My father was a prisoner of war during WWII. First in the Philippines and then later in Japan. He enlisted January 6, 1941 (he was 17 years old at the time) and was later shipped to the Philippine Islands aboard the SS President Coolidge. He was not there very long before the war broke out. He was interned at first in the Philippines then later taken to Nagoya #6B Nomachi (Takaoka), Japan where he shoveled ore into furnaces. He suffered from scurvy, pellagra, and beriberi while there. His liberation and return to the United States occurred in October of 1945. Although he was not hospitalized immediately after liberation, he eventually required treatment for his various illnesses.
These pictures are of his reunion with his mother, step father, and step brother.
My grandmother kept a diary while my Dad was gone. I will be posting some of her entries as we go along over the next few weeks. Here are a couple of entries that should get us up to date. These entries were from 69 years ago.“April 9 Fri ’43 One year ago today Bataan fell to the Japs. Still no word of Earl. Glad Herskins sent a paper (Santa Fe) telling of Clarks [Air Force base] and being there. He told a lot about our boy. Can only hope & pray I will hear soon that Earl is safe. Felt pretty low. Warmer today. Some wind. April 11 Sun ’43 Swell day. My day off. Harley worked – so did I – at home. Washed bath room walls & ceiling. Also curtains. Never left apartment. Wrote six letters and two cards. Made candy. April 13 Tues ’43 Well at last the long wait for news is over. Received telegram that Earl is a prisoner of war in the P.I. Sure a big relief. Telegram was under door when we returned from work at midnight. Was delivered at 5 p.m. Swell day. April 14 Cloudy. Took aspirin but still couldn’t sleep last night. Was after 4 a.m. before sleep came. Arose 11 a.m. Every one told me today I looked 10 yrs younger. One said she would like to see what I looked like when Earl came home. I replied they would put me in diapers then. April 15 Mailed lots of letters to friends & relatives about Earl. Must wait for further information, address, etc before I can write to Earl.”
I can’t even begin to imagine what this must have been like for her. My son is now 21 and I can’t imagine not knowing or seeing him for such a long period of time.