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 Telling Stories, 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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CPOW Reunion – 2023

April 14 to April 16, 2023
Embassy Suites by Hilton Sacramento Riverfront Promenade

CPOW.org reunion photoBecause of Covid, the CPOW (formerly BACEPOW) reunion was cancelled this year. So we are making up for it in 2023 with a reunion 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.

Details of the presentations and activities are still being developed, but it will be a good time for all. Now is the time to make your hotel reservation to be sure you have a room at the discount rate in our reservation block. There are three different ways to make a reservation.

  1. At our reservation website: registration website link
  2. Visit www.sacramento.embassysuites.com and make a reservation using the group/convention code: POW
  3. 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.

Please note that all reservations must be made before March 23, 2023, and will only be available until the CPOW block of reserved rooms is sold out.

Registration for the reunion is $45 for members and $55 for non-members. Not sure of your current membership status? Contact Cindie Leonard at cindieleonard@gmail.com or 208-890-5694.

Banquet reservations for Sunday are $46 for all attendees.

For each attendee you are registering, please include: 1) Name, 2) Member or non-Member, and 3) attending Reunion only, Banquet only, or both Reunion and Banquet.

A check for reservations made out to Civilian ex-POWs should be sent to CPOW Treasurer:

Cindie Leonard

1675 S. Lake Crest Way
Eagle, ID 83616.

Passing of Rose Marie Wolff Reilly, former STIC internee

Rose Marie Wolff Reilly undated photoThe 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.

Link to The Oregonian article.

John H. Bradley, ex-STIC internee and author

John Hilton Bradley 1945 repatriationJohn 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.

MacArthur Moon by John H. BradleyOne 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.

It is available on Amazon.

Remind Me to Tell You by John BradleyAnother 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.

STIC Signature Songs (and Sources) by Martin Meadows

Music in a WWII Internment Camp

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.
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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.