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"As our situation became more grave and more accepted and reality set in, it was one day at a time…" (Audio interview, 17:32)

   Robert Wyatt Granston
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War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Navy
Unit: Supply Corps, USS Oriskany (CV / CVA 34)
Service Location: United States; Philippines; Pacific Theater
Rank: Captain
POW: Yes
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Fulfilling a lifelong dream of serving in the Navy, Captain Robert Granston accepted his commission in August of 1940, and was eventually assigned to the Cavite Navy Yard in the Philippines. There, he weathered the Japanese attack on December 10, 1941, three days after Pearl Harbor was bombed. Evacuating first to Bataan and then to Corregidor, he was captured and taken to Cabanatuan Prison Camp. He served on work details, first on a farm and then cutting wood, which were a “godsend” in keeping him active and passing the time. After surviving the “death ships” of Oryoku Maru and Enoura Maru--ships transporting American prisoners of war, unidentified as such, that were bombed by the Allies--he was finally liberated in August 1945. His collection also includes a letter written to his fiancée, Norma, from the hospital ship the USS Refuge, on September 9, 1945, in which he describes the overwhelming feelings of being alive, free, and headed home. One month and one day after his release from prison camp, he and Norma were married.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (7 clips)
»Part 1 | Part 2 
Download: audio(1) | 
Download: audio(2) (68 min.)
 Personal Correspondence
»To Norma [September 9, 1945].
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 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (7 items)
Bombing of Cavite Navy Yard in the Philippines on December 10, 1941; initial fear; training kicked in; shock of attack. (05:30) Evacuation to Bataan, then to Corregidor; observing McArthur’s departure; realizing he would not be able to get out of Corregidor; capture; marched to Bilibid Prison in Manila; then transported by truck to Cabanatuan Prison. (04:47) Endless feeling of days; believing at first that rescue was imminent; realizing they would have to survive one day at a time. (01:54)
Importance of friendships and cooperation to survival. (02:21) Never questioning whether or not the US would win the war; drawing on history of good nutrition; fortunate not to get amoebic dysentery or malaria, lowest weight was 102 pounds. (03:08) How he passed the time; work detail helped with that; discussions of food; fellow prisoners. (03:42)
Transport by ships; bombed by Allies; transported to Korea; liberation. (03:47)  

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  October 26, 2011
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