James W. Griffin  | Star #Unknown

Death Classification: Military Service Death

Agency: Chicago Police Department

Served: 5 years, 7 months, 26 days

Unit of Assignment / Detail: 40th District - Summerdale

District of Incident (Present Day): Manila, Philippines

Location of Occurrence: Manila, Philippines

Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy

Age at Time of Death: 30


Date of Birth: 12 Jan 1914

Date of Appointment: 1938

Date of Incident: 20 May 1944

End of Watch: 20 May 1944

Date of Interment: 11 May 1834


Interment Details

 Cemetery: Manila American Cemetery - Taguig City, Manila, Philippines
 Grave Location: Plot A, Row 4, Grave 70
 Interment Disposition: Burial


Memorial Details

Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Not Enshrined

Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Memorialized

Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Not Listed

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Not Listed

Officer Down Memorial Page: Not Listed



 Military Service: U.S. Army


Incident & Biographic Details


Sergeant James W. Griffin, Service #36017282, served in the U.S. Army enlisting on April 7, 1941 serving in Company B, 192nd Tank Battalion, was a veteran of World War II and died in service. 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 Killed in Action (KIA) by a Japanese guard and died on May 20, 1944.


Detective James W. Griffin, Star #4258, 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.