February 16, 1942*

(*Undated in book; but context dates to escape of British sailors from Santo Tomas and their execution on February 15, 1942)

Today was a hectic day. I made one trip to St. Luke’s Hospital, another to the old Philippine General. Hi is still in St. Luke’s Hospital. He has some ulcerous condition of his innards, He may get out soon. His apartment is intact, with the Swedes still occupying it. I’ll be glad to have him out. At least he’ll be someone who speaks my language and who will know what I am trying to say. I can always make him laugh. The fact that I like the human race and he doesn’t is really no barrier between us, only makes a good arguing point.

This is the only time in my life I’ve been richer than my wealthy friends. I’m taking in enough money to make both ends meet, nearly. And I had a goodly sum on hand when the occupation came. Now I am able to feed and look after some of those who got caught short at that moment, friends who could ordinarily put me and my little nest egg in their financial pocket with their spare nickels.

Singapore still hangs on. The situation on Bataan is no better. Guns thunder, planes roar overhead, and we sit, with little idea of what is actually happening. Communication with Corregidor goes on, but it is difficult and dangerous to all concerned. Had some notes from an officer in the Cagayan Valley. Pretty grim there too.

The radio mentions the three German U-boats sneaking through Dover Straits. I remember my balmy days in France, I remember the lovely white cliffs of Dover from across the channel. We had a summer home in Paris Plage near Boulogne, where we often drove to dine and look across the water towards England. Poor England, she’s had to take it these bad years. I was there the spring of the Coronation and motored down to see the original home of my ancestors in Gloucestershire. The last word I have had from André was from London in 1941. He was there with the Free French.

Such a horrible tale: Several Englishmen, some of them sailors, escaped from Santo Tomas. The poor sailors had gone through Greece, Norway, Hong Kong, only to be caught in Manila and interned. There were three of them recaptured, beaten in public, tortured and finally shot, after having been forced to dig their own graves. It is too horrible to think about, but martial law seems to operate that way, according to the Japs. Nothing the American Committee in camp could do about it. The Japs insisted on making an example of them. Even the Germans aren’t that bad to ordinary internees.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin