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World War II Honor Roll

John Billington

Private First Class, U.S. Army

32205481

Company I
124th Infantry Regiment, 
31st Infantry Division

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: June 2, 1945
Buried at: Plot F Row 7 Grave 34
Manila American Cemetery
Manila, Philippines
Awards: Silver Star, Purple Heart


PRIVATE FIRST CLASS JOHN BILLINGTON was the son of James and Ethel Billington. He was born in New Jersey around 1920. The 1930 census lists James and Ethel M. Billington in Bordentown NJ at 8 Barr Street. The children included (by age) Ethel S., John, James, Mildred, Ruth, and Florence. The family had moved to Camden by the late 1930s. James Billington was active in Seventh Ward GOP politics in 1938. The Billingtons were living at 1435 South 10th Street in the spring of 1942. By the end of the year the family had moved Camden's Cramer Hill neighborhood, taking up residence at 2828 Tyler Avenue. James Billington was working as a janitor in the County Court House in downtown Camden.

John Billington was inducted into the United States Army on January 29, 1942 at Fort Dix. He had completed one year of high school before going to work in a machine shop as a semi-skilled laborer. After completing basics training , he was assigned to the Company I, Third Battalion 124th Infantry Regiment, 31st Infantry Division.

This unit took part in the fighting on New Guinea and in the invasion of the Philippines. Private First Class Billington and Private First Class Pat Harrison Bullock were assigned as scouts, as dangerous a task in jungle warfare as possible. PFC Bullock wrote extensively about PFC Billington in his wartime notebook and post-war memoirs.

In April of 1945 he landed with his unit on the island of Mindanao in the Philippine Islands. A detailed report of this campaign reveals that on May 7, 1945 he and his unit were engaged in a firefight, and at the end of the day 7 men from Company I were declared Missing in Action. Wounded, PFC Billington was found by medics and with several other of his companions taken to the regimental aid station. His presence there was reported on May 9. Sadly John Billington died of wounds received in action on June 2, 1945. As a result of his actions while serving America, he was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart.


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