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WAR DIARY

WAR DIARY

Image of the original Cover Page

Image of the original Cover Page  – An image of a typical entry page is posted at the end of this transcript.

The following records have been transcribed from a diary written whilst a Japanese PoW. The diary, from December 1941 to November 1943 was written on Japanese toilet paper which, remarkably, has proved archival. Much of it, though, was written in old-fashioned water-soluble red and black ink and has suffered water damage. The cover is dated: DECEMBER, 1941 and has an added note dated 12/10/43 (12 October, 1943). The note reads: ‘I have this sewn up in my pillow—I shall only be able to make an entry every fortnight or so’. The entries have been copied as they were written, apart from a few words that have become indecipherable over the years. The entries themselves, explain many of the mysteries of its production and survival under harsh circumstances. After November 1943, the diary continues in pencil on scraps of paper and a small pocket diary–A transcript if this portion will be available shortly

Note that the records for the two weeks leading up to the surrender must have been copied from notes written before the diary was started. They do not now exist.

 

 

TRANSCRIPT:

DECEMBER 

Summary: After the scare of last week things seem to be settling down. I spent a very enjoyable week at Shouson Hill, bathing at Deep Water Bay, etc. Sgt. Mann, Bargher (Canadian) and I packed up the mobile workshops and returned here. W.B.

SUN 7

Jing brought the tea as usual this morning but learned that nobody was allowed out so stayed in bed. Got some cheese rolls and coffee, at least Jing did, and had them for breakfast in bed. Had to get up at 11.oclock:

N.B. Japs sent over a party to ask for surrender yesterday.

Summary: On HK wireless, 60,000 Chinese are massing north of HK. Only 40 miles away. Ours is just a question of holding on until they relieve us. News of sinking of Repulse and Prince of Wales shook us a bit. All that shelling last week was dismissed as ‘nuisance shelling” on the radio. Our gunnery is absolutely rotten—I could do better with a peashooter.

SUN 14

They forgot about us on guard and so we got no breakfast until eleven o’clock this morn. Working fairly hard today raking in breakdowns from all over the place. Up the Peak at one time saw harbour full of sunken ships including ‘TAMAR’. Pulled in P.U. with broken axle and a custom 10 that ran into the back of truck which stopped to watch us. About 20 shells fell in the V.C.C. yesterday, including 1 hit on the hospital. Helped Sew-Sew Holder to paint some cars. Pete bought a cake from Lance Crawford tonight, to augment our bully stew and biscuits.

MON 15

Working on the P.U. today. Saw 27 planes circling overhead and noticed a plane drop 3 bombs that seemed to be coming my way. Ran for dear life up to the garage. One landed 30yds behind me, on the toolbox that I’d just left. The other two within 20 yds but, fortunately for me, in the Indian compound. Killed 7 and uprooted a tree. We’ve expected this for a long time, the street is packed with army wagons. Two shells came over after but they burst in the cemetery above us. The fact that the garage is cut into the hillside makes us a difficult target for sure.

TUE 16

Bombed again today on the road above garage, ran to public tunnel. Coolie in front of me pulled large shell splinter from his leg. Threw him packet of cigs. Tai Koo oil tanks alight—great columns of smoke. Took photos. Brought in water tanker with stripped back axle from Magazine Gap. Took ½ shaft out and it rolled down hill and hit B.D. (Break-down) wagon – broke step. Stayed up there for tiffin. Shelling and bombing is doing HK no good. Looks as though Chinese will revolt, police have had to kill one or two. Wireless says that Chinese are fighting on the border.

WED 17

The Burning oil tanks lit the place up last night, there’s a lot of other fires as well tonight and 1 or 2 over the other side. Dicky Bird took a party of us up Wong Nei Chong road to fix a navy truck with two guns aboard. Satisfactorily dealt with. Told yesterday that Japs had tried to land but were badly smashed up by our 6” guns and machine gunners. Also heard that an RASC chap had shot down a sea plane carrying a torpedo at Shouson Hill

THU 18

Awakened at 06.00 hrs, mustered and told that japs had landed and had actually passed through the V.C.C. below us. I was posted outside the garage. Filled with foreboding until daylight came. In a car to Jockey Club. Feverously (sic) barricaded the windows, etc. Saw tracers whipping across valley 6oo yds away. Had to take a wagon to Wanchai Gap for Canadians. Sew-Sew Holder in the lead. Waiting for Japs to come over course—took photos. Saw shells dropping on house opposite; Leighton Hill. Had a mug of Champagne. Peter cut his finger—someone took ladder away and he had to hang on to some glass.  Left Valley in a hurry to form H.Q. defense party. 21.00 hrs. Waiting outside H.Q. 2 hours. Going up to Scandal P.H.20 shells fell in the Valley. Tried to take photo.

FRI 19

It poured with rain last night and we had to make our way up to Scandal Point Hill in the mud. Some lost their kit including Peter. Wiseman packed us into the wooden hut and piled ammo on top of us with shells just going over the roof. Several houses alight within 200 yds. Shells screaming over all the time. Wiseman reported to H.Q. 60 ft below ground in concrete dugout. Came back and said that the row couldn’t be heard even down there; the whole staff was jittery. Nearly caught for guard after all that. Bernard caused some mirth during his turn of guard, he found a large size shell hole full of water—he had to swim for it but lost his rifle. Peter’s finger getting bad. Repeatedly warn him.

SAT 20

Moved on again yesterday to a Chinese millionaire’s house at POK FULAM. STONE MANOR. Got up at 06.00 and waited till 09.00 for our breakfast (Bully and biscuits). Marched to shelter of Bank. On way saw some Chinks cutting up dead horse in road. Today set up workshop along lower Pok Fulam road. Bombed again today; 1 fell by side of house and spread dust all over our tiffin. Plane came down to 100ft. Peter on Guard. Heard burst of tommy-gun fire just after he had gone. All turned out. Wiseman showed a light at a window and got a bullet through his good ankle. Peter took him to Q. Mary’s. I took over from Peter and took some wogs in big wagon. Couldn’t see an inch and drove into some concertina wire. Wogs had to walk. Black as ink and raining like hell.

 

DECEMBER

SUMMARY: Apparently the Scots, Midds (Middlesex Regiment) and Canadians are rounding up the Japs. G.O.C. says hang on another 4 days and the Chinese Army will be here. On Friday 19 as we were leaving S.P.M. saw 6 planes dive on Kowloon-our Ack Ack stopped—think they were Chinese. Japs have cut Electric supply and water –have to use private wells etc. C. Buckle wounded in chest and arms on THU 18.

SUN 21

Stand-to today. Japs supposed to have been advancing along our road—nothing materialized. Peter’s finger poisoned-gone to Q. Mary’s Hospital—I warned him. Saw 3 destroyers slipping between islands, not a round fired at them. Many of our drivers have been ambushed and had to leave wagons behind, including Chater’s who had truck full of ammo blow up. Things are pretty quiet here, shells are going right over the Peak. Some bombing. Looted Field Glasses from abandoned tanker.

MON 22

Lovely morning like English early summer. Diet of Bully Beef and Biscuits is doing me the world of good. Heard that the rest of the company is cornered at the Ridge –Heavy casualties. Freddy with bullet through nose. Richards came back after 4 days with pockets full of grenades and thousands of rounds – been fighting a little war on his own. Couldn’t get time to see Peter. Japs sending over lots of leaflets. One exhorting Indians to revolt. Collecting them. Chinese dead lying all over the place – stinking; nobody troubles to pick them up.

TUE 23

Unloading NAAFI stores onto lawn. Shifting again to H.K. University

(Records lost)

Peter out of Hospital                               Abandoned workshops

Decent XMAS DINNER

(Records lost)

WED 24

Had 12 bombs within 60 yds of me – uncomfortably close. They got two C.S.M.s 10yds away 1 of whom I had to rush to Q. Mary’s over potted road. Screaming in back of car. Legs and arms broken and chest wounds. This morning working on several wagons. All batteries down. Sew-Sew Holder killed at Aberdeen. Jacobs had bomb fall onto back of lorry yesterday – saw 4 charred Chinese on burnt chassis and another beside it. Jacobs not touched. This evening went to Mount Davis to fix up R.A. truck – had dinner there and saw R.A.s who came on our boat. 21.00 hrs raiding party pinching trucks and cars. I got big gate-change Albion. Rum issue ½ small cup. Had to take it to Murray Parade Ground and stay there till 05.00 hrs.

THU 25

We were waiting on Parade Ground last night to move some troops. Fitzgerald came with tea at 03.00 but drove his truck into shell hole. Returned at 05.00 hrs. very dark, no lights. Good XMAS Dinner:- Roast Lamb, spuds, biscuits and butter, a slice of Bread (first since I can (remember?) ) and a small piece of XMAS pud. SURRENDERED!!! Thought it was a joke at first but Col. Says infantry was on last legs. Most men crying. High officers scared out of their wits – told (us) to bury all lead ammo and leave our own arms intact. Won’t let us throw bolts away. Smash cases of whiskey etc.  (never seen it before). Took photos of discarded arms and ammo. Watched Kowloon docks burning from our shelling. Speculation on how Japs will treat us—they never troubled to take any prisoners before. Can’t shoot us all. Lofty Tarleton came up for drink tiffin time.

FRI 26

Stodged up last night in case Japs starve (us) in future. Nurses came with some wounded Chinese from Happy Valley. Nurses overcome. Some had been murdered in hospital. Saw first Jap tonight—stinks like hell. Party of them came this evening including Commander. Shifted us out into the Union opposite. Japs very small- surprised. Fancy being beaten by these little swine. Had hard job to get supplies off them. Howell says Commander is getting annoyed. Chaters had been killed on WED 24. Bedded down in the fireplace. Peter on the billiard table. Heard Rommel had packed it in.

SAT 27

Set to work to clean up the Union. (Remainder of record lost).

SUMMARY: Pity couldn’t have hung on a bit longer – Chinese Army supposed to be fighting at Lo Win. General opinion is that G. Staff packed in because fighting was getting too close to their concrete dugout. They should have surrendered before instead of wasting all those lives. Looking for opportunity to escape – got tin of Bully & 2 packets Bis. Emergency Rations.

SUN 28

            Japs moved us to Murray Barracks this morning took some supplies with us on lorries. Japs holding victory parade. About 100 planes came over us as we marched down. Nearly trod on dead Chink. Saw that Murray Parade Ground had been plastered with mortar shells – must have started just after we left last Wednesday. Only got sausage and ½ packet of biscuits for dinner. Feel pretty hungry.

MON 29

            Very meagre breakfast ½ sausage ½ packet Bis. Tiffin: 1 cup of Bully Stew & a spud, 3 biscuits. Very hungry but still hanging on to emergency rations. Lot of food came in this afternoon. Just lining up for dinner when everybody made a dash for ration store – everybody to take as much as they want. I collected several cases of tins. Made big fire, boiled pail of coffee. Had tin gooseberries, tin of milk, some sausages, etc. etc., couldn’t eat any more—apparently moving tomorrow early.

TUE 30

            Had very large breakfast.6 or 8 sausages, more milk & gooseberries etc. Each man to carry what he can. Gwinnel, Peter and I going to carry 2 kitbags of food between us. Marched to bank, had photographs taken by Japs. Over by ferry to Kowloon. Saw dead Japs floating in water. Marched first to Argyle St. 4 miles, men tired out throwing their kits away. We hired a Coolie to carry ours – took $5 in advance. To Sham Shui Po Camp after ½ hour rest, another 3 miles. Camp in terrible state – looted by Chinese. Got mess-tin of burnt, half cooked Rice!!!

WED 31

            The Chinese have taken nearly everything including doors, windows, taps, pipes every bit of furniture, in fact only things left are bare huts. Slept on concrete floor with only ground sheet and 2 blankets – getting pretty cold now. Checked up on tins that we brought – 22 tins tuna, 2lb tin Bully, 2lb butter, 4 tins milk, 1lb sugar, 3 tins Mutton Broth, 3 tins herrings, 2lb Syrup, 2 tins jam, 12 oxo, 1 large tin sausages. Peter had 800 cigs. Japs giving us 1lb rice per day. Opened 1 tuna each. Borrowed some coffee. Had sausages for breakfast.

 

OBSERVATIONS: During War: one in five Jap shells were dud. Japs took party of Canadians, marched them round the streets until they were tired, then made them sit on the kerb while Japs took their photo. Looted Parker Pen at University. (To which we owe these records , no doubt.) I’ve estimated from what I’ve heard, that of the grenades thrown during the war, half were thrown without fuses in and another ¼ were thrown without the pin removed.

 

GENERAL: Joked previously about Japs feeding us on rice – but it’s a fact. Some of the men already in the camp have been living on rice for 10 days – They look in terrible state. Found Gwinnel had bugged us by putting his blanket into one of the kitbags. Chinese are selling army bedding over the wire for exorbitant prices. All looted from this camp. Got some satisfaction from the fact that Japs made G.O.C. & Staff march here as well; carrying their Bedding. Chinks very amused to see us carrying our kit on poles as we marched here – Lordly British turned coolies. According to the ambulance Drivers, 70 Scots were in dock with malaria and another 30 with V.D. when the war started. One section which Chen Morgan commanded was reduced to him & 2 men – who were to hold a front of about a mile. Chinks selling sugar bags full of sand with layer of sugar on top.

JANUARY 

SUMMARY: I don’t think we’ll be in here very long. Heard our chaps slaughtering Nips in Malaya. Russians advancing rapidly.

OBSERVATIONS: Peter and I have increased our escape rations to 2 tins bully, 4 packets biscuits, tin of salmon, 4 tins of tuna, one fish paste. Previously these were VIX  (?) Barracks. Chinks have cut down wire and posts on one side of camp – one might almost walk out but for the guard. No sign of the Chinese Army. After the surrender the Staff came from their dugout’ one officer was heard to say   “Good God they’ve sunk the Tamar” (Scuttled by us on the second day). I think the time is ripe for escape but Peter says wait until the Chinese get nearer. There are 5,000 men in the camp consisting of Canadians, Wogs, Volunteers, Navy, Air force and British Army. Most of our officers……………. (Records lost).  Talk of an officer who used to dash from the dugout, have his breakfast and get back within 5 minutes. Damn funny to see officers scrambling at the wire trying to buy buns, etc. MO’s scoffing the very stuff that they would have shot us for eating before – Chinese buns etc. at risk of Cholera & Dysentery. These Chinese are cunning devils- one bloke paid $10 for whiskey bottle full of urine. Japs caught a chink selling milk tin full of water & smashed him up. Chinese’d better look out for themselves when we get out. We are billeted in the old NAFFI. Water spurting all over the place from where taps & pipes used to be before Chinese looted place. Beginning to get fed up with the chaps telling their war stories. Howell has asked everybody to write their experiences for him to put together into a book. The bloke’s tales do confirm the chaos that developed on the island; Canadians being mowed down by their own men etc. etc. Also of Japs barbarianism re pow’s.

THU 1

            New Year. Had my towel pinched this morning – it was souvenir of Jockey Club. Peter gave me one of his. We are getting 2 meals of rice per day, one at 10.00 hrs & one at 17.00 hrs. Scots giving us worst of the rice; We want to start our own mess. Trying to conserve our food. Having Syrup with rice. Opened 2 tins tuna and tin of Mutton Broth between three of us. Covering up windows and doors as best we can with Palm Fronds.

FRI 2

            Payed 25$ today. I have now 135$. Chinese selling foodstuff over the wire. Looted army bully – charging $2.50 (3/3d). Used one of my bars of soap in washing shirt. Towel and shorts. Rice having curious effect: everybody is constipated. (I haven’t excreted since I came here but get up at least 5 times during the night to micturate. Extremely cold at night now especially as we sleep on concrete floors. I put on all the clothes I possess, wrap myself in the 2 blankets and still shiver all night. Must be lack of food – temp is about 50* English measure.

SAT 3

            Took whole no.9 (Army laxative) today but it failed to move me. 2 wogs died from starvation. Japs drove in 11 pigs to last 10 days. Works out about 3oz per man. All I got was a piece of skin with bristles on. Bought some stuff over the wire. Prices soaring. Paid $2 (2/6) for 12 oz tin of jam. $2 (2/6) for tin of milk & $5 (6/-) for loaf of Bread.  (Records lost). 

SUMMARY: Hope Nips bring in something more besides rice. Our tin stuff won’t last for ever. Beginning to think Chinese Army a myth. We play spelling Bee each night. Have no light s so have to go to bed about 18.00 hrs, or sit round fire cooking chuppaties made of rice.

SUN 4

            Asked MO for laxative. Gave me 3ozs of Caster oil. Very effective this time. Started our own cookhouse today. Airforce with us. Japs stopping buying at the wire – have to do it either early in the morning or at low tide along the wall. Having 1 tin of tuna between 3 of us. Bought tin of butter, turned to cheese. Had butter with rice chuppatties. Staff Sgt. in Ordinance died today from ulcerated stomach. Rice & Rice today.

MON 5

            Campbell in dock with Dysentery – no treatment. Peter went for Caster Oil – still waiting for him to come off Lavatory. Hurrah! Japs brought in some Beans and turnips and other veg. Wang Ching Wei men patrolling the wire. Used coffee grounds for 3rd time – been used once when we got them. Some Scots dashed outside the wire and beat up a Chink who had bugged ‘em. 1st meal – Rice. 2nd Rice & ½ cup of turnip water.

TUE 6

            Peter queer with touch of dysentery – went sick and got 2 pills & dose of salts. He mopes on his bed all day without troubling to wash. All the time he doesn’t spend in bed, he spends on the lavatory. Cooks thinking of starting 3 meals per day. Used tin of tuna mixed with rice & made some fish cakes. Peter didn’t want his – I ate them – Peter very annoyed. Rice & Rice.

WED 7

            Japs brought some yellow beans in. Japs hit small boy twice with butt of rifle, cracked his head. Also bind girl. Their favorite pastime is torturing Chinese who try to sell us food. Peter still bad. Started three meals today. Peter managed to get 2 packets Raisins for $5. Breakfast: Rice. Tiffin: Rice. Dinner: Rice & Beans.

THU 8

            Chinks taken to snatching our money and running with it. God help them when we get out. Went to lecture on “Famous Trials” by ex judge. Made some more fish cakes. Fuel for fires has to be scrounged from what the Chinese have left of the window frames and rafters, etc. The three meals per day wasn’t a success, the wood was too wet & we got dinner about19.30. They’re going back to two meals but I’m saving some of my breakfast rice ‘til Tiffin. Rice. Rice. Rice & Beans.

FRI  9

            Gwinnel & I got bent pin and piece of string and tried to catch some fish from Bamboo Pier. I ran out of soap today; got some off Peter. Peter still very queer. I bought tin of Biscuits $5 (6/3 for 2lb), and some tomatoes. Pete’s finger getting worse. Japs brought in a lot of taps etc. & the R.E.’s fixed them up. Babies’ (Twin brother and sister) Birthday today. Rice. Rice. Rice & Beans.

SAT 10

            Fishing again today. Caught a cold. Listened to cowboys playing guitars (Canadians). MO gave us a lecture: said we can live for 6 months on the cabbage water that we are getting. The tin stuff is still lasting out, augmented by stuff we buy. Rice. Rice. Rice & Cabbage Water.

SUMMARY: Things seem to be going very we’ll for us outside – too good to be true I think. Lucky we brought that food with us – I’ve never been so hungry all my life. Dysentery sweeping through the camp. Remembered Dad’s advice and told Peter to nibble a biscuit. Compulsory Church Parade last Sunday.

SUN 11

            3 pigs came in for us today – helped to kill them. I was lucky to get a piece of pork which I mixed with tomatoes & fried. Freezing at nighttime now. Tied myself in a groundsheet with string. Cooks had a bust-up. The blokes are complaining about the soggy rice – Cooks asked them to have a try themselves – they did and messed it up, didn’t get our seven (o’clock) meal till 20.00. Rice. Rice. Rice & Pork.

MON 12

            I eat tons of rice, half Peter’s as well. Opened tin of herrings today. My last piece of soap getting very low –wash every other day now. Bought some turnips & sugar. Paid $5 for the lb of sugar (6/3). Replaced some of the cooks & put on a fatigue party to chop the wood and it is fatiguing too with 1 saw and on this diet.

Rice. Rice. Rice and Pork.

TUE 13

            Opened large tin of corned beef today, making it last 3 days. Sentry shot a woman by the sea wall he left her there. Out of the question trying to escape. Spent all the money except for $100 note – think I’ll save it for a big feed up when we get out. Made stew with Bully & turnips. Rice. Rice. Rice.

WED 14

            Had a row with Gwinnel over fish cakes. Split rest of tuna, 2 for him & 2 for us. Had some more Bully today, mixed it with rice. Tackled Peter about escaping, threatened to go by myself; says he doesn’t feel up to it. Japs are putting on extra guards & putting up more wire. Rice. Rice. Rice & Beans.

THU 15

            Had last of Bully Beef. Peter’s finger healing up, but he’s still moping about with Dys. And Dat. Rumoured that Turkey had declared war on Germany & retaken Crete & Greece. Russians within 100 miles of Berlin and thousands of Japs captured in Malaya. Japs searched the houses round the camp and pulled out tons of army kit & turned it over to us. Rice. Rice. Rice & Turnip W.

FRI 16

            3 sides of beef came in today between 5,000. Our Company’s came to about 6lb out of which Shiels had a good steak. The rest went in the turnip stew. Wogs getting uneasy – accusing the officers of pinching their beef. They’re not far wrong. Had ½ tin tuna. Rice. Rice. Rice & turnip Stew.

SAT 17

            Wogs went out today minus their British Officers. Some are supposed to be turning pro-Japanese. Japs have been feeding them plenty of propaganda. Finished off the tuna. Rice. Rice. Rice.

SUMMARY: Rumours spreading through the camp like wildfire. Russians reputed to be in Berlin. I think that Japs have taken Wogs out so that they can work on them with propaganda. Cigarettes are very scarce now—Officers go round picking up butt-ends. Only 1 tin of tuna left and no sign of any better grub. Hope somebody releases us pretty soon. Given up Chinese Army.

SUN 18

            Japs bringing in tons of lettuce – not very appetizing boiled, but we have to eat it; its containing the only vitamin C we’re likely to get. Japs increased rice ration to 1 1/4lb per day. The lettuce might ward off beriberi. Opened last tin of tuna (except for our escape rations), made fishcakes with ½ tin. Sun pretty warm today did some sunbathing. Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice & Beans.

MON 19

            A four pounds (tin) of Chinese tea came in today. Had it breakfast time, no milk or sugar but very nice. Finished off tuna. Police have taken over the cooking – great improvement. Started 3 meals a day again. 09.00, 13.00, 18.30hrs. Rice & tea. Rice. Rice & Beans.

TUE 20

            Found some tealeaves in the rubbish bin that the Canadians had thrown away. Surreptitiously snaffled them. Peter and Campbell arguing over the spelling of psychology tonight, they were both wrong.

Rice. Rice. Rice.

WED 21

            Our officers have stopped small fires. They themselves live in Jubilee Buildings (M.Q.s) and gas is still on. Japs seem to be sending a lot of Chinese out of the colony – We watch them moving for hours at a time up the TAI PO road. I estimate about 10,000 a day. All taking a few sticks of furniture & whatever else they can carry. Rice. Rice. Rice & Beans.

THU 22

            Japs brought in sacks of Indian Dahl beans, had them with lettuce – not bad. Plus a case of Chinese tea. Our issue amounted to about ½ lb for the Company – making it last 2 days so you can guess what it tastes like.

Rice & tea. Rice & Dahl. Rice & Dahl.

FRI 23

            Canadians moved out today – going over to the Island. Got some more tealeaves before they went. Peter has made a quick recovery, he’s always first in the queue for seconds and if I don’t eat all mine He scoffs that as well. Rice & tea. Rice and Dahl. Rice & Dahl.

SAT 24

            Shousen Hill half of the Company came in tonight, including Chippy Woods (C.S.M.). Went to the singsong tonight. Jarrell sang something (I walked out – couldn’t stand the row). Pete listening to Shag Shaw’s tales. Japs have started to get us on parade every morning to check us up – there’s been quite a few escapes.

Rice. Rice. Rice & Dahl.

 

SUMMARY: Japs are starting working parties, tomorrow 300 MX going out. Nearly all the men have run out of razor blades & soap – they look like a crowd of monkeys with their beards. Peter’s beard wouldn’t make a decent toothbrush; mine only shows in the light.

SUN 25

            Moved out of the NAFFI into small hut by the ration store. Middlesex went out on the working party; filling in bomb holes at KAI TAC aerodrome all day and all they got was 10 biscuits. 2 dead Chinks were washed up today with their hands tied behind their backs. Japs let wives, concubines & prostitutes bring in parcels every week for their men. Rice. Rice & Dahl. Rice, Dahl & 1 Yam. Yams are lovely – could eat tons of them.

MON 26

            Peter detached for wood chopping – I got myself on oven cleaning – excused all other fatigues. Had to fill in forms stating where captured, mother’s & father’s Christian names, etc. We decided escape is out of the question now so opened 1 tin of bully, had ½ between us, with my 2 packets of biscuits.

Rice. Rice. Rice, yellow beans & veg.

TUE 27

            Peter got up very early this morning and went over to Bamboo Pier where a sampan drew up with a lot of stuff on. He managed to get about 1 ½lbs of sugar $10 (12/6d). Finished off tin of Bully. Tomatoes came in – having them boiled up with the turnips & lettuce. Beat Peter at chess. Made chessmen and board out of cardboard.

Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice & turnip and Lettuce water.

Wed 28

            Peter dragged me out at 04.30 this morning to go down to the Pier. There was already a long queue there, but I fought my way to the front & got 3 tins milk, 1lb margarine & 1 tin Chinese pickles for $10. We opened up the other tin of Bully and had a fairly decent cup of tea with it – tea made with the dried leaves the Canadians left. R.E.s took the stove out of our room. Rice. Rice. Rice & Beans.

THU 29

            Went on working party today –mixed cement all day & got 8 biscuits & mug of chinese tea – It was good to go out though. There’s hardly as chinese on the streets – all shops are closed. Went down to pier this morning but a crowd of officers were buying up everything that was going – only got 10 bucks left apart from my $100 note. Finished last of bully. Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice, Beans & Meat Stew (1/2 cup each).

FRI 30

            Peter went down to the Pier but a couple of shots came over from Stonecutters – getting too dangerous. A lot of chinese volunteers have escaped. Sacks of tomatoes came in – Peter scrounged some – we fried them in margarine with some tuna. Gave Dave Besston-Sneddon 1 packet of sugar & exchanged 1 more for some toothpaste. Started game of chess. Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice & veg water.

SAT 31

            Japs shot up two sampans –killed the Chinks in them at Bamboo Pier. Wiring in all the pier today. I eat very little rice now. Moore said that when he came in last week we all looked so yellow that he wondered what he was coming to. Opened tin of Salmon had half for breakfast & Tiffin. Finished it off. Peter & I played game of chess – I won. Rice. Rice. Rice & Beans.

 

FEBRUARY

 

SUMMARY: Apparently our casualties amounted to 40 killed, missing & wounded; of whom Burgher & Harry Mann are killed. Rumoured that General has got the Japs to start a canteen for us in the near future. M.O. starting inspections for lice. Moore’s date is the Chinese New Year, (Feb.16th). Says almanac predicted that we’d be out on that date as well as the end of the war.

SUN 1

            Gave Peter a turn at the wood chopping today – worked too hard – hands full of blisters. Had the rest of the salmon today, goes well with the rice. R.E.s have been busy with the electric wires all day. One or two lights on in Jubilee but it’s on a different circuit to ours I think. Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice, Beans & Veg.

MON 2

            Feel pretty bad myself today – Had diarrhea this morning. Stayed in bed most of the day. Medical examination this morning – borrowed some soap from Leach and had a wash. Peter boiled up some tea?  & I had it in bed. Been to lavatory 9 – 14 times –noticed some blood – think I’ve got dysentery. Splitting headache. Only ate a few beans. Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice & Beans.

TUE 3

            Reported sick. M.O. told me to drink plenty of hot Tea!!! No more blood but I was up nearly all the night and had to get off parade in a hurry. Peter keeps boiling the tealeaves for me – Boiled that tea leaves about five times. Only had a couple of spoonsful of rice. Peter’s birthday today. Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice & Beans.

WED 4

            Feel like dying. Stayed in bed all day, didn’t eat anything. Shared my rice round the room. Peter boiled the old tealeaves. Feel absolutely empty but I still have to run. There’s been quite a few escapes lately – mostly Chinese Volunteers and the Japs are getting worried about it –They got us out on the parade ground to check us this morning as well as this evening and threaten to have 3 parades per day if we’re not good boys.

THU 5

            I still feel half-dead, but the hunger has passed off although I haven’t eaten anything whatever for 3 days. I only got up once last night. This getting to the lavatory is a hell of a job, with no lights; and the other dysentery cases who couldn’t quite make it, make the whole floor and the few seats there are, in a filthy state.

FRI 6

            Had a small amount of rice today with some milk. Still feel very uneasy but I seem to have dried up – I’m hoping anyway. Couldn’t get off the working party because I didn’t report sick this morning. The O.C.’s started giving out authentic news after the parade. I was hardly surprised to hear the war in Libya is still going on after all those rumours but the majority thought it was finished long ago.

SAT 7

Went on the working party. Working down a deep trench excavating for sewer pipe. Had to fill baskets with earth, throw them up to the next ledge, the top man throwing the earth out and dropping the basket down again. We got 3 biscuits, bowl of dirty rice & half mug of tea water. Only had I tin, so put the tea on the rice. Had breakfast before the morning parade. Rice and Biscuits. Rice & Beans.

 

SUMMARY: Now that the electricity is on in Jubilee the officers must have a wireless going. News is that the troops in Malaya have retired to the island. We seem to be losing the war all over the place except on the sea, we’ve sunk 56 of their battle ships & 100 & something supply ships. The diarrhea nearly creased me last week. Getting pretty tired of it before it packed up.

SUN 8

            Japs held another parade at tiffin time – only lasted 1 ½ hrs but pushed tiffin & dinner on 2 hrs. They threaten to hold 3 every day if the escapes continue. Nips are busily putting up post and wire. News is that the Nips have landed on the island of Singapore. Made an oil lamp out of a cigarette tin and a piece of string – used crude oil out of the busses. Very effective. Rice. Rice. Rice & Meat Stew. Beans.

MON 9

All the busses are decorated today with flowers and goodness knows what. Streamers across the streets. An aeroplane came over & dropped a few thousand leaflets into the camp – in Chinese. Elms says that they claim the fall of Singapore. Borrowed some more soap off Leach & had a shower for the medical examination; couldn’t take my shirt, it hadn’t been washed for over a month. One or two of our blokes are in the Bay-hutch Army (?): Still fighting in Singapore but we are preparing for surrender. Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice & Beans, Veg Stew (. . . . ).

TUE 10

            The O.C. said that no more news can be given for at least a week or two: it’s rumoured that a Volunteer told the sentries that we have a wireless going. Singapore seems to have fallen. I can quite understand it – They must have had about 5 Generals: we got into bad enough state with only 1. Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice, Beans & Veg Stew.

WED 11

            Edwards came in from hospital. There was a long parade this morning 08.00 –09.30 hrs. We were just getting ready for tiffin when the bugle went again. This time they carried out a search of the whole camp – lasting 5 ½ hrs from 12.00 – 17.30 hrs in the boiling sun. Japs took all electrical appliances including an electric guitar, torches and also all written matter, diaries etc. Luckily they missed ours because we have no door to the hut (we use a window). Tiffin was out of the question. Only had 2 meals. I was as hungry as hell. Lots of men passed out. Rice. Rice & Beans.

THU 12

I gave Peter another turn at the wood chopping today. We played a game of chess by the light of Brown’s candle. I got about 10 bits of meat in my woodcutter’s seconds. I eat so little rice now that I have only to get up once during the night – I’m getting pretty thin now though. They were going to shift the cookhouse today but they changed their minds. Trying to think up a way to kill one of the dogs that are running around the camp, We’ll get a nice steak off the General’s poodle, I bet. Peter says he doesn’t mind eating it if I kill & skin it. Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice, Meat Stew.

FRI 13

            Tried to make some chess men out of wood: gave it up after accidentally cutting the head off a knight – made a paper knife instead. Gave Loach our last 10 bucks to give to his prostitute to try to buy something for us. Loach’s consumption is getting worse, he keeps me awake for hours some nights with his coughing. Sippet & Storey had to be taken outside to hospital. Amoebic dysentery. Had to burn the blankets. Rice & tea. Rice & Beans. Rice & Beans. Veg Stew.

SAT 14

            Shifted the cookhouse to R.E.s old place. R.E.s taking most of our building. Rumoured that the officers are going to be paid, Canteen’s going to start and that we are going to get bread. We had another parade at tiffin time. Jap General came round gave us an ultimatum. Our General read out that any man who escapes will be tried by Japanese Military Court, he may be shot while escaping and that reprisals will be taken against his unit – We had to give a show of hands to make sure we all understood. Rice & Tea. Rice. Rice & Beans

 

SUMMARY: We seem to be spending most of out time on the parade ground. The blokes amuse themselves by chalking off the days & advancing probable dates that we will get out of here, listening to the rumours, etc. The rumours have started again. I play patience in between parades. Candles & oil have run short so the only thing to do after 09.00 is to go to bed, which we do naturally to keep our strength. We’ve not got mossey (mosquito)  nets at all in the camp and they have started to bite – probably get some malaria added to our lot soon.

SUN 15

            Shifted half the cookhouse again – into the NAFFI store – much better place – great improvement in the rice, it’s about the best in the camp now. Peter and I have come to an agreement – I do his job alternately and he does mine. Tried to wash my shirt – in water and banging it on the wall – not very successful. Peter boiled up the tealeaves and kindly burnt out the bottom of my mess-tin. Rice. Rice. Rice & Beans.

MON 16

Borrowed Loach’s soap again – I’ll have to do something for him. I haven’t seen anything of that 10 bucks that we gave him last week. CANTEEN!! – A blue bus came in with some cases of stuff of some sort – supposed to be the start of the canteen. Rumoured that we are going to be paid $3.50 per week. R.E.s came round and wired up our room – they tested it with a bulb and left it at that. We’re no better off now – wire & no bulb. Moore was surprised that we didn’t go out today. Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice, Beans & Turnip W.

TUE 17

            Those cases yesterday contained soap, toilet paper, toothbrushes & powder, sweat towels & razor blades. The stuff is all being bought with the money that the paymaster has left, but we still have to sign for it. The soap is the only thing in sufficient quantity to issue to the camp the other will have to be drawn for. Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice, Beans & Veg W.

WED 18

            Issued with 1/3 of a 1lb bar of soap today. Set to work straight away to wash my clothes & have a shower. I’m going to conserve it this time though. Put in chits for what we would like out of the other stuff. Edwards brought in a bulb tonight – he borrowed it – one night of light. I could have eaten my soap, it looked like a piece of cheese. Rice. Rice & Dahl. Rice, Dahl & Veg.

THU 19

            The draw for the canteen stuff took place today. Only 6 razor blades, 12 toothbrushes & a few bars of toilet soap have been allotted to the Company, but there’s plenty of toilet paper & sweat towels. Moore said that I’ve drawn a sweat towel. Tackled Loach & Osborne about our $10 – says he’ll try to send a note. I don’t trust them overmuch. Rice. Rice & Dahl. Rice, Dahl & Veg.

FRI 20

            Charlie Buckle came in from hospital. Went on a working party today. Discovered Chen Morgan selling my camera to the Jap officer in charge for cigarettes. Tackled Peter about it when I got back – Made some excuse about my giving it back to him – Gave me his beloved pajamas. I was very annoyed. He only got 50 fags for it – worth 1/-. When Buckle came in he showed us his wounds & told us the same old story of the ridge.

Rice. Rice. Rice & Veg.

SAT 21

            I was surprised to find that I’d drawn a bar of toilet soap as well as the towel when I collected my share this morning. I exchanged my towel for toilet paper (Which this is written on). The soap is for babies. Japs said that if nobody escapes or otherwise misbehaves themselves for the next week we may get better food. Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice, Beans & Veg.

SUMMARY: I’ve been washing myself to death since last Wednesday, but I’ll have to ease off, the soap’s going down rapidly. The canteen’s not much use to us now, there’s no more money in the camp & the Nips won’t allow us any credit; if any more stuff comes in they’ll have to think of another system. My boots are going through – some of the other chaps have cut pieces off the tyres of the buses & mended theirs with it. WE all dive into the papers that the Japs send in for lavatory paper, to get the food advertisements.

SUN 22

            Started to make myself a pair of clogs out of wood –Fashioned them with chopper and finished them off with my penknife. Jacobs face is swelling up – looks more like a Chink now—put it down to the rice. I hid my camera in the roof in case there’s any more searches. Loach gave me a very small pair of shorts, gratis.

Rice & Sugar. Rice & Dahl. Rice & Dahl & Veg.

MON 23

            Japs brought in 200 bulbs today for the camp. We were issued with one for our room.  Jubilee Buildings looks like a big ship with all the lights on. There aren’t so many lights on in H.K. just one or two on the lower levels. Finished off my clogs – cut up my belt to make straps for them & made the heels out of canvass – very natty. Rice. Rice & Dahl. Rice & Dahl.

TUE 24

            Went to the concert this evening, very good. Dodger Green is bit of a sentimentalist. Scotch ( . . .?) contest was on – junk. Put my bathing trunks on and did a spot of sunbathing. Watched the cricket – not a bad show. The officers are going to start their own mess, they can’t make enough out of ours, probably why the R.E.s left us short of boilers & our officers didn’t say anything – they were going to their mess. Rice. Rice & Dahl. Rice & Dahl & Veg.

WED 23

            Chippy Woods, the baker, had a conflab with the Japs about the bread debating whether we can build our own ovens or if it can be baked outside. They also promise us dates and walnuts to put in it

Rice. Rice & Dahl. Rice, Dahl & Meat Stew.

THU 26

            Working party today – digging again at Kai Tak. 3 Biscuits, bowl of rice & mug of tea water. Two or three blokes got their faces slapped for not working hard enough. Most of the blokes with watches swapped them for cigarettes – apparently the Japanese can’t make watches – so they go around collecting them – I’ve seen one with a dozen in his pocket. Rice. Rice & Dahl. Rice & Dahl.

FRI 27

A chap walked from Bamboo Pier with some lime on his clothes, he was on sanitation and the rumour spread like wildfire that thousands of bags of flour had come in. Japs  brought in a few carriers of Chinese dates, I went to the store to find out myself. They’re a cross between a plum and a date. Rice. Rice & Veg W. Rice, Dahl & Veg W.

SAT 28

             Rumours have been floating around to the effect that the volunteers have started to build a Bakery –made enquiries & found the proposed site. We had the dates this morning boiled, tasted marvelous. Japs have painted a line about 6 feet inside the wire & wired off the parade ground and the spare ground by the garages. If anyone crosses the line, he’ll be shot at. Rice & dates. Rice & Veg. Rice & Dahl.

 

MARCH

 

SUMMARY: Peculiar how everybody’s faces & Joints have started to swell up, I didn’t recognize Jacobs when he first swelled up – thought he had a mask on. It’s the first signs of beriberi. If we have any sick before the evening parade; the Japs make us carry them on parade on stretchers. Rice diet affects our legs & heads; if we are sitting we have to rise very slowly or risk feeling dizzy – quite an effort to walk.

SUN 1

            Started a sweep on what date we shall get out of here. All to put five bucks towards a feast for the winner. I put 30th Sept. this year. It’s only the date I hope to get out not the date I think we will. I still think 18 months from the time we came in. Loach gave the 26 of next month. Rice. Rice & Dahl. Rice & Yellow Beans.

MON 2

            Medical inspection today. I was able to turn up in a clean shirt. Tackled Osborne & Loach about our $10 – They sent over a tin of pilchards. Overjoyed, had some for tiffin. Volunteers have started on the Bakery. Rice. Rice & Dahl. Rice & Yellow Beans, Veg W.

TUE 3

            Had Rice & Pilchards for breakfast & dates after. Rice & Dates. Rice & beans. Rice & Meat Stew.

WED 4

            Anti-Cholera injection – one of the best I’ve had. Rice. Rice & Sugar. Rice & Beans.

THU 5

            Working party today at Kai Tak digging again, 1 bowl of rice and a mug of tea – no biscuits this time. Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice & Beans.

FRI 6

            Peter started to make himself a bed out of wire netting  & iron bars. Chippy gave me a white shirt as I’d only got one –it’s got several blotches of oil on it but otherwise it’s all right. Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice & Beans.

SAT 7

            Edwards tried to buy some cigs over the wire—a girl ran up with 3 pkts for $5. When he opened them they were full of sawdust. Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice & Beans.

SUN 8

            Another tiffin-time parade, the Jap General came round, supposed to have said, “its disgusting that British should live on rice & beans”. Everybody is excited – expecting some better grub. Wright nearly chopped his finger off in the excitement. Rice. Rice * beans. Rice & Beans.

MON 9

            Made myself a bed today. I scrounged two rice sacks, slipped bamboo poles through them, bound them together and set it up on 12 bricks – like a feather bed. Yippy! Japs sent in 13 quarters of Beef and we’re getting 6oz of meat per day from now on. Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice & beans.

TUE 10

Had a damn good nights sleep last night – my old bed is like an air cushion after sleeping on the floor for three months. Peter advised me to buy a gold watch with my 100 bucks – think I will. The cooks cut up the meat into steaks. We each had a steak about 3” x 2” x ¼”, it was marvelous; it happened to be my turn at wood chopping so I got another small steak as well. Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice, Beans & Steak & Veg.

WED 11

            Some cigarettes came in after this evening’s parade, and were issued out 1 packet per man. I’m saving mine to exchange for some food. No meat came in today – hope they haven’t changed their minds. Not so much meat as we had last night. Peter gave my $100 to Craw to change. Rice. Rice & Veg W. Rice, Meat, Beans & Veg.

THU 12

            Lofty Tarelton came in from hospital, in our room. I exchanged my packet of cigarettes with Williams for a tin of sardines. Shared them with Peter, — he smoked his. Craw gave Peter my $100 note back. The canteen will only give me $75 for it. Some meat came in today – Japs half-holiday yesterday apparently. Rice. Rice & Sugar. Rice beans & Veg W.

FRI 13

            Howell came in and asked me if I wanted my note changed – said he could get me 90 bucks for it, then talked me into lending him half of it. Peter’s given up the woodcutting – too much like hard work. I’m going to start French lessons. Canteen bus came in again with some jam, spearmint, shirts, some tea, sugar & honey, etc. The officers are busily working out a plan for its disposal. Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice, Meat & Beans.

SAT 14

            Working party today at TAI PO road this time. Repairing our demolitions. Managed to get some extra rice & and a fish head off one of the sentries. They only gave us a cupful of rice & ½ cup of spring-onion water. Howell came in with $45 & an i.o.u. For $45. Rice & Dripping. Rice & Sugar. Rice Beans & Meat.

 

SUMMARY: According to the rumours we’ve no right to be in here. Germans have supposed to have asked for three days to consider terms from Russians. We’ve landed a million men in France & Japan is asking for separate peace with Britain. The supposed 6 ozs of meat has certainly brightened the outlook a bit.

SUN 15

            Bought a gold watch today – only 9 carat – 30 bucks. The canteen stuff is for cash only apparently. Our Company funds amount to #1.85 per man; we are drawing for the stuff tomorrow. Col. Came round and told us to brick up our windows against typhoon and everybody to make himself a bed, so Peter had another go at his wire netting. Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice & Beans & Meat Stew.

MON 16

            Canteen draw got everybody on their toes – like a Christmas tree draw. I got a ½ jar of honey & a packet of spearmint. Peter drew ¼ lb of tea. Gave Bob England 2 bucks for his part in the sale of the watch. Griff is that Germany has capitulated, everybody seems to be echoing it. These rumours are like water on a ducks back to me, but a great many in the camp really believe it. Rice. Beans & Rice. Rice & Beans. Veg.

TUE 17

            Drew my ½ jar honey & spearmint – I exchanged my honey for a tin of corned mutton. Bought a tin of milk & 2 tins of marmalade out of my 15 bucks that I had left from the watch. Had ½ of corned mutton for tiffin. Rice. Rice & Beans. Rice & Meat Stew.

WED 18

            Cooks were caught with some dripping off the meat this morning so they had to dish it out – a spoonful with the rice – goes miles better than anything else with the rice. Had some more of the corned. Bought 1lb sugar from the canteen and had a fairly decent cup of tea. The rumour that Germany has packed it in is much stronger now — in fact they say that the only reason that the General doesn’t give it out is that he’s frightened that the men will get out of hand. Rice & Dripping. Rice. Rice & Meat Stew.

THU 19

            Made an electric heater today from 2 tins and some wire. Used it this evening and fused the lights – hell of a row. Controversy over the dripping – we want to know where the other ½ bucket went. Sheils & Co. have had it but he’ll squeeze out of the charge. Finished off the corned mutton. Peter’s completed his bed. Everyone is now patiently waiting for him to test it. Rice. Rice & Sugar. Rice & Veg stew.

FRI 20

8 cases of Whale meat came in. Had it for dinner. I got about ½” cube fried in peanut oil. Very nice but not enough of it. Japs supposed to have asked the General for a list of improvements. His list includes Bread, margarine, tea, sugar, milk and parole for the officers. Reason for this sudden interest in our welfare is supposed to be that one or two officers who escaped have reached Chungking and have broadcast the conditions that we’re living under. Rice. Rice & Sugar. Rice & Whale meat.

SAT 21

            Went on a working party today—easiest one I’ve been on. Only did half day got 2 cigs. And some rice and spring-onion stew. Just in time for tiffin when we came back. The General sent out a strong notice to all units about rumours. Said that the rumours going around are fantastic and if anyone is caught spreading them they will be severely dealt with. Rice. Rice & Veg Stew. Rice & Veg Stew.

SUN 22

            Perfected the heater. Made holes in the inner tin and let it further into the water – boils in about 5 mins. Rice. Rice & Veg Stew. Rice & Meat Stew.

MON 23

            Rice. Rice. Rice & Dahl Stew.

TUE 24

            Got over Hardon’s objection to our heater – cut the wire leading into his room.

Rice. Rice & Lettuce Water. Rice & Meat stew.

WED 25

            Rice. Rice. Rice & Veg Stew.

THU 26

            Rice. Rice & Veg Stew. Rice & Veg Stew.

FRI 27

            No meat in for the last three days. Japs say that there’s no more meat left in the Colony and they’ve got to get from Canton in future – We’ve supposed to have had stocks to last us 2 years. Rice. Rice. Rice & Veg W.

SAT 28

            Rice. Rice. Rice & Veg Stew.

 

SUMMARY: I thought the Japs couldn’t keep the promise for long – the chow’s getting worse instead of better – with a lot of promises. Surprising absence of rumours last week – the generals words were not unheeded it seems.

SUN 29

Canteen bus came in loaded right up this time – no use to us – we’ve no money to speak of & and the prices are phenomenal – large box of Chocs and 1lb tobacco costs $75 each (  4-3.9pd). Cocoa costs $80.60 per lb. Rice. Rice. Rice & Veg Stew.

MON 30

            Rice. Rice. Rice & Veg W.

TUE 31

            Rice. Rice & Lettuce water. Rice & Veg W.

OBSERVATIONS: The dahl had half its weight of grit mixed up with it. Things my stomach has assimilated: Grit & gravel, Lettuce roots, mice dung in the rice, a few date stones, raw yams, more dust and dirt on things that I’ve found lying around.

When some Canadians at Stanley heard that we’d packed in, they ran down the road cheering. Quite a few blokes have broken their teeth on the rocks etc. in the grub.

“Roll on death—and let’s have a holiday” –Cookie. I collect recipes for a hobby. Regret the loss of my photo album – spent a lot of time & money on them. Regret my throwing knife that Geoffrey Friend gave me in Singapore C.h.l.

It is said that if the Scots lost their kilt in the last they should have lost their trousers in this. Title for book – ‘The Riceeaters” The Canadians in this war were worse than useless. Undertrained.  Ambulance drivers had a call to pick up 150 matlots who had been shot up by the Canadians who were sent to relieve,

them. Only one of very many tales. The Middies say they’d rather face 100 Japs than 10 Canucs.

Seems to me that the only blokes who did any fighting, besides the non-combatant units, are the Middlesex. It is said that 80,000 Japs beset us, of whom, 16,000 are no longer whole. We lost about 1,000 killed & wounded out of our 8 – 10 thousand.

APRIL

SUMMARY: The sole topic of speech used to be women & their uses. Now it’s food only. If they brought women in, none of the men would be interested.

OBSERVATIONS: Half the canteen stuff has been allotted to the 300 officers and the other half to the 4,000 men. Our Company had 14 tins of jam & 2 tins of syrup allotted for the month. I was lucky to draw a tin of jam out of 150. The Japs made us agree to take their military yen, which is really worthless, in the place of 2H.K. dollars.

All officers and men are to salute their N.C.O.s, or Kow-tow when they’re on duty.

Japs amuse themselves by torturing the Chinks – Make them stand on one leg for hours. Put a big stone round their necks. Make them kneel with a piece of wood between their legs. Make little kids batter the life out of each other.

Dreams – consist mainly of Chow we’ve eaten and much more important, Chow that we are going to eat when we get out.

Every time we hear a shot, it’s ten to one that there is a Chink less in the world – The chorus is: ‘Another redskin bit the dust”.

WED 1

            Officers were paid today in Yen. Howell gave me 10 yen out of my $45. The officers pooled the money they could afford out of their pay and it amounts to exactly 2.50 yen per month. Rice. Rice & Sugar. Rice & Veg Stew.

THU 2

            FLOUR!!! The Japs brought in 8 lorry loads of flour. We could hardly believe our eyes – there was a rush to the ration store and a great shout went up. The canteen was open for cash sales tonight—I dashed off parade but there was already a long queue. Peter took over from me & at 21-30 hrs we bought 1lb of cocoa $8.50 (10/7 1/2d) & small tin of milk $1.40. Rice. Rice & dates. Rice, Fish & Veg Stew.

FRI 3

            We drew for the canteen stuff today. I got 1 small tin of marmalade & 1 tin of pineapple, & 85 sen left. Peter got all cigarettes, he’s not getting any of my jam, if he prefers to smoke. Lot more flour came in today. A big centipede paid us a visit, it was 10” long & ½” wide. Edwards gone into the bakery. Opened my tin of pineapple. Our tin of milk has turned sour. Rice. Rice & Dates. Rice, Fish & Veg Stew.

SAT 4

            Had another slice of pineapple with my breakfast rice – very nice. Edwards baked a few samples of bread for the Japs to try—he brought one into the room, we all had a bit; it’s made with baking powder, tastes more like a cake. Heavy as lead. Trying to make the sour milk into cheese, already smells like cheddar (Probably a mirage). Rice. Rice & Sugar. Rice & Dates.

SUMMARY: I was just about to give up the ghost last week when the flour came in we ought to get bread any day now. The blokes are going about with a new light in their eyes.

SUN 5

            8ozs. of  bread!!! Never thought before that my finest meal would be ½ lb dry bread. Japs sent in 12 cases of whale meat; had it fried. Rice ration has been cut to 10ozs. 5ozs. per meal. Japs promised a surprise today, being Easter Sunday – They allowed the parcels to come in from the downhomers. Cheese doesn’t seem to be developing at all well. Rice. Bread. Rice & Whale meat.

MON 6

            Went on first ration party today. Slipped a big sunfish into my pocket & a small Chinese fish. Gave small fish to Edwards in exchange for bread & got Dave to fry the other in peanut oil. It was delicious. Gave Dave & Wheatly a piece & I’m saving a piece for tomorrow. When we woke up this morning the cheese had a thick fur on, so we ate it with the rice. Finished………..of my pineapple. Rice. Bread & cold Whale. Rice & Dates.

TUE 7

            Went to concert tonight, best so far. George came in with the electric guitar. Opened up the tin of marmalade. Peter cast envious eyes at it but I’m having this myself. 100lbs. of  margarine came in today. made small fire & boiled rest of fish. Rice. Bread & ½ oz marge. Rice, ½ fish, white sauce & lettuce Water.

WED 8

            Cooks making some Date Jam. Hope it’s not another of their swindles. Our camp is the 2nd worst off for BeriBeri. 8 cases attending sick. Peter’s ankles are swelling up. Bought another small tin of milk this morning., but it has already started to turn sour, no more cheese for us. Had some marmalade on my bread. Rice/sweet sauce. Bread/Date Jam. Rice & fish.

THU 9

            Been in here 100 days. Meat came in today but it takes a day to unfreeze. They still lash in tons of Lettuce but I can’t stand it boiled. It comes in half bad and by the time it’s cooked it’s turning slimy. Had the sour milk for breakfast. Officers have just about bought the canteen out. Rice. Bread. Rice & Dates.

FRI 10

Meat issue is very small tonight – doesn’t matter how much the Japs send in, but we still seem to get the same old spoonful. Brown asked for some cocoa to make into cocoa bread. He came back at 11.00 hrs with a nice little loaf: we made some cocoa & had it between the three of us. I had to give Jay a small piece to keep his mouth shut. We were playing Monopoly with him at the time. Rice. Rice & Dates. Bread, Meat & Chupatty

SAT 11

            Hell of a lot of shooting tonight. Japs running round the wire letting off shots. Tarleton came running back from the lavatory and said one had just gone past his ear. Rice. Bread & Dates. Rice & Sugar.

 

SUMMARY: As we were marching to the evening parade the band played “Happy days are here again”, and that just about epitomizes the general feeling in the camp. Had first drink of water after the bread last week, the rice included plenty of water.

SUN 12

Heard on Parade this morning that 3 officers had escaped during the night. Probably the cause of all that shooting last night. Sounds ominous for us.

As I thought, the Nips carried out a search in the camp for hidden tunnels lasting from 12.00 to 15.00 hrs. Evening parade also lasted 2½ hrs. Feeling tired after all this standing about, so having shower and retiring. 21.00hrs. Lot of firing again tonight. N.B. nothing to eat from 08.30 to 16.00hrs. Rice and Soya. Rice & Dates.

Bread Meat & Sinker.

MON 13

Damn and Blast!!! Went to sleep in the midst of a miniature battle. Several shots going just over the hut. I hadn’t been asleep for a couple of hours when the bugle called “on parade”. Had to stand on parade for another 3 hrs. Had an hour’s nap on the ground. Crowd of Chinks came to finish off the electric wire. Very funny. Rice & Soya. Bread & Dates. Rice & Dates.

TUE 14

Reprisals. Parcels stopped. Canteen stopped. Long parades. No marching off after unit count but wait until end. Chinks putting more wire up. Concertina wire inside and on top of original. Rumoured that Nips are stopping meat for months. Gave morning’s rice to Peter. Saved Soya sauce in a tin. Brilliant Sun. Rice & Soya. Rice & Dates. Rice & Dates.

WED 15

            Looks a s though Japs have stopped the meat and fish, none came in yesterday for today. Cocoa won’t last much longer. Sun very hot. Japs paid up for the working parties we did – For my 6, I received the sum of 50 sen. Rice & Soya sauce. Bread. Rice & dates.

THU 16

            Went on working party this morning – Best one so far. Managed to get 4 fish down the leg of my trousers, some unfortunately squashed against my leg – stink to high heaven. Got some dates also. Saving fish till tomorrow, as we brought some cases in for the camp that’ll be issued tonight. Rice Bust (Army slang = only). Bread, 1/3oz margarine. Rice & fish.

FRI 17

            Some Indians that turned over to the Japs came with the Chinks today to help wire us in. N.C.O.s had swords. Men had our rifles. Lazy day today – swotted French & sunbathed in between parades. Small issue of fish tonight. Peter only got a head. Poured with rain. Rice Bust. Bread & Margarine. Rice & fish.

SAT 18

            Reveille at 06.15hrs. Breakfast before parade. Officers are being taken away. On another Ration party – for loading wood unfortunately in the blasted rain. Officers gone on return. Navy just coming back. Camp in turmoil – Chippy dashing about all over the place. Scrounged 2 cigs. Rice & Dates. Bread. Rice & Dates.

 

SUMMARY: Lots of speculation on what the camp will be like now that the officers have gone. I think it will go the worse for us. The Japs will administer punishment in future. 3 Officers are left for each unit. Ours are; Lt. Tresseter, Lt. Col. Fredericks (Freddy) and Lt. Woods, the Baker (Chippy).

SUN 19

THE officers’ departure hasn’t upset the equilibrium so much as I would have thought. The only disturbance was another midnight parade lasting from 10.45 – 12.45am. Nips miscounted 3 men. Slipped Coat and boots on (over pyjamas). Issue of yeast today. Conflicting rumours emanating from Navy. N.B. Danny Scougal flopped out last night with BerBeri. Rice & Sugar. Bread. Rice & Dates.

MON 20

Decided to go halves with Brown in the exchange of a ration of rice for ration of bread. Scot brought bread which looked suspiciously small. Too hungry to save it – ate it all at 10.00hrs. Poured with rain all day. No French. Long evening parade 18.45 – 20.30hrs. Dave Caught with a fish by Tresseter – 3 ration parties stopped. P.S. Date Sinker like spearmint. (texture). Rice & Sugar. Bread & Date jam. Rice, Date gyppo (water dates boiled in) & Date Sinker. (undercooked).

TUE 21

            10 mins P.T. after morning parade. Told Chalky to take me off the area cleaning party; can’t scrounge on it any more! French as per. Yeast issue. Scot’s bread small again, choked him off. Saved my own issue till dinner. MX chap flogged his bread to me for 2 fags that I scrounged on Sat’s working party. 3 lorry loads of flour in today. Told Freddy that I didn’t think the efficiency of the cookhouse would be impaired with Sheils out. Short evening parade 1½ hrs. Rice & Soya sauce. Bread 7& Rice. Meat, Gyppo & Sinker.

WED 22

Peter on ration party. Short morning parade ½hr. Japs relenting. Scot’s bread quite good. No Ration party today, Peter going tomorrow. Longbottom says Japs are stopping all classes before 13-00hrs. Played a game of Bridge with Wheatly, Brown, Cook before going to bed. Saved some bread and sugar till dinner—had good meal. ¼ lb bread 2 ½ ozs rice, & 2 fish & chupattys. Edwards shared a loaf between rooms. Rice & Sugar. Bread & Lettuce Water. Rice & 2 small fish 2” long, Chupattys.

THU 23

Peter brought some dates back tiffin-time. Had some with Scot’s bread and saved mine till dinner. Yeast issue. Played bridge after tiffin. Longfellow taking unofficial lessons (French) at the same time. Some eggplant* came in today, as well as meat & spinach. * Widow’s comforters. Lot of screaming and whistle-blowing tonight – few shots. Peter bought packet of cigs for 50 sen ($1). Rice & sugar. Bread. Rice & dates.

FRI 24

  1. Collected his sugar in a Pound note this morning. R.A.s have 16 men working in their cookhouse. Their motto is: ’Never has so little been cooked by so many for so few”. Marvelous meals today, best yet. Longbottom didn’t turn up for French. Japs have stopped all lectures. Sold packet of fags for 5 dollars. Felt satisfied for first time in 4 months. Played Chinese Rummy with C. Buckle. Rice & sugar. Rice, Date sinker & sweet sauce. Meat, Dumpling, Bread & spinach.

SAT 25

            On ration party. New kind of Soya – tastes like Oxo. Bought 2 packets of cigs on ration party. Jap gave me 1 cig. – Exchanged it for bread. Washed towel, 2 Hanks, pair socks. Terribly stuffy today. Sweating all day. Leach taken to B.M.H.—incurable. Peter & Dave making some wine. Long parade tonight – 19.00 – 20.45. Rice & Soya sauce. Bread & Egg-plant. Rice & dates.

 

SUMMARY: Conditions seem to be improving now that the officers have gone. Japs blamed them for the escapes apparently and have sent them to Argyle St. for punishment. Canteen bus supposed to be coming in tomorrow.

SUN 26

            Had shower 06.00hrs. Managed to get some hot water from Cookhouse and made cup of cocoa – won’t last much longer however much we conserve it. Enervating weather all the morning, but this afternoon it rains like hell – still raining. Dinner disappointing really; 5 pieces meat, 1 ½ yam and small dumpling. Swapped 4 cigs for loaf of bread & 1 for bottle of ink. Durden sold a bible for 4 fags. Rice & Sugar. Rice, Date Duff & sweet sauce. Bread, Meat, Dumpling & Yam.

MON 27

Had a shower this morning. Peter too late for hot water. Scot didn’t turn up with bread but I gave last 4 fags for a loaf. Dutch Holland came in from hospital – had another night of the ridge. Japs didn’t turn the juice on tonight – may have been the surprise they promised. It’s still raining. Dutch said that Nick Carter had died in St. Alberts from Dysentary. Rice & Sugar. ….. Bread & Egg-plant & Dates. Rice and Dates.

TUE 28

Late parade this morning – raining – 09.00 – still raining. Gave Boo-Boo 1 fag for 4 Hanks & 2 for bread ration. No lights again until 21-20hrs. Lights out still at 22.00hrs. Read “Jovial Ghosts”. Humidity is turning my few clothes musty. Peter on Ration Party – got a……..& a packet of cigs. 2 Midds were beaten up on the square for pinching wood. 1 Volunteer got slapped for not standing to attention. Rice & teaspoon of Sugar. Rice & Date Duff.. Bread, Meat & Yams & Dumpling.

WED 29

Used the last of the cocoa this morning – been going too heavy on it it’s only lasted a month. Cut Wheat’s hair for him. Longbottom hasn’t held any lessons for the last 3 days. Jap festival for next  3 days –  No Ration Party. May allow us off the evening parades. Flogged two more cigs for bread. Peter darned my socks – purely to save his own wool. The fish was raw tonight. Most took theirs back, but I ate mine. Lights are on. Seconds came in our room. Peter ate 3 mess-tins full of rice. Rice & Sugar. Egg-plants & Bread. Rice Yams & Fish.

THU 30

Japs carried out another search this morning, for electric heaters & Civvies (Civilian clothes) etc. They missed our hut fortunately. 08 –10.00hrs. Still very dull weather – raining on and off. Had an enjoyable discussion on London on parade this morning. Just beginning to get fed up with the dates – my stomach feels quite unsettled this evening. I’m not quite sure whether it’s the yeast or the dates. Very uneventful day. Time dragged all day. A few cabbages came in about three for our Company. Japs brought in a lot of gardening tools & seeds. Rice & Sugar. Bread & Eggplant & Cabbage Water. Rice & dates. 

OBSERVATIONS: News on the placards last week “Attempted invasion of Europe”. Felt, after the bread, extremely hungry, but it’s wearing off now. The 10 sen per day that the Japs pay us would normally be equal to a farthing. Chinese Sugar is like toffee. Eggplants & Yams are some of the best vegetables I’ve tasted. It’s amazing what men will do for cigarettes: following are swaps that I know of: 1 Gold Rolex Oyster wristwatch for 10 packets. 1 dollar would have covered them but the watch cost 400 Bucks. A man gave his meat & Yams away for 1 cigarette.

Peter sold his pipe for 6, his golfing jacket for 8, my camera for 5 pks, a brand new suit for 10 cigarettes, and various other……….

MAY 

SUMMARY: General opinion is that things are beginning to look up outside. If Japs admit attempted invasion of Europe – something must be happening elsewhere. We were expecting reprisals for the search yesterday but as they kept the lights on they might overlook it.

OBSERVATIONS: Peter eats for the sake of eating –he’ll kill himself 1 of these days. A certain type of Scotsman that I’ve met in here and elsewhere is the most aggravating & infantile of persons that live.

Peter & I usually get a whole loaf between us and share it ourselves – cutting cards for the halves. Peter takes about an hour to decide which is the bigger half—I only take 40 mins.

Peter is becoming fanatical about cigarettes—He goes round cadging draws & picks up grains of tobacco. I’ve seen him put no more than 6 grains of a dog-end in his holder, without paper.

Many of the men smoke tealeaves, quoir, (Coir) and even paper by the smell sometimes. I manage to get yeast every day. First few bread issues were made with baking soda – like soggy cake, but we scoffed it back. Date sinkers are, of course, made with flour and dates. About as heavy as cannon balls—heavier, perhaps.

Went to empty the rubbish sack & the sentry raised his rifle – we were a little too early. Made a new stage. Quite an elaborate affair – on two billiards tables & George’s blankets, Japs supplied the wood. (Record lost).

That Scots crowd next door are hopeless—they all dashed up to the seconds of rice and dipped in with their hands like a lot of pigs—didn’t leave a grain. If the Scots had stuck to their posts as they stick to the corner near the “Welcome” we might not have been here now.

FRI 1

MAY DAY. Peter feels it pretty bad. I’ve been expecting him to get up and give a May-Day speech. The working party was guarded by Indians. The ration party said that headline on placards is “Mass exodus from Hong Kong”. I went to the concert this evening –damn good show. Mad Band one of the funniest things I’ve seen. Japs have put roof-spotters on a number of houses  & taken all their flags down, also dragged 2 guns up into the hills –must be getting scared about something. P.T. at 11-30 hrs. Rice & Sugar. Bread, Date Duff & Eggplants. Rice & Dates.

SAT 2

Peter’s bed collapsed this morning. French started again today. Had a haircut. Ration party managed to pinch some cucumbers & walnuts. I had a walnut and pieces of cucumber. Borrowed a packet of cigs off Brown and flogged 4 for a loaf– Chow tonight is the best we’ve had — all the chaps are lolling over their beds stodged up to their eyebrows. Went to band concert. Not bad. Could have done with a good cup of coffee after that last meal. Rice & Sugar. Rice & Dates, Eggplant & Bread. Meat, Dumpling Yams & Spinach.

SUMMARY: Lack of Boots, etc. is now becoming a major problem (many of the Scots go about barefooted) especially in this wet weather. Canteen supposed to be coming in next Thursday, but also rumoured that the officers have taken all the takings with them. Everybody is feeling a lot better since the Bread & meat started to come in. I’m actually getting fat.

SUN 3

Could hardly sleep last night – Storm all night, thought rain would beat the roof in. parade ground under water. Funny to see men march on without shoes or stockings on. Humidity is getting to be a nuisance, the floor is almost swimming in water. My clothes are getting mildewed it’s absolutely enervating. Japs in the ‘Welcome’ amusing themselves this morning torturing a Chink. Date sinker was massive, had a piece 3 ½ x 2 ½ x 1½. Very short parade tonight – 10 mins. Hell of a storm – Peter & I put on our bathing trunks and had a shower in the rain. Felt so stodged up tonight that could hardly move. Swapped a fag for ½ a loaf. Rice & Sugar. Bread, Date Sinker, Cucumber  & Spinach. Rice, Dates, Yams.

MON 4

Ration party this morning – loaded logs under water – on veg this afternoon. Got 6 cigs from sentries – could not buy any. Started my garden in two biscuit tins, 10 spinach seeds in one & 10 cucumbers in the other. This evening went to a concert. Flogged 2 fags for ½ loaf. ……..stayed behind to pick up Freddy’s dog-ends. Malaria cases have been issued with small mossey nets. Boo Boo planted a big plant in my garden when I wasn’t looking. Rice & Sugar. Bread & Yams. Rice & Yams.

TUE 5

Up most of the night. Slept in my pyjamas bust (only) and the mosquitoes bit me to death. Wheat woke up in the middle of the night gasping &  (record lost) –thought he was pegging out. Something wrong with his stomach. 21 today. Peter on ration party and managed to pinch a tin of babies’ food. Wheat & James in dock (hospital) with Dysentery. The sinker was uncooked–without precedent I had to give mine away. The stew was very good—eggplants, a carrot or two, cucumbers onions, spinach & lettuce. Rice & Sugar. Bread & Yams. Rice & Veg. Stew.

WED 6

On parade in my shirtsleeves – naturally it poured with rain. The Jap General is supposed to be coming to inspect us today. Gave my rice to Boo Boo. This new diet is making me very fat around the tummy; although the evening meal only amounts to about a mess-tin full, I feel so full after it that I have to lay down for ½ an hour or so. Yams are making the chaps stomachs uneasy – the queues for the lavatory get bigger every day. Brown made me a watchstrap out of his K.D.s. Rice & Sugar. Rice, Bread, Dates & Cucumber. Meat, Yams, Dumpling & Spinach.

THUR 7

Had a mug of the Baby Food this morning – very nourishing. My seeds started to sprout this morning. The Snooper came round and tried to flog us some picture postcards of the Glorious East. No French today. Japs messing us about again for meat – they say they have not had any themselves for 10 days – which is only their way of telling us we’re not getting any. P.T. 11.15hrs. News on placards: “Corrigador surrenders” nice to know the war still goes on around us. Rice. Bread & Veg Stew. Eggplant, Rice & Date Duff.

FRI 8

12 quarters of beef came in. Went to see ‘Cinderella’ this evening. The girls were very funny with their Cockney accents. The Boy Tresseter is giving us punishment P.T. because we were 5 mins late on parade. Finished my 4 years Territorial Service last Sunday. Rice & Sugar. Bread & Eggplant. Rice & Dates. Yam Sinker.

SAT 9

Working party – very flat day – only got 1 packet of biscuits & 2 fags. New type of rice today – Rangoon rice. Placards: “Great Naval Victory for Japan. Nearly got a small chicken in the godown. Just ready to slip it in my pocket when the sentry came up. Plants are up about 2” now. 1 of them grew an inch in 8 hours. Rice & Sugar. Rice Bread & Eggplant. Meat, Dumpling & Veg. Stew.

SUMMARY.  Tresseter is one of those NAAFI blokes who got made up during our fiasco. Trying to assert his authority. There’s a continuous line for the office. Read a Nip-controlled paper—we will be here for years according to the news in it. Soap situation is becoming acute—I’ve conserved mine at the expense of clean clothes but the others have all run out.

SUN 10

On sanitary this morning. First time Chippy has thought of me since I came off Area Cleaning party. Tresseter’s asking for trouble. McKonachie told him what he thought and was put under close arrest. Rice & Sugar. Rice & dates, Bread & Yam Stew & cucumber.

MON 11

            Meals are running late today. Playing Bridge this morning & missed my French. Sun shining. Calculated that I am something like $55 in credit. 2 of my cucumbers had …… on them. I looked this morning. The others are 2 ½ inches high—no sign of the spinach. Brown & I duffed Cooky & Welsher up at Bridge  –694 to 426. Jap supply men sent in a present of bales of clothes for the rabble. Rice & Sugar. Bread. Rice & Sugar.

TUES 12

Peter on a working party pinched one packet of biscuits a cucumber. 1 tin pineapple. The Japs have been asking through the officers whether we will give our parole unconditionally that we will not escape this camp. About 6 Royal Scots are going to sign and still more were going to but they’ve been placed under arrest by their C.O. Rice & Sugar. Bread & Dates. Rice and date duff.

WED 13

            Japs carried out a pseudo kit inspection. All they were looking for was electrical kit, tools etc., which they took. Hid our cucumber in the canteen. We’ve to do fire watching in future Nip N.C.O in charge. Ate the cucumber with the rice at Tiffin. O.C. disgusted to find that the Corps has the highest % for signing that parole. Rice & Sugar. Rice Cucumber, Bread. Meat & Dumpling.

THUR 14

            Japs have ordered that all drawings and writing must be scrubbed off the walls, They’re dead scared about something. They also want a return of all money in the camp. The boys were facetiously making R.I.P. on their allotted piece of the parade ground this evening. Peter vainly tried to collect his half of the pineapple from Tailor. Placards: Great Sea and Air activities in Crimea”. Entered Cribbage drive—drew a bye. Finished off Babies food. Rice & Dates. Bread. Rice & Veg Stew.

FRI 15

            Japs have sent in some copies of a Japanese lesson. They want us all to start learning. Won my round of Crib. Transferred my cucumbers into the big patch. Rice & Sugar. Bread, Rice & Dates. Meat & Dumpling.

SAT 16

            Alberhera Day for the Middies. Played reveille on the drums & bugles—and got an extra little loaf. Working party–Very disappointed couldn’t swipe a thing. Got knocked out of the Crib round. Placards: Trap closes round British Army in Basra. Washed a shirt, pyjamas & a pair of socks. Did some sun bathing. Rice & Sugar. Bread & Cucumbers. Rice & Veg Stew.

SUMMARY

We do really seem to have landed troops on the continent. In a paper I read, they admitted Yanks have landed in India. Food is falling off gradually going back to rice bust (only) stakes. Cigarettes have gone up to 12/6 pence a packet.

SUN 17

Hughie Branch, the canteen bloke who mysteriously went absent three weeks ago, is back. Apparently, he helped those officers to escape last month, by giving them food. Someone squealed and the Nips put him in the clink. He looks pretty rough. At one time he was on rice and water for 12 days and beaten up. Wheatly came out of dock. Peter and the rest turned out the wool of stuff from the corners of their jackets to smoke.  Sleeping outside tonight. Did some logs to amuse myself 

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Rick, Yams, Eggplant and Bread

Dinner:  Meat and Dumplings 

MON 18

One of my beans started to show.  Cut, Wheat’s hair Japs sent ration party back. Boo Boo just watering the gardens when we had something like a cloudburst which left him and the garden about 3 inches under water. Had numbers sown on our shirts, mine is 1637. Walked barefooted because the water was 18 inches along the road we had to cross many times par jour. They held a dance in the hall tonight. The band was alright but the  partners’ mimicking  was a little unethical.********** too (illegible) And Tresssiter made us scrub the floor out- my stuff suffered – ink & mud all over it. 

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Bread and (illegible)

Dinner:  Rice and Veg. Stew

 

TUE 19

Very cold this morning. Pouring with rain on parade. Got soaked through blasted cape. Saw a sentry that I have seen on the ration party. He still remembered my name- have to tap him up next time. The rations are getting very meager. I feel hungrier after every meal. The s . . .  of rice only fills a (illegible). and the cucumber weighed 1 ounce.  1 ½” x 1 ½” x ¼” piece of meat. And a half a mug of gyppo with the . . . . .  . So hungry after dinner that I went to bed at 8 o’clock. Japs have stopped all educational lessons again. Longbottom will try to do something for our French. 

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Rice, Cucumber, Bread

Dinner:  Meat and dumpling 

WED 20

Japs have stopped all those amenities, ration parties, lessons, parcels, etc. because of only a couple of dozen blokes have offered to sign their parole forms. Camp Commandant, spoke to one of them and asked him if was being maltreated in any way by the men since he promised to sign. We all contracted sore throats from somewhere. Maybe the cucumbers. Did some sketching to amuse myself – feel lost without the French lessons they were just becoming interesting. No meat in.  Seconds of rice and stew came in our room.  

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Bread and Cucumber

Dinner:  Rice, Yams and Veg. Stew. 

THURS 21

Trenton divided the NCO’s and men for PT. this morning and gave us 2 prison staff blokes as instructors. We had nearly a cucumber each for Tiffin. But the Yam duff was infinitesimal. Some meat, tea and sugar came in. Tried to hypnotize Cookie – nearly succeeded. Some of the men had an interview with the camp Commandant. He’s supposed to have said that we lost 4 destroyers & 1 cruiser and the Yanks 4 battleships against their 35 planes and 1 aircraft carrier.  

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Bread and Cucumber

Dinner:  Rice, and Yam Duff 

FRI 22

Had a number sown on my pullover. Japs have posted some newspapers in the Camp. Fredericks gave us a little talk: apparently the Nips have threatened him with all sorts of things because he wouldn’t sign the parole. The same thing is going to happen to us tomorrow. If we don’t sign they are going to punish us. They told Freddie that Argyle Street has signed but wouldn’t show any proof. We got until 10 hours tomorrow. No French yet. 

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Rice, Cucumber and Veg. Stew

Dinner:  Meat and Veg. and Cho Stew.

 

 

SAT 23

Second muster at 10 hours. They threatened Freddy again with a bayonet and showed him the GOC’s signature on a parole; on the strength of which he signed. The Jap Colonel said if we don’t sign we will be treated as mutineers and shot. Freddy advised us to sign. About 6 of our Company, including the CSM, refused and have been put outside with about 100 others with a machine gun trained on them. We got off parade at about 15 hundred hours. Freddy said that having signed under duress , no action can be taken against us after the war. Sippet came out of St.Theresas’ after two months –  . . . .  ..

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Bread and Cucumber

Dinner: Rice, Yams and Eggplant. 

SUMMARY

I can’t understand why they want our signatures having been forced to sign doesn’t bind us – it must be for propaganda purposes. The 100 or so that dwindled to 17 after direct threat of being shot. The 17 have been taken out altogether. On the parade yesterday a man fainted and there was a lot of facetious bickering as to who was going to carry the last man off. We all agreed it would be Boon as he agreed to sign the day before. Been captured 130 days. 

SUN 24

Topper Brown collapsed on parade this morning. I just found out that yesterday we would have been celebrating Empire Day – ironic, what! Also Whit Sunday today; Busted on rice this morning had to wait till 11.00 hrs for my breakfast. This evening’s parade was called 1 1/2 hrs earlier- much better really. Day doesn’t drag so much. Sleeping outside tonight. Had  to look for another bulb- blokes next door took theirs back having broken their spare one. 

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Rice, Bread, Cucumber and Choy

Dinner: Meat and Dumpling 

MON 25

On PT this morning George (Nip) came up and admired my torso- felt my muscles and said “ very strong”,  I don’t know why I feel as weak as a kitten at the moment –  I felt like a slave for sale. The Japs are going to take our beds away and build a wooden platform down one side of the room to sleep on, eastern fashion –  Going to give us grass mats.  Blue bus came in filled with writing materials including POW envelopes. Freddy gave us a talk about the signing business he advised us to think well of the consequences before we try to escape – also said that Japs have started their betterment plan now that we have signed i.e. free issue of soap and toothpaste this morning. We shall be able to write letters to England, etc.  I bought a bottle of ink and 4 envelopes. 

Breakfast: Bread and Sugar

Tiffin: Bread and Sugar

Dinner: Rice and Date Duff 

TUE 26

Pretty hot today 92.6 in the shade- it’s affecting the cookhouse – we may not get any bread at all tomorrow- its been very small these last few days. . . . . . lack of rising.    . . . . to write a letter per month . . . . . . .Yokoe sent for me last night he is trying to learn English and wanted to talk to me. He gave me 4 cigarettes. One I gave to Peter and 2 to Boo Boo for his bread and dumplings. 

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Rice, bread and Veg. Stew

Dinner: Meat and Dumpling  

WED 27

No bread today according to Edwards (baker) the yeast refuses to work in this heat. Had a good French lesson. Longbottom took me by myself. Had to whitewash the hut. Got fed up with Peter’s continual bad temperedness- shifted my bed to other side of the room. And, split the remainder of my money – tried to crawl back when the cigarettes were issued but he will be worse tomorrow when they will be gone. Japs gave us a free issue of one bar washing soap, one Chinese toothbrush, one packet of toothpaste, a sweat towel, and fags for cash or credit. 

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Rice and Veg. Stew

Dinner: Rice, Sugar and Plain Duff 

THURS 28

Chippy said that Japs don’t think England will be included in the letter writing list. Bread today- but very poor. Bob England came in from St. Teresa’s after two months. Made myself a Punkar (fan) from pieces of board and elastic with a lump of string tied to my big toe. Japs are shooting all dogs tomorrow. Two of the remaining 5 men who refused to sign have been shot. The other 3 have been given 10 years in clink.

Breakfast: Rice bust

Tiffin: Bread and turnip water

Dinner: Rice, Chupitties, and Tea 

FRI 29

McDowell, gave me another white shirt. We can write to England after all – one letter per month. Tresseter giving us PT before parade now. Nips have reprieved the dogs. Only shooting one that is supposed to have bitten a volunteer. Rumor has it that we are in full control of the Lowlands and occupied France. Did a lot of washing on the strength of the soap issue. Camp towels in shreds now. Pete gave me another that he appropriated. Drafted out my letter to Mom and Dad got to be handed in by 10 tomorrow

Breakfast: Rice, sugar and tea

Tiffin: Rice, bread and cucumber

Dinner: Meat, dumpling and veg. stew  

SAT 30

Finished off my letter this morning. Hope the Japs passed it. I put in a crack about the rice. Japs called a special check parade at 11:55 hours. Thought it was a search for those spare affidavit forms so hid this diary & my papers in my bed. Jock Campbell was compelled to go on without any trousers on – he was washing things. Apparently, it was only a count for the new guard. Came off at 14.00 hrs –  very hot  2 hours at 97 degrees in the shade 

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Bread and Cucumber

Dinner: Rice and Veg. Stew.  

SUMMARY

Camp is more like a nudist colony now – the blokes are going au natural. Ringworm is becoming prevalent. My garden isn’t coming along very well- forgot to water it for a couple of nights. Still sleeping out. The amenities are improving since the signature but the food is dropping off.

SUN 31

Made myself a sort of loincloth out of the tail of my white shirt. Entered the boxing class. Chap gave me some tomato seeds. Pete scrapped his bed and made what he calls a chair out of it. Looks more like a rabbit hutch to me. He squatted on top of it like a blasted rooster. 

Breakfast: Rice, sugar and tea

Tiffin: Bread, Rice and Cucumber

Dinner: Meat, dumplings, yams and beans 

OBSERVATIONS

An amusing tale of some Volunteers who tried to tap up a sentry for cigarettes one night. Apparently, they picked the wrong sentry and to escape from him as he dashed through the inner wire after them, they piled into the Chinese lavatory. Their idea was to slip their trousers down and pretend to be relieving themselves, but they didn’t quite have time; the last man in, unluckily, chose a cubicle that was already occupied in his haste and before he could stop himself he had urinated over the other chaps pants. This started a fight. Another came out shaking his leg – he’d stepped into the bucket by mistake and third dropped his money and wallet into his bucket and . . . .  . extricating them – the sight was so ludicrous, what with the two blokes fighting with their pants around their ankles that the Japs burst out laughing and walked away. Middies (Middlesex Regiment) use an old army knife to shave with – seen them do it. Japs make Scots stand with bricks on their head before they give them a cigarette – The  . . .  .  characters. – . . . . . . . . mind and body held together by smoke.

Officers haven’t given us any more of their money – they get 250 yen or more per month. Boo Boo’s Coy have made a cap badge out of wool and put the names of their 36 dead around it. 

JUNE

Summary

 

OBSERVATIONS

Frederick bought 12 tins of jam from the canteen –  twice the number allotted to the whole Company. Working party on 3rd got 56 packets of cigarettes. Frederick who said he was going to share them gave 6 to the working party and kept 50 for himself. The Yen value of a Pound is now Y4.50. So that fora pound of cheese, or cocoa, chocolate, etc. we have to give one pound – only the officers can afford it. 

MON 1

Pete’s got a double in the Middies – Tressiter thought he saw Peter washing when he should have been on PT. Tress told the other chap to get on PT and he promptly got an epitome of his character- so Pete’s on a charge tomorrow. Fred had to burn his camp bed – full of bugs. Earlier parade this morning 18.00 hrs. Pete got two loaves off Edwards – I had one.  . . . the boxing and went to the classical concert. Heard Tucker on the piano. Blue Bus came in loaded right up – Cheese, $9 a pound, sugar $2 a pound. Put in my chit for 2 tins of jam. 

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice 

TUE 2

Rained last night had to get inside in a hurry. Pete went on his charge and mad a fool of Tressiter. Had a medical inspection to see if I am fit enough for boxing. Pete and I did an hour’s work in the gardens – planted the tomato seeds. There was only 6 tins of jam allotted to the Company and I got 1 tin – swapped that spare fag for Boo Boo’s  dumpling.   Pete got some more bread. I had a damn good meal – saving some bread for tomorrow 

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Rice, bread and cucumber

Dinner: Meat, bread and veg. stew 

WED 3

Got stung for fatigues – filling bomb holes in the square. Early evening parade 18.00. Jam’s half gone already. Had our letters returned – mine was too long. Only allowed 200 words. Gave Dunster  $1.3 for a Chinese silver dollar. Fredericks has had the Camp Reveille changed to 06.30 hrs just because we would not do PT before the normal reveille. Simons came in from hospital – got a nasty wound. Wrote a card instead of a letter this time. A very badly damaged ship was towed in today. Working parties have started today. They got 6 pkts of fags.

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Bread, cucumber and Veg. Stew

Dinner: Rice, sugar and 3 small chapatties 

THUR 4

Tapper Brown returned that cigarette  I lent him month ago – he gave me another one to go with it. Did some boxing with the gloves. Cobs surprised us with the pasties – tasted like grass wrapped up in rubber. Pete is pretty queer – he is right off his rice – can’t eat it at all. I am off it too  – gave it to Boo Boo. Planted 5 onions in the garden. Elms is learning French – I’ll get him to converse. Stayed inside last night –  poured with rain. Borrowing Freddy More’s mossy net. 4 nets issues to room – had to cut for them, I lost.  No meat comes in. Dates issued from store. 

Breakfast: Rice

Tiffin: Bread, cucumber and dates

Dinner: Rice and pasty 

FRI 5

Longbottom forgot the time so no French lesson. Did some sparring with Gothard. Football – Scots and Navy- Scots won 5 – 0. Early parade 18:30. Borrowed James’s “Teach yourself French”. Gave evening rice away. Meat came in. tried to read the “Man of Property” but couldn’t get stuck in. Finished off my bar of babies soap – lasted 3 months.  Two more died in hospital during the week – dysentery. The bugs are roaming about. Finished off my jam. I have a sort of permanent diarrhea. Pete is pretty bad and gave me his bread. I gave him the spare fag I had 

Breakfast: Rice

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice and Date Duff 

SAT 6

Rained like hell this morning, no PT and Parade an hour later. Tiffin an hour earlier so that we can have dinner before parade. Football – Vols. against D.C. Co. – Vols. won 9-0. Gave Elms a round or two with the towels on – stubbed both my little toes. Something like a bat settled on my nose last night – stuck its claws in me. I have started to get prickly heat. Ringworm is spreading. MO says only drink two pints of water a day – I usually  drink 6. No French today because of early Tiffin. Pete gave me his cucumber – so did Welsher. Those 6 who didn’t sign came in OK.  

Breakfast: Rice

Tiffin: Bread and Cucumber

Dinner: Meat and Dumplings 

SUMMARY

   Food is getting bad again. Meat only twice a week. Beri Beri has broken out worse than before – Yeast  has been made compulsory every day. The blokes are getting resigned to a long stay – only a few think we will be out before Christmas – I still stick to 18 months from the time we came in. 

SUN 7

Pete had to run off parade this morning.  Laid in to 7:15 this morning , being Sunday. Played bridge- did some gardening and French. Used the last of my first issue of soap – got a little bar left. 

Breakfast: Rice

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice 

MON 8

Storm this morning – never saw it rain so hard before- went in the rain in my trunks for the prickly heat until the lightning struck a post nearby. Pete hasn’t eaten anything today – told me to toast his bread – he gave it to me. No French again today. 14:30 tomorrow. Gower joining the class he showed us that 2 = 3. Had a few rounds with Gothard this evening.  

Breakfast: Rice

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, Plain Duff and sugar 

TUE 9

Two football games. Midds beat RE’s 7 – 0 and we beat RA 4 – 1. The Nips lined about 10 men up went down the line punching their faces out. Officers (had) handed them over for pinching rations. Listened to the band concert on the parade – The lights on Hong Kong and the music in the distance made me quite sentimental! French 14:3.  Felt very hungry today – couldn’t eat the rice. Only had my bread.  My Prickly heat is annoying.   Ran round the camp this morning. 

Breakfast: Rice and sugar

Tiffin: Bread and cucumbers

Dinner: Rice and turnip water 

WED 10

Should have been on ration party but only first 10 out. Did some shot putting –  (16lb) put it 19 1/2 feet – very poor. No French again today – Longbottom blamed the inspection. Boo Boo dug all my newly planted seeds up by mistake. Rumored that the officers coming back.  

Breakfast: Rice and sugar, ersatz coffee

Tiffin: Bread, rice and cucumber

Dinner: Meat and dumpling 

THUR 11

Went on ration party – rice and flour. Did some very quick moving in the go down and opened a case of Palmolive soap –  Managed to throw enough down for everybody and 5 tablets for myself. Gave one to Pete. Brown said “he would clip my ear if I didn’t carry some wood for the bed”. Fought and beat him cutting his eye but damaged my hand. Got 9 packets of cigs & 8 spare. Sold 5 packs for $10. Sacks of rice weigh 240 lbs each. Had to carry 25 each and 1200 sacks of flour carrying two each at time (100lbs) – full of weevils and flour – feel like a weevil pie.  Helped Elms de-bug his bed 

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Bread, cucumber and coffer

Dinner: Rice and Veg. Water  

FRI 12

Broke my watch. Placards yesterday, ”Japs attack on Midway and Aleutians.”  James has dysentery again – in dock. Got stung for the hospital guard 13:30 to 17:30 – did French most of the time though. Fisher mended my watch but it stopped again this evening. Watched our football match –  extra time  4 – 4 – most thrilling game I had ever seen. My hand is pretty painful. My back and legs are stiff after carting the rice yesterday. Listened to the band concert on the square with Fisher. Nips won’t allow the King or any patriotic song to be played. 

Breakfast: Rice and sugar

Tiffin: Bread and cucumber

Dinner: Rice and Chapatti 

SAT 13

Apparently the Nips have complained about the soy we pinched the other day – Tress called us on parade and 9 of us owned up – looks like a beating up for us.  Sheppard is leaving his teeth out in anticipation – only a trick of Tresseter’s this morning. Nips know nothing about it. Bell shopped us – each got 4 ration parties stopped. 

Breakfast: Rice, sugar and coffee

Tiffin: Bread and cucumber

Dinner: Rice and Veg. stew 

SUMMARY

Appetites are failing. Pete’s been giving me his bread but I can hardly eat. I and a few others don’t trouble to even get our rice and veg. stew. Nobody will have – they can’t eat their own. Everybody’s mouths are full of ulcers. My tongue is like a pin cushion.  The MO’s have found one cure for scrotums – Limewash!  

SUN 14

Supposed to have been on guard last night – forgot all about it. Read “Well of Loneliness” Radcliffe Hall. James in dock again with dysentery. Pete cut his grey slacks down to shorts. We do about 2 hours French every afternoon. 

Breakfast: Rice and sugar.

Tiffin: Bread, cucumber and rice

Dinner: Bread, dumplings and yams 

MON 15

Pete is on working party lent him my $8. Had to change our beds for the iron ones. Nips have decided not to put the platforms in our rooms which is all to the good. Gower thinks that Haldane is a Bolshie crank. The duff this evening was like a boiled bread roll – marvelous effort. Placards = “US stunned by Aleutian landings.”  We are only going to be allowed to write 3 letters per year. 

Breakfast: Rice with sugar and coffee

Tiffin: Bread with dripping

Dinner: Rice with Plum Duff 

TUE 16

Rain all last night – very cool. 10.00 parade. Gave Boo 4 cigs. for 2 issues of sugar. 2 ½ loaves. Replay – we got knocked out 2 – 1 very good game. Privates will only be able to write 3 a year, Sgts, etc. 4, W.O’s 5 and so on. My hand is still painful – hope it isn’t a permanent damage. Asked Terran to give James the last lessons. Seconds of meat gypo came in our room. – gave most of mine away. 

Breakfast: Rice, sugar and coffee

Tiffin: Bread, rice and cucumber.

Dinner: Rice, cucumber, meat and dumpling 

WED 17

Ate a little rice this morning with sugar and put some of the sugar in my mug of water  – delicious. Cup final this evening. Scots won 1 – 0 very dirty game. Spectators had to wait behind today to cheer the Commandant who presented a cup. Cold’s worse today. Elm’s father came in today 68. Tress called us soap pinchers. up for office he was going to remit our sentences but did not have time to see us. B.B. came in.  

Breakfast: Rice and 3 issues of sugar

Tiffin: bread, cucumber and coffee

Dinner: Veg. stew, rice and roll. 

THUR 18

Four (?) cigarettes came in on B.B. My cold is worse and my tongue feels like parchment. Placards: “British retreat in Libya”. Pete returned the two cigs and  gave me  his half  loaf as well.   I don’t know what he lives on now, he doesn’t eat bread or rice. Working fairly hard on the French – ought know something about it next year.  

Breakfast: Rice and coffee

Tiffin: Bread, Cucumber and coffee

Dinner: Rice and Choy 

FRI 19

The mouth ulcers & the skin diseases are the first sign of Pellagra – caused through lack of fats and vitamin B. I’ve got (a) a bad cold (caught off Peter) ( b) Pellagra (c) Swollen Hand (d) Headache and numerous other afflictions  – any more and I’ll report sick. 

Breakfast: Rice and Tea

Tiffin: Bread, Rice and Tea

Dinner: Meat and dumplings 

SAT 20

Evening band concert went with Jock Campbell. Watched the boxing practice – my hand’s still wrong. Squeaker advised me to go sick with it. Notice that all the trees had gone from the hill in front of the camp. 

Breakfast: Rice, tea and sugar

Tiffin: Bread and coffee

Dinner: Cucumber, rice and Veg. stew. 

SUMMARY

Pellagra usually attacks the scrotum first so that is an amusing sight, at least it would be if I didn’t have myself, to see chaps walking bowlegged or sitting on their beds fanning that particularly  painful organ. 

SUN 21

Meant to do some washing but played bridge all day instead. Early parade 19.00. Cooky gave Freddy 2 spades with only the 8 bare in his hand. 

Breakfast: Rice, sugar and coffee

Tiffin: Bread, rice and coffee

Dinner: Meat, dumpling and roll 

MON 22

No French  for next two days –  Longbottom doesn’t feel up to it. Used nearly all my tablet of washing soap on a towel, shirt, shorts, socks & 3 hankies. Gave 4 cigs for a loaf. Boo Boo toasted it for me. More brick carrying today – if we do any more I will begin to look like a brick. Placards:-  “Tobruk Surrounded. “ 

Breakfast: Rice, sugar, coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice and vegetables 

TUE23

Only bread & “coffee” today. So gave Boo 2 cigs to toast another half loaf for me. Warned about Pellagra – the second stage is Dementia. The yeast, which is very sour upsets most bloke’s stomach but it is the only thing to take. Grub is getting very bad – most blokes only eat the bread. I do myself. A search this morning of Jubilee. Officers’ cook-house had lost 2 ½ bags of flour (about 500 men’s rations) (or 15 officers’) & 5 lbs of baking powder which should have been issued to the men  – on parade  1½ hrs. Listened to band concert. 

Breakfast: Rice and coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice and Vegetables Stew. 

WED24

Japs have a great sense of humor;  they say every man can have his boots repaired for Y2.50. Laugh is that only half have any boots left at all & the other half have got no money. Working party today – raining all day. Poured bringing the veg. in. Placards: “ Daring sub attack. Tobruk surrenders. Attack on Vancouver”. Only ate bread and ½ cupful of onion stew. Got nil on ration party. Sold a pack of cigs for 1 yen 

Breakfast: Rice

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice and onion stew. 

THUR 25

French room moved to Jubilee. Longbottom not well enough. Got pass to go into Jubilee from Gower. Been raining in bucketsfull for the past three days and nights. Drew grass mats for our beds. Edwards got news that his daughter died during the week – upset.  

Breakfast: Rice and Coffee

Tiffin: Bread, cucumber, coffee

Dinner: Rice and onion stew 

FRI 26

B.B. came in with our monthly issue; bar soap, another toothbrush, toothpowder , sweat towel and paper. Welsh gets annoyed at the toothbrush & powder –  he doesn’t have a tooth in his head. The toothpowder makes a very good talcum for the old scrotum. Got a rash coming all over my face. No French till Monday 

Breakfast: Rice, Sugar, coffee

Tiffin: Bread and rice

Dinner: Meat and dumplings 

SAT 27

RE died last night in camp. Total deaths from the Camp is about 30.  Another face slapping exhibition this evening – 6 RA’s who pinched that flour, etc. –  our officers handed them over to the Nips. Boon’s going to catch it when he gets out of here. Dates came in. 

Breakfast: Rice, sugar and coffee

Tiffin: Bread and cucumber

Dinner: Rice and Vegetables. 

SUMMARY

Food situation is getting a trifle trying when blokes die, its time to start digging. 

SUN 28

Quiet day, played battleships. Japs are collecting all the iron in the camp for scrap 

Breakfast: Rice, sugar and coffee

Tiffin: Bread and Cucumber

Dinner: Rice and dates 

MON 29

Two more men died last night – one from septicemia (which is what I’ve got) and the other from quinces (?). Nips are scared – sent in margarine & raisins. Medical Inspection- . . .    officer told me to get treatment for my scrotum. Danny Scugal came in from dock. French today. 17 quarters of beef came in.

Breakfast: Rice

Tiffin: Bread and Margarine 9/10 oz

Dinner: Rice, coffee and sugar 

TUE 30

We take the French on the balcony in Jubilee – like being on a bridge of a ship. Went sick today to get off PT. Up most of the night fanning my scrotum – driving me mad. Nips made a display on the Tai Po road. Smoke bombs, machine gun firing blanks & troops, (probably Indians), running and firing rifles through the smoke were filmed. 

Breakfast: Rice and Coffee

Tiffin: Rice, Bread and Veg. stew

Dinner: Meat, Dumpling and Gyppo 

WED 31

B.B. came in with cigarettes for cash. Raisin Duff was perfect  – but some of the blokes in the room are feeling queer – (queerer than usual, that is). No French today

Breakfast:

Tiffin: Bread and Cucumber

Dinner: Raisin Duff, Coffee and Rice 

OBSERVATIONS

My stomach seems to have contracted. I remember a time when I could sink two bowls of rice and anything else that was going – but now after 1/2 a loaf I am full for the rest of the day – I have to force anything else down, including the meat. 

JULY 

SUMMARY

Rumor we are going to be split up into 100’s with sergeants as centurions 

WED 1 (see Wed June 31st) 

THUR 2

On ration part today. Raining as per. Lots of chaps were bad last night; vomiting etc. must be the raisin duff. My Mackans (?) ran out – the tube has lasted me over 3 months. Medical inspection by Nips tomorrow. Missed ration party – didn’t trouble. 3 more men died in hospital last week 

Breakfast; Rice and Coffee

Tiffin: bread and Vegetable

Dinner: Rice and Veg. Stew. 

FRI 3

Colonel, Commandant and some Swiss officials inspected the Camp today. Went to band concert – rotten.   Pellagra coming out on my face. I am going bad. Some news : Yanks landed on Formosa & Java admitted in Jap newspaper. 

Breakfast; Rice and Coffee

Tiffin: bread and cucumber and rice.

Dinner:  Meat and dumpling 

JUNE 4

Still raining. Should have been on rations but Clifford, forgot me – not so keen on going nowadays – miss the French. The Swiss officials are supposed to have said that British food ships are waiting at Shanghai and other POWs’ are being paid Y20 per month and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be. 

Breakfast; Rice and onion stew

Tiffin: Bread and Drippings

Dinner: Rice and dates

SUMMARY

Nips sending in more meat than ever. On paper it works out to 9 oz a man. We rarely see more than 3 or 4ozs.  

SUN 5

On sanitary today worst job ever- full of dysentery and flies. Swotted French all day. I went onto Jubilee roof this evening – not many lights on in Hong Kong.  Controversy over the fried steaks – they want steaks and meat gyppo and meat stew all out of the same piece of meat.

Breakfast: Rice

Tiffin: Nothing

Dinner: Bread, Fried steak 2 inches by 2 inches and rice 

MON 6

Ration party today- got a couple of lychees and a few onions & dates. Missed our coffee at Tiffin. Plackard: “gigantic tank battle.” Wheatly cut the  Colonal’s and Tresseter’s hair;  they were having for breakfast Baked curried beans on toast.  Hot rolls and butter and real coffee with sugar and milk. 

Breakfast: Rice

Tiffin: Bread and Coffee

Dinner :Rice, Veg, stew and Date Duff. 

TUE 7

I was up all night last night- diarrhea – acute headache-  a temperature and my heels were throbbing where they had blistered by wearing boots without socks.  Stayed in bed all day and missed French. Sentries shouting to each other all night; three people are supposed to have escaped from Stanley. My scrotum was also very bad. Had to sit on the doorstep and let the air get at it.  

Breakfast: Rice and coffee

Tiffin: Bread and rice

Dinner: Meat, dumpling and gyppo 

WED 8

Another sleepless night went to the lavatory 8 times – and sat on the doorstep in between times. Today stayed in bed most of the time. Heavy wind blowing up. George beat up a sentry who had slapped some downhomers for waving to their counterparts.   

Breakfast: Rice

Tiffin: Dates and Bread

Dinner: Rice and Veg. 

THU 9

Drying up a bit  but still got headache & new development a sweat rash under my arms – so forced to go about like a trussed bird. Went to concert – puzzled out how the “find the lady” is done. Started French again. Boo Boo cooked some toast for me 

Breakfast: Rice

Tiffin: Bread and Dates

Dinner: Rice and onion sauce. 

FRI 10

B.B. came in with cigs for cash. Still raining, wind getting stronger – may get a typhoon. Bought 9 cigarettes (1 4 sen). 

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: bread

Dinner: Meat and dumpling 

SAT 11

Exchanged 4 cigs for pillow. Japs took photos of the band and us marching on parade this evening. 

Breakfast: Rice and sugar

Tiffin: Bread and (illegible)

Dinner: Rice and Veg. stew

SUMMARY

There may be some old mail for us. Camp office is compiling a roll for the Nip postmaster. Spend a lot of time decoding cryptographs for brain exercise. 

SUN 12

200 days in captivity today. Used my month’s soap on 1 shorts, two pair of socks, shirt, one sweat towel, one towel, 6 hanks and one pillowcase. Took bed to pieces & de-bugged it, (bitten to death last night). Picked the horse hair in my pillow. Asked Welsher to get a blanket off the roof – stood on my shoulders, overbalanced, and fell on the concrete on his back. Sent for MO but was only bruised and winded. 

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Bread and Coffee

Dinner: Meat, dumplings and Gyppo 

MON 13

No French – . Longbottom says Terrar has dysentery so we’d better leave it for awhile. Woke up this morning and my tongue would hardly move. Nips bought some dates, but because the boys crowded around t see  they took them away again. In future we have to do 10 min drill evenings. R.A. died today

Breakfast: Rice and sugar

Tiffin: Bread and coffee

Dinner: Rice and 1 spoon Veg. Sauce  

TUE 14

Rain came down in bucketfuls last night – got a shower before I could put a sack up at the window. Spoiled this diary – have to rewrite some of it. Camp Commander is offering one pack of Cigs for every 100 flies produced in an effort to stem the serious dysentery.  We’ve hardly any treatment left. 5 men have died at the hospital outside already this week. Nips sent an old box and 10 nails for the RA – played last post. 

Breakfast: Rice and coffee

Tiffin:  Rice, bread

Dinner: Meat, dumpling, Gyppo 

WED 15

Nips found that a sugar bag had been split open and 200 lbs of sugar taken so they’re stopping all rations for 3 days – took the veg. away again. B.B. came in. Another bloke expected to die. Pete got some sugar on a working party. Fly catching caused a bit of a riot – couldn’t get into the lavatory for blokes swatting flies. 

Breakfast: Rice, Coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice 

THU 16

Forester of the Scots died during the night. an RA sergeant died as well as another outsider. Couldn’t eat the date Duff- made them into balls and they actually bounced. On guard tonight. Didn’t know that the B.B. brought any jam, etc.in –  didn’t put a chit in – missed my chance. 

Breakfast: Rice, Coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner:  Rice and Date Duff 

FRI 17

Two more RAF are supposed to have died at St. Trinians. Pasty was marvelous – not enough of it. Gyppo was very weak though. Just a bit of a sore throat – have to go warily; a lot of blokes have been dying with it. Went to band concert; rotten. Went on roof after. 

Breakfast: Rice

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Meat Pasty and Gyppo, Rice 

SAT 18

Got to do 10 mins drill after every morning muster. Jap gave us a job to take 2 planks down to the CC’s house. Gave us a cig each. bought one tin of herrings in tomato Y1.90 ( 5 shilling) & ½ pound of cocoa Y 80 (4.6d). Scoffed the fish in two goes. Gave Pete 1 1/2 fish, (my half of my money). Made some cocoa this afternoon. No meat in for tomorrow.  Evening parade 17:00. Japs promise a surprise tomorrow. 

Breakfast: Rice

Tiffin: bread and Coffee

Dinner: Rice and (illegible) and Gyppo 

SUMMARY

The fish certainly helped me along – Stuff that we would have thrown away a month ago. 

Pete and I spend most evenings on Jubilee roof nowadays. Boys were laying bets on the first one to peg out in Corp. The rumor about mail has cooled off. There are 22 sick on our baksheesh list now. 

SUN 19

Pete woke me up with a hot cup of cocoa this morning. Pleasantest surprise in 7 months. Did 10 min. drill after Parade. Did a ration store guard.  Japs called us on Parade this evening. Called up OC and dismissed us – may have been their pleasant surprise. Spent some time making up the spoiled parts of this. Open rumor of the Japs giving us porridge and butter tomorrow. We lost the cricket final – my nails are getting quite presentable. Sun shining all day, felt very bright today. 

Breakfast: Rice

Tiffin: Bread and Coffee

Dinner: Rice and Dates 

MON 20

Japs surprise –  they let the downhomers send parcels in – doesn’t do us any good. Pete managed to pinch 3 fish & a 4lb tin of jam – raspberry ; Brown got 14 lbs of crushed cherries.  Doing very well for chow this last week, what with tinned herrings, cocoa and now bread and jam. Boiled the fish this evening. Raining again. Date roll was pretty good. Parade at 17.00 hrs this week. 

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Date Roll and Coffee 

TUE 21

Went to band concert. Worse if possible than usual – my ear is getting much more particular. Ginger Weaver died in St. Trinians, Edward’s, pal. 

Breakfast: Rice and Dates

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Meat, dumpling and Gyppo 

WED 22

Pete and I did a spot of veg. cutting today. When we went up for our seconds we got a mess tin full of nice bones with gristle on – as good as a meat day. Got some of the very small yams and baked them. 

Breakfast: Rice

Tiffin: bread and Coffee

Dinner: Rice and Veg. Stew. 

THU 23

On ration party today. Humping flour. I took a large box “pablum” and got it away under the Japs noses in an overcoat. It is 10 inches by 5 dia. We made some biscuits out of it and fried them in the dripping.  RE. died of Dysentery. No meat for 10 days, sent in boxes of fish which equals 1.6 oz per man when cooked about 1/3 of an oz. Morning rice was bad 

Breakfast: Bread and Rice

Tiffin: Rice and Coffee

Dinner: Rice, dripping, coffee 

FRI 24

Last post for the RE. Boiled up some Pablum passable with cana, (?) – tastes more like sawdust. Didn’t save any fish –  wish Jesus Christ was done here to see what he could do with my share & half a loaf.  MX & Signal died outside today & another chap died in camp today. Went to latter part of band concert and then on to  the roof. Japs have stepped up the Yen to 4 dollars so some of the Vols. have sold out that were saving their money. 

Breakfast: Rice and Coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Fish sauce, and veg. stew. 

SAT 25

Last post for two chaps today. A Vol. died suddenly another Signal died today. Makes 10 they’ve lost since they came in. Made a little brazier and boiled up some pablum with salt & sugar & some cocoa. Had a shave.  Tried to make some coffee out of yellow beans – terrible. No meat in the colony now says Sakoe. Strong rumors that we are being moved to Japan before Christmas. B.B. came in 

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar.

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Date Duff and Pumpkin 

SUMMARY

Fed pretty well last week. Cocoa in the morning. Pablum and cocoa at Tiffin & bread and jam & rice & jam.  Peter’s teeth are going black. 

SUN 26

R.A’s changed places with Vols – They smashed all the fittings in Jubilee before they moved out. Kelly said that the R.A. Brown who came out with us died in hospital. Late parade19.30 hrs. They’ve worked out that chances of dying at this rate are 15:1. Bought 10 cigs to get my watch mended. 

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice and fish sauce 

MON 27

Some excitement today – Jackson smashed Tresseter in the face for mentioning that he’d had Siph. Court Marshal tonight. Peter on ration party; got some dates. Brown flaked out on the party and was brought into hospital. Started French again, thank goodness.  I was growing stale. 

Breakfast: Rice and dates

Tiffin: bread

Dinner: Rice and dates 

TUE 28

Hasn’t rained for 2 days. Made some date jam. Petrol cost Y42 outside, (10.10d). Bought packet of cigs for payment to mend my watch. Spoke too soon about the rain – Coming down in torrents now. Japs amusing themselves by poking poles into Chinks’ (Chinese) faces. They’d taken some trivial thing from the godown: a warning to us. 

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, Date Duff and Veg. Stew. 

WED 29

Took my watch to an ordinance chap to mend. Supposed to be another surprise tomorrow. No French, raining too hard. Japs sending in some lily roots for vegetables. Haven’t had our issue of soap and toothpowder this month.  Wind blowing up pretty strongly. 

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Bread and Veg. Stew 

THU 30

Ration Party, very disappointing, didn’t get a thing. Got my watch back, goes very well gave him 6 cigs. Nothing of the surprise yet. Gower came over today – French with me doing Imperfect tense. We can write another card. Gave Pete I cig for his extra Gyppo. Placards: “Hong Kong typhoon threat.” 

Breakfast:  Rice and Dates

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Date Roll and Veg. Stew 

FRI 31

Flooded out this morning – had to wade to the cookhouse. Pete on working party today only got some dried Tobacco and a few old bananas. Nips searching Jubilee this afternoon. Nips shooting and shouting all night. Boiled two of four bananas into our date jam. Wrote my second card home.  

Breakfast: Rice and Dates

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice and Dates and Veg. Stew.

AUGUST 

SAT 1

Nips found a tunnel under the stairs of Jubilee yesterday. 12 feet long. Reprisals will be taken on the whole camp if the blokes that dug it are not caught. Parcels and the canteen have been stopped. Somebody tipped the Nips off about it. Tea and curry powder were bought out of the amenities fund before the canteen stopped

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice and Fish Sauce.

SUMMARY

Still no meat. I don’t think they intend to bring any more in. 68 men have died so far. Wood is getting very scarce. This month’s issue of soap has been stopped because of the tunnel. I have been feeling pretty healthy this past few weeks.

SUN 2

Working parties are supposed to be starting tomorrow. The tunnel diggers have given themselves up or have been shopped – they’re captured anyway. Sentenced to solitary confinement. The Chinese are reported to be selling and eating human flesh. Pork is $27 per Cattie. Unfortunately, I jumped on a piece of glass this evening and lost a little blood. 

Breakfast: Rice, Sugar and Tea

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, veg. Stew and date dumpling 

MON 3

Down homers turned away. Gave spare cig for half loaf. Rumors about us begin moved to (a) Neutral Country or (b) Japan supposed to be a surprise on the 6th. Nips are clearing everybody off the ground floor of Jubilee to stop anymore tunneling. 

Breakfast: Rice, sugar and tea

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, Veg. Stew and Curry 

TUE 4

Last post for Air Force chap who died this morning. Hard luck for a bloke who gets through the war and then dies in a prison camp. St. Theresa’s is being closed – All diphtheria cases have been brought back into the camp. Bought a loaf for 10 sen.  

Breakfast: Rice and dates

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Fish sauce and Veg. Stew

WED 5

Went into the roof to check up on my binoculars & camera found that the glasses have been pinched. Young Kemp the interpreter & a Scot got a hell of a beating on Parade this evening from a sentry that was apparently drunk. Jap fixed bayonet – we thought it was Kerr’s lot – made our blood boil – but couldn’t do anything about it. 

Breakfast: Rice and Dates

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, Tarrowroot and Date roll.     

THU 6

On ration party today, fairly profitable day. Got 3 whole cigs for myself and ½ tin of dog-ends for Pete. Carting flour and rice and we got plenty of tea in the afternoon. Some had sugar in. Filled up my shirt with rolled oats from a torn bag – about 2 lbs caked with sweat but it all goes down. Made a plate full before we went to bed. Spindle Hern has died. First man from our Company.  

Breakfast: Rice and Dates

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, dates and Vegetables.

 FRI 7

Canadians who were with me on working party yesterday said that 40 had died from dysentery from their camp. Did some spud peeling and got seconds of stew and fish sauce. Last post for RA – Septicemia. Placard: “Attack on Penang.” Listened to the band concert from the Jubilee roof.

Breakfast: Rice and dates

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, veg. and fish sauce

 SAT 8

Went to the Concert – free night. Wheel ‘em off.  Saw Longbottom’s  (?)   – think negotiate for one. Freddie has split the ration party up. The party that goes out in the morning must not go out in the afternoon. Peter and I made some oatmeal cakes out of the peanut oil and sugar and some of our rolled oats – really good.

 Breakfast: Rice, sugar, tea and one teaspoon of peanut oil

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, Veg. Stew, date duff.

SUMMARY

 Cigs are getting so scarce that bread has dropped from 4 to 2 cigs per loaf. Rumors about us being repatriated owing to the acute food shortage.

 SUN 9

Debugging today. Had good clear out & turned the bed around. Can’t to any washing – no soap. Still got 2 tablets of Palmolive though. Last post for R.M. Sergeant – Diphtheria. Scraped some flour out of the empty sacks – made some pancakes out of flour and water – not so hot- flour too lumpy

 Breakfast: Rice, sugar and tea

Tiffin:  Bread

Dinner: Rice, Dates and vegetables 

MON 10

A lot of practice firing today – a couple of bofors on Stonecutters were plugging away at the sky. Japs have cut the water off today for some unknown reason. No French today or tomorrow – browned off.

 Breakfast: Rice, Sugar, Tea

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, Veg. Stew and Tarrowroot

TUE 11

Surprise today Howell sent me in Y10 that he owed me. 2 men died today. Bringing the total to 2% for this camp (85). Listened to the band concert from roof – marvelous. Water came on again, thankfully. I had to carry it all morning from the other end of camp.

 Breakfast: Rice, sugar and tea

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, Vegetables and date roll

WED 12

3 men died today. Trapper, went in dock. Bought 1lb cocoa (Y3.60) & a ¼ lb of toffee, (3/-) a notebook &  packet of Spearmint (1/3d). My films are going rotten. Found a nest of crickets in my bag. Going to reorganize the Section soon – lining up in fives in future. Been called up 3 years today.

Breakfast: Rice, sugar and tea

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, fish sauce and veg. stew

THU 13

Longbottom split up the class – mine’s from 3 to 4:30. Staff Sgt RA died. Wheat’s wine turned to vinegar – gave it to me. We’ve to do a half hours drill every day in the future. Nips sent around a form that we have to fill in – they want to know  ;- what trades we belong to, our educations, where we were born, our pay and in what trade would we like to work for Japan.

Breakfast: Rice and Sugar, tea – teaspoonful off peanut oil

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, Dates and Vegetables.

 FRI 14

Ration Party this morning – wood – bought 25 cigs for 25 sen per pkt and sold them for 50 sen each. Nips say that we are being treated honorably and we are not to provoke danger to life by trying to escape. We are divided in small groups of fives –  if one misbehaves the whole five catch it. Saw a man with a hole in his knee it is an inch across and inch and half deep – its green, and turned my stomach over a little.

Breakfast: Rice, sugar and tea

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, dates and vegetables.

 SAT 15

3 more died today. Nips sent in load Hunan pears. Nips relented and issued us with toothpowder,  sweat towel and a loin cloth. Did a spot of sunbathing and burned my nether portions.

Breakfast: Rice, sugar and coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, fish sauce and vegetables.

SUMMARY

Nips say that they will not be able to send more of this food I after the 16th of next month – what they are going to feed us on is a mystery. Very little veg. coming in. We are overdue for rice and flour.

SUN 16

Sailor died today. Started forming up in lines. Elms in dock with dysentery.  Did some washing- towel, shorts, sweat towel. Nips have installed lime lights around the Camp

Breakfast: Rice, sugar, pears and coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Date duff and veg. stew.

ON 17

5 blokes have died during the last 24 hours including Keith Backhurst Pay Corps. who came out with us. He was the pleasantest bloke of that draft  – 23 years old. 

Breakfast: Rice and dates

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice and veg. Stew

 TUE 18

Listened to band concert.  Did some Veg. peeling today to get seconds. Fish cake a bit small. My scrotum has started to weep again. Nips say if anyone escapes now the whole camp will be put on reduced rice and water rations.

Breakfast: Rice, dates, sugar and coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, fish cake, fish head stew.

 WED 19

Typhoon fairly near today – pouring with rain and wind swirling all over the place. Lights went out. I was the only one who turned up for French. LeGrave gave me a book to translate. 

 Breakfast: Rice, sugar and coffee.

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Dates and Veg. stew.

THU 20

Hauled out at 3am to sound of shots and bugle. 2 RE’s escaped. Stood on the square for two hours in the pouring rain in bare feet. Nips in flat spin – turned lights on and counted us 3 times. 3 died yesterday, 2 RA and 1 Vol. Freddie has issued everything in anticipation of reprisals from Japs. We may be on rice and water for some time. There is no morning parade – Blokes broke into the store and took a lot of dates and sugar.

 Breakfast: Rice, sugar, coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, dates, veg. stew.

FRI 21

At the funeral the lorry was so crowded, the blokes had to sit on the boxes. Lofty called me & gave me two biscuits. Working parties are stopped. And there is no rice or flour in the store. Nips searched Jubilee & the camp for the 2 RE’s. Japs forbid us to even think about escaping. The sentry was supposed to have been asleep. Long morning parade

 Breakfast: Rice and sugar

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, fish cake and fish head stew.

AT 22

2 where wheeled out today. Elms came out of dock. Entered the bridge contest and got knockout the first round

Breakfast: Rice and dates

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice and Veg. Stew.

SUMMARY

George the Nip has died from Diphtheria & another has got it.

 SUN 23

One bloke died today

Breakfast: Rice, sugar, coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, Veg. and date duff

MON 24

Ration Party today. On flour – just the work I like.  Managed to get a tin of Nip pickles. Bought 9 pks of cigs for Y3, sold 6 for Y10  &  kept 3 for food. Made a large size blister on my foot. Band Concert played Tanhouser.

Breakfast: Rice, Sugar, Coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice and veg. stew

 TUE 25

 Ration Party again this morning on wood though – nearly creased me.

 Breakfast: Rice and dates

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Fish cake and veg. stew

WED 26

Ration Party – on wood again. Went to concert. Nips are sorting out all those who didn’t sign the first paper on the dot. Rumors of them being moved to Dutch East Indies – or somewhere. Bought 10 pks of cigs for Y1.50 & sold them for Y10.

Breakfast: Rice and Dates

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Veg and date duff

THU 27

Peter in dock with Diphtheria. The 700 or so undesirables have been augmented by 2 or 300 desirables and been told to pack their kits.

Breakfast: Rice and dates

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Veg. Stew and Rice

FRI 28

Day of feverish activities on part of most. Dave, Wheat, Welsher and Brown are amongst those that are being sent away. Didn’t go to the French  – fed up.

Breakfast: Rice and dates

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice and Veg. stew

SAT 29

Ration party again – wood again. Got 1 pkgs of cigs. sold it for Y1.  The people on the boat draft got TAB, Cholera jabs, swab tests, stool test and tomorrow are getting vaccinated. One Signal died today.

 Breakfast: Rice and Sugar, tea

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Fish cake and veg. stew.

 SUMMARY

 All day ration parties reinstated because 40 of our Coy are going. Japs say that they’re being shifted to a much better place and that they’re going to work.

SUN 30

Sanitary today. Played cricket – jolly good game. Sent some books down to Pete. In the cricket I scored 4 runs & took 3 wickets for 6.

Breakfast: Rice, Sugar, Coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Veg. Stew

MON 31

Clothing & kit came in for D party.

Breakfast: Rice and Dates

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, Veg. Stew

OBSERVATIONS

One man that died weighed only 69 lbs. Deaths total 104 from this camp

List of ailments in this camp

Pellagra

(a) Strawberry balls

  1. b) Ulcerated mouth and lips
  2. c) Happy  feet
  3. d) Failing eyesight
  4. Beriberi
  5. Diphtheria
  6. Septicemia
  7. Yellow jaundice
  8. Dysentery
  9. Malaria
  10. Hong Kong Rot
  11. Syphilis
  12. Gonorrhea
  13. Piles
  14. Ring Worm

  SEPTEMBER

 SUMMARY

 TUE 1

On ration party wood again. Pouring with rain. Jingle Smith died from dysentery – making 2nd bloke from this Coy. Pete on D.I. (dangerously ill?) list. Took him 3 magazines.

Breakfast: Rice and sugar

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Fish cake and Veg. Stew

WED 2

3 men died today. Peter still on D.I. list and gives cause for anxiety. I took him some cocoa & sugar & a packet of cream crackers. I read “Claudius, the God”. busted for sugar this morning. Bought two jam pasties. The D Party is going tomorrow taking half of our rations with them. Will only get1/4 of a loaf. Jackson’s been sent out.

Breakfast: Rice and sugar

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Veg. Stew

THU 3

Can hardly move my tongue this morning & lips and scrotum breaking out again. Pete still D.I.—took him some more biscuits but he couldn’t eat them. D Party marched out to the band loaded up with kit & with face masks on—the boat is still laying of the camp wall. 2 men died today.

 Breakfast: Rice and sugar

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Fish cake and Veg. Stew

FRI 4

2 men died today. On ration party – waste of time, went out for a load of wood & came back – pinched 2 yams.

Had good meal in the evening – baked the 2 yams, toasted my bread & bought 2 Scots date rolls for cigs with cocoa.

 

 Breakfast: Rice & sugar, coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice & veg stew

SAT 5

2 more died today. Pete worse – A sudden change—Freddy & some others were shipped out & Crew & others took their places. Crew says that only 1 of the officers have died—they get payed and a canteen every week.

Breakfast: Rice & sugar

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Fish cake & veg stew

SUMMARY:

Deaths are rising again

SUN 6

2 died today. Played cricket MT v S. I was last man in & wanted 10 runs – got 9 & was out.

Breakfast: Rice Sugar Coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Veg Stew

MON 7

1 man died today. 12 doses of serum came in yesterday. Pete had one: it was successful thank goodness – took him some cocoa. D.I. still. Had to burn my straw mats and sacks that I used for bedding- couldn’t cope with the bugs – I sleep on the iron now.

Breakfast: Rice & coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Veg stew

TUE 8

200 Chinese Vols (Volunteer Army) were taken out with their kits to be set free

Breakfast: Rice Sugar. Coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, Fishcake  Stew

WED 9

Saw Pete this morning, he worried me to get him some cigarettes. Got him a packet for a yen. He said that the serum was just in time – ½ his throat is paralyzed. DI still.

Breakfast: R & Sugar  Coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner Rice & Stew

THU 10

Working party – on wood again. got 2 ½ packets of cigs—bought 2 jam pasties. Red X parcels are reputed to be in for us. Working Parties for the whole Camp are starting on Monday  1 man died today.

Breakfast: Rice & Sugar   Coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice & Stew

FRI 11

Had swabs taken today – have to wear a mask always now. Pete is now on SI list.

Breakfast: Rice & Pseudo apples

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Fish Cake & fish tail

SAT 12

2 men died today  Went in for the Whist drive – Richards & I got 68 –  second prize was 69.

Breakfast; Rice Sugar & Coffee

Tiffin:  Bread

Dinner Rice & Stew

SUMMARY:

Out of the 3,500 men left, only 1,100 are fit enough to go on the new working parties & only 700 of those have boots.

SUN 13

3 men died today. Bought Pete a pair of pants & some spearmint. Read J. B. Priestley’s ‘English Journey’

Breakfast ; Rice Coffee Sugar

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice Fishcake & Coffee

MON 14

Working party this morning. 2 men died today 1 of whom was Teran of the French class.

Breakfast: Rice Sugar & Coffee

Tiffin:  Bread

Dinner: Rice & Veg Stew

TUE 15

The working party went from Bamboo pier. They started at 05.00 & finished at 19.30 & all the japs gave them was a cup of hot  water and a cigarette. A new draft is starting tomorrow I’m not on it.

Breakfast: Rice & Sugar

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Fishcake &1/2 fish

WED 16

We had to shift out of our hut this morning. Order came round that all RASC are on the draft but was later amended and none of our Coy is on it. On Kia Tak as waitng man (?). Got up at 04.00 but wasn’t wanted. Got mixed up with a brick carrying fatigue—thought it was a ration party.

Breakfast: Rice & Sugar

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Fish onion sauce & stew

THU 17

Didn’t get a wink of sleep last night about 10 mins after lights out the bugs came out in millions from the sleeping boards, off the ceiling & down the walls. I was bitten so much that I slept outside till it rained then walked round the huts until daylight. On Ration Party. Rice and Flour. 2 men died.

Breakfast: Rice & sweet Sauce.

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice and Veg Stew

FRI 18

Working party again. Brought in salt & Wood. Did all my washing this afternoon –  I shan’t be able to wash my towel or pyjamas many more times they’re in shreds now. Had a shave. Moved to another room (less buggy)  got a P.N. oil (1 table spoon with flour in a jar) 3 men died today

Breakfast: Rice & Sugar

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice & ¼ fish & Veg stew

SAT 19

Kai Tac working party started at 07.00 & got back at 19.30. Japs gave us 6 sweets with our hot water. Worked in boiling sun shifting granite boulders coolie fashion. Pete says he’s had a dose of dysentery but shifted it with M & B’s. another parade at 21.00hrs for recheck. Lights out at 24.00

Breakfast: Rice & Sugar

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice & ¼ fish

SEPTEMBER

4 of our officers including Howell have come in. H. is on the draft

SUMMARY

Last week was the hardest week I’ve ever had but next week will be harder, I’m thinking. Bugs are in everything, I found nests in my overcoat boots blankets, everywhere – I shant have any blood left soon. One bloke is totally blind & many others are well on the way

 SUN 20

Slept like a log last night – tired out. Woke up just as the Coy was going on parade. Did my washing, debugged, mended my shirt, etc. & kept low from an issuing job I was detailed for. Bought Pete some fish cakes & 2 fish for myself.

 Breakfast: Rice Sugar Coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Fish cake & veg water

MON 21

They’ve moved chap who has gone mad into an empty hut near ours. He makes a noise like a pining dog all day. Howell says that if he gets paid before he goes he’ll give me some more money

Breakfast: Rice & Coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Veg & Rice

TUE 22

KAI TAK, TAI PO & off to work we go. Hot work in the sun, took some toast & a Midd’s pastie with me to eat. So tired that when I went to listen to the band I fell asleep on the square. One man died

Breakfast: Rice Sugar Coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Veg & Boiled fish

WED 23

Ration party today –Veg only. Did some washing & wrote long note to Pete. That mad bloke thinks he’s a cow now.

Breakfast: Rice & Coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice Veg & Fish boiled

THU 24

Kia Tak today—digging. Got 5 peppermints this time.

 They  . . . that I’ll be on the ration party at 04.00 tomorrow morning – just when I wanted the sleep too. Bell the Naffi bloke kept me amused on the K.T. party with his banter

Breakfast: Rice Sugar  Coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Veg stew & Rice

FRI 25

Up about 03.00 – Happy the Scot woke me up to see if I wanted to buy some peanut oil. Had to pay 25 cigarettes for 1 pint but got 2 fish thrown in. Hard work on the rations; those bags of rice are heavy, loading the ship for the A & B parties they went today. Had to move to another hut – no wiring – all in.

Breakfast: Rice & Coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice , Veg & fried fish.

SAT 26

Canadians coming in today. Collected some egg-plants from Midd’s garden. Fried some in pea-nut oil & took them down to Peter. Don’t feel too well. Went to M.I. room & got temperature (101.0) & my heel has turned septic. 2 men died today; including that mad bloke.

Breakfast: Rice Sugar Coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Veg & Rice

SUMMARY

Pete and I have been communicating with each other every day by note like lovers.

SUN27

I was room orderly today as I still didn’t feel too good. Had diaorrhea during the day. Reported sick & went into dock with suspected dysentery. Canadians are going to share the ration party. Japs say they are going to send in fresh fish.

Breakfast; Rice Coffee Sugar

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice, Veg & Veg pastie

MON 28

Came out of dock at tiffin time. Stule (?stool) negative. One bloke died. There was a meeting today & Nips promised that we’ll get fresh fish every day from now on. Probably just another bluff.

Breakfast: Hot Water

Tiffin: Rice & veg

Dinner: Bread, Curry & Coffee

TUE 29

Had a rest today—Chippy thinks I’m still 10c I believe. No fish came in but Nips sent in 20 case of that camel dung that they say is tobacco. A case of queer things like dried rose hips got in with them –  its being issued

Breakfast:  Rice & Sugar

Tiffin; Bread

Dinner: Rice & Veg

WED 30

Shifted again to Seargeants’ Mess. Much better accommodation – Not so many bugs

Breakfast: Rice Sugar & Coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice Veg & Date & raisin Duff

OBSERVATIONS

That the hospital is worse than the black hole of Calcutta. There are flies crawling over blokes’ sores. Skeletons who can no longer shout or control their bowels lying in their own mess. I got a bunk opposite the lavatory (a room with bucket in). It stunk.

The general topic was how soon would men die if they couldn’t get rid of their dysentery. One bloke that died the other day weighed 42lbs.

OCTOBER

OBSERVATIONS:

There must be a hoodoo on this camp—the Canadians only lost 19 during their time at North Point but have lost 9 since they came in here already.

    They’ve stopped blowing the ‘Last Post’ in the camp now. It was getting too persistent & lowering the hospital blokes’ morale.

Thompson –Gower Productions: Bread fritters: Bread soaked in sugar & water & fried in flour and water.

Chuppaties  a la Garlique – Flour water & chopped garlic fried.

THUR 1

Waiting man for K.T. (Kai Tak) party but didn’t go. On ration party instead managed to pinch a fish. Brought 10 baskets of fresh fish in – Gold fish

Breakfast Rice & Coffee, Bread & Roll

Tiffin:  —–

Dinner: Rice, Veg & Veg pastie

FRI 2

Should have gone to K.T. but a typhoon came near & stopped it. The rattling & banging of tins and iron is a terrific din. The window walls of the hospital were blown in.

Breakfast: Fish, Rice Bread & roll

Tiffin: —–

Dinner: Rice & Veg

SAT 3

K.T. working party. Enjoyed today’s work on trucks. Nips say that Red Cross parcels are in for us & that the canteen will start next week

Breakfast: Rice Veg. Bread & roll

Tiffin: —–

Dinner: Rice & Veg

SUMMARY

12 men died last week – 9 were Canadians

SUN 4

Did Peter’s washing. Hard work it was too. His pants were black when I started & brown when I finished. Went to visit Elms & he gave me a loaf—he’s a batman while Gothard is in dock.

Breakfast: Rice, Sugar & Coffee

Tiffin: Bread

Dinner: Rice & Veg

MON 5

Ration Party – Wood. Plenty of bread today, a loaf that Elms gave me last night & a loaf issued.

Breakfast: Rice , Sugar & Coffee

Tiffin: Bread & Coffee

Dinner: Rice & Veg Stew

 TUE 6

New Rations scale starting tomorrow:- 1/10 oz sugar, 5oz flour, 7/10 oz peanut oil, 10oz veg, 20 oz of Rice, 1/10oz tea, 1/10oz beans & 2oz fish per day

 WED 7

Rumour that the  Lisbon Marue with the last draft on, has been sunk

THU 8 – NO ENTRY

FRI 9 – NO ENTRY

SAT 10 – NO ENTRY

 SUMMARY

 SUN 11

Working Party in pouring rain – my slippers got soaked right through. Lots of spills on the trucks

Breakfast : Rice & Tea

Tiffin: —–

Dinner: CHOW CONJE & Veg Stew

 MON 12

Canteen has come in. Put in 3 chits hoping to get something.

Breakfast: Rice & Fried Beans

Tiffin: Rice & tea

Dinner: Chow Fan & Tea

TUE 13 – NO ENTRY

Breakfast: Rice & Coffee

Tiffin: Rice & tea

Dinner: Chow Fan & Tea

WED 14

Ration Party. pinched a couple of egg-plants. Collected my Naffi stuff & gave a tin of Soya Sauce to Pete. Jim & I did some codes (?). Fried the rest of the egg-plants for supper. Borrowed ‘The brothers Karamazov’ from Price. Opened tin of Soya Sauce.

 Breakfast: Rice  Coffee

Tiffin: Rice Tea

Dinner:  Chow conje & Fish sauce

 THU 15

Nothing doing today – raining. 4 coffins piled up at the gate.

 Breakfast: CHOW FAN & Tea

Tiffin:

Dinner:

FRI  16 – NO ENTRY

SAT 17 – NO ENTRY

SUMMARY

SUN 18 – NO ENTRY

MON 19

Ration Party today. – the last. Unfortunately Kirkby left his overcoat lying around with veg in the pockets & somebody threw a note from the bus. RASC has been relieved of all ration duties and will provide 49 for K.T. tomorrow& 25 in future. We brought in a load of Pomillos.

Breakfast: Rice & Veg Stew, tea

Tiffin: —–

Dinner: Rice Veg stew & tea

TUE 20

K.T.

Breakfast Rice, chow fan tea

Tiffin: —–

Dinner; Rice Conje tea

WED 21

K.T. Party today

 THU 22

K.T.

Breakfast: Rice & Beans Tea

Tiffin: —

Dinner: Rice Conje Tea

FRI 23

First day off & japs decide to clear rest of Jubilee. We got to have the whole company in our 2 rooms. Ours being the best room was turned over to the senior NCO’s never been so disgusted. They’ve tables between their beds while our beds are almost touching. Jim & I are in the middle of the room. Bought 2 tins of jam (Y2.40) gave 1 to Pete.

Breakfast: Rice Conje & tea

Tiffin: Rice& tea

Dinner: Rice Conje & tea & Pomello 3 sections.

SAT 24

No K.T. Typhoon weather. Temperature about 60 but we are all shivering- bundled in everything we possess. Wanted to lay in but Japs got out K.T. party to clean up Jubilee for the hospital. Saw Peter in his new abode.

Breakfast: Rice & tea

Tiffin: Rice

Dinner; CHOW FAN tea Rice

SUMMARY

Boon says that the working party must be found even if they are taken out of hospital: –the swine

SUN 25

Sewed my trousers. Put up our light. Collected 20 sen for K.T. parties 10 sen too much (Didn’t say anything). EXCITEMENT: Allied bombers came over & set fire to something near the godowns. Jap trebled the guard. Certainly caught them hopping. The Boys cheered. We are not allowed out of the huts now.

Breakfast: Rice & onion sauce Tea

Tiffin: Rice Coffee

Dinner: Rice& CHOW FAN

MON 26

K.T. – HK raided for 2 hours last night so they tell me I was asleep. They bombed all Jap barracks. Some japs 2 Indians were killed in Whitfield Bks.

Breakfast: Rice & Chow fan. Tea

Tiffin: ——

Dinner: Rice & conje tea & pancake

TUE 27

K.T. No lights during the night so rice bust (only) for breakfast. No lights when we got back so had to wait an hour—completely fed up.

Breakfast: Rice & tea

Tiffin: —–

Dinner; Rice & Chow fan, tea

WED 28

A day off today. Did all the washing fixed the light. Showered & shaved (first for over a week). Bombers over again; Japs in flatspin—shot one bloke—Vickers firing all round. K.T. Party saw the bombs fall in the water near ship.

Breakfast: Rice conje & tea

Tiffin: Rice & Coffee

Dinner; Rice Chow Fan. Tea

THU 29

K.T. An accident—A felled stump with earth round its roots (1 or 2 tons) toppled over & crushed Woodward. The boys got to work & got him out in double quick time but he died tonight in dock. He let out an unearthly scream as the weight gradually crushed him. I managed to speak to him however. No lights on at all

Breakfast: Rice Beans & Fish sauce

Tiffin: —-

Dinner: Rice & Fried Rice Ball – tea

 FRI 30

No K.T. today – swabbed. Turned over. 2 Volunteers  missing this morning. Provided a burial party for Woodward, I only managed to get off it by going into the hospital to see Pete. Started a ration Party of 12 permanent men, I’m not on it.

Breakfast: Rice & stew

Tiffin: Fried Rice & Veg

Dinner: no entry

SAT 31 – NO ENTRY

NOVEMBER

NOV 10

Party out to move our Red Cross stuff from godown  to Gun club Hill—may get some soon. Most of the company is suffering with happy feet and bad eyes—my eyes have started failing.

NOV 18

Peter getting worse—arms & legs getting paralyzed

NOV 21

Red Cross stuff in—issued with 4 ozs bully for 2 days & ½ mug of raisins I also dew a pair of shoes & 3 cigarettes from the 3rd nationals. Deaths total 225 from this camp

NOV 28

Came in tonight & found a Red X parcel waiting for me—I might have fainted but I was scared that somebody might pinch it—contains: ¼ lb chocolate, 2oz sweets, 12ozs marmalade, Apple pudding, steak & tomato pudding, 1 tin tomatoes, 1 tin Nestles milk, 1 tin margarine, 2ozs tea, 4oz sugar, 1 tin meat paste, 1 tin galantine, 1 tin bacon, 1 bar of soap. Biscuits (Army) tin, 2oz cheese. Lighting restrictions lifted tonight, first time I’ve seen my bed for 6 days.

DEC 8

Japs given a day off for celebration of start of ‘Greater War of East Asia’. We were turfed out of our hut & put in the Canadians lines, in order to make room for a communal hot bath the rumour goes. Finished off my parcel. Saw Pete sitting up again. Issued with Red X shirt, 2 vests, 2 cardigans & 2 pairs of slacks.

    There are only 11 fit men left in our company to do K.T.   The A men  therefore have to (do) 6 or more running. Reveille 04.30 work all day with an hour’s break & back at 19.30. Lights out at 22.00. Payed 10 sen per day for it, roughly a farthing or less. matches cost 10 sen & eggs 30 sen: I buy 2 eggs a week with mine

DEC 9

Started to knit myself a pair of gloves

DEC 20

No more K.T.s until new year. Finished one glove — creditable job.

24 DEC

10 of us shifted 6,500 bricks to Jap H.Q. gave us a chow for it however – 1 large fried fish, Rice & barley, brinjal & pickled turnips, tea & sugar.

XMAS DAY CHOW – Breakfast: Rice & Stewed pears (2oz). Tiffin: Rice & bully & cake. Dinner: 1 tin M & V. Also 2 eggs, 8 sweets & 2 oz biscuits from amenities fund. Canuks got Y10 each sent from Canada, but I got 2 letters. Japs sent in some XMAS trees with streamers & coloured lights.  Lights out 24.00. Went to the carol service to pass the time away. Wrote a letter.

 1 JAN 1943

1 tin of bully between two –extra – lights out 24.30 last night

9 JAN

No K.T. YET rumour of another draft. My memory is failing—remembered that it’s twin’s birthday today. The only one I remember – forgotten how old they are.

12 JAN

Came back from Ration Party to find that everybody had been on parade a draft picked & segregated. I missed it

13 JAN

Some Service Corps managed to scrounge off the draft as per so that I and some others have been put on it.

    Japs method of choosing the fit – “Can you do arms bend? Right, A1” One man was  so bad that he was put in the  C party at first but to make up the draft they took him out and called him A1. Tried to get off the draft – no luck , only 5 A men left in the camp –  all the rest are either hospital or old crock’s (Pelagra feet) 1100 cases of happy feet. We all had a number chalked on our backs & filed through for stool test, swab & jabs today. Saw Peter he had the same; he may be on the draft after all. Tons of wire all round us.

14 JAN

Another  jab, stool test & swab; I know what sheep feel like now. Gothard’s first swab was positive and has been taken off.

15 JAN

Vaccinations & throat examination. Saw Pete in dock he’s had the same jabs that I have so he’s on the draft too

16 JAN

Another jab this morning: feel like a pin cushion. At 12-00 given a ¼ hour to pack & get on parade- told that we were going. They cleared the segregation & hospital. I was put into another party. Pete in 28 party. They say they are going to give us 6 pks of cigs & Y10 per man.

 7 JAN

Told to be packed & ready to move off at 10.00 & have the compound cleaned up. Another blind however – the japs searched our kits this time: Not too thoroughly thankfully. had a close shave when he glanced at this diary, took a chart of Hong Kong that I had. Issued with the monthly towel, soap etc & 8 pks cigarettes. Pete didn’t get any cigs & also had to hand his overcoat in. Saw Williams about getting him transferred to another party to make sure but nothing happened. McNare brought in a lot of sweet potatoes which I cooked. (Had no chow today but issued with 2 tins of bully & 1/3 loaf to last till tomorrow tiffin. Rumoured that reveille will be at 05.00 tomorrow & that we’ll be on the boat by 09.00.

18 JAN

Reveille 05.00 on the road by 06.00 managed to get some yam stew. Lorries to take our kit bags marched to Star Ferry singing. Queer to see a thousand men marching in gym shoes making hardly any sound with their feet. Pete was left at the gate. When we saw the ship we were  elated  it was about 18,000 tons, but getting on was a different matter. The ship was already crowded with their own marines, etc. before we got on. Some of us were lucky & put 25 in a cabin but I was one of 200 in the after hold another 200 were put in the forward hold. At first there wasn’t enough room for everyone to sit down never mind lay down. Utter dejection spread over the men most of them felt like crying. There was no earthly hope for us if the ship was hit. The only way out was a single ladder up the shaft of the hold. Only 2 boards (Hold Cover) were removed during the day. I was already bad with vaccine fever & running a temp. Chow came at 18.00 & consisted of a little rice & potato I ate my remaining tin of bully with (it). After chow we shifted round to make room & I climbed on to a 5’ x 6’ packing case with 2 others; it meant lying down for the voyage but it gave us plenty of room. The air is already pretty thick & I’ve got a splitting headache, we started to move at12.00

19 JAN

Slept like a log last night – bad air. Issued with 2 vests, 2 pr socks, 2 pr gloves, 1 pkt of biscuits 5 pkts cigarettes, ½ tin bully & bar of soap. Breakfast: ¼ mug of sweet tea & 6oz bread. Tiffin: a little rice & a piece of fried turnip. Dinner Rice & 1 potato.

When 1 man goes to the lavatory all the rest have to get up to make way for him. Party leaders gave us our Y10.

20 JAN

This is a fast ship. Told that we reach Japan tomorrow. Breakfast: Bread 1 slice & sweet tea. Tiffin: Rice & 1 ½ spuds. Dinner: Rice & 2 pieces of fried turnip. Japs had our M & V for Tiffin. Had to hand in our military Yen for changing. We were told before we came aboard that there were 2000 books & deck games for us. We haven’t even got a porthole.

 2ved at Nagasaki at 11.30. Stood on deck from 12.00 with our kits while we were inspected & sprayed with disinfectant. Taken off at 17.00 No chow still. Stood on dock till 22.00 given 6 buns to last for tomorrow’s breakfast: ate all mine in five minutes. Told that our party of 200 is going to Osaka camp, 3 or 400 miles away tonight. Marched 1 ½ miles with all our kit through Nagasaki to the station. Our spirits fell when they said 83 to a car but rose suddenly when we saw the coaches. we had nearly a seat each. On the station an obviously prepared party were singing patriotic songs & waving flags. But when we were on the docks a large explosion occurred just across the river.                                                                                

22 JAN

In train all day. Got 3 good meals—Japanese char – Rice in wooden packet with barley & another packet with a piece of fish &  various kinds of seaweed & pickles. Issued with 1 tin Bully for tomorrow. Japanese girls gave us tea on the station. Left most of the parties at different station en route. we got out at KOBE at 19.30. Marched to an underground station where another Party of singers was waiting for us and crammed into a train for here (Amagasaki) 5 miles out. Marched 1 ½ miles to the camp with our kit. Men down in the dumps again; the new camp commandant is a pig – told us to learn from 1 – 10 in Japanese by the morning. He’s going to give us Japanese drill tomorrow. Weather is a shock – snowing now. Issued with five more blankets. C.C. shouted at us until 23.00 when we were allowed to turn in. Camp consists of 1 large hut – very poorly made –the snow blows in between the roof & walls. 2 storey wooden ladders up to 2nd storey like stable. Sleep on straw mats too. Top windows are shuttered to prevent our seeing anything. Camp surrounded by 12’ wooden fence. Guard hut & C.C.s hut fill up the rest of the compound.

23 JAN

Reveille 06.00 roll call 06.30. Chow = Breakfast 1 loaf bread. Tiffin. Rice & Barley & Veg stew. Dinner. Rice & oats & Veg stew. Chow very good but not much of it. Kit searched on some waste ground behind the camp – not very thoroughly luckily.

24 JAN

Japanese lessons this morning – learning figures and words of command. C.C. not so bad. I think he’s all bark. Rearranged & given new no’s.

25 JAN

Photos taken in our prison dress & Japanese caps. I had mine taken as a souvenir. Starting work in a factory on Thursday. Everybody has bad colds. The place is all draughts.

26 JAN

Particulars taken (technical ability etc.)

27 JAN

Rearranged into working groups. Work tomorrow.

28 JAN

Work today. Reveille 05.030 Roll call 06.00. Work 07.00. I’m in the labourers gang unloading coal all day. Very cold. 1 hour’s break – finished at 16.00. more messing about than anything else have to salute everybody from the office boy up. Hardly any chow  – issued with bread at night for next day’s tiffin with spoonful of seaweed. I’m so hungry that I ate mine last night & went without tiffin.

29 JAN

Unloading scrap iron from barges – hard work on this chow.

30 JAN

Nearly creased today – unloading pig iron weighing 1cwt a piece all day – my arms & fingers are so stiff I can hardly climb up the ladder.

31 JAN

Sunday. Day of Less chow so no bread because it isn’t a working day – had a bath in the communal tub – water was a bit thick after the other 199 blokes had finished but never-the-less refreshing. First case of pneumonia today. We expect a lot more in this place. Roll call every night at 19.30.

1 FEB

Bigbug came round the works & I complained about the chow – told him that the men are so hungry that their bread goes as soon as they get it. Tonight: stopped issuing the bread, going to get it in the morning in future.

2 FEB

Nips gave us all a form to fill in. Headed “What are your impressions of Nippon since you landed” & sub-headed “About Food” “about Work” & “Other impressions” That was asking for it – and we gave it. I wrote “I cannot work on so little food”, among other suitable remarks.

3 FEB

Exciting day. They got our party heaving coal all the morning in the rain –We were tired out & soaked. They had given us a coolie hat & a coir ‘bird suit’ but they were useless. In the afternoon we refused to work. The Nips got excited & ran for their batons. They threatened us & beat one chap but we all stood firm. The interpreter was called & we told him that our only clothes were soaking & that we had nothing to change into. They turned as nice as pie after that. We packed up at 15.00 & dried our clothes round a fire that they built for us & they gave us a hot bath when we got back.

4 FEB

They’ve made the coaling easier for us after yesterday – 16 men to one barge.

5 FEB

Easy day only 1 small barge. The lack of food  & hard work are having their effect, there are already 25 – 30 men in the improvised hospital most of them collapsed at work the rest have pellagra – mine has started again. Some squids in the stew this evening.

6 FEB

This factory is falling to pieces we’re supposed to put it on its fee,t None of the workers seem to do anything except clear up the rubbish. Everything is rusty. An overhead crane fell down today & the steam hammer cracked. Peculiar sensation ; using the same lavatories as the women.

7 FEB

Sunday – we expected a day off today but we were unlucky –  we’re getting it on Tuesday instead.

8 FEB

Started ½ hour later today (07.00) but didn’t finish until 17.00. Some big shots came round so they kept us on easy work. I was sifting cinders all day. We (6 of us) are under a non military Jap -& he gave us a little cake each, a cigarette & some green tea. Japs brought in 8lbs of pork for us & took 2 lbs for themselves—I didn’t see any of it. The stew didn’t even taste of it.

9 FEB

Day off. Stayed in bed all day after morning muster (06.30). Canteen supposed to be coming in next week. Japs are scared of dysentery – they’ve whipped the 3 cases out to a hospital, marked off special latrines & given us all another dysentery jab.

10 FEB

Easy day- 1 small barge of coal & ½ barge of scrap. I’m getting hungrier & hungrier. I rush to scrape out buckets & started eating the tea leaves on my bread. All I dream & think about is chow. I asked for an interview with the C.C. but nothing came of it. Japs asked for a return of all moneys, foreign & domestic so that they can keep an eye on it. They don’t want us to buy anything from the Nip workers.

11 FEB

Day off again today – Jap National holiday. C.C. took us for a run round Amagasaki. Non-working rations today—I’m starving. Some of the men had to fill in long forms with questions such as: what Statesman do you worship most? What was your impression of the Japanese bombing? What did you do during the war?, etc. Japs are beating the men with  a leather belt at the minutest excuse – DeWitt has already collected 3 beatings. Wrote a letter home, it is compulsory  to write to someone. I’m going to change some of my bread for a rice ration.

12 FEB

The 200 little nigger boys are now 199—Reid died during the night. The Nips graciously gave him an egg before he died. We are even worse off than when we were first captured we are being starved & made to work hard as well. Rations per day:- 8 1/2oz rice & oats, 3oz veg & 6oz bread.

13 FEB

Nice funeral for Reid – I think that’s why the Japs starve us; they like to fix up good funerals.

14 FEB

Sunday. No day off

15 FEB

No canteen yet. Another dysentery jab.

16 FEB

SAM GOUGH & I arranged to get together and make a double bed.

17 FEB

Gave some of my cigarettes to a friend of Dan’s in the cookhouse & he sent up a tin of burnt rice on the sly.

18 FEB

FELT a lot happier since I’ve had Sam to talk to at nights –it’s deadly being cramped up in this pigsty with no one to talk to after 8 o’clock. Selling my gold watch to the Seargeant Major of the camp for food. Japs threw some bad onions out of the sacks & I scraped the really bad parts away & made an onion sandwich. Sam got a bottle of molasses & oil that the Japs use on their machines. We put it on our bread as treacle.

19 FEB

I tried to buy a fish from one of the coolies—He gave me one however & I scoffed the lot, bones head & tail. I found that I am not the only one who does nothing but dream of home, everybody does it now.

20 FEB

NO CANTEEN

21 FEB

Japs have made a whole programme for our “REST” days:- Reveille 06.00 – 06.30 Roll call. 07.00 breakfast – 08.00 an investigation. 09.00 inspection P.T. for rest of morning. Afternoon Baseball & games for cigarettes. From 14.00 -17.00 gramophone & cards. Bath every night from today.

23 FEB

After inspection Japs sent in 1 tin of bully between 4 & 5 cigarettes each including 2 Camels – we nearly went mad. A gramophone with 8 records  & some packs of cards. The little nigger boys are now 198 – Doran died at tiffin time to the strains of Intermezzo from Cavallaria Rusticana.

24 FEB

No funeral for Doran. Japs took him away while we were At work in a box 3’ x 2 ½’ x 1 ½’

25 FEB

Canteen in. A few note books, pencils & razor blades bust.

26 FEB

Japs sent in a small cake each (5 sen) & started a library of newspapers, 2 Japan Times. Saw pictures of the first draft. Caption says “We’ve been told to cook double today because there has been a bumper crop & there’s more than enough food for everybody”

28 FEB

No sign of pay.

1 MARCH

Japs gave us a tangerine (which I scoffed skin as well) & 10 cigarettes.

2 MARCH

Day off. Concession – 3 working day meals today, no bread however. Rumoured that we are moving from here in May. Cook staff cut down to 4 (Hookey still in). Extra ½ ration of rice tonight.

3 MARCH

Jaques died today (197) Another chap broke his shoulder at the factory today. Japs gave 8 fags to every man who had not had a day from the works during FEB. They didn’t have to dish out many.

4 MARCH

Sergeant Major returned my watch repaired & cleaned – he says it’s impossible to get food outside to pay me with. 300 Yanks are coming here next month to work at the factory. A new camp is going up on the other side of the canal.

5 MARCH

We had to do half an hour’s work when we came back from the factory. Shifting mouldings from the roadway – factory gave us 10 fags for it.

6 MARCH

Another 8 RED cross pacels came in today, 2 more cases of M & V &14lbs cocoa. 18lbs extra rice this evening (4oz each). 1 tin M & V each. 1 RED CROSS PARCEL between 8 issued tonight. Drew lots for the parcel & got 1 tin tomatoes & 1 tin syrup. Sam got tomatoes & ¼ lb chocolate – we scoffed the chocolate & M & V. Japs have put up a canteen price list: cakes 10 sen, Rice cakes 10 sen, Caramels 10 sen, Bean Jelly 10 sen  & Razor Blades 5 sen—the only thing we haven’t got is a canteen.

7 MARCH

Glass died of pneumonia & Stare had a 3 or 4 ton casting fall on him at the factory. Crushed him. We now only 195 strong. Had tomatoes & rice for breakfast. Had to sweep the roadway to the camp tonight. Reveille at 04.30 tomorrow for some unknown reason.

MARCH 8

 Reveille 04.30 to clean up the camp, Blankets in line, new numbers on our coats, names on our shelves. Big Inspection today. Finished work 13.00 told to wash & shave & clean up & dust our boots before going into the camp. Red X people came round. Realize what the Price List and extra rice has been for. etc. They spoke to a few of the boys however & promised some more Red X stuff when the ship comes in.

MARCH 9

DAY OFF. Felt a hell of a lot happier this last week – almost my usual self. Conditions seem to be improving, had extra rice from Hookey (one of the PoW cooks) every day & ’Trotsky’ our foreman has changed considerably. I gave him a pair of puttees & ever since he has given Slim & I easy jobs, even asked what jobs we wanted.  I’ve had a Golden Treasury all the week – I find that my appetite has gone up 200%. Much warmer here now – sun shining, no more fires in the factory. ‘Trotsky’ looked around furtively one day last week & gave Slim & I a piece of dried fish each. 2 earth trembles last week.

MARCH 10

Everybody seems to have diahorria went 8 times last night I can’t go sick because the treatment is ½ chow. I’ve got a bad cold again.

MARCH 11

Somebody has flagged Hookey – that means we’ll get no more gash (hand outs) from him. Show down with 4- eyes  (Nip guard) tonight – to find trouble he accused one of 4 group of laughing & threatened to keep us up all night. 2 men stepped forward to take the bashing but 4-eyes called the rest of the gang  & beat up Page, (PoW Medical officer) Divett & Elmy with leather straps – about the nearest we’ve been to revolt.

MARCH 14

STUPID got a beating for pinching food today. This country must be in a hell of a state.

MARCH 15

Got 1 x1/2 piece of fried fish for Dinner – delish, I took out my letters & reread them, the ‘Cherry Tree’ made me home sick.

MARCH 16

Butch Davies died at Osaka – we are now 194. We got the news from Jock Borland who came back from Osaka today. He brought back letters from survivors of the Lisbon Maru – some pretty gruesome tales – Nips shooting them in the water – men dying of dysentery & their bodies being left in the hold. The hospital is deadly. Patients closer together that we are; all on the floor. There has been 150 deaths in there since it opened. Men with happy feet put their feet in coldwater during the winter here & one’s toes dropped off with frostbite . The place is running alive with lice, etc. had to strip Jock & disinfect him when he came in.

MARCH 17

Surprise ! Japs sold us 4 caramels each for 5 sen. Did exceedingly well for chow tonight – Flan gave us two lots & Hookey gave us a tin of the sentries’ stew.

MARCH 18

4 cigarettes for regular attendance – I’m getting fed up with Sam’s selfishness and laziness. Seriously considering a break.

MARCH 20

‘Trotsky’ caught me without my bread at tiffin time – I thought my time had come but he gave me a packet of rice & a small piece of fish.

MARCH 23

YASUME. Weighed myself & I’m down to 55 Kg’s – I’ve loss nearly a stone since we came here. We had relay races today – my team won ½ cigarette each for coming in 2nd.

MARCH 25

Rumoured that the 300 Yanks are coming at the end of next month

MARCH 29

‘Square-shoulders’ (Nip guard) made 3 men apologize to the rest of us for being late on parade.

March 30

YASUME very easy day. Played chess with Smithy – lost. Learned morse.

APRIL 1

Apparently Turkey declared war on Monday.

APRIL 2

A little piece of fried fish tonight. Very hungry still

APRIL 5

Shoveled coal for 8 hours today in the pouring rain. Caught violent cold. Sirens went tonight – total blackout. No fire to dry our clothes. Roof leaking like a colander.

APRIL 6

Issued with two rice bowls & a cup each. A new C.C. has taken over & shaken the whole camp up. 2 of the staff have been demoted. We’ve been issued with fags that were owing, the bowls & ½ tin of bully per man. He made us do Jap drill this afternoon – Extra rice today. Scored a home run.

APRIL 8

Got a new job – repairing a fire engine – quite like old times. Wrote a letter of 8o words. Poor old Jack is dying. Gave me an address Penn-y –Bryn., Wickford. Very pathetic.

APRIL 9

Another Red X inspection while we were at work- when we came back a lorry load of Red X stuff was being unloaded including parcels, boots, dried fruit, cocoa, sugar & M & V: Chaps going mad.

APRIL 10

Jack Evans died today – we are now 193. Still working on the engine.

APRIL 12

1 Parcel between 4 men issued. For my share I have 1 tin bacon, ½ tin of steak pudding. 1/5 of the rest.

APRIL 13

YASUME. New boots issued to everyone. C.C. inspected our kit. Payed Y2.60 for March – the other two month’s pay has been banked for us so they say.

APRIL 20

No YASUME today. We’ve to clean up the factory for inspection tomorrow.

APRIL 22

YASUME. This C.C. has certainly shaken things up – we’ve had 1 ½ tins M & V. 1 ½ tins bully, & two issues of dried fruit. Had a good game of football, EASTER SUNDAY.

APRIL 25

YASUME ? Cleaning up the camp from 07.00 to 20.00 today tired out. I think I’ve overtaxed my heart – I’ve got an aching pain in it & it hurts me to breathe. Page gave NAD. (?)

APRIL 29

YASUME. Put in for transfer as fitter (Motor fitter). Canteen amazingly produced some bottles of sauce –terrible stuff. I managed to get one. We have PT before we start work; PT when we finish & saluting practice after muster. More Dried Pears tonight. From canteen we had an orange, 1 small rice cake about as big as a penny. Searched every evening now. A spoonful of soya sauce issued. Football this afternoon.

APRIL 30

Hookey gave us a baked spud this morning – delicious. Rainer took me to see the guard and they gave me all their spare rice – made a pig of myself & got diahorria. CC got out a record & a gramophone to do our PT to. I’m beginning wonder if you’ll recognize me, Mum, I’m as thin as any rake, brown all over from working on the barges & practically bald. The Itch is getting worse, nearly everybody has it now. Rumour that 100 men from Sham-Shui-Po are coming.

MAY 1

Got 10 cigarettes for good attendance.

MAY 4

YASUME

MAY 5

22 today – still plodding along.

MAY 11

YASUME. Started some socks. Canteen produced1/3 bottle sauce. Payed Y2.40 for April.

MAY 18

YASUME. Seems pretty certain that Jerries have packed it up in Libya.

MAY 23

YASUME  New boshi (Nip NCO?)

MAY 25

‘Smiler’ is a changed man – he lashed us up with a large bowl of noodles. Hashi Moto bought me a note book.

JUNE 1

YASUME. A day of beating up –Conditions are getting very bad now. We are now getting hit for things we have never done. This I the routine now – 05.30 reveille. Up & wash- make bed up, etc. 06.00, roll call & 5 or 10 mins PT.  Breakfast which consists of bowl of rice, ½ pint stewed veg water and if the will-power isn’t strong enough—the midday bread. 0.650 parade & saluting drill. 07.00 start 8 hrs coal shoveling or pig iron heaving with 40 mins break to eat the bread if anyone has it – I never have. This shoveling is bad enough normally but now the rainy season has arrived we get soaked with black rain every day. 16.00 ½ hr parading for Managers & marching back to camp. PT 07.00 – Chow. 1 bowl rice, ½ pint veg stew. Bath, make bed down etc. 19.30 roll call & saluting practice. 19.40 BED.

We were all dragged out of bed last night because one man was caught reading in bed. Page was belted for looking at an aeroplane on parade. Goldsmith got it for mending his own trousers & Divett also for being his group commander. And about 20 of us stood on parade all yasume for showing the torn blankets we were issued with. Altogether we are having a very pleasant time. All pencils & not books have to be returned. My strength is diminishing rapidly now, I don’t know how much longer I can last. There are only about 8 of us left on coal now. The Japs have lost heavily in the Aleutians and other places so that they are taking it out of us..  

JUNE 8

I’ve got to be very careful now. All note books, pencils & pens are supposed to be given up. I write this in the middle of the night now. Managed to smash my little finger on pig iron – Smiler didn’t do a thing. The Mossies (mosquitoes) are biting us to death, we hardly get any sleep. The news outside seems to be pretty good. Tunisia finished – Aleutions finished & big offensives starting. I hope to be out of here by the end of next year.

JUNE 19

YASUME

JULY 15

 Yasume. More petty restrictions: We may only whistle from 13.00 – 18.oo on yasumes. Must not go outside the hut without a cap: & after 20.30 an overcoat as well. We may only smoke in an area about 25 ft x 3 ‘seated and put all ash in trays. More beatings for altering Red X cardigans by “Squareshoulders’ – They were given to us to alter. No soap – been rubbing the dirt in for the last week. Certain people are getting a raise in pay for ‘hard work? I’m not one of them though and I thought I was due for one   . . . . . .  . . . .  (of) our gang had a heart attack last week & has now been taken to Osaka hospital – ruined for life. News gets better every day. We’ve taken Panterlaria & other places off Italy & even attacking Italy herself. Bread has been cut down to a roll & a half & seaweed has been cut out altogether’ Will soon be living on fresh air or smoke – I smoke quite heavily nowadays. I have the reputation for being the fittest man in the camp: Japs are lashing out our Mabella (?  US brand of oatmeal for infants) these last few days; rumour is that another Red X inspection is coming off. The factory are taking over soon. We will be much better off – we may get an extra packet of rice at tiffin time. My midday meal consists of ½ roll cut into slices with a drop of the morning stew between them. I’m making a cycling jacket out of my Red X cardigan –at great risk of life & limb from Blagermy  (Jap guard) – ½ the year is gone, thank Christ.. 

SEPTEMBER 3RD

4 Years of war – Things certainly seem to be moving if we can believe all the buzzes outside, that is; in here everything is much the same. We have a sing-song & a concert every yasume now –the men are infinitely more cheerful. A couple of weeks ago we had a typhoid scare, we heavy gang were isolated in the sickbay for three days. 3 of the gang have moved to Osaka hospital. My sewing is coming along. Nearly finished all the badges, I shall be quite the handyman when I get home; I can sew, cook, darn, patch and innumerable other little knacks. I am making a collection of all the poems & skits, etc. that Sham-Shui-Po produced; also the weekly efforts of Skee & Hobson here.

 SEPTEMBER 10TH 1943

Great News!! The papers have at last admitted that Italy has capitulated. The Nips were as worried as hell, they couldn’t keep it from us. Our boys & the Yanks must be moving now. Jack Pace & I were working round the scoop when along came a boat filled with Japs in uniform who insisted on injecting us for Cholera. ‘Woodenhead’ was very upset about it. He brought up Smiler, Hachi Moto and Yamasaki & phoned all over Japan to find out who they were.

 OCTOBER 1ST

Amazed to find that 07.00 to 16.00 doesn’t constitute a full 8 hours’ work; so in future we will have to work from 07.00 to 16.45 or the Japs’ full 8 hours: To replace the energy expended we will receive 1 bowl of noodles at tiffin time. News is very good; we seem to be creating fronts all over the world. Some of the more optimistic hope to be out by Xmas. I think that we shall be very if Jerry packed in by Xmas. I am amazingly fit under the circumstances; twice as strong as I used to be. I can lift 112lbs over my head fairly easily and I can carry 88lbs in each hand. We have nice new suits to go to work in now – bright green with pin stripes & our numbers plastered all over them. But the biggest joke is when we have we have our 10 mins back-scratching to numbers every morning. The news is supplied by Tollisson who has a key to the Jap characters and reads the papers. They are making the foundation for the new camp & hospital next to our own. 300 more coming. There has been a lot of speculation as to their origin – Yanks or British. But, I hope more than anything that they are from Sham-Shui-Po & that Peter is among them. I have never missed anybody so much as I miss Peter. I’m lost completely without him. One draft left Hong Kong on August 14th, according to the people at Osaka (2 have already returned).

 OCTOBER 12TH

We have pushed the fences back ready for the new building. Smiler is going is going to be one of the camp staff. Last month I put on 1½ kgs. I’m 54 kgs now. My tapestry is coming along slowly. Jock Hardy is making a Union Jack ready for our delivery:- a trifle optimistic, I think. This last week I’ve had a large boil that closed my left eye up. The concert is going very well at the moment: Lofty Sears, Hobson, Divett, Rockumac, Swaigies. etc. – I’m making a collection of all poems, etc.

NOVEMBER 3

Otari has at long last taken over: A complete new staff, mainly civvies but among the military there’s one sentry who’s a swine – to date he has broken a blokes jaw bone, deafened another & knocked 2 teeth out of another. The new buildings are going up like mushrooms.

NOVEMBER 5

A small amount of Red X stuff came in today – A Guy Fawkes gift. Feeling very sick today couldn’t eat my chow for the first time –I think that’s  what grieves me most – But apart from that, I’ve been vomiting my heart up – my stomach feels as though it left me long ago. 

 6 – 7

In dock for two days. In a hell of a state.

Typical page of the original document

Typical page of the original document

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Responses

  1. Dear Ben, we just wanted to let you know how much it means to us to have the privilege of reading your War Diary. We are printing it off 10 pages at a time and reading it as we go. It will be good to have a hard copy that we can pass on to our grandchildren. It must have taken a great deal of courage for you to re-live it all whilst transcribing it and we admire you so much for doing it. It would be great to have your email address as I seem to have lost it. Thanks so much Ben.
    Much love, Pam & Ian x

  2. Dear,
    First I would like to say it took me about a week to read what you had gone through in the war I never knew that pain in struggling that you had to go through at those times. Reading it gave me such an insight on history that I really didn’t know that that was how you were treated and other PA of the war. Just wanted you to know I know that you and I I’ve had our ups and downs. But remember one thing you will always be my grandfather in my eyes no no matter what comes our way you are still in my thoughts and always in my heart that you are very loved and a very special man that many then I can never compare to. I love you very much I wish that I could have the relationship that you have with others in the family. I know I might have disappointed you in so many ways I didn’t turn out the way you you would have liked to see I know I have disappointed you. But you are never forgotten in my heart and my thoughts I’m so sorry that you had to go through the things that many of us in this generation and other Generations have never even experienced you are an amazing man an amazing father and it means and grandfather and a great-grandfather. You have given my children respect kindness gave them things that many children would never even have been able to experience without you that is priceless to me and I appreciate it and I thank you for that. Your my and your grandchildren love you with all their heart and soul and look up to you as they should. So thank you for all you have done not just for my children but as well as me you’re an extraordinary man. I hope to see you soon and to keep our relationship someone there life is short and too small 4 things to stop family and and forgiveness. Well I hope you read this and just now that you are in it one of a kind and caring and loving human being. If you ever want to say hello cuz I’m scared to call you because of family issues. My number is(717-758-8686). My email address (MoonCrawford 146 @gmail.Com)
    Love You
    Amy.

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