Carl E. Rice World War II Memoirs: Jan 1st, 2nd, & Jan 3rd, 1942

Jan. 1 & 2, 1942—Today the 1st we were busy getting out the last convoy by lighter as the road to Bataan has been taken by the Japs. Col Harwood took the last bunch of soldiers, and Civilians on a barge from Pasig River. We also were busy paying off Native employees. About six o’clock, Wilson and others had gone, I was alone in the office, one guard, Ayers at the door; I went back to the Mess hall, had a good meal, loaded the car with rations; went into the office and turned out the one little light and closed the door, told Ayers to help himself to chow and go home and for us the office work was about over, only wait for the japs who will be in tomorrow. We opened the office morning of Jan. 2nd to finish paying off but went home before noon as the Japs were coming in.

(Note: U.S. commander in the Philippines General Douglas MacArthur, in an effort to save the city of Manila from destruction, declared it an “open city” the week before on December 24th and fell back to Bataan and the small island of Corregidor at the mouth of Manila Bay. Declaring an open city meant there would be no military defense and the invading force was expected to exercise restraint in taking control. Obviously from the remarks of my grandfather previously and to come, the Japanese disregarded that rule of war.)

Jan 3, 1942—Mr Wilson and myself tried once more to get to office as was a little important work to do and some records to remove. We went in his car, I had told my driver to hide his tin hat and do what he wished with my car. Sec. Vargas advised us that we would be safe.

We had been to Harrison Park behind our houses and seen Jap sentries there. We passed Wilhelm at corner of San Andres and Taft Ave, the Japs had him and some others in the house on the corner, they also took his car, they kept him there two days with no food.

We passed the Villamor hall where our finance office was, it was full of Japs; we also saw CEO Burwell of the finance office in his car, the Japs captured some time later and he was among those prisoners who were so savagely treated at the Park Ave School, we saw the Japs stopping cars and holding the passengers at the Ayala Bridge; at the gas station in front of the Malacanan Palace we were stopped, Wilson told who we were but we were lucky as it came out that they did not let us proceed to the office; were taken to the Japanese school on Lepanto St, were we found many of our friends; we were spotted by Jap gestapo and put in a corner and beaten by them until an officer came and ordered them to stop; Dan Adamson happened to be near us and was beaten also; later an officer told us to go home and report Monday, the 5th. We did not lose any time getting out of there, Sydney Smythe went with us.

The city was being looted by natives and by Japs, we walked across Santa Cruz Bridge and out Taft Ave; at the Spanish Club the Japs had all the Police lined up and were disarming them, as we could not dodge them we walked past the whole gang and no one looked at us, and we continued on home at about one o’clock. Were hungry, tired and sore from the beating and very much humiliated. I did not tell the family but my face was so swollen, they knew it.

Carl E. Rice (paternal grandfather), 1909, aged 31 or 32.

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