The cavalry and their last charge, December 1941-January 1942

One of the great romantic stories of World War II, is of Polish lancers bravely –and desperately– charging German tanks in the opening days of World War II. Shades of the famed charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava during the Crimean War, which led a French general, Pierre Bosquet, observing the brave but pointless charge, to remark, C’est magnifique, mais …

Bataan, 1942: views of a father and his son

  (Revised, April 8, 2017) The Philippine Diary Project includes the diaries of a father and his son: Victor Buencamino, and Felipe Buencamino III. At the outbreak of the war, Victor Buencamino was head of the National Rice and Corn Corporation, precursor of today’s National Food Authority. His published diary covers the period from the arrival of the Japanese in …

July 5, 1945 Thursday

This is one of my happiest days. I finally received a letter from my wife. I also received letters from all my children Lily, Tony, Dely and Lina (twins), Tesy, Alfredo, Remedios, Pacita, and little Menchu and my sons-in-law, Padilla and Cojuangco. My whole family is well. Everybody is in perfect health, and well provided for. They have plenty to …

December 26, 1944

Manila Japs moving out. Truck after truck loaded with troops evacuating Manila. All Jap cars camouflaged with leaves. Mindoro landings have struck fear in Jap hearts. The end is near. Puppet government of Laurel transferred to Baguio. They left in a hurry. The presidential convoy was escorted by Jap troops and P.C. soldiers. Remaining Jap soldiers are desperate and despotic. …

November 9, 1944

Just woke up from my siesta because the rain was entering the window. It looks like a strong typhoon. The Weather Bureau now under Japanese control refuses to give warning as to the strength of the typhoon. Dad thinks its No. 3 but that the vortex will not hit Manila. This kind of weather will hamper smooth operation of MacArthur’s …

November 5, 1944

Just came out of the shelter so I’m quite dirty right now. The bombing was quite stiff and the mud on the sides started to scatter all over the place. I can’t stand the shelter so I went out to take a look at the dogfights. Saw a plane shot atop Camp Murphy. First it started to spin downward and …

November 2, 1944

Must hurry writing this stuff because Joe’s waiting for me outside. Nothing much today. None of the usual processions to the cemetery to visit the dead. Tribune says that Laurel will give a speech on the heroes that died in O’Donnell. On my way to Dad’s office, I saw many Jap trucks filled with supplies. They’re spreading their dumps to …

October 31, 1944

It’s three in the afternoon. Vic’s listening to the radio. Papa is reading Willoughby’s Maneuvers in War; Neneng is cooking; Lolo sleeping and Dolly is looking at the planes from the window. There are many planes flying but they’re Japs. You can tell by the metallic desynchronized roar of the engines. There’s one plane flying very low. It passed directly …

October 29, 1944

Went to Mass with Mama and Neneng at 6:30. It was still dark. We didn’t bow before the sentry and he said nothing. Maybe he was in a happy mood. The Japs are in a happy mood. Their Propaganda Corps has been telling them for the last four days of great naval victories in Sulu Sea. Our Jap neighbors were …