little over two weeks before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. On December 21, 1944, Sergeant Griffin took part in the first action by American tanks in World War II. Sergeant Griffin's tank took several hits, and his machine gunner was killed. The tanks were lost to enemy fire and the American and Filipino forces eventually surrendered to the Japanese. Sergeant Griffin took part in the infamous Bataan Death March and survived. He was held as a prisoner in Camp O'Donnell and Cabanatuan Prison Camp where he worked on a farm and did construction work. It is believed that because of illness he was sent to Bilibid Prison outside of Manila where he was eventually shot and Killied in Action (KIA) by a Japanese guard and died on May 20, 1944.


Detective James W. Griffin, Star #Unknown, aged 30 years, was a 5 year, 7 month, 26 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 40th District - Summerdale.

Detective Griffin was laid to rest in the Manila American Cemetery, Taguig City, Manila, Philippines. His grave is located in Plot A, Row 4, Grave 70.

Detective James W. Griffin, born January 12, 1914, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on September 24, 1938.

Detective Griffin was survived by his parents and siblings: John A., Robert E., Lt. Edward E. Griffin and Mrs. Alice Johnson.

James W. Griffin was born in 1915 to Municipal Judge John J. Griffin and Alice McCabe. He grew up on the northwest side of Chicago with his four brothers and a sister. He attended Campion Catholic Preparatory High School in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and upon graduation he completed one year of college before becoming a Chicago Police Officer.