Carl E. Rice World War II Memoirs: Jan 16-May 15, 1942

Jan 18 to May 15, 1942—I checked up, we had one hundred & fifty pesos, and enough rations to last about two months if we were careful.

Jap planes went over our house many times a day from Neilsen Airfield to bomb our troops on Bataan, when just over us would fire a few bursts from machine guns to warm up, they would be six in a group, some times they did not all come back; and often they were on fire and some fell in the bay near us.

Jan 27 some of our planes came in the night and bombed and machine-gunned the air fields, were just over our house when all (hell) turned loose and how we all cheered but that was the last raid of ours from Bataan.

The Japs are storing captured and stolen supplies in the Stadium at the end of our street. The Filipinos who live here are a tough bunch and not afraid of the Japs. Every night and some times in day, they loot the stores and many times divide the loot behind my back fence where it is shaded. Some times I get some of it. There is much shooting and shouting every night, and frequently some of our friends are killed or wounded. Several have been bayoneted on our street, even some little boys. If captured they are tied in the hot sun and beaten and tortured, without food or water, some are tied head down and Japs kick them in the face, there are many graves near the ball park. Many times I hear the bullets pop thru the trees in my yard. Sometimes Japs chase people in the day time and run by or thru my yard. It’s a great life—(sarcasm?) Some times prisoners are tied and thrown into trucks and then jumped on.

We have planed a garden and the guava trees are loaded with fruit; boys dug a well in back yard for emergency and to water the garden. The battle for Bataan still rages, more and more planes go over our house every day, from the park we can see the fires on Bataan. Armstrong, Fink, Rube Knowlton, Hard Luck Luhersen, Wilhelm and Willey are all neighbors and visit each other daily, also Rogge. I take a walk every day to market and toward the beach and meet Fred Prising, Mr. Pond, Dc. Kneedelr and others at the Market.

Japs come to house a few times but are not abusive. They are riding high and are feeling good natured toward us but are sure making it hard for the Filipinos. Food is getting harder to get. Luhersen brought news of Bataan surrender which he heard over the radio. It was a great blow but we had figured out that it must come soon.

I received some money, food and medicine from the Red Cross before it was taken by the Japs. Boys are brave kids and fish in the bay, sometimes get us a good mess of fish.

I had to report with the others to Santo Tomas and our pass was extended two months.

The battle for Corregidor is raging, the planes go over and many do not come back, we can hear the guns at Naic and Tarnate bombarding Corregidor. See the smoke of fires there.

We are getting very short of food, I bought rice and sugar with most of my money. The landlord Mr. Penalosa takes my vale for rent. “Pasing” the Meat dealer credits me for meat, and Mr. Garcia for some canned goods and hams, but cannot expect them to keep it up long.

Luhersen again brought the bad news of Corregidor falling; it broke us all up, and we thought it would hold out till relief came but looks now as though would not come for years. The “ROCK” has stood for years as the supreme symbol of American supremacy and now the flag and all it stands for is gone, and with it, hope.

A lone plane of ours dropped a bomb on Jap aviation school at the polo club and killed most of the students and instructors.

Japs are organizing local constabulary and opening Jap control schools. Filipinos are organizing guerrillas, my boys are too young yet. We now have to wear red arm bands to show we are American prisoners on pass.

(Note: My dad turned three the day after this entry ends.)

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Manila, pre-war*

*Photo via battleofmanila.org

 

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