About the author: William J. Priestley, Major, Philippine Scouts. The Sixth Annual Report of the United States High Commissioner to the Philippine Islands to the President of the United States Covering the Fiscal Year July 1, 1941 to June 30, 1942, notes that the author was military liason officer, and brought by U.S. High Commissioner Francis B. Sayre with him to Corregidor from Manila, on December 24, 1941.
“Priestley, William J. , Maj, O&020301, Inf, 57th Inf Regt (PS), , USA, 12/15/44, I, , , , South Seattle, Washington” is listed in the Oryoku Maru Roster of James W. Erickson as not having survived transport on that ship.
About the diary: Uploaded as Extract From Notebook #1 – Diary of Maj William J Priestley in the Corregidor Heritage Bn. ProBoard, after originally being uploaded in Facebook. The following note by Steve Unwin (Grandson of Maj. James J O’Donovan XO 3Bn 31st Inf. Reg.) explains that,
Not sure if this is elsewhere on the net, but i could not find it.
My mother received this from someone in the family who accessed it before the St Louis Archives fire, so it may be a rare copy, just don’t know. Anyhow, it is referenced as a source in a few books on the subject. If you know anything else about this source, please chime in.
Save a copy to your PC so there will by lots of copies around for the future.
The extract deals primarily with the 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry. A second portion, on the same unit, by Lt. Col. Edward H. Bowes, is included in The Philippine Diary Project, but as a separate diary under the name of that officer.
Louis Morton, on p. 593 of The Fall of the Philippines, observed that,
The diary of Maj. William J. Priestley is… a compilation of the activities of various units, written by Priestley in prison camp on the basis of information supplied by other officers. Organized in a haphazard manner, it contains all sorts of miscellaneous information difficult to obtain elsewhere.
The diary is listed in Packet 6, American Ex-Prisoner of War, Inc. National Medical Research Committee Alphabetical Index Microfilm Copies of Recovered Records Philippine Islands November 4, 1945 as “Diary, Priestley Wm J. Major File: 91.19-2-36 Microfilm No 88.” The diary does exist online in the archives, under the Bataan Diary Collections, Philippine Archives Collection (PVAO), and is truly epic in scope. For this reason only the document above is included in The Philippine Diary Project. For those interested in the multi-volume original documents, please refer to the links below: