Letters From Arthur #32: 2 Feb 1945, Leyte

by Jess Clackum

M4 Sherman Tanks Fight the Japanese At Subic Bay, Philippines February 1945 (Photo: WWII Archives)

M4 Sherman Tanks Fight the Japanese At Subic Bay, Philippines February 1945 (Photo: WWII Archives)

On 3 February, the Battle of Manila would commence. It was a major battle of the 1944-45 Philippine campaign with an alliance of American and Filipino forces. The battle would last one month and result in a complete devastation of the city as well as the deaths of over 100,000 civilians. It was the worst urban fighting in the Pacific theatre. The Battle of Manila put an end to the three-year Japanese occupation of the Philippines.

 

Dear May & Bill,

These past few weeks I've been busy covering a lot of ground. The papers state that the Island is secure. Hardly think so, especially with we having to mop up here and there.

Bill asked me if I was a Rifleman, no Bill I am in with the Communications of this Battalion, which takes me into the front lines at all times. I'm equipped with a carbine for protection and believe me I've escaped death quite a few times. When I return home I shall show you all sorts of Jap souvenirs I've gone after and gotten.

May dear, a few moments ago I received your Christmas package. The most ideal gift and the best I've received.  so far for the holiday. Believe me, May, your packages have always been the best of choice.

Everything I found in them were delicious and now the toilet articles are just what I needed, it's darn hard to get them here in this God forsaken primitive country. Thanks a thousand times for your kindness I appreciate it from the very depths of my heart.

Gosh I'm looking forward with so much enthusiasm to our re-union when I return home I've so much to say to you May and Bill. I can hardly wait. A rarity happened to me couple of hours ago. Here in our improvised chapel, two Filipino sisters were here, one used to be a nightclub singer in one of the Cabarets in Manila before the war. Since then she and her family were chased over the Mountains here they are finally, in rags, and so very shabby. She showed me photographs taken during her success in Manila. She looked beautiful. All gowned up in sequins and fine jewelry. But all that was beautiful vanished when the Japs came. She still is a beautiful creature. I felt if there was a way I could get some unneeded clothes from the States I'd like them sent to her. So I gave her my Army address and told her to write me if and when she had a definite address so I'd write to people in the states to send it to her.

I'm doing this only for having the inclination to help someone who has fallen into the wayside. I'm sure you can understand how I feel about those that are down trodden. Surely these people haven't known the poverty for ages. A pal of mine here knows of this intention and he believes I'm becoming too God fearing. Perhaps he's right. Life here in the Pacific at times seems so short, why not know a little fullness?

Well May & Bill, thanks again for your keen Xmas gift it was alright. Best of love to Joan. My very best to you both. I shall write shortly again.

Best of luck

Your Devoted Brother

Arthur