Post by The Phantom on Apr 29, 2012 21:20:18 GMT 8
Exo, building #474 is listed on the 1936 map as the Barrio Office. Is perhaps the top floor the Barrio Office and the bottom the Provost Marshal office?
Building #474 is located at the junction of the trolley tracks above, and below it almost appears the trolley line passes through part or all of the the building, going north to North Dock and South to South Dock..........allowing the Marshall to provost to his content.
Perhaps the building exists at this juncture on the tracks to also serve as a covered stairway between levels of the trolley lines.
I am not sure where to put this post, either here or in the thread about Amea Willoughby. Since Chad's asleep and I can't ask him, I decided to put it here since Chad had posted the photos of the gold being unloaded from the Trout. It is a long quote from Amea's book and I apologize for that but the book is such an interesting one to read. She does address where the vault was as well as the "missing" gold bar. She also describe"s a woman who was the "keeper of the vault", the widow of the previous keeper. Was she a civilian?
From I was on Corregidor by Amea Willoughby 1943 Harper & Brothers Publishers
Starting on page 189 in Chapter X- Gold Is Also Ballast
“As the Japanese neared the city the tempo of this labor had been incredibly speeded up. By the time we were evacuated to Corregidor things had got to the point where I barely saw Woody from one day's end to another. He was quite literally inundated with the money and securities entrusted to him. In the end it had proved physically impossible to give receipts for everyone's treasures:there just wasn't time for all the necessary clerical work. Under these circumstances I had had a sudden horrid vision of Woody being clapped into Alcatraz if he should ever get back to the States.
The night of the day on which we left Manila, and on several succeeding nights, the money was loaded into little boats. The total blackout made the loading difficult on the shell-pitted docks. But there was starlight, and under the black tropical sky the men worked silently, with all possible haste. The invaluable cargo had been packed into all sorts of containers, of all shapes and sizes, from good sound trunks and lockers to old whisky cases. But big or small, every container was awkward and unbelievably heavy. The motley assortment of hastily collected boats jogged gently up and down in the waters of the Bay as the shipments were carried aboard and made secure. Then, during the night, the little boats took off and chugged across to Corregidor with their millions. When the Japanese reached Manila its financial cupboard was bare.
At Corregidor, the containers were just summarily dumped on the dock. In the inky darkness the dock already appeared so crowded that is seemed impossible to put anything else on it. The Army had salvaged from Manila everything of conceivable use to Corregidor in the impending siege. Cars drove up, stopped with a jerk, and disgorged their work crews. The drivers shouted and started dumping cases and packages into their vehicles. With another shout they backed up and were at once replaced by others. The men on the dock moved at top speed....................
…...By daybreak the money was moved safely from the dock to the vault, which was situated on Middleside about a five minute drive from the tunnel..............
…...Every day several of our small office force worked at the vault while the rest went to their jobs in the tunnel. The vault sounded rather romantic, especially when I learned that there was a keeper of the vault, a Mrs. Wingate. For weeks the sound of “Mrs. Wingate, Keeper of Corregidor's vault” had a fairy-book sound. Then one afternoon I met her. Woody stopped me in front of that rare thing on The Rock, an unfamiliar civilian, and we were introduced. Mrs. Wingate was a large, jovial-faced woman, the widow of the former custodian, and she lived in a little house close by with her five dogs. Near her house there grew one banana and two papaya trees. The soldiers who patrolled the vault day and night kept strict watch on those trees. No one on Corregidor had any use for gold, but we had no fresh fruit and those laden trees were extremely tempting.
I wanted very much to be let into the vault and to see the gold. But it was not the safest of places. For one thing it was not bombproof. And a bit higher up on the same hill was one of the biggest batteries on Corregidor. When the battery let off its twelve-inch mortars the shock in the vault was so terrific that the men working there said it lifted them six inches off their chairs. The Japanese knew the approximate location of this battery it was one of their favorite shelling targets. Sometimes shells whistled overhead every two minutes all day long.
At long last I persuaded Woody to take me to see the vault. We drove up from the tunnel to a charming little green bower where the vault was snugly hidden under leafy luxuriant foliage. I had to look sharply to pick out the low, heavy door and barred windows right in front of me. There were guards pacing in front of the entrance, and there was Mrs. Wingate's house on the right, at the top of a small rise in the ground.
Inside the vault one felt entombed within the oppressively low stone ceilings, as one did in the tunnel, but the air was fresher. A few rays of daylight struggled wanly through the small barred windows into two or three cellarlike rooms of fair size. The only real light came from electric light bulbs hanging nakedly on long cords.”
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Mrs. Willoughby then describes the work her husband's group of people did. They were responsible for the accounting of all the money, gold, securities, stock shares etc that had been sent there for safe keeping. She then writes about the problem the paper money presented. They were recording it and then destroying it. It would then be reissued in the States. Cutting it up proved to be too onerous so they began burning it.
Now on to the second part of this story........ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Same chapter, page 195
“Woody, Jim, Cabot, Ed, and Huff had not been in bed very long one night when they were very quietly awakened. No more than a touch was needed to bring them instantly alert; men slept lightly on Corregidor. A voice said in a whisper, “Hush! No, it's not a raid, but get dressed quickly.”
During the starlit February night a submarine had sneaked through the Japanese blockade and was then at the dock at Bottomside. The gold was to be sent out on it, but it had to be loaded before dawn. There was work to be done.
The other men on our staff were also awakened, along with Vice-President Osmena, Chief Justice Santos, and General Valdes of the Commonwealth Government. The latter had charge of the bullion belonging to the Philippines. Hastily these men put on their clothes. The sleeping figure around them stirred, turned over, slept again. Alert MP's at the tunnel mouth looked the committee over carefully. The rest of Corregidor slumbered, secure in the vigilance of the men on duty.
Ahead, the dusty road showed white before the hurrying men...............clinging to the dock as though to merge its identity was the long, sinister form of a giant submarine. Out of its bowels came case after case of AA ammunition. The gold was to take its place.
The bars were brought from the vault in cars and everyone took a hand with the loading. Hour on hour they worked in the darkness, heavy, steady labor, with not a second to lose. Over the dock and across a teetering gangplank the gold was carried. Some of it was thrown from hand to hand, chain-fashion. Hurry, hurry but don't drop any. Keep your balance, fellow. They packed it in the torpedo rooms and under the bunks, wherever there was room.
Gold had only one value for the submarine captain. “We need more ballast. She won't submerge without it,” he said matter-of-factly, adding that gold would serve as well as water for ballast. So, after the gold was all on board, tons of silver were added.
The men were exhausted, with aching backs and arms long since numb. Tip Parker, in charge of the loading, began to get anxious. It was late, or rather it was getting early. The captain and men wanted to be off before the first suspicion of dawn. They all compared their watches, scanned the sky, and went back to work with a new burst of speed.
Then, suddenly and decisively, there was no more time and the job was still unfinished. A hasty conference resulted in arrangements to stow away the securities the following night. The submarine was to lie submerged on the ocean floor during daylight hours and surface after nightfall at a designated rendezvous. With a cheery farewell from the crew, the submarine cast off, slithered silently away from the dock, and was gone. The men on the dock straightened up, patted their pockets for cigarettes, and slowly dispersed. The stars had lost their bright luster. In the east the sky was a pearly gray..................
…...........With the quick falling of night the securities were loaded into an inconspicuous, undistinctive-looking launch. Woody, Jim, and Tip boarded the boat and pushed off, heading away from Corregidor to meet the submarine. Near them, but not too near, a torpedo boat with thrumming engines loitered protectively. The moon hung low and a soft wind blew lightly.
They reached the appointed spot. There was no submarine. The launch patrolled back and forth, the engines as muffled as possible. They passed and repassed the spot, and still no submarine. Could there have been some mistake? Anxiously the men went over the plans agreed upon. Now the wind freshened. The launch bounced about and smacked the waves in the rising chop of the water. Back and forth, back and forth, while the moon sank, the wind blew briskly, and the waves mounted. For three hours they searched and waited, churning the screw of the little launch so that the listening device of the submarine could pick up the sound. They searched the night for the solid outlines of the submarine with waning hope.
Finally, when they were about to give up, the dark hulk materialized off the port bow and the launch came alongside. By that time the water was so rough that the two crafts sawed dangerously up and down. Somehow the securities were got on board.
“Any passengers?” the captain inquired cheerfully. There wasn't a man on the launch who wouldn't have given all his worldly possessions to go along. “Well, so long.”
“Good-by. Good luck.” The submarine slipped away, with plenty of ballast, for unknown waters. The launch turned back toward Corregidor.
One more hazard now, to get back on The Rock. Not only was there the chance that a stray Japanese plane might spot them, but every inch of shore on Corregidor was patrolled by tense and nervous soldiers awaiting an invasion by the enemy. Anything that looked as though it might be a landing party, or any boat which roused their suspicions by coming too close, was extremely likely to be shot at and questions asked later. The men in the launch felt their hearts thudding; they prayed that the instruction had been understood by every single watcher. Without faltering, the little boat drew steadily nearer the shore. With a long breath of released suspense, they brought it quietly alongside the dock and disembarked. Their job was done.
Out under the high seas the gold of the Philippines was on its way, to reach the United States in safety, or to join the men and ships that have lain on the ocean floor from other wars—but, whatever happened, it would not now fall into the hands of the Japanese.
On shore, the vault was empty. The men in charge of the gold had been lucky, the breaks had been with them. All but one. The next day Woody discovered, down behind a little grating, a tiny bar of gold that had been overlooked. It was about the size of a matchbox. He remembered how hard everyone had worked and how they had tried to avoid the slightest mistake. He sighed and put the tiny bar of gold into his brief case.”
Last excerpt from Chapter XII- Home By Bomber And Transport p246
As soon as we landed. Woody hurried to the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco to confer with the officials about the gold and securities that had been sent from Corregidor. He was received with pleasure and a great deal of ceremony.
Down to the vault, two floors below street level, he went, passing armed guards. But the officials did not allow him within twenty feet of the vault itself without two officers present every minute. On the way to the vault the party passed through a room in which fifteen girl clerks were checking the inventories we had made on the Rock. Two officials were stationed in the room with these girls. As Woody passed by, all papers were folded over so as to conceal their contents and the clerks stopped work and waited until he had gone. Everywhere he could see that extreme care was being taken.
The securities were dealt with first. Then they went on to the matter of the gold. They congratulated him and the people connected with the tremendous undertaking warmly and at some length. Woody thanked them.
By the diffidence and hesitation in the manner of the officials with whom Woody was closeted, it was apparent that they were leading up to something. They described the detailed checking they had instigated and said that the U.S. Mint officials had checked their findings. Every record in any way connected with the handling of the money along every step of its route had been rechecked. Their own records had been double checked as a matter of course. Also the records of the officers of the cruiser to which the gold had been transshipped from the submarine. The records of the submarine officers, and even those of the truckmen who had transported the gold through the hazards of San Francisco streets—these, too, had been checked and rechecked. Mind you, they said, it was a marvelous accomplishment to have saved so many millions, but, they were short one small piece of gold the size of a matchbox, and worth about $306.
Throughout this long approach to the main topic Woody had listened with interest. Now he unfastened the straps of his briefcase and took out the little gold bar. “Oh, that!” he said, and gave it to them.
Mrs. Anna L Wingate CIV is listed as having been evacuated with the remaining Corregidor nurses to camp 526, Santo Tomas. Her name is also spelled Ana on a list in "We Band of Angels" by Elizabeth M. Norman, and the philippine-defenders' website. I don't know what finally happened to her.
If I may, here is another bit of info/lore about the vault.
From Corregidor The Saga of a Fortress by James H. Belote and William M. Belote Chapter 15 The Long Wait page189
"In their version of "graceful living" the Corregidor Japanese forced their captives to convert the old Philippine Government treasury vault, where the gold and silver had been stored, into an eight-room brothel, in which they confined seven prostitutes from Manila. They lured the girls into coming with the promise of high pay, and then refused them permission to leave. Such an installation on a military post caused wonderment among the American prisoners and much comment in their diaries."
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Since this passage refers to the vault as belonging to the Philippine Government, maybe that is why a civilian was the "keeper of the vault" and not an Army person, and why she was able to supposedly take over when her husband died.
That text is interesting for sure. One thing that comes to mind is Amea Willoughby’s description of the location of the Philippine Treasury building.
When someone mentions the Treasury as having been located at Middleside, most people scratch their heads in confusion. We have to remember that there were no defined boundaries to Topside, Middleside, and Bottomside. Personally I consider these three areas to have limits and everywhere else is “none of the above”.
In my view, saying that the Treasury was on Middleside is a bit of a stretch but then it certainly is not Topside and certainly is not Bottomside. If we have to pick one, as Willoughby did, then by the process of elimination it is on Middleside.
The Philippine Treasury Building is shown on US Army maps to be located in the Insular Government Reservation. To drive here from Malinta Tunnel, you would go up to Middleside and then continue a bit further. Driving time would be about five minutes as she stated.
If you were standing at the Treasury building, “a bit higher up on the same hill”, there is a twelve-inch mortar battery. It is named Battery Geary and the straight line distance between it and the Treasury is only 370 meters. There is no question that Battery Geary was a “favorite shelling target” of the Japanese.
When Willoughby says the Treasury was not bombproof, we cannot argue with that statement either. In 1945 it took a direct hit and virtually disappeared. Today chunks of broken concrete are all that remains of that building.
They drove “to a charming little green bower (a shady, leafy recess) where the vault was snugly hidden under leafy luxuriant foliage”. Here is a pre-war photo of the Philippine Treasury that seems to fit Willoughby’s description quite well.
raycoinhound: I sugest all members read this one!!!Fowlerville news and views 11/08/20 page 15.. The article shows Andy age 99 My mother Jackie age 95 and me in the middle age 68> . Andy saw all the paratroopers jump off his distroyer which shelled Corregdor in Feb 1945
Apr 20, 2021 12:06:19 GMT 8
raycoinhound: all members you better read this one.Fowlerville news & Views 11/08/20pg 15. Andy saw the 503 jump into battle on Corregidor. His Distroyer shelled the island and as soon as they stopped down came the 503rd!Andy is 99, my mother 95 and me 68.I take him out
Apr 20, 2021 12:09:58 GMT 8
raven316: Which tin can, my dad was on the USS Crosby, APD 17
Apr 21, 2021 1:55:19 GMT 8
JoAlberto: These are good reads. I am a young girl from Phils very much enthused with Corregidor and its history pre and post war.
Apr 30, 2021 14:20:11 GMT 8
Barbara: My uncle was Spencer Bever, Al and him started this adventure together here in Columbus Ohio...would love to get more direct info about them..thanks...
Jun 8, 2021 6:16:26 GMT 8
Paul Whitman: Barbara - The story of Spencer Bever is told by survivor Al McGrew, his closest friend. They book "Amid Th' Encircling Gloom - Corregidor and Survival" follows their times together until they were split when Al was sent to Japan.
Aug 22, 2021 7:45:49 GMT 8
Paul Whitman: Presently, I am re-working the book for re-release in a large format presentation book. There are 217 mentions of Spence in it. and his drawings.
Aug 22, 2021 7:47:58 GMT 8
JM: hello, may I ask what are the process that authority use to improve or develop the sbfz ?
Aug 31, 2021 0:37:48 GMT 8
EXO: JM - sorry, speculation on SBFZ policy sounds a mite political, and not in our remit.
Sept 19, 2021 6:44:11 GMT 8