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…)


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