Skip to content

Thurs., Apr. 9, 1942

“the Voice of Freedom” from somewhere in the Philippines, broadcast last night at 7:30, and news from KGEI, San Francisco, at 8:00 were both gloomy and contained chilling reports of fighting on Bataan. “Jap dive bombers and fighter planes are bombing and machine gunning our front lines, causing heavy losses. Bombing attacks on our rear are with greatest intensity since the beginning of the war. Attempts are being made to land Jap troops in our rear. A crisis should be reached soon. Attacking Japanese troops in superior numbers are using tanks against our center. The Japs are constantly receiving reinforcements.” Our troops are thin, hemmed in on a small peninsula where the only retreat is into the sea and they are subjected to merciless, continuous, withering overhead machine-gunning and bombing without a plane of their own for protection or defense. It is ghastly. In the same broadcast: “And American planes are being ferried daily to England without let-up. The pilots who take the bombers and fighters are also returning by plane. Many pilots make three round trips a month to see that this flow of aid is not interrupted.”

The Central mill will not reopen this season. Nearly all workers have been dismissed with two months’ pay. Some of them have been here over twenty years and were told to leave the Central grounds and depart from Central-owned houses. Many came here as youths, married, raised families, and have sons working. The only home some have had. A sad plight, but a necessary war economy. There is enough fuel to run the electric light plant for 60 days only. After that we must use candles. There will be no kerosene for lamps. There has been a rush to buy candles and there are now none for sale. I have some dinner tapers, some Christmas gifts from Sacony (Standard Oil Co.), and others bought for ornamental use. Those special hand-dipped and hand-painted Christmas candles will doubtless serve a more utilitarian purpose than that for which they were designed.

BATAAN HAS FALLEN! Just announced, no details. Jim a prisoner-of-war! Horrible! Dear God, if Jim has to die let his death be a quick one. Let him not be left wounded on the battlefield, to be kicked and laughed at and passed by, by the victorious Japs. And let him not meet slow death in filth, hunger, and disease in a Japanese prison camp. Dear God, please!

American troops were outnumbered more than 10 to 1. 200,000 Japanese to less than 20,000 Philamericans.