Information requested by the Manila Cemetery on 07/10/2011


In Manila before the war, there were five members of the US Coast and Geodetic Survey.Their job was to create coastal maps and write about the conditions in the coastal areas of the Philippines.They had one boat, the USS Research, which was manned by American officers and a Filipino crew.All four men lived in Manila with their families.The US Coast and Geodetic Survey was a separate branch of service.They had reservist status as they could be transferred to a combat unit anytime needed.


Soon after the war began, the USS Research was brought to Corregidor at the request of the US Army.The boat was scuttled before the surrender of Corregidor.  Below is the list of the five men in question, and what happened to them.


1.  Capt. George D. Cowie


Capt. Cowie was the commanding officer.  He was killed on Dec. 24, 1941, in Manila, while he was in a print shop getting some new maps printed.  The print shop took a direct hit from Japanese bombing.  He is not listed in the ABMC data base.  His remains may have been returned to the US.  His wife Theodora and his daughter Theodora (same name) were in Santo Tomas.


2.  Lt. Commander Carl A. Egner


Lt Cmdr. Egner was arrested by the Japanese in Manila.  He managed to convince the Japanese he was a civilian.  They put him into Santo Tomas.  He managed to continue to convince the Japanese he was a civilian as he escaped discovery during the Kempei Taiís purge of military personnel who were hiding in Santo Tomas.  Two of his other shipmates were not as lucky.  His wife Doris was also in Santo Tomas.

3.  Lt. Commander Charles Shaw


When the war began Lt. Shaw was in Sternberg Hospital.  He was working in Jolo when he was attacked by a local with a bolo and he received several serious wounds.  He was arrested by the Japanese and interned in Santo Tomas.  He was one of the men in Santo Tomas who was discovered to be military.  He was then imprisoned in Bilibid, where he was liberated after the war.  Lt. Shaw died soon after he was repatriated to the US.


4.  Lt. Joseph W. Stirni


Lt. Stirni was a VMI graduate. He was also captured in Manila and interned in Santo Tomas.  Like Lt. Cmdr. Shaw, he was discovered to be military and taken to Cabanatuan.  On Dec. 11, 1944, he was put on board the Oryoku Maru.  He was killed in the second leg of the journey to Moji, Japan, when the Enoura Maru was bombed in Takao Harbor in Formosa, on Jan. 9, 1945.  He is not listed in the ABMC data base.  His wife Dorothy was in Santo Tomas.


5.  Lt. JG George E. Morris


Sometime after the war began, Lt. JG Morris was ordered to deliver the USS Research to Corregidor.  He remained on Corregidor until the surrender of the island by Gen. Wainwright on May 7, 1942.  After after a brief stay in the 92nd Garage and then Bilibid, he was imprisoned in Cabanatuan.  Like Lt. Stirni, on Dec. 11, 1944, he was forced on board the Oryoku Maru.  Lt. JG Morris was one of the few survivors of that voyage.  After a brief stay in Inchon, Korea, he was moved to Fukuoka #1, where he was liberated at the end of the war.  His wife Kate, daughter Mary Ann, and son Scott were interned in Santo Tomas.


My source for the above information is Lt. JG Morris' post war deposition, an article found on line about the history of the USC&GS in the Philippines, and various rosters.