Carl E. Rice WW2 Memoirs: February 8th and February 9th, 1945

Thursday, Feb 8, 1945 cont.—The fires do not appear to be on our Leviriza St yet (where my dad’s family lived) as they appear to be in Paco and Ermita, also this side of the River. Our guns are firing over the Camp from near the Cemetery; Food comes into our Camp: butter, fresh bread; the soldiers do so much for us, they sacrifice their own rations so that we may eat meat and vegetables we have been deprived of so long; they are so shocked at our pitiful condition; most of us have begun to get some strength, but some were too far gone and every day some die; some seem to relax, to let go; they held on till the FLAG came back with their last bit of strength.

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American soldiers of “C” Company of the 148th Infantry move toward the Legislature Building in Manila, February 1945.

Friday, Feb 9th—Had a night’s sleep last night in spite of shells flying overhead toward the Japs south of the river; this morning the roar of battle is continuous, our troops have crossed the river and are attacking: planes, tanks, infantry, artillery, the sky is dark with smoke; sniping continues from houses near camp but we go about our routine affairs, mainly eating, are getting so much rich food that are having intestinal troubles, some have gone to hospital and I know that Cook, died from it.

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American soldiers taking cover as they advance through Manila on Dewey Blvd, now Roxas Blvd, Manila, Philippines, February 1945.

Yesterday Mr. Amos Bellis and myself went to the emergency Hospital in Room 13 to find Tom Henderson dying from wounds received in the shelling of the 7th; later we went to the Morgue to see his body and counted eighteen who had been killed or died of wounds received then; more died later; they are bing buried in the garden, while some services were being held the Japs shelled that part of the Camp.

 

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Carl E. Rice WW2 Memoirs: February 6th (cont.) to February 8th, 1945

Feb 6, 1945 Cont.—Heavy fighting continues, Jap demolition time bombs continue to explode, about 15 sq miles of the city north of the river now burned; three of our armies said to have advanced close to Manila; the First Cavalry troops who rescued us were only about 700 strong.

We are to be moved tomorrow to the GYM to make room for Hospital; Red Cross says to leave everything behind as they will give us new clothes and beds; but we know the Red Cross and will hold on to our old stuff till we see their new supplies (never did get them).

Feb 7—Shelling of Camp continues; Gen MacArthur visited Camp; at 2PM I was in Main Building to send radio, and hurried away from the crowd at the front door as we were to load our things on a truck to the Gym; just got away in time as a shell hit just over the door and killed several people and wounded many; When I finally got things loaded shells were coming our way, one hit in front of main building, killing a soldier on plaza; several just missed our roof and hit the wall behind garden, one killed some Japs hiding in a house behind camp; Nelson said, let’s get out of here, so I went down behind the building, and stayed there while shelling was heavy.

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U.S. General Douglas MacArthur (bottom center, in the hat cap) visits Santo Tomas on February 6th, 1945.

Feb 7 cont.—I did not go to the Gym with some who left our room; as they were fixing their bunks in the Gym several shells hit it and killed “Java” and fatally wounded Tom Henderson, and severely wounded several others and most of the folks ran over behind the Seminary; I finally made a run for the Main Building and lined up inside for chow, about 5:00PM; as we waited in the chow line, shells hit the rooms at south corner and killed and wounded many people, mostly women, some of the girls who dip out food for us were killed, Rev. Foley and Phil Carmen also killed.

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Living quarters at Santo Tomas; perhaps this is the gymnasium?

The dead and wounded were carried past me into room 13, for emergency Hospital; they were very badly mangled by shrapnel; after supper we stayed on the sidewalks north east side, it was raining slightly, many of us had diarrhea from eating too much, fighting was heavy, machine guns were firing tracer bullets at our guns, several soldiers were killed; an officer came by and gave me two cigars, said with compliments of General MacArthur; shells hit room above us and showered fragments; had no blankets and all in all it was a night to remember.

About 4:00AM Crumrine and I got into the back door of the Main Building, it was crowded, and as the emergency hospital was full and some wounded and died, there was much weeping and distress among the women and children; until daylight it was not a nice situation to be in.

Several soldiers were killed and wounded in the night fighting.

Feb 8—Daylight brought some lull and good breakfast; I at last got my longed for bread and butter; went to Gym and found my clothes but no cot so I used Graham’s as he is in Hospital, this is a fairly quiet day and got a little sleep. Battle still raging in Manila but only few shells near hear. Thousands of Japs are in Walled City and Ermita and Malate and our troops are attacking.

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

 

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.

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