It was my 8th-grade history teacher, Mr. Danhausen, who started me on my life-long obsession with World War II.
It was my friend, Anthony Garrett, who provided me with a copy of his grandfather's journal.

Elwood Llewellin Garrett was an American businessman in Manila at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
This is his story, as he recorded it, of living under Japanese rule in an enemy-occupied foreign land.


Remembering September 11, 2001...

May 7, 1942

Quite some time has elapsed since my last entry, during which time the rumors have been coming in strong and unreliable as ever and I have been keeping out of trouble puttering around making one thing and another. Have made three folding canvas chairs, cabinet for supplies and a shanty for a friend. When I get started on these jobs I don't like to quit until I'm finished, resulting in the neglect of this. Although there has not been much to tell lately anyway.

Apparently all the rumors about reinforcements arriving in the Philippines is "bunk." Bataan has definitely fallen and today we have confirmation that Corregidor surrendered yesterday. This is the last of American stronghold and completes the surrender of the Philippines to the Japs. Needless to say, no one is feeling any too good today. It now looks like we will be here for a long while. In three more days we will have completed four months in the "klink."

According to rumor, the European situation is more favorable and the betting by Lloyds and Wall Street is four to one that the mess there will be over in thirty days. The Russians are going strong and progress is being made on all other fronts. Naturally, the sooner the European mess is cleaned up, the better it will be for us out here as an all out on the Japs can then be made. We hear of large convoys arriving in Australia from the U.S.A. which is, I imagine, the preparation or ground work for the big push. In the mean-time, we are still locked up and the chow getting no better fast. Am down to 160 pounds now.

Am not much in the mood for writing today, but this has broken the "ice" so will be back again tomorrow with the latest.

April 25, 1942

The hot weather continues and so does the rumors. We have been getting in the rumor for the past few days that Italy is asking for a seperate peace with the Allies and are holding a meeting in Lisbon for that purpose. To my way of thinking, this is not at all unlikely as we have not heard of Italy taking any offensive lately or, as a matter of fact, doing much of anything. It was a surprise to many when Italy cast her lot with the Axis and now that the tide appears to be changing it is the natural thing to do in an effort to salvage something at least.

We have a very similar case right here in Manila but on a personal scale, of a prominent official connected with the Agp. When the Japs first took over Manila, this party was not interned with the rest of us but was out in custody of a high ranking Nazi official friend of his. Up to several days ago, said party enjoyed all the freedom and protection of the present Jap military regime. This naturally encumbered certain obligations and before long said party was making radio speeches about co-operating with the new order of East Asia and telling the Filipinos how badly they had been exploited by the Americans. Apparently due to either a change of heart or a change in the military situation out this way, said party tried to swing over to our side and wanted to come in to camp and be interned like all the rest of us, several days ago. The Jap commandant in charge of this camp would not accept him and referred him to the military headquarters. I saw and talked to him when he came in here to apply for admission. I have known him for some time; played golf and many a drink we've had together. Always thought him to be a fine fellow and a good sport up to the outbreak of war. It is very amusing to see how people re-act when the pressure is applied. It's an experience worth millions that you couldn't sell for a plugged dime. Now to get back to the story: this morning the rumor comes in hot and heavy that two Americans were executed by the Japs yesterday, one of which was an official of the Agp. No one seems to know who the other one was, or why he was executed. All the other officials of Agp are in here which leaves only one answer as I see it. But that's war! Said party may have had another side to the story that we don't know and many of us are hoping that this execution is only a rumor so that we may some day know the full story.

And speaking of people that change their nationality, there were two in our immediate shanty that turned yellow when the pressure was applied; one, formerly connected with the Army who destroyed a U.S. passport and other equipment and kept only a foreign birth certificate for identification. However, when things got tough on the outside and the Japs issued stern warnings to foreigners to register, they got scared stiff and finally came into camp. If the U.S. was a little more strict in their admission of foreigners to U.S. Citizenship, they might value it more highly. On the other hand, you will probably find native born citizens who are no better and ready to jump on any band-wagon to save their selfish flesh and blood. It gets me!!

There is considerable air activity around here today; guess they are out after Corregidor again. We have had very little news lately. Even the K.G.E.I. transcripts have nothing on the Philippine situation. We have either been forgotten, or this is the calm before the storm. Quien sabe! We have heard nothing on the Bataan situation lately or what has been done with the sixty thousand troops that have been taken prisoners.

April 24, 1942

There seems to be a great wave of optimism lately along the lines of rumors. Planes continue to bomb Japan and our forces are reportedly moving up from Australia, sweeping the Japs as they roll along. It is also rumored that our forces have landed on the southern tip of Luzon at a town named Legaspi. All last night we could hear a heavy movement of tanks and trucks moving northward, which according to the optimists is Japs retreating from the south. It does add up and maybe there is something to it. Who knows?

Here's a rich one! After being in camp for over three and one half months, yesterday I met a man by the name of Calvert, who received a letter from his wife in San Francisco on the last clipper to come to these parts, telling him all about meeting you and your mother and you coming out here. We had quite a little chat comparing notes, etc; and both look forward to having a big "bust" when you and his wife do come out here. The fact that both you and his wife just missed by bare inches, in getting caught in this mess gave us much in common to be grateful for. Every time I think how close you came to being caught, cold chills run up and down my spine. Mr. Calvert seems to be a very fine chap and a regular fellow. Will undoubtedly see more of him from now on. He is from San Francisco also so we get along O.K.

It is surprising, that although we are all cooped up here together, weeks go by with out seeing certain ones we know. Just this morning I met a fellow who I thought had been out on a pass as I had not seen him for some time, but he had been here all the time, same as I, and wondered whether I had been out. I have been thinking of trying to get out for a day to get some money and incidently a "snoot-full," but passes are hard to get so am not planning on it too keenly. Havn't had a drink in almost four months so guess I can get along without it for a little while longer.

April 21, 1942

The rumors are "hot" today. We have it that K.G.E.I. and also Japan radio has broadcast that Japan has been bombed two days in succession causing heavy damage to military factories and etc; Japan says that only hospitals and residences were bombed. This remark is naturally to be expected but the fact that Japan admits being bombed is good news.

Another one from Australia is that New Guinea has been cleaned up of Japs and that our forces are now in Java, British Borneo and Mindanao (Southern Philippines) mopping up there, and headed for Manila.

There is more air activity today than we have seen for the past week, which is a pretty good sign that something has stirred them up. Since they (Japs) have taken Bataan, things have been rather quiet with the exception of Sunday evening we heard a lot of what was thought to be heavy artillery not far from camp. Nobody seems to know what it was all about and not even a good rumor has come out of it yet.

April 18, 1942*

There has not been much doing for the past few days, not even a good rumor to make note of. However, this morning shows signs of renewed war activities and there are a number of Jap planes overhead, flying high and in the direction of Corregidor. The paper says Corregidor is weakening and they expect it’s fall any time now.

It is also reported that there is a shake-up in the U.S. Cabinet and Hull, Knox, Stimson and others are being kicked out and are responsible for the heavy American losses. It would be interesting to know if there is any truth in this report. Personally, I doubt it. As a matter of fact I don’t believe a damned thing I hear these days.

Probably the reason for inactivity during the past few days is the heat wave we have been going through, which just about reduces one to a mere grease spot. Yesterday it was 101.5’ and that is about as hot as it ever gets in these parts.

The air raids by our boys on Sunday and Monday are the last we have heard of so guess the heat has absorbed their ambition too. We learn that these two raids were made by flying fortresses from Australia and all returned to their base except one which developed engine trouble near Australia; the crew bailed out and were rescued but the plane was lost. There is plenty of work to be done here and the sooner they get started, the better we’ll like it. Stop me if you have heard that last phrase before. The European news is all good; the Russians are going strong and the collapse of Germany is predicted to take place within 45 days. I hope this is true, for if they do, the situation out here will be changed considerably. Information reaches us this morning that General McArthur made a speech over the radio from Australia that the Philippines were the first objective and that they intended going to work in a big way in the very near future. We have heard this several times before but hope they really mean it this time. This camp life is getting rather monotonous.

Although the food we get on the line is very meager and not too good, the Japs seem to think we are eating too well so commencing today they have taken over the Red Cross bodega and kitchen and intend trying to starve us. This morning we had our usual allotment of cracked wheat and a liquid called coffee, same as before, so will wait for tonights meal and we’ll know more about it. The Japs have taken all the canned and powdered milk to be found, for their injured leaving the Red Cross only a very small supply to take care of babies bare requirements for a short time. When this is gone we’ll have to figure out a new one some way. We hear from people on the outside that they are using a condensed cocoanut milk and getting by, so as long as the cocoanuts hold out we will be O.K. I never realized before how important a part milk is to war time rations, not only for infants but adults.

As I said before, there are all kinds of people in this camp; entertainers, professional galblers, business executives, newspaper men, and just about any lines you can think of. The result of this conglamoration is that we have a weekly newspaper called the "Internews" which really has no news at all except goings on in camp. Not much of a paper but am attaching a copy to this so you can see for yourself.

Every Saturday night the entertainers from the various night clubs (now interned) put on a show in the patio of the Main building. I never was much on this even when half “oiled” and don’t believe I could sit through one of their performances stone sober, so have not bothered to go to one of their shows since we have been locked up. Others say they are pretty good, so will have to take their word for it. Just about every one in camp goes to these shows which leaves things exceptionally quiet in our building so I stay here and enjoy the quiet much more than I would the show.

The young fellows in camp have organized a number of softball teams and put on a game most every morning and afternoon. Not being particularly interested I do not play but do spend quite a little time in the bleachers giving the boys the ol’ “razzberry” when they fumble. They all take it in good spirit and makes one forget their present plight. They also have basket ball, volley-ball and horse shoes. The latter is about my speed and I take my daily work-out this way. An old mans’ game, but then, I’m getting no younger fast, and can work up a good sweat, which is not hard to do these days, so that is all that is necessary.

*Interestingly, this is also the same day of the famous ‘Doolittle Raid.’

April 15, 1942

Was exceptionally busy yesterday repairing cots, the weeks wash and etc, was rather tired so had a siesta for a change.

About the only item of note was that on Monday afternoon around 5:00 PM we heard a lot more bombing, which, according to rumor, was three alcohol fuel plants blown up by our planes. The paper says nothing about this although reports persistantly come in to this effect. For two days in a row we have heard bombing which is music to our ears. Yesterday we heard none, guess the boys were taking a rest. Needless to say that we are all hoping for a little more music today.

Todays paper carries the headlines that the big guns of Corregidor have been demolished by heavy Jap bombing. This is supposed to be the day the Jap army promised to make their Emporer a present of Corregidor. As long as we have a plane left in these parts I doubt if they will ever make it for Corregidor is in the same class as Malta. They'll never get it. Todays paper also shows pictures of American and Filipino troops being searched by Japs after their surrender at Bataan. Rumor has it that this is only the east flank that surrendered and that heavy fighting is still going on over there on other fronts.

Cebu, second largest city in the islands and reported one of our bases of the south, is reported to have been taken over by the Japs after being completely wiped out by fire. We are supposed to have sunk a number of their ships in the attempted landings and the few that did land were promptly annihalated. This is the kind of stuff we get all day long and each side swears it is from the one and only authentic source.

Yesterday we had some tenderloin steaks sent in which is the first real meat we have had since being in here, and did we go for it. I had almost forgotten what meat tasted like. Every once in a while we get together and talk about our favorite dish to see who can make the others mouth water for the real chow. We have not done too badly up to now but expect that the worst is yet to come at the rate things are going.

April 13, 1942

The rumors sure came in hot and heavy last night about yesterdays bombing. Some said it was the Japs blowing up houses to make way for a new air field. Others said it was a Jap plane that developed motor trouble and had to unload her bombs and others said it was from our planes bombing Nichols Field. The optimists were right this time for the Jap paper this morning confirms that it was from our planes but that no military damage was done. Rumor has it that our planes bombed and caused considerable damage at Nichols Field scoring direct hits on the repair hangar, killing two hundred Japs and Filipinos. It sure is good to know that we do have a plane or two around these parts. We heard planes flying around right after the bombing but they were so high they could not be seen. That is the first bit of encouragement we have had in quite some time and of course, all are hoping that this is just the beginning.

The news about the fall of Bataan appears to be a confirmed fact for todays papers shows pictures of General King talking to Japanese command arranging for a surrender. It seems incredible that the U.S. should have to surrender even Bataan to Japan, but guess they got the jump on us in the first blow and took a lot of the wind out of our sails from which it is taking us some time to recover. The Japs now claim they expect the fall of Corregidor by the fifteenth and unless we get reinforcements and in a big way, I don't see how they can possibly hold out much longer. This is the last stronghold the U.S. forces have here and it seems a crime that it be permitted to fall into Jap control. It seems that the powers that be, in Washington, will have a lot to answer for after this is all over. Guess we'll be here for a long while yet, so have taken a new lease on life and settled down for the rainy season which should be along most any time now. It has been hotter than hades lately; yesterday 98.2'. In order to write this I have a towel around my arm to hold the flow of perspiration and what I mean, it's hot! And that's no rumor! I don't know whether it's the heat or bad news lately but things are very quiet in camp and from the looks on some of the faces, one would almost think it was the end of everything. Maybe it is and I haven't got sense enough to realize it but I can still smile and look forward to some day reading the history of this war to my kids in a cozy little farm house some where in sunny California. How does that strike you? Or am i bragging again?

We are all keeping in good health despite congested conditions and meager chow. Every so often some one in our camp gets laid up for a day or so but nothing serious so we feel most fortunate.

About half the men in camp have raised a beard, too lazy to shave, and this "joint" gives the appearance of a convention of the "House of David." I had a mustachio for two months but shaved it off soon as I proved to myself I was still a man and not a mouse.

April 12, 1942

I know you must be worried, not hearing from me for so long. If I could only be granted one wish, it would be that you be notified that I am still O.K. Did you ever receive any word through the Red Cross?

The rumor still persists that Bataan has fallen and there seems to be every indication that this is true. Nine civilians who fled to Bataan on Janaury first to escape the Japs, came in to camp yesterday afternoon and give quite an account of goings-on over there. They said they had been living in a cave in the mountains all this time. The Japs have been continually bombing and shelling our positions; that our forces had received no reinforcements and were on starvation rations. They had seen only two American planes since January first. From this it really looks like we have been deserted completely. I can not understand it; we learn of raids on Australia and all other places being repulsed by American pilots and planes yet we do not have any here where it seems they are needed most. Four months have passed since this war started and not the slightest signs of reinforcements have arrived. Todays paper says that our President F.D.R. has broadcast that it is impossible to send aid to the Philippines because the Japanese navy has control of this part of the Pacific. Also that F.D.R. has given General King full authority to make the best surrender terms possible. These people that came in yesterday say that they saw thousands of our boys that had been taken prisoners marching along the road as they were being brought in. Try as I might, I can not see anything particularly optimistic in the present picture of conditions. Although there is the other side or school of thought, who never say die and stick to their story that these people who have come in yesterday, being stuck in a cave all this time, know no more than we or probably less and that their evacuation from Bataan was part of a twenty four hour truce that was arranged between the Japs and American troops to bury their dead and evacuate all civilians in this area. We heard this several days ago and it is not at all unlikely as I can well imagine the stench of dead bodies must be terrible in this hot climate. So Bataan may still be in our hands for all I know. It's a fifty fifty bet as I see it.

We have just received another notice from the boss of this camp that we can send a note home and I have sent one to you which I hope you may soon receive. It is a sterotyped note but at least lets you know all is well so far.

This morning we heard a heavy bombing which seemed to come from the direction of Nichols Field which was music to our ears as we all wanted to believe that it came from our flying fortresses. We have not yet heard definitely what it was but as there are a few out on passes today, we will probably hear about it at tonights session.

April 11, 1942

Every day now seems to be the anniversary of something or other. Four months ago today was the last time we saw an American plane over these parts. What a grand and glorious feeling it will be the next time we see one. Some times I wonder.

The news has been bad for the past few days. Apparently there was something to the rumor of the 9th; that the Japs had broken through our Bataan lines for we have been getting in reports, supposedly from K.G.E.I. which confirms this. This Jap paper that we get in camp and is the only paper in Manila, carries large headlines that Bataan has fallen and they have taken many of our boys as prisoners. This is the worst news we have received since being in camp, and if I have said before that most of the people here had been down in the dumps, well, these past two days are indescribable. Lower than low.

There are two schools of thought in camp: the defeatist who believe that the U.S. has let the Philippines down miserably, and the born optimists who believe all these rumors are just poor propaganda designed to break our moral. There is much to be said on both sides and I'm not sure just on what side I should be classed. While I feel positive we are not licked by a heluva-long-shot, it is discouraging never to see or hear any of our planes over-head and always getting in bad news. At the same time we know that our own side is not beyond spreading propaganda too, because right up until January first when our forces retreated and left Manila, we were informed that our lines were holding and the situation was well in hand. I've given up trying to figure it out as long as I'm stuck in here and can not move. I try to take a little of each side as it suits my fancy and let it go at that. Todays supposed transcripts of K.G.E.I.'s last nights broadcast confirms the fall of Bataan while another says it is all false and that the other broadcast was from Japan and not K.G.E.I. Now you figure it out! In the meantime I'm just sitting here patiently waiting for something to happen.

I have just received word through a friend of mine who was out on a pass due to his mother passing away, that the Japs have not yet touched my apartment and everything is in tact. They have sealed the building so guess that means they are reserving this till a little later on when they have more time. They have taken over and are living in all the apartments with elevators; our building has none and I live on the top or fourth floor, which has probably kept them out. Am hoping the luck holds for awhile longer so that I may see my happy home once more for I have many little things there that I would like to save.

April 9, 1942

Yesterday completed the fourth month of war in these parts and today completes our third month in a concentration camp. Three months gone to hell; we wonder how many more are ahead of us. Not many, I hope, for personally I've had a plenty and am getting fed up. While we do practically nothing but loaf around all day this is really no rest or vacation. With the rumbling of distant gun fire, bombing and enemy planes over head a great deal of the time, it just keeps one on edge and it it impossible to relax and enjoy this lay-off from business. I never was very good at loafing even when on a vacation, as you know, so you might imagine this is not much fun.

Today the rumors are very good again. It is reported that our lines in Bataan have been closed and a considerable number of Japs had been slaughtered in the bargain. Also that our Air force has bombed hell out of the principal Jap Air base at Apari, the northern most tip of this island of Luzon. Third, that our offensive has commenced in Mindanao, (to the south of us) with heavy damage to the enemy. There are, of course, the usual run of absolutely rediculous rumors not worth mentioning. We will probably be having all kinds of them at tonights session.

Last night, or rather early this morning at 12:45 A.M. we experienced one of the heaviest earthquakes we have had in a good long time. It awakened me so it must have been a good one. A near panic was all but created when every one tried to get out of the building at the same time. It seemed to last for a full minute or more and was so strong it was difficult to keep one footing while it was going on. This is a cheaply constructed building and with 650 men stacked in like cord wood, it was no place for yours truly and I was out of the building in nothing flat. They say there was hell to pay in the main building where all the women and kids were sleeping. It seems that all the elements were celebrating last night for there was an exceptional amount of heat lightning on all sides of us, lighting the whole sky. We could hear and feel the big guns at Corregidor going off most all night and could see the reflection of the powerful search-lights. Guess the Japs were attempting another landing. From all reports, their losses in attempted landings have been staggering, so when we do hear all this, it makes us feel good to know that another few thousand Japs are going to feed the sharks.

We have been having slight tremblors all day long. Another good shake has just caused some excitement and I guess that ends our siesta as there is a lot of chatter going on out in the halls and every one is awake in our room which means the beginning of a little poker session, more tomorrow.

April 8, 1942

News has again been scarce for the past few days up till this morning and now it comes in a plenty and all bad. It is reported that the Japs have broke through our first lines of defense at Bataan and the situation is very critical for our side. This is supposed to have been broadcast over the only free radio station (free to Japs) in these islands, 'Voice of Freedom' and is considered authentic. This contradicts all previous rumors we have been getting in about the arrival of reinforcements at various points in the islands.

While we are naturally very impatient, being cooped up here in camp, if there is any truth in the above rumor, it rather looks like Uncle Sam has let us down, for there certainly has been sufficient time elapsed to get something over here anyway. There is undoubtedly a lot of things we don't know about what is going on, so best not form any opinion one way or the other. However, such news is very depressing to say the least. Most every ones nerves are on edge this morning and I have seen several scraps among the men. It happens every time. So much for that; we'll try a little more about camp life.

There is not much work to be done around camp anymore, sanitary improvements have been completed as far as possible, the camp is fairly well cleaned, so there is naught left to do but loaf around all day, which makes for a terribly long day. A bunch of fellows in our room have a little poker game every day, losses payable when we get out, which helps to kill some of the time. We use a set of home-made chips, similar to those used for money in the game of Mah Jong, and get along quite OK except that at the present standing I am not doing so well. However, it's on the cuff, so what!

Money is becoming more scarce and we are all in a bad way as every one of us is "broke." Fortunately our Filipino friends have not forgotten us and send us in food and smokes fairly regularly. Several local banks have opened but unfortunately none of us had accounts with them. We hear that it would not have done us any good any way, as all our accounts are frozen by the Japs. All in all, at the moment, the picture of conditions is not too bright as we see it, but here's hoping something breaks in the near future.

Several days ago the rumor was running strong that Yokohama, Kobe and Nagasaki were heavily bombed again by our forces and that the Japs were ready to declare Manila an open city in exchange for Tokio. Apparently all this was just another rumor for we have received no confirmation of it and we are still here. And that's no rumor!!

April 5, 1942 - Easter Sunday

Things have been rather quiet again for the past few days, not even any good rumors worth writing down except for last nights session. Just for the fun of it you might check up on the date of this one and see if our grape-vine is working.

It is reported that Allied troops have landed in France in an effort to split the German power before their contemplated spring invasion of England. Russia appears to be going strong and it is expected that they (Russia) will make a seperate peace with Germany. Another side is that Germany is expected to collapse within sixty days from date. It is also reported that food riots are becoming serious and that there is plenty of internal trouble in Germany. All this, of course, looks good for our side but as I have heard so many rumors both pro and con that have never materialized, I take no stock in any of them and just live from day to day, hoping for the best. It would be interesting to know if there is anything to this.

Last night there was another heavy seige of bombing and artillery, same as that mentioned under date of April first, which was probably another attempted landing on Corregidor. It is reported that the attack on the first was made by barges heavily loaded with men and supplies, all of which were completely annihalated by our forces from Corregidor. It is reported that they also attempted a landing at Bataan, behind our lines and this was likewise repulsed with heavy losses.

Our friends on the outside sent us in an exceptionally good meal today, this being Easter, the best we have had in some time; soup, roast chicken and some sort of frozen desert. It was a real treat.

In some ways this concentration camp life has been a real education, for it has afforded a great opportunity to study us Americans and other nationals in general, at a close range, and a lot of your so-called friends. Believe me, I have learned plenty although hardly worth writing about as it would not make for pleasant reading. I have also made several new friends who have really prooven themselves as friends, so consider myself quite fortunate considering all things.

As I mentioned before, foreign food stuffs and etc; are fast disappearing from the markets and we are getting back to native life and chow, even to smokes. We have been smoking native cigarettes for the past two months and like them. Every so often some one gets in states cigarettes and they are so different I don't even care for them now. It is just as well for we will be smoking "dhobies" for sometime to come.

To alleviate the food situation, we have plowed up by hand, about three acres of ground and have planted vegetables of all kinds. While I am hoping we are not still here to reap the harvest, it is a good idea anyway.

The morale of camp seems pretty good today; many of them are dressed up in their Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes, neckties and everything, parading around the grounds to show off. It's great, the spirit of us Americans! I believe a great many of the extremely high optomistic rumors are started by the Japanese High Command so that when they do not come true, they expect we will crack up in spirit. We have had all sorts of rumors such as, all Japs were evacuating Manila and we would be out in a day or two; or the Japs were asking for peace; fifty percent of their navy is no more, and all such stuff. While we have had many let-downs almost enough to crack the best, we are still betting on Uncle Sam to save the day and teach these devils a lesson they will never forget. While they have taken the whole world by surprise and have taken everything they started out for, I can't see how they can possibly expect to hold it for any length of time. From all reports, they don't seem to know what to do after they do take a city. About all they have done in Manila is to loot all our homes, abuse the residents and spread a lot of worthless currency. There is no business going on, so as far as I can see they have accomplished very little other than causing destruction.

A flight of eighteen bombers have just gone overhead; they were flying so high it was impossible to say whether they were ours or not, but rumors are running high that we now have planes here so we like to think that they were ours. At least they went over without dropping any "eggs" on us so guess there is no harm is believing. Whenever any planes go over, most everyone runs out of the building, hoping to see what we have all been waiting for so long. It will be one grand and glorious day when it does come, for this is worse than being in a jail. When one is in jail, they know or have some idea when they can expect to get out, but with us it is quite different.

Directly across the hall from our room is a room full of Poles, who are not too particular about personal cleanliness and consistantly jabber away all day and far into the night. At times they get on ones nerves and I could cheerfully slaughter the whole lot. But such is life!

The latest rumor along the lines of exchanging diplomats and citizens is supposed to take place on April 20th; when a Jap ship leaves the Philippines for Mozambique, South Africa, where the swap is to be made. Applications are now supposed to be presented but it looks "fishy" to me so intend staying right here, rather than take that chance. A number of people have been reported to have put in their applications but I doubt if they will ever get on their way. Probably another Jap rumor, originated for the purpose of giving us another let-down but I again doubt if it will have the desired effect.

Siesta hour is over and the usual chatter is going strong so will sign off for a while until the spirit moves me again or something of interest comes to mind. We have a pretty good gang in this room and most every one can take a little "ribbing" now and then, which helps to keep things going. At the moment I seem to be in for it with none too flattering remarks so -------

April 1, 1942

We're still here and that's no foolin' either. A few April fool pranks were played on various ones in camp this morning, so we do have our fun along with it all.

As is the usual custom every evening after curfew, we sit out in front of the building and exchange rumors of the day. Last nite they were all bad for our side so naturally most everyone is in low spirits today. It is reported that our forces in Bataan are suffering heavy losses the past few days due to a big push the Japs are putting on. There has been considerable air activity again and it seems that planes are always droning over head in the direction of Corregidor and Bataan.

Last nite from 8:00 to 9:00 PM there seemed to be heavy bombing going on about twenty miles or so away from us. We could also hear the distant rumbling of what might have been heavy artillery. So far today no rumors have come in about what it was. We will probably get them at the session this evening and expect that there will be some fantastic stories among them.

Another wave of abuses as practiced by the Japs on civilians outside has come in from various sources and as they sound very likely, I record them here.

Apparently the devils are following their cowardly methods by picking on women and old men. Many cases are reported of men and women being slapped down for not bowing to the Jap sentries. If the happen to have packages in their arms, same are torn open and the contents strewn over the street. This has happened to both Americans out on pass, and Filipinos alike.

There was a case here in camp this morning of a Chinaman who was bringing the padres some supplies; the Jap sentries at the gate took the stuff and said it could not be delivered. When he asked for a receipt from the sentry so that he could show his boss, the sentries beat him up un-mercifully then let the poor devil lay there until he could gain enough strength to walk away.

It makes my blood boil when I hear of these things and know I can do nothing about it. But every dog has his day and I'm looking forward to it "con mucho gusto." My principal concern now is in getting out of this camp right side up. Although concentration camps have never been known to be bombed, you can never tell what these devils will do. I am hoping that when our boys come in they come in a hurry and leave them no chance to do any dirty work. Most every one seems to think that when they are driven out of Manila, they will destroy the power and water supply, which is not at all unlikely, for I wouldn't put anything passed them.

This morning we had a little spark of encouragement when a plane with an entirely different sounding motor went over head, hell bent for leather, from the sound. It was flying so high in the clouds we could not see it. Most everyone ran out to see and seemed to agree that it must have been an American plane. Things like that buck up the moral and now you may even see a smile once in a while.

March 31, 1942

There has not been anything of note to write about since my last entry. The rumors go up and down, likewise the moral of the camp, but lately, or rather the past few days have been very good for our side, both locally and in Europe.

One of the men in our room returned to camp yesterday after being out on a pass for two weeks to take care of a sick wife and brings many stories of the atrocities being committed by the Japs to the Filipinos. As I feel quite sure of the authenticity, I make record of them here for future posterity.

A neighbor of this fellow was caught listening in on a short wave radio to KGEI by a Jap sentry and was taken down to headquarters for questioning. After three days he returned home, nearly dead, with the skin having been peeled off his back so that it was raw and his hands, face and feet burned by hot irons. This seems to be Japan's idea of the good neighbor policy.

Another case of which we witnessed was that of a Filipino who had been caught looting and was shot in the arm. The sentry caught him, pulled a sack over his head and hung him from a tree by the feet with his head in a bucket of water until he had drowned. They then left him laying there as a lesson to all who see.

The most common punishment for petty offenses is to strip them and tie them to a tree all day in the hot sun. It is reported that this has been done to women as well as men. Rape, is of course, a common occurrence from the age of ten and up. There are undoubtedly thousands of like cases going on every day; and then they expect the Filipinos to co-operate with them to fight against the U.S.A. While there may be a few weak kneed natives who will swing over to the other side, ninety nine percent of them are death against the Japs to the very end and from all reports that reach us, they are doing a mighty good job of it too. It is reported that one hundred and seventy five thousand Japs have been slaughtered in the Philippine campaign up to March 15th. We have heard no figures on our losses.

March 25, 1942

The rumors are all bad today so most everyone is "down in the dumps" and crabby as hell. This is a great life but am afraid a lot of them are weakening. Todays rumor is that our lines in Bataan suffered heavy losses and Corregidor took a terrible bombing yesterday, with the Japs loosing only four planes.

There are always Jap guards patroling the grounds with bayonets set, which is, I suppose to make an impression on us and to let us know they are the victors. They also have a machine gun mounted at the gate, the looks of which I do not particularly care for. I wonder how the Japs interned in the states are being treated. I hope they get the same treatment we get here; that is, locking them up and having them depend on friends outside to bring them food. According to international law, the Japs are supposed to feed us but they have not and if it were not for our Filipino friends we would have starved long ago.

This just about brings us up to date on things in general so from now on will try to keep it so.

I got weighed today and am 168 pounds or a loss of 27 pounds since the beginning of this mess and the last time we were together all my clothes fit like a tent and you would hardly recognize this streamline figure, of which I am quite proud. This is probably due to poor chow, no drinks and nerves, however, am feeling fine otherwise and none the worse for wear and tare.

March 24, 1942

Several days have passed since my last entry, during which time I have been keeping busy around camp, digging ditches and the like, trying to keep out of trouble. Apparently there is no change in our military position for we are still here and there continues considerable air activity, all Jap.

There is some talk about the exchange of diplomats and civilians between Japan and the U.S. but so far nothing definite. Midway or Wake Island was named as the trading post, either of which would suit me fine for I feel I could almost walk home from there, knowing I would be seeing you at the end of the trip.

Mosquitoes have always been a damned nuisance in the tropics but it seems that they have all congregated right here at this camp for some sort of a convention. This is all filled in ground of old garbage and what-not, which does not help out the situation. We are allowed to sit out in front of the building until 11:00 PM but if there is no breeze, the mosquitoes will eat you alive, so we usually retire early, under the net, to get away from them. The curfew hour is 7:45 PM when everyone must go to their respective rooms and report in, so that they can check up that no one has escaped during the day.

I have met several young fellows in here that I did not know before, who are pretty good scouts. We usually have a little rummy game every night to kill the long evenings and talk about the "binge" we are going on as soon as we get out of this dump. It has been more than ten weeks since I've had a drink so you can imagine that I am rather dry and in a bad way. There will probably be plenty of excitement in town after we get out of here and for some time to come, so it is well that I am writing this now, for all this camp life will soon fade out of ones memory and it would be a job to write even one page about it after it's all over.

Rumors still persist that we have had all sorts of reinforcements out this way but I doubt it, for I have yet to see any of our ships flying over. About 75 Jap planes just flew over camp in the direction of Bataan, which looks like our lines are in for a heavy attack. Every time I see those son-of-a-guns flying over with no opposition and realize that we are at their mercy, it is enough to drive one "screwey." And as long as we see those devils flying above us, we know it will be some time yet before we get out of here. Personally, I doubt if we will be out before the first of June, if then.

March 19, 1942

Not much new or startling today although rumor has it that our big offensive is on and of course we are all hoping to get out of here soon. There has been considerable air activity lately which to me is a good sign that there is really something stirring and the Japs are having something to worry about. Things have been very quiet up to the past few days but now it seems that there are always planes droning over head. And that's no rumor!

You probably wonder why I use the word "rumor" so often, and you will hear a lot more before this is finished, so had better clarify the situation. Incidently we just live on rumors; when they are good, every one is feeling fine and when they are bad, every one is crabby as hell and ready to scrap at the drop of a hat. We are not permitted to contact anyone on the outside, have no radios in here and the only bit of news we are supposed to be getting is a daily Japanese propaganda sheet that is so poorly written it is almost comical. However, by some hook or crook we do get in information which is most always reported to have been heard over station KGEI, San Francisco, or the British Broadcasting, London. When anyone inside here gets in a transcript of these broadcasts, it circulates around from mouth to mouth and by the time it passes through three or four, you would never recognize it as the same story. When news is scarce, I believe a lot of the rumors are originated right here, with absolutely no grounds what-ever. Everyone is hungry for news and just eat up these rumors, hook, line and sinker, no matter how wild they may be. They seem to make one feel good and keep the moral up with no particular harm done, so guess it is all for the best. If I ever get this caught up to date I intend keeping a record of all these rumors that come in and maybe some day check up on them and see how many, if any, have any truth in them. Just something to kill time and test our bamboo telegraph system.

Conditions became so crowded at the gymnasium as they brought in more and more men from the provinces, we were moved in to the Catholic sisters home where we have a little more room and much better toilet facilities. In here there are only twenty to a room and ventilation greatly improved. We have had to build make-shift showers and washing trays outside the building otherwise this is not a bad set-up at all for a concentration camp. I have talked to refugees from European concentration camps and compared to them, we are really doing quite well. However, I am getting fed up with this life and things can not happen any too soon to suit me.

This is supposed to be the hot season although it has been quite comfortable. We have built ourselves a shanty out on the so-called campus, made from the scraps of everything we could find and this is home for eight of us, at present. With everyones nerves more or less on edge, it is not a very agreeable household, so I spend most of the time keeping clear of arguments by reading, writing and working around camp, only going to the shanty for our noon day meal. While a great many of the people have to get along on what is put out on the bread line alone, we are still getting in supplies and manage to have at least one good meal a day.

March 17, 1942 - Saint Pat's Day

Once again I shall attempt to settle down for a line or two to this thesis, or what-ever you might call it, as I am rather anxious to have it up to date before I forget. There are undoubtedly unnumerable incidents that have come to pass during the preceeding time covered above that would be of interest so will have to add them in later as they come to mind, so will start in on life in an internment or concentration camp in Manila.

The University of Santo Tomas is located in the city of Manila and covers an area of approximately forty acres. There are four principal buildings, namely, a gymnasium, Padres living quarters and chapel, main school building and a Catholic sisters home. There are several smaller buildings such as a machine shop, laboratory, warehouse, and an intermediate grade school building, all of which will probably accomodate about 3,000 students at the most.

As the majority of padres are Americans, they are also interned in their quarters but are kept seperate from us by a barbed wire fence that runs through the center of the property. I forgot to mention in my description of this camp that it is all fenced in by a concrete wall about ten feet high with barbed wire along the top, just like a regular jail yard. We are actually having two new experiences in one here; attending a University and being in jail at the same time. However, I would gladly for-go all this for a scotch and soda right now.

There are about 3500 Americans, British, Dutch and Poles interned here in two of the buildings. When we first came in, I was quartered in the gymnasium along with 650 other men under the one roof and room. You can not imagine what a nightmare it is with that many different kinds of snoring going on. It was almost impossible to get in a good nights sleep at first but one gets used to most anything after a while and I now sleep late as in ye good ol' days. We sleep on folding camp cots, some on the hard floors, packed in like sardines in a can. It is everything but healthy but there is nothing can be done except to take it and hope for the best.

Three men went over the fence to get away from it, only to be caught the next day and shot by a firing squad not far from camp. Another man went over the fence a little later on and apparently made good his escape for we have heard nothing of him since.

There are about 2900 women, kids and men quartered in the main school building, which as I said before, would accomodate classes for 3000 students, so you can imagine how close they are packed in.

The machine shop building has been converted into a hospital holding about 150 beds which are always full. Fortunately there are several good American doctors in camp to take care of things although medicines and supplies are very scarce and sickness average very high.

For the first few days we ate from supplies that we brought in with us, but as time went on and we were not released after the three days were up, food became a problem and has been more so ever since. Many of the large storage bodegas were burned during the bombing destroying thousands of dollars of food stuffs, resulting in prices shooting sky high to as much as ten times their normal price.

As all business and banking houses were closed from December twenty-eighth and on, we had but very little cash in our pockets to carry on with. This is another item I blame on our high commissioner for not advising us of the true facts and conditions so that we could be prepared. But all our luck has not been bad, for we had a Filipino doctor friend who is fairly well fixed financially, who has been taking care of us by sending food in daily. We all had a certain amount of supplies on hand at the time things broke but that would not have carried us for long. It is over three months now since we have had any ships in this port so there must be very little foreign food stuffs left in the islands. Unless something happens real soon, it rather looks like we are in for a bad time of it.

Every morning from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM we have the line up at the gate, where the Filipinos bring in food and supplies and leave them for us to claim after they have all gone away. The Japs are very careful to see that we do not talk to anyone on the outside and keep us about 100 yards from the gate at all times.

Commencing around the first of February, the Red Cross organized a bread line, serving two meals a day, of which most every one is now a steady customer. The meals are none too good but they do keep one going so cannot complain too much. For breakfast we have cracked wheat, sugar syrup (no milk) and native coffee; for dinner or the afternoon meal served about 4:30 PM we will have either mongo beans or white beans and tea. Occasionally they have stew made of caraboa and native vegetables. Nothing to write home about but it is filling and that is something. I have lost about twenty five pounds to date and am feeling fine physically. Apparently a little hard work agrees with me for I have been doing all sorts of odd jobs such as digging ditches for the garbage disposal, scrubbing floors, building shantys, hauling water, pulling grass and weeds, raking the lawn, do all my own washing and etc., so after all this I might be a handy guy to have around the house. Howsaboutit?

March 15, 1942

(This is the 3rd of 3 installments for this entry.)

On the afternoon of December thirty-first; the piers and customs district were heavily bombed again, leaving that whole section in flames. New Years eve, together with several friends, we went to the Manila Hotel for dinner in an effort to bolster up our spirits. The tension of war was so great that nobody could get "organized" in spite of the number consumed. I sure tried but no soap. During dinner, there was another raid on the piers which is about 300 yards from the hotel and again we caught hell. We all grabbed up our drinks and "high-tailed" off to the shelter from where we could hear and feel the bombs bursting close by. Several bombs felt as though they had hit the hotel just above us but upon emerging, discovered we were lucky once again and only the customs district was ablaze more than ever. This seemed to take the wind out of everyones sails completely so we had one more drink to see the old year out and have a start for the new, then hit for home. Another occasion I shall long remember.

Next morning, upon awakening and reading the morning paper, we learn that our forces had with-drawn from the city to the north and the Japs were walking in. We expected Manila would be an Open City, thereby making it safe for residents, so we stayed at home to await developments. Howard, number one man of our interests out here, also was living in this neighborhood so we all moved in together on January second. With the exception of the gas, electric, telephone and water Company, all business had ceased to operate. The American High Commissioner, F. B. Sayer, instructed all residents to stay at home and not to leave them, as reinforcements were on their way and everything would be under control in a short time. Then he goes off to Corregidor and eventually to the United States by a flying fortress, out of the danger zone. Incidently Mr. Sayer does not enjoy a very good reputation in these parts now. He never was very popular and this last stunt had not helped any as you might well imagine.

As soon as the Japs moved in, they started rounding up all beligerents and putting them in a concentration camp. We were told that this would be for only a few days in order to register us. They caught up to us on Saturday, January tenth; and off we went to camp with food and clothes to last us for three or four days. After we were in, we learned that others had been here for over a week and this three day business was all "bunk." The reason, as we found out later to our sorrow, for telling us it would be for only three days, was so that they would have more to loot at our homes, which they did systematically soon after we were locked up. From reports that reached us, the things they did not want they broke up and left everything in one heluvamess. All our homes have been looted of everything of value, so are now right back to where we started from.

My cook and houseboy got scared stiff soon after war broke out and deserted me so I had no one to guard my apartment or let me know what had gone on, but expect the worse.

The aforegoing, so far as I can recollect, brings us up to the beginning of life at the University of Santo Tomas Internment Camp. You have probably read and heard all sorts of stories about us so here is one right from the field of battle.

March 15, 1942

(This is the 2nd of 3 installments for this entry.)

On December 11th, about noon time, while at Joe and Em's for lunch, a few of our planes from some other island encountered about twenty five Japs in another raid on Nichols Field and we witnessed one of the most spectacular and exciting bunch of dog-fights I ever hope to see. With our fast P-40 ships (Bill will know what they are) those Japs just fell out of the skies. Three Japs fell within at least a half mile from the house, while machine gun bullets fell in the front yard. We had a box seat for the show behind a heavy concrete wall, where we ducked every time we would hear a blast from their machine guns. We saw at least six planes downed before they scattered and that was the last time we saw an American plane in these parts. As I said before, the Japs have had everything their own way, with the above exception, and from all reports, they have made a very good job and have left one terrible mess of Manila and surroundings.

Incidently, they wouldn't take me in the air force so here I am, just another prisoner of war in the bread line.

Apparently our army was out-numbered about four to one, for it was only after three weeks fighting that McArthur retreated to the Bataan jungles where he has been holding out ever since. Manila was supposed to have been an Open City, but Japan refused to honor it as such and as soon as the Japs marched in we were all rounded up and put in this camp. They did not catch up to us until January tenth.

The Bataan peninsula is a particularly strategic and valuable point to be held by us, as this prevents the Japs from setting up heavy artillary, the only point from which they could bombard Corregidor, the island fortress of Manila Bay. As long as we can hold these two points, Manila is of no particular value to the Japs and we still have these vital bases from where we can operate. Rumors reach us that thousands of Japs are being slaughtered daily in their attempts to take these two points. The Japs are even becoming superstitous of our forces there; they say, "we take Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, Hongkong, Singapore, very funny, no can take Bataan." Just the other day the Jap Army had a mass execution of soldiers who deserted as they would not go to the Bataan front.

I seem to go wandering off the track every so often but don't be impatient, I'll be back eventually.

About December fifteenth, they started bombing the piers, Walled City and Pasay, which are about half a mile from my apartment, and not caring particularly what they hit. This got to be too close for comfort, so Joe, Em and myself rented a house out in San Juan, a suberb of Manila, where we lived from December seventeenth to January second, outside the usual district of bombing.

One day was no different from the next for we would invariably have an air-raid around 11:30 A.M. every morning and would have to time our trip to town so that we would not get caught. The raids usually lasted for an hour or more and it was no fun to get caught in one and have to sit on the curb or get stuck in a hot air-raid shelter with a thousand and one people crowded together so that you could hardly breathe. We seldom had a raid before this time, apparently because of the distance they had to come. From this time on we could expect a raid at any time and were seldom disappointed for it seems they did their best to blow us off the map.

Christmas Day they did an extra good job of bombing hell out of everything in general so we did not have much of a Christmas as you might well imagine. No turkey, no nothing except for the customary few drinks to keep us going. This was one Christmas I shall not forget for a long time to come.

Apparently our lines had taken a terrible beating and were preparing for their retreat around the 26th; as under Army orders all oil and gasoline supplies in Manila were destroyed. Manila was black with smoke for about a week and flames shot skyward five hundred feet or more. It was quite a sight at night but gave one a sort of deserted feeling that this was the end. I have no idea how much went up in smoke but it must have been millions of gallons from the area covered. The cost of this war in the Philippines alone can never be expressed in figures; the damage has been so great. I have not gotten around very much as yet but from reports that come in, even the wildest stretch of imagination could not cover the situation. Whoever said "war is hell" certainly covered the situation in three simple words.

March 15, 1942

(This entry is quite extensive, so for the sake of readability, I have broken it down into 3 installments; this is the 1st.)

Sundays are not much different from any other days in this camp, except that I do no washing of clothes and just lounge around. They do have church services, both Catholic and Protestant, but you know me when it comes to going to church.

So that this may be complete, since my previous letter, I shall try to give you a brief resumé of events preceeding our internment, all of which may sound like just so many words scribbled down, but it is keeping me busy and out of trouble and some how I seem to get a great deal of pleasure in thinking that some day you maybe reading it.
On Monday morning, December ninth, we read in the paper of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and could hardly believe it. Naturally it stirred up a lot of excitement and but little business was done that day. As a matter of fact, there has been very little done ever since. Around midnight of this same day the full realization of war hit us when the Japs bombed hell out of Nichols Field which is about a mile from my apartment. They came over in two great waves and bombed for several hours and sure made a killing; put our air force out of commission completely before they got off the ground. It rather appears that there was plenty of fifth column workers in our service for the Japs certainly caught us flat-footed and took complete command of the air from the very first day. To think that the devils caught us completely unprepared just makes my blood boil. I used the word "unprepared," whereas I probably should have said that it was due to traitors in command of our air service. To substantiate this, I record the following which, from all reports seems to be a confirmed fact. What the official U. S. Army report may show will probably never be revealed but this is what we have on it.

Clark Field, located near Fort Stotsenberg, approximately seventy miles from Manila, one of the principal U.S. Air bases in the Philippines was bombed at at 12:30 noon on December ninth Monday, while the entire Air Corps was attending a specially called meeting being held in a building near the hangars. This building was one of the first to be bombed resulting in many casualties. Have not heard how many were killed in this. Our planes were all over the field and were completely put out of commission by enemy action. It is reported that there were about one hundred planes at this base, pursuits, bombers, etc., lost in this raid. Now, mind you, all this happened during the mid-day and only seventy miles from Manila or Nichols Field, another large Air base. We saw none of our planes in the air on this day. Then about 12:30 A.M. mid-night or twelve hours later the Japs raided Nichols Field and wiped out our air force there, on the ground. If that doesn't give all the appearances of a sell-out, well, I don't know what a "sell-out" is all about. Not even any anti-aircraft gun fire from our forts. We have, since being locked up, heard rumors that the U. S. Commander of the Air Corps out here at the time, has been taken back to the States, court martialed and shot as a traitor. However, the last sentence is only a rumor and I wouldn't vouch for it. Will probably never know the real truth as it is certainly a case of "dirty work" somewheres along the line. From then on they came over Manila when ever they wanted and bombed everything they wanted at leisure, with nothing to stop them. What few anti-aircraft guns we had were a joke. A small boy could have done as well with a sling-shot. To see those Jap planes, fifty to a hundred at a time fly over us without any opposition and bomb hell out of us, made one sick right at the pit of the stomach. All that one could do, was to curse the devils and hope they would fall apart. At the time of this first raid on Nichols Field I was just getting down to doing some heavy sleeping when I heard the first string of bombs which I thought was thunder close by. Then I heard the air-raid sirens and by that time I was fully awake and realized it was not thunder. In nothing flat I was dressed and down the four flights of stairs where everyone from the apartment had congregated to watch the fire-works. Just about that time the second wave did their dirty-work and it felt like all hell broke loose. They apparently hit part of the hangars and oil supply for the flames were shooting two and three hundred feet into the sky. Some while after, another wave, having the fires to show them what was left came over and made a killing. There was absolutely no resistance from air or ground by our forces although little was thought of this at that time.

Several of us from the apartment walked out toward Nichols Field (like a bunch of dopes) to see what all was going on, but soon changed our minds when the second half of the second wave let go their wares. The whole thing must have so dumb-founded us that we could not use any sense of judgement, while on the other hand, we figured they were going to blow Manila off the map so one place was as good as the other. There were no air-raid shelters near by anyway and all we could do, was take it. If you think a new born baby is helpless, you "ain't" seen nothin' 'till you have been on a spot as we were.

Needless to say, there was no sleep for the balance of the morning. Several fellows came up to the apartment where we hefted over a few to quiet the nerves and/or etc.

March 11, 1942*

Universidad de Santo Tomas Internment Camp
Manila, Philippines
March 11, 1942

My Dearest Hannah:

The good Lord only knows if or when you may ever receive this, however, as my thoughts are always of you my darling, I am hoping you are well and not worrying too much, for I am still "top-side" and getting along about as well as can be expected under current conditions. Being in a concentration camp is not exactly my idea of life in the Philippines but guess I should not complain as it could be much worse.

I had a letter started to you down at the office, which gave a history of events since my previous letter of December second up to the end of December, but as our office and factory has been taken over by the Japs and is now a wreck, said letter has probably gone to the four winds, so shall try again.

Today is the start of the third month in this camp although it already seems ages. I find it very difficult to settle down to concentrating on anything so you must excuse the disconnected chatter.

As it is very likely that this letter will be censored before it reaches you, I shall stick strictly to business of the day instead of telling you in every other line how much I love you, as is usual. You know what I am always thinking about you and me my darling, so that will have to suffice until we are together once again which I sincerely hope shall not be in the too far distant future. In the meantime I shall endeavor to pen you a line or two every so often of whatever might enter this feeble mind. So here goes nothing! Better get comfortably set for this is liable to go on to great lengths.

I am writing this sitting on my cot with a board across my knees during siesta hour, as this is the only time it is anywheres near quiet enough for one to even attempt to think.

You have undoubtedly followed in the papers and by radio of the attack on the Philippines by the Japs on December ninth, and the eventual taking of Manila on January first and the internment of all Americans, British, Dutch and other beligerents. Yesterday we were informed that the Japs, through the International Red Cross, would advise friends or families in the United States that we were interned here, still alive and doing a lot of kicking, so I gave your name and address and hope you were duly informed. Up to now I have not had much ambition towards writing but the above seemed to have struck a right chord and here I am, at least attempting a start; the finish will be something else again and depends totally on our good ol' Uncle Sam. Up to now the Japs have had everything pretty much their own way but feel certain the tide will soon change as soon as we get organized. In the meantime we live in hopes.

*Interestingly, this is also the same day - unbeknownst to the internees - on which General Douglas MacArthur left the Philippines, vowing to one day return.
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