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.

To get future postings from this website via email, please “subscribe” using the box at the bottom right of this page.  Subscriber information is never sold or shared.

Roy Doolan, 1936 – 2021

I am very sorry to report that Roy Fisher “Mike” Doolan died in Berkeley, California, on 1 August 2021.  Roy was born in Manila in 1936 and was interned with his parents at Santo Tomas Internment Camp from 1942 to 1945.  His daughter, Lark Doolan, wrote his obituary for Berkeleyside.org.  It was also published online in the East Bay Express via Legacy.com.

Roy was very active in ex-POW organizations.  After retiring, he wrote about his War experiences in the book 
My Life in a Japanese Prison Camp During World War II, which is still available on Amazon.  The book contains some articles written by his father, Roy Gibson Doolan.

Photo courtesy of Lark Doolan.

To get future postings from this website via email, please “subscribe” using the box at the bottom right of this page.  Subscriber information is never sold or shared.

The disappearance of Father Douglas

Rev. Francis Vernon “Frank” Douglas was born in Johnsonville, New Zealand, in 1910.   According to Wikiwand, “Douglas trained for the Catholic priesthood at Holy Cross Seminary, Mosgiell. Within a few months of his ordination, at the end of 1934, he applied to join the Missionary Society of St. Columban. He was curate at New Plymouth when he left to join the society at the start of 1937. He was appointed to the Philippines in July 1939.”  Father Douglas was never interned, but recently, The New Zealand Catholic (NZCatholic) published The disappearance that should not be forgotten

Father Francis V. Douglas, S.S.C.M.E., before the War.  

In July 1943, Father Douglas was arrested by the Japanese in Pililla, on the edge of Laguna de Bay, and taken to be interrogated in nearby Paete.  The NZCatholic article describes the various attempts to find out what ultimately became of him.

He is one of the over 100 priests, nuns, missionaries and church workers who died in the Philippines during the War.  The complete list will be published in an upcoming post on this website.

Links to more information about Father Douglas:

To get future postings from this website via email, please “subscribe” using the box at the bottom right of this page.  Subscriber information is never sold or shared.

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.

R. G. Southerton drawings from the Hoover Institution

There is a small collection of drawings by former STIC internee, Robert Grindley Southerton Jr., in the Hoover Institution Archives, in Palo Alto, California.  I found them in a folder in the 37-box collection of materials donated by Roger Mansell.  

In 2005, Robert’s daughter, Lorna Loveland, wrote on Tom Moore’s website:

“My father’s name is Robert Grindley Southerton (RGS 2) . He was interned in Santo Tomás in the Philippines with his mother, Edith Southerton, when the harbour was bombed and the ship’s crew mutinied. They had been on holidays in Australia and were returning to Shanghai when war broke out. They only got as far as Hong Kong. My grandfather, whose name is also Robert Grindley Southerton, [had] sent his wife and my dad to Australia for safety and that was how they ended up in Santo Tomás.”

Robert Grindley Southerton Jr. (Source: Lorna Loveland)

Robert was about 16-years-old when he made these drawings in 1942.  In 1943, he and his mother were transferred back to China, to be reunited with the rest of their family at the Yu Yuen Road Camp, Shanghai.  Robert died in 1980 in New South Wales, Australia.

Photo courtesy of Lorna Loveland.

Credit for making these available is courtesy of the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.  Link to a longer article on the Southerton family.  Click on any of the drawings to enlarge.

R. G.. Southerton drawing of Santo Tomas main building, 1942
R. G.. Southerton drawing of Santo Tomas main building, 1942
R. G. Southerton drawing of the courtyard of the Santo Tomas main building, 1942
R. G. Southerton drawing of the courtyard of the Santo Tomas main building, 1942
R. G.. Southerton drawing of Santo Tomas Education building, 1942
R. G. Southerton drawing of Santo Tomas Education building, 1942
R. G. Southerton drawing of restaurant at Santo Tomas, 1942
R. G. Southerton drawing of restaurant at Santo Tomas, 1942
R. G. Southerton drawing of Santo Tomas main Seminary building, 1942
R. G. Southerton drawing of Santo Tomas main Seminary building, 1942
R. G. Southerton drawing of Santo Tomas University campus, with notes, 1942
R. G. Southerton drawing of Santo Tomas University campus, with notes, 1942

The Andersons of Davao

Alonzo and Mayte Anderson, 1946

Alonzo and Mayte Anderson, 1946

A brief article was published last week in the Adventist Review regarding the lives of two former Davao and STIC internees, Alfonso and Mayte Anderson.

The author, Bruce N. Anderson, begins “For more than three decades, Alfonso Nils Anderson and his wife, Mayte Landis Anderson, were missionaries to the Japanese people, first in Japan, then in the Japanese community in the Philippines, where they survived three years in the harsh conditions of World War II internment camps.”

The article describes the background and marriage of the couple and details their years in Japan, from 1915 – 1937. It then tells of their move to Mindanao and ultimately their internment in Davao and later Santo Tomás. For more, link to the full article. This article is also published in the Encyclopedia of Seventh-Day Adventists.

Photo courtesy of Bruce N. Anderson.

Huber family Philippine saga

Joe Huber Jr., 2021The story of the Huber family in the Philippines is told in a recent Akron Beacon Journal article titled Raised in the jungle, Cuyahoga Falls man recalls Goodyear rubber plantation. In the article, Joe Huber Jr. recounts growing up on a rubber plantation, on Mindanao, and being interned in Davao and later in Santo Tomás.

The Huber family included Joseph C. Huber Sr., Thelma Thompson Huber, Joseph C. Huber Jr. (born 1934), Barbara Jean Huber (born 1935) and Stephen Lewis Huber (born 1936). Joe Jr. was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, while Barbara and Stephen were both born in Zamboanga, Mindanao.

The article spans the family’s story before, during and after the War and includes several family photographs, including some that show the rubber business on Mindanao. The family was repatriated on the S.S. Klipfontein leaving Leyte in March 1945, arriving in San Francisco on 21 April 1945. For more, link to the full article.

The Joseph and Thelma Huber family in 1945, after liberation.

The Joseph and Thelma Huber family in 1945, after liberation. (photo courtesy of the Akron Journal)

Rosemary Hogan Luciano, Angel of Bataan

Rosemary Hogan LucianoFormer STIC internee, Lt. Rosemary Hogan, is the subject of a recent article in the Muskogee Phoenix by Edwyna Synar titled Remember the Ladies: Oklahoma’s Angel of Bataan.

The article begins “Shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, nurse Rosemary Hogan was transferred to the Philippines. When the war finally ended, this small-town Oklahoma girl would be one of the most honored and decorated nurses of the war, awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Presidential Unit Citation.

Rosemary Hogan was born in March 1912, in the tiny farming community of Ahpeatone. Too small even for a school, she completed her studies in Chattanooga, near Lawton, where she graduated as valedictorian. A local doctor sponsored a nursing scholarship for Hogan to attend Scott-White Hospital in Temple, Texas. As one of 10 children, this helped her pursue a military career. Hogan was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps at Fort Sill in 1936, serving there until she transferred to the Philippines.

On Christmas Eve 1941, nurse-in-charge Hogan took 50 American and Filipino nurses to Bataan Peninsula to establish a thousand-bed hospital in Limay. In January 1942, the hospital was ordered to move closer to the fighting, to a place called Little Baguio.

She served as assistant Chief of Nurses until she was wounded in April 1942. While she and another nurse were assisting a surgeon in an operation, a bomb destroyed the makeshift hospital. Hogan suffered leg wounds and shrapnel in her arm, nose, and face. She learned later that her left eardrum was also ruptured. The surviving nurses and patients took refuge in foxholes until they could safely move to Corregidor to recover… ”

Link to the full article online.

Lt. Rosemary Hogan gets new bars from Maj. Juanita Redmond.

Lt. Rosemary Hogan gets new bars from Maj. Juanita Redmond.

Mary Jane Hodges Vance obituary

I am very sorry to report that Dr. Mary Jane Vance recently passed away. The following obituary appeared on the Herald Banner website:

Dr. Mary Jane Hodges VanceDr. Mary Jane Hodges Vance, May 22, 1934 – January 4, 2021

The long-time Greenville educator, consultant, author and speaker joined the choir of angels peacefully at home on January 4th, 2021. Born in Manila, Philippines on May 22, 1934, to American and Spanish parents, Jesse A. and Mary Gamero Hodges, Mary Jane lived an extraordinary life and left an indelible impact on many.

She survived Japan’s Occupation during WWII and sailed enemy waters on the USS Uruguay as the first atom bombs dropped. As a repatriated American citizen, she and the surviving members of her family arrived in San Francisco on August 13, 1945 only to experience the worst riot ever in that city on V-J Day. Her long family journey to the U.S. finally ended in Hunt County, the birthplace of her father.

She and her siblings had been without the ability to attend school for 3 years during the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines during WWII. Eager to enroll in school here in her new country, she quickly caught up on her missed schooling and even skipped a few grades to complete her high school diploma from Quinlan High School (Quinlan, TX). She excelled academically and graduated with honors for her undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degrees from East Texas State University (now Texas A&M-Commerce). During her college years she became a member of many organizations including the national honor society Phi Beta Kappa and then sorority Tooanoowee, which later became Gamma Phi Beta.

Continue reading