Passing of Betty Juhan Watt, former child internee

The Santa Barbara Independent recently announced the passing of Elizabeth “Betty” Watt.  Elizabeth “Betty” Juhan was born in Baguio in 1941, just before the War.  Betty and her family were interned in Baguio, and later at Old Bilibid Prison.  After liberation, Betty’s family, including her new brother, Herman, who was born on 29 March 1945, was repatriated on the S.S. Cape Mears, arriving in San Francisco, California, on 12 May 1945.  The Juhan family is mentioned in Rob Colquhoun’s account of the voyage.

After graduating from Venice High School, in California, Betty married her high school sweetheart, Conrad C. Watt Jr., in 1962.

Betty died in Santa Barbara, California, on 20 June 2021.

Link to the full article

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.

NARA photos, continued

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 Prison, New Bilibid Prison, 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.

Next week, I will continue to publish photographs from other sources.

Filipino refugees taking-shelter in Palo Cathedral Leyte, 1944Filipino refugees taking shelter in Palo Cathedral, Leyte, 1944
U.S. infantry calling for air-support on Mindanao, April-1945U.S. infantry calling for air-support on Mindanao, April-1945
General-Dwight-Eisenhower-signing-autograph-LuzonU.S. General Dwight Eisenhower signing his autograph for Nellie Ordonez on Luzon, 1946. Nellie was a civilian employee at the headquarters of the Pacific Air Command.
Straffing of Zamboanga Harbor, Mindanao 1945Allied strafing of Zamboanga Harbor, Mindanao, 1945
Hidden radio set displayed in Old Bilibid Prison, February, 1945Lt. Homer Hutchinson, of Pasadena, California, shows his secret radio set to other liberated prisoners of Old Bilibid Prison, February 1945. Lt. Hutchinson built the radio with parts stolen from the Japanese and hid it in the seat of a stool.
U.S. General Douglas MacArthur and General Carlos Romulo arriving at Corregidor, 1945U.S. General Douglas MacArthur and General Carlos Romulo arriving on Corregidor, 1945
Two just released prisoners walk with G.I. at Old Bilibid Prison, February 1945Two recently released prisoners walk with a G.I. at Old Bilibid Prison, February 1945
American machine-gunners in position at Randolph Field, LeyteTwo American machine-gunners in position at Randolph Field, Leyte
Invading Japanese bicycle-mounted troops crossing river,1942Invading Japanese bicycle-mounted troops crossing a river on Luzon,1942
U.S. serviceman making a "grass skirt" out of discarded parachutes outside the Recuperation Ward on Leyte, 1945U.S. serviceman making a "grass skirt" out of discarded parachutes outside the Recuperation Ward on Leyte, 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