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M.A Rooney


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




[Fepow Day] [Appeal-Poems] [Despair-Poems] [Hope-Poems] [A Prisoners Prayer] [Changi POW Camp] [Dreams] [Fidelity] [Hope] [If Winter Comes] [Liberation] [My Cel] [Our Feathered Friend the Sparrow] [Prayer of a Fepow] [Recollections] [Released] [Remembering] [Remembered] [Road to USA] [Takanakas Little Car] [The Stevedore's Swing] [Thoughts] [Thoughts of England] [Verses From Changi Prison] [Remembrance-Poems]



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