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Margaret Byroade Seals

Margaret and Brigadier General Carl Herndon Seals were married March 22, 1924 in Manilla, Philippines. Margaret Seals was General Seals beloved wife, and the oldest daughter of Florence and Colonel George L. Byroade.

In 1944, all spouses of military personnel were ordered out of the Philippines as war appeared eminent with Japan, however Margaret was seriously ill from arthritis and was not able to travel. She was allowed to stay even though war loomed. War began on December 8, 1941 in Luzon, shortly after the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor. Later following the advances of the Japanese military, Margaret and her husband were forced to the island of Corregidor as General Seals was the Adjutant General of the Philippines and therefore was needed by General MacArthur. There they were under continual assault of the Japanese. Corregidor was home to the Malinta Tunnels, an underground bunker that held military personnel and the hospital for the wounded.

There they, the General and Mrs. Seals, withstood the difficulties of war until two Navy planes arrived to take 30 nurses and twenty assorted officers and civilians to safety in Australia. One of the planes struck an obstacle while landing on Mindanao’s Lake Lanao. Efforts to fix the ruptured hull were futile. Twenty-five persons who thought they were well on their way to liberty were marooned when the plane had to be abandoned“.
– General Wainwright’s Story

The couple was captured by the Japanese in May of 1942 on Mindanao. Margaret was interned at Santa Tomas from May 1942 until September 1945. She was one of the more than 4,000 internees held there. Food was scarce, the conditions deplorable. In January 1945, a doctor reported that the average loss of weight among male internees had been 53 pounds during the three years at Santo Tomas, 32.5 percent of their average body weight. When liberated on February 3, 1945, Margaret weighed 78 pounds. Being recognized by a VIP of the Red Cross, she was taken via hospital ship to San Francisco. She was then flown to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D. C, arriving on May 22, 1945, a week after her return from  Japanese internment in the Philippines.

Margaret’s health had been compromised by both the arthritis and conditions brought on by starvation. She died May 24, 1945 in Washington D.C., and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery a few days after her death. Margaret. It was said, “Margaret had been a good friend of Mrs. Jean (Douglas) MacArthur”. In an interview, mention was that the cause of her death may have been caused by being fed, as she was unable to digest because of her state of malnutrition.

– Wickpedia.org/Santo_Tomas_Internment_Camp
– The Dothan Eagle, Dothan, Alabama, Thurs., May 24, 1945, Page 3
– Interview with Kate Byroade, 2013