Daily Archives: 07/23/2005

Thank You eBay

The MiniStar 2 LED Replacement bulb from TerraLuxPicked up a nifty new toy at the post office today: The MiniStar2 LED bulb for my maglite flashlight from TerraLux. It is a super bright, white LED bulb replacement for my Mini Maglite. And it is blindingly bright. I am really impressed. It was pretty darn expensive, but I got a pretty good deal on eBay for the kit. It cost me over $20 for a little lightbulb, which is certainly not cheap, but the thing will last me forever and I won’t be burning through the batteries every typhoon now because the LED is very energy efficient. And did I mention it’s really, really bright? I can’t wait for the next power outage now.

War Diary III

In the third installment of the World War II diaries of Guam resident William G. Johnston, he recounts the surrender of the island to the Japanese. These were originally printed in the Pacific Daily News from July 19 to July 22, 2005.

Here are the first two installments: War Diary I and War Diary II.

Naval governor surrendered island

By William G. Johnston

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series. It is the first-person account of the invasion and capture of Guam, written by William G. Johnston and taken from his diary. The content is edited for spelling, punctuation and space, but otherwise is published as written more than 60 years ago. At the start of this entry, of Thursday, Dec. 11, 1941, Johnston has just left his family and walked to the guard station to surrender — which the Japanese were requiring all island residents to do.

Excerpts from “U.S.-Japanese War, Personal Experiences,” W.G. Johnston

Written from 1941 to 1943

(I) surrendered and was put in the Insular Guard quarters where I found most of the other civilians. I was fortunate enough to be given a cell facing the entrance or lobby.

Here, by talking with others, I got the details of the capture of the island the day before.

At Dungca’s Beach and at Agana, a large force in the dark after midnight left the ships in sampans, which were run up on the outlying reef.

By the light of the full moon, they waded into the shore, for it was low tide.

This landing party were veterans called “Marines” who were killers, for they started shooting at everything that moved as soon as they landed. If they did not stop, they used the bayonet.

Many natives trying to get out of town too late were killed.

Antonio Limtiaco’s jitney filled with women and children was fired upon and all five massacred. Another native had his wife and three children in his car with him. He did not stop in time. They were all killed but him, who was taken prisoner and marched away, leaving his dead family in the car alongside the road.

Bill Hughes was coming into the city from Barrigada. At the foot of the hill he was fired upon. Two boys in his car were killed, and he and his wife were wounded. A Japanese Marine ran up and slashed his back open with a knife bayonet. He let in the clutch of his car, starting up suddenly, ran down two soldiers and drove unconsciously to the hospital where (he) collapsed in a pool of blood. Both recovered.

Four children of a Japanese resident who had married a Chamorro woman were shot down.

There were many others killed — in all, between 60 and 75, most of them being killed at Dungca’s Beach and in San Antonio.

Column of troops

In the meantime, Japanese troops were pouring in at the Agana Navy Yard, Sumay, Umatac, Talofofo and Pago, but they were not as savage as the murderous “Marines” who did most of the killing, and few if any were killed at other points in the capture of the island on that fateful Wednesday, December 10, 1941.

Minimal defense

The column of troops from San Antonio and Pago moved on Agana and headed for the Plaza, where the governor and most of the officers were.

There was really no defense put up. … There (were) a few machine guns of small caliber, but none of 50 caliber, no cannon or any form of artillery, no planes and no submarines — nothing to fight with.

Yet the governor had given orders to the chief boatswain’s mate Lane, who was in command of the Insular Guard, to post four machine guns so that these guns would command approaches from the sea and to man them with native guardsmen. …

The first column to appear came up the street from San Antonio to the Catholic Church. As it reached the corner, our machine guns opened up on them.

They were driven back — this was at 5:10 a.m. The Japanese troops reformed and again advanced and were again driven back, although their rifle fire had by now killed or wounded several.

Another column was now coming up Pasos Street by Leary School, and a third from Pago was in San Ramon and also approaching.

Lane said, “We must surrender at once to save lives. It is no longer possible to resist further.”

The governor had gone upstairs to his quarters to change from civilian clothes to uniform, so Commander Giles, second in command, stepped out with Lane waving a white handkerchief from the Palace or Government House. (Giles) ran to an automobile parked in front and blew the horn several times.

A Japanese officer blew a whistle and firing ceased. A voice called out for the senior officers, under a flag of truce, to come across the Plaza to the Parochial Schoolhouse and surrender. …

When Giles and Lane reached the schoolhouse, the Japanese officer there placed them under arrest as prisoners of war and marched them to the Agana Navy Yard on the waterfront for them to surrender to the Japanese general in command of the enemy expedition.

They were returned to the Plaza with the general, who demanded the formal surrender of the island by the governor, Capt. McMillin.

The governor had been taken prisoner and was sitting on the grass in front of the Government House in his shorts only; partially “dressed” and in this “uniform,” he surrendered the island of Guam.

The taking of prisoners and disarming them immediately followed. … All prisoners were compelled to bow to their captors, but one of these Marines would not bow and called the Japanese “yellow bellied bastards.” Those were his last words, for they disemboweled him with a knife, bayonet and he died in his tracks in ranks. I believe this was the last man killed. …

Japanese officers were frank in stating that they expected more resistance and came prepared to overcome it. The island was to be captured at any cost. …

Looting

Looting broke out in the city. Some stores were cleaned out and others not touched.

The worse sufferers were the Calvo Bros, who lost practically all their merchandise, even what they thought was safely hidden in the country; Pedro Martinez lost 900 sacks of rice, several cars, warehouses of building materials and most of a herd of about 500 cattle; and AK and Co. importers and wholesalers, who had a large well-stocked store and two warehouses.

On the other hand Butlers, with the exception of 300 cases of whiskey and about the same amount of beer, lost little with the exception of jewelry, watches and trinkets.

Most of the stuff taken was paid for in yen (an article marked $1 being bought for one yen.)

One of the first things the Japanese officers did the morning of the capture was to collect all liquor, beer, etc. from wholesalers, clubs and saloons, to keep it from falling into the hands of the Japanese soldiers.

It would be too terrible a thing to imagine what would have happened if all those 7,000 soldiers had gotten drunk, flushed, as they were, with the excitement of victory.

Private homes were, in most cases, not looted, the exception being that houses whose occupants were evidently officers or servicemen as indicated by uniforms there, were cleaned out, trunks broken open and drawers emptied. What the Japanese soldiers could use or wanted was taken, the other things, especially uniforms, being destroyed.

Only a few other private homes were molested and, in each case, the occupants did not show Japanese officers “proper respect” when they called to look over the place.

One case will suffice to show this. Don Perez, a well-to-do old native, was asleep taking his siesta one afternoon when a party of Japanese soldiers called to look over the house. He was asleep and his daughter refused to wake him.

They slapped her, pulled him out of bed, tore off his clothes and destroyed all his other clothing, made him open his safe and took all his money. He was left practically destitute.

While we were in the country, Mrs. Dejima, a Japanese woman who ran a store across the street from our house and whom my wife had befriended on many occasions, kept the house from being entered by watching the place and talking the Japanese into letting it alone and going somewhere else.

When she saw we had returned Wednesday night, she came over and told Agueda to be very careful to welcome Japanese soldiers with a smile and a bow and be as pleasant as possible.

“I know how you feel. This is war. But keep your feelings here,” she said, pointing to her heart. “Do not let it come out here,” pointing to her lips. …

I could go on at length and tell the interesting experiences of men who had had almost miraculous escapes from death, but I have, I believe, written enough to give a fairly comprehensive narrative of the capture of Guam.

Transcribed by Pacific Daily News reporter Katie Worth.

Originally published July 21, 2005

I’ll finish up the series tomorrow…

Twinkies or Twikes?

While my buddy contemplates buying a Prius, I thought I would offer up some links to an interesting electric/human powered vehicle: The Twike. That stands for ‘twin bike’ and the contraption looks like an airplane cockpit crossed with a tricycle. It features an electric motor capable of doing 85 km/h with a range of 130 km and optional bicycle pedals to extend that range. It’s handmade in Switzerland, costs a bundle (around $20,000), and looks pretty cool – but that sure is a silly name. Get used to gizmos like this, I firmly believe this is the future of automobiles, at least for city driving. Will people in the US adopt such a funky looking thing willingly? Not as long as gasoline remains cheap. But once prices skyrocket, vehicles like this will become attractive alternatives to walking or riding a bike around in the rain.

More Twike links, including an American’s odyssey in obtaining one: