Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Manila Bombing Photos from 1945

Manila Hotel 1945
The day before I received the records made by my Uncle during World War II that I blogged about in my previous post, my wife received the following pictures from one of her clients who inherited them from a relative that also fought in the war. They didn't know what to do with them but since they were all of Manila in 1945 after America retook the city from the Japanese and my wife was born in the Philippines, they thought she should have them. Because they are in essence, priceless objects of history, I am scanning them and posting them here for anyone who should search and come upon them.

Manila Central Post Office
Because I am not all that familiar with Manila and most of these buildings no longer survive, their names or functions were lost too me. Fortunately, the internet is such a powerful tool and with a search, I was able to turn up the names of all but one of the buildings photographed. This picture was the easiest one to identify because there are hundreds of pictures of the Central Post Office online. It was one standing building in a field of leveled buildings which made it a dynamic shot.

Great Eastern Hotel in center background
All these pictures appear to be taken from the Pasig river that runs through Manila and can be seen in several of the pictures. I suspect the soldier or person who took them was riding on a boat navigating the river and thus had a front row seat of the devastation that remained.

Unknown building
This is the one photo I was unable to identify. It looks similar to the presidential palace along the Pasig river but isn't. Perhaps it was part of the complex. If anyone can positively identify this building, please let me know.

Side entrance of Santo Tomas University
Of the pictures I was able to identify, this one was the hardest. I found lots of pictures that looked close but weren't the same. It turned out most of the photos were of the front entrance to Santo Tomas University and this picture was taken of a side entrance.

Santo Domingo Church
This picture was the easiest to identify thanks to the Aduana sign on the tower at the far right of the picture.

Also along withe pictures was this folded up proclamation issued by General Douglas MacArthur in 1945. You can smell how old this piece of paper is. I'm sure thousands of copies were made of this and put up all around Manila the day he returned but I suspect that few survive. This one has many creases from being folded up but is in remarkably great shape. I'm not sure what I should do with it so for now, it is folded back up and tucked in a safe place with the pictures.


sage said...

Interesting photos. The last one made me think of the movie I recently watched about the end of the war and McArthur in Japan, "Emperor"

Anonymous said...

The headquarters for the far east command was in Fort Santiago. Now there is a road and bridge in the clear ground before the fort and town walls and there's a good possibility that the mansion was the residence of the supreme commander Far East. It smells of a Flag residence built sometime in the 1920s. And was sited where the run-on to the bridge is today.

Anonymous said...

Actually no, it's the Chancery Building of the US embassy facing out onto the anchorage from Roxas Blvd.

My but you do miss street view.

warren said...

Fantastic that these are posted online for others to see! The letter looks brand new. I can't imagine how it survived is such good shape.

Ed said...

Sage - That movie is coming up quick on my Netflix que.

Vince - It certainly looks like you are probably correct. I still haven't found a view from the river that shows the scene in the photograph to confirm it in my mind. Still, it is an amazing testament that someone halfway around the world can use the internet to locate places they've never been too.

Ed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

If it is the building I've named it's no real shock there's no photograph off the water.

Anonymous said...

I'm now certain the current Chancery building is the one in the photo. It was designed and build as the High Commission to the Philippians in the federal style. Frank Murphy the last Governor-General moved in, in the mid 30s from what was the residence of the Spanish, not the Malacañang Palace.
This is the only photo I can find of teh sea facing side of the Chancery. It's the 10th or 11th photo

Anonymous said...

'Now' the Malacañang Palace.

ErinFromIowa said...

You really put the internet to good use researching your various interests. Then you blog it for us to read. Win! Thank you for doing it so well. This is not one of those fake comments... even though it kinda reads like one. Ha!

Ed said...

Warren - Judging from the looks of everything, I'm guessing they were tucked away in a box somewhere. The paper wasn't brittle at all but it sure smelled old and was heavy duty compared to modern paper.

Vince - Looking at satellite images of the modern U.S. embassy, I still think it matched the bomb picture in shape. I have found pictures of the Malacañang Palace prior to World War II and it is definitely not that. The Palace didn't have the round porch with columns on it and was actually close enough that it was in the river so that boats could sail under the roofline to disembark.

Ed said...

Erin - I love history so it is a labor of love for me. In this case, I'm also connected since I've married into the Philippines culture.

Anonymous said...

That wasn't the case with the High Commission/US Embassy Chancery. That was built on made ground and supported on piles. You can intuit that from the satellite. You could never go under the portico.
This has been fun. And frankly a bit scary too. I know with a bit of a push, and maybe a call to the embassy here, I could probably find the designs for the building. You know, this would've taken a years work in 2000. If that is I could've gotten within an asses roar of finding the building at all.