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.

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.

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