Carl E. Rice WW2 Memoirs: March 10th and March 29th, 1945

March 10th, 1945—Went to Chinese Hospital and rechecked records and found the name of ARTURO SALVADOR, boy, age 14 yrs., admitted at 12:00 noon, Feb. 15, residence #1235 Leveriza St, Malate (the correct address of the Rice family house that was set fire by the Japanese on February 9th); died afternoon of Feb. 15, 1945. Body turned over, with nine others who died same day, to Mr. Ejercito of the Bureau of Health on Feb. 16. THIS IS NO DOUBT ARTHUR, who was delirious and gave his mother’s family name, as he had been using that in the few months previous, or maybe had a paper showing that name. Took the boys (Charlie and Henry, ages 18 and 17 roughly) to the hospital and we all agreed that this was ARTHUR.

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I went to the Bureau of Health to see Mr. Ejercito who was very helpful, found that the bodies of the persons who died on the 15 of Feb were buried in a common grave, dug by army bulldozers in the Cemetery del Norte. Went to see Mr. Reyes, Superintendent of the Cemetery; no record of names, so many hundreds being brought in by truckloads and buried three or four deep in the long trenches dug by the bulldozers.

Special cemetery Policeman Guillermo Legacion and Capataz Anastacio Liwanag, both long time employees and knowing about Cemetery conditions, they showed me the trench where people were buried on the 16th of Feb, it is the north end of trench on left side of road as you go northeast on this branch off the main drive. The last twenty feet of this trench is said to contain the bodies brought in on the 16th. Later some bodies from our Camp were put in on top of them. The Capataz promised to do what he could to care for that part of the grave where he said he is sure Arthur is buried. Mr. Fargas of the Army Morgue gave me a regulation wooden cross which I put at the end of the trench.

March 29, 1945—The cross I put at the trench grave has painted on it the following:

BURIED HERE WITH OTHERS MURDERED BY JAPANESE
****ARTHUR RICE****

It is just back of an Acacia tree and some well marked private graves; a grave a few feet to the north is marked by a monument with the name CATALINA VARGAS, which should be a permanent mark.

Between the Acacia tree and the road is another trench where many are buried. The Capataz estimates that about three hundred are buried in the same trench with Arthur.

What follows is the rest of the page the March 29th entry is typed on:

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I hope you children never forget Arthur, who was so dear to us all, and so brave even when dying. And never forget that the Japanese killed him, never forgive them and as long as you live never pass up a chance to crush the Japanese race. (My grandfather was a hard man.)

If ever you return to Manila, do what is possible to see that this lonely trench is cared for.


My grandfather subsequently had a more elegant tombstone built, presumably on the site he describes above. Below are two photos of Arthur’s tombstone. The letters on the tombstone are barely legible due to the small size and fuzziness of the photos, but I was able figure it out:

ARTHUR C. RICE
✞ FEB 15, 1945
AGE 14 YRS.
KILLED BY JAPANESE

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Carl E. Rice WW2 Memoirs: March 2nd to March 9, 1945

March 1st, Monday (repeated here from previous post for continuity)—Went to Far Eastern University to report regarding the Civil Service employees of the Quartermaster Department, could find no one who knew what to do about us.

March 2 to 9, 1945—Some were sent to U.S.A. as repatriates; many are now applying to go as their homes are burned and business or occupation no longer can operate and for a long time will be no opportunity here to live as before the war; many have no funds and nothing to borrow on; so there seems to be no way except to go back; of course some of the internees don’t belong here, having been transients caught here by the war; these people naturally want to get back as soon as possible, but the real old time residents would rather stay if conditions were not  so impossible; this the permanent home of most of us and most of those going back intend to return here as soon as conditions permit. (Indeed, my grandfather himself was to do exactly this two years later.) I put my name on the list but do not intend to go soon but may send the boys back to schools, they have missed three years.

Mary is in the hospital with asthma (she suffered from this her whole and died young at 55 twenty years later; also her given name was Maria but he called her Mary for short) and general poor physical condition due to hardships suffered during the battle of Manila. (Remember, in addition her third child Arthur being currently missing after being wounded and taken to an unknown hospital during the battle, she lost her mom—my great-grandmother—during the same fighting and they had to leave her body where it lay.) 

Am looking for Arthur and still hope to hear of him in some hospital but am afraid he is dead; he surely would have got word to me somehow if alive.

Feature pic: Raon Street, Manila, April 28, 1945

Carl E. Rice WW2 Memoirs: February 19th (cont.), 1945

Feb 19, Monday (cont.)—Family escaped afternoon of Feb. 14, Weds., Henry carried Arthur part way on his back, Choly Garcia (family friend; I think my dad described her as the family maid) bandaged and dressed his wounds; they ran through the machine gun fire, snipers and artillery barrage, hundreds being killed, fragments of bodies strewn everywhere, had to leave the body of Anding (my great grandmother) where she died; finally met an American soldier with rifle who smiled and motioned them to pass. Had to stay all night near Singalong Church as no ambulance was near; carried him next morning on an old bed toward Paco and met an ambulance, it was weapon carrier, Capt. Hoffman told Henry would take Arthur to Chinese Hospital near Camp, Arthur was in very bad shape, they gave some sulfur medicine, would not allow Henry to go with him, no room as too many wounded.

Well, the family are in Camp, Mrs and Ellen, Norma, and Jim are in the Dormitory, Charlie and Henry in Room 49 on third floor and Nena on 2nd floor with some women and girls.

(Text continues below pics…)

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Uncles Henry and Charlie with a friend in this photo taken three months after the battle.

Flash Forward

So this where I detour again from the memoir so I can recount some of what my dad remembers of that week. As you can see from the photo above, taken just a year later, he was just a little boy when it all went down. He recalls sirens going off every night for months, bombs and explosions, and as the previous post mentioned, his family’s house was burned down on February 9th.

He remembers bullets whizzing by their heads as they raced towards the American lines, as in hearing the bullets zip by them (not unlike the opening battle from the movie Saving Private Ryan). One particularly harrowing moment was when, as they were running, I think along the street, they were ambushed by a Japanese soldier…just one soldier, with a gun, in the middle of a battle where Japanese soldiers throughout the city are brutally and intentionally massacring defenseless civilians, including women and children (see stock photos below), and there’s my dad, five years old, with his siblings and mom (I think by this point my great grandmother Anding had already been killed)…

…and the Japanese soldier motions to them not to go that way because more Japanese were over there, but to go the other direction towards the Americans…

So in all of that brutality and death, they happened upon a Japanese soldier with the humanity to spare and save their lives by sending them in the right direction.

The irony and tragedy of the deaths of my great grandmother and uncle Arthur during that battle was that my dad said they were killed by accident, by American mortars as they were advancing. What’s peculiar about that is that my grandfather’s memoirs and Arthur’s tombstone is that he explicitly states they were killed by the Japanese. So I’m not sure if my dad is misremembering it, or if my grandfather blames the Japanese for the battle and all those killed, regardless.

The memoirs are not finished, yet. But we’re very close to the end, now…

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Stock photo of civilians fleeing during Battle of Manila, 1945.

Preceding photos pulled from the internet form the Battle of Manila, to demonstrate the humanity and the scale of devastation of the battle.

More photos of the Battle of Manila HERE…

Carl E. Rice WW2 Memoirs: February 12th to February 19th, 1945

Feb 12, 1945, Monday—Had a good night’s sleep; had butter, bread, mush, sugar, milk, cigarettes, smoking tobacco for breakfast; battle rages, Japs are slaughtering thousands. Cannot get out to help family.

Feb 13, Tuesday—Many wounded civilians arriving from Malate; many of our sick moved to Quezon Institute to make room in the 5 Field Hospital for wounded. I got a gate pass, went out on the street, ESPANA, found my land lady from whom formerly rented house, Mrs. Loling Penalosa, she had just come in from Bulacan Province, and knew nothing about her or my families, she gave me some fresh eggs and tomatoes; had a large bundle of Jap mickey mouse money which was worthless; gave her thirty pesos of good money. Met Mr. Woo, a Chinese friend who promised to get some other Chinese to help look for family.

Feb 14, Weds—Battle raging in Malate, at Stadium on our St, and Ermita; found Alfred Skiles and Geo Luehrsen of our street in the Camp Hospital with shrapnel wounds, they report having seen Nena and Arthur alive in the playground on San Andres St; that Willie Luehrsen was killed, also all the Cornelius family except Fred and his wife who were in Jones’ house, all houses on our street burned and machine gunned by Japs, hundreds of our neighbors killed. I spent most of the day outside on the street, met a few friends who had escaped.

Feb 15, Thursday—Was processed by USAFFE, filed affidavit regard service with Army. CHARLIE and NENA came to me on Espana Street in front of Camp about 3:30 pm, they report Arthur badly wounded by shrapnel and Anding, Mary’s mother, killed (my great-grandmother); family still at  playground with Arthur; Dr. Emily Fink, Fred Fink’s daughter, killed; they escaped yesterday with Mrs. Provida and stayed at a house near camp last night; got them into Camp and given a bath and food, and quarters. Charlie is slightly wounded by shrapnel which was treated in Camp Hospital.

Feb 16, Friday—Spent day in street near gate, saw Mr. Woo and Mr. Leong Ah Whay, they are helping to look for family. Battle still rages.

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Rizal Stadium, top right, in background. This neighborhood or the one immediately south of the stadium is where my dad’s family lived. This photo is dated February 15th, 1945; at this very moment my family was hiding out from the Japanese hoping to make a run for the American lines.

Feb 17, Sat—Same, no word of family.

Feb 18, Sunday—Mr. Pineda, one of our neighbors, came in, reported Arthur badly wounded and taken by ambulance to unknown Hospital, and that family was at Calle Dart near the Singalong Church; he will go tell them at once to come here.

Feb 19, Monday—Family came about 2:30, had a hard time getting them admitted because of the opposition of Mr. Loyd, the British committee member; Mr. Earl Carrol admitted them. They were very thin, tired, hungry and ragged; worn out from ten days of constant shelling, machine gunning, sniping, house burned on the night of Feb 9th they escaped from the blazing home through machine gun fire (my dad vividly remembers this; described the bullets whizzing by, not unlike the opening scene from Saving Private Ryan) and spent ten days in fox holes in the playground behind our house; Japs sniped them, threw hand grenades in the shelters, bayoneted people, raped, set fire to others and committed other horrors.

*Cover image: Rizal Stadium (referred to in the Feb 14 entry above) during the Battle of Manila; U.S. soldiers advancing

Lost World: The Rice Family in the Philippines before World War 2

One more detour before we resume my grandfather’s memoirs. Here are a plethora of Rice family photos that I gathered on my Thanksgiving trip back to Manhattan, mostly in the Philippines, from the two decades before World War 2. My understanding is that my grandfather also had a farm out in the countryside in addition to the house he had in Manila itself (see first post from memoir), several pics of which are shown here. You should be able to click an image to see it enlarged with a caption (for the ones I provide a caption for; some have handwriting that’s self-explanatory).

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. 

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.

 

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 WW2 Memoirs: February 3rd, 1945, continued…

FEB 3, 1945, continued—We here in the Education Building with freedom within 30 feet of us are the hostages, to be killed if Japs think it will save their face; at least they are going to try to use our lives to make a deal for theirs. There is much noise in the other parts of the camp, some scattered shots and much shouting; we told the tank men who we were and where to shoot at the Japs; there is much machine gunning, the 50 cal (sic; “caliber”?) bullets from the tanks come right through the concrete walls, the glass windows downstairs are broken, the Japs shoot from behind barricades of desks and mattresses; the prisoners on the third floor are getting it worse than we as the bullets fired upwards go through the floor and are hitting some in the legs; the tank in from of the main door to the lobby fired its cannon once; only one Jap that I saw came out, the little one with a mustache supposed to be a doctor, we can look out from behind the pillars on the balcony right down on our tanks and also see the flashes from the Jap machine guns only a few feet from us at the windows over the main stairs; the machine gun bullets come through about five inches of concrete like it was cheese, the concrete chips and ricochets fly past us and some are hit but not hurt much.

The Japs made a barricade just outside our door in the hall, of boxes and mattresses; we are not allowed to pass thru it to the bathroom.

We can hear our men in the tanks talking to each other about where to shoot; infantry are deploying behind the rolls of air strip webbing and the shacks, the town this side of the river is being destroyed by terrific explosions of Jap time bombs, the sky reflects the great fires, the Japs yell “Banzai” and other different words, and our boys keep on with bursts of machine gun bullets, outside the camp also firing and much yelling;

The Japs finally made us all lie down in our bunks and said “You sleep”, we stayed in bed alright, did not sleep all night. We were expecting to be slaughtered any minute; if some screwball had grabbed a Jap’s gun or struck one we would have been massacred; a Jap sat on the foot of my bunk where he could peek over the balcony railing and shoot at our tanks, later he got a stool and sat on it beside me. If our infantry had rushed the building we would have been killed by the Japs before our boys got up the stairs.

The Jap cars parked in front were loaded, some with chow, and prisoners from the liberated part of camp lost no time in raiding the chow truck and even waved at us with beer bottles, the fighting could not keep those starving ones from chow.

The long night passed somehow, the shooting was in spurts only and the FOURTH of Feb, 1945 dawned on the toughest spot I have ever been in; being used as a  breastwork and hostage by crazy Japs is no fun, any way you look at it; there is sort of a truce evidently between our tanks and the Japs, the boys in the tanks now look out, smoke and talk to us, they are not infantry but are the 8th Cavalry of the First Cavalry Division, say they are known as MacArthur’s Butchers and take no prisoners.

(This was actually a small advance force of American soldiers, who had raced to Santo Tomas ahead of the main American army in order to free the American internees, for reasons which will soon become clear…)

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.