BERTHA RAE EVANS (1904 - 2001)

June 29, 2004
Sir, I saw your web site, and thought I would write. My great-aunt was Bertha Evans. (My mother's mother's sister.) She was a Navy nurse, and spent three years at Los Banos. She didn't talk about it much, so it's really meaningful to me to read other people's accounts of what happened. I remember her mentioning how hungry she was, and how warm and helpful the local Filipino people were to them. She said they would sneak food to them under the fence. She lost a brother (a Navy doctor, Ted Evans) in the Pacific during her time at Los Banos, and her father passed away back at home as well. She said that the Japanese screened their mail for secret messages, and those were the only two letters that she was allowed to see while she was there. I know she was engaged to one of the officers, and hid her ring in a jar of Nivea in fear that it would be taken from her. Unfortunately, he died of dysentery on a POW ship bound for Japan. She also said they were all in a state of shock when they got to Hawaii and were given steaks, perfume and candy. She said they stared at them for a long time, and had a hard time believing they were for them!

Bertha was the last of the eleven nurses to die. Her friend, Dotty (Dorothy) died just a few months before her, so she was not only the oldest, but the last. Thank you for keeping those memories alive for my generation! Her sister, my grandmother, is still living. Unfortunately my dear Auntie Bert had just had her 97th birthday (Oct. 9, 2001) when she passed away on Oct. 22nd 2001. She would have loved to have watched the new WWII memorial dedication with me.

Thank you,

Jennifer Oberst
Portland, OR

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