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Battle of Manila Begins: February 3, 1945

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Fold3 Image - Corregidor, guardian of the entrance to the harbor at Manila, is bombed by the Consolidated B-24 Liberators of the 7th AAF.
On February 3, 1945, American forces entered the outskirts of Manila, capital of the Philippines, beginning the Battle of Manila, a ferocious and destructive urban battle against the Japanese that would leave Manila the second-hardest hit Allied capital (following Warsaw) of World War II.

As part of his campaign to retake the Philippines from the Japanese (who had captured it from the Americans in 1942), General Douglas MacArthur first invaded the island of Leyte and then moved on to the island of Luzon, the largest of the Philippine islands and home to the capital, Manila.

American troops were able to rapidly advance to Manila, leading MacArthur to believe it would be a relatively easy fight. They entered the city limits on February 3, quickly liberating Allied (mostly American) POWs and civilians from their incarceration at the University of Santo Tomas and Bilibid Prison. However, Japanese forces dug in and put up a fierce fight in the city, forcing the Americans and their Filipino allies into a challenging urban battle, in which they fought block by block, building by building, and floor by floor, frequently hand-to-hand.

Eventually, over the course of the month, the Americans and Filipinos were able to capture much of the city as well as the island of Corregidor, in Manila Bay. However, Japanese remained within a walled portion of Manila, called Intramuros. MacArthur denied the use of air support out of concern for the civilian population, so the Americans used heavy artillery instead, pounding the walls until they were breached and then fighting to clear the area of Japanese.

Fold3 Image - Bomb damage at Manila, Philippine Islands
Finally, by March 3, Manila had fallen and MacArthur had turned the city over to the Filipino government. But the victory was not without great cost. In addition to the 1,000 Americans and 16,000 Japanese estimated to have been killed, it’s believed that at least 100,000 Filipino civilians were killed during the battle. Many were brutally murdered by the Japanese, others were killed in fires that swept through portions of the city, and still more were killed as an unintended consequence of the American attack (particularly the artillery fire). In all, 80 percent of the southern residential district, 75 percent of factories, and all of the business district were destroyed, as were numerous governmental, educational, cultural, commercial, financial, and religious buildings.

Despite the horrors of Manila, the battle for Luzon was not yet over. In fact, a portion of MacArthur’s forces would remain fighting in Luzon for the remainder of the war.

Do you have any family member who fought in the Battle of Manila? Tell us about them. Or learn more about the battle by searching Fold3.

132 Comments

  1. Uncle Robert Patterson (“Rob”) Budd (1911-1991) enlisted in January, 1941 and was a Platoon Sergeant with the 11th Airborne Division, 188th Parachute Infantry, in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater.

    Rob commanded a machine gun platoon seizing and controlling forward tactical localities in several fierce engagements against the Japanese, receiving a battlefield commission to 2nd Lieutenant. The 11th landed at Luzon on 31 January 1945 and spearheaded the push to Manila. With the 1st of the 187th and the 188th they launched another major attack against Japanese defenses on Mount Aiming near Tagaytay Ridge. The attack began the morning of 1 February 1945. The 188th withstood 4 hours of continuous counterattacks, and one Banzai attack. It continued to the morning of 3 February 1945 when the 188th and the 1st of the 187th launched an attack against the 3rd and final enemy position. The Japanese responded with heavy artillery and machine gun fire.

    On 23 February 1945 the 672nd Amphibious Tractor Battalion, the 1st of the 511th and the 188th under Colonel Soule launched the rescue of Los Banos Camp, where more than 2000 civilians of all ages and nationalities were held. The 188th was greatly outnumbered should this attack and rescue go wrong. Despite serious injury, Rob survived the war.

    • Wow. All I can say is thank you to your uncle. He rescued my great aunt and uncle from Los Banos. If it were not for him and those men who were willing to risk their skins to get them out of there before they all died from starvation I would never have had the amazing relationship with them that I did. They endured so much. I don’t know if you have read Rescue at Los Banos but if you haven’t I think you would really like reading the particulars of the rescue. I can’t say if I remember him mentioned in there at all, my aunt and uncle are listed in the internee list, but not mentioned at all in the book. It was written from the interviews of the internees, and the servicemen who were there. I highly recommend it. Thank you again to your uncle for what he did.

    • Wow. Thank you for the story about your uncle. These stories make us remember the greatness of these men and women. What they endured to protect our freedoms. Thank you again for sharing.

  2. My late Uncle Cpl. Bernard C. Ashland served in Battery B, 61st Field Artillery,
    First Cavalry Division, from Australia to the march into Tokyo.

    A member of the flying column that liberated Santo Tomas Internment Camp,
    one of the first into Manila behind Japanese lines. Active service, October 1942
    to October 1945.

    • Thank you for your loved ones selfless service during WWII, and for your family members who kept the home fires waiting till his return.

    • My grandfather was in the first Calvary and was the last mounted unit to convert before being shipped to Australia.

      I know very little about my grandfathers service except to say he was in all the major battles all the way to Japan.
      He was also injured twice both of which he could have gone home but stayed to fight instead.

      James “skippy” Roady Kennahan
      February 1923 – September 1995

    • First Calvary 12th regiment I believe.

    • That’s correct
      1st Cav; 12th Regiment; F Troop
      KIA 13 February, 1945
      Luzon

    • So was my Dad, a Sgt in the Fifth Cav 2nd platoon. Spoke about this to all to the end of his days. We were all so proud.

  3. My father was there, fighting with the 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, the First Team. I remember him proudly quoting the motto the 1st Cav earned in WWII: First in Manila, First in Tokyo. But he never discussed the battle. I have his medals, including for the Leyte and Luzon campaigns, and his prized Combat Infantry Badge.

  4. Dad was wounded late December 1944 with a million dollar wound and returned to Fort Ord California on Jan 11, 1944. He was in the First Cavalry Division and awarded the CIB, Bronze Star, Phillipine Liberation Ribbon. He just missed this fight, and I’m so grateful about that million dollar wound or there’s a chance I wouldn’t be writing this. Every time I think about August 6 and 8, 1945, I thank Harry Truman for ending the slaughter. 100,000 dead civilians in Manila? American kill ration 16 to 1? OMG.

    • Not that the basic story about Hiroshima & Nagasaki isn’t mostly true, but the LARGER reason was to serve as a warning to Stalin to NOT invade Japan from the West in late 1945, which they could have, and most likely would have done. U.S. and allies couldn’t have successfully invaded until mid-1946, at earliest, w/out the Japanese surrender. TPTB don’t want you to learn and understand Global Geopolitics….

  5. My dad. Ira Jackson Lucas. 11th Airborne Division. There from beginning to end.

    • My Father, Tom Stoltman was also in the 11th Airborne Angels. He jumped on Corregidor. Landed in an empty swimming pool with Tommy gun strapped to his arm. Fought his way out.

    • I’m sure that if you knew his story, a book could be written on it! But chances are you don’t, as many soldiers of such battles elected to say very little if anything of their horrific experiences.

  6. My dad was on Luzon in the Battle of Ballete in the army.

  7. Dan. L Shaw, Poteau, OK, My Great Uncle joined the Army Air Corps as a P-38 pilot. He served his country in the South Pacific during WWII and continued on active duty during Korea and Vietnam before retiring as a Lt. Col. In 1971. Because of his experiences at the end of WWII, as a POW of the infamous Japanese General Yamashita, known as the “Butcher of Bataan” and his subsequent role in insuring Gen. Yamashita’s surrender along with his 35,000 troops in the Philippines, he was honored by his own country and oddly enough, became the only man in military history to receive a written commendation from the enemy. General Yamashita, Com-mander in Chief of the Japanese Army, wrote a letter to the Commander of the American Forces which stated, in part, about Capt. Shaw: “He was interrogated by Japanese officers for three days, since the 14th of Aug., 1945. He didn’t reveal anything about the military secrets and his attitude is regarded as strict and admirable as a military man. So the Japanese forces take the pleasure to release him and send him back to the American Forces.” As a result of his participation in General Yamashita’s surrender, Shaw began his outstanding military service with a significant footnote in military history. His career was filled with countless more exciting experiences, being stationed around the world, flying all types of jets, chosen to join the elite U-2 Spy Plane program in its inception and finally, retiring as the Commander of the KC-135 908th Air Refueling Squad-ron during the height of the Cold War. He always said he was the luckiest man alive. He lived every day doing what he loved to do the most, flying planes very high and very fast and safely landing upon the earth once more, he would return home to his beautiful wife, Mildred, and to their son, Danny, and daughter, Rita Kay.

  8. Both my great Uncle (American executive) and my great Aunt were taken prisoner and held first arc santo Tomas. My uncle was one of the first groups of men sent to build the Los Banos concentration camp. He remained there 4 years, with my Aunt eventually being sent there in the last year. They were liberated in the Los Banos Raid. I still have the letter he wrote in Red Cross Stationary after they were liberated, as well as a meal ticket from Santo Tomas and my aunts cloth ID badge she was forced to wear.

    • My great aunt and uncle were in both as well. They were also rescued in the raid. Have you read the book about the rescue? It’s called Rescue at Los Banos. There is a complete list of those who were interred there in the book. It’s definitely worth the read though it broke my heart to read about what our family members went through in that prison. It was definitely hell on earth. At the same time it made me so proud of their strength and most importantly their resilience afterwards. My uncle joined the army and my aunt married someone who served in the army.

    • Yes I have that book, as well as an older book titled simply “Santo Tomas.” A friend of my uncle’s wrote it and my uncle helped edit it. The letter my uncle wrote when they were liberated was very hard to read. They nearly starved to death in the week leading to the raid.
      I think there is another book out there on the same topic and a video (have to check my library). What an amazing story for those that survived, but I can tell you they were permanently scarred from their internment and treatment in those prisons.

    • My father was in the 44th tank battalion, and was injured just before Battlin Basic knocked down the fence at Santo Tomas. I am always looking for more information on both his battalion and the prisoners that were freed

  9. My cousin, John Bloomberg, Jr. lost his life during the Battle for the Philippines on April 19, 1945. He was a member of the 148th Infantry 37th Division Private First Class. He is buried at Fort Mckinley, Manila, the Philippines. His family received his Purple Heart and additional Army Awards. He fought a brave battle. God rest his soul along with all those brave men & women who fought with him.

    • If you ever get the chance, visit the cemetary there in Manila, it is comparable to Arlington, a very solemn and memorable place, The Filipinos maintain it immaculately. I like to go whenever I am in Manila which is 2 or 3 times a year, totally awesome .

  10. May God bless your families who served, as mine has served. I know that members of my family (including myself) have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, ever since the founding of this country. Reading these posts makes me want to go check out the stories of those individuals.

  11. On this day 72 years ago, Tec 5 Samuel J. Price of Mount Ephraim, NJ was killed in action in Manila, Philippines at the age of 28. Samuel served with the 117th Combat Engineer Battalion, Company “C” for 4 years, participating in the Guadalcanal, New Georgia, and Bougainville campaigns before landing in Luzon.

    On February 9, 1945, the 117th Engineers were ferrying soldiers from the 37th Infantry Division across the Pasig River aboard assault boats to seize Provisor Island. It is reported that several boats were hit by Japanese machine gun and mortar fire.

    Before entering the Army,
    Samuel lived at 18 Valley Road and was a graduate of Audubon High School in Audubon, NJ in 1935. He was survived by parents, William Sr. and Anna, brother William “Lester” and a sister Anna. Samuel is buried next to his parents William and Anna at Lakeview Memorial Park in Cinnaminson, NJ.
    His name is inscribed on the World War II Memorial located at the Davis Avenue triangle in Mt. Ephraim.

    May their sacrifice never be forgotten.

  12. My uncle Capt. John Raymond Huber, was killed on January 23rd, 1945. He was with the RTC158th 83 D in Luzon, Davao, Philippines. He had been transferred from British New Guinea where he had just been awarded the Combat Infantrymen’s Badge for action on Sompur. My uncle was promoted to Captain on the fateful morning of his death, where he lost his life in the deadliest battle of the South Pacific. My grandmother recieved his silver star when his remains were landed in San Francisco. I have to believe he died a courageous leader of soldiers. I miss all the possibilities.

  13. looking for thomas powell,b.1921-22,knox or letcher co.ky.
    last known 1930 census,in knox.supposedly jap POW ,phillipenes.
    cant find in war records, never came home ???

  14. looking for thomas powell,b.1921-22 in knox or letcher co.ky.
    last known 1930 census knox co. supposedly jap POW, phillipenes.
    cant find in war records, never came home ???

    • Awfully hard to find someone with such sparse info! Can you send middle name, parent’s names, date of enlistment?

  15. My mother’s family the Klars and the McClures lived in the Philippines after the Spanish American war in which both of her grandfathers fought. None of them were military by this time, but considered American civilians. My mother was born in April of 1942 under Japanese occupation. During the occupation most of the men in the family were forced into Santo Tomas and the women who were not mothers. For some reason my grandmother Ava McClure Klar was allowed to remain in her home with my Aunt Josie, Uncle Bud and Aunt Marilu. My mother believes it is because their home had a 6 foot wall around it, and it was close to Japanese headquarters so they could be watched. They were not allowed to leave the home, and Filipinos would throw food over the wall for them sometimes. My grandfather Jose Klar owned Pantranco bus company. He loaned all of his buses to the American military to use for troop transportation. Everything was destroyed in the war. Fairly early on he was caught sending short wave messages to the US. He was imprisoned in Fort Santiago in a cell that would flood with water every time the tide came in. They were lucky enough to get some extras from the Japanese after my mother was born because she was blonde and the Japanese were enthralled by that. Eventually my great aunt Ryanna McClure was forced to move to the Los Banos prison camp, and my great uncle Mac (Carlin) McClure volunteered to go with her so she wasn’t alone. The conditions they lived in there were horrific. They were part of the raid that rescued them behind enemy lines. By that time most of the internees were barely alive because of the sadistic Japanese man in charge of their rations. My great grandfather Carlin McClure died in Santo Tomas. I had a great uncle who escaped to try and find food and never came back. We assume he was caught and murdered by the Japanese. My great aunt Della was killed in an air raid. The family wrapped her body in a rug during the next air raid and sought shelter. When they went back to get her she was gone, and someone had stolen the rug, probably not realizing she was in there. When they were finally liberated my mother, her siblings, and grandmother and my great uncle Mac took a troop transport ship to the US and remained with my great-grandfather’s family in Oregon until my grandfather was able to get his bus company back up and running again. They then returned to Manila where my mother grew up before moving to San Francisco to live with my aunt and go to nursing school. She married my father, who she had met when his father was sent to Manila for 2 years by his company. My great aunt Josie Klar Razon, and her family, and my uncle Bud Klar still live in the Philippines. My family’s strength and perseverance during the occupation of Manila is a heritage I am so proud of.

  16. My dad kept an illegal diary : Jan 29 1945 – Unloaded Luzon Island; Mar 13 1945 – Left Hqs Co 1st BN 126th INF pass; Mar 13 1945 – arrived Hqs C 126th INF St Nickels Luzon; Apr 27 1945 – Left Ft Lewis by train. (on 45 day leave)

    So yes, my Dad was there.

  17. My father, Thomas D. Herndon. Service Troop, First Cavalry Division. He was a member of the Flying Column to Santo Tomas, Manila, and the mountains of northern Luzon. Thank God for Harry Truman, Fat Boy, and Little Man!

  18. I was able to find several Thomas Powells born in Kentucky around 1921-1922 in the 1940 US census. There are also quite a few shown in the military enlistment records and WW II casualty lists. So, as the other person said, would love to help you but need more info to narrow this down. The other thing to consider, is that he may have survived and just not gone home. It’s my understanding that this did sometimes happen.

  19. My father, LeRoy J. Wilson, was a paratrooper who served in 11th Airborne Division, Company ‘Hq1’ 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment in New Guinea in 1944 and the Philippine Islands in 1945, Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion. He also served with occupying forces in Japan after surrender of the Japanese. His military record states that he was awarded the 3rd Bronze Star for participation in a combat zone from May to 8 Nov 44. He made a parachute combat jump on Tagatay Ridge, Luzon, P.I. on 3 February 1945; a parachute combat jump on Aparri, Luzon, P.I. on 12 June 1945, was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge for participation in the Leyte Campaign in the Philippines, where the paratroopers jumped one man at a time onto a table top plateau, using Cub L4’s & L5’s, one C-47 made 14 passes. He participated on the battle at Corregidor and received the “Phillipine Liberation Medal. He lived to have five more daughters and a son and passed away at the age of 62.

  20. My husband is very proud to be named after his great uncle, Col George Dubose Sears, who took part in the landings on Leyte, where he was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart. Uncle George served in WWI, kept his commission in the Texas national guard and entered WWII by joining General Kreuger in Hollandia, New Guinea. He became a military government officer and was given the Bronze Star for his organization of, and leading, a rescue column to free 4,000 military and civilian prisoners at Santo Thomas . He received the Legion of merit for his work on the Island and was awarded the Philippine Distinguished Silver Star. Later he received the Oak Leaf cluster to the Legion of Merit for having planned the military government over half of Japan. I wish I could have met him and learned more.

  21. Thank you to those of you who served unselfishly in WW11. You liberated my Aunt Clara Brown from Santo Tomas, and my Aunt Martha Brown from Los Banos and Grandfather, William Henry Brown. Grandfather had theaters in
    Manila at the time. All were destroyed.

  22. My Uncle, PFC James CECIL Jones was KIA in this battle on 13 February, 1945. He was killed by artillery fire. He was a BAR man with 12th Regiment Cavalry, F Troop. Cecil received bronze star and purple heart.
    Would love to hear about any other in his unit;

  23. My father fought there Iv just found out about his navy days and the wars he fought in he never wanted to talk about what he did

  24. My dad, Colonel Arthur Philip Murphy, was at Camp John Hay near Baguio in the Philippines when the camp was bombed on December 8, 1941, just ten hours after Pearl Harbor. By pure happenstance, he avoided the pitiful surrender on Bataan and the horrific Bataan Death March. When cut off by the Japanese as they were trying to reach Bataan per orders, he and three companions went back to the northern mountains near Baguio and began organizing a guerrilla army which eventually totaled more than 22,000 Filipino soldiers, commanded by a dozen American officers who had escaped into the jungles at the time of the surrender on Bataan, from the Death March, or from the infamous Camp O’Donnell. For more than three years these guerrillas (USAFIP-NL) held out in North Luzon, the Americans listed as “missing in action” by our government. When MacArthur and his army finally returned to North Luzon in January of ’45, USAFIP-NL fought alongside the Americans and figured prominently in the Battle of Bessang Pass, the liberation of Baguio, and others. It wasn’t until December ’44 that we learned my dad was still alive and well. He finally came home in September ’44, after being gone nearly five years. Only four months old when he left, I “met” him for the first time after my fifth birthday. He earned a slew of medals, including the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Philippine Military Merit Medal, and others.

    My dad died in 1982. In 2005 I discovered a cache of letters, mementoes, and official documents which have led me to write a book about my father’s WWII experiences. It’s called “The Luckiest Guerrilla: A True Tale of Love, War, and the Army. I’m currently looking for a publisher.

    • Oops! I should always proofread before I post. My dad actually returned home in September of 1945, not 1944.

    • hi, I’d be happy to help you with publishing – contact me at marybawriter@msn.com for details. My dad and 5 uncles all fought in WWII in the South Pacific. They were all in the Navy. My uncle Rex Stevens went down in Sea of Japan on the USS Runner. My dad was on the Enterprise. JC Stevens

  25. Charles Thomas, member of Company A, 148th Infantry, 37th Ohio Division, killed in action on February 20, 1945.

  26. My father, PFC Jose C. Covarrubias, participated in the Battle of Manila as an infantry man with the First Cav after fighting in New Guinea where he spent time in a prison camp until he was able to escape into the jungle and rescued by another Infantry unit. After recovering from Malaria and starvation he was dispatched back to his unit and sent to Leyte to join the Battle to regain control of the Phillipines.
    He finished his tour of duty with the First Cav as an M.P. as part of the occupation forces in Tokyo.
    For his service he was awarded the Bronze Star.

  27. My father Sgt. Raymond L. Cox was in the battle of Manila on the Island of Luzon and then on to be part of the occupation forces after Japan surrendered, September 2, 1945.
    He was in the 1629th Engineer Construction Battalion.

  28. One of my uncles (whom I never had the pleasure of knowing) died at the hands of the Japanese when he was taken prisoner just a few short weeks after having been shipped out to the Philippines. He was forced to march in the infamous “Bataan Death March”, and then was taken to one of the most horrible places in the world known as Camp O’Donnell. He was held captive, being forced to sit in filthy rags (which at one point in time was his uniform) in the dirt, all the while being held at gun/bayonet point. (The reason I know this is because another uncle-the two were brothers, and brothers of my dad- saw an article in the Reader’s Digest about 25 years ago and there was the picture of my uncle and his army buddies sitting under the heavy guard of the Japanese.) After having survived the “march”, he finally ended up succumbing to malaria. I’ve always been sad that I never knew him (he died before I was even born), but I still am so proud of him and what he did to help keep us safe here. Without his service, and that of my dad and two more of their brothers (5 in all served in WWII), we wouldn’t have enjoyed our freedom. Still, it angers me when I think about McCarthy and the fact that he “flew the coop” and literally left our men behind (including my uncle, and that’s why he died), and telling them to surrender. Some commander. He gets away to safety and leaves the men behind to literally die. Then years later comes back and becomes this big hero…..I don’t get that AT ALL. But I digress. I just wanted to honor my uncle and all those others who lost their lives in the Philippines while serving in the military there in ANY way. THANK YOU!

    • Please don’t be angry with General Douglas MacArthur. He was a “grandstander,” with a flare for the dramatic, no doubt, but he was also a brilliant general and commander and was ordered by President Roosevelt to leave the Philippines and proceed to Australia. There he was charged with rebuilding the American army and eventually, several years later, along with the American navy, with gradually retaking the South Pacific, one island at a time. My dad was also one of those “left behind” on Luzon. In fact, for the rest of his army career, my dad wore a shoulder patch that was a map of North Luzon and the words “We Remained,” in answer to MacArthur’s famous words “I shall return” in March 1942, when he left Corregidor, and “I have returned” when he finally landed back on the beach of Leyte in October 1944.

    • My dad was a pow captured on corregidor. He always pointed out the rat that macarthur was also. History will not record the facts accurately. But my family and children will know the truth

    • My Dad served with the 6th Army, 24 Div. He hated MC Arthur for leaving those nurses behind. Mom and Dad had a close friend after the war who was a nurse on Corregidor. She only would speak of the conditions, not what the Jap’s had done to her and the other nurses…..God Bless your Dad

  29. LH PACE 113th Combat Engineers attached to the 38 Infantry Cyclone division.
    Fought in The liberation of The Philipines.
    Zig Zag pass
    Took back Fort Drum from Japs
    Was my father

  30. My dad, James G., “Bud” Stuart fought on the Villa Verde Trail campaign in the spring ’45. 32nd Division. Wounded by shrapnel in Apr. ’45. Awarded Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

  31. My uncle, Everett Williams, served in France in WWI. I believe he served on the docks and did not see combat. In WWII, he was called down for the draft (they were drafting up to 45) and was waiting to be sworn in when they received a telegram dropping the age to 40 and sent him home. He decided to enlist. He entered the Seabees and landed in the initial landing on Luzon to establish the base. I served in the Navy and visited Luzon Christmas of 1955. It is interesting to note that the old city of Manila still had destroyed buildings with people living in shacks in them. On Corregidor, there was a building that was destroyed. People were living in one half, and the other half was storage for live artillery shells remaining from the fall of Corregidor.

  32. My dad was in Corregidor battle. No details as he would not talk about the battle, but only talk his love for Gen McArthur. My dad was William R Buice.

  33. My cousin Helen McDaniels and her husband Edward McDaniels were civilians in the P I when Japan came. He joined the army as a Lt. was captured and sent to Osaka Main Camp Chikko and apparently died there from ??? His wife Helen was taken POW at Camp Holmes Civ Baguio Luzon
    Philippines. She was repatriated and returned to her parents in Mariposa, CA. Does anyone know of a book or other information about those camps?

    • Yes, I know of a book you’d probably enjoy reading. It’s entitled
      “God’s Arms Around Us” and was written by William Moule around 1960, I think, and reprinted by Blue Dolphin Press in Grass Valley, CA, in 1990. Moule was a miner at the Itogon Mine near Baguio when the war started. He and his family hid in the mountains for 16 months but finally turned in when five-year-old Billy got malaria and they had no medicine. In the meantime, Bill Sr. had joined the guerrillas and participated in some raids. The family was interned at Camp Holmes for a couple of years, was moved to Bilibid in Manila, then finally liberated. While at Holmes, Bill Sr. was tortured repeatedly to try and get him to reveal info about his guerrilla status. He suffered some permanent injuries but never gave up any info. This is a fascinating book and was an invaluable resource for me in writing about my dad’s experiences. My dad was a U.S. Army reservist called to active duty in late 1940 and was stationed at Camp John Hay (Baguio) when the first bombs fell there on December 8, 1941. He refused to surrender and also took to the mountains, where he crossed paths with the Moule family. Call Jim Moule (one of the Moule children) at Moule Paint & Glass in Grass Valley to see if he still has any copies of the reprint available. (530) 273-4643

    • Thank you very much for this information Patricia. I will call him in the near future.

  34. My cousin Helen McDaniels and her husband Edward McDaniels were civilians in the P I when Japan attacked. He became a Lt in the army and was captured and sent to Osaka Main Camp Chikko Osaka where he died.
    His wife Helen was confined at Camp Holmes Civ Baguio Luzon P I. I would like to know of any books etc that tell of the situation in these camps

    • There is an old book that is very detailed describing the life in Santo Tomas concentration camp. Not sure about the publisher or even the date, but I will check my copy.
      There is also a new book called Raid of Los Banos that talks about this amazing rescue as well as life in the camp.

    • Thanks very much Travis, Ill try to look up those books.

  35. A 2nd cousin of my grandmother, Madeline Ullom, was one of the Army nurses liberated from Santo Tomas in Manila.She stayed in the Army, served in Korea and retired as a LtCol in 1964 and died 26 Sept 2001.
    I never got to meet her.

  36. My Dad, Fred Schmitz, Srgt. AAF, Indiana born, Louisiana resided; joined Air Nat. Gd. Unit from Indianapolis, was sent to New Orleans to observe/defend German Subs in Gulf of Mex. Was trained as parachute rigger for flyers, became Head of Unit, sent to Pacific in 1944. Married my Mom in Louisiana before he left. Was support for invasion of Leyte, Luzon Phillipines. Had Pilots come back from combat, hugged and kissed him ! Said, “How glad they were their parachutes opened and saved them !”

    One morning at roll call, Officer asked if anyone in unit had photographic experience. Dad said, “Rule in the Army son was, NEVER VOLUNTEER!” On this occasion Dad broke rule-volunteered that he knew photography. Officer took him across base, gave him 4 trailers full of darkroom equipment and said,”Its Yours!”
    Next thing Dad knew he was developing fresh films of Phillipine invasion: bombing raids, destruction of Manila the Capitol, ground action, etc.
    Lucky for me, he made duplicates of many photos and we have them cataloged in books today. Even photos of USO shows with Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, etc. The destruction of Manila was overwhelming.

    One final wonderful story in many ways: As Dad and our troops sat on Iwo and sister islands preparing for invasion of Japanese mainland and estimates of thousands of casualties, the Atom Bombs were dropped and we waited for their response. Dad noticed Japanese planes landing on his airstrip. At first the guys were shocked, then curious, then as they approached the planes there was no security stopping them and they went right up to the planes. It was the official surrender party being sent to McArthur! Dad got eyewitness pics of the pilots, the tuxedo clad Japanese officials, etc.! Not only a chance of a lifetime to witness history but news that the war was ending and they might get home alive!
    Dad made it, I was born in ’51 thus can never politically question the bombs, and today I have his photo albums to remember him and unique history by!

    • It’s amazing you have all those pictures. What a cool piece of history. I’d be curious to know if they would be publishable. My mother’s entire family lived in Manila when the Japanese attacked. Pictures like that would show so much more that they went through besides what I have been told.

    • Please contact the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, TX, 328 Main Street, 78624, to see if they would be interested in getting copies of your pictures. They have an amazing museum and collection of archival material about the Pacific War.

  37. My dad was in the 164th infantry, Charlie company. Very proud American

  38. My Dad was in Luzon…They were called the avengers of Battaan.

  39. If someone has one of those books listed by other posts can you please look up John and Josephine Alexander? Both were taken as POWs and were held at that university. I do not think John was enlisted, though he may have been, he was a mining engineer. After coming home to Michigan, both he and his wife returned to the Phillipines to live, but he died in 1951 due to an mining accident.

    • I have the book on Los Banos. Do you mean that internment camp or Santo Tomas? Most of the internees at Los Banos started at Santo Tomas and were moved to Los Banos. I left my Kindle at work which is what I have Rescue at Los Banos on. I would be happy to look tomorrow if you think they may have been there.

    • Could u please?

    • Roberta, I looked for you this morning and they were not listed on the Los Banos list, so they probably stayed at Santo Tomas the whole time. I think you would be able to find that list though fairly easily. There are a few books about Santo Tomas specifically and looking through government war files and I want to say Ancestry.com. Maybe someone has a list readily available for Santo Tomas. I actually had family there too, and my great grandfather died at Santo Tomas. I got that info via Ancestry.com.

    • Absolutely. I would be happy to. I will look for you tomorrow and let you know if I find them.

    • Yes, John Charles Alexander and Josephine Rose Alexander are both listed as Americans on the Santo Tomas Roster

  40. My Dad, Jack T. Yandell was a Sargent with the 24 INF. Div.of the 6th. Army. He landed on Leyte on Oct. 20, 44. Not to many details were talked about during his lifetime. A few stories with a slightly humorous tint, but, very slight. One story he did tell me was the afternoon they were in a firefight with some Japanese, a small squad if I remember correctly. My Dad and two men in his squad captured a Jap soldier and under fire each man grabbed a foot and ran like hell back to safety, all the while this Jap’s head is flopping up and down on the ground. Getting back to their lines the wounded soldiers wanted water and the two soldiers with my Dad refused to give him any and wanted to kill him, well, my Dad , in the middle of all that he’ll, the heat, the bugs, the dead all around, took out his canteen and gave that Japanese soldier some of his water. That moment, the human helping another human being came out. I’ll always remember that forgiving moment. But, my Dad ALWAYS held resentment towards the Japanese throughout his life. He passed in 1976 at the age of 55 , he drank alot and had some demons he delt with, but he was a Electrical Contractor, fine husband and couldn’t ask for a better Dad. RIP Dad, I miss you more than you could ever realize..

  41. First I want to say thank you and your family members for the service and sacrifice that so many there and at home made! Coming from a military family (Grandfather was Lt. Commander-US Navy and 2 cousins in US Army) and being a lover of history, I’m amazed at all of the beautiful stories here. I have been very lucky to be once again in Manila for work for 3 months and the first time I got to visit Intramuros and Corregidor Island. Our guide was amazing-his father had served there and he had many personal stories and info in addition to the tour info. The entire island and the ruins still there (bombed out barracks, the tunnels used by both Allied and Japanese soldiers, etc) serve as a memorial to all those that served there with some losing their lives there. I couldn’t stop taking pictures! This time I got to visit the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial! Very beautiful and emotional! Again I couldn’t stop taking pictures!
    If anyone ever gets the opportunity to visit the Philippines do it! The people here are truly amazing and everything is very affordable! Again thank you for your and your family’s service and ultimate sacrifice!

  42. I meant to add that if anyone needs a certain picture maybe of one of the gravesite markers of their family members or a photo of their name on one of the huge engraved walls (it’s for the MIA soldiers) at the Memorial Cemetery it’s close by and free to get in so I could return and get it for you! I’m here until March 18. Unfortunately I won’t be going to Corregidor again, however I do have many photos. I’m also visiting Baguio this weekend but it will be a quick turnaround bus tour (for the annual flower festival) so not sure what I can get there regarding photos of any military importance.

    • For photographs of any of the graves at the Memorial Cemetery near Manila (now Fort Bonifacio, formerly Fort William McKinley during WWII), please check the Find-A-Grave website. Every headstone at every national cemetery has been photographed, and you can search by name and location. Many of the memorials have additional information posted.

  43. Someone mentioned a relative held in a cell in Manila which flooded. Still happens. A couple of yrs ago during a hurricane the Manila jail along the Pasig River flooded. According to Manila paper, prisoners were given empty milk jugs to tie onto each corner of their cots to float & guards made rounds delivering chow, etc, on stilts. I was not able to visit Los Banos that time because of flooding.
    Another good source of info is the small, but well maintained & very accommodating museum at Ft Statsenburg/Clark Field, Angeles City.
    Dates for early events in Philippines are little confusing because Japs kept clocks on Tokyo time rather than GMT that US forces use. They think they bombed Pearl on the 8th.

  44. My dad served on the USS Nassau during the war.

  45. My Dad was in 511b pir 11th airboirne. He saw action at Luzon.Leyte, Tara. Ridge HHe was one of the paratroopers that made the jump at Los Banos. HIS Unit received the Presidential Unit CITATION for their actions.

  46. My uncle, Corporal Edmond H. Vincent was killed on April 3, 1945 by enemy fire in Bayanbaynanam,Rizal, Luzon Island, Philippines, a victim of Japanese sniper fire. He served as a corporal assigned to C Battery, 544th Field Artillery Battalion operating in the Philippines against the Japanese. Vincent’s battery was assigned to take part in the assault on Intramuros, the oldest district and historic core of the City of Manila, the capital of the Philippines. I was quite young so do not remember him very well but he’s always been a hero to our family and has been missed.

  47. My great Uncle, Earl Edward Russell, left me a book written by a friend and fellow internee at Santo Tomas, titled simply, “Santo Tomas Internment Camp.” The book was written by Frederick H. Stevens, and details life inside the walls of the camp. He wrote the manuscript while he was at Santo Tomas, relying on friends to hide the manuscript from the Japanese.
    The book was published Stratford House in 1946 as a limited edition. General MacArthur wrote this Foreword in the book:

    “On these pages Fred Stevens has recorded life in the internment camps for allied citizens in the Philippines during those long, bitter years under Japanese domination. It is an able, true life saga of the courage and fortitude of able, proud people suddenly herded from all walks of life and every social strata into the stark tragedy of close, brutal and comfortless confinement-men, women and children, who, despite their humiliation, suffering and peril, never lost faith in God, country or cause. Stirringly depicting the human emotions which swept the souls of those gallant few-courage and fear. joy and pathos, hope and despair-throughout there is that note of grandeur by which they, unconquered and unconquerable, gained a great moral and spiritual victory by firmly meeting that challenge to the stamina of our race.” General Douglas MacArthur

  48. My wife’s late uncle, Thomas E. Horner, wrote of his Navy experiences. I have uploaded his words to Flickr – https://flic.kr/s/aHskR7aGMG
    Beginning on page 9 he wrote about his remembrances of Leyte.

  49. My grandfather was a Chemist at the University in Manilla and was sent to Santo Tomas as a POW. My grandmother had a baby under 1 year of age and was allowed to remain out, with the other children until the baby was a year old, at which time they joined my grandfather. They were later moved to Los Banos until they were liberated by the paratroopers. Although her parents never revisited, my mother returned about 45 years later, and was invited to tour the home where the family had lived. Many thanks to all of the men & women who put their lives on the line to get them out when they did.

  50. Thank you for looking them up Tracy. I have a full access ancestry with fold3. Is that list available on ancestry?

    • I found my great-grandfather in a list of World War II prisoners of war. I am still working on finding more relatives that way. There are a lot of different last names because of marriages etc. He actually died in Santo Tomas.

    • I have the list of all internees at Sto Tomas, Los Banos, and some of the other camps. If you send me the names I will check the list.

    • What I know for sure is that my great grandfather Carlin Hamlin McClure SR died in 1942 in Santo Tomas. My great aunt and uncle Ryanna McClure and Carlin Hamlin McClure Jr started in Santo Tomas and were moved to Los Banos and rescued in the raid. My other great grandfather Frank V Klar I believe also died in Santo Tomas in 1944, but the only thing I found that is close is a Frank K Klar, so I am not sure if that’s a mixup or someone else. I don’t think Klar is a common enough name, especially in the Philippines for there to have been 2 of them. I would be looking for other Klars – Milagros Vasquez, Christina (who may have been married at the time) and Augustine. Then I would be looking for more of my grandmother’s family. Her mother Emilia Ayson McClure who could potentially be listed as Spanish as I know she was the daughter of a Spanish general whom my great grandfather met while he was in the Philippines during the Spanish American war. Their children George V McClure, and Warren Swann McClure. Then most of their daughters were married. So there is Della McClure Gonzalez, Florencio Gonzalez II, and their children Florencio III, and Emilia. Twanna McClure Alberto, Ramon Alberto, and their children Ramon Jr and Aurora. Carmen McClure Monserrat, Rafael Monserrat and their children Angeles, Rafael, Pilar and Carmen. I know some of the women with children in the family were able to stay in my grandmother’s home and the men and older children were sent to Santo Tomas. Many of my mother’s cousins were born in the 1920’s and early 1930’s, so by this time would have been young adults or teenagers. As you can see there are a lot of them and I am very unclear as to who was interned and who wasn’t. I do know that none of the other family members were sent to Los Banos with my aunt and uncle. I would love any information you may have on any of them to add to the family tree.

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