9th January 1945

Eddie Vargas called up today by long-distance from Taiwan; he is stranded there. All civilian air travel to the Philippines has been suspended. We are now definitely cut off from home; no more couriers, no more letters, even telegrams will be difficult unless they are official and urgent.

As the situation deteriorates, the press is allowed to say more and more, are they learning to let the people down slowly? Or are the authorities trying to frighten the people of Tokyo out of the threatened capital? Now the vernaculars are saying, that the Americans have more ships in the Philippines than the Japanese have planes. So much for the “one ship, one plane” strategy.

The Asahi also carries a “special today from Manila bemoaning the fact that the Japanese could have “annihilated” the American convoy off Mindoro on the 15th December if they had had enough planes. It was, the paper said, “a serious mortification”.

But the people of Tokyo are still looking at the war as something fantastic and far-away. They are now amusing themselves with the report that the Americans are having to fall back on “artificial earthquake” plans to destroy Japan’s main cities. And when there was a full-scale air alarm this noon, there was no one in the basement, which is supposed to be the apartment air-raid shelter.

Instead our French neighbor, Yvonne, who ran away from Paris to escape the war, came rushing in, wringing her hands. She had come back from her apartment to find the gas sealed. She looked terribly thin and anxious; she brought us a present of four eggs and asked for the loan of our gas stove. “Life is so complicated,” she wailed in the way she has of repeating her English lover’s clichés. “They only do it because I’m French.” But in some respect it is her own fault. She had been warned about the limitations on the consumption of gas but she had kept her stove burning practically the whole day for days on end “to heat the apartment” and “because I drink a lot of tea”.

Of course about 70 sen worth of gas (the official limit for one person for one month) is not much but they will probably cut off her gas for the time equivalent to her excess consumption.

Poor Yvonne, life will be so much more complicated without tea.

December 31, 1944

[Separate sheet with date]

Dec. 31st

In the midst of life we are in death – Pleasant thought – but true of us – The last day of 1944 – Thank God! This year is over – 1945 will at least, and at last, bring release.

I have been kept doped all day – they’ll make me rest, whether I want to or not –

the Japanese are feeding us camotes instead of rice for dinner – In fact, this represents a cut in our calory intake again, as due to dirt, peelings, rotten pieces etc. camotes are needed 5 to 1 – The Japs only count 2 -1 – Some meat came in for tomorrow. That will be pleasant.

I weigh 100 lbs today.

[Separate sheet with date in blue crayon—and designated as second part to Dec.
31 entry]

At the end of November I wrote “If neither the Marines nor the kits arrive, there will be widespread deaths and permanent physical impairment”. Neither arrived & deaths increased in December, the hospitals are full of sick & starved people, The non-hospitalized look as though they should be – The cut in rations on Dec 20th by 25% was a hard blow –

So for January the outlook is grim indeed – Both kits & marines will arrive too late for many internees – And the extent of permanent physical impairment is increasing.

The Military situation improved further. Our forces occupied Mindoro & Polillo Islands – They are within striking distance. We have had no real bombings since Dec. 16th.

[Separate undated sheet]

The time is ripe – the attack can come any day now – It may be one week, it may be six; beyond that I dare not look (unless we get kits and even the basic diet is much too low) – It must be the marines – Then home and rest and good food – Afterwords work again.

Hunger is certainly a terrible thing – From now on I’ll appreciate the full meaning of the word “starvation”! I hope these Japs are punished – all this was so needless and so cruel.

Hail 1945!!

December 30, 1944

[Separate sheet with date]

Dec. 30th –

Two deaths today – The man in front of me died at 3:00 A.M. – And in another section of the hospital another man died – Both from the effects of starvation –

I am weaker today, so cannot write much –

No news – no action –

If this would only come to an end – 2 weeks since the last bombing –

Tomorrow is the last day of 1944.

At any rate 1945 will see us home again – that will be fine, won’t it!

December 29, 1944

[Separate sheet with date; recto contains text, verso of this sheet contains typewritten document.]

Dec. 29th–

The man next to me fed himself a spoonful of mush this morning & two spoons of soup this noon – Then I fed him the rest – But it was the first step towards doing something for himself – How wonderful it is to see the rebirth of his will to live –

To offset this, the man in front of me is dying – Literally by inches – just when it seems he is going over, he grabs hold of some secret reserve and struggles back – The doctors have given up hope for him –

Out of the 37 patients in this ward 10 are dying & 15 more will not last another six weeks – Every day brings new cases – mostly heart & kidney defects aggravated by starvation –

[Separate sheet with date]

Dec. 29th (con)

Beri-beri and dysentery are on the increase.

6 planes flew over at 11:45 A.M. – A little anti-aircraft fire, but no bombing –

There are rumors that on New Years Day we are to receive packages from the neutral Welfare Committee – 1 kilo rice, 1/2 kilo sugar, 1/2 kilo peanuts, tobacco and cigarettes -We are skeptical – Everything points towards even worse conditions than we are experiencing at the present time –

It is two weeks now since the landings on Polillo and Mindoro – Soon something should break!

December 28, 1944

Dec. 28th – No action – Tonight at 7:00 P.M. my good friend, the former monitor of our room, Woody Wilson died – Swollen with beri-beri, his heart muscles gone from starvation -Damn the Japs!

My friends are being wonderful to me – one sent me talinum, another a glass of malted milk, another a cup of cocoa & crackers – another some coffee –

I bought for Dorita and the children today 1 kilo rice at $ 80 – and 1/2 lb of margarine at $ 40. I know M.J.O. & all of you want us to live. And we want to get back to you as soon as possible – and not dying – Nor dead like Woody – Poor Woody – he was only 50 years old.

[The remainder of the text is partly on 15 loose top-halves of half-sheets, using the back of a request for a pass and of certificates of ill health and partly numbered sheets.]

December 27, 1944

Dec. 27th – No action today – The Japanese are going to cut our ration again – Well, it means just so much more determination – It is no longer possible to fight this fight on the plane of physical life – We must fight it on the spiritual plane – We must do this to survive –

We hear the military are moving out of Manila – I hope so – Perhaps we’ll be better off. As it is, the boys better get here quickly, or there will be no one left –

There is nothing like a good fight – From now on it will be a corker!!

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Mrs Christianson has gone insane – The Japanese refuse to let us send her to a hospital for mental cases – She is violent – How can we take care of her here?!

December 26, 1944

Dec. 26th – The air-raid signal was given at 10:15 A.M. and is still on at 2.00 P.M. – We can hear bombing in the distance – Reports are current that the Japs admit evacuating Corregidor – I doubt not the evacuation but the admission –

The man next to me is dying – In part because he has given up – I am going to make it my job to keep him alive – He must regain his desire to live – He must eat –

I wish you could see this ward – men swollen like balloons from beri-beri, men weakened by the exhaustion of bacillary dysentery, cases of protein deficiency, pellagra, severe Anemia – All smashing down defenses undermined by starvation – And death

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watching by every bedside until a moment of acute weakness – usually the early hours of the morning – when he can lead another victim away – Day in, day out the struggle goes on – against disease and against starvation: against death –

Conrad writes in “The Mirror of the Sea” of the “hope of home, the hope of rest, of liberty – – – following the hard endurance of many days…” Home, rest, liberty – what dreams are conjured up by these words – And what determination to fight against the Jap policy of deliberate starvation, what vows to obtain revenge for our friends who could not hold out – If you could see us now, your anger could not be controlled!

December 24-25, 1944


Dec. 24th – Today, to keep Dorita & the children alive, I purchased from a profiteer 2 lbs margarine. 20 oz. Jam, 1/2 kilo sugar, 1/2 lb honey, & for Dorita 3 3/4 oz coffee – The profiteer charged me $ 500 (!!) payable after the war – Frightful! But I cannot see them starve – If Jess & José Ossorio had been of different caliber (if they had been MJ & Luis) this would not have been necessary –

This afternoon I was ordered into the hospital – Possible angina pectoris, complete physical exhaustion – emaciation – malnutrition – starvation – 97 pounds down from 191 – Perhaps I’ll come out of this alive, perhaps not – But Dorita & the children will pull thru –

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The ward is full of old men for whom I have fought tooth & nail with the Japs – I kept all of them out at least 1 1/4 years, many of them 2 years 9 months (until this Sept.). Now they are dying – It is shameful! Shameful! The Japs responsible for this murder should be tried & severely punished –

Tomorrow is Xmas – At once the best (hope) and the worst (physical condition) we have had – From now on it will be a race between the army & death – And, as has been written in many diaries of shipwrecked & lost souls “God help us All.”


Mr Lawton died at 3:00 am. He was another of the very sick old men forced into camp in Sept from Remedios  and Hospicio:

Dec. 25th – Our 3rd Xmas here – And a wonderful one! First Xmas cards dropped from our planes (copy of message attached)39 – Then Mass & Communion – Breakfeast – Then I wrote messages to friends-Dorita gave me a pair of socks & her share of the piece of chocolates – The children each gave me a cigar – Dorita fixed luncheon – talinum salad, corned beef & a fruit bibinka – Mr Van Vorhees gave me a can of coffee & a can of spinach soup – This afternoon many friends came to visit & later Dorita came -I bought her & the children 1 kilo of mongo beans – price $ 150 – But they are starving, & a funeral would cost more – the profiteers have us

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just where they want us – But it is so close to the end – 3-4 weeks – We must live!

For supper tonight we had fried rice, camotes & greens – I had a dab of margarine and a piece of bibinka & the chocolate – Later I will have a cup of coffee, a bit of sugar & a small slice of cake – If you knew how little it takes to make us happy – We know you are thinking of us & we are thinking of you & praying you are well –

We have great hopes!

December 23, 1944


Dec. 23rd – Two very exciting happenings today, one wonderful, one very unfortunate. Let’s take the wonderful first –

This morning about 10:15 18 4-engined bombers & 40 fighters passed over the camp – How very routine that sounds – But it was the most glorious sight I have ever witnessed -The B-24’s or B-29’s (they are not Flying Fortresses) sailed along at 15-20,000 ft – serenely, placidly, majestically – It was like seeing the Queen Mary, the Normandie, the Queen Elizabeth, the Bremen and the Europa steaming in formation in a calm sea – Around the big planes the P-38 fighters danced & looped like flying fish – The planes seemed made of crystal

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against the light blue of the tropical sky – they did no bombing here, but probably bombed Corregidor & Mariveles (?). This is the first time 4-engined bombers have been over Manila- A good sign – They probably came from Leyte, the fighters from Polillo or Mindoro.

This afternoon about 15 Jap M.P.’s came into camp & tore the place apart – Grinnell, the head of the camp and Duggleleby, one of the camp’s leaders were thrown into jail – No one knows why – But I have my suspicions & they center around getting news outside as to the terrible conditions which prevail here – And they are terrible –