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