Friday, November 4, 2011

For the Love of Pete

Roly portrait 

I’m reposting this today-I wrote it almost 3 years ago and thought I should give it a bump .  Since I first posted this, I’ve also learned how to scan photographs, so they are easier to see.  I continue to crunch out words for NaNoWriMo and at this moment I have around 8,5000.  I am also taking care of Amy today, as my darling daughter is home sick.  Here’s wishing all of you a wonderful weekend!

Baby July 1 1914

with Grandmother

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

Naval hospital Honolulu 1936 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.

with Adeline Manila 

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.

Christmas card envelope

Family Letters envelope 

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.

hidden letter 

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 around Christmas Eve 1944, and loaded them on transport ships known as hell ships, 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 hell ship he had been on, the US bombed the ship. They were unaware that the ship contained allied prisoners of war. Pete was killed, along with many other men. Pete's note was found by the American  forces 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. What an interesting story! I love that no one knows where the nickname Pete came from - what a great mystery!

  2. My great-aunt married a Navy man by the name of Kenneth Murphy, also mysteriously called "Pete" his whole life.

    I wonder now...

  3. Camerons' comment gave me goose bumps.

  4. Wow. This is the story you should write.

    Happy Nanowrimo.

  5. Lisa-Thanks! I wonder if I'll ever find out...

    Cam-I actually tried to determine if Pete was a common navy nickname. It's certainly a coincidence, isn't it!

    Ms Givens-now wouldn't that be something!

    Tina-some day I want to so bad. It's my dream:) It would be a very gripping and emotional story!

  6. Hugs to Amy - I too have had sick kids this week. I love the pictures here! And congratulations on sticking to NaNoWriMo - I've had no luck finding much time to be consistently writing.

  7. Thanks so much Kim, and hugs to your boys too:) You know, I never would have attempted NaNoWriMO if you hadn't encouraged me to go for it. I just hope I can finish. I want to make everyone proud of me:)