Lance Ross's Diary


The New Year is here, weather grand, but that's all.

Weather is still nice and hot.

I am not feeling very good today, hope it isn't Dysentry, so many have it.

Feeling better today, weather nice and fine so far.

All better now, food is getting bad.

Just rice and radishes for almost a week.

Nice day, sun very strong, nights cool.

Very cold, and we haven't any clothes.  Some are bare feet.

It is rumoured that we are going to move soon.

We must be going to move sure.  I hope they don't sink the ship.

We have been counted and counted about 5 times today.

We are going to move sure, a lot got inoculated against Cholera.

Got a needle against Cholera, also a test for Dysentry.

Was vaccinated and had throat swabbed for Diphtheria.

Had another test for Dysentry and Cholera, and throat swabbed.

We got another needle for Cholera, we may leave any day.

We got another and had to move out of our huts.

Out on the road as I write this.  Bertha's birthday, Bob's [Barter] girl friend.

We left Shamshipo at 5 a.m. marched about two miles.  We are on Japanese transport Tatu Maru, 18,000 tons.  We are like rats in a trap, should we be torpedoed, not one would be saved.  They gave us ten yen.

Still afloat, going north east, not one of us have a life jacket.  The weather is cooler as we go north, hope this trip won't last much longer.

Still afloat, lot of the boys are sick, we must be getting close to Japan, we are just packed in like sardines, some no room to lie down, have to stand up in turns.

We can see many islands and sailing junks.  We docked at Nagasaki, a Port in southern Japan on the Island of Kyushu.

We entrained last night about 12 p.m. after march through city to station and were all night on train, crowded so tight could hardly move, then we transferred to Orio, just 200 of us, the rest went on after going about 50 miles, transferred at a place called Ita and then we got off train at a place called Kawasaki and are in camp here, nice and clean, lots of hot water and 8 men in a room and food much better.

We were examined by Jap doctors and weighed, we don't have any officers here with us.  The war will be over for years before we will ever know.

We got a needle in back, don't know what it is for, we also signed form not to escape, but there is no chance to get away unless we fly.

It is pretty cold here, the ground freezes, but not very deep.  I guess we are going to work in some kind of a mine.  We get up at 5 am. breakfast at 6 a.m. dinner at 12 noon, supper at 7 p.m. roll call 8 p.m. bed at 9 p.m.

Very cold morning, haven't been on working party yet, but may go out anytime.  Have to count in Japanese.

We drew our working clothes today, also water bottle.

We went out, had to do Jap drill, its a terrible position we are in and the worst is to salute the sun when it rises.

We were up at 5 a.m. and out doing drill at 7 a.m. with snow falling, had running shoes on and cotton socks.

Very cold, snow flurries, out doing drill, nearly frozen.  I have heard of people dying of exposure, but after this, I won't believe it.  Got another needle.


Very cold, it snowed about five inches last night.

Raining, we worked around mine shaft cleaning up dirt.

Went down in coal mine today.  I was first Canadian to enter mine as I was in lead.  Very hot down below surface.

In mine again today, very dangerous, not timbered.

In mine again, it is hard work.  Hope war ends soon.

Hot, vaccinated in four places, will be like a sandwich, all these needles.

Got needle for T.B. I was negative, but a lot were positive.

Very tired and had a blood test today, am sore.

Snowing and raining, we worked on top of ground, very miserable.

Snowing, we are on top ground.  Got needle in back, very sore, cold today.

My back is very sore, we didn't work today, but it's just as bad in this cold.

A little warmer today, we worked on top.

Warm and we are on top of ground.  Japs admit evacuation of New Guinea and Solomon Islands.

We are making a small railroad to haul away the hill we are working on.

Still working on top, we are so hungry can hardly work.

We got some kind of cabbage soup three times a day and rice sometimes.  We got seaweed with our rice, hope we get better food soon.

Down in mine today, we had rice and bark of some kind of tree for lunch.  We had to write ans. to lot of questions, took about two hours.  Rained all day.

Very muddy, but not down in mine.  Fleas are eating us up worse than bugs in Hong Kong.

My feet are getting worse, pain me awful.

We just cleaned up the place today, kept us going steady, cold today.

We had to carry big rocks up steep hill to make a sidewalk.  I will make them carry all these back before I leave this place, we are so hungry.

Very windy.  We hear that Nagasaki was bombed heavily.

We have to work so hard on a little rice, we have mid-day meal at 11 a.m. and supper at 7 p.m. Cold and snowing.

Warm day, my feet are so sore can hardly walk.  Everyone has sore feet.  Cabbage soup 3 times a day, it's terrible.

Still digging down the hill, where they are going to build for the miners, not for us though.

Much warmer today and I'm sick with diarrohea, about half the men have it.  Bad food.

Nice and warm today but I'm so weak and sick I can hardly stand up.  Some of the men passed out today.  What suffering.


We worked in rain all day, but it wasn't very cold.  I got a can of meat with seaweed and a few beans.

Cloudy today.  The Jap Sgt. beat up a lot of the boys last night because they were in bed before 9 o'clock.  Had 3 buns for dinner.

Didn't work very hard today, came back early.  Rice and fish soup for supper and it was full of bones, terrible stuff.

Worked on top of ground again today, our rice was sour as sour dough.  Gave us all heart burn.

We didn't work today as we start shiftwork tomorrow, wish we could get news.

This is Stewart's birthday.  I wish him good luck, we started shiftwork today, we got up at 4 o'clock and in bed again at 7 o'clock.

Fine day, not so tired today.  Very hot in mine and very dangerous.

Down in mine working at 1400 meters.

Got some Jap papers, it looks bad for Germany and Italy.  The Russians are doing good.

Down drilling with air drills and blasting, very dangerous.

Japs have a man tied up in guard house and he only gets a bottle of water per day, his name is Slim Calder, 7 days sentenced.

Warm in day, but mornings all cold, terrible nights.

Very tired and sick.  Hope the Allies do something soon.  Still have diarrhea. 

Changing shift, we go in mine at 10 p.m.  Japs beat up a lot of the boys throw one fellow down stairs, blood all over the place; cursed brutes.

We were paid today.  I got 3 yen 6 sen, about 30 cents Canadian for one month's work, about 1 cent per day.  Its terrible, warmer today.

We were down in mine all night drilling and blasting with rice and raw turnips with salt on the turnips.  Don't know how long we will last on this food.  We are all tired out and more than half have diarrhoea.

There was an earthquake at Osaka, but we didn't get it here.  Not on the same island.  The name of the town is Kawasaki on the island of Kyushu, we are not far from Fukuka which is the H.Q. for war prisoners in this district.  Time is going fast.

Warmer every day.  I guess it's spring time here.

Nice day, but we are tired and hungry.  Can hardly sleep, getting thinner all the time.  Just rice, no bread and working so hard.

This is a very long day, hope something happens soon.  No real news now.

The sky is grey and its raining hard.

Men get hurt every day, a car broke loose and caused a cavein, 3 men hurt.

Two men hurt, Dysentry has broke out.  Hope I don't get it, worked at coal all night.

Worked all night on coal, it is on fire down underneath.

This is our day off, but we work around camp.

Down again, we go down at 2 p.m. and come up at 11 p.m.  Not a bad shift.  Weather is getting warm, summer is close now.

Nice and fine, too bad to be in captivity.  Saw in paper that Japs have lost another transport, Tantula Maru, 8,750 tons.

Can't tell Sunday from another day, these heathen brutes.

Three men killed in mine and four injured.  All Japs, wish it had been 1,000.

Time is long and we have to work so hard.

Raining very hard and muddy as the devil.


Getting nice and fine, trees are budding out.

The cherry trees are coming into blossom, very pretty.  We are so hungry when we get in from work we can hardly eat, and then just rice and cabbage soup.  I am so thin, I weigh about 130 lbs.

Warm, hot, raining hard, wish we could get some news of some kind or some Red Cross food.

Pouring rain.  Mud about a foot deep.  There is snow on the mountain tops yet.  We had to load 30 cars of mud.  They may break my back but never my heart.

Not feeling so good, have a temperature.

I have Dysentry, passing blood, but have to go to work just the same.  There are about 15 with it.  One poor fellow fainted and we had to carry him.

In terrible pain, just like my body would fall apart and getting so weak can hardly keep going.

Still working with this awful disease and Japs won't do anything about it.

Feeling a little better today, but weak.

Worse today, can't get better on this food and working at the same time.

Have the day off, had sort of church service, but no Minister.  We sang two hymns - O God Our Help in Ages Past and a Psalm.  Maj. Robinson was in charge.

Working again today and no better, passing blood and mucus and what pain.

Feeling a little better.  Hope I'm getting well - Thank God.

Still sick and getting weaker each day.

Warm and sunshiny, but I'm so sick believe I'll die this time.

Nice and fine.  If I wasn't so sick it wouldn't be so bad.

Fine again and I'm no better and so many have it now.

Dull day.  Not working today,  the rest will do us good.

I have to go down in mine today, what a life if it lasts.

I stagger all over the place.  I'm so weak, just pass mucus.

Feel a little stronger today.  We are pouring cement, a footing for the mine props, we have caveins every day.

Nice and fine, but we have to go down in mine just the same.  I feel a little stronger today.  Hope I get better soon.  Tomorrow is Good Friday.

This is Good Friday, everyone will be going to church back home.

The Jap papers say that the campaign in Tinisis is looking bad for the Axis.  We are pouring cement down in the mine, making a wall.  Our footwear is gone to pieces, some are almost bare foot.

Easter Sunday, lots of good food back home, we have been cut down again.  We don't get any barley now, just rice and such a little bit.  It looks like there will be an invasion of the Balcans real soon, hope it will be successful

Nice and sunny day, but we will be going down in mine.  I got beat up by Jap Sgt.  Cut my lip and tried to knock me down and  I couldn't even hit back, but if God will only give me the chance when this is over, I will knock his head right off his shoulders, the dirty rat, yellow bastard.

Very bad day, everything went wrong.  The Jap bosses were mad all day, hope it doesn't last long.

A man in my party got hurt today.  Luckily he wasn't killed.  Got caught between the muck cars and the cement wall.  Johnnie Kaine is his name.

We have today off, we cleaned out our quarters, also changed shift.

Nice and warm.  Our feet are all burned from the cement, our feet get wet all we have on is canvas sneakers and walking through the mud and water with the cement falling over us, feet all skinned.  The Japs have issued us a uniform the same as their soldiers wear.  I will make them eat the darned thing before I leave Japan.


We also have to walk around the building twice in our bare feet, it is supposed to cure Berri Berri, all have it now.

Down in mine, still at cement.  I think this is Mother's Day, but not sure.  Anyway, I wish Mamma and Grandma many more days of a happier kind when we are all together again.

We had squid soup for supper last night, what dirt we have to eat, but we are so hungry all the time we would eat anything.

Lovely and warm, just like June at home; the climate is very good here.  One of our men died today, he was so thin he could hardly walk and just last night the Japs gave him a beating.  Poor fellow, his name is Murray; I think he is an American from Detroit, Michigan.

We buried Murray today, he was so thin one man could have carried him.  Rain is falling, they say happy is the corpse that the rain falls on.  The Japs won't give us any papers so I guess there must be bad news for them.  Hope so anyway.

This is a lovely day, sun shining and a soft wind blowing.  They have cut down our rations again, we hardly get enough to live on without working, but just as I write this there has come in Red Cross food and also boots.  I don't know exactly what came in but its a God send to us anyway.  All overjoyed, just like children.

Lovely day, many planes overhead these days.  We were all vaccinated again yesterday.  We didn't get any of the Red Cross stuff yet and I suppose the Japs will keep half of it for themselves as they did before.  They made us stand at attention for one hour yesterday.

Grand weather, bright sun, didn't get any Red Cross stuff yet, don't know what is holding them up.  There are a lot of centipedes, we even find them in the alleyways, their bite is very poisonous and painful.

Lovely and fine like summer at home.  This is our day off, but they keep running us around having fire drill and air raid drill.  Would just as soon work.

Fine again today, we go to work at 2 o'clock, this is a good shift.

Nice breeze of wind from the north west, but the time is terribly long, just the same, we got a lot of barley in our rice, about half and half.  The Japs also sold us some small biscuits, about the size of a 50 cent piece, we pay a cent each and were allowed 16 each.

Called out of bed for fire drill, we don't get much rest that way.  Work our shift and then run around all day.

Warm, but no sunshine, had blackout last night, its hard to get dressed in the dark.  Jap papers say a submarine bombarded a place in Hokidade.  I hope they keep it up, blackout again last night.

Nice and fine.  We had to get out of bed and weed the yard around the camp.  Tommy Smith got hurt in the mine today, rock fell on his feet.

I think there must be a big shot coming to visit us by the way they are cleaning up.  Raining this p.m.  No blackout tonight, still waiting for our Red Cross parcels.

Dull and rainy, not working in mine today, but we will have to clean up the place just the same.  We had to pull up all the grass and weeds in the rain, but it wasn't too bad after all.  We go to work at 6 a.m. tomorrow on day shift.

Dull morning, but warmer this p.m.  Still pouring cement, had to do P.T. for an hour after coming from work before supper.

Dull and cool.  Still pouring cement.  Papers say the Germans and Italians have given up Tunisia and that Turkey has given up her strict neutrality for non-belligerency as a British ally.

Cloudy and cool, very nice.  Lots of plants around here and such a nice smell.  Hope they give us our Red Cross parcels soon.  Japs say that the Americans have landed on an island in the outer Aleutians.

The Japs offered us 1 parcel per room, that is 1 parcel to 8 men, but we didn't take it so they got an interpreter so now we hear we are going to get 1 each on our ext day off.

Nice day, sun bright.  Had an air raid alarm last night.  Time is long, but the months seem to go quickly.

Japs want all books and diaries turned in to them.  I hope they don't get hold of this book, the brutes.  Winston Churchill is reported in Washington, looks like the 2nd front will soon be on.  I hope we get out of here this year, I mean 1943.

We got our Red Cross parcels today, 7 parcels between 8 men, it certainly is great to get Western food.  The box is the same as the one we got in Hong Kong.  All diaries, note books, pens and pencils have been taken from us, but I hid my pencil and diary so I have to be very careful not to get caught.

Raining hard, we go to work at 12 p.m. tonight.  Most everyone is sick from the amount of food they ate.  Our stomachs are so weak now, the least thing upsets us.

Tired this morning.  Worked hard last night.

Lovely and fine, not too hot.

Raining tonight.  The Japs want us to do the goose step when going through main gate.

Still raining hard and we were made walk around the camp in the mud in our bare feet, the lousy bastards.  Will skip a few pages as my book is nearly full.

This is our day off, but we have been doing fire drill, air raid alarm  and P.T. all day.  I ate my apple pudding, it was delicious.

Raining, not a bad day in mine, this is the best shift-day shift.


Nice day.  Japs are mad about something.

Japs say 20,000 Americans were captured in the Aleutians and 100 Canadian planes shot down.

We are off work today.  Some big shot is coming here tomorrow and we are cleaning up the place.  Nice and fine, not too hot.

Raining hard.  Jap Col. inspected this camp today, he was an old fellow.  We had to do P.T. all afternoon.

Raining again, very dull.  Japs won't give us any papers at all.  They must be keeping the news from us, as it must be good for our side.

Still raining, very warm - working today.

Rain again.  We don't have to walk around the camp when it's raining.

Rain again today.  Pouring cement, hard job when on rice.

Rain again.  There are a lot of other workers here, I think they are from Korea.

Rain again.  Didn't work very hard today.  Lot of Koreans here - conscript labour.

Stopped raining, it's very hot.  No papers at all now.

Very hot.  Had no papers since 21st. of May.

Rain all day.  Had Church Service, Maj. Robertson (the med. officer) officiated.  Both R.C.'s and priests attends.  Hymns were Onward Christian Soldiers and All People that on Earth do Dwell.

Very warm, we go down in mine at 10 o'clock tonight.  We are on what they call the graveyard shift.

Nice and warm, not nice to be in prison.  We caught a large snake in one of the rooms around 4 ft. long.  Japs say it isn't poisonous but they are afraid of it.

Nice day, had a good night in mine.  The guards are not too bad these last days, but they change quickly.

The guards have been changed.  My feet and chest is giving me a lot of trouble.  If we don't soon get out of here we won't be much good for anything.

Raining, but very warm.  Can't get any news at all now - no news is good news.

Rain again.  A Korean was killed in the mine last night.

Japs have an old gramaphone and they play it for us.  They think the men never heard a gramaphone before.  My feet are troubling me, can't sleep.  They call it electric feet.

Lovely and fine, but we have to go down in that dangerous old coal mine just the same.  Its a wonder some of us haven't been killed before this, there are caveins every day.  We have been lucky so far.  My feet are giving me lots of trouble and my hands are almost as bad.  Can't sleep very much.  The Japs have taken all the diaries so I'll have to stop.  Too bad as I would liked to have kept on with my diary, but we may get free soon.  The war can't last forever.

We are getting ready to go down in the old coal mine, wish it would soon be over as I know how they must be worried about me.  I haven't heard from home since leaving home on Oct. 23, 1941, but I hope everyone is alive and well, but Grandma is getting old, poor old Gram, I would give anything to see her again.  Mamma and Papa are younger and all the rest will be alright I hope.  Its 12 o'clock noon and we are going in for our rice and daily food.

Nice and fine, but the time is getting long.  It will soon be July and it's so lovely back home.  Something should happen soon.

Nice and bright, we are pouring cement yet.  Some of the men are so crabbit they are a burden to themselves.

We are 18 months prisoners today, much too long.  Reported that Winston Churchill was killed in a plane crash.  I hope not.

Nice and warm.  The Jap Sgt. Kobash has been taken away, reported that he did some sort of embellishment, I hope he never comes back.

Rain today and it is quiet, too quiet to last.  We are supposed to get bully beef today, but no sign of it yet.

Nice and warm.  There is some sort of trouble with this camp, lots of changes taking place.  We got 3 cans of bully beef yesterday per man.  It will help our Berri Berri.  They also gave us a drink of cocoa and powder for the fleas.

The powder didn't help much to kill the fleas, we are all in a bad condition.  I cut my leg and it won't heal and I have a lump in my groin, can hardly walk but I have to go down in mine.


This is Dominion Day in Canada, don't suppose there is much celebration going on, but they have their freedom.  I know we will be free next July, our section head or boss is the worst man on earth, a proper brute and animal of the worst kind.  It is raining harden than I ever seen it before in Japan.

My leg isn't any better.  Sgt. MacDonald is very sick, his temperature is 103, he may have pneumonia, he looks so bad and so thin.  Still raining hard.  We got two sweet cakes last night, had to pay 12 sen.

Raining.  We had some kind of stuff like spaghetti for supper, but it was good.  My leg isn't any better, running puss all the time.  We have sores on us that won't heal, caused by lack of vitamin C.  Lorne MacDonald isn't any better.  The new camp commandant seems to be much better than the last one.

Dull and raining, we had to pull up all the grass and weeds around camp.  We had some Red Cross dried fruit today and 1 ounce of oatmeal per man, tasted grand.  We won't eat when we get out of here - oh yes, we also had cocoa.  This is a big day in the States, Independence Day.  There may be something happen after this.

Dull and raining.  A bit of clothes has come in to camp, also boots, they look like American Army boots and Manila was marked on the braces the Japs have taken back the uniforms they gave us.  We go to work at 10 o'clock p.m. This is known as the graveyard shift.

This is Meda's birthday.  I sincerely hope she is well and having a good time.  I'm not quite sure of her age, it's either 33 or 34 and I am 3 years in the Army today.  My leg is still very sore, just won't heal.  Cloudy and fog in patches and drizzling rain.

Very nice day.  Didn't work very hard in mine last night.  Two police officers just came in camp.  Their police system is like the Gestapo in Germany.  Two Koreans were killed in mine last night, they are conscript labour, poor fellows.

Dull and cloudy.  My leg still festering, looks bad.

Terrible hot day.  We got back from work at 6 a.m. and after having roll call and breakfast I was just in bed and asleep when they came and awakened me up to go downtown for wood for the oven as we got bread now, 3 cakes per day, it is a great help.  I hear many planes overhead, we must be close to an airport.  

Terrible hot.  Fleas eating us alive, we have a powder, but it makes them worse.  Tonight is our last on this shift.  There was a bad cavein last night, tons of rock came down.

Hot day.  Didn't get any sleep today, had to clean our rooms and do P.T. and run races.  I won a race and got an extra bun.  Japs have a funny sense of humor.  Lorne MacDonald no better.  Got some news, Churchill, Rosevelt, and Stalin have met at Aden its reported.

Orangemen's Day, big day in Canada in peace time.  Had a cavein last night, one of my section had his leg crushed, Cpl. Jessup.  I had my foot hurt too, but not very bad.  We are lucky to have escaped so far.  The heat is terrible today, its over 100 degrees in the shade.

Hot again today, not the same kind of heat as Hong Kong, no humidity.

Heat is terrible, can hardly sleep.  The mine seems to get more dangerous each day, its a wonder how we escape being killed.  We got 3 jam rolls per man, cost us 18 sen.

Light breeze of wind today.  Had rice and chopped seaweed, what food.

Reported that Allies have landed in Sicily, 3 Divisions of Americans, 2 of British, 1 of Canada and we lost 40 boats and 3 cruisers.

Light breeze, helps to keep down heat.  The Jap M.C. came in last night.  Very quiet reserved man.  We didn't get any more news about the second front.

Light breeze makes it comfortable except for the fleas it would be ok.  We were showing some of the Jap guards snapshots of places and girls, their eyes just stuck out.

Nice and fine, we are on day shift, go to work at 6 o'clock in the morning.  Leg isn't any better, swollen and red from knee to ankle, looks like blood poison to me.

Hot day and my leg is worse, will be working on top of surface tomorrow.  Leg swollen terrible.  Eight men out of 200 are allowed to send telegrams home, I was one of the lucky ones, I sent mine to Gram, wrote to Mamma last.

Cool and breezy.  I am on what is called the blues, when you can't go down in mine you go on the blues.  14 double-winged single-motored planes passed here today.  Rain and thunder.  Arley Enright got his foot hurt today, laid up.

Raining hard and we have to work making cement blocks.  My leg is terrible, couldn't sleep much last night, it has turned to a blind carbuncle.

Raining hard and we have to work in rain.  Leg isn't any better.  Have been issued more orders about hurting our bosses or trying to escape; the punishment is death.

Still raining.  Large Jap Bomber passed over here today.  Had mackeral for supper, went good with rice.  I'm tired tonight and my leg isn't any better, have a towel for bandage.

Hot day.  A Jap miner came out of mine dead today, must have been caught in a blast.  The old Camp Commandant visited here today.  Got my back burned with the sun.

Terribly hot day and heavy rain showers, thunder and lightning.  I have been thinking of my folks at home a lot lately, I hope none are sick.

Cooler today, have day off, it's a Jap holiday.  We had a concert, dressed some of the fellows up like girls, wasn't bad.  Dreamed about folks at home again.

Misting rain all day.  I didn't work so hard today.  Rice ration has been cut, must have trouble getting rice.  There was a Jap General here today, an old fellow with a lot of ribbons.

Showers all day.  My but we are hungry all the time, a gnawing in our stomachs.  A Jap sentry just passed and almost caught me writing in this book.  My leg is a little better today.

Showers, sunny this p.m.  Reported that Premier Mussolini has been put off his job and Marshall Bagdallio has taken his place.

Very hot, can't sleep at night.  There must be a million fleas in this place; we are covered with bites.  I hope I'm home for next July.  I certainly don't want to be alive and here this time next year.


Heavy thunder and lightning, lightning hit a house over by the mine, made an awful noise and smoke.  Time seems long, but months go quickly.

Cooler today, had cocoa for dinner, it was delicious.  Red Cross stuff.  Had today off, certainly need it, want all the rest we can get, so weak takes so little to make us sick.

Heat terrible, but after this month it gets cooler.  I have a terrible pain in my stomach and abdomen, lot of the fellows are the same.

Hot day.  I'm tired tonight.  Most every woman in this place is carrying a baby in a sling on her back, or else she is pregnant.  There are so many children wherever you look.  There are dozens.

Cool breeze makes it better for sleeping.  Lorne MacDonald died today.  He was a nice fellow.  I go down in mine today, my leg is much better.

Very warm.  We buried Lorne MacDonald today, out on a hillside.  Our M.O. acted as Minister.  The coffin was made with thin 1/2 inch boards and covered with paper.  He is happy now, just the other day he asked me when I thought it would be over, seemed to know he couldn't last it out.

Cool breeze.  Many of the boys getting thin; food terrible.  My shoulder is sore.  We had to carry poor Lorne about a mile on our shoulders, his home was in Scotstown, Quebec.

Very hot day.  Had an air raid alarm last night and again today.  Didn't see or hear any planes.  Squash soup and rice again today.

Nice cool breeze.  We put our blankets and mats out in the sun to see if it would do the fleas any good.  Had mackeral for dinner, a change from soup.

Not so warm.  We are on night shift, go down at 10 o'clock.

Fierce storm, thunder and lightning, but abating this evening.  I have lost my appetite, can't eat any rice hardly, and the rice is vunerable.

Awful hot, can't sleep.  Japs are getting tough these days, wouldn't let No. 2 party take a bath when they came from work.

Heat just awful, can't sleep a wink.  Today is Grandma's birthday, hope she is well and in good health, I have forgotten her age.

Awful heat, will be glad when this shift is over.  A large rat attacked Red Windsor and bit his leg in two places.  Don't get news of any kind, would love to hear how things are going all over the world.

Hot, had bad thunder storm last night.  The men got the chance to get two packs of cigarettes each yesterday, a long time since smokes have been cut off, also had cocoa for dinner and 48 eggs in soup.  48 eggs between 200 men.

Raining hard and a little cooler, fleas not so bad when it's cool.  Had seaweed soup for dinner and again in the mine.

Cooler, but fleas just terrible.  We have some kind of pay cards that we have to get punched before going in mine.  Had bread for supper.

Cooler at night.  We have been given a note book so they have relented somewhat.  My feet are burned with cement, so sore the skin is all off.  Seaweed soup for dinner, or kelp as we call it here.  Guard changed again.

Cool breeze, but fleas bad as ever.  Issued 1 bottle of beer last night, pay 60 sen per bottle, also a raise in pay.  I got 25 sen a day now.  Cyclone expected tonight, all windows closed up.

Strong breeze, very strong during the night.  Another man died today; Eddie Savoy, he used to be in my platoon, home is in St. John, N.B. will be buried tomorrow.

Almost devoured by fleas last night.  Peter Delarosbil got his foot smashed last night.  Had good soup, potatoes and meat.  Buried Savoy today (No. was G-30318 R.F.M.  I was on funeral party, carried the cross, buried on hillside one mile from camp.  Sgt. D'avignon performed rites, was R.C.

Nice day, light breeze, we are off today to clean up the place and kill the fleas.  Yesterday was pay day, I got 6 yen 70 sen.  We have squid soup for supper.  Major Robinson inspected our quarters today.  Japs seem to have relented somewhat lately.

We are on morning shift this week, drilling and blasting.  Raining hard.

Jap in charge of my party got hit with a rock from a dynamite blast, hurt pretty bad, another lad, Allan Lariault cut on the head when coming up the            .  We have been given the opportunity of sending a message home by radio, 35 words, 9 men of 200, I was one of the boys selected, I sent my message to Mamma.  We were given an apple each, very sweet and juicy but hard, tasted like peas and the colour of a pear.

Warm with heavy rain.  Hear that Churchill made the statement in Quebec city when he and President Roosevelt met that the war would be over in Europe this winter.  Hope he is right.  Rumoured that Surobia in Java

Not so hot today, light rain.  Have all been photographed today, 3 men at a time, don't know what it is for.  Get potatoes fairly often now, just like our Green Mountain variety.

have been given about 150 books of many kinds, some are fiction, but a lot are true books written by many writers of many countries.  Rain.

Rain again.  Books are a great help, we read them when not at work.

Very hot.  Mosquitoes are bad as they were a month ago.  Don't get much first hand news, but hear there was revolution in Argentine on 4th of July, 1942, Noticed it in an old Nippon paper that was here today.

Still hot, rain in evening.  Have a 9 hour shift this week.  Very tired.

Rain in torrents this am.  mud up to our ankles.  Didn't have a bad day, rain cooled the weather.  Had 3 cakes for dinner about the size of our drop cakes in Canada.  Wish something would happen soon, getting tired if this life.


Weather nice today.  Reported that some Canadian prisoners at a place called Oris, not far from here tried to escape and were caught, 3 were shot, they say they went crazy.  Conducted a search today, took away a lot of stuff, but they didn't get my letters or diary.  Darn them, they must have been bombed again and that makes them mad, so they took it out on the prisoners, but I think the writing is on the wall.  I wish I could help in some way, and maybe we do.

Nice day, but we have to pull all the grass around the camp and then go down in mine at 10 p.m.  All lights out, must be bombed some place.

Japs seemed to be worried about something.  Blackout again.

Raining  Very bad.  Something should start in Europe soon, hope there won't be any stop to it this time.

This night shift is bad, can't sleep in daytime.  Pouring rain this p.m.  Reported that the Koreans are taking over from us if they do, I don't know what we will be doing.

Nice and fine.  Had 3 buns in mine last night about size of drop cakes, half baked and sour.  I guess they have lost another island in Solomons, Bouganville.

Weather not so hot lately.  Rumoured that the British 8th Army has landed in Italy.  Japs gave one of the boys a beating and put him in the cooler, they don't take it.  Many planes over here today.

Weather just right last few days, all have a terrible cold in the head, sneezing and a headache, tough old time.

Cooler with rain.  We are almost finished the job we have been working on since going down in mine.  Suppose we will be working in coal after this.

Dull and cloudy with rain.  Japs are mad about something, last night they made us stand at attention for 1/2 hour (mon ti jo) said we weren't working; we just laughed at this, they are mysterious people.

Still raining, Japs have the papers are are reading them from top to bottom, must be bad news for them, hope there is.  Tomorrow is our day off, 10 day shift is tiresome.

Dull and cloudy.  Had a cavein just after we got past a bad spot in our shaft, lucky not to be under it when it fell.  Reported Italy has surrendered unconditionally.

Still raining.  Didn't hear any more rumours.  We are on 2 o'clock shift this time we are almost finished our part.

Cloudy and showers.  Rice with beans for dinner.  No rumours of any kind these last few days.

Cloudy with thunder and rain.  3 large bombers passed over here.  We were all finger printed today.  Supposed to get candy today, good and bad come together.

Rain and thunder a.m. fine in p.m.  Potato soup today, most every one has cramps.  Rome occupied by German troops.

Fine day.  Mosquitos bad as ever.  Japs caught some of the boys gambling, don't know what they will do about it.  L. Cpl. Wood died, he was so thin, had dysentry.  Rumoured that Germans are giving Allies trouble in Italy and that there might be another Dunkirk.

Fine.  Squash soup.  Lot of the boys heartsick, vomiting and terrible cramps.

Raining in torrents, water all over.  Rumoured that Germans have Americans in a bad spot.  Reported the Italians have skuttled the liner Cante Verde at Shanghi, was a luxury liner, fine ship.

Still raining.  No news today.

Have today off.  Rained in a.m.  fine in p.m.

Working now in new shaft, what a place to work in.  If we don't get out of here soon it will be too late, dust so thick can hardly see each other and I'm getting tired holding a heavy jack hammer all day.  It was turned cold.  I wish they'd hurry and start bombing.

This is by far the worst day I ever spent in mine, we are in a dead end tunnel and the fumes from the blast and dust was so thick we couldn't see each other.  I also have diarrhoea and cramps.  A terrible life.

Worked very hard again today, dust awful, our throats are sore.  One of the boys hit a Jap and knocked him out, now he is in guard room.

Worked terribly hard again today, dynamite wouldn't explode, battery was too weak.  Hope it don't last long now.

Hard day, we had to drill 24 4-foot holes with old drills and jack hammer is practically useless.  Our feet are skinned and swollen and so painful, it is just like trench feet from being wet all the time.

Nearly played out tonight and  I couldn't sleep last night feet pained so.

Worked hard as the duce, had to drill 34 4-foot holes with two hammers coming up, one of my men got caught between the cars and a big air pipe, I think he has a broken pelvis, how he will suffer.  Poor fellow, he is from New Richmond Quebec, Cleymant Cyr.

Nice day, no pain for a wonder.  Cyr is a little better, not in much pain.  Bill Hawk got hurt today, a rock hit him on the head.  We had rice and shrimp for supper, not bad.

Getting colder lately, lot of planes up today.  Another man hurt, one finger and a hand badly smashed.  Next Sept. 30th. I hope I'm out of here.


Colder at night.  Japs have taken the fellow that hit one of their men away I guess to Fukoka, tied him hand and foot with rope, just as if he had killed someone, he will have a hard time.

Not a bad day, they didn't bother us much.  They told us we are going to have a canteen, but they haven't anything in their stores, so it won't be much use to us.  I saw a large spotted snake today by the guard house, the guards killed it.

Very quiet, we slept all day, had a hard night in mine.  They have an old radio we may accidentally hear some news sometime.  Fleas here in thousands.

Showers, but not quite so cold.  Mosquitos have left, but fleas are bad.  No rumours lately.

Not a bad day, had a dream about home and about getting letters from home.  I would like to hear from them to know if everyone is well.

Find it cool because we work in such a hot place in mine.  Feeling bad tonight.

This is my 31st. birthday, I am sure they are thinking of me today and worrying.  I know I have caused them lots to worry these last few years.  I may get a chance to make it up yet.  I have rice and a very watery soup for a birthday fast and work hard as the duce; next year I may be close to home.

Nice day, sun bright, had some Red Cross cocoa today.

Raining.  This is Foster McGie's birthday he is my age, 31 years old, not a bad guy, in some ways.  We got a lot of greens in soup and it gives up cramps.

Have a sore under my arm, must be a boil.  We were given more blackout curtains, looks like air raid.

Lovely day, bright sun.  No rumours of any kind.  Arm stiff and sore.

Six of our planes just passed over here.  Had shrimp for night meal, not bad.

Hear that Wake has been bombed and shelled and that Russians have crossed Dniper River, 50 miles above Kive, also the British 8th Army has landed in another place in Italy.

Very quiet except for an occasional plane.  Rice and soup as usual.

Misting rain, but not cold.  Feet are sore as we are walking almost on our bare feet, real agony.  Hope it ends soon or sooner.

Fine, but misting rain.  We were issued a pair of ytabi or canvas shoes, pair of pants and a sort of smock, first thing in line of clothing so far.

Dull morning, P.T. and clean up our rooms.  Rice and greens for breakfast, some of the boys are asleep, one fellow is singing in a low tone the Prisoners song, another When we do Get Back, if we do Get Back.

Cloudy all day.  No news of any kind.  Life here is almost unbearable, we are all getting grey and lines in our faces.

Red Windsor lost his money, may be a search today, hope not as they may find this diary.  Another man is my party got hurt, Alfred Hunt from Chandler.

One of the boys has Diphtheria, hope it doesn't spread to anyone else as I had my share in China last year.  Hear there is a meeting on in Moscow, Eden and Hull are both there and many others.

Have a severe head cold and headache.  The weather is getting cool at night.  No more mosquitos, but lots of fleas.

We had a bad accident today, just when we were ready to come out of mine, a cavein caught one man, but didn't kill him, the agonized cries he gave would make one shiver, but I escaped by inches.  We soon dug him out, his back and spine are broken, both legs in many places, hips also, he won't live very long.  Name is Jimmy Maine from Matapedia, Quebec.

Fine.  More men hurt last night in same place, tons of rock came down and there was a Jap killed there today, crushed to death.  It's just 2 years ago today since we left Valcartier Can. for the Orient.  So many won't go back, it seems cruel.

Spent a quiet day as its our day off.  The skies are gray and I fell lonesome and blue, but I'm expecting big things to happen in next 6 or 7 months.

A year ago today our forces bombed Hong Kong for first time, hope they bomb here today.

Very cold, no news of any kind, monotonour time.

Very shilly, mist in a.m.  Camp visited by a general of some kind today.

Little warmer today, cold in a.m.  Japs have two of the boys locked up in guard room because they forgot some tools in mine.

Cool but clear.  Lights went out without warning.  Japs are in a confab.

Clear and cool, not much going on.  Wish we could get news of some kind.

Quiet and cool, fleas not so bad.


Many planes overhead all day, one more November rolls along.

Little warmer today, hope it holds out like this.

This is our day off, but I am sick I guess I got a chill, so hot where we work and when we come up in cold air and quarters are cold - no fire of any kind.  Brought first coal out of mine today, big celebration.

I didn't work today, first day since coming to Japan.  Feel a little better.

Working in mine, don't feel very good, nice clear weather - good time for bombing.  Can't eat much rice, my appetite so bad.

Very fine.  This would be Grandpa's birthday, but he won't know all this. 

Cloudy and dull, but not very cold.  This is Phil's birthday.  I hope he is having a good time, better than I am having.  Anyway he won't be a prisoner.  This life is almost unbearable, it seems it will never end.  We escaped death by a hair, about 50 tons fell from the ceiling.

Sort of drizzle.  Rice 3 times a day with soup, tough going, but we will win just the same.

Raining, muddy as the dickens.  Had a small piece of moat and sweet potato for dinner, what a treat.

Rice again today with turnip soup.  Wrote home today.

This is our day off.  25 years ago today the great war ended, but not this time.  Had a rememberance service.  Cold and dreary, they also searched again.  Don't know what they are looking for.

Nothing much, but nights are awful cold.

We hear that there is some good news about Turkey giving passage to Allies through the Dardenelles.

Have Berri Berri, my legs are swollen when you press on them with fingers the dent stays.  Rice is the cause of this disease.

Heavy rain today, but we are a long way under ground so it doesn't matter to us.  Half of month gone already, time is main factor here.

Would like to know when war will end.  Some of the men have gone religious, never swear, others have turned to hate Gods name and curse everything and everyone, they are real athiests.

Warm, overcast and dull.  Wish we could get news of some kind.

Colder in mornings than I have ever seen it here.

So cold my feet are nearly frozen.  No heat at all and have no socks.  Get half bar of soap per man each two months.

Feet nearly froze last night, white frost and snow flurries.

This is our day off and its so cold - no fire at all.  300 Americans coming, but not to this camp.

Cold and dreary.  We go in mine at 10 o'clock.  Had fish for supper, not bad stuff.  3 cases of bully beef, 3 cases of meat and vegetables, not much for 200 men.

Cold and dreary, we find it cold because we haven't any fats, oils, or sugar.  Had a hard night in mine, rock hard to drill now.

Sun shining bright this morning.

Bright sun.  Japs have taken all the horses away from here, must need them badly elsewhere.

Big shot here today.  Supposed to be some kind of change here soon.

Not so cold, had a good sleep.  Reported that the Bagdalio part of Italy had declared war on Germany.  Bean soup for supper.

Sprinkling rain, not so cold so I slept most of day.

Not a bad day in mine.  One man hurt, rock fell on his foot, may be broken.

Not so cold today.  We are being taken over by some kind of civilian guard with bamboo sticks for rifles.  Camp Commandant drunk tonight, couldn't walk vomiting over everything.


Worked hard this shift.  Had cold water to bath in.  Get so dirty on the Jack hammer.  Russians reported advancing yet.  The Americans have captured the Gilbert Island.

The Bamboo Guards are not very good shots, they may have a poisoned dart in the bamboo blow pipe, like the natives of the Amazon River valley, South America.

Had to give back half our blankets.  Weather not so bad today.

Cold and rainy this a.m.  We didn't have P.T. because of rain.

Not much like Sunday, every day is alike.  Guards gone away from here.

Finer today, but when there is no fire and you are cold and wet and tired, its miserable enough.

Have a sore finger, don't know what is wrong with it.  One fellow says its a whitlow very painful.  Japs have 3 men in cooler and its cold, no blankets to cover themselves.  Have all been moved around.  I am in room 15, cold.  

Two years ago today I started ducking bombs, bullets and shells and I have been ducking things every since.

Have been all moved around.  Weather cold.

We go to work at 5 a.m.  Mighty cold at that hour.

My finger is sore, sort of a deep festering sore.

Fish for supper, two or three about the size of our caplin.  We get one cigarette per day, they believe in giving a big amount.

Didn't work so hard today, no air to drive the jack hammer.

Two men hurt today, but not very badly.

Much warmer and some rain.  Had flounders for supper.  My gosh, but we are hungry, there is a gnawing in my stomach for want of food.

Raining but warmer.  Always hungry, not enough food.

Bright sun today.  Not a bad day, but I am so hungry.

Bright and sunny.  Japs have two men in guard room, they say they were using their batteries to light cigarettes down in mine, dangerous thing to do on account of gas exploding, gas known as coal damp.

Worked on surface today, two sections of us.  They call a section in their language Bun Ti and a platoon Sho Ti.  Our first day in sunlight and going down in mine.

Rations have been cut down something awful, don't know how we keep alive.

Nice and warm today.  Have hit mud in our tunnel, can't use jack hammer.  We have to use a thing called picko, air pick in our language.  The Japs have brought in some things as a canteen.  Razor blades, tooth brushes, paste, cigarette holders and soap boxes.  Rice and cabbage soup all day.  Xmas is drawing near, would like to get news of home, might be home next Xmas.

Nice and warm.  Didn't get much sleep, they had us up cleaning out toilets and clean up around camp.  We hear that Yanks have landed on New Britain Island on 17th of this month, hope they do fast work.

Time rolls slowly along and I know they are not happy back home, but we say that each year and still we are here.  The hunger is worse than the work.  There was a blackout last night and again tonight.  They are mad about something, so there must be an air raid someplace.

So this is Xmas Eve and we are down under the surface about 1400 meters, got out of mine at 6 a.m. Xmas.

Don't have to work today, that is a break.  We worked 16 days straight so we could have Xmas off.  I was captured two years ago today.

This is Xmas day back home as there is about 12 hours in the time, best wishes to all at home.  Japs gave us about 2 ounces of saki, that is their national drink, it tasted like moonshine.

Not so cold today.  A lot of the boys are sick, what little food we get extra makes us sick, our stomachs are so weak.

No news of any kind.  The old says, no news is good news.  Hope it's true.

Raining hard.  We had to stand in line as one fellow had his coat stolen out at work.  Wish we could get news of some kind.

Still raining.  Nothing to report except I hope the new year will end this agony.

This is the last day of 1943, not sorry to see it go as I feel confident that 1944 will see us free.