Manila, September 1945
For three and half years we were Prisoners
Treated by the Japanese as though slaves
We had reached the stage when we could take no more
And so many now lie in their graves
Then on August the 13th '45
We were told the war had ended
How lucky were we, who had managed to survive
And whose spirit was never surrendered.
The waiting time was not easy, of course
All the time we kept hoping to hear
That someone, somewhere, would come to endorse
Our day of freedom was near.
September the Sixth dawned with little fuss
But later there were cheers and shouts
The Yankees' had come to liberate us
And their presence dispelled all our doubts.
How happy we were to see the American ‘Tar’
And I know it was felt on that day
That those brave men as if by the Bethlehem Star
Had been guided to us and our way
"How soon" we were asked "could you be ready to leave"?
"At once" came the immediate reply
So the moment arrived we could hardly believe
And we marched from the camp heads held high.
We arrived at a near-by rail siding
Boarded a train with no banners hung
We were just thrilled to be out of hiding
On our way to the port of 'Keelung'.
At the docks were two US Destroyers
Our hopes and our spirits soared
We were greeted by kind Yankee sailors
Picking us up to carry aboard.
As we sailed, my thoughts and feelings were mixed
I heard not the 'cast off” yell
As I stood at the rail with my eyes transfixed
For the first time in years, the tears fell.
With Formosa a speck on the horizon
I moved away drying my happy wet face
And though my eyes were blurred with emotion
I saw the BLOCK ISLAND, majestic in grace.
We were taken aboard and feted
Deloused, reclothed and well fed
It was lovely to be treated so kind hearted
They almost tucked us up in our bed
We arrived at Manila after a three day trip
And as I lie in this hospital of gold
I write these verses , even though on a 'drip'
For this story just has to be told.
My thoughts turn to a very dear Brother
We've not been together of late
Or heard a word since we last spoke to each other
And I am left wondering just what was his fate?
As for me I'm relieved and grateful
And there's a warmth which stems from my heart
For those who came to answer our call
God bless them all who took part.
Maurice Rooney’s brother died in 1942 at Nong Pladuc in Thailand