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.

June 11, 1942

More than a week has again slipped by, during which time I have been busy as the proverbial cat, building a new shanty to survive the rainy season. This "dump" is one heluva mess now. Everything sloppy mud and one is never dry. The hospital is full and over-flowing with sick cases and this is only the beginning of things to come. I have been in perfect health, never felt better in my life but it seems a lot of people enjoy being sick for some reason or other. I believe keeping busy goes a long ways toward keeping well -- no time to bemoan our fate. What ever it might turn out to be.

The rumor market is again alive and active with a big navy battle having been concluded at Midway Island with a decisive victory in our favor, to the tune of five Jap airplane carriers and thirteen other navy ships besides miscellaneous merchant marine troop ships. There is also reported a battle going on near the Alutian Islands, which brings the Japs very close to the United States proper. We hear that fourteen Jap ships have been sunk there so far and the battle is still going on. I wonder what you all there at S.F. think of this war. I am hoping the War Department is wide awake by now or you are liable to be eating suki-yaki for the rest of your days and right in San Francisco too.

And speaking about eats, the food situation is getting worse day by day. We still have wheat for breakfast which is not bad if you can get all the bugs and worms out of it. I am not exaggerating when I say that each spoon full yields at least one of each of the above described foreigners. That is just the ones that float to the top; God only know how many are below the surface that we have now learned to eat without even batting an eye. The South Sea Island cannibals have nothing on us. For tonights chow we had a weed called pechay, full of sand, and a duck egg (hard boiled). Every other egg was rotten and the tea weak as skimmed milk and luke warm. No bread -- no nothing. You may possibly have heard of how well we are being taken care of in here, so you can judge for yourself from the above. This is a starvation diet if I ever had one. Fortunately for us we are still having a noon time snack to keep us "perking."

In-be-tween working around camp etc; I have listened to all sorts of stories from various people who have only recently come into camp after hiding out in the hills for three, four and five months.

Many stories are told of officers and troops (U.S.A.) so completely demoralized and scared stiff (or "yellow") lost out in the hills and not having the slightest idea what they were going to do next, that it was pitiful. Apparently the greater part of the Filipino army disbanded upon the capitulation and went back to civilian life, losing all military status. (Which, under conditions, was the only smart thing to do.) There was a story of a Colonel in the 91st Infantry, who had gone completely "nuts" under the pressure along with the Commander of the Cavite Navy yard and several others in high command, so it is no wonder that we made such a poor showing. The "white-livered bums" should have never been in the service.

There are numerous stories of troops having been so completely disorganized that they even lost their kitchen and food supply then raided or looted the poor natives of everything they had under the threat of being shot if they resisted. It is reported that there were thousands of such cases all over the islands where ever our troops were still running wild.

We further hear that in our troop concentration camps, malaria and dysentery are raging rampant and it is estimated that four hundred are dieing every week. They put in a call for volunteers to go up to the camps to nurse the sick men but something must have gone "haywire" for a bunch of us signed up and have not yet been called. I doubt if we could do much good as there is absolutely no quinine in the islands and that is apparently the main requisite. These islands are one hell of a mess if I ever know of one. Aspirin are selling for twenty five cents per tablet and are damned scarce.

June 3, 1942

The Japs held a mammoth parade today to celebrate the fall of Bataan and Corregidor. Planes have been flying around all morning and a whole division of tanks have just gone by the camp. It is reported that there are a number of transports in Manila Bay and that this parade is the termination of the troops stay in the Philippines as they are shipping them out, either to Australia or China. Reports come in that the Jap soldiers have been raising hell on the outside lately, drinking rapeing and what not, so guess they were having their last fling. We hope! Many civilian Japs have been shipped in here and are operating, or rather, trying to operate all the American busness and factories they have taken over. We learn that they are running our mill. In fact, one of the Japs in charge is connected with a local company with whom we have done a lot of business in the past. Most every damned Jap in this country has turned out to be an Army officer. The more I see and learn of their attack and invasion, the more convinced I am of the stupidity of our own government agencies in permitting all this to have gone on for so long without being checked. In many ways I am glad that this mess has started, for it will surely open the eyes of the public so that they will demand the elimination of the yellow race from the face of the earth for ever, Amen!!

I'm all worked up into a lather today and if I only had a soap box at 3rd and Market streets in good ol' S.F. would I spout off! And particularly our brilliant General McArthur. Oh hell! what's the use.

June 2, 1942

The hot season is over and the rainy season off to a good start. Everyone is now having to rebuild their shanty to make it water proof so the construction business is going strong again and some are putting up real fancy shacks; wood floors and all.

The flag of truce is again flying in our camp and I have gone back to try again. The one that got out of line came around nicely, so had no alternative. The ups and down in concentration camp life are most amusing.

At last night's rumor session the "stuff" came in hot and heavy that our forces had bombed Formosa and Japan. We have had this so often but always hope that it might be true one of these days. So far as we know to date, there has been only one bombing of Japan. It is about six months since this war started and it seems high time we were getting to work somewheres.

The Jap paper states that the U.S. has set June 13th as McArthur [sic] Day. We wonder why! From our limited knowledge we fail to see much of anything he has done except to strategically retreat and not in a very orderly fashion either. There is perhaps a lot we don't know and naturally wonder why he has been set up as a public hero. If and or when I ever get back to civilization, believe me I'm going to shout loud and long.

Joe Reich, the chap that came into camp a few days ago, tells a most interesting story of their escapades during the last five months out in the hills trying to keep away from the Japs. There were originally four of them in their party, all Americans, but only three ended up in camp, one having been killed enroute. His story alone would fill a book so will let it go at that, other than to say that they are most thankful to be in here after facing what they thought was to be sure death, on several occasions.

Another rumor that comes in "hot and heavy" is that Allied forces have been "going to town" in bombing the Ruhr section of Germany, dumping thousands of tons of bombs and killing one hundred and twenty thousand in the raid. The Russians continue their "big push" and are expecting Germany to fold up most any day now.
There was an error in this gadget