Tuesday, January 6, 2009


My uncle, Roland Erich Going, July 1, 1914-January 9, 1945. The origin of the nickname Pete remains a mystery to this day.

Pete at Pearl Harbor. Pete enlisted in the navy in 1934 and became a pharmacist's mate. He was sent to Pearl Harbor for his first duty assignment. He adored Hawaii. He was transferred to Manila, Philippine Islands in 1940.

Pete and Adeline. A love story doomed from the start. Manila fell to the Japanese in January, 1942 and Pete was taken prisoner, as was Adeline. In May of 1942 Pete was moved to the infamous Bilibid prison camp. Because of his carpentry skills, he was given the job of making wooden grave markers for prisoners who died.

After Pete was taken prisoner, his family began their long and agonizing ordeal of not hearing from him and not knowing his fate. Letters written to him during this time were returned.

A note Pete secretly wrote and kept hidden at Bilibid prison. He left this note behind at the camp when the Japanese moved the prisoners out of the camp Christmas Eve 1944, and loaded them on transport ships known as hellships, so called because of their horrible conditions. The prisoners were to be sent to Japan to be used as forced labor. While Pete was aboard the Enoura Maru, the second such ship he had been on, the US bombed the ship. They were unaware that the ship contained allied prisoners of war. Pete, along with many other men, died. Pete's note was found by the Americans when Manila was liberated a short time later.

My father visiting the grave of his brother Pete around 1950. Pete is buried in the beautiful Punchbowl Cemetery on the island of Oahu. In a final token of love by a father for his son, my grandfather chose Hawaii as Pete's final resting place. My grandfather was given the choice of having Pete buried in a local cemetery where he could have visited his son's grave, but instead chose the place Pete loved best. Towards the end of his life, my grandfather was able to visit Hawaii and finally pay his respects to his son.


  1. Very moving. Thanks for sharing Pete's story. Best wishes,

  2. I love Pete and his story. I'm so glad that you do, too. You made me cry.