“Rampage” now available!

James M. Scott’s new book, Rampage: MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila, is available now in print and Kindle formats. The 640-page book contains 16 pages of illustrations and 10 maps. General MacArthur’s visits to Old Bilibid Prison and Santo Tomas Internment Camp are detailed. The summary at Amazon.com states:

The twenty-nine-day battle to liberate Manila resulted in the catastrophic destruction of the city and a rampage by Japanese forces that brutalized the civilian population. Landmarks were demolished, houses were torched, suspected resistance fighters were tortured and killed, countless women were raped, and their husbands and children were murdered. American troops had no choice but to battle the enemy, floor by floor and even room by room, through schools, hospitals, and even sports stadiums. In the end, an estimated 100,000 civilians lost their lives in a massacre as heinous as the Rape of Nanking.

Cody K. Carlson, in his review in the Deseret News, says:

The heart of this book, however, is the stories of death and suffering inflicted upon the Filipino people, as well as other ethnicities, at the hands of a vengeful Japanese military whose soldiers knew they could not defeat the Americans. Scott examines massacre after massacre, such as the butchering that took place when Japanese marines entered a Red Cross hospital and indiscriminately bayonetted and shot both patients and staff despite pleas for mercy. No one was spared, not even Filipino film star Corazon Noble, who lived to later testify that she had been bayonetted nine times by the Japanese. Her infant had been bayoneted three times and died. Similar tales of death occurred at places like the German Club, De Le Salle and at St. Paul’s College, as well as countless other incidents that wove together during the battle like a macabre tapestry.

In his review in The Post and Courier, Jonathan Sanchez writes:

In Rampage, the war is agonizingly and microscopically close: the enemy soldiers, the Filipino and American citizens, the American generals. We see what they eat, what they wear, how they survive, how they die.

The review in the Kirkus Reviews states:

In 1945, Douglas MacArthur returned to the Philippines as he had promised, wanting nothing more than a spectacular military parade through the streets of Manila. The Japanese commander of forces in the field, Tomoyuki Yamashita, the “Tiger of Malaya,” intended to oblige by withdrawing his soldiers from the city, but an admiral named Sanji Iwabuchi had other ideas. Defying orders, he commanded his sailors and marines to dig in for a house-to-house defense of the city, co-opting some army units in the bargain. With certain death their only option, Iwabuchi’s command embarked on a campaign of atrocities in which more than 100,000 Filipinos and foreign nationals were slaughtered, with orders that they be grouped to save ammunition and then disposed of by burning buildings and, with them, material evidence of the massacre.

In his review in the Wall Street Journal (requires subscription), Jonathan W. Jordan states:

Mr. Scott does one of the finest jobs in recent memory of cutting out the middleman and letting the participants — hundreds of them — tell their harrowing bits of a kaleidoscopic wartime tragedy. The result is an eloquent testament to a doomed city and its people. “Rampage” is a moving, passionate monument to one of humanity’s darkest moments.

On 2 November 2018, Bob Drogin, wrote in the Los Angeles Times, in his review:

Scott, who was a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist for “Target Tokyo,” focuses in part on the 7,500 or so Americans and others held as prisoners of war or civilian internees in squalid conditions, and their dramatic rescue by U.S. troops. Although some of those stories are familiar, he adds a heart-rending portrayal of the brutal life they endured.

Other books by James M. Scott include Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid that Avenged Pearl Harbor, The War Below: The Story of Three Submarines that Battled Japan, and The Attack on the Liberty: The Untold Story of Israel’s Deadly 1967 Assault on a U.S. Spy Ship.

John “Jigger” Jay, accountant and cartoonist

By profession, British internee, John Leslie “Jigger” Jay, was an accountant. But he also proved to be an apt cartoonist of daily life at Santo Tomás, and later Los Baños internment camps. His most prominent work was in How We Took It, poems by Alfred J. Stahl and published in New York in October 1945. Jigger traveled on the S.S. Admiral E.W. Eberle leaving Manila on 10 April 1945, arriving in San Pedro, California, on 2 May 1945. He was repatriated on the R.M.S. Scythia leaving Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 10 May 1945, arriving in Liverpool on 25 May 1945, en route to Banstead, Surrey.

Illustration from "How We Took It"

Two pages from “How We Took It,” 1945, by Alfred J. Stahl and John L. “Jigger” Jay

STIC place-mat, by John "Jigger" Jay

STIC place-mat, created by John “Jigger” Jay.
Click on image to expand to see the great detail.


If anyone has more information about Jigger or his work, please use our “Comments” form.

Some 2017 articles involving former civilian internees

Following are some 2017 articles involving former civilian internees of the Philippine prison camps. Click the title to link to the full text:

Long Journey Home for British Ex-Internees

RMS Scythia

RMS Scythia

The passenger list for the 1945 voyage of the R.M.S. Scythia from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Liverpool, England, has just been added to the Repatriation & Rescue page on this website. This is important because it shows the final leg of the long journey back to the UK from the Philippines for over 200 Brits. One passenger was 12-year-old Robin Cooke, whose mother, Doris, died while in STIC in October 1942.

Repatriation Summary:

  • Manila to San Diego: 7,393 miles / 11,898 km
  • San Diego to Halifax, Nova Scotia: 3,685 miles / 5,931 km
  • Nova Scotia – Liverpool: 2,722 miles / 4,380 km

Total: 13,800 miles / 22,209 Kilometers

Download the 7-page Scythia passenger list in PDF format.
List of passengers on the Scythia:
Continue reading

Three Canadian Priests added to “In Memoriam”

After some recent research, I have added Catholic Fathers Henri Desjardins, Omer Leblanc and Leo Poirier to the In Memoriam page on this site. They were working on Mindanao as members of the Société des Missions-Étrangères du Québec (Societas pro missionibus exteris Provinciae Quebecensis’), shortened P.M.E. None of these men were ever interned and a fourth member, Fr. Leo Lamy, died of malaria, on 19 December 1942.

6 of the PME Fathers who escaped the Japanese and internment.  Baganga, 1942.

6 of the PME Fathers who escaped the Japanese and internment. Baganga, 1942.


Courtesy of the UCAN directory:

“When war broke out in December 1941, parochial work came almost to a standstill. In Davao only four PME Fathers were left with Bishop del Rosario, together with the Jesuits Father Garcia and Father Alfredo Paguia. Out of the 23 PME Fathers at that time, seven escaped and took refuge among the pagan tribe of the East Coast of Davao, while the rest were taken prisoners and sent to the concentration camps at University of Santo Tomas in Manila and University of the Philippines in Los Banos, Laguna. Four PME priests died during this period. Father Leo Lamy died of malaria in San Pedro. Father Henri Desjardins disappeared mysteriously on his way from Manay to Caraga. Fathers Leo Poirier and Omer Leblanc who started their work in Santa Cruz were killed by the Japanese soldiers who took them to Pikit, Cotabato province, as prisoners. They were later executed as spys.”

For more information:

Only by the Grace of God now available!

Only by the Grace of God

Now available!

Former internee, Pamela Brink, has announced that her new book, Only by the Grace of God, is now available.  She and her family were interned in three camps during the War: Cebu, Santo Tomás , and Los Baños Internment Camp.

Pamela was only eight-years-old when first interned, but the book also includes the memoirs of her late brothers, Robert and John Brink. The family all survived the War and were repatriated on the M.S. Torrens, arriving in San Francisco on 15 May 1945.

The announcement at Amazon.com has this to say about the book:

Three siblings from the Philippines wrote down what they remembered about being imprisoned by the Japanese during World War II.

Pamela J. Brink, Robert A. Brink, and John W. Brink all survived the ordeal, but only one of them–Pamela–is still alive today. She shares their experiences in this memoir that recounts the horrors of war as seen through the eyes of children.

At age thirteen, John W. was the oldest when they were captured, and his account is likely the most accurate of all three.

Robert and Pamela’s versions are different as they saw everything through younger, more fearful eyes. All three, however, remember being overjoyed when they were rescued from the Los Baños prison camp.

When they were freed, everyone wanted to hear about atrocities, but their slow starvation could not compete with the horrors that Jews suffered in Nazi Germany. Most ignored their tales, and over time, they stopped telling them.

Three adults look back at their childhood experiences as prisoners of war, how they survived, and how they continued on in Only by the Grace of God.

Guerrilla Priest

Guerrilla Priest: An American Family in World War II Philippines

2016 book now available

Stephen Griffiths’ book, Guerrilla Priest,  is now available. Griffiths based his book on the unpublished memoirs of his parents, Alfred and Ernestine Griffiths.

According to the Dancing Moon Press website,

“Guerrilla Priest” captures a special moment in the history of the Pacific War: the formation of the first guerrilla resistance against the Japanese in northern Luzon, Philippines. Major Walter Cushing, Chief Puyao of the Tingguian village of Balbalasang, and Al Griffiths, an Episcopal priest, were key figures in this resistance. Guerrilla Priest describes the events that led to the ambush at Lamonan—disastrous for the Japanese—and the aftermath of that ambush for those who participated. The book also provides an intimate glimpse of the American colonial experience in the Philippines, its impact on the Tingguian people, and a portrait of Japanese soldiers and their commanders that defies stereotype. But perhaps most significantly, it tells the story of how a young American family—Al Griffiths, his wife Nessie, and their infant daughter Katy—managed to survive a horrific war.

Paperback copies of this book are available direct from the author: Stephen Griffiths. Paperbacks as well as eBooks are also available through Amazon.com or ordered through independent book sellers

Jim Crosby relates his STIC memories

Former child internee, James Crosby, talks about his Santo Tomas Internment Camp memories in a recent San Diego Union-Tribune article titled Internee has different memories of war. Jim was 9-years-old when he and his parents, Ralph and Flora, were interned. Ralph was a mining company executive who stayed after Liberation to help rebuild the destroyed mines.

According to the article,

Within three weeks, the interned schoolteachers set up classes again in the university’s chemistry labs. Every subject was taught except American history, which was forbidden by the Japanese.

Crosby didn’t much enjoy going to school, but it passed the time. He said he often despaired that the internment would never end. For distraction, he and his buddies played cops and robbers for hours.

“We didn’t have any guns, so we’d take the long beans from acacia trees and cut them up into little pieces and throw them at each other,” he said.

The article includes two contemporaneous photos of Jim and his family. The full article is available on the San Diego Union-Tribune website.

Hell to Happiness — another former internee perspective

Hell to Happiness, by Patricia V.C. DennisIn late 2015, Australian Patricia V.C. Dennis released her memoir, Hell to Happiness : A Concentration Camp Childhood to a Life of Abundance. Patricia was known as Patricia Veronica Jones, when she was interned with her family in Santo Tomas. Currently available in a Kindle edition, the “book is a true story full of passion, hope and inspiration. International author Patricia Dennis shares what it was like to spend three and a half years growing up in a Japanese concentration camp in the Philippines. Having miraculously survived, she went on to achieve great personal and business triumphs. Patricia’s amazing story provides beautiful lessons on how trust, faith and self-belief can take you from Hell to Happiness.”

Patricia and her family were repatriated to Australia on S.S. David C. Shanks, leaving Tacloban, Leyte, on 26 March 1945, arriving in Townsville, Australia, on 5 April 1945.

Thomas Grover with granddaughters Patricia and Jacqueline Jones, who were released with their parents Australia, 1945

Thomas Grover with granddaughters Patricia and Jacqueline Jones


(courtesy of Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria)

More articles involving former internees

Following are some 2015-2016 articles involving former internees of the civilian Philippine camps: