Tressa Cates

Tressa Cates

(September 14, 1903 — May 6, 1991). Nurse at Sternberg General Military Hospital. Interned with her future husband in Santo Tomas, 1942-45.

December 8, 1941

STERNBERG GENERAL ARMY HOSPITALMANILA When I heard about Pearl Harbor, I knew that my happy little world had crumbled about me. All of us were

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December 9, 1941

Today was like a ghastly dream! Beds that were empty yesterday were now occupied by mangled and horribly burned patients. In a few short hours,

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December 10, 1941

Today we heard that the Japanese had made a landing in northern Luzon! It can’t be true! Don’t Be DEFEATIST signs were posted throughout the

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December 11, 1941

It was true! The enemy had landed at Lingayen! Nichols Field and Fort Stotsenberg had been bombed again! Those who had the time stayed near

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December 12, 1941

There were ghastly sights in all the wards at the hospital. Young American boys with legs and arms torn off and with bad burns. Our

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December 13, 1941

Nichols and Murphy Field had been bombed again! All hospital personnel had been instructed to sleep fully clothed. During the night I was repeatedly awakened

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December 14, 1941

The Japanese seemed to have the freedom of the skies. They raided the city several times a day, and there never was any opposition from

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December 15, 1941

The Japanese again bombed the city just as our patients were having lunch. Fort Stotsenberg continued to take heavy punishment many times a day. People

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December 16, 1941

Fort Stotsenberg had five air attacks yesterday, and Joyce, the army nurse who worked with me, lost her sweetheart during one of the raids. She

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December 17, 1941

Many local civilian nurses and missionary nurses from India, Japan and China had volunteered their services at the hospital. The entire city worked together, building

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December 18, 1941

The enemy dropped incendiary bombs close to our hospital. A few minutes later, the wounded began arriving but, unfortunately, many of them died en route

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December 20[-24], 1941*

It was wonderful to see the high spirits displayed by both American and Filipino soldiers. Young men with an arm or leg gone actually considered

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December 25, 1941

The Filipinos have named this day well. Black Christmas! The blackness of despair and resignation was everywhere. Only the Axis nationals and the Fifth Columnists

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December 27, 1941

A suspected Nazi civilian doctor in my ward was shunned like a mad dog by patients and staff alike. Several times I tore up his

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December 28, 1941

The heavy bombing began overhead just as patients in cumbersome Balkan frames were lifted into the large army trucks, which were to convey them to

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December 29, 1941

The army nurses had left for Corregidor and Bataan, and only a few of the medical officers of the administrative staff were left. The civilian

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December 30, 1941

The evacuation of the hospital was almost completed. There was confusion, tension, anxiety, sadness, and mad rushing about as last-minute instructions were shouted throughout the

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December 31, 1941

The demilitarization of Manila had been completed now that General Francisco, chief of the Philippine Constabulary, had left with his staff. On the front, General

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January 1, 1942

The radio was dead! We continued to hear deafening explosions, immediately followed by clouds of thick black smoke and pillars of dancing orange flames. As

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January 2, 1942

The enemy dropped thousands of leaflets over the city. Uncle Sam was depicted as a Death’s Head in repulsive caricature. Underneath the picture in large

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January 3, 1942

Though I couldn’t reach Catesy by phone, my phone rang continually. Friends and neighbors called to see if we were still in our home or

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January 4, 1942

We had abandoned all wishful thinking and hopes that a miracle at the eleventh hour would occur to prevent the Japs from taking us into

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January 5, 1942

By 5:30 we had breakfast, and fifteen minutes later we were in the lobby of the apartment, surrounded by our bags and bundles. After an

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January 5, 1942

January, the 5th! We could never forget that date, for it would have been our wedding day! Instead of a wedding, the large iron gates

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January 6, 1942

I will long remember my first night in Santo Tomas. Throughout the night, Japanese soldiers flashed lights on us as they barked restrictions and orders

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January 7, 1942

My second night in Room 25, Japanese number, and Room 221, American number, was just as restless and disturbing as the first. Bedbugs and mosquitoes

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January 8, 1942

Again I awakened early, but since I had slept a little, I felt and looked less like a shadowy zombie. My roommates, old and young,

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January 9, 1942

The people who had homes, servants, friends, and business associates on the outside were fortunate indeed! We were able to contact Catalino, and he brought

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January 10, 1942

Each morning I rushed like the Mad Hatter to the hospital kitchen to cook the cereal and coffee for our breakfast. Each morning I expected

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