Carl Ephriam Rice World War II Memoirs: December 10th to December 24th, 1941

Dec 10, 1941—Went back to work today at the old office. Fred Fink and Fred Lurhesen went with me. I was assigned to helping evacuate supplies, Maj. Jacklin is in charge. About 11:50AM we went to lunch at the Legaspi Garden. Just after returning the air raid signal sounded; most ran out to the sea wall in front of office, I stayed in the Door “E” near Pier One (obviously NOT the modern retail store, heh). The jap planes were very high, much firing at them as they passed over but shells could not reach, except those from the Navy ship Canopus at pier one. Japs went on the Cavite and I had a clear view of the destruction of Cavite and of the Navy Yard. It was a terrible thing to see and to realize that we are so helpless. Japs came over us again and bombed ships in the bay near us. Last stick of bombs hit just outside the breakwater near Pier One. About 3pm launches began landing dead and wounded from Cavite and from the ships, in front of our office.

Dec 11 & 12, 1941—Rushing evacuation of warehouses, more air raids but no bombs in our locality. We are also busy loading trucks with supplies for firing lines.

December 13—Transferred to main office, now at San Beda College; my reinstatement to the classified Federal Civil Service effective this date by order of Col Frank Brezina, Department Quartermaster. Am assigned for duty to the administrative division under Chief Clerk F.G. Wilson. I will be on night duty relieving Wilson at 5pm.

Dec 14-24—On night duty, answering phone, transmitting orders, and many other things to do, the Col is here most every night. We are sending out convoys of trucks to Bataan every night. Nightly I bid goodbye to friends on their way to the fighting lines. At home the family is very brave and don’t get excited. Little Jimmie (my dad, then 2 and a half) comes up out of the raid shelter saying “All clear, keep ‘em flying”. We have a mess here at the office, also I take home rations, but don’t care to take many because no room for storage.

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Carl Ephriam Rice, World War II Memoirs: December 8th and 9th, 1941

Part II: Excerpt from my paternal grandfather’s memoirs from World War 2 in the Philippines. All parenthesis are mine. 

December 8th, 1941: Monday Morning—The Herald came out at daylight with an extra that Japs (he uses this term almost exclusively when referring to the Japanese; he was very much a man of his time in this sort of attitude—BR) had bombed Pearl Harbor; we did not believe it till breakfast, then the Manila Daily Bulletin verified it; Col. Curie the C.O. ordered all patients who could walk to be sent home (see previous post wherein my grandfather was in the hospital the previous week). I took the lists up to the office and was sure to have my name on top; after dinner I went out, had a postal money order from the farm for about $60.00, could not cash at P.O. for the mob there. I went to the Manufacturers Life Insurance Co. and paid the premium and they cashed the check. (Side note: an online inflation calculator shows that $60 in 1941 would be the equivalent of $983 today.) Arrived at home about 5pm, the children had been sent home from school. All was confusion. I saw there was no chance to leave Manila and decided to stand pat at our home.

Night of the 8th—Japs bombed Nichols Field, we are only about a mile north and could hear the bombs and feel the concussions. (The Japanese had begun the invasion of the Philippines about ten hours after they bombed Pearl Harbor, achieving a similar level of surprise on the American defenses there.)

December 9th: Great excitement, people trying to get out of the city; Bay full of ships, most near the breakwater where the Japs can have a good target. The so-called Civilian Emergency Committee is helpless, the Army has its own job to do. I and the boys (my dad’s three older brothers—he himself wouldn’t have been involved as he was just two) dug an air raid shelter under the house. Only a direct hit can hurt us.

(“Only” a direct hit can hurt them…shudders…)

Carl Ephriam Rice, World War II Memoirs: December 1st, 1941

Transcript of the first entry of my paternal grandfather’s memoirs from World War 2 in the Philippines. All parenthesis in red are mine. 

December 1, 1941 to August 23rd, 1945 

Dec. 1, 1941- We are living at 1235; #1 Interior, Leveriza Street, Malate District, Manila, just off Harrison Park, the Yacht Club and Dewey Boulevard (now Roxas Boulevard; this location is basically in the heart of Manila). We live in a small five room chalet, with yard in which are Guava, Santol, Mango, and Banana trees, also oleander and hibiscus bushes, cadena de amour vines cover the porch. There are nine of us in the Family, i.e.; Dad, CARL E. RICE (the author of this diary; referring to himself in the third person in this instance), age 64 (meaning he was born in 1877; unusual indeed for me to be barely two generations removed from the Civil War); Mama, Maria Salvador Rice, age 32 (yes, there was a 32 year age difference between my paternal grandfather and grandmother); Charles Ephriam, 15 (and yes, they had their first child when my grandfather was 49 and she 17; they were married the following year), in first year high school, Bordner public school; Robert Henry, age 14, in eighth grade, same school; Arthur Calvin, age 11, in fifth grade same school; Mary Eleanora (eventually goes by just “Ellen”), age 6, in first grade, same school; Norma, age 4; and James William (my father); age 2 (meaning my grandfather was in his sixties when my dad was born); also Magdelana R. Collins, age 16, whom I have cared for since the death of her father Wilkie Collins, she is working at the Bata Shoe Store on the Escolta, and is also an emergency nurse. I am retired from the Federal Civil Service, receiving $95.00 annuity per month ($1,557.73 in 2016 dollars), receive $50.00 per month ($819.86/2016) Spanish War Pension (meaning he served as a young man in that war, which is how he came to the Philippines in the first place). I also am administrator for the Estate of Wilkie Collins, and own half of the land of the estate in Castilla, Sorsogon Prov., which so far is a losing proposition because there are no ships available to take our copra to the USA.

I have been in Sternberg General Hospital for several days for Medical examination prior to re-entering the Civil Service; am in the ward assigned the U.S. Veterans Administration for use of Spanish War Veterans; many old vets in here, mostly filipinos; with me are William “Buck” Taylor, Messenger; and Jake Selzer;—my family come to see me nearly every day; also the families of Taylor and Selzer come. I AM NOT SICK—and Doc. says wishes to take some tests over again, but will sure let me out Saturday, the 6th. I eat at the hospital mess and better food cannot be served in any Hotel in Manila. The nurses are very efficient and the Doctors are also; the hospital is full of soldiers, many with injuries received in training for coming war which will probably come in January or February (remember, this entry is December 1st, just days from Pearl Harbor). I am anxious to get out of the hospital and get back in the Service, as Chief Clerk Wilson and Col. Brezina the Department Q.M. (quartermaster) want me as soon as possible. Every day the papers show War is coming closer. If I can I will send Mama (Maria) and the younger children down to the farm for safety.

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Hand-typed page from Carl E. Rice’s WW2 Memoir; presumably taken from hand-written notes during the war before being transcribed after the war in Manhattan, Kansas circa fall 1945.