Bridgman was born in Massachusetts in 1914 but by 1920 his family was living in Paterson. His parents Solan and Ann then moved to Teaneck ca. 1920 where they lived at 971 Garrison Avenue. His mother immigrated from England at a young age. His sister Fredericka graduated THS in 1934 and Ernest may have also but we do not find him in the yearbooks.
Bridgman enlisted in May 1939 and became a Sergeant in the HQ Company of the Army's Philippines Department. When the islands fell to the Japanese, Bridgman became a POW and spent about 2 and a half years at the Cabanatuan prison camp. As an American invasion became more likely, the Japanese decided to ship POWs to Japan as forced labor. Bridgman (and Walter Colpitts of Teaneck) was among a group of 1800 POWs loaded onto the Arisan Maru. This ship, with no markings to indicate it was carrying POWs, was torpedoed and sunk by an American submarine in the South China Sea on October 24, 1944. All but about a dozen men died.
Bridgman's sacrifice is memorialized at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial.
American Battle Monuments Commission Website
- Ernest H. Bridgman - Overview
- 1930 United States Federal Census for Ernest H Bridgman
- 1940 United States Federal Census for Solon H. Bridgman (father)
- World War II Prisoners of War, 1941-1946
- World War II and Korean Conflict Veterans Interred Overseas
US-Japan Dialogue on POWs
Find A Grave website