Carl E. Rice WW2 Memoirs: August 1st to September 21st, 1944

Aug 1(continued from previous page) I also have some sugar and coffee which I use very sparingly. I get my chow at the central kitchen line so don’t have to wait so long for issue; Crumrine, myself, Cosart, Clare Cap Barton and others eat in the shed near the door to the chow warehouse and can get an idea of about what we have; there is some canned meat, vegetable stew and Red Cross ration that Japs have not taken. This is mixed a few cans at the time with our evening rice or corn tamale. Gildao an experienced Navy man now is head cook and is doing fine with what little he has left. Some big sugar caldron have been fixed up across the alley from our gas shed and most of the cooking is being done with wood as the gas is giving out. When they cook I manage to get some of the scorched rice or corn from the bottom of the pots, also “Chan” a big Lithuanian who is one of the main cooks, slips us some extra pieces of corn pone when he has it.

Each squad room is divided into groups of six so that extra supplies may be fairly divided, such as soap, salt, tinned meats, lard. About once a month some issue is made and we often divide a can of corned beef or of beans between six. A can of beans is 26 beans for each one. Storm, White, Cuzner, Fink, Graham and myself are together and have no trouble but some are in a row all the time.

Many are getting sick; swollen legs, with bad stomachs, T.B. (tuberculosis?), ulcers; not so much fever; some dysentary; much constipation.

Many have taken to eating garlic, raw, in their mush, and Stink*** there is nothing like it, you can smell them for yards. But they hope it helps. I don’t eat it my self.

Some of my best friends are sick in hospital, Wilson, Blackman, Brindley, Jones, Joe Evans, Burwell, Bohanan, Webb, White.

There is something coming off soon; the Japs and planes and targets over Tondo and anti-air craft target practice, also thousands of Jap soldiers pass the camp.

On Sept 14 from 7:57 to 9:08am and 9:47 to 11:10am had air raid alarm; no planes were seen or heard. We all had to go inside buildings.

*****September 21, 1944
**The boys are here at last**
At 9:30am, about one hundred carrier dive bombers came out of the clouds, complete surprise; shot down the Japs at target practice, and kept it up all day till all clear at 6:13pm. Many fires and explosions, many Jap planes shot down; I was on duty at the gas house and saw the whole show, but no one man could see all the happenings; many dog fights; anti air craft shell fragments and small shells and machine gun bullets fell in camp but no one was seriously injured. One shell and several fragments fell near us at the gas shed and rice boilers. The Japs on guard were very excited the sentry near me was firing his rifle; Lt. Abuco the tough guy game me an awful hard look when he saw me outside but I was on duty.

And how excited we are** every body saw some thing diff.

Tonight the city is lighted by fires and heavy explosions rock the camp. Must have hit the ships in the bay very hard.

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Newspaper clipping pasted to the back of page 15 in my grandfather’s memoirs.
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Carl Ephriam Rice World War II Memoirs: December 10th to December 24th, 1941

Dec 10, 1941—Went back to work today at the old office. Fred Fink and Fred Lurhesen went with me. I was assigned to helping evacuate supplies, Maj. Jacklin is in charge. About 11:50AM we went to lunch at the Legaspi Garden. Just after returning the air raid signal sounded; most ran out to the sea wall in front of office, I stayed in the Door “E” near Pier One (obviously NOT the modern retail store, heh). The jap planes were very high, much firing at them as they passed over but shells could not reach, except those from the Navy ship Canopus at pier one. Japs went on the Cavite and I had a clear view of the destruction of Cavite and of the Navy Yard. It was a terrible thing to see and to realize that we are so helpless. Japs came over us again and bombed ships in the bay near us. Last stick of bombs hit just outside the breakwater near Pier One. About 3pm launches began landing dead and wounded from Cavite and from the ships, in front of our office.

Dec 11 & 12, 1941—Rushing evacuation of warehouses, more air raids but no bombs in our locality. We are also busy loading trucks with supplies for firing lines.

December 13—Transferred to main office, now at San Beda College; my reinstatement to the classified Federal Civil Service effective this date by order of Col Frank Brezina, Department Quartermaster. Am assigned for duty to the administrative division under Chief Clerk F.G. Wilson. I will be on night duty relieving Wilson at 5pm.

Dec 14-24—On night duty, answering phone, transmitting orders, and many other things to do, the Col is here most every night. We are sending out convoys of trucks to Bataan every night. Nightly I bid goodbye to friends on their way to the fighting lines. At home the family is very brave and don’t get excited. Little Jimmie (my dad, then 2 and a half) comes up out of the raid shelter saying “All clear, keep ‘em flying”. We have a mess here at the office, also I take home rations, but don’t care to take many because no room for storage.

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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…)