WWII STIC Icon Helps Solve a Mystery, by Martin Meadows

Preface. This brief explanatory note is for those who may be unfamiliar with two terms in the title. STIC is the acronym for Santo Tomas Internment Camp, a WWII (World War II) prison in Manila, Philippines, established by the Imperial Japanese Army. STIC housed several thousand Allied nationals (American, British, etc.) for 37 months during 1942-1945. And one other important point needs emphasis: much of the following account has been made possible by material unearthed by ace internet sleuth Cliff Mills.

To clarify at the outset, the internee icon of the title is STIC’s late great Master of Entertainment, David Harvey MacTurk, better known to one and all as Dave Harvey. Additionally, Harvey was not personally involved in solving the cited mystery. So, just what is his connection to this brief offshoot from a much broader and much longer work? As to the latter, I have been working on what I believe will be the definitive Harvey biography— if only because it will be the first and the only one in existence. In the process, I have completed a portion of the narrative that at best is only tangentially related to the biography as a whole, for it deals with a matter of mainly personal interest. (It is one of many such matters I never thought to ask my parents about, when that was still possible.) I decided to present the aforesaid portion separately from, and before completion of, the biography for several reasons: to thereby spread awareness of the biography; in so doing, perhaps to also induce interest in it; and, more practically, to shorten the finished product. And now on to the mystery and its (perceived) solution.

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Tennis Great’s link to the Philippines, by Martin Meadows

Dwight F. Davis on TIME magazine coverThanks to internet sleuth nonpareil Cliff Mills, an interesting but little-known connection has come to light between the Philippines and an American tennis giant. The latter was none other than Dwight F. Davis (1879-1945), who was Governor General of the Philippines from 1929 to 1932. (Unfortunately, during his tenure I was a bit too young to hit with him or to otherwise benefit from his court expertise.) Davis ranks as a tennis giant in large part because he was the founder of the Davis Cup international tennis competition. The extremely brief — actually, skeletal — outline of his record below to introduce this topic is from Wikipedia; it is followed by two 1929 Manila newspaper articles (unearthed by Cliff Mills, himself a tennis enthusiast); and then by somewhat more detailed coverage of Davis’ background and history to round out this historical footnote.

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Passing of Ian C. M. Hall

I am sad to report the passing of Ian Hall. Ian and his family were largely not interned in the Philippines, during the War, but suffered very greatly at it’s end. Ian died in Palm Desert, California, on 1 May 2023, according to an obituary published by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Hall children were all born in Manila and were not interned, as were others of the family except the father, Alaistair Cameron “Shorty” Hall, who was interned at STIC. The children were:

  • Roderick Cameron McMicking Hall, 1932
  • Ian Cameron McMicking Hall, 1934
  • Alaistair Cameron McMicking Hall, 1936
  • Consuelo Angela “Connie” Hall, 1937

Alaistair Hall and his four children,

Alaistair Hall and his four children: Ian, Consuelo, Alaistair and Roderick

On 20 January 1945, the Japanese arrested the mother, grandmother, an aunt and an uncle and took them for interrogation at the Masonic Temple in Manila. They became part of the almost 100 people killed there. Father and children were reunited after the Battle of Manila.

Ian, and his brother Rod, traveled on the U.S.S. General Harry Taylor leaving Manila on 2 June 1945, arriving in San Francisco, California, on 26 June 1945. They were repatriated aboard the the S.S. Eros, leaving New York City on 20 July 1945 and arriving in Liverpool, England, on 30 July 1945.

Roderick contributed to the 2008 book, Manila Memories: Four Boys Remember Their Lives Before, During and After the Japanese Occupation. It is one of the hundreds of items he donated to the Filipinas Heritage Libray, Manila.


Link to Ian’s obituary at the San Francisco Chronicle.

National Former POW Recognition Day

April 9th is the 81st anniversary of the fall of the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines and the beginning of the infamous Bataan Death March. Less than half of the men on Bataan would survive WWII, the majority dying as POWs of Imperial Japan. President Joe Biden’s cousin, John Robinette, a tanker from Ohio, was on the Bataan Death March and died as a POW of Japan in the Philippines.

In Washington D.C., there will be a ceremony on Friday, April 7th at 11:00am at the National World War II Memorial on the Mall. The event is hosted by the Embassy of the Philippines and the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project (FilVetREP). April 9th is a national holiday in the Philippines, The Day of Valor (Araw ng Kagitingan).

At 2:00pm and 4:00pm that afternoon at the WWII Memorial, Park Ranger Paul O’Brian will give a 30 minute presentation on the April 4, 1943 escape by 10 POWs from the Davao Penal Colony on Mindanao in the Philippines. They were led by Texas airman Lt. William Dyess, who told his story to the Chicago Tribune. The series of interviews, published in January 1944 after Dyess’ death in December 1943 in an airplane accident, embedded the phrase “Bataan Death March” in the American lexicon.

In San Francisco, the Bataan Death March 81st Anniversary Commemoration will be held April 15 from 10:00am-Noon at the San Francisco National Cemetery. The event is hosted by the Bataan Legacy Historical Society in partnership with the San Francisco National Cemetery & VFW 91st Division/Chinatown Post 4618. Link to registration.

Mindy Kotler Smith
American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Memorial Society

The Bar Mitzvah of a WWII Axis Internee by Martin Meadows – reposted

INTRODUCTION. The first order of business for a memoir such as this is to try to anticipate, and to answer, the most likely questions it may raise, in order to minimize any potential uncertainties and/or misconceptions. This Introduction seeks to do just that, dealing first with the title and then broadly with the memoir as a whole. Possible queries about the former, unlike the case with the latter, can be foreseen with specificity, for obviously they will pertain to the title’s individual words and terms; thus each of these will be clarified in turn. [Note: Anyone interested mainly in the event itself and not in terminological issues may wish to proceed directly to the next section, titled “Essential Prerequisites.”] [Note: First, though, a point of procedure to note — to avoid footnotes, only author’s names (and page numbers if relevant) are included in the text; full titles of cited works are listed at the end.]

To begin with, even the innocuous and seemingly inconsequential word “The” requires clarification. That is because, if “A” had been used instead, the phrase “A bar mitzvah” might have conveyed the erroneous impression that there were other bar mitzvahs that took place in similar circumstances. But there is absolutely nothing on the record to indicate that anything of the kind ever happened. Indeed, the mere idea of such a thing no doubt would evoke — from those familiar with the historical record — reactions of astonishment, incredulity, and/or even mirth. The fact is that, on the contrary, “during World War II, Jews interned in concentration camps were unable to mark their symbolic transformation[s] from children into. . . adulthood” with bar mitzvahs. [Quoted from Haaretz.com ]

As context for understanding the term “bar mitzvah,” virtually all societies observe so-called rites of passage; these involve ceremonies indicating that certain individuals or groups are eligible, usually based on age, to pass from one status to another, often defined in religious terms. The bar mitzvah — Hebrew for “son of the commandment” — is the Jewish rite of passage, or “symbolic transformation.” Normally observed with a ceremony in a synagogue, it signifies that a male has reached the age of 13, or religious adulthood, and thus is now qualified to fulfill all the commandments of his religion. (For females, the equivalent term is “bat mitzvah” — a relatively recent innovation, dating to 1922.)
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CPOW Reunion 2023 – Update!

Because of Covid, the CPOW (Civilian ex-Prisoners of War) (formerly BACEPOW) reunion was cancelled last year. So we are making up for it in 2023 with a meeting at our familiar hotel in Sacramento, California. The hotel is newly renovated for guest rooms and the atrium lobby, and features a managers cocktail social period in the late afternoon plus a cooked-­to-order breakfast.

CPOW 2023 Reunion Agenda


Thursday April 13 through Sunday April 16
Embassy Suites by Hilton Sacramento Riverfront Promenade

Thursday

    2:00 to 5:00 Registration, Cindie Leonard, Atrium

Friday

    Friday morning, Self-Registration, Atrium
    9:00 Opening & Welcome, Sally Meadows, Steamboat/Central Pacific Room
    9:10 Presentation of the Colors, California National Guard
    9:20 Los Baños Liberation, Sondra Shields
    10:05 Bilibid Liberation, Francine Bostrom
    10:50 Break
    11:05 Video of Internees, Melanie Chapman
    12:35 Lunch Break
    2:00 Twice a POW, Angus Lorenzen
    3:25 Break
    3:40 A Matter of Faith: Religion and Hope at Santo Tomas, Mary Beth Klee
    5:00 End of Session

Saturday
Steamboat/Central Pacific Room

Sunday
Various Rooms

    9:00 Book Discussions and Sales, Atrium
    9:00 CPOW Board of Directors, Sally Meadows, Tower Bridge B
    10:30 Authors Work in Progress, Mary Beth Klee, Tower Bridge B
    12:00 Banquet, Steamboat/Central Pacific
    1:00 Reunion Summation and Closing Remarks, Sally Meadows
    1:15 Keynote Speaker, Jim Zobel
    2:30 Adjourn, Sally Meadows

Hotel Reservations:
To reserve a room at Sacramento Embassy Suites using our discount code:

  • Visit www.sacramento.embassysuites.com and make a reservation using the group/convention code: POW
  • Call (916) 326-5000 and let the Front Desk Agent know you would like to make a reservation under the CPOW Civilian Prisoners of War discount rate.

Meeting Registration: CPOW 2023 Reunion Registration Form

Like to join CPOW? Link to the CPOW 2023 Membership Form

Checks should be made out to Civilian ex-POWs should be sent to CPOW Treasurer:

Cindie Leonard
1675 S. Lake Crest Way
Eagle, ID 83616

Passing of Joan Casad Ellison, ex-STIC internee

Joan Casad Ellison, undated photoThe Albuquerque Journal recently published the obituary of former Santo Tomás internee Joan Casad Ellison. Joan was born in Manila on 22 November 1929. She and her mother, Haidee Louise Casad, were interned in STIC for the duration of the War and were repatriated on the S.S. John Lykes, leaving Manila on 28 March 1945 and arriving San Pedro, California, on 2 May 1945. She married William Woods Ellison in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in September 1950.

Joan’s step-father, Thomas Harold Casad, was a civilian employee of the U.S. Adjutant General’s Corps before the War. He died in the sinking of the “hell ship” Arisan Maru on 24 October 1944.

Link to the full obituary at the Albuquerque Journal.

The Contrasting Cases of American and Japanese-American World War II Internees by Martin Meadows

This article was originally published in the CPOW newsletter, Beyond the Wire, in September 2021. Additional articles by Prof. Meadows are listed following this piece.

INTRODUCTION It has been more than 76 years since I was among the nearly 4,000 American and other Allied-country nationals who were liberated from Manila’s Santo Tomas Internment Camp (STIC) on 3 February 1945. Despite that passage of time, however, I continue to harbor two grievances concerning the U.S. coverage of two related but separate and distinct subjects linked to World War II (WWII): (1) The American public’s virtually total ignorance of the subject of Japan’s WWII American civilian captives, or internees; and (2) the sharp contrast between that lack of coverage and the extensive (and continuing) amount of attention accorded in the U.S. to the subject of U.S. government treatment of WWII Japanese-American internees. This analysis will discuss each grievance in turn, focusing on the main reasons for the contrasting nature of the coverage, and on how that difference contributed to the failures and successes, respectively, of the American and the Japanese-American efforts to achieve restitution. Lastly, this study will examine certain neglected aspects of the subject at issue in the concluding section.

Before proceeding, several distinctions and clarifications should be cited, for the sake of accuracy (and to forestall potential criticisms); but brevity dictates that not all of them will be used here. They include the following: (1) In the context of this survey, the term “Japanese-American” is not always appropriate, as not all those of Japanese descent in the U.S. and in the then Territory of Hawaii were U.S. citizens during WWII. (2) The word commonly used to include all diaspora ethnic Japanese, regardless of their citizenship, is Nikkei; a term used herein, though not comparable, is “Japanese-American community.” (3) Because not all Japanese-Americans were interned, it would be inaccurate to refer to them — although I do so — as “internees” (as distinguished from military prisoners, or “POWS”). (4) To simplify, instead of using the terms “former internees” or “ex-internees,” they will be referred to simply as “internees.” Finally, a note to emphasize that my grievances are not personal; this survey is the outcome not of prejudice, antipathy and/or bitterness, but rather of an examination of the historical record.
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Some liberated STIC women and children

Some freed STIC internees with children, 1945 photo
This Associated Press photo appeared in many U.S. newspapers in February 1945, including The Spokesman Review, of Spokane, Washington. I’ve included the caption which appeared on 13 February 1945, page 20. This same photo appears on the cover of the video Victims of Circumstance.

CHILDREN AND MOTHERS SMILE AT FREEDOM: With three years of Santo Tomas internment camp life behind them these children and their mothers can still smile. From left to right,

  • Mrs. Howard [Mary] Schlereth and Linda, 5 of Columbus, OH
  • Mrs. Robert [Beatrice] Wabraushek and Leslie, 5 of Los Angeles, CA
  • Mrs. Tom [Susan] Yule, Rosalind, 6 and Sheila, 9 of Flushing, NY
  • Mrs. Paul [Janina] Malone, of New York, NY

They were freed when Manila was recaptured (S-R AP wirephoto)

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