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From: "Shalori" <>
Subject: [WORLD WAR II] The Secret War of Santo Tomas Aug 1945 Chapter 4
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2003 17:31:54 -0800
The Secret War of Santo Tomas
Los Angeles Times
Wed, Aug 11, 1945
EFFORTS TO HALT JAP KILLINGS FAIL
Three Britishers Shot, Then
Buried Alive by Captors
Earl Carroll, American business man, thrust into the dangerous dual role of civilian
Leader and underground chief at Santo Tomas internment camp in Manila, herewith tells of the brutal execution of three British internees by the Japanese. The following is fourth in a series.
By Earl Carroll
Now, it was more than 12 hours until the Japs would execute the three young Britishers who had tried to escape from Santo Tomas.
Sitting there in that university room – a room dedicated to learning and culture and the gentle things of life – we of the internee executive committee were growing desperate. We debated and discarded a dozen wild schemes for saving the lives of the three.
Then Tomoyasu, the old camp commandant with the billiard ball head, did a strange thing. Earlier that day he had sent word that he had done all he could to stop the executions, and that he was too broken up even to talk about it. Now he sent this word to us.
“I have been unable to do anything as a Japanese officer. I shall now humble myself by removing my uniform and pleading before the authorities as an ordinary Japanese citizen.”
We watched from our upstairs window. Sure enough he emerged wearing a kimono and wooden sandals, climbed into his car and drove off.
But he was back in an hour. He sent up word he had failed again.
How do you explain that? I can’t, any more than I can explain the fact that much later in our imprisonment, another Japanese commandant stile two copies of a ship manifest for C.C. Grinnell and me.
THAT HAPPENED THE DAY A JAP VESSEL ARRIVED WITH THE FIRST AMERICAN RED CROSS SHIPMENT FOR US – AND WHAT A GLORIOUS DAY IT WAS!
When word reached us the ship was in, we told the commandant we wanted to see the manifest showing everything sent us because we were afraid his countrymen had stolen most of it. And he went to the ship, got the captain drunk and stole not one but two copies of the manifest for us!
Perhaps Tomoyasu was not the man who ordered the executions. But I believe he could have stopped them and would have except for that bloodthirsty young Takahashi.
And I believe that Tomoyasu having decided he could not or would not stop them, then decided to put on a good show for our benefit. So he dolled up in his kimono and clogs and probably went out and had a few beers.
It was Takahashi who, fearful we might find a way to halt the executions, had moved up the hour from Monday to Sunday evening and then to Sunday noon.
And it was Takahashi who forestalled our next move. He forbade all calls out of the camp just as we were preparing to telephone several influential neutrals.
Now we had one last card to play. Arthur H. Evans of Arcadia, Calif., former advisor to the Philippines customs and the appointive liaison between the camp and the Red Cross, had a pass to go out of the camp Sunday morning on Red Cross business.
It was decided he would get to Episcopal Bishop Norman E. Binstead, Weston, Mass., a man who had spent years in Japan and was so respected by the Japanese he was not interned until later.
The bishop acted instantly. He reached a high Japanese personage in Manila. That official promised to stop the executions. But the official evidently still thought it was set for Monday morning and that he had plenty of time to act.
We did not know of the bishop’s efforts until later. We were still meeting as that Sunday morning wore on, chain smoking, trying to cheer each other, racking our brains for a last minute angle we could work.
ALL OVER THE CAMP OUR PEOPLE WERE GATHERED IN GROUPS. THE HARSH REALITIES OF OUR IMPRISONMENT WERE COMING HOME TO US NOW. AND SOME OF US WERE HAVING TROUBLE ADJUSTING TO THEM.
Rumors flew everywhere. They had already been executed. They had got a reprieve. The monitors were going to be shot. Carroll was going to be shot.
Those last rumors were given real credence when Tomoyasu sent for Stanley and me and for Pedder, the monitors, shortly before noon. They piled us into cars and put a squad of soldiers into a bus. Then off we drove while the camp watched silently.
We went to the San Marcelino jail in Manila and the three prisoners were brought out. When they saw us they began smiling. They thought they were to go free.
When we drove to the Chinese cemetery north of Manila, and stopped near a large, freshly dug grave, they knew.
“Why, we haven’t even been tried!” exclaimed Laycock. And that was that. The stuff we had been given about a court martial was a Jap lie.
Tomoyasu asked me if I had anything to say to the men. I do not recall all that I told them. But I remember saying this:
“Your names will not be forgotten at Santo Tomas. You are dying as martyrs to freedom.”
I gave each man a cigarette and started to light them. One of the Jap guards pushed me aside and lighted them himself.
Takahashi seated the three on the mound of earth beside the grave with their feet dangling in.
Laycock, an Australian, refused a blindfold. “I’ll die like a man, not a rat,” he said. But Takahashi ordered him blindfolded anyway.
Then the Jap detail took up positions 15 feet in front of the men and took out their side arms.
Takahashi was grinning when he gave the order to fire.
Those pistols were small bore, and would kill a man only if the bullet struck a vital spot. The Japs could not aim that well.
THEY FIRED AND FIRED. I COUNTED 13 SHOTS. WEEK’S BODY FELL IN LAST. THEN THE JAPS STOOD OVER THEM, FIRING DOWN INTO THE GRAVE.
Groans still were coming from that grave when the Japs began to shovel dirt into it.
The Japs were still shooting when Tomoyasu turned away, mumbling to himself. He went behind a clump of bushes and looked the other way.
Stanley told me Tomoyasu was saying,” Its butchery. They should have the proper instruments.”
Maybe he meant swords. Before the Japs were driven from Manila they killed nearly 4000 people at the cemetery. And most of the dead were beheaded.
The next day the executive committee read this into the minutes:
“All three men faced their end bravely and heroically without faltering. And the committee wishes to record its admiration for their superb courage.”
What more could we say?
CHAPTER FIVE (Cont)
|[WORLD WAR II] The Secret War of Santo Tomas Aug 1945 Chapter 4 by "Shalori" <>|