Internment Camps Chronology

This page is mainly made up of information found in Frederic H. Stevens’ book, Santo Tomás Internment Camp, 1946, pages 383-483. Mr. Stevens used the official minutes of the Camp governing committee to depict the conditions within STIC. It also includes significant events in the Philippines.

Symbols:
    • BIC = Baguio Internment Camp (aka Camp #3)
    • LBIC = Los Baños Interment Camp (aka Camp #2)
    • STIC = Santo Tomás Internment Camp (aka Camp #1)

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1942

1943

1944

1945


1941

December 8 Pearl Harbor attacked (Dec. 7, Hawaii timezone). City of Baguio bombed.
December 10 Initial Japanese landing in Northern Luzon, Philippines.
December 22 Main Japanese landing in Lingayen Gulf.
December 25 Hong Kong surrenders.
December 26 Manila declared an “open city” to prevent Japanese attacks.
   

1942

January 2 Fall of Manila.
January 4 Santo Tomás Internment Camp (STIC) established within the University of Santo Tomás and approximately 300 residents of Malate district, Manila, arrive. No food issued to internees by Japanese authorities.
January 5 – 10 Increasing numbers of Americans, British, Polish, Dutch, designated by the Japanese as “enemy aliens,” brought into STIC from all sections of the city.
January 27 STIC population now at 3,348.
February 3 STIC population at 3,290 : 2,339 Americans, 875 British, 27 Dutch, 36 Polish, 4 Belgians, 9 others. Total of 2,045 males and 1,245 females.
February 11 Three young internees (two British: Thomas Henry Fletcher, Henry Edward Weeks and one Australian: Blakey Borthwick Laycock), wishing to join troops in Bataan, escape over wall at night. They are recaptured and tortured.
February 14 First shanties (palm shacks) appear. The Camp garden is organized and first seeds planted: lechay, camotes, beans and Talinum.
February 15 Execution of Thomas Henry Fletcher, Henry Edward Weeks and Blakey Borthwick Laycock, who tried to escape on February 11. Singapore surrenders.
February 16 R. Tsurumi of the Japanese Consular Service appointed Commandant. He replaced Lt. Tomayasu, who died of para-typhoid.
February 20 113 British men, women and children arrive from outside Manila.
March 3 Shanties becoming “a real factor.”
April 8 Severe earthquake at 1 a.m. rouses internees. Plenty of excitement but no damage.
April 9 Fall of Bataan Peninsula results in 75,000 Filipino and American prisoners. Holy Ghost Children’s Home population now 100 children and 20 mothers.
April 17 STIC population now 3,157. Recent arrivals include 14 persons from Los Baños and eight from Bataan.
April 21 Complying with orders of Japanese military authorities, a total of 1,032 non-interned American, British and allied civilians reported since April 15th at Commandant’s Office, STIC. Registrations will continue several days longer until all “enemy aliens” register.
April 27 Proposed aid to San Fernando prisoners of war refused by Japanese authorities. Single daily roll-call set for 9 p.m. instead of 7:45 p.m., as hitherto. STIC population shows total of 3,200, highest in April. Quarters crowded, men sleeping in corridors and hallways and in every available nook of the Main Building. Japanese requested for more space.
May 3 11 U.S. Army and one U.S. Navy nurse leave Corregidor by submarine for Freemantle, Australia.
May 5 Black-out regulations lifted. Rainy season approaches.
May 6 Corregidor falls resulting in 11,000 more POWs.
May 9 Internees start to manufacture coconut milk. Father John Dogherty arrives, first Roman Catholic priest to be interned.
May 19 Japanese Commandant, R. Tsurumi, ill, under care of Camp physician, Dr. C. N. Leach.
June 15 43 internees, mostly British, arrive from Shanghai. Monsoon in full deluge.
June 17 Some STIC internees board the exchange ship Asama Maru at an undisclosed port of embarkation for repatriation. These people were later transferred to the Swedish ship, M.S. Gripsholm, which disembarks in Jersey City on August 25, 1942.
July 1 Japanese finally assume responsibility for providing food.
July 2 54 U.S. Army nurses from Corregidor arrive at STIC and are housed at the Santa Catalina Convent.
July 14 Japanese guards discover liquor during shanty inspection. Several persons found intoxicated. Liquor patrol squad formed to control problem. Loudspeaker system operating.
July 17 Noah J. Sorrell escapes from Baguio Internment Camp. He is captured and eventually returned to the camp on January 20, 1943.
July 23 Tremendous rainfall floods Camp and deluges shanty areas. British internees receive questionaire concerned with repatriation.
July 26 Two internees found guilty of drunkenness and disorderly conduct paraded through Camp with hands tied. Commandant personally admonishes them.
August 25 Noon meal restricted to teenagers, internees over 80-years-old, those working 4 hours-a-day and medical certificates and vegetable workers. 54 U.S. Army nurses are moved into STIC from Santa Catalina Convent.
September 1 Typhoon. S. Kuroda, a steel and hardware merchant of Shanghai, becomes Japanese Commandant of STIC.
September 28 Typhoon.
October 7 Severe soap shortage.
October 18 Escapee sentenced to 30 days of confinement in jail.
October 19 Domestic animals prohibited. Lean-tos (called Patio Cabañas) permitted in patios of Main Building at STIC.
October 23 Flashlights to be surrendered.
October 26 John Carlyle Cowper, released internee, sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for spreading false war rumors among Filipinos.
November 9 Children’s diet kitchen opens, serving 137.
November 22 Rat situation getting “out of hand” and constitutes a real menace.
November 26 Thanksgiving Day – turkey dinner!
December 2 Shanty thefts reported.
December 19 148 internees arrive at STIC from Cebu Internment Camp.
December 23 First outdoor movies in “Little Theater under the Stars” – open plaza in front of Main Building at STIC.
December 24 Children’s Christmas show presented at STIC.
December 25 Santa Claus arrives at STIC and distributes toys to children.
December 26 British internees celebrate “Boxing Day” with a rugby match: England vs. Australia.
December 27 Shanty hours: 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Interiors must be visible.
December 31 STIC population now at 3,263. Serious housing problem exists
   

1943

January 7 120 British receive letters from home.
January 12 After the “Owens Incident” about 30 internees who acknowledged connection with U.S. military or British armed forces prior to internment are removed from STIC.
January 20 Noah J. Sorrell, who escaped from Baguio Internment Camp on July 17, 1942, and was captured is finally returned to the Baguio camp.
March 10 119 internees from Bacolod Interment Camp arrive at STIC.
March 14 Ted Casanave and Olive Buckner are married at the Iloilo Internment Camp by Father Hogan.
April 1 Eight Baguio internees arrive at STIC to join their families.
May 14 Los Baños trek begins: 786 men and 12 women (nurses) depart from STIC at early hour. Three men released from jail to join outgoing internees.
May 18 Japanese military authorities order the reinternment of all “enemy aliens,” except those belonging to religious orders, those exempted by reason of nationality, and those confined to hospitals and institutions.
May 22 Camp population 3,547 – 300 in shanties.
May 23 Female internee, Margaret Ruan Folsom, escapes from STIC.
May 24 Several cases of infantile paralysis are reported in STIC.
June 1 Finance and Supplies Committee requests increase in daily food allowance.
June 8 Early-season typhoons.
June 22 109 Iloilo internees arrive after 7-day trip from Panay. This group is made up of 57 men, 31 women and 21 children.
July 2 24 internees arrive at STIC from Jesuit college, Ateneo, now taken over by Japanese military forces.
July 10 Past week – heavy rains, high winds.
July 23 Shanty areas flooded.
September 4 404 now sleeping in shanties.
September 26 127 internees leave camp at 5:30 a.m. to board the exchange ship Teia Maru at an undisclosed port of embarkation for repatriation. This group was joined by 24 members of the American Consular Staff, and one internee from Baguio, making a total evacuation of 151 adults and one infant. Of the above,131 were Americans, 15 Canadians and six of other nationalities. These people were later transferred to the Swedish ship, M.S. Gripsholm, which disembarks in Jersey City on December 1, 1943.
October 18 British advisory committee elected.
November 14 Tremendous storm. Camp inundated.
December 19 Japanese execute 16 Americans in “Hopevale” on the island of Panay. This number includes 11 missionaries and three children.
   

1944

January 2 279 internees arrive at STIC from Davao Internment Camp on Mindanao. One internee, 81-year-old Ezra J. Clement, dies en route.
January 6 Camp population 3,939.
January 10 Letter from the Commandant to Executive Committee ordering the reinternment of Mrs. George Koster and child permitting them to be assigned quarters in Mr. Koster’s shanty, the first woman allowed to sleep in a shanty.
January 21 Medical Board reports 3 cases of chicken pox, 8 cases of measles and a number of cases of whooping cough.
January 31 Chickens and ducks may be kept in shanty areas.
February 1 Married couples move into shanties.
February 10 Holy Ghost Children’s Home closed and internees moved to STIC.
February 21 About 60 internees arrive from Sulphur Springs.
March 1 Roll-calls at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
March 18 STIC marriages legalized.
March 30 Margaret R. Folsom, who escaped from STIC on May 23, 1942, imprisoned in New Bilibid Prison. She is later moved to Mandaluyong Correctional Institution
April 1 141 cases of measles. Air alert till April 4.
April 5 G. Herbert Swick and Richard R. Green escape Baguio Internment Camp. As a result, internees E.J. Kneebone, William Moule and J. J. Halsema are tortured by the Japanese.
April 7 Transfer of 530 internees from STIC to Los Baños.
April 27 Air alert.
May 2 Commandant addresses all internees in English on front plaza. Promises co-operation, warns of hard times ahead.
May 3 Internees sign “oath” – many adding “under duress” – promising not to try to escape.
May 28 Extra roll-calls: 12-2 p.m., 4-6 p.m.
May 31 First STIC wedding is performed: Henry Ernest Bennett and Mary Catherine Connor.
July 17 All internees to be photographed.
July 25 Black-out practice.
August 7 No toilet paper left in Philippines.
August 15 All women, children under 15 and men over 60-years-old, ordered to do 3 hours’ hard labor daily.
August 21 Air-raid instructions.
August 22 Alert, 6:40 p.m.
August 25 Japanese Officer of Day complains of laxity in roll-call and among STIC shantyites. Japanese execute 5 American female non-internees for alleged spying.
August 30 68 internees arrive from Remedios Hospital, which is closed by the Japanese. Women are assigned to Room O, Main Building, and the men to the Gymnasium. Nine of the new arrivals are bed cases.
August 31 Three more internees arrive from Remedios Hospital and 94 male internees arrive from Hospicio de San Jose, which is being closed by the Japanese.
September 1 Hospicio de San Jose staff and equipment arrive at STIC.
September 6 First food reserves issued – corned beef.
September 9 Practice air alert, 3 p.m. 5:15, real alert.
September 21 The great day arrives at last as U.S. planes raid Manila all day. Gas and electricity fail for several hours and water flow is reduced to a trickle.
September 22 Air raids, 7:17 a.m. till 3 p.m. Huge fires seen in Manila.
October 4 Lunch served for first time since Sept 23.
October 9 Special treat: duck soup for dinner.
October 10 Alvah Eugene Johnson wins STIC chess tournament.
October 15, 17, 18, 19 Air raids. Watching air raids from windows a punishable offence.
October 20 Allied forces land on Leyte.
October 21 Minors (under 16) not subject to confinement in jail, but to other punishment.
October 22 Officer of Day complains of “lack of respect” shown during roll-call inspection. All internees must stand except the sick and smaIl children.
October 27 Commandant’s Office stops garbage collection crew inside Camp and searches cart, confiscating quantity of bacon, beans and cigarettes, being smuggled in. Garbage crew taken into custody and later lodged in jail.
October 28 The garbage crew were found to have in their possession more money than lawful. Commandant’s Office confiscates money and goods. Internee Committee ordered to see to it that all surplus money is turned in. The 6 members of the garbage crew who were arrested on the 27th, receive jail sentences of 3 days’ “heavy imprisonment”. Ringleader receives 30 days.
November 1 Order from the Commandant dated October 30: “Every morning and every night, each monitor shall see that his group practices bowing. This is to include men, women and children.”
November 3 For three days considerable supplies of reinforced steel mesh have been coming into Camp, unloaded in Campus south of Education Building. Campus is covered with military supplies of all sorts.
November 5 Raids all day. Three internees, arrested at 7:45 a.m. for being out in open during air raid, taken to front gate and made to stand in hot sun until 3:45 p.m. Warning. 2 young internees arrested at 8:05 p.m. for being out of bounds after curfew hours. Taken to front gate and kept there without food or water until 2:30 p.m. on Nov 6. Released with warning.
November 6 City air raid signal sounds at 4:21 a.m. Several raids take place during day, all clear at 6:10 p.m.
November 12 Franklin Delano Roosevelt re-elected, but Vice-President not known.
November 13 Air raids continue throughout the day. Several large fires in Manila are the result.
November 14 Sporadic raids.
November 17 Children’s rations cannot be augmented, but adults may give children extra food, if they wish, by reducing their own ration.
November 19, 21, 25 Air raids. More intensive bombing expected soon.
November 26 Shaded lights, 6:30 p.m. Broadcast: food is very scarce.
December 3 Due to children begging Japanese for candy, sugar and tobacco, Commandant orders all children to keep away from Japanese kitchen and office. Total black-out, 9:45 p.m.
December 5 150 STIC internees moved to Los Baños. Increase of stealing alarms Camp.
December 6 Curfew 7 p.m. Lights-out 8 p.m.
December 12 Acute shortage of firewood.
December 14 Japanese execute over 130 POWs on Palawan.
December 15 Air raids continue, day and night. American forces land on Mindoro.
December 23 For the first time, B-29 “Flying Fortresses” are seen. E. E. Johnson arrested and taken from Camp. C. C. Grinnell, A. F. Duggleby and Clifford L. Larsen arrested and held in STIC jail.
December 27 Internees from Baguio Internment Camp moved to Old Bilibid Prison in Manila.
   

1945

January 4 C. C. Grinnell, A. F. Duggleby and Clifford L. Larsen taken out of Camp by Japanese military police.
January 9 Allied forces land on Luzon. A quarrel in cooking shed near STIC gymnasium results in death of one internee, Owen Robyns Owen, while being rushed to hospital.
January 10 Periodic bombings by heavy planes continue. Throughout the city explosions can be heard and large fires seen. Camp is all agog! Internees positive that American forces have landed on Luzon! Leaflets are dropped from American planes.
January 11 American planes flying very low over STIC.
January 17 STIC internee, Joseph Garrick Eisenberg, missing from morning roll call. Commandant issue statements that anyone attempting to escape or caught after escaping is liable to death by shooting.
January 21 Heavy detonations heard. Believed many buildings in city are being destroyed. Heavy bombing on outskirts of city.
January 26 Burning question: “How far are the boys from Manila?”
January 30 Japanese getting ready to leave Camp. Cabanatuan POW camp liberated.
February 2 Huge fires encircle Camp. Guards very jittery.
February 3 1st Cavalry Division tanks enter STIC in the evening. Japanese guards defend first and second floors of Education Building with machine-guns and hand-grenades, holding more than 200 internees as hostages on third floor.
February 4 Ominous silence in Education Building. Japanese cannot be dislodged without killing internees at same time. Two meals sent to Education Building for internees, but Japanese guards take most of it.
February 5 Japanese guards surrender, allowed to keep arms and are escorted through U.S. lines and allowed to go. Education Building internees released. Entire Camp free. Old Bilibid Prison liberated.
February 8 Japanese shell STIC and 15 are killed and 90 wounded.
February 10 Japanese shell Camp: 2 internees killed, several wounded. Japanese take 20 men from Malate Church, including four Irish priests, and execute them. Mandaluyong Correctional Institution liberated which results in release of Margaret Ruan Folsom and Claire “High Pockets” Phillips.
February 11 Japanese shell Camp.
February 12 Japanese execute 60 people, including 16 Christian Brothers, at De La Salle College in Manila.
February 21 Bodies of Camp leaders Carroll Grinnell, A. F. Duggleby, E. E. Johnson and Clifford L. Larsen found buried near Harrison Park.
February 23 More internees leave for the United States. About 360 say good bye at 7:30 a.m. and are taken to the S.S. Jean Lafitte. Internees from Los Baños rescued by 11th Airborne Division. Memorial services held for Grinnell, Duggleby, Johnson and Larsen.
February 27 Japanese Manila garrison destroyed.
March 30 S.S. Jean Lafitte arrives in San Francisco, California, carrying about 360 internees.
April 9 Headed by Earl Carroll, 3,000 internees start to leave for U.S.
April 10 The S.S. Admiral E.W. Eberle leaves Manila carrying internees for the U.S.
May 2 The S.S. Admiral E.W. Eberle arrives in San Pedro, California carrying internees.
May 8 Germany surrenders.
June 8 General Douglas MacArthur proclaims end of war in Luzon.
July 4 Entire Philippines freed of Japanese.
July 14 Santo Tomás Internment Camp closes and all remaining internees transferred to San Carlos Camp.
August 6 Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.
August 9 Atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.
August 14 Japan surrenders.
September 2 General Yamashita Tomoyuki surrenders Japanese forces on Luzon.

Special “thanks” to Rupert Wilkinson for his contributions.

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