Ex-Los Baños internee Robert Fraser Clingen passes

Robert Fraser Clingen photoCourtesy of The Daily Advocate (Greenville, Ohio): “Bob Clingen (of the Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville) went to be with the Lord on Tuesday morning, May 17, 2022. He was a good husband to his wife, Sheryl of 56 years and father to daughters, Liz & Catherine.

He was born on October 20, 1941 to Rev. Herbert & Ida Ruth Clementine (Fraser) Clingen in the Philippines where his parents were missionaries. He was captured with his family and became a Prisoner of War by the Japanese for 25 months in the Los Baños Internment Camp during WWII. They were rescued by General Douglas MacArthur and his troops when Bob (3-years-old) saw the paratroopers coming from the sky, he told his Dad he thought those were Angels!”


Link to the full obituary

Bob’s sister, Elizabeth Ruth Clingen, was born about a week after liberation. All four Clingens were repatriated on the S.S. Mormacsea, leaving Manila on April 10, 1945, arriving in San Francisco on May 6, 1945.

Angels and more

Following are some items relating to the civilian internment camps, liberation of the camps, the Battle of Manila, etc., and the many “Angels” who helped the internees survive. Click on any of the images to enlarge.

Angel of Santo Tomas 2022, byTammy Lee
A new children’s book was recently published by Tammy Lee titled The Angel of Santo Tomas. It tells the story of a Filipina doctor, Fe del Mundo, who administered add to the internee children for the Red Cross, in Manila, and at the Holy Ghost Children’s home. She later helped care for the wounded in the Battle of Manila.

Suggested for children ages 5 to 7.

 


Liberated U.S. Navy nurses in Honolulu, March 1945The U.S. Naval Institute recently published The Angelic Nurses of World War II on their website. This brief article tells of their ordeal after the Japanese invasion and in the camps. It has a few photos of the eleven U.S. Navy nurses liberated from Los Baños in February 1945. They were Lt. Mary Frances Chapman, Lt. Cmdr. Laura Mae Cobb, Lt. Bertha Rae Evans, Lt. Helen Clara Gorzelanski, Lt. Mary Rose Harrington, Lt. Margaret Alice “Peg” Nash, Lt. Goldia Aimee “Goldie” O’Haver, Lt. Eldene Elinor Paige, Lt. Susie Josephine Pitcher, Lt. Dorothy Still and Lt. Carrie Edwina Todd. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command.


Civilians being collected for internment, 1942Mystery Woman
 
This photo shows a group of civilians being collected for internment in Santo Tomas in early 1942. Can anyone help identify the woman in front wearing the white gloves and dark glasses? If you recognize her, please reply using our Comments form. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command.

 

 


Angels of Bataan – U.S. Army Nurses in Japanese Captivity, is a 45-minute audio recording by historian Mark Felton posted on YouTube.  He has written extensively on World War II topics and posted many videos and audio on Youtube.




The Angel of Santo Tomas drawing, 1943, J. E. McCall

Mrs. Patricia E. Intengan as “The Angel of Santo Tomás,” in the drawing by J. E. McCall, supplied by Caroline Bailey Pratt. This is Plate XXIX from the book Santo Tomás Internment Camp, 1945, by James E. McCall

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Los Baños Liberation 77th anniversary

Newly freed Los Baños internees

Some of the newly freed Los Baños internees (Carl Mydans photo)

One of the most successful air, water and land military operations was the rescue of more than 2,100 civilians interned in the Los Baños Internment Camp on Luzon. Also known as Camp #2, Los Baños was built by over 800 of the male internees to re-leave overcrowding at Santo Tomás. On the morning of February 23, 1943, members of the U.S. 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment boarded C-47s which were to drop them near the camp. Meanwhile, Army amtracs of the 672nd Amphibian Tractor Battalion were on the way to transport the internees to freedom. Many Filipino guerrilla groups provided useful intelligence to the Americans and participated in the attack on the Japanese guards. Two internees, Freddy Zervoulakos and Pete Miles, who had escaped also gave useful information on the Japanese routines within the camp.

February 23, 1945, Time for roll call — 7:00 A.M.
“Listen! Quiet everyone! Is that thunder in the distance or airplanes”

“American or Japanese?”

“Oh, pray God their American…”

The very air seemed electric with excitement. Then one of the men called out, “They’re paratroopers!”

Everyone started pointing and screaming with joy. “They’ve come! They’ve come!” It became the vibrant song of heart and soul.
From Escape at Dawn by Carol Terry Talbot and Virginia J. Muir.

Ex-Los Banos internees aboard U.S. Army amtrac

Ex-Los Banos internees aboard U.S. Army amtrac

Dorothy Still and the other nurses and orderlies had peered cautiously outside as the amtracs entered the camp. They watched as the first ones flattened the barbed-wire fences and turned into the circular drive in front of the hospital. An Army major and a colonel jumped out. The colonel went back to talk to the amtrac crews while the major strode toward the front of the hospital. Dorothy went outside to greet him.

“Good morning, I’m Major Burgess. Who’s in charge here?”

“Dr. Nance is in charge,” Dorothy said.

Just then Nance walked out of the hospital.

Burgess told Nance that everyone had to get out of the camp as quickly as possible. They discussed the best way to evacuate the sick and elderly from the hospital and various barracks.

Dorothy couldn’t get over the sight of the U.S. soldiers, so much bigger and healthier than any men she had seen in years. They wore a new kind of helmet, not the “tin-pan things” of the First World War that were still being worn in 1941. And they all looked so lively and alert.

“Ma’am, what are you holding?” one of the soldiers asked.

Dorothy looked down at the bundle in her arms. She had forgotten she was holding baby Lois [McCoy], who was now fast asleep. She showed the soldier the sleeping baby, then went back into the hospital and gave Lois to her mother. She told the worried woman about the American soldiers right out front.

“They’ve come to take us home,” Dorothy said.

Outside, the amtracs dropped their tailgates, and the hospital patients and other nonambulatory internees were brought out. One of the first to be boarded was Margie Whitaker’s father, Jock, who was now down to eighty-five pounds and “on his last legs.”

During the gun battle earlier, Margie [Whitaker] and her younger sister, Betty, had hidden in their barracks under the bed. When the first U.S. soldier came through telling everyone to be ready to leave, Margie asked if the Marines had landed. After all, she had been waiting so long for this day.

“Sorry, sister, Army paratroopers.”

She and Betty rushed to the bathroom, where they brushed their teeth and washed their faces. The teenage girls – eighteen and fourteen years old – only then thought they were fit to be rescued.

Continue reading

PTSD of WWII Nurses

The current worldwide Covid-19 pandemic is taking a huge toll on nurses worldwide. Author Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi recently posted a historical perspective on post-trumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on the Discover website titled The Ignored History of Nurse PTSD. She uses the case of U.S. Navy nurse, Dorothy Still, as a focus for this short essay.


From the article “Prior to the pandemic, studies estimated that as many as half of critical-care nurses experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Since the pandemic began, researchers have found the crisis has amplified symptoms of mental health problems. A 2020 study in General Hospital Psychiatry found that 64 percent of nurses in a New York City medical center reported experiencing acute stress. “

Lt. Dorothy Still in uniform

Lt. Dorothy Still in uniform.

Ms. Lucchessi is also the author of the book, This is Really War : The Incredible True Story of a Navy Nurse POW in the Occupied Philippines.

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Books, old and new …

The War Diary of Jane Doner, 2021, by Jane Doner and Craig FredricksonThe War Diary of Jane Doner tells the story of  “a 17-year-old high school senior, born in Cebu City and living there on December 8, 1941 . . . She fled from her home and hid in the jungle during the early days of the war but was betrayed and forced to surrender to the Imperial Japanese Military. Thereafter, Jane was interned in four prison camps before her eventual rescue and liberation in 1945 by the armed forces of the United States. During captivity she endured fear, starvation, disease and the death of many of her friends, but survived to tell the story.”  Published in May 2021,  the book can be purchased through Lulu press.


Rescue Raids of Luzon! (cover)In January 2021, Joe Huber published  Rescue Raids of Luzon!, which chronicles the liberation of the civilian and POW camps. Here is the publisher’s description: “Between January 26th and February 23rd of 1945 on Luzon in the Philippines, America made its greatest rescue of civilians and military prisoners from deep behind enemy lines . . .  This book summarizes these raids and describes the prison camp experience of the author and his family [who were first interned on Mindanao].  Photos, drawings, and old documents help tell the tale. In the largest raid on the prison at Santo Tomás in Manila, his family had “ringside seats . . .”

The book includes numerous family photos and diagrams of the camps and is available on a variety of sources including Amazon and authorHouse.


War and Resistance-Philippines, 2021, Morningstar-According to the publisher’s writeup, War and Resistance in the Philippines, 1942-1944, published March, 2021, “repairs the fragmentary and incomplete historiography of the events in the Philippine Islands between the surrender of Allied forces in May 1942 and MacArthur’s return in October 1944. Chronicles by politicians and guerrilla leaders reflect limited points of view and personal and political agendas. No academic study has comprehensively examined the Filipino resistance with a critical interdisciplinary approach. As a result, this book provides the first coherent narrative of the protracted fighting by 260,000 guerrillas in 277 units across the archipelago.”  Book includes index and bibliography.

James Kelly Morningstar is a retired U.S. Army armor officer and decorated combat veteran with degrees from West Point and Kansas State University, a master’s degree from Georgetown University, and a PhD from the University of Maryland. He currently teaches military history at Georgetown.  He is the author of Patton’s War: A Radical Theory of War.


For Thou Art With Me, 2010Francis C. Gray is a retired bishop in the Episcopal Church and has served in congregations and dioceses in Florida, Indiana and Virginia.  He was born in the Philippine Islands in 1940, where his parents were missionaries, and had a lifelong commitment to world mission.  He was interned, with his parents, at Camp Holmes, Baguio, in 1942.  The photo on the cover of For Thou Art With Me shows the Gray family, after liberation from Old Bilibid Prison.  The book is based on the diaries of his father and was published in 2010.

It can be ordered directly from the author for $13, which includes postage.  You can contact him directly at Karenandfrank@comcast.net.


Released: Poems by Francis C. Gray, 2020Frank Gray also published a small book of poetry in 2020 titled Released.  A few of the titles are:

Prison Food

Death Warrant

Homecoming

The Sacrament of SPAM

This book can also be ordered directly from the author for $13, which includes postage.  You can contact him at Karenandfrank@comcast.net.


Return to Victory, 2021 by James Duffy“Covering both the strategic and tactical aspects of the campaign through the participation of its soldiers, sailors, and airmen, as well as its commanders, James P. Duffy leads readers through a vivid account of the nearly year-long, bloody campaign to defeat over a quarter million die-hard Japanese defenders in the Pacific theater. Return to Victory: MacArthur’s Epic Liberation of the Philippines, is a wide-ranging, dramatic and stirring account of MacArthur’s epic liberation of the Philippines.”   Published in March 2021, the book includes maps, photos, an index and bibliography.  However, it has little information about the civilian camps.


Interrupted Lives: Four Women's Stories of Internment During WWII in the PhilippinesInterrupted Lives is a short book with perspectives by four American women who were interned in the civilian camps: Margaret Sams, Jane Stoll Wills, Sascha Jean Jansen and Karen Kerns Lewis.

Last printed in 2018, it is an excellent introduction to the struggle for everyday life in the camps during the War.  The book includes several photos and illustrations.

Margaret Sams also wrote Forbidden Family: Wartime Memoir of the Philippines, 1941-1945.


Amazing Grace, 2015, by Grace BrownAmazing Grace: The Unbroken Spirit of a Japanese Prisoner of War, was published in 2015.  “In early 1942, Grace Brown was taken a prisoner of the Japanese in the Philippines along with her husband Caldwell and their three-month-old son Iain [first on Cebu and later at STIC]. Their ordeal lasted three and a half years during which time they were starved and at the mercy of their captors.
For most of that time, Grace had to care for her son alone after Caldwell was taken from camp by the Japanese. She endured the next two years not knowing if her husband was alive or dead.
At her lowest point, Grace started keeping a secret diary, which she hid in her son’s teddy bear. Finally, back at home in Scotland, she wrote this dramatic account of all they had been through, which is being published for the first time to mark the 70th anniversary of VJ Day.”  Son, Iain A. C. Brown reports that the book is available in Kindle format on Amazon.com.  You can also contact Iain at brown@carlton-brown.eu.


Disclaimer: The inclusion of any titles in this list are intended to benefit the interests of our readers and do not imply any endorsement.

Another batch of NARA photos

Following is but another set of ten photographs downloaded from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). They are all in the public domain and can be freely printed, downloaded, or circulated. Many of these photos have been used before in books, magazines and websites. The description for each of the photos is to the right of the photo. Photos in this, and future, series will include STIC, Los Baños, Baguio, Old Bilibid, the Battle of Manila, Liberation, etc. If you publish any of these photographs, please cite the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), as the source.

Because there are so many photos, I will continue to post them in weekly batches of ten. Eventually, they will be collected into various photo albums on this site. Click any of the photos to enlarge. Please use the comment form if you have any questions or if you recognize any of the people in the photos.

Many thanks to Lexi Zotomayor for identifying last week’s photo of some former internees in the shade of an Army transport plane as that of Chief Nurse, Laura Mae Cobb, and the rest of the liberated U.S. Navy nurses from Los Baños.

Next week, I will begin publishing photographs from other sources.

Liberated Los Banos internees talking with GIs 1945Liberated Los Baños internees, Albertina Janssens and Mary Martha Brown, talk with U.S. liberators, February 1945
Some newly liberated Los-Banos internees during evacuation, February 1945Some newly liberated Los Baños internees during evacuation, February 1945
U.S. bombing raid on Cebu City, 1945U.S. bombing raid on Cebu City, 1945
Captured Japanese soldiers, 1945Captured Japanese soldiers, 1945
Carabao amunition-train Leyte, 1945Carabao amunition-train on Leyte, 1945
Filipino guerrilla unit LuzonFilipino guerrilla unit on Luzon, 1945
Three liberated POWs from Old Bilibid Prison being fed, February 1945Three liberated POWs from Old Bilibid Prison being fed, February 1945
Ex-POW Arthur Raynoldsvisiting Old Bilibid Prison graveyard, 1945Ex-POW Arthur Raynolds visiting Old Bilibid Prison graveyard, 1945
U.S. tank-destroyer outside Manila Legislature Building, February 1945U.S. tank-destroyer outside Manila Legislature Building, February 1945
Repatriation STIC US Army nurses, February 1945Repatriation of STIC U.S. Army nurses, 1945

Still more NARA photos

Following is another set of ten photographs downloaded from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). They are all in the public domain and can be freely printed, downloaded, or circulated. Many of these photos have been used before in books, magazines and websites. The description for each of the photos is to the right of the photo. Photos in this, and future, series will include STIC, Los Baños, Baguio, Old Bilibid, the Battle of Manila, Liberation, etc. If you publish any of these photographs, please cite the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), as the source.

Because there are so many photos, I will continue to post them in weekly batches of ten. Eventually, they will be collected into various photo albums on this site. Click any of the photos to enlarge. Please use the comment form if you have any questions or can supply additional information for any of the photos.

Three former Santo Tomás interees speak with U.S. Army soldiers, 1945.  Liz Irvine is third from right.Three young former Santo Tomás internees speak with U.S. Army personnel, 1945. Elizabeth Lautzenhiser, later known as Liz Irvine, is the third person on the right.
Newly liberated Los Baños internees enjoying meal at New Bilibid Prison, February 1945Newly liberated Los Baños internees enjoying a meal at New Bilibid Prison, February 1945
Newly liberated children from Los Baños internees enjoying meal at New Bilibid Prison, February 1945Newly liberated children from Los Baños eating at New Bilibid Prison, February 1945
Rescuing two downed American pilots, a former San Francisco banker, and a guerrilla leader on Luzon, 1945The rescuing of two downed American pilots, a former San Francisco banker, and a guerrilla leader on a lake on Luzon, 1945
3-year-old Bobby Tangen with U.S. Air Force personnel after liberation from Old Bilibid Prison, 19453-year-old Robert Tangen with U.S. Air Force personnel after Bobby's liberation from Old Bilibid Prison, 1945
Elmer Mocklin and Charles Bradfield pushing cart with two caskets of internees killed in Japanese shelling of STIC, February 1945Elmer Mocklin and Charles Bradfield pushing a cart with the caskets of two other internees killed in Japanese shelling of STIC, February 1945
Allied troops advancing past Manila's heavily damaged Post Office, February 1945Allied troops advancing past Manila's heavily damaged Post Office, February 1945
Actor Lew Ayres, "Dr. Kildare, serving in the Philippines in 1945.American actor Lew Ayres, aka "Dr. Kildare," serving in the Philippines in 1944.
Former Los Baos internees-clean-meal-kits-at-New-Bilibid-Prison, 1945Former Los Baños internees clean their meal kits at New Bilibid Prison, February 1945
U.S. Army troops with newly liberated Japanese-beer, Luzon,1945U.S. Army troops with newly liberated Japanese beer, found on Luzon,1945

Even more NARA photos

Following is another set of ten photographs downloaded from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). They are all in the public domain and can be freely printed, downloaded, or circulated. Many of these photos have been used before in books and magazines. The description for each of the photos is to the right of the photo. Photos in this, and future, series will include STIC, Los Baños, Baguio, Old Bilibid, the Battle of Manila, Liberation, etc. If you publish any of these photographs, please cite the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), as the source.

Because there are so many photos, I will continue to post them in weekly batches of ten. Eventually, they will be collected into various photo albums on this site. Click any of the photos to enlarge. Please use the comment form if you have any questions or can supply additional information for any of the photos.

Wounded-Los-Banos-internee-being-evacuated-February-1945A wounded Los Baños internee being evacuated after liberation, February 1945
Archibald and Nicholas Mathews taking shelter at STIC during February 1945 Japanese shellingArchibald and Nicholas Mathews taking shelter at STIC during February 1945 Japanese shelling
Mexican pilots serving in the Philippines, 1945Mexican pilots serving in the 201st Fighter Squadron in the Philippines, 1945
A U.S. B-25 bomber attacking a Japanese destroyer in Ormoc Bay, Leyte, 1944
The Bowie family, with new baby Lea, after 1945 Los Baños liberationThe Bowie family, with new baby Lea, after 1945 Los Baños liberation
New U.S. Army- nurses arriving at STIC, 1945"To relieve the nursing problem of Santo Tomás University camp, recently liberated by our forces in Manila, Luzon, P.I., a shipment of U.S. Army nurses arrive in the compound and are immediately put to work in 1945."
G.I.'s cooking meal for ex-Los Baños internees, 1945G.I.'s cooking meal for ex-Los Baños internees, 1945
Bomb damage to the Yokohama Bank, Manila 1945Bomb damage to the Yokohama Bank, Manila 1945
Invading Japanese troops crossing-river on Luzon, January 1942Invading Japanese troops crossing river on Luzon, January 1942
Newly liberated Los Baños-internees en route to New Bilibid Prison, February 1945Newly liberated Los Baños internees en route to New Bilibid Prison, February 1945

More NARA Photos

Following is another set of ten photographs downloaded from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). They are all in the public domain and can be freely printed, downloaded, or circulated. Many of these photos have been used before in books and magazines. The description for each of the photos is to the right of the photo. Photos in this, and future, series will include STIC, Los Baños, Baguio, Old Bilibid, the Battle of Manila, Liberation, etc. If you publish any of these photographs, please cite the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), as the source.

Because there are so many photos, I will continue to post them in weekly batches of ten. Eventually, they will be collected into various photo albums on this site. Click any of the photos to enlarge. Please use the comment form if you have any questions or can supply additional information for any of the photos.

Newly liberated Los Banos internees being evacuated, February 1945Internees wounded in the taking of a prison camp at Los Baños, Luzon, Philippine Islands, await evacuation.
Mr. & Mrs. Michael O'Hara and family, February 1945Mr. & Mrs. Michael O'Hara, and children, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, liberated from a prison camp at Los Baños in February 1945, are interviewed by an Army representative before boarding an Amtrack. The O'Hara family, from left to right: Kathleen, Michael, Michael Jr., and Lorraine, February 1945 after liberation.
Sister Mary Alphonsa Bergeron at liberation, February 1945"A happy nun, Sister Mary Alphonsa held prisoner by the Japanese in Los Baños Internment Camp, Luzon, tells of her deliverance, to Cpl. Vick Campbell of Schenectady, New York."
Joyous internees as they arrive at New Bilibid Prison, Luzon, where they were to receive medical attention, food and clothing."Joyous internees as they arrive at New Bilibid Prison, Luzon, where they were to receive medical attention, food and clothing. The Japanese did not respect the clergy; the priest had been interned at the Los Baños."
Members of a tank corps talk with liberated internee Bernard Herzog, 1945Members of a tank corps listen intently as an internee, Bernard Herzog, who lost 78 pounds and is suffering from Beri-Beri, talks over the days he spent In the Santo Tomás Camp In Manila.
U.S. Liberation forces oversee cleaning of Old Bilibid Prison, 1945U.S. Liberation forces oversee cleaning of Old Bilibid Prison, 1945. All furniture and bedding were burned and buildings were cleaned and fumigated and cleaned for housing of prisoners until they could be moved to a rear area.
STIC burials of former internee, 1945A simple ceremony is held within the compound of Santo Tomás as our honored dead are laid to rest. A group of liberated internees witness the ceremony conducted by the Rev. in former prison camp garden.
Destroyed Japanese plane, 1945, San MiguelA destroyed Japanese plane, a Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally," 1945, San Miguel airfield.
Cavite, in Manila Bay, after Allied bombing, 1945

Online Videos page updated

I have recently updated the Online Videos page to include more items by, and about, ex-internees. These videos come from a variety of sources, including YouTube, Vimeo, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), among others. The page also includes a video of an ex-STIC internee interviewing other ex-internees. If anyone knows the name of the interviewer, please send a message to me via the Comments page. [See below for update!]

Unknown STIC interviewer, 1945

Unnamed STIC interviewer, 1945

The list of individuals include:

  • Frank Woodruff Buckles
  • Ed Cadwallader
  • Lillian Rose Goynes
  • Samuel Weir Hamilton
  • Eleanor Herold Heimke
  • Lotte Cassel Hershfield
  • Louise Howard Hill
  • Catherine Cotterman Hoskins
  • Mary Jane Bellis Laznibat
  • Angus Lorenzen
  • Prof. Martin Meadows
  • Patricia Chittick Remley
  • James Stewart & Judy Stewart Harding
  • Prof. Rupert Wilkinson

Other contributions are always welcome. Link to the Online Videos page.

Update: Martin Meadows has identified the unnamed interviewer as Clarence Alton Beliel, aka “Don Bell.” Thanks, Martin! George Baker and Angus Lorenzen also recognized Don Bell correctly.