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Edmund J. Lilly, Jr., Papers, 1941-1974

(Manuscript Collection #306)

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: Edmund J. Lilly, Jr., Papers
Creator: Lilly, Edmund Jones, b. 1894
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1941-1974) of U. S. Army artillery officer in World War I and World War II, who served as commander of the 57th Philippine Scouts and regimental commander, experienced the Bataan Death March and was a POW until 1945, consisting of correspondence, clippings, a hymnal, letters, and miscellaneous.
Extent: 0.143 Cubic feet, 69 items , photocopies of papers (1941-1974) consisting of correspondence, clippings, a hymnal, and miscellaneous.

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

May 4, 1976, 69 items; Papers (1941-1974) consisting of correspondence, clippings, and a hymnal. Loaned for copying by Col. Edmund J. Lilly, Jr., Fayetteville, N.C.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

Edmund J. Lilly, Jr., Papers (#306), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Loaned by Col. Edmund J. Lilly, Jr.

Processing Information

  • Processed by D. Lennon

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services


Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Colonel Edmund Jones Lilly, Jr. (b. 1894), is a native of Fayetteville, N.C. After graduating from the University of North Carolina (1915), he taught school before entering officers training school at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. He was commissioned (1917) as a second lieutenant in the field artillery reserves. As a member of the American Expeditionary Forces, he saw duty in France during W.W.I. Lilly subsequently commanded a machine gun company in Panama and headed the ROTC program at Georgia Tech, where he remained until 1940. In 1940, he was sent to the Philippines where he initially served as officer in charge of both the American and Filipino schools. Lilly became battalion commander of the 57th Infantry Philippine Scouts, executive officer of the regiment, and regimental commander. In April 1942, the U.S. Army in the Philippines was forced to surrender to the Japanese. Col. Lilly was a participant in the infamous Bataan Death March, and he remained a P.O.W. for the next three years. In the years after World War II, he served in France as the inspector general of the American Graves Registration Plan (1947-1950). He returned to the States in 1950 and was assigned to the Inspector General section at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he served until his retirement in 1953.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The most important correspondence in this collection centers around the fall of Bataan to the Japanese Army. The correspondence (1947-1974) contains information on the conditions of the U.S. Army before the Japanese attack, the order of withdrawal, and Colonel Lilly's ability as a leader. There are also several items which specify the Japanese policy towards prisoners of war. Of further interest is a newspaper clipping which depicts the notorious Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita's background, war record, and his hanging. There is also a letter (August, 1957) which has some specifics on the hanging of General Yamashita.

Correspondence (1942-1945) contains commendations to the Scouts of the 57th Infantry and congratulations to Colonel Lilly on his safe return home. There is also a brief account of Col. Lilly's liberation from the Japanese. There are several letters (1947-1953)which deal directly with Colonel Lilly's performance record. Most of these are in the form of commendations, which were written in support of his promotion.

The last set of correspondence (1950-1951) revolves around the death of Colonel Lilly's son, Lt. Edmund J. Lilly, III, who was killed in action in Korea. These letters are mainly condolences to the family. Two letters (September 21, 1950 and October 17, 1950) give specific accounts of the battle in which Lt. Lilly was killed. Also included is a poem written in the memory of Lt. "Ted" Lilly.

Miscellaneous items include a hymnal used by the P.O.W.'s during W.W. II, newspaper clippings on the death of General Jonathan Wainwright, Colonel Lilly's certificate of retirement, and photographs of the 57th Infantry (PS) and of the plaque of the United State Military Academy which contains the names of its graduates that were killed in Korea.

For related material, see Edmund Lilly Oral History Interview, O.H. 32.

Subject Headings Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Card Catalog Entries Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Reading Room's card catalog. This system is no longer maintained, but it is left in place to help on-site researchers locate particular topics in the collection.

Autograph Entries :

  • Brougher, W[illiam] E. (4) 1947, 1949, 1950
  • Collins, J[oseph] Lawton 1953
  • Funk, A[rnold] J. 1950
  • MacArthur, D[ouglas] A. 1950
  • Peckham, H[oward] L. 1950
  • Royall, K[enneth] C. 1950
  • Summeral, C[harles] A. 1950
  • Wainwright,J[onathan] M. (5) 1942,1946, 1947
  • Witsell, E[dward] F. 1950

Subject Entries :

  • WAR— KOREAN WAR— Casualties— 1950
  • WAR— WORLD WAR II— Prisoners of War— 1942
  • WAR— WORLD WAR II— Japan
  • WAR— WORLD WAR II— Philippine Islands— 1941
  • WAR— WORLD WAR II— Prisoners of War
  • WAR— WORLD WAR II— Units

Date Entry :

  • 1940-1949

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Division, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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