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CDR George Edward "Ted" Morris, Jr. Retired Coast and Geodetic Survey

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So that was my headquarters, there at Middleside. They had Bottomside, Middleside and Topside. The Army barracks were on Topside, with living quarters on Middleside, and the operational units were on Bottomside. We messed with the Army engineers.

 

brick and leila maynard with major marvin paulson
Brick and Leila Maynard with Major Marvin Paulson. Brick was a long-time Philippine employee of the Coast and Geodetic Survey who was an Army reservist as well. He was captured at the fall of Corregidor and was incarcerated for the duration of the war. Leila spent the war in a prisoner of war camp as well.


Corregidor, looking down on it from the top, looks very much like a scorpion. It has a big body and a long whip tail. The big body is quite high, and that's where we had our Bottomside, Middleside and Topside. Out on the tail, there's a depression maybe 30 or 40 feet above sea level, and then there's this big outcropping, Malinta Hill. They'd tunneled all the way through that, with laterals off either side, and they had one lateral that went all the way out to the north shore. There was a road around the north side. They had brought down the gold miners from up at Benguay, in Northern Luzon, and had built another tunnel parallel to Malinta tunnel, but to the south of it. They called this tunnel Queen's Tunnel, and the Navy took that over.

MacArthur had his headquarters in one of the laterals off Malinta Tunnel. One of the laterals was the hospital tunnel, and MacArthur had his quarters in there. He had his family and a Chinese amah, of course for his kid.

I didn't have a whole lot to do until we got our set up in the bunker completed. I would spend time hither and yon, get a car every once in a while to go from here to there for some reason or the other, but I had no specific assigned duties other than the trips over to Bataan to get the information. The troops there were being pushed, but they had a steady fall back plan, and they had to coordinate it so they wouldn't leave flanks exposed. It was quite a long line all across that peninsula and they didn't want the Nips to come through and get behind anybody.

We were getting most of our information about the war from a San Francisco short wave radio station. I remember some disc jockey on the station telling the Nips what they could do and what they couldn't do - that they couldn't bomb Corregidor, and that they wouldn't dare send a plane over Corregidor. Well, the next day was when we got plastered. That San Francisco station was telling the Japs what they couldn't do, and the next day, the Japs would go out and do it.

We heard on the radio that our assistant director of the Coast and Geodetic Survey had transferred us to the Navy. My wife and I had lived with the second echelon, the majors and lieutenants, of the Philippine Department of the U.S. Army, and socialized with them for two years, and knew them quite well. Those men were now on Corregidor and on Bataan, and I talked with them about this development. After getting their ideas, I went to the Navy setup in Queens Tunnel, and talked with them. I said I thought that the Coast Survey had been transferred to the Navy, and was reporting to them for duty.

The Navy people wanted to know if there was somewhere I was staying, and I told them, yes. When they learned where I was living and what we were doing with the map making, they said they would assign me as liaison between the Navy and the Army map service, and wanted me to report to them occasionally about what was going on.

And that was it. They said communication with the United States was so spotty, and there was so much that they had to send, that they would let the actual transfer formalities be taken care of in the United States. But the assumption was that I had been transferred. They accepted it there on Corregidor, and all the way back to the States, that I was serving then in the Navy, as a Naval Officer.

As I said, I had friends over in Bataan, including the Assistant Chief Quartermaster of the Philippine Department. See, they had the Department Command, commanded by MacArthur. Then they had the different units, the cavalry, the field artillery up at Stotsenberg, the Air Force at Nichols Field, and medical detachments with sub-chiefs and all that all over. My connections were with the Department people. That's how I wound up with the job of going over to Bataan and getting the new line demarcations and bringing them back to Corregidor.

I had a few other jobs, like in our grenade factory. The grenades that we had were the World War I pineapple kind where you pull the pin and hold down the lever until you're ready to throw it. When you let go of the grenade a spring would throw that lever off, arming the grenade. Two or three seconds later it went off. Only these grenades didn't go off. Of course once you threw that grenade, you gave your position away. We were getting a lot of casualties, not from the grenade itself, but the after effect of the grenade not exploding. So we had boxes and boxes of practice grenades that were just the same weight but with no levers or anything. We took black powder and loaded them with that, and stuck a dynamite cap and a short fuse in the powder.

We were issuing two packs of cigarettes a day per man at the time, and we made the men take the cellophane cover off the packs of cigarettes right then and there and give the cellophane to us. Then we would take two kitchen matches, of which we had a lot, put them with the grenades we'd made, and wrap them all up in the cellophane. When a troop wanted to throw a grenade, he'd unwrap it, had two matches to light the fuse, and then he could throw the grenade. We spent many an evening making grenades for the front line troops to use.

Over on Bataan there was a little indentation called Mariveles Harbor and the Public Health Service had a quarantine station there before the war. The Navy pretty much took that over. They had the USS Canopus in there and they tied that up alongside on the south side of the harbor and used that as a submarine tender. The submarines coming in would tie up there for resupply, getting more torpedoes and any machine work done that they needed.

As you went up the coast a little bit from Mariveles, there was another small indentation. As things progressed and got worse, for a morale builder they decided to put out the word that a hundred ship convoy was coming from Australia to the relief of the Philippines. I was asked to make a survey of the harbor because all they had was a big harbor map which didn't show that much detail. So I collected a survey crew and got a Navy launch, Navy helmsman and leadsman. I had cartographers brought out for help -in making the maps. Most of them had come out up from the ships as recorders and yeoman, and knew how to record for hydrography. There was also a civilian rank from the ferry that ran from Corregidor to Manila and back that had served six months with the Coast Survey up in Alaska doing training, so he knew a little bit about visual control hydrography. With him and this motley crew I made a topographic survey of the bay and put up the control signals, and then I made the hydrographic survey. Of course word got out that we were preparing for this armada coming up, and the engineers got bulldozers in there, bulldozing out an earth wharf so the smaller vessels in the armada could come alongside and offload. We still had enough of those barges to unload the bigger ships. The engineers even built roads down through the jungles of Bataan to the harbor. Of course, no fleet ever came, nor was one ever put together.

We still had order then among the forces. We never really lost order, even when we finally knew we were defeated, when MacArthur left.

Towards the end, when they decided we weren't going to hold out any longer, we spent two or three nights, maybe more than that, burning money. One of our friends was a finance officer for the Department, and we had all the paper money from the Philippines there. We had the job of recording the numbers of the $500 and larger bills; anything smaller than that didn't count. Then we'd burn the bills. I handled more money!



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