"THE INSULAR LUMBER COMPANY IN WWII "
_________________
J. R. Peck

 

Due to the period of time the initial outbreak of World War II in September 1939 and the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Philippines Dec 7th 1941, Insular Lumber Company had continued capacity operations and was supplying the United Kingdom for its war purposes and was supplying an average of one and a half million board feet of lumber per month, along with its other export business.  This material was used largely for the construction of truck bodies and freight cars used for military purposes. 

     For sometimes prior to war’s outbreak also, and destined to a vital influence later, there had been an airfield established and maintained by private interests just across the Himogaan River from the company’s properties at Fabrica, Occ. Negros.

In the fall of 1941 an increasing number of priority orders for lumber for defense construction in the Philippines were received from the U. S. Pacific Command, and in November 1941 most of the heavy construction machinery used by the company in the woods, was taken over by U. S. Army authorities, as also the Company’s railway construction Chief Mr. Charles Matzen, and put at rush work in converting the Air Field across the river to military uses and greatly increasing its size.

 

      Meantime the Company’s General Manager had been instructed generally, and subject to conditions that they might develop, in case of outbreak of war between Japan and the  United States to safeguard the moveable machinery by withdrawing it to the timbered area, and to reduce the working force to guards and maintenance men sufficient to safeguard the properties as much as possible.

       Following Pearl Harbor and the attacks on Manila cable communication with Fabrica remained possible for some time through Cebu, and between January and February and March 1942 infrequent messages were received indicating continuing good health of the Staff, ??? shutdown of the mill and complete suspension of operations on January 17, and requesting payments to relatives of the staff in the United States and elsewhere, and payments of life insurance premiums for Staff members, and the like.  The last communication was  of April 9th, 1942, requesting payment to a bank in Switzerland of insurance premiums on the life of Mr Saukart, Chief Accountant at the Fabrica office, and destined to die later in the war in a bomb shelter at Bacolod, Occ. Negros of disease and malnutrition, but with his life insurance thus (???) child. 

      There followed the dismal period to sometime in 1944 of Japanese gains, no news, collecting the loose ends of sales and accounting occasioned by the outbreak of War, and seeking to plan the necessary expenses of holding things together, and maintaining the families of the Staff and like matters, so that the available funds might also permit resumption of activity at a time as yet unknown.

 

    

 

 

 

 

         

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