For their part, the girls would have no idea where they were and would take pains to hide from the Japanese. No big distress signals, no bonfires, no visible signs of human habitation.
Reconnaissance aircraft flying over the island would see no signs of people and, since both sides had cracked the other’s codes, they would know there was no enemy interest in Bidney Island so the girls would remain relatively safe.
Who were these girls and how did they would get there?
Well, they couldn’t be from the mainland USA or even Hawaii, that would make no sense. How in the world would they end up on the other side of the Pacific?
World tensions the way they were,
nobody would fly students into a hot spot,
they would be flying them out.
That meant they had to start in the Philippines and be heading south to safety in Australia. And they had to fly: An aircrew could get killed easily but on a sinking ship there would be at least one sailor assigned to look after them on a lifeboat.
So…what are these all-American girls doing in the Philippines?
Obviously the children of diplomats, trade managers, oil company executives, etc. People of privilege who could afford to bring their families halfway around the world back in the 1930s.
The school would cater to that class of clientele, though as often the case, the nuns running the school would be using it to fund another school for needy children in a rundown Filipino only neighborhood.
The girls in the school would all be white Americans or Europeans, certainly all English-speaking.
There would be one Filipino girl among them, an outsider.
As war tensions ratcheted up, their parents evacuated them to Australia, youngest girls first, until only one planeload of girls in their mid-to-late teens was left.
That would be the flight that got shot down on December 7th, 1941 (yeah, yeah, I know, I know, when the Japanese attacked the Philippines it was December 8th because of the International Dateline; it’s called artistic license, folks).
(to be continued)