Stirni, and of course Shaw stayed in Manila. Egner and Stirni were
picked up as civilians and interned in Santo Tomas Concentration Camp.
Some months later, probably about six months after the Japanese occupied
Manila, the Japs discovered they had an Army Lieutenant in with the
civilians in the prison, and they made a sweep to see if there were
any other uniformed officers. Stirni didn't know what to do, so he
looked for Egner to see whether he should report as an officer of
the uniform service or stay as a civilian. Stirni couldn't find Egner,
who was never much help to anybody, so he reported in and was taken
up to Cabanatuan, but this was several months after the rest of us
from Corregidor and Bataan were all up there. Egner stayed at Santo
Tomas, and Charley Shaw was put in Bilibid prison. I saw Shaw when
I was being transferred from Cabanatuan to Japan. He got back home
after the war, but died, and Egner has died since. Stirni was killed
when we got bombed in Taiwan.
and Geodetic Survey Ship STIRNI. This ship was named in memory
of Lt. (j.g.) Joseph Stirni, USC&GS, who was killed while
prisoner of war in 1945. He was killed by a U. S. bomb hitting
the ship he was being transported to Japan on from the Philippine
the standby crew and I got the Research over to Corregidor, we went
in to an anchorage on the north shore. You couldn't really call it
a harbor where we dropped the anchor. When it got light, I
went ashore to see the harbormaster to see where he wanted the ship
While I was ashore there was an air raid, the first
for Corregidor. We'd anchored the Research within swinging room of
the Philippine Presidential yacht. A small bomb hit the yacht and
the debris came over to our ship, but other than that we apparently
didn't have any damage.
Well, I struck a deal with the harbormaster. If I
would get the rest of my crew out from Manila and use our small boats
and help them with the barges, they would feed us and give us any
supplies we needed.
Maybe I'd better digress here and explain about the
barges. At the Manila end of the bay, they had built a big breakwater
the ships could go inside. The piers were all built inside the breakwater
and they all had odd numbers. Pier 1 was the Army pier used by the
Quartermaster Corps. The open-U shaped piers 3 and 5 were used for
commercial shipping. Pier 7 was the largest pier and could take a
couple of the big ocean liners on either side. The other piers were
Most of the ships visiting Manila would anchor inside
behind the breakwater, and they had river barges to service those
ships. The Pasig River did not open into this enclosed harbor area,
but there was an opening through the breakwater into the river. The
barges could go through this opening and upriver to the bodegas and
warehouses along the river.
So we, and when I say we, I mean the American Forces,
collared these barges. We'd take them to Pier 1 and load them with
Army supplies from the warehouse and whatever we could gather in from
Fort McKinley and Nichols Field, which were close by. We'd load the
barges, tow them outside the breakwater and turn them loose. From
the river, the natural drift was out the bay. Corregidor was at the
mouth of the bay and we'd pick up the barges there and ground them.
Then we'd offload them onto either Bataan or Corregidor depending
on which side we happened to ground them.
We did all this work at night, of course, because
the Japanese observation posts in the mountains there on Bataan were
looking right down our throats. They could look into our gun emplacements
on Corregidor from the top of the mountain.
The harbormaster on Corregidor wanted us to work
at this job with the launches from the Research. So we struck this
agreement, and I wrote this lengthy report about it to Washington.
I went into Malinta Tunnel where they'd set up an office and borrowed
a typewriter and typed my report as a letter, though whether it ever
got to Washington I never heard.
were still running one of the ferry ships back and forth between Manila
and Corregidor at night. That evening I left a few volunteers aboard
our ship, and took most of the watch I had with me back to Manila.
I figured to use them to round up the rest of the crew, as well as
give these men a chance to see their families. I gave them the word
to get the rest of the crew and be back at Pier 1 the following evening
and we'd go back to Corregidor. I went back and saw my wife, Kay,
and our children, and that was the last time I saw them until I saw
her in Washington in November after the war ended. Well, the following
evening I got down to the pier, and, no one from the crew showed up.
So I went back to Corregidor alone on the ferry.
One of the things they did on that night ferry was
dispose of equipment they didn't want to fall into Japanese hands.
The military had taken half a dozen three bushel baskets of parts
and some of the control equipment from the electric power plant in
Manila, and on the way back we set some boxes on the port side, and
some on the starboard, and we threw pieces overboard all the way back
so it would be impossible for the Japanese to retrieve them and repair
the power plant to obtain full power.
When I got back to Corregidor, I found my ship had
sunk from the pounding it had gotten and leaks we hadn't discovered.
She had grounded first on the Corregidor shore, but with an incoming
tide, she'd floated off back into the bay and finally grounded a few
miles up the Bataan coast.
had no place to live. For a few weeks I lived aboard one of the inter-island
passenger ships that were tied up at Corregidor.
Of course with no ship and no crew, the deal I'd
made with the harbormaster on Corregidor was no good except that I
turned the launches over to the Port Authority for their use, but
they had to furnish the personnel.
One of our civilian employees, an old timer by the
name of Maynard, was a Reserve Army Major in the Corps of Engineers,
and we made a deal with the Army to move a printing press and keep
making maps for the Army as they fell back into Bataan. We loaded
it onto a barge in Manila to get it out. It got to Corregidor, but
never got off the barge.
They loaded the small press, and everything we needed
including all the plates to make maps of the islands. We had the original
plates for the area and the islands so if the submarines came in and
needed charts, we could furnish them. But at the last minute some
Air Force personnel came over to Corregidor to come down with a jeep
to load on this barge. When the barge was grounded they sent a detail
out to hoist the printing press up the cliff so we could get it into
the mortar battery where we had set up shop. But instead of getting
the printing press, the detail concentrated on getting that jeep out,
because we didn't have much transportation on the island. So they
spent all night getting that jeep up and the next day we got a higher
tide coming in and the barge floated off and we never saw it again.
The printing press and all the equipment went with it.
We did have all the equipment to make blueprints,
though. You just have to have a few chemicals and the paper. You expose
it just like you would a negative, put it in a tube with some of the
chemical and you get a blue print. So that's how we made our maps.
I got the job of going over to Bataan and get the
information on the new front lines and bringing it back to Corregidor,
where we'd put it on the maps. At least once a week I'd go over to
Bataan to get the information on the new lines, and carry a bunch
of maps over. While over there, I'd stay with a major in the Quartermaster
Corps or with a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Air Corps, Nicky Amos.
By the way, this Lieutenant Colonel was one of the five flyers who
made the first non-stop crossing from San Francisco to Honolulu by
Maynard set up our shop there on Corregidor in a
12 inch mortar battery. We cleaned all the powder out of one wing
of the battery and set up our processing and drafting equipment, and
our living quarters, cots and that, in there. I don't know if you
have seen one of those mortar batteries, but there's a U shaped bunker
on one end and four great big mortars set behind walls that were quite
high, because mortars shoot almost straight up in the air. The battery
wasn't being used at the time, though after Bataan fell, they reactivated
it for the month or so that Corregidor held on.