Notes of Raymond Leyerly

August 22-September 21, 1944

The partial blackout started on Aug. 22. There was an occasional practice air-raid alarm and one or two actual air-raid alarms during August and the early part of Sept.

From about Sept. 16 the Japanese were having anti-aircraft gun practice every morning and sometimes at night with dozens of searchlights. The blackout continued in effect.

On the morning of Sept. 21, the anti-aircraft were shooting at a towed target while a number of Japanese planes were circling and diving over the City and Harbor.

At about 9:20 a.m. a swarm of American planes appeared on the scene and blasted the plane and target from the air.

Suddenly the sky was full of American planes (est. 150-300). The bombing had gone 8 or 10 minutes before the air raid alarm sounded. We could see our planes dive through a curtain of anti-aircraft shells and release their bombs over their objectives. Two planes in particular made spectacular dives over Grace Park. After these planes had started two fires at that place they dived and strafed the field. The rattle of their machine guns could be plainly heard at Sto. Tomas.

Those two planes left and two more appeared and dived right into the smoke from the fires and when they pulled up another fire broke out.

The roar of exploding bombs and sharper rattle of anti-aircraft and machine guns was deafening.

Falling shell fragments and machine gun bullets were falling all over the compound. Two anti-aircraft shells exploded in the grounds.

The all-clear sounded at 11:30 a.m.

At about 2:45 p.m. more American planes came over. The air-raid signal did not sound until the bombing had been going on for some time.

We watched three planes bomb Camp Murphy. Several small fires started, probably trucks, as there was a motorpool in that neighborhood.

One of our planes was seen to explode over the waterfront. He had just gone into a dive and evidently a shell hit him and exploded the bombs as he went out in a flash.

Many fires were started in the bay, along the waterfront, Nichols Field and Neilson airport during the two raids. All clear went about 5:05 p.m.

One fire (evidently an ammunition dump or ship) burned until about 8:00 p.m. There were a number of small explosions and finally, with a flash that lit up the skies for miles around accompanied by a terrific explosion it went to kingdom come.

The City was blacked out all night but everything was quiet.