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Carter Berkeley Simpson Papers, 1941-1944

Manuscript Collection #646

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: Carter Berkeley Simpson Papers
Creator: Simpson, Carter Berkeley
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1941-1944) including correspondence, 2 hand written diaries, receipts of letters, description of daily routine activities.
Extent: 0.073 Cubic feet, 83 items , typescript pages of two diaries (1941-1944) of U.S. Marine officer, USNA Class of 1939.

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

December 8, 1992. 83 pages; Diary (1941-1944) of U.S. Marine officer, USNA Class of 1939. Gift of Capt. Fred C. Wyse Estate, McLean, Virginia.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

Carter Berkeley Simpson Papers (#646), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Capt. Fred C. Wyse Estate

Processing Information

  • Processed by Z. Anishanslin, June 1995

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services


Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Carter Berkeley Simpson was born in South Carolina in 1915, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1939, and subsequently served as an officer in the Marine Corps. He was stationed in the Philippines when the United States entered World War II, commanded troops first in Bataan until its fall (April 8, 1942) and then on Corregidor until its surrender to the Japanese (May 6, 1942). A prisoner of war, he was interned in a Japanese P.O.W. camp in the Philippines from June 1942 until late 1944, when his P.O.W. ship was sunk enroute to Japan. Recaptured upon reaching shore, he died of exposure and starvation December 31, 1944, having achieved the rank of captain.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The collection includes two diaries written by Simpson while a prisoner of war in the Philippines. The first diary (December 8, 1941 - April 18, 1944) of 59 typescript pages presents a reconstruction of war and defeat in Bataan (pp. 3-14) and Corregidor (pp. 15-21), including sample battle dialogue (pp. 19-21). Dated entries begin with May 6, 1942 (p. 22) and describe conditions of surrender to the Japanese on Corregidor, travel to the P.O.W. camp, and camp life itself. The other diary (April 19, 1944 - October 12, 1944) of 23 typescript pages describes life in the P.O.W. camp up to the time Simpson was sent to Japan. Together the diaries describe two years and four months of life in a Japanese P.O.W. camp. Except for six months of this time, Simpson served as a camp barracks leader.

Diary entries provide insight into the psychological effects of imprisonment, including continual fears about the future, disillusionment with human nature, preoccupation with rumors about the course of the war, and alternating hope and despair of freedom. Other topics of constant concern in the diaries are lack and type of food; health problems, notably malnutrition, beri-beri, and pelagra; interaction among the prisoners; and receipt of letters from home and Red Cross packages. Daily routines, departures from routine, amounts of rations, camp entertainment, crime and punishment, and general camp morale also are described regularly. The second diary in particular includes observations of Japanese military activity witnessed from the P.O.W. camp, including aerial operations andactions such as foxhole digging within the camp itself (pp. 12, 16, and 21).

The collection also includes a copy of the entry on Simpson in the United States Naval Academy Register of Alumni.

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Division, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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