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Menzies Mary Brown

Mary Brown Menzies
Second Lieutenant
Serial Number:
Date of Death:

Mary Brown Menzies was one of the "Angels of Bataan and Corregidor” – the US Army and Navy Nurse Corps women who served in the Battle of the Philippines in 1941-42. When Bataan and Corregidor fell, 11 Navy nurses, 66 army nurses, and 1 nurse-anesthetist were captured and imprisoned in and around Manila. They continued to serve as nurses in various POW camps until they were finally liberated in February 1945.

From the book We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurse Trapped on Bataan

Although Mrs. Menzie was listed as an army nurse, she was, in fact, new to the group. Soon after the war began, her fiancé, an officer on MacArthur's staff, managed to insinuate his betrothed, a registered nurse, in the nurse corps, the better to position her for possible evacuation. Once on Corregidor, the couple married. After surrender the colonel was forced to join the herds of POW's penned up topside under the blazing sun. His wife, meanwhile, remained on duty with the nurses, but slept in a secluded area of a lateral that she and her husband had sec-tioned off for themselves with a bedsheet. Now, for company, she invited another nurse to join her. At 2:30 A.M. on May 9 Mary Brown Menzie felt someone shaking her awake from a deep sleep. She opened her eyes slowly, and as she began to focus she saw a man's shaved head. The man was a Japanese and, save for the towel around his waist, he was naked. Just then Menzie caught sight of the knife. The man looked hard at her and made a gesture—if she cried out he would pull the blade across her neck and slit her throat. She tried to slip past him out of bed, but he pushed her back down, pointed his knife at her eyes and began to mount her. She threw her right forearm across her eyes to protect her face, and in the struggle the man cut her wrist. The wound seemed momentarily to unnerve him. In the confusion that followed Menzie broke free, and with her roommate in tow, ran screaming into the nurses lateral. The next day Maude Davison reported the incident to Colonel Cooper, who relayed it to the Japanese, who in turn "investigated" and concluded that the assailant was most definitely an American or Filipino.