The rattling fire of Jap snipers brought Second Lieutenant Philip A. Oldham, of Philadelphia, to his death on a lonely ridge on New Georgia Island on July [9, 1943]—but not before he had blown out of existence with hand grenades a Jap machine gun nest that was the last serious obstacle to Enogai and the establishment of a pincers outflanking the enemy’s air base on Munda.
That engagement, the greatest in which he ever appeared, marked the end of Oldham’s ambition to be an actor—and added a new chapter of valor to the record of the U.S. Marines.
This was related yesterday in a delayed dispatch giving further details of the furious battle to take Enogai.
Oldham, who lived at 2227 Locust St., was attached to a column of Marines pressing upon Enogai when the men arrived within 600 yards of their objective and found themselves under a veritable storm of machine gun fire.
With the intrepid calm that he had learned in deadly battles on Guadalcanal, Oldham crawled to a point a few yards from the machine gun emplacement and began to toss his grenades. The gunfire ceased as the grenades found their mark.
Oldham was on his way back to rejoin his men when the snipers got him. His men were rushing in to complete the job he had made possible.
Lieutenant Oldham had only lately received his commission. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Oldham, of Rye, N.Y., and was working here as a driver-salesman for the Scott-Grauer beer distributing firm at 3145 W. Jefferson St., when he enlisted Jan. 28, 1942.
Friends said his greatest ambition was to become a success on the stage or screen. He appeared in a number of little theater productions here and was a roommate of Harry Mahaffey, director of the Bessie V. Hicks Players.