Posts Tagged ‘92nd Garage Area’

[See End Note 2]

By now our camp was getting better organized as to dispensing the food and water. There was one building used for the cook house, and here they cooked the rice and soup for all that were in this camp. The rations were just a  mere existence. The Japs had outside working parties, and it was good to get out of camp on one of these details. Most generally one could pick up an extra bit of food that the Philippinos would give us, if they had a chance to do so.

The flies were getting as bad as they had been on Corregidor at the 92nd Garage area. The Japs kept after us to be more sanitary so that we would stay healthy, but still the flies became worse and worse. The Japs decided to reward us by giving us a biscuit for a certain amount of dead flies. A ten ounce milk tin of dead flies was worth two biscuits. Cigarettes were getting scarce in camp, and we could trade a biscuit for three to five cigarettes. I worked hard all one morning with a home-made fly swatter and got two cans of flies, which I traded for biscuits. I ate one biscuit and traded the other one for cigarettes. Cigarettes were money in camp, and were the only pleasure that were allowed to indulge in. After two days of killing flies (getting from one to ten flies with each swat), I decided there surely was a faster way to get flies to fill a milk can. Besides, after you swatted one, he was about half as big as before he was killed.

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It was on May 23, 1942, that we finally left Corregidor, and none too soon. There were men dying every day that we were in the 92nd Garage Area from the heat, wounds, malaria, and other causes. On the 23rd of May we went aboard a Japanese ship, Onnatta Maru. I don’t know how they managed to get so many of us on one ship, but by the time we had quit coming aboard, we had standing room only. There was no food or water to be had and no sanitation. Neither was there any medicine available. We stayed aboard this ship over night, and the next morning, we weighed anchor and headed for Manila.

Corregidor Isle

I lived a while on Corregidor Isle,

Ah, that sun kissed, God cursed land

Where bomb and shell made life a hell

With death on every hand.

Then I got the thirst of the cussed

With no water to be had.

I heard men scream in that hellish dream

And watched my friends go mad.

It’s no man’s fault that water is salt

Or that the food is gone.

That guns are manned by men who are damned

To face death with every dawn.

Some hold their breath and await the death

That comes with bursting shell.

As bombers mourn, some think of home,

Or what they will do in hell.

When our bones blend with the stones,

You’ll hear the parrots cry,

“The men who owned those splintered bones

Were not afraid to die.”

Author Unknown