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.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment

There was an error in this gadget