FRANK OLIVER MORTLOCK
February 14, 2006
I have just come across papers written by my uncle, Frank Mortlock, who was interred for 38 months at Los Banos. Although these papers have been in the family's possesion for many years, I don't know whether any family member has ever tried to research their history. My uncle was not a member of the armed forces, but was employed by the government to "degouse" ships in the Pacific. He was captured outside of Manila, and you probably know the rest of the story in the internment camp. What makes my uncle's story stand out was that he and another man organized a school for the prisoners, that was a very important part of their lives. I have made copies of a letter that he wrote just after they were freed from the camp, and also a transcript of his first lecture on 'Science and Sociology', in 1943. Also copied are several letters written by fellow prisoners praising the efforts made by him and his fellow 'professors'.
One of those letters that George Mora and two other internees had written to my uncle (Frank Mortlock) and to the men who were also contributing their knowledge, education and expertise toward educating those who wanted to learn while imprisoned. These men had set up a school at Los Banos that ranged from highschool through college levels. I remember my uncle saying that a few Japanese guards also participated in the classes, as some of them were educated and interested. He kind of befriended one guard, and commented that had they not been at war, they might have been friends.
I believe that I have an original copy of a newspaper that printed the list of the internees of Los Banos in 1945. My father's family had no idea whether Frank was alive or not for three years, and when this list was published, it was cause for celebration.
I am giving you just a thumbnail discription of these papers, as I have yet to read them thoroughly.
I would be more than happy to share them with your organization, they might be of value to you.
Susan Mortlock Benedetto
or would like to be added to my POW/Internee e-mail distribution list,
please let me, Tom Moore, know.