Jan. 25th, 1942. Sunday. Our first service in a prison camp. Capt Barnett, of R.R. of C. took communion service at 8:15 a.m., when fifty of us attended, including Naval - which came to camp yesterday - and Military. At 1100-1120 we had a brief service in the square attended by Military and Naval - about 200 attended. I took charge of service, and Barnett was to preach but rain came on and we omitted it. One comment later was that we had a Baptist service conducted by a U.C. and shared by a C. of E. The naval padre is in camp and we shall co-operate in the future. A band has already been assured us, and while we lost service books, etc., we can type hymns for future use.
Note: Lt Philip, who was wounded at Wang-Nei-Chong, for whom we had grave fears, came to camp from Argyle camp, and reports most of our wounded there. Lt Blackwood getting better, and due next week. One of our boys - Gunn - died and is buried there. He told me that the boys in the shelter were kept from becoming panicky by my coolness and cheery words, as well as by the splendid spirit of Pte Williamson. For this I am grateful and pray that I may be a worthy padre. He also spoke of praying for the first time. Others have spoken to me too, in the same manner.
There are about 2300 men in this camp, which was originally built by a religious organization in Hong Kong for the use of Chinese refugees, and was meant to accommodate about 1600 persons. With our larger number, quarters for all are cramped. We are sleeping about 164 men in a hut which should have no more than 100 or 120 but the men are adapting themselves to their new quarters with commendable spirit. The officers quarters are small and not very comfortable. We have tiered bunks (one over the other), but some are being cut off so that we can be nearer the floor where there is less draught.
Each morning at 0800 or 0815 hors we have roll call on the square, and at 1000 hrs our men take a certain amount of P.T. During the day those who desire take classes in languages, and other courses of education.
Meals in our camp are certainly not European. We have rice three times each day, and as long as we get a portion of milk or sugar, or both, it is fairly palatable, but we are never satisfied as we are not accustomed to such diet. We have been able to get a bit of meat, and a few vegetables, at times which, when mixed with the rice makes a much better meal. There are times however when we really wondered what we were eating, and on Feb. 3rd we had whale meat for dinner with rice. If we had allowed our thoughts to centre on "Whale" I don't think that many of us would have finished our meal, but we were hungry and so forgot the big fish in our eagerness to satisfy our hunger.
On Sundays we have joint Protestant services in camp. On Sunday Feb 1st Capt Barnett of the Royal Rifles, led the service. The naval padre - Rev. Strong - read the lesson - Acts 16 and I gave the address from Acts 16:7, on "Broken Plans". A communion service is held each Sunday morning at 0745 or 0800 hrs as long as the wine lasts. In the fight, and surrender of forces, I lost my communion service as did Capt Barnett, but the naval chaplain saved some of his. We also lost our hymn books, apart from three copies which I had in my haversack. A few pieces of our band were also saved and will be used on church parades. We have organized a choir, and hope to have about thirty or forty voices to lead the singing at service as well as to form a Glee Club for concerts, etc. It has been arranged to have choir practice each Friday night and a concert on Saturday nights.
I try and visit the huts of our Winnipeg Grenadiers three nights a week and chat with the boys and a visit to the hospital is made as often as possible - about once in two nights. There are about thirty men there and so far I have been able to have a piece of toffee, a chocolate, or a cigarette for each man, but my money is now spent and therefore I will not have anything to take to these sufferers of Dysentery, Diarrhoea, or Piles, etc.
The men are keeping in fairly good spirits but long for the day of our release. Of course there are fantastic rumours amongst the men every day about possible chances of our early release, but some of us are inclined to think that rumours will not become fact for a long time. We are anxious about home and families and pray that loved ones are bearing the strain of suspense and anxiety with God-given grace. I know that Florence and Grayson are a source of strength for their mother in these trying days. I saved their photograph and once in a while look at it - too often is not the best for me.
Since Jan. 30th we have been having a choir practice each Friday night at 6:30. We now - Feb. 7th - have about twenty-five members as well as our Grenadier Band. This will make for better services on Sunday morning. We have amongst our naval officers and men some splendid singers and last night (Feb. 6th) I spent an hour sitting around a campfire with them singing old and new songs. It is surprising - and yet not surprising because of our circumstances how many ask for old spirituals and such like. I left the campfire thinking of the best things which money cannot buy and now realize the true meaning of such a word as "Freedom".
Our meals are the same - rice three times a day with very little change. We did have a bit of bully beef and a few beans with our evening meal, which made quite a change. Some of us had planned for a good sized piece of ham baked in a casserole with tomatoes and scalloped potatoes. We get great fun out of planning a special meal once in a while, but we know we must wait for freedom before we can get it.
Rumours are rife in the camp daily. Some are a bit amusing but others speak of the turmoil in men's minds and the longing in their hearts for the day of liberty.
Today (Feb. 6) there is a rumour that a Russian ship has arrived to take us to Vladivostok and that within twenty-four hours the Navy will take over our kitchens. I shall record others from time to time.
The Japanese have given us a ration of cigarettes - nine per man - and our M.O. (Major Crawford) has asked me to take over his hospital quota and distribute these. Many of our men - about 30 in hospital now - suffer from Dysentery and other kindred ailments. I make a visit nearly every day and if at all possible take chocolate or toffee or a cigarette to each. I fear that since my money is now spent the boys must go without the above as far as I am concerned.
Feb. 8th, Sunday. Celebrated communion in carpenter's shop at 7:45 about forty present. Led Parade service at 1100 hrs on square. Hymns - "All people that on earth do dwell" and "Fight the good fight". Naval chaplain spoke on "God's corner and ours" Psalm 95:4. Christ began life in the corner at Bethlehem; followed by Wilderness Gethsemane, Calvary, Sepulcher. Out of all these came victoriously.
We are thinking of home a great deal. While at last night's concert a sergeant spoke to me of it. This morning one of the officers spoke to me of his thoughts. He has been at communion. Others have spoke of the same thing. The week-ends at home were all that we desired and now we realize their value. We did not appreciate their value at times but while there are regrets we have pleasant memories of homes and families.
Friday, Feb. 13th. The weather has been very cold during the past few days and we are uncomfortable as no one has ample or proper clothing for such weather. Our meals have not been the best either but we remember that we are prisoners of war and must not allow food or weather conditions to break our morale. Many of the men are ill but will, we hope, be better by the time the warmer weather comes. Two or three of our officers are keeping to their bunks today. These berths are not very comfortable. I have four rice sacks tacked between bed r\frames and use two blankets - light ones - as covers. For the past two nights I have slept with all my clothes on, including my trench coat. Most of us lost all of our best clothes. I have one suit of underwear - worn threadbare - two pairs of socks with holes, and no wool to darn, one khaki shirt, and one worn white one - it was white originally - I have no cap but had a summer helmet given me since coming to camp. I have the cover for my dress service cap and wear it at night or in the hut. The rice contains 75% water and so we are all visitors to the latrine two or three times during the night.
I visit the hospital and huts each day now and make contact with as many men as possible. They are always interested in any new rumours. The latest news is that Singapore has fallen, but the rumour is that we shall be moving to other parts soon. My shoes' soles are very thin now. I hope to have patches of rubber put on them to-day. I am now wearing a borrowed pair of canvas shoes until my shoes are repaired. These shoes are very cold and uncomfortable and I long for my own again.
Feb. 13th, Ash Wednesday. News reached us two days ago that Singapore has surrendered. There are varied opinions in the camp as to the effect of such a surrender on our position here as well as on the general Eastern situation. Some think it will prolong, but others that it will shorten the war. However we must be content.
Our food has not been the best, especially in this cold, damp, penetrating weather. Most of us sleep in all our clothes, and on Monday I sewed my two blankets together and made a sleeping bad of them. I had been so uncomfortable sleeping - or trying to sleep - in my clothes that I determined to take off all my clothes for one night: which I did. I was far from being warm but felt more comfortable in clothing yesterday. The weather is a bit warmer to-day and we are all planning to shower bath as soon as weather permits.
On Monday night Capt Barnett and I went to the hospital and had a short service with the patients. Yesterday they thanked me for it. We shall go again Thursday and Sunday night. We each lost our New Testaments and service books and now find that many men are asking for the New Testament. Many of the men are reading their bibles and are deeply interested. Just last night I had a pleasant chat with a small group who, without question, spoke of their faith in the church, and how belief in, and the acceptance of the principles of Jesus only could save our civilization.
The men are shaving and cleaning up generally this morning. Some are playing games. I have learned how to play "Cribbage", "Rummy", and "Push Pull", with our O.C. News has just come in that the C in C in East has been killed. We think it is Admiral Hart of the U.S. Navy.
Feb. 21st. Rumours are many to-day. They interest us while they are being told as we know that since Singapore has fallen we are likely to be here for the duration. Number 1 rumour. That the Red Cross ship, Empress of Japan is in harbour, either bringing us food and medical supplies, or here to take us away - perhaps home. Number 2. That U.S.A. and Britain have agreed to give Canada and Japan a separate peace. Number 3. That, according to Jap sentry, we are to be away from here within thirty days. Number 4. That Pres Roosevelt, in reply to Premier Tojo's address, said that within the next fortnight Japan would be sorry that she had entered the war. Interesting are the comments after such rumours are brought in.
To-day our fatigue party cleans our hut and, if it does not rain, all bunks are to be taken outdoors. I put on extra clothes last night before going to bed, and had a good sleep. Yesterday the whole camp was inoculated against Cholera. Last night the Padre of R.R. of C. went with me to the medical hut for a sing, scripture, and prayer.
Feb. 25th. It is just two months since our surrender and it seems like two years. Life goes on as usual in camp; with the odd diversion. We were given a splendid lecture by our adjutant, last night, on "How Canada is governed". I understand that other lectures will be given later. If the weather gets warmer we shall enjoy these open air lectures, but for the present I hope they will be deferred.
During the week I had a chat with a naval man about Britain's influence, and help, during her century in Hong Kong. He tells me that out of all industries here, most are owned by the Chinese. There are more than 100 Chinese millionaires here and more than 5000 worth over $100,000 each. The living standards of the Chinese, he says, have definitely been bettered.
I just spent my last dollar for a shirt, purchased from one of the soldiers. I have no spare underwear so will have to convert an old hospital shirt into underclothes soon. The meals are not improving. We have, as from to-day, rice twice daily, and at lunch time will have bread and tea. The tea will likely be without milk and sugar. We have jokes sometimes about or first meals when we get home. I fear that our purses will be thin in a short time. We would like a meal of roast beef, vegetables, and Yorkshire pudding to-day. I wonder how much some of us would eat. We would be satisfied to spend the rest of the day groaning.
Feb. 28th. We are now in our third month as prisoners of war. Some of the men are already showing the effect of lack of vitamins in our food, and they have suffered from dysentery, diarrhea, and indications of beri-beri. Every day we feel hungry, in fact the gnawing pains of hunger are never absent. I have already lost twenty pounds in weight, and others have lost as much or more.
In the morning we have rice with a little sugar and milk - one tin of milk, with water, shared between thirty-six men. At noon we get one or two small slices of bread with tea, and for supper, more rice with, maybe, a very poor, rank grade of fish. Just recently we had squid with the rice. One can imagine my thoughts when I remembered that, as a boy, I jigged thousands of them for bait or fertilizer. Last night we had a treat of rice and gravy made from a little meat, with a few peas.
Cigarettes are scarce in camp now. Yesterday I was given one, and after our meal mentioned above Major Hook, who sleeps near me, said "Now if we had a cigarette". I produced mine and Major Hook, Major Hodgkinson and Capt Terry, shared it with me. To-day three of our men were taken to Bowen Road Hospital for special treatment. We have had an average of upwards of thirty men in our prison hospital since coming here.
The Quartermaster and I threw an added interest into our hut, two days ago, by introducing the Ouija Board. We play it by placing the letters of the alphabet in a circle on a smooth table and with our fingers on a tumbler have it move all over the place contacting certain letters which formed into words answer our questions.
First questions to be asked were: "Do our home folk know about us?" Yes.
"How did they know?" My Japanese Police Radio Ottawa.
"When shall we get out of here?" May.
"When Home?" June.
"How do we travel." Canadian Line., etc. etc.
One of the interesting questions asked later was "What are our people doing about us?" Sending food and clothing.
"How are our people?" Well. Worried.
Officers from the Colonel down played the tumbler for amusement, of course.
The weather is still cold but a bit warmer than for the past weeks. If we had better food we would prefer the cold as flies are very numerous as soon as the sun shines, and in our weakened condition we think of cholera, malaria, typhus, etc. But no one is downhearted. We still crack jokes about what we are going to eat when we get home, and how we shall eat all the left-overs at home. Some of us plan to go to cafeterias so that we can overload our trays.
I imagine that Grayson would like to visit such a place with me. Every day I think of Vancouver, Moncton, Halifax and the old home and wonder how all are. I know that Stan is not only thinking of me but is keeping in touch with Mom and the children by mail. God bless them every one.
Mar. 5th. The day is very bright with the sun shining and little wind from the North. Most of us are in lighter garments, and many of us have changed our clothes and instituted our first search for lice. Many of the men located numbers, while three or four of our officers have also found some in their clothes. I have yet to find my first. These body lice are the means of giving one typhus and so we hope by keeping free of lice to be also free of this disease.
Our meals - evening - have been a bit heavier of late, and we are without the gnawing pains of hunger today. We ate duck eggs for the first time on the 2nd. Each man was given two but few of us got beyond the first. It was not 'fresh' by any means, and the second was more than enough even for hungry men. One egg was dated, or numbered, 1909. We couldn't get the taste of the first out of our mouth, and the smell off our hands, for hours, even though we cleaned teeth and hands. We were fortunate yesterday and had two fairly good eggs. I really enjoyed them.
Beginning on Sunday last (Mar 1st) we had communion at 1130 as well as at 0800 hrs. There were a hundred men who received communion at these services. At the parade services Rev. Strong took charge. I read the story of the Temptation of Jesus, and Capt Barnett spoke on the said story.
Each day, beginning on Monday, we have held a brief prayer service, at noon, and at 7 p.m. a brief service of prayer, hymn, scriptures and prayer. From the first many of our men showed keen interest and at last evening service we had 81 present. We hope to keep these services going during our internment.
The protestant padres share in these services as well as in the communion. Each one takes a noon and evening service as well as in turn taking charge of the communion, assisted by another. We are very happy in the service together.
Organized games are held every day on the square, if weather is suitable, and is keenly enjoyed by participants and onlookers. A game of baseball is in progress now.
We are all stony broke now. I have 1.00 Canadian, and 10 Hong Kong and will try to keep the 10 as a souvenir but may have to spend it later. There seems to be no possibility of getting any cash, or clothing from home, and as we have lost all but what we were wearing I fear that we shall be in rags before getting home.
May 7th. Saturday. The wind has been from the N.E. to-day (strong) and this means cold. It was warm enough for shorts and shirt yesterday and the sudden change has meant that most of us are remaining indoors today. Meals are still meagre. To-day, for lunch, we had griddle cakes and syrup. It was a treat but insufficient for men who know how to appreciate full meals. I understand that for supper to-night we are to have rice and squid.
We have just been informed that men with friends in town may, through the courtesy of the Japanese authorities, receive gifts from them. I have sent out three letters for three of our boys, and await results.
Our noonday and evening worship services continue and the number at the evening devotions have daily increased. Now upwards of one hundred are attending.
Mar. 8th. Sunday. Communion at 7:45, forty-nine present. Parade at 1100 hrs, Capt Barnett in charge. Hymns - "Unto the hills" and "Faith of our fathers." Lesson - Rom. 8: 28-39 (Rev Strong) Sermon - "Eternity in the heart" (Self) Ecc. 3: 11.
Rice (sweetened) without tea, for breakfast.
The O.C. complains of legs being numb because of lack of protein.
Mar. 9th. Spent most of the morning reading life of Mary, Queen of Scots (The Duel of the Queens). Have spent time on making a calendar. Hope to finish it tomorrow. The meals have been very poor for the past two days. We have had no bread to-day, and have had to be satisfied with rice for breakfast, lunch, and supper. We did have squid with the supper rice. I ate it (mixed) because I felt so hungry.
I have been thinking a great deal of home to-day, and while since about Feb. 22nd I have felt content that they have heard from us and know that I am living and a prisoner. I do wonder how they are. I know how much Mom thinks and prays that she can bear the strain. I know that the children will be good to her and that they will help her in every possible manner. I looked at our photograph to-day, and wished that they (family) could speak to me. I think a great deal of Stan and Florence and thank God more and more for Stan's love and affection. I am certain that he is a bulwark of strength for Sally and the children. This afternoon I played Cribbage with Lt Dennis, and later, for twenty minutes, walked about the prison square. No one is allowed on the square after 8.30 p.m.
I conducted our noonday worship service. To-night I go to our evening service and then go to the hospital to see our men. Later I will likely read, or play games with the Colonel and Lt Dennis.
At our evening services we sing a a vesper the following:
Holy Father in Thy mercy, hear our anxious prayer
Keep our loved ones, now for distant neath Thy care.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God the One in Three
Bless them. Guide them. Save them. Keep them.
Near to Thee.
I know that every man sings this vesper from his heart and retires with it still on his lips..
Mar. 14th. During the week the Japanese officer commanding prisons paid our camp a visit. The whole camp lined up on the square to receive him and give him the honors due his office. He visited huts, kitchens, etc., and at the end of his tour, told our O.C.s that we should be very grateful for the treatment received as Japanese nationals in Canada, and the U.S. are not receiving good treatment. In fact, he said, that they are receiving treatment that is much inferior to ours.
We received orders later to collect all books in huts and be ready to receive a visit from a lesser official to censor literature. Capt Barnett, the Rifles padre, and I were made responsible for books and so were ready when he came with our interpreter. After visiting the huts and getting the number of books as well as taking journals of military tactics, he gave us stickers to put on each book. We did that this morning.
Our evening services continue and are well attended. This
evening I led the services and had as hymns "When I survey" and "Fight the good
fight." Lesson from Matt: 14: 16 The boys love these old hymns. We plan for
communion service to-morrow morning at 7.45 service at 1100 hrs and evening
worship at 7. The warmer nights are bringing out the mosquitoes and they must
like us as they bite us and suck our blood. My hands and head are filled with
bites today. Some of the fellows have swollen foreheads. The food is as usual
but last night we did get a surprise and had a bit of pork and vegetable pie,
with rice and tea. I hear that we may have eggs tomorrow.
During the week I had the dentist, Capt. Cunningham. Capt. Spence is also here - examine my teeth. He said that they were in good shape, but one small cavity needed attention, and of course all my teeth received a good cleaning. We are fortunate that the Japs have allowed our dentists to keep all of their instruments and material.
I wonder if my little family had any extra pleasure to-day. I do hope so as I hate to think of them having a poor time because of my absence. I am sure that Mom will "carry on" as I would like until I can again get home and share the honours with her.
A concert is now in progress on the Square so I will share in it for a few minutes. I shall go to rest to-night with a prayer that wars shall soon cease and that loved ones may be kept in perfect peace.
Mar. 16th. I must have been very much at home in my thoughts on the 14th as I was thinking of Valentine's Day even though it was a month past. Yesterday (Sunday 15th) there was a communion service at 7.45 a.m. I was assisted by the Rifles' padre. Rain came and we had to cancel our morning parade at 11. The skies cleared in the afternoon and we had an evening service on the Square. I led the service with hymn "Praise the Lord Ye Heavens adore Him" - Prayers - Hymn - "O Son of Man our Hero strong and tender" - Nunc Dimittis - Address of Naval Padre Strong on "Sirs we would see Jesus" - prayers - Hymn - "Abide with me" and our vesper. The lesson was read by Capt. Barnett - John 12. At the close of service we three padres went to hospital and sang two hymns, had scripture - Psalm 23 - and prayer.
We continue our week evening services and hope to have in addition to our Sunday morning services regular Sunday evening service. We hope to have a platform for our blackboard on which we write our hymns. I the morning we shall use our Band, but in the evening, the piano. We are fortunate in having the organist of Hong Kong Union Church who delights to assist us in any way. His name is G. E. Longyear. His wife is in Vancouver now.
Rumour has it that we may have a canteen in our camp. If we also get some pay we shall fare much better as we shall be able to supplement our food allowances by jams, etc., as well as keep toilet articles by us. Many of us will be able to have cigarettes and chocolate bars as well and since we have all lost weight the chocolates may help to restore some of it. Yesterday we had two boiled eggs and two slices of bread with tea, for lunch, and for supper, we had a bit of cheese added to our ration of rice. We rejoice over any change and are deeply grateful. Our O.C. told us yesterday that since our food allowance may be reduced we may soon have but two meals per day. This will mean that breakfast will be much later and perhaps supper earlier.
There are many books in camp but very few worthwhile. I miss my religious books especially in my preparation for services. Most of my notes, and all of my books, apart from my bible, were left at Wan Chai Gap, and looted at the close of hostilities.
The batmen are around cleaning up our bunks and arranging to wash to-day. The officers are trying to keep themselves busy or amused. One is learning to type, another making up scores of games played, others shaving, while others are reading or grouped for a chat. After I make a few more notes re next Sunday, I hope to play a game or two with Lt. Dennis.
Mar. 19th, Thursday. The weather is glorious to-day and reminds me of happy days at Bamfield. This is the kind of a day I would like to have for splitting wood - nice breeze blowing from the West, and not too warm. I can imagine a very fine chap coming along from the Station to see me and perhaps to help with the wood, unless he persuaded me to quit. Later we would either go to the manse for tea or Mom would bring it along to the beach, and how our chins would wag. Dear old Stan! I wonder how he feels in my absence. As for Mom I know that always I am in her thoughts. Life for me here is endured and I am content because of one set purpose - that of getting home to her and the children again, and trying to sow by deed and word my deep sense of appreciation for such a wife and children.
We had another visit from the Japanese Camp Commandant yesterday. This meant that all troops were on the Square in proper formation. At the close of his inspection he informed our party - Col. Sutcliffe, Col. Price, and Col. Holme - that he was very pleased with all that he saw. He visited huts of officers and men during the inspection as well as men on Parade Square. He has assured us that soon we shall be permitted to communicate with our families and that a casualty list will be sent to Canada. The names of prisoners will not be sent but since the Ottawa authorities get the casualty list I presume that our friends will be notified that we are prisoners of war. Better conditions and food have also been promised so we should be in fair health during our internment. I weighed yesterday and find that I have lost 25 pounds since capture. I did lose some during my twenty-nine days in hospital but more since coming to the camp. Florence would be surprised to see how tin I am, and Stan would have nothing to punch.
On St. Patrick's Night we had a sing-song in our hut and last night the naval chaps had one in their quarters. A piano was brought to the camp by our officers a few days ago an we are fortunate in having men who can manipulate the keys in a very commendable manner. One man, Mr. Longyear, has been organist of Union Church Hong Kong for more than twenty years and shares our evening services with us. We had rice, sweetened, for breakfast and for lunch a bit of fish loaf (a morsel) and one piece of bread and tea.
Mar. 22nd, Sunday. Life goes on as usual in our camp. During the past week the Protestant padres have been making a hymn book. We are writing our hymns in as we use them with additions and hope before late Easter to have at least twenty-five hymns. We are now writing in our Passion, and Easter hymns. Our evening services are continuing and attendance is being sustained. We have now decided to have voluntary services each Sunday morning instead of the regular parade service. We had our first service this morning and were pleased with the response. We have begun regular Sunday evening services which will be, I feel sure, a success. This morning the service was in charge of Rev. Strong (R.N.) with Barnett as preacher - Peter's confession at Caesarea Philippi - and I read the lesson Matt: 16. Hymns - "Rise up O men of God" and "Take up thy cross the Saviour said". To-night Barnett is in charge, Strong reads the lesson - Mark 10: 42, and I speak on "Christ at cross roads of Jericho". Hymns - "At even when the Sun was set", "Stand up, stand up for Jesus", and "Abide with me". a naval man will sing "Rest in the Lord". At the close of this morning's service I went to the naval hut (next door) and enjoyed piano music by Mr. Longyear and solos "Nazareth" and "Green Hill" and others, by a naval baritone.
Rations during the week have been a bit better for which I am thankful. I shall do my best to have some of my lost twenty-five pounds restored. To-day's meals however have been very light. I do hope that Mom and the children had roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, etc. This would be a good place for Sadie is she is still anxious to reduce. It can be done with little difficulty here.
It has now been definitely stated that we will be paid by the Japanese. This means that we shall have available a bit of cash for clothing and extra eats. I had a dress cap given me a few days ago for which I am grateful as I just had a summer helmet and my steel helmet, both unsuitable now. The weather has been fair during the past week with the odd hot day. The nights are cool and we get ample rest and sleep. At our communion service this morning we had nearly one hundred present. This is a record but expect that on Easter Day we shall have many others.
Six men - officers - are at another table opposite me - outside the hut discussing the possibility of our being in Australia before we get back to Canada, with the idea of course that we shall again fight. All these, of course in conjecture, but before we take an active part in any campaign we shall need months of recuperation and training, after this detention.
Our service at 7 pm was well attended after which Capt Barnett and I visited the hospital and had a brief service. Later we went for a ten minute walk around the square. We noticed that all street cars are being stopped opposite our camp and passengers are being questioned or searched by members of our guard. I suppose this is some new rule being enforced by the Japanese Authorities. Barnett and I were talking of home as we sauntered along the square and plan to be home for Christmas of this year.
March 25th, Wednesday. We begin the fourth month as prisoners today. The weather is still fine, our appetites are keen and meals are as usual. This morning the padres meet for a conference to answer questionnaire sent in yesterday by Japanese officials. One of our requests will be that we be allowed to visit our patients at hospital as well as procuring hymn books, bibles, etc., for us. I shall write in my complete list later. Lt Harper is sitting at my table sewing buttons on his shirt while Major Crawford, our M.O. looks on. This morning my batman took my fly net, given me by Capt Bush last night, and is putting the finishing touches to it before to-night. The mosquitoes are busy every night now and we must needs have the net to protect our face and arms. The weather will be much warmer early in April and I expect that we shall have a real problem of keeping the whole body protected from them then. The Dr and I move our beds to-day to make room for our meal table. Five tables are being used now and at ours we have the O.C., Adjutant - Capt Golden - Q.M., Lt Dennis and myself.
March 27th, Friday. Nothing new to report. We were happy to-day to hear rumours to the effect that our forces have been successful on all fronts of late, and that the Prime Minister of Britain, in his recent speech, was very optimistic.
I have been suffering a bit to-day from Diarrhoea, but feel better to-night. I was able to conduct our open air service at 7 p.m. Our hymns were "Peace, perfect peace" and "eternal Father". Psalm 139 was our lesson. Since I have had a walk around the square with our Q.M. and later helped him with his mosquito net over his bad. For the past hour we have been playing Cribbage. Every evening I feel lonely for home and last night dreamt about my dear ones. I would see Mom as plainly as if she were near me. I guess she is always with me in thought as I am with her and the children.
March 28th, Saturday. During the week the padres prepared a list of our supplies on hand, and our requirements and requests, in reply to a query from the Japanese. Our supplies are nil but our requirements included amongst other things, one hut with chairs or seating accommodation for services in wet weather. Prayer and hymn books, devotional books, bible for each man, and altar linen. Our request was that two padres be allowed to visit sick patients at hospitals and prison camps, each week. Under international law "Chaplains are non-combatants and are not to be considered prisoners of war as long as they confine themselves to their spiritual ministrations".
To-day the "Pioneers" made a table 24" x 18" x 30" for my bedside and fixed up a stool as well. Already Lt Parks, who is studying typewriting and whose bed is next to mine, has decided that it is very suitable for his typewriter. He is free to use it. Our best meal to-day was dinner at 5.30 p.m. We had rice and soya bean juice and a bit of fish - similar to sole - rolled in batter and fried in peanut oil.
March 29th, Sunday. Communion at 7.45. About eighty men attended. Barnett's birthday, so he was in charge. At 1100 hrs our National Day of Prayer service was combined with our Palm Sunday service. Hymns - "All people that on earth do dwell", and "Ride on! Ride on! in majesty. Capt Barnett led. Rev. Strong read Psalm 72, and I preached on "Empire's Ideals" - Psalm 72: 1. Since lunch of pancakes and tea (meagre meal), I had a rest and slept for forty minutes. At 4 o'clock went on parade. The Camp Commandant and new guard made an inspection. Baseball matches are being played this afternoon between the Rifles' officers and sergeants, and there is quite a bit of excitement as they keep the score fairly even. Our evening's service will be held at 7 p.m. I am in charge. Barnett give the address. Hymns - "All glory, laud and honour" and "When I survey" - will be sung. At its close the padres will visit the hospital (camp) and have a short service.
I have been terribly lonely to-day and miss Mom, the children, and Stan, a great deal. I wonder if they know that I am alive. I pray that they keep well and that soon they learn from Ottawa about our location and condition.
March 30, Tuesday. Weather has been very disagreeable since Sunday afternoon. We had to cancel our Sunday evening service in the square but Capt Barnett and I went to our hospital and held a short service with the patients. Hymns - "When I survey" and "Sun of my soul". Palm Sunday story was read and prayers said.
Most of us remained indoors yesterday because of wet weather and since few of us have suitable boots, we must keep off the ground as much as possible. Capt R. W. Phillips, who was 2 I/C at Wang-Nei-Chong Gap, in our fight, and badly wounded in the eye, went to Bowen Rd Hospital yesterday for examination of eye, and special treatment. Lt Parks also went for X-ray of jaw and teeth. Major Crawford our M.O. has also gone there with amoebic dysentery. Others are suffering from dysentery in its milder form. Major Hodgkinson, who spent several weeks at Queen Mary Hospital - while I was there - returned, after a few days at Bowen Rd Hospital. He still has some shrapnel in his chest and for a while his lung gave him great trouble. He has greatly improved.
I am now reading "Milestones to the Silver Jubilee", and I have just read Col. McCrea's "In Flander's Field". I have lost my copy so must make a new one.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from falling hands we throw
The Torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.
To-day we (padres) make copies of more hymns for our book. I conduct this evening service. This morning I fix my mosquito net and this afternoon visit the hospital. The rest of the time will be spent in reading and playing games.
There is a quotation which is being used by us when we think of our departed comrades.
"They shall grow not old as we that are left grow
Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.