Defenders of the Philippines

picture of captivity and picture of release form captivity

James Cavanaugh, ADBC Commander



ADBC Commander, 1970-1971


James Cavanaugh Picture





James Cavanaugh was born in County Mayo, Ireland.  Mr. Cavanaugh came to the United States in 1937, to join his brother, Patrick who owned a tavern at 32nd and Market Streets.  Mr. Cavanaugh served in the Army Air Corps during World War II.  He survived the Bataan Death March and was a Japanese prisoner for almost four years.  He was awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star and left the military as a staff sergeant.

For a while, Mr. Cavanaugh worked at his brother's tavern in Pennsylvania.  Then he started a bar, Cavanaugh's, at 52nd and Market Streets, Drexel Hill, which he later sold.

In the early 1960s, he bought a tavern at 54th Street and City Avenue, which he named Cavanaugh's Beef House.  Since 1970, he also had owned and run the Cavanaugh Saloon in the Pilgrim Gardens and shopping center in Drexel Hill.

Mr. Cavanaugh was a past president of the Pennsylvania Tavern Association, a past president of the United Tavern Owners of Philadelphia, a past national commander of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, and a member of the St. Patrick's Day Observance Association, the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Mayo Society, the Knights of Columbus, and St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Drexel Hill.

He was married to Marie and they had four sons, James K. Jr., Patrick, , Michael and Thomas.  They also had three daughters, Mary Ann Finegan, Margaret and Sheila Cavanaugh.


James K. Cavanaugh passed away on March 31, 1990 in Drexel Hill where he had lived for more than thirty years.