Silence of a Soldier
Table of Contents
This book is dedicated to Gertrude Merrill (nee Worfolk). This courageous woman remained loyal, loving, and
hopeful during the long years of silence imposed on her beloved friend Bub, because of his imprisonment by the
Japanese. This book is dedicated to all those courageous women who shared Gertrude’s travail. They waited,
hoped, and prayed that their loved ones would return. In Gertrude’s case, her prayers were answered.
This book would not have materialized were it not for the complete cooperation of Smith (Bub) Merrill.
When I first approached Bub about writing his story, he was reluctant. He did not think his experiences were
worth a story. Also, these events happened so long ago, he didn't think he could remember events accurately. It
was the Internet that would refresh Bub's interest and memories. The exchanges between old comrades brought
to life the many events that Bub had suppressed for so many years. When I approached him again, he was very
responsive. I believe that Bub's story is worth telling.
It will bring to our minds an understanding of the suffering and sacrifices endured by these silent soldiers.
I want to thank Treg Merrill for her kind support. She assisted in maintaining accuracy. Her proof reading was
invaluable. I thank also my wife, Barbara, who made sure my sentence structure and spelling were correct. I
owe a debt of gratitude to Robert H. Curran who artfully crafted the maps. They add greatly to the story. In a
category all his own, I thank David W. St. John, Editor of Elderberry Press. His patience, humor and
suggestions were constantly helpful toward completion of this book.
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The day was cool and breezy. The sky was speckled with white fluffs of cotton. The bright sun rendered the
clouds even more amorphous. “Mares” tails trailed high above; a premonition of troublesome weather ahead.
My wife and I were visiting our home construction site high on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. The month
was July. The year was 1997. We could not determine whether the construction had progressed or regressed.
Such are the fits of anxiety suffered by most potential home owners. We talked ourselves into the dubious fact
that indeed progress had been made. It was our hope to be in the house by mid-August.
As we left the site, we noticed a car in the driveway one lot down from us. There was an empty lot between
our house and this newly built home. We could see an older couple sitting in the car. We pulled into the
driveway to introduce ourselves. It was obvious that the couple were attacking McDonald hamburgers and fries