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A. I started at the Middleside Barracks in early morning. Facing left up the hill you first come to the trolley line, then the Officers Quarters, the Hospital and finally the Mile Long Barracks on Topside. 

MIDDLESIDE OFFICERS QUARTERS
 

Text and Photos by John Moffitt

Recently, our Forum received a posting from Ed Olivares (West Point 1957), who explained that he was the son of Jose Emilio Olivares, USNA 1923, commissioned 2LT US Army, Philippine Scouts. Olivares (Snd) had served through WWII and was integrated into the Regular US Army CAC, after WWII and two weeks before Philippine Independence.  He had been stationed in Corregidor several times, including once as CO of the Prison Stockade. His last assignment on Corregidor lasted until just before the war started on Dec 8, 1941 (Philippine Time.)

Ed explained that his own connection with Corregidor was by birth at the US Army Hospital in Ft. Mills, and subsequently living in Quarters on Colonels row in Middleside. (His father was an LTC by then.)  He recalled being taken into the stockade with his Dad to visit and talk to prisoners. He had aloso been given a number of handcarved wooden toys by prisoners sometime in late 1940 early 1941 when he was 5 years old. He also had a clear recollection of his father taking him into one of the CAC gun emplacements, and having to plug his ears during the firing of one of the big guns. I also have a clear memory of a little girl neighbor whose name was Emily Crawford. He doesn't recall the grade of her father, but knew he was an officer who lived a few houses down from his family in Middleside.

Ed had commented that he had seen lots of photos of Middleside Barracks and various Headquarters buildings but none of the quarters.

I resolved to change that.

I went to Middleside a few days after reading Ed's post with a plan to walk Colonel’s row, or what is labeled on the maps as "Officers Quarters."  A total of thirty Officers houses are in this area.

I walked to the eastern end by the 300 step staircase and then along the whole row of houses. At the end of the row, I walked uphill to six more houses and then out to the road only one minute walk to the hospital.

Photos are of the houses today plus the surrounding area. In addition to the photos, I thought I would also provide a description for you.

Of the thirty houses, I saw all of them except six which are up the hillside further. Only one house has most of the walls standing but no roof. All other houses are rubble with small to large chunks of concrete scattered around. One thing that did survive at a few houses was the exterior staircases which went up and split left and right going into the upper level of two adjacent houses. A couple former houses have chimneys still standing.

Houses here were within view of the Japanese artillery on Bataan plus both Japanese and American bombers at different times. This area took a real pounding. There are more large craters here than around most big gun batteries. Even after almost sixty-five years a few shell or bomb craters are still ten to fifteen feet deep. 

Other than a direct hit from the bombs/shells, I wondered what could destroy these houses so completely where in other areas of Corregidor many walls of buildings are still standing. I think there may be two answers. 

First, I learned from Martyn Keen, our Mapmaster, that all of the Officers Houses were of mixed construction (concrete and wood) with the exception of four which were all concrete. There is some concrete rubble but not nearly enough for a two story house. If the wood burnt then his would explain why.

Second, in one of the four concrete houses (the one that is still standing), the walls were only 1˝ inch thick concrete with no rebar. I am certainly no expert but I would guess the concussion from even a nearby bomb would flatten them. Only small rebar is visible where wall sections are joined, doorways and most certainly major load bearing beams. (I will show you this in photos).

I realize these buildings were not strategic military structures but they still look built rather flimsy. After visiting the hospital I went to the Senior Officer’s Quarters on Topside. The four walls and both stories of almost all of them are still standing. Those walls are thick and rebar was used. Perhaps junior officers did not rate that.

Another difference between the two types of Officer’s quarters was the ‘senior’ guys got chimneys and fireplaces where the ‘junior’ guys got chimneys with a pipe hole inside the house for some type of stove.

Down the hillside from the houses was the trolley line. I thought you might be interested in photos of a mostly intact trolley station plus a few wooden rail ties. The actual rails are long gone. I have been told that the Japanese needed scrap metal for war production so had them removed and shipped to Japan. The ties are a common sight on Corregidor. 

Today, the area of the houses is completely grown up with large trees and vegetation. The walking was not too bad but still required cutting vines and branches at times. No roads are visible. In a couple places the high trees thinned out a bit so more sunlight hit the ground. Here the vegetation was like a thorny thatched wall so I had to make detours. As a general rule, the thicker the canopy above, the easier the walking below.

My little pocket camera is not fond of very high contrast scenes. The jungle shadows are quite dark and areas of sunshine are very bright. I under exposed the highlights if possible and to lighten the shadows I often used the flash. Also, I removed vines and brush at times to make clearer views for the photos. They are far from perfect but will give you a good idea of what the houses and general area looks like today.

 

John Moffitt

 

 


B. This area is very grown up and roads are not visible anymore. Almost all the houses are totally destroyed with only foundations and staircases remaining. 
 


C. Collapsed outside patio floor


D. All houses were built with raised floors on concrete pillars


 E: Concrete double sink

 

 

 

F. Front of concrete stairway which splits left and right going to the econd floor of two adjacent homes.

 

G. Rear of the stairway clearly showing the left and right sections

H. Occasional house wall sections still exit

I. A few sets of stairs down to the trolley stations and up toward the hospital can still be seen

 

 

J. There are walking hazards such as open six foot deep manholes

 

K. House interior floor

L. In the hillside above some of the Officer's Quarters is the entrance to Middleside Tunnel, which is fairly extensive including several laterals, Photos of it can be seen at FOTS GALLERY (external link)

M. Rock wall between houses and the trolley line

 

N. Corner of one of the most intact trolley stations on Corregidor (just below the houses) O. Top area of the trolley station (mostly intact but part of the wall in destroyed). The missing upper walls and roof were mostly wood.
 
P. Trolley line wooden ties beside the old rail bed Q. Front steps of the only remaining house with upright walls
 
R. Outside wall corner S. Interior doorway T. Looking out a window U. Looking out a window (note thin walls, minimal rebar and damage from the outside in)
 
V. On the interior floor is a Chimney with a pipe hole W. Top of the chimney is still standing
 
X. I have been told these bins were for coal or wood
 
Y. Note the thin house walls and no visible rebar (even broken wall sections had no rebar
   
Z. Hospital Z1. Hospital    
       

 

Malinta Gasoline Storage System | Middleside Officer's Qtrs | Btry Denver Tunnel | The Final Line of Defense | Not Finding RJ-43 Btry Chicago
 Malinta's Navy Tunnels (Part 1) (Part 2) | Type 96 AA Gun | A Walk on Tailside | G-1 Command Post

 

GHQ  Historic Corregidor  | Harbor Defense of Manila & Subic Bays  |  Corregidor Under Siege  Retaking Corregidor  |  Rediscovering Corregidor  | Units & Personnel  |  Concrete Battleship Secret Corregidor PX  |  Now Showing |  Archives  |  Bulletin Board | Galleries  |  Mail Call | Links | 503d on the Rock  | 503d Heritage Bn. Rock Force