Paul wrote us a letter several years ago on his story on how he go to visit his uncle Arthur, who's my grandfather, in the Philippines during WWII. My grandfather was a cartographer and was stationed in the Philippines and in Australia between 10 Sep 1942 to 13 Dec 1945 when he was discharged.
The letter was written to my dad...
22 Jul 02
"Many thanks for those pics. They are the only ones I now have of your Dad and the time we had together. I hope I don't get too long winded but I thought you and family would like to know this meeting came about. By the way, I was 20 and your dad 36 at this time.
About 2 months before the Luzon Campaign ended I received a letter from my mother saying, "Wouldn't be nice if you could see your uncle Archie as he is in Manila", I showed the letter to my Ex Ec. Officer he did the reading of outgoing mail. So he expedited a letter back to Mom requesting Uncle Archie's address. When I got Mom's answer we were still fighting on the southern part of the island. They pulled me out of the line as blood relatives were involved. Division arranged transportation to Manila and 8th Army Headquarters. There they researched uncle Archie's Topographic Unit. He and the unit were located in the Aquinaldo Dept. Store in China Town. They arranged transportation to the store for me. I went in and talked to the charge of quarters, told him what I was and had come to see my uncle. He took me up to the 3rd floor and showed me uncle Archie's bunk and left, Uncle Archie was sitting on his bunk just looking out at nothing. I walked over and stood in front of him. He looked at me for a short time and then said "Paul", I said yes. He got up and we both hugged for quite a while. I believe we were both crying. Some things you may not know, he never had a furlough after entering service, sent straight overseas to Australia as his Unit made all the combat maps for the Pacific theatre. Uncle Archie's Mom and Dad both passed away while he was in service so you can imagine how your Dad felt to have his nephew come to find him, never thinking that I was ever over there, and not even sure how old I was - to be in the service. First let me tell you how your Dad looked. He had such a sad look with dark circles around his eyes. But let me tell you he sure did brighten up in a hurry. We discussed what we each had been doing. Then Uncle Archie took me upstairs to his place of work and showed me the process by which they made combat topograph maps from arial photos. That was interesting. I'm sure we used some of those maps never thinking my Uncle made them. We ate our dinner with his outfit and he introduced me to all who would listen, your Dad was proud of me and he sure built me up. You would have thought that I had taken Manila all by myself. That this was the first time I had set foot in Manila. That was the 1st cavalry's job. But a month before a small group of us paratroopers had jumped into a prison compound, whipped out the garrisons and freed the prisoners, without loosing one prisoner, but one jumper broke a leg. A majority were Dutch from the east Indies. Anyways your dad had to spread that story around. That is why I had no insignia on my fatigue. Anyways we spent 3 days together, just wandering Manila, there wasn't much left standing, going sight seeing, having coffee and donuts at the Red Cross, I bet they knew we were Finns. That time went so fast, but I remember like it was yesterday. I never did get back to Manila as we had to complete our mop up of the south end in Rest Camp for 4 days then we flew out to Okinawa to stage for the invasion of Japan - then the atomic bomb - Or I would never be writing this letter. Many, many thanks for refreshing my memories."
My name is Ellen Rutila. Have been doing Ancestry research since 2009, and been doing it ever since. I'm also a violinist, jewelry maker and Graphic Designer.