Workers in World War II - December 7, 1942
Evanston, Illinois - Wednesday Night, January 21, 1948
On this memorable night, our brothers, Willie Brown and Ernest Stanley met with us. First, we sang a hymn, then Frank Brown prayed, and then Ernest spoke to us about unity and harmony.
After this, we sang part of Hymn No.143 and Willie asked Ernest to tell us some of his experiences while in Japan and during his interment on the Philippine Islands. Ernest Stanley first went to Japan in 1929. He left his native England to come to the United States expecting to spend his days in the service of God here; and then when entreaties were made for volunteers for Japan, he offered to go. The first three years in that country were spent in studying the language and having bible classes in English. In about 1932, there were six young men who began to walk in God's Way.
When war broke out, those early years of the 30's (Manchuria), those six young men lost out. We do not know just all that came to pass in their lives that caused them to take backward steps - - having to fight for their country, etc. With war clouds imminent in the early 40's, most of the boys went to Manila; and on the morning of December 7, 1942 (December 8 over there), the boys found themselves at an airfield.
(I understand they were living there.)
It was not long until they became prisoners of the Japanese.
All the other workers who were captured at that time were allowed to go free shortly after interment, but Ernest remained in the camp for three and one-half years. Even those who were allowed to go free found it difficult to obtain enough food on which to live. The boys who were there at that time were: Cecil Barrett, Herman Beaber, Willie Jamieson, and Leo Stancliff (at least three, perhaps all, if these boys were interned elsewhere later).
The room where Ernest lived in the camp he shared with eight Americans; he was the only Britisher. The death rate the first two years in camp probably was not more than average, but the last one and one-half years. it became greater - - there was little food and medication and much disease and death. Ernest acted as an interpreter and was called upon to serve in various capacities, not only during the day but also during the night (he assisted in sickness, with burials, etc.).
Santo Tomas Prison Camp Santo Tomas Camp was supposedly the oldest university under the American flag, and it was on the premises of this university that an average of more than 3,000 people lived under Japanese rule for a few years after the debacle of Pearl Harbor. The highest ranking officer amongst the Japanese there as a lieutenant colonel. Late January of 1945, distant rumblings were heard, and hope sprang up in the hearts of the emaciated internees of Santo Tomas Camp.
Santo Tomas Camp
Next, shell fire was heard and a few planes were seen in the distance. Then there was machine gun fire - - the American Army kept getting nearer and nearer. Soon the American tanks were in front of the main building, and the Japanese asked for volunteers to meet with them. Ernest and another man volunteered to go out to them, placing themselves in precarious positions for several days during the negotiations.
The Japanese were not easy to convince; many trips (sometimes under machine gun fire), from the front gate to the third floor of the main building where the Japanese were lodging were made during those few days. The Americans were going to bomb the main building, not realizing that some of their own people were occupying the first and second floors. One soldier who was struck fell into Ernest's arms. The conclusive step on this undertaking came about when Ernest took the highest ranking American officer into the main building and met the highest ranking Japanese officer, Ernest and the American standing at the foot of the stairs and the Japanese at the head of the stairs. When the Japanese left Santo Tomas Camp, they marched single file for about one and one-half miles between two rows of American soldiers.
(Picture below appeared in Life Magazine , March 1945.)
Japanese soldiers (includ. Col. Hayashi, C) being escorted out of town by Col. Charles E. Grady (L) & interpreter Ernest Stanley (2R) after successful surrender negotiations were conducted to save the lives of 200 Americans they had held hostage with them.
(Manila, Luzon, Philippines on February 5, 1945 - Picture taken by photographer Carl Mydans)
The negotiations between the Japanese officers and the American officers who came to liberate the internees of Santo Tomas Camp were made the beginning of February 1945, after which time Ernest worked for the American army in Tokyo. He speaks Japanese fluently and has been able to help our country as well as Japan. During his time in Tokyo, he was asked to speak upon different occasions to large groups of American servicemen as they arrived to perform their mission of rehabilitating Japan. These addresses were for the purpose of promoting a better feeling between Americans and the Japanese.
It was not until the spring of 1947 that Ernest was released to go to visit his own people in England.
First, he came to the United States and stayed a month or more and then went to England, returning to the United States a short time ago, January 1948).
During his stay in Tokyo after the termination of war (from October 1945 until spring of 1947), several of the Japanese who were above them in the camp came to him in his office and were extremely friendly.
There are few saints in Japan; in fact, he only mentioned one native. This one man found him in Tokyo and said, “I have lost my home. I have lost my father. I have lost my mother. My sister is dying, but I have not lost my faith in God.” He told Ernest that he hoped that in the near future, the members of his immediate family would hear the gospel and be brought into the family of God.
The only people who can enter Japan at the present time are missionaries. There are three brothers there now, and he will make the fourth when he goes in the spring. One brother who is already there is a Canadian born Japanese.
After spending nearly twenty years in that desolate, barren, land and seeing so little done outwardly, and after suffering at the hands of the Japanese (all the internees were mere skeletons), Ernest eagerly waits to go back. Shipments of bibles have gone to Japan since the war, and there is a ready sale for them. Ernest believes that the Japanese are waiting to hear the gospel. He asked for our prayers. At the end of our meeting, Willie Brown said we could sing together the last two verses of Hymn No. 143, and the last verse was truly appropriate - - “May Thy perfect love unite Thy saints in every land, that they may all be one with Thee, fulfilling Thy Command.”(Please understand - - this was not transcribed from shorthand - - “tis what is recalled from memory.)