It’s been a while since I posted from my grandfather’s WW2 memoirs; I’ve found the blog gets more hits when I actually transcribe the pages instead of simply posting scans of the actual pages, and transcribing takes a while, even as fast a typer as I am. So today I am just going to go ahead and post a scan of the next page so we can get back on track with the saga. This page covers October 14th, 1943 through December 30th of that year.
This page basically continues the day to day routine of life in an internment camp under the Japanese during the war. A lot of it is very mundane but informative in conveying a vivid picture of the conditions at the converted camp that was the University of Santo Tomas. Through this point, the Japanese left the internees to their own devices with relatively minimal supervision, leaving it to the internees to develop their own governing body and hierarchy. As long as they didn’t cause trouble, the Japanese left them alone (this was to change in due course as the Japanese began to reel from successive defeats to the Allies as the war progressed).
Amusing to note is the laugh my grandfather and his pals get out of watching the internee guards argue with the women internees over access to the hot water (Oct 14th entry); “wow, the rows they have with the women about it; we don’t butt in and we just sit in our chairs and enjoy the fun”. Though trying, life under the Japanese occupation wasn’t yet so dire as it was soon to become.
Also mentioned are a massive typhoon that swept through Manila that November and visits from family, plus the elation throughout the camp upon receiving relief boxes from the Red Cross (he details the contents at the end of the page) the following month. Something of a halcyon period before the storm…