The Jap C.O.’s return heralded two details, one included 150 officers and again everyone thinks this camp is being closed out. We are afraid to believe otherwise — just can’t stand disappointment again. We believe the 400 who left here will join the detail already in Bilibid. I fervently hope there will be no more, but think there will be as long as Yanks don’t arrive. No more planes but think they will be back again any day –the wave of enthusiasm caused by their appearance 21st of last month was followed by a new low in morale, but things have settled down to the old apathy again. We no longer listen all day long for the sound of Yank motors. Talked to one of the English and one of the Scotch boys who joined us and passed two very entertaining evenings. One of these men (Scottish) had served in India and had seen action on the Khyber Pass frontier. Has 14 years service in Argyles Reg’t and seems an excellent soldier. The English man was called up in ’39. Several more letters of late, but none of them from Wistar — it seams he could have done better — only 2 from him but many from home. From letters it seems that when we get out and in service again that we will draw Capt.’s pay from June ’42 – May ’43 and Major’s pay from then on. A nice nest egg if we manage to get out of this deal O.K. A meat issue tonight, the first for a long long time. It is just enough for gravy but they will
have a fine taste. We are now eating all of our saved up corn which we had been spreading out as much as possible formerly — we will not be allowed to take food with us on detail to Japan so we might as well eat it now — we do not even get a 12 hour notice on details anymore.
Once again I shall close out this diary just in case I have to go on short notice. In any event, this journal will never pass a Japanese inspection and will have to be left behind with some one who will take care of it and
send it home for me come der dage. Two years and 4 months in this miserable hold, treated on the whole much more like animals than men, the food being so poor to for a time I was totally blind and had so much pain in feet that I nearly went mad, but have managed to stage a comeback to such an extent that I can now read 20-20 and have but little trouble comparatively with feet and legs. Three months as a non-working casual, 3 months as a laborer and the rest as a barracks leader. At least as a leader I feel and felt more like an officer although the job had many drawbacks. On the whole, I think I have done a creditable job. American POW’s have been forced to work on Jap military projects such as air fields and military bridges, as stevedores, mechanics — always underfed and overworked and always treated in a cruel insulting manner. Of about 20,000 captured on Luzon, only about 3000 remain with 1000 of these enroute to Japan (now at Bilibid Prison). We have been considered much more like convicts than POW’s except for an occasional Japanese. With American planes an ever present threat and American subs undoubtedly infesting the China Sea, I certainly hope that I do not have to take a ship ride for I know they will not mark their ships to indicate POWs aboard.—– –
** CONTINUED ON THURSDAY **
OCTOBER 12, 1944