Carl E. Rice WW2 Memoirs: February 10th and February 11th, 1945

Saturday, Feb 10th—All last night was an inferno; our guns firing over the Camp from the Cemetery, How they roared and crashed; shells whizzed, screeched, fluttered and made other weird sounds; We ran from the Gym and spent part of the night behind the Seminary, it rained and was cold; I went to kitchen and got some hot coffee; this morning our battery of 105’s inside the compound is firing and many batteries from places on this side of River; Japs are firing into Camp from south side of river; they go over the Gym close enough to hear them and are exploding toward the Education Building we moved from and where the 5th Field Hospital is; several in Hospital with wounds have been killed today by direct hits on Hosp.

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American artillery crews firing on Japanese positions from the grounds of the recently liberated Santo Tomas University during the Battle of Manila, February 1945.

Bill Harn and Hutchison have just been killed in their shanty near the Hosp. A shell hit near the Gym about fifty feet from where White and I were sitting against the wall so we decided that was getting too close and ran with others to the Seminary, one shell exploded just at the door, killing a man named Bennet and wounding another. We spent several hours behind the Seminary.

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The fires now show that have reached the Malate district, where my family is, also Fink’s, Wilhelm’s, Leursen’s, Wilson’s and others; all we can do is pray for them, hope they can somehow get through.

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Sunday, Feb 11—Terrific battle south side of river, only sniping this side; the batteries this side keep up fast firing over our heads. Only a few Jap shells in Camp; one hit near Gym in soft ground; I decided it’s no place for me so moved up to Room 52A in 3rd floor of Main Bldg with Crumrine, it’s close to the room but also just above the KITCHEN.

Bottom photo: La Salle University (top center/left) and Rizal Memorial Sports Stadium (top right in the distance) with Taft Avenue on the left looking south east. Photo is dated Feb. 15, 1945, during the month-long Battle of Manila. My father, then five, and his family I believe lived near the stadium, but am not sure if they were to the north (foreground) or south (off in the far distance of this photo), and would have desperately been trying to reach the American lines, possibly at the same moment this photo was taken. 

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Carl E. Rice WW2 Memoirs: February 4th, 1945

Feb 4, 1945—The liberated part of camp had good field rations this breakfast even though the soldiers were very short of food; but we (still held hostage by the Japanese inside Santo Tomas) had no breakfast; we are a sorry looking bunch after a night of being breastworks (i.e., human shields) in a machine gun battle; that tank cannon was fired so close once that it nearly threw me out of my bunk.

A great cloud of dust and smoke hangs over the city, explosions and firing continue outside; some Japs in the school house at the southeast corner of our wall were firing at any one inside the compound, so one of our tanks went there and fired tracer bullets into them and soon the schoolhouse and Japs were making a nice bonfire (I think he means the American tank blew up said schoolhouse and the Japanese soldier inside); also snipers in other buildings are being cleaned out by tank and machine guns; a Jap officer came to our window and looked out at our tanks, he had an American revolver, two hand grenades and was chewing Wrigley Spearmint gum, probably stolen from Red Cross box of food supplies.

The explosion of time bombs is more today, there is continuous firing of cannon and machine guns, the sky is hid by dust and smoke, looks like all the city this side of the river was on fire.

About 2:00pm the Japs allowed some food to be brought to us, corn, beans and meat stew, more and better food than we have had for over a year; I went to the Japs barricade over the lobby to carry the food pots; it was sure a sight, torn mattresses, broken furniture, blood and soiled bandages, rifles, machine guns, hand grenades and dirty Japs; and they had the nerve to smile at us and ask for the food we had left over. We gave them some and they allowed more to come for our supper.

It looked pretty bad for us this morning but Mr. Stanley, the interpreter, called to us that evening “Don’t worry, they will surrender tomorrow”.

The grounds in front filled up with soldiers, more and larger tanks, and a battery of 105’s Howitzers, all looks better but we are still at mercy of the Japs as this day comes to a noisy close.

This First Cavalry Division are the best looking soldiers I ever saw and brave, tough, and efficient, go about fighting in a business-like way; OH how I would like to be one of them and be able to work on some Japs with one of those machine guns they carry.

My life has been full of adventures and I am proud to be in this one, am sure seeing history being made, written in fire and smoke, blood and noise.

At first, when we realized we were hostages, we were all no doubt scared stiff, but as things looked worse during the night of the 3rd, we got past the scared stage, just sort of dumb resignation to the outcome, we were mostly past the limits of fear.

But tonight the Japs are more inclined to be friendly, ask food, allow us to go to the bathroom, and many of them lay down in our hallway and sleep, some are drunk and that makes them more dangerous; we cannot go to the balcony when their sentries are in the room. Some of our fellows tried to escape down a rope; “Ski” made it, but Johnnie Elam fell and broke his leg; two soldiers ran in covered by fire of other and carried him to Hospital.

Carl E. Rice WW2 Memoirs: February 3rd, 1945

FEBRUARY 3, 1945*******************

All last night great explosions of oil and ammunition dumps in the Maraquina Valley; Terrific fires the length of the valley; This is a very noisy morning, explosions of bombs and blasting demolition charges fill the air with fumes of high explosive; crude oil and gasoline;

AT 4:30pm, just after supper, ten fighting planes came over, just above the roofs, only about 100 ft high there were more STARS than we have seen in three long years; they circled and dipped and signaled to show us that help was indeed at hand; one dropped a note in a wrench saying army would be in Monday morning, we were all crazy and paid no attention to the frightened demoralized Japs; some of their officers were in the path below our window looking at our planes, no smiles now, only fear and sullen looks; only a day or two more of starvation by these s—-b. THANK GOD.

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Not a shot was fired at our planes, we have complete control of the air, our boys were telling us by their stars that victory is complete, nothing these yellow murderers of helpless people can do to stop our army (pardon the racial language); WE cheered and cried, as sorry a looking bunch of skeletons as can be seen anywhere in this war; but most of us still have the guts our brave ancestors gave us and can see this finished.

We were all too excited to sleep early, and were all talking and arguing about the planes we heard the tanks to the north, but many tanks had been going back and forth past the camp, Jap tanks, for tanks (sic); the Jap guards rushed out of their cars parked in front of the Ed. Bldg., and the Filipinos were outside yelling “The Americans are here”; Shorty Strongman was the first to see our tanks at the gate and we were trying to keep him quiet when the tanks crashed through the front gate, with lights on and machine guns flashing; the Japs at the gate threw some hand grenades and fired a few shots but were wiped out; this was a little after 8:00pm, FEB 3, 1945.

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The front of Santo Tomas, after the Americans had retaken it.

We were so busy watching the tanks come up the road toward the Main Building that we forgot about the Jap guards; after some shooting near the Main Building, where they killed the Lt. Abuco, who was the meanest officer in the Camp, the tanks came to our building, three of the tanks came into the driveways to the front door and began firing machine guns; then we saw that the Jap guards had not gone away in the cars but had retreated into the second floor and were barricading themselves at all the stairways and the halls and rooms; some came into our rooms, they were armed with rifles, machine guns, bayonets, had grenades and swords. Our tanks stopped firing and the officer in the center tank, just below us, about thirty feet from us as a bullet flies, ordered “COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP, I’LL GIVE YOU FIVE MINUTES”; we knew we were still prisoners of the Japs, hostages of sixty-five desperate savages. There were about three hundred of us, some women and children from Shanty Town having come upstairs.

 

 

Carl E. Rice WW2 Memoirs: Scans of Newspaper Clippings attached to Page 24

These are some scans of page 24 and the newspaper clippings attached to the back; which was the most recent post from last night (Jan 30-Feb 2nd). NOTE: NEITHER OF THE TWO MEN PICTURED ARE MY GRANDFATHER; they are fellow internees. You can see what the starvation had done to them by this point. I considered waiting until after the battle in the memoirs to share these, but I’m keeping it in order of where my grandfather attached these clippings.

 

Carl E. Rice WW2 Memoirs: May 17th to October 30th, 1943 Part 2

I am going to resume transcribing my grandfather’s memoirs for a bit. I’m noticing less of a response in my tracking stats when I just post scans of the actual pages he typed the memoirs out on. Here we resume the period of May 17th to October 30th, 1943, at the beginning of which my grandfather reported back under orders to the internment camp at the University of Santo Tomas for permanent confinement. 

May 17-Oct 30, 1943, cont.—There is much talking and joking these first few days as we greet old comrades, friends and acquaintances, some of whom have not seen in years; we all have had experiences to tell about and old times to review.

On May 17 when I came in at 1:15pm, notebook shows;
Cedula Residence Certificate #A-0122148, March 22, 1943
Resident Alien Certificate (Jap) #251645, March 25, ’43
Retirement Certificate 99690
Spanish War Pension #C-2347574
Weight 148 lbs (Dec 15, 1941 weighed 176 lbs) —effects of hunger in the year and half since the Japanese invasion taking its toll
Cash, Jap Notes 20.25 pesos.
One barrack bag containing 2 khaki trousers, 2 khaki shirts, 2 blue cotton shirts, 4 under shirts, 4 drawers, 10 socks, 1 sheet, 1 half wool blanket, 1 bed spread, 2 pillow cases, 1 pillow, 1 cot, 2 shoes, 2 towels, 4 handkerchiefs, and razor and other toilet articles. 1 mosquito net, 1 shoes wooden, 1 slippers leather Mess kit, cup, knife, fork, spoon, 1 hat.

News is hard to get, the daily Tribune is allowed in, our room buys two copies, but only Jap propaganda, all Jap victories, but we can get an idea of progress of war by location of names on the maps many smuggled in. Also the buyers who go out daily bring in radio script, and some comes over the fence along with black market food and booze; some script is written here in camp and some of it is pure fake; but by sifting all sources we can get a general idea of the situation. Rumors are so thick that we even have a dog named Rumor.

Every day the line of food comes in from friends and families, and restaurants; the gates in the fence are closes while the people delivering deposit their buckets and packages for inspection by Japs and internees, then gates are open and we go to the tables and get ours. By asking many times can go out to the side of the receiving shed and visit a few minutes with family. I get enough food in here now but the kids bring a bucket of food and clean laundry every Friday; this way we keep in touch; have two aluminum dinner pales in section and we write notes on the bottom of the section, also they put in the rice; the food sent in is a welcome change, generally eggs, chicken & meat cooked the way I like it; also fruit and real hot coffee.

June 11, 1943—Charlie (son, 17) was here and talked to me, Mamma (wife Maria, my grandmother) cannot come because is very sick with asthma.

July 2, 1943—Ellen (daughter, age about 8 a this point) was allowed to come inside to visit me about half an hour, Nena (ward, about 18) gave me a ten peso bill, but I don’t need it, as I am good at playing pitch. (Don Keifer, a gate guard, let her in.)

July 30—Saw Nena and Arthur (son, about 13), they looked thin but well dressed.

September 24—Henry (son, 16) and Arthur came to visit me, family well. Charlie works days and could not come. They report food very high (price) and Jap money very much inflated.

Aug 30—I sold two pair of army socks for 15.00 pesos

Sept 10—Sold two small cans of milk and small can of coffee for 25.00

Sept 17—borrowed 100.00 pesos from General Electric Co, Mr. Grinnell manager. This was on my QM Pay.

Oct. 30—borrowed 100.00 pesos from same source, on my Spanish War pension. I sent this money out to family by Mr. Duggleby, in charge of outside family relief.

There has finally been a shake up in the kitchen and most of the CIO gang has been kicked out and will be sent to Los Banos Camp.

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Internees at Santo Tomas built huts, called shanties, outside to escape overcrowding in the dormitories inside.*

*By U.S. Army – U.S. Army, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16818297

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