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About Robert G. Davis

About the author: Robert G. Davis, Captain, Medical Corps, USN. From Iowa. Commanding officer, Cañacao Naval Hospital, Sangley Point, Cavite, which was evacuated to Manila. In 1946 he was conferred the Legion of Merit for his exceptionally meritorious conduct in the Philippines.

In the Archivist’s Note included in the diary typescript, it says,

Captain Davis was Medical Officer in Command of the U.S.Naval Hospital, Canacao, P.I. when the war broke there on 8 December 1941, and was also District Medical Officer. The Canacao Unit was evacuated to the Manila Area and established at the Philippine Union College, and subsequently reestablished in Manila proper at Santa Scholastica in accordance with his final directive from the District Commandant. There, on 2 January 1942, the unit was interned by Japanese authorities. However the unit continued to function as a naval hospital within enemy lines, caring for our sick and wounded, until dissolved by enemy military authorities on 9 May.

About the diaries:

  1. Typescript, The Canacao Journal 11-5-41 to 5-9-42 by R.G. Davis, Capt., MC, USN, Med. Off. in Command. Posted online by the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, United States Navy, as part of its US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Office of Medical History Collection.

In the introduction,

One of the most interesting medical documents to be salvaged from the destructiveness of World War Il following VJ-Day, is the official journal of the United States Naval Hospital, Canacao, P.l., covering the period of 5 November 1941 to 9 May 1942.

The journal was kept by the Medical Officer of the Day, and was examined and initialed daily by the Executive Officer, and daily approved by the Medical Officer in Command, Captain Robert G. Davis, MC, USN. Through 3 1/2 years of imprisonment in the Philippines, Formosa, Japan, and Manchuria, Captain Davis protected this unique report, and since liberation and repatriation returned it to our Bureau archives.

The Philippine Diary project inlcudes this diary under the authorship of Davis, but its entries are annoted “Canacao Journal”.

2. Typescript,  Diary Captain Robert G. Davis, MC, USN – Prisoner of the Japanese in Luzon, Formosa, Japan, Manchuria, 8 December 1941-7 September 1945, presented to Vice Admiral Ross T. McIntire MC USN by the author. Posted online by the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, United States Navy, as part of its US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Office of Medical History Collection. A copy of the document can also be found in the collections of the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park. Another copy online is in the Digital Public Library of America.

An Archivist’s Note is included in the typescript, signed by Ben. F. Dixon, Archivist, Hospital Corps Archives, June 24, 1946:

This document, a copy of Captain Davis’s personal diary which he kept from the outbreak of the war in the Far East until his return to Washington, D.C. following liberation from a prison camp at Mukden, Manchuria, was presented by him after retirement from active duty, for incorporation with other prisoner of war material.

It ie a valuable historical comment on the treatment of high-ranking officers by their Japanese captors. His remarks concern enemy administration of prison camps in the Philippines, Formosa, Japan and Manchuria…

Captain Davis maintained an official journal of the Canacao Hospital until 9 May 1942. This he carried through the years of captivity and brought back to Burean Archives on his return. His personal diary was maintained as a profuse collection of miscellaneous dated notes, set down on any kind of paper or other writing material available. Since repatriation he has transferred these notes, with whatever editing the original scraps required, to a manuscript journal of 181 pages of double-spaced typewritten matter. The accompanying document is a transcript of this journal.

The Philippine Diary Project contains only that portion of the diary from its start on December 8, 1941, to the author’s arrival in Taiwan on August 14, 1942. The diary itself, however, concludes on September 7, 1945.