Skip to main content

John Edward O'Neal Papers regarding World War II Service and Other Material

Collection Number: A&M 4302

Scope and Contents

Box 1 includes military records, scrapbook pages of mostly clippings, photographs, correspondence, and more. Military records include O’Neal’s prisoner of war statement form and discharge papers. The rest of the material pertains mostly to O’Neal’s military service and his time serving overseas. Clippings are mostly from the Winchester Star newspaper.

Box 2 includes 8 military medal sets (with some pieces missing, presumably because they are in the display case in box 3), a ribbon, a lighter, and a box of jewelry. The box of jewelry contains two lapel pins, tie tac, and cufflinks which all depict the M113, a fully tracked armored personnel carrier (tank) that was developed by Food Machinery Corp (FMC), for which O’Neal worked.

Box 3 includes O’Neal’s diary, a framed resolution of respect certificate, and a small display case of John Edward O’Neal’s military insignia, bars, etc. The diary looks like it is part address book, part list of military men, part list of prisoners of war from America forced to do labor, and also includes sporadic diary entries dated April 1-August 26, 1945. According to the donor: the diary was kept by O'Neal while a prisoner of the Japanese; since he was an officer, he was asked to keep a listing of fellow prisoners under his command; and since he was not allowed to keep a diary, these entries were made secretively. There is also a DVD which includes 64 jpg files which are photos of the contents of the diary.

Box 4 includes two folders of oversize clippings, as well as the candy box in which O’Neal’s wife kept some of his military materials.


  • Creation: ca. 1940-2008


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

No special access restriction applies.

Researchers may access born digital materials by requesting to view the materials in person by appointment or remotely by contacting the West Virginia & Regional History Center reference department at

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. For more information, please see the Permissions and Copyright page on the West Virginia and Regional History Center website.

Biographical / Historical

John Edward O’Neal (June 23, 1916-December 8, 2001), a.k.a. “Eddie,” was a Virginia native. He was born in Vaucluse, VA and lived in Stephens City prior to enlisting in the Army Air Corps in 1936. In 1939, he reenlisted and served with the Flying Tigers in China. He was taken prisoner following the Battle of the Philippines in 1942 and survived the Bataan Death March and three years in Japanese prison camps. He was freed by American troops during the Great Raid of 1945, and was officially a prisoner of war from April 1942 to August 1945. Following that, he joined the Air Force. In 1946, he married Evelyn (d. 2013). He received multiple decorations during his time in the military, and worked at VMI from 1952 to 1957. Following that, Worked for FMC Corps, South Charleston, WV, maintaining/making tanks for Vietnam, before continuing to work elsewhere in the manufacturing and heavy industry field. His family suspected that he suffered from PTSD, though it was not as well understood at the time. John Edward reportedly asked his wife to keep his military memorabilia and diary, but to keep it out of sight from him. The candy box she kept it in is part of the collection.


1.2 Linear Feet (1 ft. 1 1/2 in. (1 document case, 2 1/2 in.); (1 document case, 5 in.); (1 artifact box, 2 1/2 in.); (1 flat storage box, 3 1/2 in.))

0.09 Gigabytes (64 .jpg files)

Physical Location

West Virginia and Regional History Center / West Virginia University / 1549 University Avenue / P.O. Box 6069 / Morgantown, WV 26506-6069 / Phone: 304-293-3536 / Fax: 304-293-3981 / URL:

John Edward O'Neal Papers Regarding World War II Service and Other Material
Jane LaBarbara
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the West Virginia and Regional History Center Repository

1549 University Ave.
P.O. Box 6069
Morgantown WV 26506-6069 US