Dec. 25/41

USAFFE has endeavored to declare Manila an open city, but to no avail, apparently. Every [enemy] bombers flew over the city today for over an hour just putting on an air show. It made us feel good as we thought there would be no more bombing and that the city was recognized as open.

The planes left. Shortly thereafter they reappeared. No air alarm was sounded as everyone believed, of course, that there would be no bombing. Our hopes were dashed to ground as bombs could be heard swishing down. Port Area got it again. Many detachment men were at Port Area getting food supplies out of the warehouses there. Fortunately while there where many narrow escapes, none were injured.

Shortly before dark, about ten of our P-40’s flew over city. It cheered everyone quite a bit, as it was very, very seldom that we saw a friendly plane.

Rumors are coming in that our forces are withdrawing before the enemy and into Bataan where the last stand will be made. Col. Carrol called the officers together and told us the situation. It shocked most of us as we had thought things were going quite favorably for us in the north where the enemy had made several landings.

As a holiday, today was a complete failure. I had bought several hundred pesos worth of X-mas trimmings, candy, drinks, etc., from the Post Exchange and outside stores for a party for the men, But, as things turned out, there was no party and no X-mas dinner. Everybody was too busy and nervous to celebrate, and, anyway, a part of the detachment left for Bataan in the evening.

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