Bill Hillman's 
EduTech Research Project
From the Personal Diary of
Dr. Robert W. Brockway
The Month of December 1941
with Pearl Harbor attack entries
Dr. Robert W. Brockway was 18 years old and a freshman at the University of Hawai’i (and doing poorly because of “goofing off”) at the time of the Pearl Harbor Raid. His father was a Master Sergeant in the Army Air Corps, serving on a ground crew, and very unhappy (and often in trouble) with the army. 

The family lived in quarters at Hickam Field, and Robert identified with the soldiers there from an early age, even joining the Hickam Field Glee Club. After being evacuated from Hawai’i, he went to Washington, D.C. with his mother, and resumed university studies at American University. His father was sent to Great Britain where he served for the rest of the war.

41: December 1, Monday
Well today I went to school, had another test in history which brought me only an 82. Ne pas. Came home and ate over [at] Navy. Pop was home. He 's thinking he is going to get out of the army. Spent the evening playing the piano, listening to the radio and singing. Fighting in Libya. The British retook Sidi Rezegh. Russia has recaptured Rostov.

41: December 2, Tuesday
To the U [University of Hawaii]. Studied Survey and then to Poly Sci. Got a locker. Studied till 1:30 and then home. Spent the afternoon pursuing work for my war map. Have to get Ma in 10 mins.
41: December 3, Wednesday
Well, the Germans and Italians retook Sidi Rezegh. The day was F day. Started out in French by getting an F for a 6 wks test. Then a zero in Survey. Well then I went to English and wrote a **** theme. Home. Called Peacher up and she assented to go to the Luau with old wop. Then spent the evening playing cards with Tom Fields. Read some history.
41: December 4, Thursday
Well today I went and took a big test in Poly Sci. I knew I goofed off terribly. The most I can expect is an F in there. Lost my BWRS pin today. Damn it. Then studied my Survey and then went to see Dr. McCartney. I had a long talk with him about languages. He corrected my theme, it wasn't bad, only a few minor mistakes. Hawaiian and then home. To Glee Club rehearsal.
41: December 5, Friday ~ Ma's Birthday
To class today to study and lunch with Van Erseltvey[?]. Talked about Erasmus. English where we had a test in grammar and then home. Went down to the P.X. [Post Exchange] and got a bottle of perfume for Ma. Home and saw Bob Rewdin [?]. Ma and I went down to the Prince and saw "The Great Dictator" with Charley Chaplin. It was very good satire about Hitler and a famous picture. Ma burned up at Pop for what she calls filanderling.
41: December 6, Saturday
To school. Got test paper back with C. Gives me a C+ average in Poly Science anyway. I will have to do much better. To the British Consulate and gave him my buck [Robert donated his allowance to the British war effort]. He told me to go to 2326 Nuuana Ave. or anyway to the corner of Niman and Wilder.  Fairly good rehearsal. We sang Vilia, got a program ready. Pop came home and we sang together tonite. Drew time line of Greek History. May study astronomy tonight.
1941: December 7, Sunday
Japanese Attack
As I write today from the home of Mr. O' Sullivan who very kindly took us in, we have experienced a Japanese raid. This morning at 8:00 a.m. I was awakened by loud booming. Believing them to be maneuvers I paid little heed. On going outside, I saw stukas diving and circling, but still paid no heed, until I saw the Rising Sun on wing tips. By then the depot hangars were in flame and gasoline blazed. We went to  Burkes [?]  and then  returned home - everyone telling me that war was on. We then got the Haltermanns in our car and Mr. Willy and I hurried up Aiea  heights. We saw a carrier burned to the water edge. Fren [friends?] at Hickam [Hickam Field]. We waited there and then returned. Most of our planes had been destroyed. Our fleet force crippled. The radio had just pronounced martial law. Our forces are supposed to be dealing with the sit[uation].

41: December 8, Monday
War Declared
As the dawn came after a long weary nite spent anxiously waiting for Japanese bombers which never came, we got the paper stating that some 340 fellows from Hickam were killed. One of them was probably Tony Mariaschella since he was in the 42d. After a morning spent uneventfully Mother, I, Mrs Haltermann and Mr. Wiley went to the field [Hickam] and got the remainder of our stuff. The British are in it too. A parachutist is up back here somewhere and they couldn't find him. Hickam Field looked hit but not shattered. Purdin's house is gutted out. So are several friends’. Auers’ all messed up inside. Probably we will never go there again. Pop is in the hospital [He was there with an unspecified complaint at the time of the raid]. Pres. Roosevelt declared war against Japan today. Under martial law Habeus Corpus is suspended. 
41: December 9, Tuesday
Rumors flew round today that planes were going to attack Frisco, that the Japanese fleet was on its way here and a million other things. Went down to the Commissary today with Mrs. Haltermann and Ma. It was crowded in big long queues. Saw little Shorty and Mrs. Sheffield. To the British Consulate where I gave Mr. Wallis a record of "There'll Always Be An England" for Xmas. He shook hands and bid me goodbye. Volunteered today for volunteer work at Tripler [Tripler General Hospital]. I will go tomorrow. All has been quiet, no raids and no signals. U.S. Marines have come in from the coast. Town is full of troops and volunteers. Gasoline is being rationed and food. I am feeling a little less nervous than at first. I do hope that my English blood will make me calm and cool.
41: December 10, Wednesday
Today at 7:00 I went to Tripler Gen. Hospital. Started off by doling out breakfast. Then helped move gangrenous patients for X rays. Met 2 Filipinos who were working there. The U.S. have struck back several blows at the Japs. The day has been quiet. Worked until 4:00 p.m. today. New **** and air alarms rattled me a little. One raid given was false. I went out there in blue pants - a Japanese uniform. Last nite we heard on the radio that a man was flying a kite at midnite.
41: December 11, Thursday
All quiet on the Hawaiian front. To T.G.H. this morning at 6:30. I was moved out of the isolation Ward 7 and into Ward 5. Started washing dishes at 8 and washed dishes until 3:00. At lunch Bajaon [?] told me that Portugal declared war on Japan. The Germans and Italians have declared war. The cases out at the hospital are pitiful. Men laying flat on their backs with tubes in their stomachs and legs and arms blown off. Down town this aft. All streets quite empty and barricade in front of Advertizer [The Honolulu Advertiser]. Lots of soldiers and city in uniform. Windows all taped off. The theater open for matinees. The U.S. bombers sank the Jap battleship Haruna [?]  off Lingayan [?] Luzon.
41: December 12, Friday
Another day of war. To Tripler Hospital where I spent the whole day doing K.P. They are so full - pushed to hell out there but are getting everything under control. According to the paper tonite, the Philippine troops have stopped the Japs in North Luzon at Sora [?]. The Chinese are making a coalition with the British. We are winning on the other fronts. Spent last nite playing the piano singing with the gang up here. There is a girl here named Lula May Ray. She and I spent the night telling dirty jokes.
41: December 13, Saturday
I woke up and was all pooped out and so I decided I wouldn't go to T.G.H. However, after about 10:00 A.M. I decided that I would go anyway, and so caught the bus and went down to the T.G.H. Worked until 4:00 drying dishes, washing, etc. Then after chow I started for home. Got on the bus as far  as Puuna. The line ended and so I walked up most of Aliwa Drive when Ray, Lolal and Sis picked me up in their car. Damn nice of them . . . They gave me hell for not coming back. The Japs were stopped in Luzon by U.S. troops. Dutch sub sank 4 Jap transports.
41: December 14, Sunday
Exactly one week of war today. Arose early and found that Ma was going to move to the Tanner's. So we left the O'Sullivans at day break and headed up town. To the City Hall where I stood at the rear of a rapidly moving queue which stretched to the Car Barn. Ate a good chow at the Capital and then headed out to the Field. Some of the hangars look like this SKETCH. The P.X. like this: SKETCH. The barracks like SKETCH. They are building an air raid shelter in our back yard and another one in front. Everything is under control. Radio came back on today. Streets are deserted. Windows taped out. V's [V for Victory] everywhere.
41: December 15, Monday
We shot down 41 planes here Sec. of Navy Knox said. Another day. To work early this morning at Tripler. No ***** up there and I had to do all the dishes work myself almost. Frank, the Ward boy, said that they were going to evacuate all the dependents. Pop was called in, Ma said. Nothing much happened today. Only 27 guys in the wards. Took some fruit juice to some of the fellows. Radio is playing now with Edwin Santille donating his services. The Dutch sank two more transports. We are holding our own in P.I. [the Philippines] having thrown back the Japs on all fronts. All is well, so far. Played Monopoly last nite in the Tanner's blacked out room.
41: December 16, Tuesday
Another day was passed in comparative silence today, broken only by the occasional hum of U.S. planes overhead and the roar of practice guns in the distance. Began working at 8:30 after walking to the Hospital. Worked and washed dishes there. Met a new Bayan [?] who turned out to be a minister. Had to help a patient . . . who was trying to shit. More damn pilikia [trouble] The Japs shelled Kahulai with a sub today with no damage. *** at Wake jokes the Marines on being asked if they wanted anything sent,"O yes, send us more Japs." Well, That's about all.
41: December 17, Wednesday
Went to work this morning. Signed in and washed all the damn breakfast dishes by myself. Then put on the lunch dishes, ate lunch and washed all the supper dishes by myself. Then put on the dinner stuff all by myself as usual. An air raid alarm today. Mostly trial, in fact all trial. British losing in Singapore, Sarawak, **** and the ****.  But Russia took Kalinin and England, El Gazaler.
41: December 18, Thursday
Home again today after 2 weeks as a War Refugee. The damn fucking field looked good as hell, even if the hangars look like rubble and the barracks are all screwed up. Pop is a tough old mess sergeant out there. He gave me a mess kit and I got chow. Home with Tom who did the ironing and set up a black out room. Played Rummy all evening with him and then went out to study the stars which are in their brightest.
41: December 19, Friday
Today I woke up at 9 after being in bed all nite long, without my uniform on. What a fucking relief. . . . Had chow at Pop's mess hall which is a big hangar and then went home. Tom came up. I drew a map. . .  We have an air raid shelter in the front yd. and another in the back. Everything is swell. Wake Is. repulsed two raids. But air  and **** took Portuguese Timor.
41: December 20, Saturday
Today home as usual. Woke up around 10:00 or thereabouts. Pressed and then to chow with Tom and the bicycle. Home and we cleaned up the house, everything O.K. Then we spent the evening playing Rummy. After that, I went to bed. Very uneventful night. But 1st outside to study the stars, revisited my old friends Orion, Cassiopeia, Pegasus and all more glorious than ever in the absence of lights. Went in the barracks which are all gutted out and covered with trash inside.
41: December 21, Sunday
Today I went down town with Ma - went down but found the stores closed. Got Pal [their chow dog] out of hock and then went down to the city. Wandered around, passed painted windows and doors, V's, and tape. Not very Xmasy looking. Then to chow at American Cafe and coming out were told of air raid alarm and ordered to stand underneath the buttress of McInery Co. on Fort and King almost an hour.
41: December 22, Monday
Today I woke up around 9:00 a.m. Tom was still sleeping out on the punee [porch]. Read part of the H.G. "History of the World." I got down at Benson & Smith's yesterday. Went up to the Commissary this aft. with Tom to get chow but closed. Had chow at the Sqdn. On the way back met Dean Mayfield, all dressed up like a soldier. One of the fellows killed was Elmer King. Elmer went down to Base Engineering and got it there. He was a square, honest guy from Kansas, loved his liquor and the women and had a heart as big as a hangar. I'll never forget Elmer King.
41: December 23, Tuesday
7:30 There was a ring and there was Mike. We went down to the main street and there got a ride with a sergeant. Mike and I stopped in at the Senator [a whorehouse] and he got a piece. Then we went uptown, he got some chews and then we stopped at Mrs. Yankoff [a refugee from Russia, who taught Robert some Russian as well as piano]. She told about the wars she had been in and broke down in tears. We went to  Bishop Bank and Mike got some Defense Bonds and then we went to Central School and got the records the Glee Club made. After that, a Chinese girl took us to her home. We had chop suey and then went to the Waikiki.
41: December 24, Wednesday
Woke up rather late and went out to the Commissary and got some stuff and broke my **** getting it back. The I went down to the Bank and put some dough in for Ma. After that I went down to the Barber shop and got a haircut. Got an album for Tom. Then down home. Gave folks their presents and made a little Xmas tree. Then went to barracks with pop. Tony and I led the fellows singing. We sang "Che de Luna, Little Bird and Shelter." Home. Ma gave me a pen.
41: December 25, Thursday ~ Xmas
It was a good day or was it. At least it certainly wasn't like Xmas. Woke up rather late in the morning and then Tom came down. We went over to the Navy Yard to see if I could see the Jap sub that is supposed to be there. Manila has been turned into an open city. Then, I went home on shoe leather. Ma and I went over to the Evacuee Office and decided [where] to return to U.S. I am really sorry to leave my fatherland but it is our patriotic [duty] to leave.
41: December 26, Friday
Tonite we are listening to Winston Churchill. Tomorrow or maybe the day after we will be sailing towards Washington, D.C. We are all wondering what our Navy is doing. It doesn't seem to be so damn much. To **** in the car. Then to the U. to get cleared and then town. Got a diary. Then went down to the British Consul, shook hands and gave him my dollar. He (Vice Consul) said it was good to see an American citizen who was so 100% British. Home and cleaned everything out for evacuation. C'est la guerre. Aloha nui loa ****.
41: December 27, Saturday
Today found us all packed and ready to go. I woke up about 8:00 and went down to the Chaplain's Office to give him some magazines. Saw Bill Wheeler [?]  this morning. When I asked him if I could still keep paying my 2 bits and be in the Glee Club, he said you couldn’t quit the Glee Club. He said sometime after the war we may have to all earn our living singing. This afternoon Tom started fooling around a hole in the back yard and found a ring. He called a couple of Coast Artillery men and they began to dig. Lt. Haltermann called an Ordnance Lt. and he dug it up, a 3 AA [Anti-Aircraft] shell in the yard.
41: December 28, Sunday
Well today after spending a rather ill humored morning the good old GI Truck came around with the boys to take us to KGMB. Only Litchfield, **** and of course Timmermann were missing. We went into Studio B and rehearsed the four songs for our program, Proudly As the Eagle, Loch Lomond, Steal Away, Soldier Farewell: Then we went outside for a smoke during which I distributed my calling card and future address. Then went in and gave our program. After which we all went down to Kan Kan Corner and sang all the way home.
41: December 29, Monday
Spent the day doing most of nothing. Drew four pictures of the attack of the Japs on the ****. Then this afternoon, Shorty came by as I was showing the CHC boys out here a piece of the B" [shell] that landed in the yard. He told the best one I've heard yet. Lloyd Ballantyne saw the Rising Sun and thought we were being attacked by Czechoslovakia. Bob Purlin came down tonite and we bade farewell. No goodbye, only Au Revoir.
41: December 30, Tuesday
Well today we went in town and put Pal [their chow dog] in quarentine. Then drove up to Hilt's and ma paid the bill she owed there, then we went back to town and ate at the YWCA. The Dutch have been sinking on an average of one ship a day. In Malaya the Japs took Ipoh, fighting in Perak. The Chinese are fighting at Changaha and U.S. forces under Gen. McArthur are holding their own in P.I. even counter attacking. Fighting in Lingayen still. Russia has taken Kerch and **** while Britain has taken Bengaze and moving to El Ageila.
41: December 31, Wednesday
The last day of 1941 found us still waiting for the boat to take us to U.S.  Newsfronts of the world found a Jap sub shelling Kahului and Nauiluvili [?].  The Japs are on the gates of Manila and they are probably soon going to enter. Holland sank four more transports and England is taking the offensive in the Malaya. The Germans are being pushed past Kerch at Theadosius in Crimea. Serbia has driven the Germans from New Serbia and Montenegro. I spent the whole day doing plenty of nothing, wrote a rather standard **** history. So ends the eventful year of 1941.

Journal INSERT
1939: December 25, Xmas
Well today is another Xmas. There is a world at war and a world in misery. I wish a very merry Xmas to my mother, my father and to all my friends. Most of all I wish a merry Xmas to the land I love most of all -- England!


High School Graduation Picture
Hawai'i 1941

Hickam Field Gate c.1941.
Hickam Field Gate c.1941.
The gate looked like this at the time of the Pearl Harbor raid.

Our quarters, Quarter 404 at Hickam Field on the vast lawn between the NCO and Officer quarters.
N.C.O. Quarters
Our quarters, Quarter 404 at Hickam Field on the vast lawn between the NCO and Officer quarters.
We move in them in 1939 when Hickam Field was opened.

Tom Field hangs clothes after December 7, 1941.
Pvt. Tom Field hanging my mother's clothes on line behind quarters 404 (our quarters),
Hickam Field, mid Dec. 1941.

Inside Consolidated Barracks, Hickam Field, 1940
For more eye-witness accounts on the Pearl Harbor attack see our:
Edgar Rice Burroughs: The War Years Series
Edgar Rice Burroughs at Pearl Harbor
The ERB / USS Shaw Connection
Research, Transcription and Webpage Design by
William G. Hillman
Assistant Professor ~ Brandon University

Text revisions, supplementary notes by
Catherine Brockway
Copyright 2007