Colonel Edmund J. Lilly, Jr. P.O.W. papers

  Col. Edmund Lilly

The Colonel Edmund J. Lilly collection is an open collection of papers relating to the military service and experiences of a P.O.W. in the World War II Pacific Theater.  Col. Lilly was born in North Carolina and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1915.  In 1917, he received a commission in the regular Army.  In 1941 he was sent to Manila in the Philippines to serve in the U.S. Army's Philippine Division.  He became the commander of the 57th Philippine Scout Regiment.  The unit served on Bataan during the Japanese invasion.   He became a P.O.W. in April 1942 when the Americans surrendered to the Japanese.   For the next 40 months he was in various Japanese P.O.W. camps.  To keep his sanity, he maintained a diary in tiny notebooks.  In addition to the diary he wrote down poems, songs, recipes, rules for Bridge and everything he could remember.  After his release from the camp, he spend 6 months in a hospital and eventually returned to active duty.  He retired from the Army in 1953 and returned to North Carolina.   His collection of diaries, memorabilia and other materials was donated to the Combined Arms Research Library in 1998 by his daughters, Elizabeth Ann Lilly Barrett and Victoria Lilly MacMillan.

Listing of material:

Box 1

A. Service Records
B. Inventories
C. Correspondence
     1941
     1942
     1943-1944
     1945
     1946
     1947-1949
     1950-1959
     1960-1969
     1970-1983
D. Topical files
     Decorations - copies of orders awarded
     Fall of Philippines
     57th Infantry Guerrilla Regiment
     Fort William McKinley
     Lilly, Edmund J.
     Post-liberation
    WW II - general
E. Photographs
F. Illustrations (prison scenes by Eugene C. Jacobs)

Box 2

G. Publications
     Corregidor of Eternal Memory
     Infantry Journal
     The Fall of the Philippines, footnotes to by Louis Morton
     Philippine Postscripts, 1944-1945
     Prisoners of War Bulletin, 1943-1944 
     The Red Cross News (Distributed to U.S. Prisoners of War)
     The Short Fuse: A Note on the Japanese Ex-Prisoner of War after Four Years, by Charles T. Brown, M.C.,
           U.S. Army. (Inscribed by author to EJL)
     The U.S. Army in WWII: The War with Japan, 3 vol.(Belonged to Lt. EJ Lilly, III, KIA in Korea 1950)
     The XPW Bulletin, 1958-1959
H. Associations
     American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor
     Relief for Americans in Philippines
I.  Boxtop and label collection
J. Speeches
K. Prisoner of War Camps
     Church services
     Notes and sketches

Box 3

J. Notebooks (links are to diaries available full-text)
     1. Diary, 26 December 1943 - 7 December 1944 (or with handwritten transcription or typed transcription)
     2. Diary, 8 December 1944 - 26 April 1945
     3. 27 April 1945 - 17 September 1945
     4. Prisoners of war, #1: May 10, 1942 - Oct. 9, 1942
     5. Prisoners of war, #2
     6. Prisoners of war, #3
     7. "The Battle of Bataan", by W.E. Brougher; etc.
     8. Claims against the U.S.; addresses; etc.
     9. Notebook 9: Speech at Karenko, 17 August 1942 - scanned diary at http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/u?/p4013coll8,3320.  Transcription at http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cgsc/carl/resources/archival/lilly/notebook9.pdf
   10. Letter to VBL (copy), 19 November 1943; notes on mechanics
   11. Bottle turn-in; PX accounts; etc.
   12. Poems and songs
   13. Guitar; Bridge; knots; etc.
   14. Notebook 14 scanned diary at http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/u?/p4013coll8,3369.   Songs and poetry - partial transcription.
   15. Contract Bridge
   16. Calculus; notes of Bataan campaign, deaths, operations; etc.
   17. More songs and poems
   18. "Crazy One," by W. Kent Hughes; "Birth of England"; etc.
   19. Memoir, 8 December 1941 - January 1942 - scanned diary at http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/u?/p4013coll8,3359.  Transcription at /cac2/cgsc/carl/resources/archival/lilly/notebook19.asp

Box 4 (Notebooks, cont.)

   20. Notes re Asia; restaurants; dates
   21. Pay data; property claims; bets; PW Info Bulletin
   22. Ledger purchased at Hoten, 10 March 1945, with summaries, maps of Bataan, routes of prison ships, etc. (includes 5 pieces re song copyright)
   23. Trip home from prison camp, October 1945
   24. Handwritten report of Pearl Harbor bombing
   25. Small photo, EJL diary on back with transcription (4 pieces total)
   26. Food and cigarette labels

Box 5

K. Recipe file from P.O.W. camps 1942-1945


Return to Archival Resources