Author Steve Griffiths will discuss and read from his new book, Guerrilla Priest: An American Family in World War II Philippines, at the North Lincoln County Historical Museum at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 25th.
Griffiths based his book on the unpublished accounts that his parents each wrote of their wartime experiences in the Philippines. After his parents and sister were liberated from a Japanese prisoner of war camp in Manila in February 1945, they came to Nelscott to recover from their wartime ordeal.
Guerrilla Priest captures a special moment in the history of the Pacific War: the formation of the first guerrilla resistance against the Japanese in northern Luzon. Episcopal priest Al Griffiths, gold miner Walter Cushing, and Chief Puyao of the Tingguian tribe were key figures in this resistance. Guerrilla Priest describes the events that led to the ambush at Lamonan—disastrous for the Japanese—and the aftermath of that ambush for those who participated.
Guerrilla Priest also provides an intimate glimpse of the American colonial experience in the Philippines, and perhaps most significantly, it tells the story of how a young American family, Al Griffiths, his wife Nessie, and their infant daughter Katy, managed to survive a horrific war.
During the months they spent in Nelscott after the war, Al and Nessie Griffiths were grateful that neighbors and friends rarely asked them about their wartime ordeal. They both wanted to put the experience behind them. But Al and Nessie each wrote an account of their ordeal for their children to have—their daughter Katy, who shared the experience with them, and their son Steve, who was born after the war. Author Griffiths has shaped his parents’ memoirs into a compelling and moving read.
Dancing Moon Press in Newport, Oregon, published Guerrilla Priest in 2016. It is available for sale on Amazon. Copies may also be purchased at the event.