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The Fourth Lateral

 

 

 

 

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The Navy Tunnel

 

 

1999 Edward Michaud

 

During my visit to the island I had the opportunity to tour the Malinta Tunnel system in detail with one of the local islanders who was very familiar with its internal arrangements. Just before we entered the main gate he requested that I bring along our Pulse-Detection unit, which I didn't hesitate to agree with. I had previously heard of some of the legends associated with this vast cavern and what he then told me sounded so very plausible.

He stated that in 1987, when he was acting as a tour-guide for a rather large group of American war veterans, an older gentleman pulled him aside and related an incident that occurred in 1942. This man was assigned to the American 59th Coast Artillery at the time of the Japanese offensive. Just prior to the surrender the cases of American paper currency, then under storage inside the tunnels, were systematically burned in an incinerator just outside the western entrance of the Malinta tunnel. This old veteran further stated that he was in charge of one of those ‘burning cans’ and that there simply wasn’t enough time to completely destroy the millions of five, ten, and 20 dollar notes and gold certificates. As a result, some of the soldiers who were designated for the currency-destruction details buried small cashes of the money all around the Malinta Hill and San Jose area.

According to this man, he found an empty five-inch powder canister close to one of the artillery batteries and carried it back to his allotted space within the tunnels. After stuffing the empty shell with wads of gold certificates, five-dollar notes, a few military documents and his personal war journal, he sealed the opening with a thick coat of wax. He then proceeded to dig a hole in the center of the Fourth lateral midway down the length of the compartment and ultimately buried the canister, covering the item with small rocks and mortar.

This veteran stated that as far as he knew his little deposit was still there as he never had the opportunity to return for it and spent the next three years in a series of Japanese prisoner of war camps.

Needless to say, the certificates and notes would be of considerable value today, but the personal and military documents that he mentioned would be worth even more to military and Government historians. The detector that I used within the tunnel system, however, picked up everything – including the reinforcing steel within the concrete floors and walls. It was impossible to differentiate between construction materials and disassociated items. It is still not known whether this particular story is actually true or not, but it sounds reasonable enough.*

 

 

 

1999 Edward Michaud

POST-WAR RECOVERY OPS 1945-88 | SPEEDY GONZALES  |   BATTERY MORRISON  | AH-MOON'S   |  THE ENGINEERING TUNNEL   |   GRAVE - GOLD   |   THE MARCOS CONNECTION   |   THE NORTH DOCK GOLD HOLE   |   THE FOURTH LATERAL   |   THE NORTH HARBOR SALVAGE BARGE   |    THE PRESIDENTIAL YACHT "CASIANO"   |   THE LORCHA DOCK   |  SILVER PESOS    |  NO MORE GOLD   |   CONCLUSION

CORREGIDOR - THE TREASURE ISLAND OF WWII    |    GOLD IS ALSO BALLAST    |    THE GOLDEN PATROL OF THE USS TROUT |  SALVAGING A SILVER TREASURE  | THE JAPANESE OVERSTRIKE

H Version 09.09.11

  * it's more likely that an ammunition can would eventually rust, lose its integrity,
allow water seepage and destroy all of the paper contents.