Both my grandfathers, Clinton Floren Carlson and Alvah Eugene Johnson, were interned in Santo Tomás Internment Camp during World War II. Grandfather Carlson told me, many times, about the living conditions inside the Camp and how the internees would try to keep their spirits up. Born in Wisconsin, he first came to the Philippines when he was in the U.S. Navy. He lived to age 95 and died in Chula Vista, California.
While researching my family tree, I found out that Alvah had first come to the Philippines during the Philippine-American War. He married a Filipina and they ultimately had 10 children, the youngest of which was my father, Roy Wallace Johnson. On 9 October 1944, Alvah won STIC’s chess championship. He died of beri-beri on January 6, 1945, just weeks before liberation.
I created this site to honor them and the many others who suffered in, and outside of, the camps. It is my hope that people contribution photos, stories, references and other items to make this a better website. The next phase of this project is to include all the POWs of the Philippine camps.
Special thanks to the following for their contributions to this site: Robert Colquhoun, Maurice Francis and Rupert Wilkinson.