I Will Never Forget… William Popp

William Popp 1916 - 1998

William Popp served in the 5th Air Force as a sergeant in the Quartermaster Corps, organizing supplies. The 5th Air Force was active throughout the Pacific theater during World War II and Popp served in the Philippines, Guam, and Australia. The 5th was instrumental in expelling Japanese occupiers from the Philippines. Popp likely played a role in the January 1945 retaking of Clark Field on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. This large air force base had been taken by Japanese forces in 1942.

The Japanese government issued its own currency to the territories they occupied. This currency was known as “Japanese invasion money”.  The ½ Oceanic shilling note can be seen below. Oceanic shillings and pounds were issued to all territories that Japan intended to absorb into the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. These territories included Guam, Gilbert and Ellice Islands, Caroline Islands, Solomon Islands, Palau, and the former Territory of New Guinea. Also in Popp's gallery is a 100 pesos note, issued by the Japanese government. Japanese government pesos were issued to the Philippine islands. Beginning in 1942, centavos in the denominations of 1, 5, 10, and 50, and pesos in the denominations of 1, 5, and 10, were issued. Hyper-inflation forced the Japanese government to issue larger denominations. In 1944, the 100 and 500 peso notes were release and in 1945 a 1,000 peso note was release.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Popp spent most of his life in Pittsfield, MA. Before serving in WWII, Popp worked in the family bakery, Popp’s Bakery in North Adams. Following his service, he was worked as a paper cutter in the Eaton Paper Co. in Pittsfield, and was active in the United Papermakers Union.

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