3rd February 1945
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.
Steamboat/Central Pacific Room
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:
The 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.
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.
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,
They were freed when Manila was recaptured (S-R AP wirephoto)
The Oregonian, of Portland, Oregon, recently published an obituary for Rose Marie Helen Wolff Reilly, a former Santo Tomás internee. Rose Marie was born in Watford, Hertfordshire, England in 1936. Her father was James Philips Wolff, a Nestlé Milk Products employee who was born in Hendon, England, in 1909. Her mother was Marie Frances Dumas Wolff, who was born in Los Baños in 1912. Rose Marie’s siblings were Victoria Margaret Wolff (born 1938) and John Frederick Wolff (born 1941), both born in Rizal. The entire family was interned in Santo Tomás for the duration of the War.
After liberation, the family was repatriated on the S.S. John Lykes leaving Manila on 28 March 1945 and arriving San Pedro, California, on 2 May 1945. After the War, the family traveled to many countries, following father James’ work.
Rose Marie married Lt. William H. Reilly in Toronto, Canada, in 1957. Together they had eight children.
Photo courtesy of The Oregonian.
John H. Bradley was five-years-old when he and his parents were interned in Santo Tomás Internment Camp in January 1942. His father, Noble James Bradley, was born in Lyons, Indiana. His mother, Amelia Mary Langley, was born in Melbourne, Australia. They met in the Philippines and were married there in 1934. Noble, however, died shortly after liberation and John and his mother were repatriated on the S.S. David C. Shanks to Australia arriving in Townsville in April 1945. While in Leyte, John was given a U.S. Army captain’s helmet which he seems to have worn for his entire journey (see photo). They were part of a large group of Brits and Dutch arriving in Sydney.
After the War, John and his mother returned to the Philippines. Later, they traveled on to the U.S. to begin new lives. He is a graduate of West Point, the US Army Command & General Staff College, and Rice University (MA History), and is a retired Army officer and a Vietnam veteran. He has written, or co-authored, several books.
One deals with Santo Tomás! Entitled MacArthur Moon, and published in 2021, it is an “enhanced” memoir built around Amelia’s memoir and John’s remembrances of internment in STIC. It is a huge compendium of stories, photos, facts and lists that cover the story of the Bradley family before, during and after the War and touches on many of the other internees. There is also a fair amount of military activity. It also has an index of those mentioned in the book and a bibliography. Overall, it is a gritty story of survival in the largest civilian internment camp in the Philippines.
Another of his books deals with a 26th Cavalry officer who did not survive the war. Entitled Remind Me to Tell You, A History of Major Harry J. Fleeger and His Friends, POWs of the Japanese, it covers Fleeger’s actions and the actions of his friends on Luzon, Bataan, the Death March, Camp O’Donnell, Cabanatuan, etc. Published in 2010. The book is based on Fleeger’s diaries. The appendices provide abundant data on the 26th Cavalry. Bibliography and “People Index” are also included.
It is also available on Amazon.
Introduction. “Music is the art of arranging sound. It is one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societies” (Wikipedia).
Similarly, music is also a key element — interestingly, perhaps oddly — of internment-camp life, although that is not always fully acknowledged, or even recognized. As such, music is one component in such camps of what I call the Diversion Factor. The latter encompasses those activities that can serve at least two important functions: acting as a unifying element for camp prisoners; and offering them distractions from the burdensome reality of captivity. The concern here, in other words, is only with those activities that can unify and/or be enjoyed by a camp’s inmates as a whole, as distinguished from their purely personal or group pastimes/distractions (card games, chess, reading, etc.).
The next section will trace the nature and scope of the Diversion Factor in a particular internment Camp, to provide context for examining that Camp’s musical component (Camp is capitalized to distinguish it from the generic internment camp). But to begin with, three points of clarification relating to the title are in order. First, for anyone unfamiliar with the subject, the acronym STIC refers to Manila’s Nipponese-controlled Santo Tomas Internment Camp (a.k.a. Manila Internment Camp). STIC’s 4,000 or so civilian inmates — Allied-country nationals, mostly Americans — endured over three years of privation (1942-1945), culminating in starvation rations, during World War II (WWII).
Second, the term “Signature Songs” refers to those musical works I consider to be the most reflective and representative of everyday Camp existence, and thus in a sense also of Camp history in general. In effect, the four compositions I have selected as Signature Songs are the equivalent of Camp theme songs, even anthems, and as such their study can provide insights, for former internees and especially for non-internees alike, into the nature of Camp life. Rephrased to drive the point home, this survey of the most noteworthy STIC-related music seeks to portray its role in and significance for Camp life — as based, again, on my own judgment.
Third, this study aims to ascertain the sources — meaning the composers and the recording artists — of the four Signature Songs. For this account goes beyond simply identifying and describing the songs in question. The fact is that information about sources — aside from being worthwhile (to some) for its own sake — can provide additional insights into Camp history. Last (and surely least), the very process of seeking such information (regardless of success) serves to satisfy my personal interests, including my sense of order. But enough of preliminaries; we now turn to the substantive portions of this STIC-music retrospective.
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.
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.
The 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.
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.
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[The following article was originally distributed by Maurice Francis to his WWII Philippine Internment Email List. If you would like to be added to his list, please send a message using the Comments form. Following the article, I have recapped the previous contributions by Prof. Meadows.]
INTRODUCTION. Whenever anyone asks me what life was like during more than three years in Santo Tomás Internment Camp (STIC) in Manila, one question in particular is sure to arise. That question, usually a follow-up to the most obvious ones about food and housing conditions, concerns the treatment of internees by the camp’s Nipponese guards. When that once again came up during a recent radio interview, it prompted me to decide to provide as detailed an answer as memory would allow (certainly one far too detailed for any sort of interview). This is a purely personal account, one which should not be considered as necessarily applying to the experiences of STIC internees in general. In the following discussion, I distinguish between what I call “routine” and “non-routine” encounters with guards. The former deals with “normal” or every-day kinds of encounters, meaning the type that most internees would have undergone; the latter covers a limited number of interactions which were not “normal,” in the sense that very few other internees would have experienced them. And, to be properly pedantic as befitting a former professor, I further divide (and sub-divide) each of those two major kinds of encounters.
I. ROUTINE ENCOUNTERS. In this classification I distinguish between two types, which I call “random” and “non-random.”
B. The non-random category includes two kinds of encounters.
(1) One kind involves regularly-scheduled encounters, meaning specifically the twice-daily roll-calls, in which the residents of each room would, at the direction of the room monitor, bow in unison as guards strode past. (I do not know if this was the procedure in the Annex building, where mothers with younger children were housed.) Precisely because such encounters affected almost all internees, and were routine as well as non-random/regularly scheduled, normally they would require no further elaboration, except of course in the case of an out-of-the-ordinary event, one example of which is discussed as a “non-routine” occurrence (see II. A.).