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.

October 13, 1944

“It looks like Santo Tomas will be the last line of defense!” Catesy looked a bit grim as he facetiously made the remark to Mr.

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October 17, 1944

The area in front of the Big House was completely covered by mountainous piles of packing cases and soldiers. Each day, we went about our

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October 19, 1944

Just as we finished our dismal breakfast of dirty mush, our dear enemy returned! Kay and Margo were already on my bed, when Catesy and

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October 22, 1944

In a morning Nishi-Nishi thrown over the wall by a brave Filipino, the editorial stated that: “A Grave Mistake Had Been Made by Landing at

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October 26, 1944

Another smuggled Nishi-Nishi reported: “A large American convoy had been sighted northeast of the Philippines. At Leyte, the Japanese had retired to the hills to

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October 28, 1944

The younger men in camp, who had been doing the heavy manual work, were informed by the Commandant that they would have to start another

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October 29, 1944

Hallelujah! Our bombers came three different times today! Japanese guns barked frantically but ineffectively at our bombers. Seemingly unperturbed, our bombers taxied in and out

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October 30, 1944

Our adult death rate was climbing, and many of the older ones who had no supplementary food were dead or on the critical list. There

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October 31, 1944

The heavy rains beat into our lean-to with its three open sides, and Catesy and I worked frantically to protect our cooking equipment and small

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November 3, 1944

The faces of the elderly people in camp had a drawn and fixed look and their legs, no longer resembling legs, were grotesquely edematous. The

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November 5, 1944

This was a thrilling and exhausting day! Five air raids! During the first raid, we watched over two hundred of our bombers dropping their loads

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November 7, 1944

At 4 A.M., my aide and I stepped out of the hospital door to watch our bombers dive-bombing into the Bay Area. It was a

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November 8, 1944

Today was another day of tension and anxiety, as the Nips continued with their surprise raids on buildings and shanty areas. They hounded us to

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November 9, 1944

The Military Police from Fort Santiago made another surprise raid on the camp. This time it was the Santa Catalina hospital. Again, they paid particular

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November 10, 1944

Roosevelt won by a landslide and the Americans made another landing in the Philippines! This was the news passed around today, so we knew the

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November 11, 1944

“Here she comes with her wee-wee can!” announced Catesy. Though he winked at me, he wrinkled his nose distastefully. It was Mrs. Greenshoes stomping belligerently

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November 12, 1944

One of our neighbors near our lean-to became hysterical tonight after eating his tiny scoopful of watery rice and tainted fish. “I’m starving!” His loud

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November 13, 1944

Our bombers raided the Bay area, and what a shellacking they gave the Nips! They came wave after wave and, like marionettes, they executed their

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November 14, 1944

Enemy aircraft awakened me more efficiently than my alarm would have done at 2:45 a.m. I looked out of my window and saw that the

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November 15, 1944

The reign of terror continued. We had another cut in our rice ration, and the searching of rooms and shacks was intensified. We now had

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November 16, 1944

The rumor persisted that more landings had been made in Luzon. Surely, it wouldn’t be long now. Another death today.

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November 17, 1944

How desperately we wanted to believe the Luzon landings! How closely we watched the actions of the Nips in here, in the hopes that they’d

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November 19, 1944

We always expected our bombers on Sunday and they didn’t disappoint us today. Again, the Manila harbor area received a great deal of punishment, and

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November 20, 1944

Who would have thought a year ago that rice would become so precious? We had another cut in our rice ration. Kay’s delicate sister sold

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November 21, 1944

We had eleven new cases of bacillary at the kids’ hospital, and as I doled out the sulfa to the kids, I took twice the

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November 22, 1944

The hungrier we became, the more we talked about the expected arrival of the Red Cross kits. The Nips were approached today by our patient

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