1/1/42 Some New Years Day, however, I haven’t a hangover and could have enjoyed a huge meal. However things just don’t turn up, although an extra effort was made with the rice and we had gravy of some kind for it plus a pudding. In the afternoon was given a small glass of wine, also a chocolate by a Russian Jewess, formerly an ANS in the hospital and now one of the few free white people on the Island. As the two others in the room (beside Padre Laite and myself) have been in Hong Kong for a long time our room usually contains visitors which relieves monotony. Padre Laite has some very irritating ways but is generous to a fault and when I have an opportunity I must repay him for many kindnesses. He has many virtues and on the whole I like him very much.
19/1/42 Things go on much the same. Food neither better nor worse and we are still able to augment it a little. Have had several visits from Japanese M.D.’s They are apparently anxious to clear the hospital for their own use. Padre Laite is to leave for Prison Camp today as well as “Boots” LeBoutellier an RR of C Officer. Cigarettes have been hard to get and very expensive. This is our only luxury and I’m gradually becoming accustomed to the idea of giving up when money ends. One of my wounds is still running but expect to have to leave soon. Don’t like this as we have been told the food situation is worse outside the hospital. Just learned Languedoc in hospital, very badly injured during the last few days. Have been getting reports from visitors re casualties. 11 of our officers killed and about 140 other ranks. I was first told there was only 300 left of our original 915. When a complete round up was made, hospitals checked etc. the above figures estimated. (Not as yet definite 5/3/42) Major Gresham, Capt. Tarbuth, Capt. Bowman, Lt. Charlie French, Lt. Rusty Young, Lt. Hooper, Lt. David, Lt. George Birkett and the Lt.Mitchell brothers Eric and Vaughan; is list of officers killed in action. Will add list of wounded officers later. Up-to-date figures certainly more cheering. Have been able to visit other lads last few days but can’t stay up long as back seems weak.
20/1/42 One month to the day in hospital and I am given 20 minutes to get ready to leave. Haven’t time to collect much, but get blanket, razor, two handkerchiefs and old shirt. Put on torn battle dress and other clothes that have been carefully mended by Mrs. Martin., wife of Senior Chungking Consul who is ill in hospital and who has been very good to us. Major Hodkinson only other W.G. officer leaving with me. We are taken to docks by truck, but have to walk that same old four miles from dock to Shamshuipo. This is certainly irony as it is the first time on my feet in a month for over an hour. I am all-in by the time we reach Hankow Barracks. This time we are quartered in the Jubilee Building which isn’t as badly battered as we at first supposed but there is nothing in the place but bare walls. The first night I slept on the floor with one blanket. I was very cold and most uncomfortable. The next day I’m able to get a piece of canvas and an old counter-pane which helps a little. There are several thousand prisoners in this area, Imperial, Navy, Volunteers, Indians and Canadians. Rumours of food situation most correct. Diet consists of plain rice plus very few beans, nothing else. Occasionally able to get a little sugar and canned goods over the fence from Chinese hi-jackers at exorbitant prices.. If this goes on none of us will last long as practically no vitamin content and calories insufficient by far. It is alleged that the British High Command have taken a most intolerant attitude, hence we suffer, but they are ok as they still get supplies from friends still free in the colony. As cigarettes are nearly gone and as I am hungry all the time I most ardently wish I was back in the hospital. It is good to be back with the chaps again, although some are at Northpoint Camp and nearly all RR of C officers there. Meet my first Hong Kong acquaintance again, Tommy Thompson...he’s as irresponsible as ever. In some ways it’s too bad I didn’t go to this camp with the others as I could have borrowed some money from Tommy, but now it’s too late. However he did give me a Pay Corps field service cap which was appreciated as to date my only head piece was a steel hat. A gas respirator case is my only haversack. I visited the old Pay Office, safe still there, but door blown off.
23/1/42 Food still the same and prospects serious. Our M.O. (Medical Officer) says it consists only of “wind” and “water”. Which I think is only 50% correct as personally I never worked up enough strength on the rice to bear out the “wind” part. But as far as water goes, if you are not up 5 or 6 times during the night, you have had a restful night. No one is treated for constipation unless they go without an evacuation for from 3 to 4 weeks as there is so little solid in the diet. Good news today. We leave for North Point where all the Canadians are to be segregated. Also there will be the navy. We have been assured of a better diet as the Japanese seem to want to treat the Canadians as well as possible. For the second time in four days I’ve had to walk the 4 miles, but thank goodness we are taken by boat from the docks to the camp. I mentioned North Point Camp before, and since learned it was well supervised. Once a person was admitted, cleanliness was insisted upon. Of course since then the Japanese have used the buildings as stables and as it is located where the Japs made their first landing on the Island, many of the buildings are well blasted. We have since whipped them into a fairly livable spot and we at least have beds even if they are of the Chinese variety. Board bottoms with no springs or mattress. Many of us have substituted rice sacks for the board bottoms which gives a little more comfort. We were welcomed by the RR of C officers who greeted us with tea, hard tack biscuits, butter and cheese. A royal repast and I’m afraid we made pigs of ourselves. As our cooks and kitchens not ready they gave us our supper a rich bully beef stew, tea, crackers and cheese. How overjoyed we are to be here. They had been allowed to collect all the canned goods available from army go-downs and we were told there was a 2 month supply. I arrived here with HK$15.
15/2/42 A terribly lazy life but it has to be as the diet still lacking vitamins and calorie content about 1800 instead of around 3200 as it should. Food supplies are still far ahead of Shamshuipo but it didn’t take us long to learn that the first “spread” was a flash in the pan. Also the canned goods are now depleted. For awhile we had porridge, sugar and milk for breakfast, but it’s all gone and rice substituted. Rice, bully beef or jam our other two meals plus tea. Occasionally a bully beef stew. Now we get just what the Japs can supply. Rice and tea three times a day, usually a little vegetable stew or sweet to take the flatness from the rice. Getting flour now for bread and we average 2 fair sized slices per day. M.O.’s say we can exist but will have no strength to offset disease as no meat or fruit and very little vegetable. Balance of Winnipeg Grenadiers beginning to dribble in from the hospital. It is very cold and wet and with no stoves in the huts the nights are not looked forward to and due to a lack of blankets I have a Hell of a time. I finally made all articles before mentioned into a sleeping bag and by also keeping battle dress on manage to get some sleep. There are about 250 books in camp and I’m usually able to get one. This helps pass the time. We also play poker and bridge for stakes payable in Canada. I am the book keeper for card games which also helps pass the time. Snapshots of home are really an asset now and Marnie dear I sure wish I was with you and Teddy now. Next war I make my first million. Us few chaps who were drafted to the unit at the last minute have drifted together for some reason or another and they are a good bunch. Dick Maze, Art Campbell, Jim McCarthy, Blake Harper and Len Corrigan. Bill Nugent still in hospital. There are enough humourous incidents to keep up morale and unless things get much worse I don’t think any of us will crack. Capt. Bush is the only brigade officer left. He is in charge of supplies and able to get out of camp under escort. He brings in chocolate bars which we buy at cost, he says, and this augments the diet a little. However, I am now broke so eat no chocolate and smoke only what the above mentioned chaps can spare. The Japs say they will adhere to the Geneva Convention but so far have done nothing about it. The officers are still with the men and get no pay and the men are not offered work for which they should be paid. Time marches on.
27/2/42 Got out of camp today for a couple of hours and it was a treat despite the fact I went on a ration party as an O.R. and had to load 240 pound rice bags. I found that my shoulder has not healed as well as I thought. The change was well worth the effort in any event. It appears that the food question is going to predominate in these notes but it is our big problem. How I would enjoy Marnie’s fried ham, cream gravy, mashed potatoes and corn followed by half a pumpkin pie not to mention a few slices of fresh bread, coffee etc.. This brings thoughts of home to the forefront again. Hoping Marnie and Teddy are well. He must be quite a size by now. Wondering if Ruby and Irving arrived back in Kansas City safely. His last gift, the swagger stick, also lost. Remembering that Aunt Tillie will never be seen at Port Dover again, hoping that the Pages are well and that Jack Jr. will not be able to get into the army. Wonder what my pals in Brampton, Jim, Frank J. and Frank G. Are doing, hope Scottie ok in England. Rations reached low ebb again, some think the Japanese are trying to treat us as criminal prisoners, but I think it is a question of food being scarce as any food of our type has to be imported.. It certainly would be much simpler for them to exchange us for interned civilians ( in Canada), but this is out of the question. Our diet now is one half pound of rice per day plus a little vegetable and sugar, occasionally tea.
28/2/42 Big treat today. The Japs unearthed a large quantity of eggs in cold storage and some flour. Some of the eggs have dates on them as far back as 1920 and a lot of them are bad. However, there are enough for 3 per person so everybody averaged 2 good ones. My first two were duck eggs, high naturally, but terribly over-ripe and my appetite was almost ruined by the odour. I managed to get two more which were much better and with a slice of bread and plenty of salt proved quite a delicacy. This meal gave me enough pep to go out and play softball with our officers against those of the Rifles. We were trimmed and I’m afraid it will have to be my one and only game as my lone pair of shoes are worn through. If we have to go on another trek I’ll have to depend on blisters for half-soles. Softball and soccer the only recreation and these may be short lived as only one football, two soft balls and two bats. The balls are well used and have to be sewn before every game and as the bats have been mended several times their future use is in the hands of the gods.
1/3/42 Finally got a separate cook and cooker for our mess and as food is prepared in smaller lots it is much tastier. Flour continues to come in and bread helps. By a collection from those who still had a little money left we were able to buy some jam and milk. It wont last long though. Oh! If only a Red Cross ship would be allowed to cross from Canada with mail, parcels and supplies. No cigarettes for 2 days, hard on the nerves, but beginning to get used to it. Cigarettes are the only medium of exchange in camp so I am trying to sell my watch for cigarettes to trade to troops for needed articles of clothing which they seem to have in abundance, at expense of our own kits I’m afraid. Selby, former prison-mate at the Q.M. Hospital, arrived today.
2/3/42 A new plague broke out today COOTIES. Many in our hut had to be deloused. As well as limited facilities allow, I have escaped so far, but it wont be long and they are pesky things. Mosquitoes and flies becoming very bad and we have no nets. Weather a little warmer. Have scrounged a pair of shorts and a pair of short sox from Sgt. McKinnon for a future pack of smokes, if ever, and an issue shirt from S/Sgt Ellis for gratis. Art Campbell, buddy of Nugent’s recently in from hospital, has proven to be very generous, another pair of shorts and promise of shoes if I can’t get mine repaired. Flies = dysentery, Mosquitoes = malaria, Cooties = typhus and Diet = cholera....a bright future. Not to mention pelegra, scurvy etc. There are many bright spots, however. One lad’s favourite pastime is to shout each night at 10:30: “Good night, SUCKERS!!”
4/3/42 Eggs again. This time I got the actual fruit of a fairly modern chicken and they were bloody good. On a couple of occasions recently have had small bits of fresh meat but more often we get a dab of fish. The usual kind is called squid. A small fish of the octopus family and it is grossly awful. Another source of amusement in camp is the grape-vine or rumour spreading. A rumour is started and it grows and grows until the time it gets back to the originator it is hardly recognizable. One officer was heard to remark, “it’s a damn lie but being good I’ll help you spread it”. A Japanese paper printed in English is allowed here and according to it, Japan will have control of the Pacific and Asia including Australia in next to no time. Unfortunately, the odd true rumour is bearing this out. The fall of Singapore and other Islands, tough times in Burma and the Phillippines and bombing of Australia. I’m afraid that the shortsightedness of the Powers that Be is continuing. (Never realized before starting this log what important parts are played by dictionaries and stenographers). (Or, what a rotten speller I am, must be executive type)
6/3/42 A real treat today. Pancakes and syrup. There were only three per person and nothing else. I’m still hungry, but the change from rice was worth it. It took the last of the flour and we are told rations are on the down-grade again. Woe, woe is me, but health is still good.
8/3/42 Borrowed a pair of deck shoes and played another ball game. Got revenge on the RR of C. Officers but this time I am through. For one thing it whets the appetite too much and I also got into an upset at first base spraining my wrist and skinning my elbow.
9/3/42 No bread for 4 days and little of anything else except rice. We are down to one pound of rice per man per day. A bridge tournament started today including officers of Navy, RR of C., and the W.G.’s . Art Campbell and I paired up and won from Smith and Youngman of navy in five rubbers by 2180 points. Squid again. This brings the diary up to date daily as events or changes in diet warrant in future. W.G. officers remaining follow: Lt. Col. Sutcliffe. Ok; Major Trist, OK; Major Hook, wounded; Hodkinson, wounded; Bailie, OK; Baird, OK; Capt. Norris, OK; Lieuts. R.W. Philip, lost one eye; D.G. Philip, badly wounded; Wheeler (sp) OK; Bardal, OK; Prendergast, wounded; Dennis, OK; White, OK; Dunderdale, OK; Golden, OK; McKechnie, OK Queen-Hughes, OK; Park, OK; Nugent, wounded and still in hospital; McKillop, died of wounds 1/1/42; Polask(sp), wounded and still in hospital; Blackwood, wounded and still in hospital; Campbell, wounded; Maze, OK; Harper, OK Corrigan, OK; McCarthy, OK. Brigade and attached officers follow: Brig. Lawson, killed; Lt./Col. Hennessy, killed; Major Lyndon, killed; s/Capt. Bush, OK; RCCS Capt. Billings, OK; RCASC Capt. Hickey, killed; RCAPC Capt. Davies, killed; Thompson, OK, Terry, wounded; RCAMC Major Crawford, OK; Capts. Reid, OK; Grey, OK; CDC Capts. Cunningham, OK; Spence, OK; CCS H/Capts. Laite, shell shock and exposure; Barnett, OK; DeLoughry, OK; Auxiliary Services H/Capts. Porteous and O’Neill OK; RCAMC Capt. Banfill, wounded. This list complete except for RR of C. Officers.
10/3/42 Won second round of bridge match by a few hundred points from Powers and MacMillan of RR of C. Two small pieces of roast pork for supper, a real treat. Plenty of rice, but no flour yet, prospects dim.
11/3/42 Inspected by Japanese General. His talk to O.C.’s none to cheering. Said Japanese nationals in Can. And U.S. being badly fed and we could consider ourselves lucky. Added that O.R.’s would be put to work and paid and officers paid. We have waited nearly three months for this but it will probably take a long time yet as all things (except war) in the Orient seem to proceed very leisurely. Won third round of bridge tournament by even 300 points from Fairbairn and Evans of R.H.. Stiff competition, game won by final hand being a little slam. Diet normal, rice three times.
12/3/42 Have decided to give menu daily. To save space meals will not be named. When milk is mentioned it is a weak solution of the condensed variety. Other articles in small portions (except rice)unless otherwise stated. Milk or sugar on rice or in tea at individuals discretion. Rice, tea, sugar, milk: Rice, “good” fish, soya sauce, clear tea: Rice chocolate sauce, sweet tea. Morose today.
13/3/42 Despite date being Friday the 13th I feel better. Possibly because some flour came in and bread is promised. Still scarred, stiff and sore from ball game. All books in camp being censored today hence no reading. Rice, tea, milk, sugar: Rice sweet tea, bread , jam: Rice, meat and vegetable pie (the latter very good but entirely insufficient). Our mess cook doing a very good job with the few things at his disposal.
14/3/42 Apparently the Japanese General was satisfied with his inspection as we had to hold rehearsal for future visit. Lovely day, started on a sun tan. Knocked out of bridge tournament by 2700 points in semi-final round by Johnston and Clarke of Rifles. Rice, Tea, milk, sugar: Bread, rice, vegetables, very tasteless meat as no salt: Baked fish, rice, sweet tea. Concert in evening featuring WG orchestra who saved some instruments. Occasionally we get a packet of cigarettes and they are made of something unimaginable. But it’s still a smoke.
15/3/42 Rice, tea, sugar, milk: 2 eggs (traded one for slice of bread) 2 slices bread, butter, tea: plain rice, soya sauce, tea, also rice baked with a little cheese (good). Camp routine: Reveille 0800, roll call 0815, breakfast 0830, physical training 1100, dinner 1230, regimental parade and roll call 1500, supper 1730, lights out 2300. Sunday Church parade 1100, always a nuisance in Canada, now welcomed. Have just been informed a comprador (sp) is being allowed into camp to take orders for cigarettes, chocolate etc. tomorrow. But as we were also told no arrangements for pay yet, most of us have no interest whatsoever.
16/3/42 Rice, tea, sugar, milk: 4 very thin pancakes with equally thin syrup, tea, bread: fish, rice tea, bread. Bridge with two chaps from the navy and Campbell. Goods for canteen arrived but no prices within reach.
17/3/42 Usual for breakfast, dinner best yet, 2 eggs, 2 slices bread, butter pancake, tea: Rice thick stew, bread, tea. Big shots had an interview with the Camp Commandant and better things promised. Learned that casualty list has not been submitted. Hope Marnie is not worrying too much. Privilege to write is definitely on the way.
18/3/42 Usual meals. Rations seem a little better. Should mention our system of eating. Our mess Sgt. Brings food to our hut and immediately there is a real bustle as we seem to live only to eat despite the rations being as they are. We sit at 4 rigged up tables on benches and by turn each table is first for “seconds”. This all sounds very foolish but we are always hungry so look forward to the day our table is first for any food left over. Another inspection today and we hear the General is very pleased. He may hurry cooperation with pay etc.
19/3/42 The following is not a very dainty topic but it does form a large part of our conversation and it is important. Evacuation! We are now getting enough solids in our diet to change what was but recently a phenomenon to an every day occurrence, or at the worst every second day. Due to conveniences here, a life-time habit is undergoing a metamorphosis, a change that is very hard on leg and knee muscles. Marnie will probably be very surprised when I design our new bathroom omitting a closet bowl and substituting merely a hole in the floor with two little foot rests. No running water of course. This is the Chinese idea of a natural position for this duty, squatting. And that is the type of toilet we have. Possibly it helps nature ( I doubt it) but it takes a lot of getting used to. My conception of a good reading room has been ruined. First two meals today very skimpy. The usual, but less for breakfast: small helping of fish pie, 1 slice of bread and jam, tea for dinner. It is now only 1:30 and I am decidedly hungry. Supper a little better but still not sufficient, rice, meat? pie, bun and tea. Bridge ended another day.
20/3/42 Mixture of rice and porridge, tea, brown sugar, milk: 2 slices bread, jam, tea: fried rice cakes, bread, tea. Started a financial statement of men who have worked. Japs say pay to come through soon. Capt’s rate 150 yen?
21/3/42 Breakfast as yesterday: Rice, 2 eggs, 2 slices bread and butter, tea: Rice, slice of pork and gravy, bread, tea. A very good and filling day insofar as rations are concerned
22/3/42 Oatmeal and rice again, too good to last, brown sugar, tea, milk, bun: 3 thin pancakes, and syrup thinner than usual, tea, bread: not filling and supper no better..rice, vegetable stew (thin and tasteless), bread, tea: Oh! For a meal and a smoke.
Editors note: VOLUME 2 OF DIARY (originals written on pay books)
23/3/42 Starting a new week and a new volume of diary. I wonder if there is anything new in the offing as life has become very monotonous and a change is needed. Canteen is open, but prices are very high and we have not been paid yet. It is very hard on the nerves, this wait for money as cigarettes and the wherewithal to make meals tastier and bulkier is within a 5 second walk of our hut. Weather warm and clear here now, unusual in that natives say it should be raining at least 50% of time. I imagine it is a mixture of cold and slush in Ottawa but I would sure like to get my feet wet. Hope Marnie and Teddy have kept good health during the winter and that they haven’t worried too much about their old man. Perhaps casualty report will be sent soon by Japanese. Mixture rice and oatmeal, brown sugar, milk, tea: Bread, jam , tea: Rice, soya sauce, fish, bread, tea. Started 2nd bridge tournament. 660 points down going into last rubber, again against Smith and Youngman. Finish tomorrow.
24/3/42 Our clique managed to borrow some Cdn.$ so we may be able to get some smokes today, although we will be hooked badly on the exchange rate. Broke vow and played ball again today. W.G.’s in good form and we won 4-2. No serious wounds. Finished bridge tournament, Campbell and I badly beaten. Apparently my watch plus a new strap not negotiable as it was returned to me unsold. I’m in a metal strap but would rather have cigarettes to exchange for necessities. Traded enough Cdn$ today to give the six of us a small supply of tobacco. Breakfast same as yesterday 2.5 eggs, 2 slices bread, tea: An excellent supper..cold roast beef, 2 fried rice cakes, also steamed rice with hot pork gravy, tea, bread plus a little brown sugar carefully saved from breakfast made a good dessert..oh yes, we also had a side vegetable. Filling, but not very tasty as the main vegetable here seems to be of the mangle(?) variety and only fed to livestock at home. First time I have felt full in days.
25/3/42 To supply vitamin “B” we have been given a supply of unpolished rice. Not too bad, but requires more sugar so I wont be able to hoard any for the bread. That for breakfast plus sugar, milk, tea and a bun: 2 slices bread, jam, tea: cold roast pork, rice, gravy, stewed lettuce, bread, tea. Spent evening trying to negotiate Cdn$ without much luck. It is urgent we get $10.00 HK at once as it is owed to the canteen and comprador expected to call almost anytime. Rate is down to even money and no takers. This would happen of course just when I was able to borrow $5.00 Cdn from Humicky on my own account. I also owe $5.Cdn. to John Crawford and HK$15 to Padre Laite. Also I owe 1/6th of Cdn $135 along with Harper, Maze, Corrigan, Campbell and McCarthy to a L/Cpl Buron. Perhaps we have flooded the market as formerly we could get 120 cigarettes or 2 to 1 cash for Cdn $5. Cigarettes smuggled in, sell for HK $1.00 per 10. These are very cheap Chinese smokes. A cheap English cigarette “ Embassy” sells at canteen for HK $1.20 per 10. A very poor grade of tobacco sells for HK$1.30 per packet and will roll 25 cigarettes. Not having cigarette paper, a heavy dark brown toilet paper is used to roll cigarettes. The odour is terrible, but we are getting used to both the smell and the taste. It has become very warm and I haven’t been able to sleep for the last couple of nights. I hope for a better sleep tonight and a better day on the exchange tomorrow.
26/3/42 Conditions for sale of Cdn $ still bad. Nothing doing all day. Very warm but still only a fore runner of what we may expect later. Thoughts these days are always of home and the future for Marnie, Teddy and myself. Constantly think of a new position preferably in some place about the size of Brampton, but anywhere would do providing there are no transfers from city to city about every six months. Am trying to plan a 6 room bungalow, but an architect “ Ted Dunderdale” says that would be more expensive than a storey and a half house if 6 rooms are required. Incorporating my ideas (things I know Marnie prefers in a house) with his knowledge we have worked out several plans. Of course I am counting on a good sized credit with the Cdn, Govt. when I get back. Regrettably the longer I am a POW the larger the balance will be. Breakfast same as yesterday: Tiffin= 2 slices bread, 2 eggs, tea: Supper=rice, soya sauce, fish, bread, tea. It was a grand night. Campbell and I sat and gassed about the future in the moonlight.
27/3/42 Sugar ration gets smaller, but we still get a little plus rice, milk, tea. Finally made a deal, Cdn$15 for U.S.$10 for which we got 200 cigarettes. In Canada, the same investment yields 1500 fags. Oh well, what the hell, C’est la guerre. Tiffin better: rice, fried dough balls, “good” bread, tea. Campbell and I have become quite friendly with Smith and John Youngman of Navy. Played bridge with them and a Dutch officer this p.m. Couldn’t catch the Dutchman’s name as it is unpronounceable to the English tongue. But, due to the colour of his beard and hair he has been nick named “Coppernob”. He is the senior officer of a Dutch submarine crew interned here (his Capt. was taken to Japan). His tale of his exploits very interesting. Supper excellent= pork pie, rice, bread, tea. I ate too much and retired early.
28/3/42 Rice, sugar, milk, bun, tea: Jam , bread, tea: Rice, soya sauce, fish, bun, tea. Took a beating on exchange. 10 cigs for Cdn $1.00 but we got fairly good ones. However, the financiers are beginning to see our way as we have been holding out for a better rate and they want our business. Campbell and I won 2nd round of consolation bridge from McGreavy and Breakey of Rifles in pm. Very good concert in the evening
29/3/42 No transactions during day and all quiet. Played bridge at night with Smith Youngman and Campbell. Nothing doing on pay yet but keeping fingers crossed. One of our problems is trying to figure out which is worse... a given period of imprisonment or this uncertain quantity that we are now enduring. Still very short of sugar but rations as a whole seem a little better. Rice, sugar, milk, bun, tea: Pancakes, treacle, bread, tea: Rice, pork gravy, bread , jam, tea.
30/3/42 And the rains came, in torrents. We have been told it will be almost continuous rain for the next six weeks. Played bridge with various people most of the day and evening. Rice, sugar, milk, tea, bread: Bread, 2 eggs, (very high), jam, tea: Rice, pea and gravy stew, bread, tea. We manage to keep smoking but the rate of exchange is not favourable yet for a big deal.
31/3/42 Rain! Rice, sugar (issue larger), milk, tea: Bread, jam, cocoa : Bread, tea, rice, soya sauce, baked rice and cheese. Knocked out of third round of bridge by a couple of young navy chaps. Very close, but Art and I couldn’t get the cards. Dysentery prevalent.
1/4/42 After a poor breakfast of poor rice, a small quantity of sugar, dry bread and weak tea, we are wondering if April Fool’s day can have further knocks for us. It has dried up but remains cool and rains may recommence anytime. Head ache and felt miserable all day. Hope it isn’t dysentery. Bread, jam, tea. Col. Quite ill and going to hospital. Had to take over cash belonging to men, but redistributed it for safe keeping. Dry rice, rice cakes, bread, tea. Bridge at night, day passed without incident.
2/4/42 Sunny today, feel better. Rice, sugar, milk, bread, tea: Bread, jam, tea: Supper good and much to my surprise (Marnie mustn’t find this out) I enjoyed a fried fish of the herring variety, rice , bread, tea. Rumours of being paid soon very prevalent but no substantiation. Got 60 cigarettes for Cdn $5.00 today. Still bad, but rate getting better. Bridge in p.m. Surprise muster parade by Japs just after supper but no reason given.
3/4/42 Good Friday and another bright day. Rice, milk, sugar, tea and a Hot Cross Bun (it had the cross alright, just lacked cinnamon and raisins); Pancakes, treacle, bread, tea: Oh! Wonder of wonders, joy of joys, the day has come, the EVENT is here, incarceration is now complete. Shortly after Tiffin a Japanese officer with several attendants arrived in our hut with a large tin box. In it was money and a goodly sum. PAY DAY. Unfortunately, no arrangement has yet been made to pay other ranks for work done. It will come eventually, but in the meantime there will be hard feelings. It can’t be helped. Lieuts. To receive 25 yen per month. Capts. 62 yen, 50 sen; Majors 110 yen and Lt/Cols. 160 yen. We are to receive 3 months pay. I got 187.50 yen and feel like a school boy, overjoyed to the point of being silly. Incidentally, I lined up in a pay parade for the first time in my military career. We all cooled off a little when we found out there was practically nothing in the canteen. I managed to get tooth powder .35s, 10 fags .60s and a few 6 oz. tins of evaporated milk @ .50s. The milk came in very handy immediately as for supper we had fish stew for the rice which I couldn’t eat, so substituted milk (very tasteless), also bread, tea. A rush call was put in for the comprador to replenish the canteen. Naval chaps were able to save more of their kit than the army so I’m trying to bolster my outfit by buying from them. Have got one pair of sox and a shirt to date. Same evening am trying to buy cigarettes with little success. Couldn’t sleep due to excitement and mosquitoes that sound like sirens.
4/4/42 Bright warm and everybody happy. Rice, sugar, milk, tea: Tea, bread, CHEESE: Rice, fried fish (good), soya sauce, bread, tea and a chocolate coated muffin. Played ball in pm and we were badly beaten by the RR officers, 17-0 . I am keeping a record of monies received by officers and also a memo of commodity prices in case our pay accounts are to be charged with the Japanese advance. Contrived to buy 10 more smokes, a chocolate bar and a tin of jam (the latter, very hush- hush), through our quartermaster who gets out occasionally with the Ration Party. It was a grand evening, so Art Campbell and I arranged a party with our two pals from the Royal Navy, Jack Smith and John Youngman. Art is a light eater so he had saved a couple of slices of bread. I had a half slice and a tin of jam. Some of the navy officers are married to Russian girls and some naval; ratings have Chinese wives. As these women are not interned they are allowed to bring parcels of food etc. to their husbands. As a result, John and Jack were able to get some coffee and sugar. We really had a feast. My first cup of coffee since Dec. 19th, 1941, and the first decent coffee since leaving Canada. We sipped and talked till midnight. (Youngman’s wife is in Shanghai and he doesn’t know if she is interned. Smith’s wife is here and interned with other civilians in Stanley Prison). It is pleasant to know that Marnie and Teddy are safe and have home comforts with plenty of good food.
5/4/42 Easter Sunday and a church parade. I had also attended a voluntary church service on Good Friday. For once you hear no complaints about church parades. It was very hot and several at services keeled over. I started to manufacture a mosquito net from a rice sack and one third of an old net. Kept me busy all day. Another downpour started in the p.m. Pancakes, treacle, bread, tea; Bread, butter, jam, tea; Rice, fried fish cakes, bread, tea. Rations better.
6/4/42 Wet and cold but a good breakfast. Porridge, milk, sugar, tea and hot buttered toast; Bread, rice pudding, jam , tea; Rice, whale steak, bread, tea and catsup. Now that we have some money we are able to augment our rations. Mess fees have been set at zero for Lieuts., 25 yen for Capts., and 140 yen for Majors . As the Col. is still in hospital his rate not set yet. I worked all day on my mosquito net which has come to resemble an inverted boat. I’m being kidded unmercifully, but I tell them it’s successful as I caught 3 mosquitoes the first night. Incidentally, in tropical climates, everyone uses a net which ordinarily is shaped like a bell tent and suspended from the ceiling, entirely covering the bed. It’s for protection against all insects, but chiefly against the malaria carrying mosquito. Q.M. again brought in a few supplies including a bottle of Scotch which was bought by major Hook for 16 yen. Had a couple of ounces which was almost sufficient for a mild jag. Played bridge in the evening with Art, John and Jack.
7/4/42 Dry but cold. Rice, sugar, tea, milk, toast. Today is H/Capt George Porteous’ birthday. He celebrated by buying the only bottle of peanut butter in camp. I’m going half and half with him. Have been able to buy two more pairs of sox, a pith helmet, a haversack, a pair of puttees and am having my shoes repaired. News just came in that Col. Sutcliffe died last night, cause not definitely known. Most regrettable. Lunch a gloomy affair. Buns, stewed dates(very good), Tea; Arrangements now complete for Col.’s funeral. All Majors. As well as two Col.s from the R.R. of C., Brigade Major, Staff Capt., Adjutant, Commodore from R. Navy and “Coppernob” from Denmark, are to attend. Our officers very busy borrowing various missing parts of uniforms as no one has a complete outfit. However, they look quite presentable when kit assembled and pressed. They left at about 15:30 hours for Bowan Road (Military) Hospital where the service is to be held. All three Cdn Padres also went. They returned about 17:30 hours with full particulars. Col. Sutcliffe died at 18:00 hours 6/4/42 from a mixture of anemia, dysentry and beri-beri. He was buried with full military honours in a small cemetary of the hospital. Carriage was a stretcher and no coffin. W.G. Officers acted as pall bearers. Reg. Sgt. Major and C.S.M.’s and two buglers from W.G.’s also there and last post was sounded. Wreaths from Rifles and our Regt. As well as several from Japanese officials. This party brought back news from the hospital. Bill Nugent OK and waiting for discharge. Bob Philip has to have bad eye removed to save the other one and Don Philip has had his arm operated on again. This death has emphasized to us just how important it is to maintain the strictest discipline in regards to sanitation, combatting flies, cleanliness etc. Col. Price of Rifles fainted twice last night, hope this isn’t the start of an epidemic. Evening spent discussing our future. Supper: Rice, fried meat (cakes of pressed mutton and whale), bun, tea.
8/4/42 Cloudy but warmer. Rice, sugar, milk, bun, tea; Bread, bun, jam, tea; Rice, herrings on toast, stewed dates, bun, tea (A Royal repast). Played my first game of volleyball. Enjoyed it and it’s good exercise. People here seem to live just onto themselves and the death of Lt/Col. Sutcliffe almost forgotten. Felt rather low in p.m. with headache but it was sufficiently better in the evening to start in third bridge contest. Slightly up but 4 more rubbers to play. My batman is ill so I am doing a little work for a change. Gus Bitzer is quite a lad , more or less lazy and much more interested in putting deals through than in keeping me clean. However, he is good hearted and if we ever get out of this jam I’ll try to reform him and keep him with me.
9/4/42 Warm and bright, volleyball in A.M. Sun bathed and slept most of P.M. Won first round of third bridge tournament in evening. Campbell and I trimming Ralph and Ford of RR’s by a good margin. Getting the odd chocolate bar now from our Q.M. and the sweet certainly tastes good. The Japanese comprador has never been back with our “rush” order. After bridge game, Art, Jack, John and I gathered for another midnight snack. Bread, jam, and coffee (damn good). Rice, sugar, milk, sourdough bun (no yeast), tea; Tea biscuits, half peach, tea; Rice, beef stew, stewed dates, bun, tea. Couldn’t sleep/Why?
10/4/42 Hot. Rice, sugar, milk, bun, tea; Pancakes, jam, cocoa; Rice, vegetable stew, dates, bun, tea. Got my hands on the book “ The Yellow Briar” by Patrick Slater. Almost an autobiography of his life which was spent in Mono Mills. Not far from Brampton in the Caledon Hills. Starts about 1845 and is very good. Won 2nd round of third bridge contest from Atkinson and Deigneau (Sp?) of Rifles.
11/4/42 Cold and wet but played volleyball in A.M. Bridged in P.M. and evening. New batman very thorough.[ed: no name provided] Porridge, sugar, milk, bread, tea; 4 tea biscuits, jam, tea, rice, gravy, whale steak (excellent), buns, tea. Japanese paper (in English) paints a gloomy picture for the U.S. and England these days. Naval losses and surrenders reported daily. From various rumours that float in, a lot of this news is confirmed and it looks like a nice long stay for us as POW’s. Perhaps it’s better to not be too optimistic so I just remembered I promised Marnie I’d be back for Teddy’s 3rd birthday.
12/4/42 Cool. Rice, sugar, milk, bun, tea; 2 tea biscuits, dates, tea; Rice, whale stew, bun, dates, tea. Lazy day. A little volleyball and bridge. Plenty of reading. Voluntary church service, but did not attend as my back still weak and standing or sitting in one position very long is rather painful. Doctors tell me to continue to work to try to build weakened sinews.
13/4/42 Clear and hot. Rice, sugar, milk, toast, tea; Rice cake...........[ ed: next three sentences faded and unreadable] .....bunk who.........like....for making my bed....like a first.....only in earthquake proportions. Volleyball in A.M. softball in P.M................it and it..............Bridge in evening. [ ed. Note: most of paragraph unreadable as print/ink faded.]
14/4/42 Bright and hot. Rice, sugar, bun, milk, tea; Rice, sauce, herring on toast, bun , jam, tea; Rice, stew, dates, bun, chocolate muffin, tea. Volleyball in A.M., bridge and ball game after tiffin (we won), and bridge in evening. Started a class today to teach reading and writing in English. Supposed to have 5 but only 3 turned up. An Indian and two French Canadians. The Indian knows the alphabet and one Frenchman can sing his ABC’s in French, but the other has no English. Time will tell. Am getting a real sun tan, black as a berry.
15/4/42 Bright and hot. Rice, sugar, bun, jam, tea; Spilled my milk and as there are no refills, this is a terrible tragedy. Doc Crawford arrived back from hospital late last night. He’s now ok (dysentery), but says Bob Philip had to have his right eye removed leaving 50% vision in the other. Volleyball in A.M. For tiffin, had rice, stewed date juice and milk mixed together (very good), bun, tea; Fish pie, rice, soya sauce, dates, bun, tea. Cleaned house for inspection in P.M. but the Governor failed to arrive. Played bridge with Clark and Johnston of Rifles, who put us out of first contest. This time Art and I beat them. And so to bed..
16/4/42 Teddy’s first birthday How I wish I could drop in on he and Marnie today for a nice long visit....say about a lifetime. I wonder if Marnie will get the little fellow an electric train. Too young I know, but I could still enjoy it when I get back. All wars should be fought in Asia or Europe, but there should be a weekend clipper service. This brings back memories of one short year ago in Cornwall. I got wire telling of Teddy’s birth the following day. Notice being in newspapers before I know, so Officers Mess one day late in having drinks on a brand new papa. The Japanese are celebrating with me by putting up more barbed wire and electrifying the fence that surrounds the Prison Camp. Rice, sugar, milk, jam, dry toast, tea; 2 buns, jam, tea; Rice, genuine beef stew, bun, dates, tea.. Second lesson for my students today. Other two arrived, both Polish and can read English but can’t write it. (Something like their teacher). Very hot and humid all day but a good breeze in the evening. Jack, John, Art and I sat outside and talked till midnight over coffee and buns.
17/4/42 Cool and wet. Rice, sugar, milk, bun, tea; 1 bun, 1 slice toast, jam, tea; Rice, stew, dates, bun, tea. Miserable day. Penetrating rain and the news came through in p.m. that all of Royal Navy are to go back to Shamshuipo as too crowded here. It will certainly bring us more room but we are losing some good friends. Naval ratings have more goods than they can carry so quite a market is set up in exchange for cigarettes. I got more sox, a sheet, pillow, towel and raincoat. But, due to a serious shortage of fags I was unable to procure a bed or mattress. Many of those chaps had arrived from the naval hospital, complete with beds etc. I feel rather rotten and am kept trotting, don’t know yet whether it’s dysentery or too many dates. Farewells to Jack and John and to bed early.
18/4/42 Very wet. Breakfast as usual; for tiffin was 2 large slices of toast, jam, tea; Navy moved off in the rain and they really got soaked as kits were searched outside and it took a long time. They lined up at 8:30 a.m. but didn’t get to move until after 12, rain all the time. I still feel low and still trotting. Rained all p.m. Hut miserable and smelly. Supper of rice, sauce, fried fish, dates, bun, tea. In the midst of this meal the balance of Canadians from Shamshuipo arrived including Black and Blackwood. All surviving officers either here or have been here and sent to hospital. Except Bill Nugent and he may be here from Bowan Road Hospital today. Chaps from Shamshuipo report that all Imperial officers have been segregated at Argyle St. Internment Camp so we are now wondering what our near future will bring forth.
19/4/42 Surprised at breakfast by visit of about 15 Jap officers including a Major General. Immediately afterwards a roll call parade held. Had to stand for about an hour, no fun. Played bridge for a while, then tiffin...4 pancakes, jam, bun, tea. Junior subalterns being moved to another hut. As this includes all my pals, I’ll have to do a lot of visiting. Feel a little better today. Still dull and wet, but rain has stopped.. Rice, stew, dates, bun, tea. Bridged in evening and lost. Should mention that bridge is played for 5 cents a hundred points, payable in Canada. Back and shoulders are sore these days. Picking up a little weight again. Was down to 155 lbs. Now up to 161. When I left Cornwall I was about 180 and when the war started about 190.
20/4/42 Cool but dry. Sugar supply now nil. Rice with date juice, bun, jam, tea; 2 fried cakes??, bun, jam, tea; Rice, stew, bun, jam, tea. Have to move again. This time Porteous and I. My two- decker bed is to be cut in two. Spent most of the day rigging up framework and wires to hold a new mosquito net I had loaned to me by “Doc” Spence. Bill Nugent arrived about noon so officer roster is complete. In evening, Art and I were overwhelmingly knocked out of semi-final of bridge contest by Col. Price and Major Young of Rifles.
21/4/42 Cool and dry. Tost, jam, tea; Corned beef, rice cake, bun, tea; Rice, corned beef stew, 2 buns, tea. Pick-up ball game in a.m.. A Jap n.c.o also played and although he couldn’t speak English, seemed quite pleasant and played good ball. Bought a torn brown shirt and some pips. Have a ping pong table set up so played ping pong and bridge in afternoon and evening. Nugent still likes his bridge. Had a sneak lunch of bun and marmalade at 10:30.
22/4/42 Cool and dry. Ordinarily it would be considered a “dull” day but any respite from the sun now is most welcome. Rice, “white” sugar, milk, toast, jam, tea; Fish on toast, rice, bun, tea; Rice, fried fish, jam, bun, tea. Inspection by C/C in afternoon. Bridge in p.m. and evening. Our syndicate now increased by Black, Nugent and Blackwood. Have the odd late snack as we have been able to buy some canned goods. No way to make coffee since navy left but the bread or buns and jam go very well.
23/4/42 Dull. Rice, sugar, milk, toast, jam, tea. 2 buns pressed beef, slice pineapple, tea; Rice, meat and vegetable pie, bun, tea. Another pick-up ball game in a.m. Not serious ball, but just enough exercise to make it interesting. Fish cakes, bun, tea. Read all afternoon except for my class in “English”. Teamed up with Bill Nugent in another bridge contest and won from Black and Corrigan after a supper of rice, weak stew, bun and tea. Not even rumours these days
24/4/42 Dull. Rice, sugar, milk, toast, tea; 2 buns, pressed beef, slice pineapple, tea; Rice, meat and vegetable pie, bun, tea. Ball this a.m. and won from Brigade. Have badly swollen knees as a result of collision at first base. Bridge in p.m. breaking even. Comprador here today but brought nothing except a few samples such as shoes, shirts, B.V.D.’s etc. Poor quality and high prices so didn’t buy anything. Bill and I in second round of bridge tournament against Majors Hook and Hodkinson. We were badly beaten.
25/4/42 Diet has much of a sameness these days so will omit details except for highlights. Today we came close to having a Cdn. meal. Whale steak which tastes very similar to beef when fried properly, sweet potato and cabbage. Rained all day so played a lot of bridge, making a little money. The nicest thing about bridge these days is that you can light a cigarette, smoke it through and not save the butt. Really an enjoyable feeling. Formerly a cigarette would be lighted, a few puffs taken then extinguished to be re-lit a few hours later. Then the butt was saved to be rolled into another cigarette, later still. Nothing new, no new rumours. Six months ago today we left Winnipeg and four months ago today I became a P.O.W.
26/4/42 Six months ago tonight we sailed from Vancouver, an unlucky day! Shoulders very painful these days, may be caused by wet weather. Lower wound in back nearly drives me crazy as it is intensely itchy all the time. I think there is still a piece of shrapnel there but the Doctor says it may just be a nerve. In any event, I will have to wait till I get back to Canada for a thorough overhaul. Rain, rain...bridged all day.
28/4/42 It rained all night and still in cloudburst proportion this morning and kept up all day. It cleared for long enough in p.m. to hold “class”. My little “illiterates” are progressing nicely. Comprador brought in a supply today. Not all we asked for by any means, but enough canned goods to bolster our mess considerably. I bought a much needed tooth brush, soap, shoe laces, cigarettes and 10 cigars. As we had to stay inside I read and played bridge all day. This life has some compensations but it certainly isn’t making ambitious hustlers of any of us.
29/4/42 Dull and rainey(sic) all day. Why did I have to write that word “rainey”? It just emphasizes the fact that Marnie, Teddy and the Raineys are miles away. I wonder if Bruce is still in Ottawa? A Sunday dinner at the Raineys’ would go darn well right now, although our meals have been better the last couple of days. Almost Canadian style were two meals when no rice was served. Instead we actually had roast beef, yams and eggplant with dates for dessert. Got a badly sprained finger playing ball today....hence writing is very awkward, but not much worse than usual. Guess the old man is not so young as he used to be as bones too brittle, or eyesight bad or something. Anyway we won the game. Bridge and read rest of day.
30/4/42 Another month gone. Still dull but becoming more humid. Another lackadaisical day reading and cards. Held class for an hour in p.m. Finger responding to treatment but wont be able to play ball for a day or so.
1/5/42 May Day, but no labour parades were held here. We are not even asked if we would like to work and the men are not forced to work. They would like to work as it would mean pay. We are due for another pay but it hasn’t gotten here yet. Still dull and rainy. No news and no rumours. Even the Jap paper says nothing these days. Held class, read and played bridge.
2/5/42 Rained off and on all day. Cleared for a while in the evening and the usual Saturday night concert was held. The boys are now given cigarettes for original poems. Some of them are good and I’m going to try to get copies. Roll call parade now changed to 19:30 hours to avoid p.m. heat. Bridged and read
3/5/42 Dull but very humid all day. Church service rained out when about halfway through. Must mention today’s menu as we have had the best day yet. Of course it has to be remembered that our mess has purchased a lot of canned goods. Unfortunately we are faring much better than the men and anything that 30 officers could donate would be a flea bite for 700 men and they would scoff rather than be thankful. For breakfast we had 4 pancakes, treacle, bub, jam, tea; For tiffin a pressed beef sandwich, half a cucumber, bun, tea; for supper, roast beef, yams, gravy, corn-on-cob, 2 biscuits, stewed dates and tea. Read and played bridge...Bill Nugent and I badly beaten.
4/5/42 After a terrific downpour all night, the sun has shone off and on today. Meals have fallen off but it is again PAY DAY. Very embarrassing for me!! And the boys gave me a merry ride. No smokes or sweets in the canteen so we just pay mess fees and call it a day. Besides a local Jap paper (in English) we now get a Tokyo paper. It’s usually about a month old, but eagerly read just the same. Although, the news isn’t good from our point of view. Made a few pennies playing Blackjack in the evening.
5/5/42 Dull with just a few scattered showers. Still a very lackadaisical life. Finger still too sore for ball so can only read and play cards. My class is coming along very well. I had a table made for them. Made a few dollars at Blackjack last night after which George Porteous and I had a snack having been able to buy a little jam. This turned the evening into an enjoyable and profitable one for me.
6/5/42 Very hot and humid. We had to stand in the hot sun for an hour in the afternoon while C/C made inspection. Officers and Sergeants may not play ball competitively as such but may play for the men’s teams of their respective companies. No reason given and the order is hard to understand as our games created a lot of interest and the best of feelings always prevailed. This will do away with our ball games as no officer will deprive a man of his place on a team, even if good enough. Bill and I started in another bridge contest. This is a round robin series. We won the first round by 5330 points.
7/5/42 Cool with scattered showers (the latter means an occasional deluge lasting about 20 minutes). A most unusual climate. Why England picked this place for a colony, I’ll never know. Read and held classes during the day. Bill and I lost 2nd game by 3300 points(bad) in evening. Japanese are very busy these days salvaging sunken ships in the harbour and clearing the channel. As we are right on the channel shore this makes an interesting diversion. Yesterday they raised and righted a sunken freighter, only to have it sink again, only this time right side up. Maybe this was intentional as they are reputed to be good salvagers.
8/5/42 Rained all night but clear and cool in a.m. so we had a general hut clean-up. Everything was moved outside, the hut thoroughly cleaned then sprayed with germicide. We are unusually free from cooties these days. Comprador called today so the mess is again stocked and we were able to buy chocolate bars, cigarettes, milk, soap and raisins. Bill and I lost two bridge games today but by small margins. Our luck should turn soon. We don’t know the reason, but we had to practice a black-out last night. It may be just routine for prison camps that the Japanese are just gradually getting around to or there may be American planes at Chunking.
9/5/42 Dull and cool, spent most of the day inside bridging. Won another portion of bridge contest by a big margin and have a large lead in the next section. I certainly wish the Japs would hurry to arrange a mail exchange as I sure would like to hear from home. Teddy is in his second year now and a big fellow I’ll bet. Hope Marnie is well and not worrying. Surely they will have a casualty report by this time. [ Editor’s note: no casualty list was available in Canada at this time, nor would it be until a year had passed]. We have been told that arrangements are now complete for some of us to broadcast (by record) from Tokyo to C.B.C. who will rebroadcast to Canada. Mess surprised us last night with an excellent cheese sandwich, jam tart and cocoa. Not good for sleeping, but we get too much sleep anyway.
10/5/42 Sunday, but no church service because of rain. Nothing new or changed in camp the last week. Recent Jap papers give news of the fall of Corregidor and a most successful naval encounter. I hope the reports are exaggerated. Bill and I hit a slump in bridge. Lost game in a.m after big lead from yesterday. Lost another in p.m. That’s 5 losses out of 7 starts in this new series. Funny, but we still have a reputation for being tough opposition.
11/5/42 Sun shone all day but it was not welcome as it’s very hot and humid. I’m getting very little exercise these days as it’s too wet for volleyball or baseball. Grub good the last while but not so good as indicated by the paper. For a lazy man with no family ties, this life should be ideal. As the description doesn’t fit me, I’ll go home anytime. Bill and I lost another game. We must be jinxed.
12/5/42 Very humid and rainey(sic). A bad day for tempers and this was proved at a meeting to discuss auxiliary service funds. George Porteous of the YMCA (specifically attached to the Winnipeg Grenadiers by Ottawa) has $800.00 in American Express travellers cheques which he is offering to senior officers at the rate of $1.00 Cdn to 5 yen, to raise funds for the benefit of the men. W.G. Officers subscribed 75 yen per month and the Royal Rifles of Canada Officers, nil. Consequently George didn’t turn any money over to O’Neill (Knights of Columbus) Auxiliary Services Officer to the Royal Rifles. Bill and I won a bridge game in the evening for a change.
13/5/42 Hot and humid, rained off and on all day. Outcome of yesterday’s conflab is that each regiment now looks after its own men for smokes etc., as Col. Trist wouldn’t agree to 75yen from each unit as it would mean 15 yen from each W.G. Major but less from the Rifles since there are more of them. Bill and I won another game of bridge despite he being in bad humour after being ordered before the O.C. for alleged misconduct by an officer. Durhorn (??sp) he dislikes for obvious reasons
14/5/42 Rained most of the day and very sticky. Drew up a guarantee for O.C. which will enable Majors to recover contributions for mens’ smokes from regimental funds. No new developments. Jap paper mentions a large scale German offensive in the Crimea. Makes us wonder if the U.S. and Britain are opening up a second front anywhere. Bill and I won another bridge game. Maybe luck is back with us.
15/5/42 Very warm and no rain. As Officers can’t enter a team in the ball league we decided to play an exhibition game against Brigade. Due to lack of practice we were badly beaten. My finger is still quite sore but did it no further damage. Bill Nugent and I won and lost bridge games today just to prove we can’t be consistent. My class is progressing nicely. One item in connection with our incarceration that I don’t think I have before mentioned is soap, or rather the lack of this commodity prior to pay or canteen days. Despite the Japs love for cleanliness their issue of soap was very skimpy and we had one hell of a time trying to keep ourselves and our clothes clean. That tell-tale grey, my dear it was simply terrifying. I had one bar of Lifeboy which cost me $1.00 of my very scarce money supply, to last me over three months. It was kept almost exclusively for the dirtier parts of clothes and one good shower per week. It was then carefully dried up for the next using. Showers were taken often but without benefit of soap to try to keep down body odours. The present situation is better but soap is still expensive... Lux at 65 sen and laundry 25 sen.
16/5/42 Very warm and an entire day without rain. Played another pick-up ball game. Plenty of enjoyment, but far from good ball. Had a rest from bridge today but read considerably and held class. Attended a rather sickly open-air concert in the evening. The Japs staged a reconstruction of landings on the Island for movie purposes very close to this camp, but we were forbidden to watch. Been fed and to bed.
17/5/42 Hot and sunny. Spent a very lazy day reading and playing bridge. Grub good these days so we are as contented as possible. No news re letters to or from Canada. Letters from Marnie would sure be welcome, especially as I have had no word from her since leaving Canada.
18/5/42 Another quiet day with considerable rain. Comprador here today. I ordered a pair of white shorts and a jersey. This damp is very hard on clothes. Everything goes mouldy and the sun doesn’t shine long enough to dry them out. Am very much afraid my battle dress is going to fall apart. If it does I’ll have to stay in bed all the time when the cold weather rolls around again. Have been reading “The Life and Times of Frank Harris” and ran across a limerick I think worth recording, a little smutty though.
“ If skirts grow any shorter,
Said the flapper with a sob,
I’ll have two more cheeks to powder
And a lot more hair to bob.”
Enough of this! Bill and I won another round of the bridge contest.
19/5/42 Rained all day and rather chilly. All quiet. Slept all afternoon and played bridge in the evening. We won naturally as it was neither for money nor part of the contest.
20/5/42 Cool and dull. An inspection by the Japs. Rained in the afternoon so made a few $ playing Black Jack.
21/5/42 Remains dull and misty. Not pleasant, but to be preferred to the hot sun. Played ball in the morning but hands still very stiff and sore. John Crawford (Sr. Medical Officer) is busy these days regarding particulars and after-effects of those wounded. I have one ear that was affected by the blast of the shell that hit me. But as it is much worse at some times than others, I think I told him the wrong one. However, my left ear is not worth a darn most of the time now but I hope it gets better as I’d rather have my hearing than any pension. Nugent and I won another bridge game last night. The spirit of the gang is gradually getting better and as it does, horse-play increases. Last night beds were upset! Blankets filled with peanut shells and clothes lines dropped. We have been assured that we will receive mail from home in the near future and will be allowed to write one letter a month starting soon.
22/5/42 Horse-play last night. It has been ordered that practical jokes must cease and all communication between officers must be carried on formally. These orders are foreign to a mess in Canada let alone an internment camp. I certainly hope these orders are made public property in the future. Rained most of the day but got in a volleyball game. Bill and I badly beaten in another bridge game.
23/5/42 Expected some good news today as senior officers were at a conference with Colonel Tokonada, C.of C. Of all Hong Kong prison camps. However, we were in for a disappointment as all the Japs wanted was our signature to a promise not to try to escape. Brig. Home objected on the grounds that it was contrary to K.R. 30 Canada [ ed. note: not sure if correct numeral or initials as diary is blurred]. The Col. said it didn’t matter as we were Japanese prisoners and this was a Japanese order. The Colonel came to our camp himself to order us to sign. We all did, with one exception. We had little alternative as for anyone who doesn’t know this part of the world, escape is practically impossible. We are wondering if Ottawa will consider our signatures given under duress as we were told refusal to sign would be considered mutiny and punishment given for such. No time for sports today. Rounded the day out by attending a concert in the evening.
24/5/42 Some holiday. Let’s hope the next one is spent in Canada. I usually golfed on this day but will settle for a rousing game of ping pong this time. An unusual coincidence in that in Canada this time of year is usually fine but it rains on the 24th. Here it is rainy season with rain 4 days out of 10. But marvel of marvels today is fine, sun shining and not too hot. Spent the day reading and sleeping. A grand night except for the mosquitoes, so sat out in the moonlight until lights out talking over old times and thinking of home. Wondering if Marnie would be gazing at the same bright moon a few hours later and thinking of me. I never have got straight the exact difference in time between here and Ottawa.
25/5/42 Bright sunny and very hot. I feel a little ill, maybe heat, maybe too much water. Had the first exam for my class. I was not only disgusted, but rather disappointed. They were terrible. Their papers will be amongst my souvenirs. As long as funds hold out I will buy the odd momento. Teddy may be interested when a little older. Bill and I again defeated in bridge contest. It’s annoying as we possibly play a little better brand of bridge than the other couples.
26/5/42 Very warm. Nothing happens here anymore. Prisoners are beginning to snap at each other due to nerves being on edge because of heat etc. Won a ball game in a.m. Read in p.m. and played chess in the evening. My first attempt at this better time-putter-inner, but I’m sure it will prove an interesting pastime.
27/5/42 Hot and humid. Still feel a little pooped. Inspection called off today because of the heat. Played bridge, chess and volleyball. Tough life.
28/5/42 Another hot day. Played volleyball in a.m., but I’m afraid I’ll have to stop as the heat is too terrific. Comprador delivered the white shorts, sweater and tooth paste. As the Japs had just issued us with tooth brush, towel, soap and toilet paper I’m beginning to feel plentifully supplied with worldly goods again. They surprised us by paying us today, three days early. We have been told we can write one letter per month to next of kin, starting next week. I’ll be glad to get a letter off, but would rather hear from home.
29/5/42 I’m afraid summer is here to stay. Won a ball game for a change today. Also won a bridge game by a small margin. Cigarette prices have become more reasonable. I am feeling better despite the heat. Surprise muster parade last night. It took about two hours. Very fortunate in having showers these days as I spend a lot of time under them.
30/5/42 “Fuhtih” I’m not looking forward to July and August nor will I ever have any desire to spend a winter in Florida. Played both softball and volleyball today, but it really is too hot for such sports when you are not in A1 shape. Mess meeting in the morning and fees raised. If they go any higher we will have to cut our smokes considerably. Attended Saturday concert and chess game later.
31/5/42 Sunday and a very hot lazy day. Wrote to Marnie, letter dated 3/6/42 as it wont be sent until then. I sure feel homesick today. Only hope she gets it soon although it will probably have to go to Tokyo first and then to some neutral country before being forwarded to Canada. I’ll be able to write once a month. I told her about Caswal’s (sp??) poor daughter, my little Chinese nurse. Reading, volleyball and chess completed my day.
1/6/42 Unless contrarily stated, it can be assumed that every day for the next few months is a sizzler. Issued with a pair of shorts and a tunic today. Apparently, any of our belongings not stolen by looters has been collected and is now being issued. The only W.G. stuff delivered here happened to belong to two of officers who were killed, Gresham and Tarbuth. The troops sure look better with their rags replaced by some decent duds and surely they feel better. Bridge is slipping, just chess today.
2/6/42 Volleyball, chess and reading, followed by a concert in H.Q. hut. Also had to change and cut letter considerably as new regulations are out, cutting total length to 200 words. I was able to say but little.
3/6/42 Very lazy day. Reading and a little chess. Inspection in afternoon.
4/6/42 Major Bailie is arranging for a broadcast today. A record was made. He spoke for officers plus other speakers were 4 n.c.o.’s and 5 privates. I’ve heard that the only names mentioned were those of Sr. Officers. This seems to be rank discrimination if true. Played two winning volleyball matches today. Paid 5 yen for a pair of boots. Reading and bridge.
5/6/42 Life very dull...no news, no incidents. Reading, chess, bridge and volleyball the only activity.
6/6/42 The Japanese are still trying to raise the freighter just off shore but so far they are not successful. The usual today, bridge etc. plus a softball game.
7/6/42 The surrounding hills are becoming very green, look most inviting and remind me of the long walk to Fang Ling golf course we took just a half year ago today. Our host and guide that day was killed. Ted Dunderdale has been made the camp horticulturist and has the place looking very nice with plants, flowers etc. The band gave a short concert tonight before bed time. I’m finding it difficult now to find an unread book.
8/6/42 Rain all day today so lazier than usual. Won a further round of bridge contest and played chess.
9/6/42 Comprador arrived today with fresh supplies for the mess and canteens. Cigarettes a fair grade at 10 for .25 sen . Reading and chess.
10/6/42 Japanese paper is reporting victory after victory for their navy. The latest being attacks off Aleutian Islands. Very little said in paper about European situation. We can only guess, hope and wait. In the meantime we are being treated fairly well and if only some letters from home would arrive we could be fairly content....although rations more on Canadian lines would also help. Usual today, chess, bridge and volleyball.
11/6/42 All quiet, no news and little activity. Freighter off-shore sank again today. Chess and reading.
12/6/42 Rats becoming plentiful so a bounty of 2 cigarettes is offered for each one caught. As fags amongst the men are scarce the rat catching efforts are sustained and animated. It also provides humour as often one of the boys will take a very small rodent (sometimes not large enough to be a healthy mouse) to the “rat” officer and he will have to decide if it is a rat or mouse and just what fraction of bounty it makes the ratter eligible for. Won the first game of the new volleyball series and another round of the bridge contest. A good day.
13/6/42 Rumours of a move to some other locality are prevalent these days. But nothing has happened. Guards here seem to be keeping a very sharp lookout for something. They had a tower built on one of our huts. Volleyball, chess and reading today. Good concert in the evening.
14/6/42 Another Sunday. Each week seems to roll by quickly enough, but time as a whole passes very slowly. Hope Marnie and Teddy are starting the summer in good health. It would sure be nice to be able to drive to Ottawa for a weekend.
15/6/42 First working party went out today. 100 W.G.’s, 10 Brigade, 3 medicals and 3 W.G. Officers. Apparently their job is to enlarge Tai Tak Airport. Don’t know for sure what their pay is to be but have heard it will be 15 sen per day. Not much, but will buy a few smokes for the boys. Thompson and I donated a few more cigarettes to Brigade Pay Corps. Rain today, no sports.
16/6/42 Rain all day. No activity of any kind except continually moving stuff from under a leak to some new spot only to have a new drip start almost immediately. Reading and chess.
17/6/42 All dolled up for an inspection by Colonel Toganaga but he again failed to put in an appearance. Won at volleyball and beat Bill Nugent at chess.
18/6/42 Still no events of any importance. I’m getting a little better at chess. Continue with French lessons. Japs finally salvaged freighter and towed it to dry dock. Won again at volleyball.
19/6/42 Local papers paint a very gloomy picture for the British in Libya, predicting the fall of Tobruk. My illiterates progressing nicely but I sure hope we’re not here long enough for them to become perfect. Volleyball and chess today.
20/6/42 Wrote letter #2 to Marnie and Teddy. Not much I can say but do hope they get it. Our team again victorious at volleyball. Good concert in evening featuring Regco programme.
21/6/42 Sunday and all quiet; not that the Sabbath is much different to any other day. Volleyball, softball, chess and bridge as usual. Attended a band concert and church service in the evening.
22/6/42 Chess, bridge, volleyball, reading and my class today. Becoming most monotonous.
23/6/42 Same as yesterday, but took a French lesson instead of teaching. Tobruk it’s said has fallen.
24/6/42 Col. Home, former O.C. of the Rifles and now acting Brig. Took a fit or stroke today and was rushed to the hospital. Rain as usual so inspection off. Chess and bridge.
25/6/42 With 4 other officers, took charge of a working party 260 strong today. I enjoyed the activity very much but tiring when not used to being on my feet all day. We crossed to the Kowloon side by ferry then a 10 minute walk to Kai Tak Airport. Here the men worked on the runway. They were given two cigarettes each and as extra rations, barley water and bean soup. No mishaps. Six months ago today was Xmas and Hong Kong gave up the ghost. All that morning heavy shells had been falling on Mt. Davis. It was nerve shattering as I couldn’t move very much due to my wounds. I just had to lay there being vibrated by the blasts and ear drums ringing from terrific detonations. I give the Japs credit for fair play and good shooting as we had heavy A.A. batteries on Mt. Davis and in other places quite close to the Queen Mary Hospital (which was clearly marked by huge red crosses). Not one pane of glass was broken.
26/6/42 Slept most of the day as I was rather stiff and weary from yesterday’s outing. Treated today by a tin of tomato juice and it sure tasted good. Good game of bridge in the evening and so to bed.
27/6/42 Summer really here. It’s seldom below 95 deg. and even in the cool of the evening around 85 deg. We still play volleyball despite the heat. Slept and read most of the day, but took in a concert in the evening. A square dance was staged. Four chaps made up as girls and the exhibition was quite funny.
28/6/42 Sunday, but everything goes on as usual. Band concert and church service at night.
29/6/42 Quite a day my birthday and also pay day. Too bad I can’t buy a round of drinks. I received a blazer and crest as a gift this time last year. I wonder if Marnie is thinking of me today. I’m entering my 34th year, hope its completion finds events rapidly changing or changed.
The usual day, volleyball, bridge and chess. To celebrate my birthday, had a snack before retiring consisting of 2 or 3 small candies and a cup of hot coffee. Oh well, it probably saved the headache that I no doubt ended with last year.
30/6/42 Spent the day pulling my bed apart and rebuilding it. A necessity as some newcomers had been nesting in the crevices. Bed bugs galore. I hadn’t been bitten, but as everyone else had them I thought I’d better make sure. It wasn’t a waste of time. Besides that, played 4 games of volleyball so retired exhausted.
1/7/42 Dominion Day and a sports day is being held with a concert tonight. A most pleasant note for this morning to start on is that the Camp Commandant Wada said that repatriation wasn’t beyond the bounds of possibility. Seems improbable, but a pleasant thought. Unfortunately, most sports rained out, but the minstrel show in the evening was a huge success. As good as or better than any I ever saw before. Forgot to previously mention that the “Asama Maru” sailed from here on the 29th with diplomatic officials from several countries en route to a neutral port in Africa, for exchange, including one Canadian.
2/7/42 Inspection in a.m. by Col. Toganaga accompanied by two Red Cross officials of a European appearance. Nothing much was said, but we were promised mail soon. We were sorry to learn that the casualty list has not been out. This means longer suspense for anxious hearts but delayed the bad news for those who lost loved ones.
3/7/42 Postponed sports were to have been played today but rains again stopped them. The usual day of bridge, chess and reading.
4/7/42 The men got paid today for work done in June so I acted as Pay Master for the first time in months. Not much money involved, but they were happy and I felt contented just by having a little to do. The pay roll for W.G.’s and Brigade totalled 156 Yen. However, cheaper cigarettes were obtained. Concert in the evening, but I made a little change at bridge instead of attending. The supply of books is becoming scarce so we have to find other things to occupy our minds these weary days.
5/7/42 Rained most of the day so we revived our fine old sport of rumour mongering. Talk of repatriation has started a grand new batch of rumours, so a good time was had by all. Bridge in evening.
6/7/42 Time goes on as usual. Due to monotony of our ways, the days pass fairly quickly. Volleyball and chess today. Sat in the moonlight until about 1 a.m. wondering if Marnie and Teddy are o.k. Capt. Bush supplied a hot cup of coffee about 11 p.m., damn nice treat.
7/7/42 More rain today. Climate here is too much. “Too” hot, too cold or too wet. I am continuing with French lessons but don’t seem to have the interest for serious study. Chess in the afternoon. Bridge with Bill Nugent, George Porteous and Ted Dunderdale in the evening.
8/7/42 Rain. Played chess, slept, bridge.
9/7/42 Same as yesterday only more so.
10/7/42 Rain and wind all day long. Had a typhoon warning but it failed to materialize yet and although a stay in the Far East is not complete if one has not seen a typhoon, It is probably just as well under the circumstances if they give us a wide birth. A typhoon is apparently a form of hurricane. A tremendous wind that carries everything before it including water. An ordinary tide of 10 to 15 feet may be 20 to 25 feet high. If that happens we will be nicely inundated here. The last severe storm here blew 5,000 ton vessels high and dry onto the mainland. A series of signals warns of approaching typhoons. The usual lazy day. I did draw a R.C.A.P.C. crest and a shield with the names of pay personnel. It will be made by one of our craftsmen.
11/7/42 First dry day in some time so we had several good volleyball games. A good concert in the evening rounded out a pleasant day.
12/7/42 Wrote letter # 3 today. For a reason rumoured to be lack of shipping, we are told this will be the last letter for some time. Volleyball, reading and bridge today.
13/7/42 Nothing ever happens anymore. Food supplied by Japanese remains about the same and our extra in the mess is getting worse although fees remain the same. Kitchen staff have lost the initiative and ingenuity they displayed at first. Busy day today as we played two volleyball sets and one ball game. As I am captain of our “B” volleyball team as well as captain of the softball team it was no soft job as tempers (including my own) are apt to soar at any time. However, we won the ball game and one volleyball set. Bridge at night.
14/7/42 The usual day of reading, volleyball, French class and bridge. A unique contest is now in progress. The finder of the most bed bugs in his mosquito net each morning is the winner. So far I have had my share of victories. Fortunately I seem to be immune to the bites.
15/7/42 Torrents of rain and very windy today. Read “Arundel” by Kenneth Roberts and started “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Ernest Hemmingway. Both are very good literary efforts. I am trying to further my interests by drawing, but I’m afraid I have no talent. It will have to be mechanical art. However, I enjoy it. Played bridge in evening.
16/7/42 Rain continues. I’m certainly glad that under these conditions I live inland. Bridge and reading
17/7/42 Still more rain so no exercise. Reading drawing and bridge. Don’t think I mentioned that we all have been given numbers. I am now known as Prisoner of War # 4459. Such is fame.
18/7/42 Clear today so caught up on sports. Won a ball game in a.m. but lost at volleyball in p.m. No rumours and very little in paper these days, so we have no idea how things are going. We all wish things would come to a head as Canada and family sure look good from here. The usual weekly concert rounded out the day. It featured the band presenting a one-act play and two numbers by George Porteous’ Glee Club.
19/7/42 Sunday and nice bright day. Won volleyball game in the new series. A.B. and C. Teams of officers play A., B, and C teams from each camp (when no rain). The idea is to try to remove the men from a form of lethargy that is engulfing them. If they win, each man gets two cigarettes, but if they lose they get nothing. The plan seems to be working as they are going all out to beat us. Bridge completed the day.
20/7/42 Started to rain again last night and only let up long enough for us to play a tie volleyball game with the band. I now know why England has no problem sending men to her colonies. England seems so much brighter and dryer when they return. Continuous wet weather most of time makes nerves just that more jittery. But we try to keep up our morale and a few of us try to keep the men interested in something.
21/7/42 Rain all day !! Reading and chess in a.m. Class of sorts in French in p.m. Did not do too badly. Nugent and I are overly proud of our bridge ability. Spotted a couple 1,000 points in the evening and we were sadly trounced.
22/7/42 Rain most of the day but managed to get in a volleyball game in p.m. which we won. Spent most of the day constructing and compiling a reader for my class. Evening put in at bridge.
23/7/42 Rumours point to an early repatriation of Canadian prisoners. The latest rumour by an officer who was told by a guard we were due to leave about Aug. 18. A nice build up for a perfect let-down. Won volleyball game, bridge at night.
24/7/42 Full day and retired quite fatigued. Won and lost volleyball game and won a softball game. Morale seems a little better, but leaves much to be desired. Japanese have just completed two look-out towers so I guess we will be here for some time yet
25/7/42 Rain most of the day so no sports. Caught up on French lessons also taught my class. Reading and bridge with a couple of games of chess. The “Brig” was quite interested in the last rumour so tried to get information from C/C Wada. Wada claimed no knowledge of such a move but did say that rations were becoming increasingly hard to get and that we would probably feel a pinch. Hence, went to bed feeling bad and very home-sick, despite a very good presentation of the weekly concert.
26/7/42 Arose still mentally weary. Usual Sunday breakfast treat missing due to lack of sugar. Despite rain, a large work party of 400 men out. Catching up for time lost on account of rain, I suppose. Men arrive back very tired after a gruelling day. Won a volleyball game but softball rained out after two innings. Spent the evening at bridge and went to bed feeling much better.
27/7/42 Ball game and two volleyball games. Won the former from Rifle officers and one of the latter. Have bought a lovely pair of red volleyball shorts. They are the envy of the camp.. No news or rumours. Bridge at night.
28/7/42 Lost volleyball game today. However, it is pay day so that compensates. Has turned very warm again. Jap papers announce the fall of Rostov to the Germans. We all wonder how things are going and is there going to be a second front. Continue to be able to get tomato juice which makes an occasional tasty evening sip. Bridge and to bed.
29/7/42 Hugh MacKechnie back from hospital today after a slight case of dystentry and fever. Only two of our officers there now. Bob Phillips with one eye gone and the other in poor shape and his brother Don who has a very bad arm. Languedoc of Rifles still there, much better, but broken leg healed badly and one leg much shorter than the other. Lost a ball game to our champion “L” team by a small margin. Have started to read “Rabblain (sp??) Arms” by Roberts and a sequel to “Arundel”. It is very good. Bridge and to bed..
30/7/42 “All quiet on the Far Eastern Front”. Rain all day so no sports. Spent most of the day getting records ready for the mens pay. Read considerably, a good game of bridge, tomato juice and to bed.
31/7/42 End of another month and it has rained some part (usually the hotter part) of every day in July. The final ball game between “C” Comp. W.G. and H.Q. Comp. of Rifles was finally played between showers today. The W.G. team was victorious. Again no exercise as court too wet for volleyball. Took a terrific beating at bridge and retired.
1/8/42 Rain all day. Minstrel show prepared by O’Neill, postponed. Read all day and had a good game of bridge. Excellent evening meal by mess,
2/8/42 Still hasn’t stopped raining for more than 10 minutes in 48 hours. Hence, no sports for a couple of days. Spent the day trying to translate a French book. Slow work, but interesting. Smokes getting scarce again as comprador overdue. Bill and I again beaten by George and Dick at bridge.
3/8/42 Comprador’s long expected visit occurred today but things look bleak. Cigarette issue only one third of order. Very little jam and but 24 tins of bully beef. Said to be the last of this latter commodity left in Hong Kong. As they don’t seem to be bringing anything from Japan our future looks more and more like plain rice. Sickness can be the only result as a lifetime food habit can’t be changed in a year or years. Rain most of the day.
4/8/42 Scattered showers only. Won a volleyball game in p.m. Second presentation of the minstrel show in the evening. Very good, but marred by intermittent showers. They introduced the “Girl of the Golden West” and was she a lulu. Prettier than Ross Hamilton of Dumbell fame. Actually a French Canadian lad with the Rifles. Other take-offs on burlesque skits were well done.
5/8/42 Won a volleyball game in a.m. Spent most of the day reading as very hot. C/C Wada held a camp inspection in the afternoon. Bridge at night.
6/8/42 Played “A” Coy. At softball and we were beaten 5-4 in the a.m. Won at volleyball in the afternoon. Taking French lessons and giving English lessons is still going on. We are anxiously awaiting the return of the Osama Maru hoping for mail and to know if there is any chance for repatriation. Spent most of the evening talking and cooling off in the moonlight.
7/8/42 The usual uneventful day and even lost at volleyball. Had a mess meeting at night which ended up in a near fight when a bunch of us finally had our say as to what we thought about some of the silly and childish orders from people who should know better. It probably wont do any good, but it makes us feel better anyway. Won a couple of rubbers of bridge.
8/8/42 Nothing out of the way, but a full day. Won 4-3 from “A” Coy at softball in a.m. and beat Sgts. at volleyball in the afternoon. C/C Wada assured Trist that our second broadcast has been sent to Canada. This means Marnie will know I’m ok. Gosh, if I could only hear how she and Teddy are. Next broadcast being prepared now. This bloody country will have a God Damnable effect on most of us from months of rain and now terrific heat. Climate and diet will sap our strength and the lack of work robs us of any initiative and ambition we may have had. Concert in the evening not as good as usual Tomato juice and to bed.
9/8/42 Sunday, but the usual day. Played volleyball in the afternoon. Read considerably and played bridge after church service and short band concert.
10/8/42 Took quite a lacing at softball in a.m. but won at volleyball after lunch. A flock of rumours have been coming in from Bowen Road Hospital. It seems that all the “sisters” have been sent to Stanley but the two Canadian nurses were told they were to be sent home soon. If this means non-combatants are to be repatriated I have a slight chance, but a sure thing for George Porteous and the Padre (Laite).
11/8/42 Marnie’s birthday. I forgot it once, but never again. I sure hope that she is enjoying herself. If the weather’s anything like it is here it would be ideal for a game of golf. Wonder if she is in Ottawa or Toronto. Sat out in the moonlight quite late, dreaming of her, Teddy and home. I hope she got herself a present from me to her, a bunch of posies anyway. Can’t expect to be home for our anniversary. It seems only yesterday since the last one, but I sure hope no more of our family dates roll by without me being there.
12/8/42 Stayed in bed all day with a very troublesome sore throat. I was unable to eat and feel very weary. An epidemic has started here which resembles diptheria but not quite so serious. I sure have got my share however.
13/8/42 Feel wretched. Very sore throat and mouth. A slight fever and I can’t eat. I bought some fruit juice but it irritated my throat badly. Spent all day in bed..
14/8/42 Still feel very low. M.O.’s are not sure what the trouble is and the Jap authorities have stopped all parades and gatherings of troops as this septic throat condition is rapidly spreading.
15/8/42 Except for my mouth and throat I feel a little better, but still can’t eat. Our mass indignation meeting bore fruit.. Some restrictions have been modified. Due to sickness and the fact that some men can’t eat rice despite it being the only food, malnutrition is very prevalent. As it is getting worse, the M.O.’s suggested a fund be set up to buy extras for extreme cases. Majors to donate 15 yen, Captains y7, and Lieut. y3. It will amount to about y200 a month from the W.G.’s and will help a little.
16/8/42 Throat still very sore and as I felt very weak and groggy, decided to get weighed. Down to 151 pounds, so no wonder. Can’t understand from what part of my body 40 pounds has gone since leaving Canada as I still have rolls of fat, flabby skin. Rations have reached a new low and men are faring very badly. I started to think of Marnie’s fried ham, creamed potatoes, new peas and pumkin pie today. My mouth started to water and as I couldn’t swallow the overflowing saliva, I had to even forego the thoughts of a good meal. Woe, woe is me.
17/8/42 Feeling some better but spent a very quiet day although I played a little bridge at night. I just finished reading a collection of short stories by W. Somerset Maugham. Some of them were very good and I enjoyed his style.
18/8/42 This is the day that a supposed substantiated rumour said we were to leave here. Everybody knew it couldn’t possibly be true yet we are all in the dumps. More than ever, rations and sickness have added to this feeling I suppose. Physically I feel some better today. Played volleyball, but felt pretty wobbly after. Will lay off for a few days. Had a good game of bridge in the evening.
19/8/42 A very heavy downpour with a high wind lasted all day. Everything is saturated. Our bomb-ridden huts although repaired, will not withstand a storm of this severity, hence a miserable day. Played poker most of the time and to a moist bed early.
20/8/42 The height of ridiculousness, stupidity and cowardice, as practised by our senior officers, reached a new high this morning. Four W.G. lads including one Sergeant, made their escape last night. The first Canadians optimistic and with guts enough to try it. Their absence was discovered at the a.m. roll-call. This action could only be a reduction of rations which will probably occur anyway. A general muster was immediately called. Late tonight one of our men threw a rock at a Japanese sentry. Everybody in the dumps. Read most of the day.
21/8/42 The outcome of yesterday’s damage has been the appointment of a night duty officer and sergeant to patrol every two hours to ensure no men are sleeping out etc. Feel considerably better. Played both softball and volleyball, winning each. Bridge and to bed.
22/8/42 The weekly concert is cancelled by Brigade as they think the Japanese might reason it as a celebration. This is childish as how could they think that when the concert is a weekly affair anyway. Besides when the mens’ chances of escape were cut so slim why should we celebrate. Played and won a volleyball game. Did little else except read although Dick Maze and I are doing quite well in a cribbage contest.
23/8/42 Very hot today but played volley and softball games, just winning the latter. As a precaution against further escapes, the Japanese have inaugurated what they call the “five system”. The whole camp is to be arranged in groups of 5 and each of the five is responsible jointly and severally for the doings of the other. Don’t know how it will work. Lost bridge game in evening.
24/8/42 Classes restarted after isolation lay-off. My class forgot a good deal of what they had learned. Won a volleyball game. Bridge at night.
25/8/42 Ten months a prisoner, excuse me, eight, and ten months since leaving Winnipeg. Remains very hot but won a volleyball game in a.m. Papers paint a very gloomy picture these days. Claim about 3500 mostly Canadians killed out of a division in an attempted landing at Dieppe. Also claim a Japanese naval victory near the Soloman Islands Anyway, Bill and I won another bridge game and Dick and I won at cribbage.
26/8/42 Nothing interesting. Badly beaten by “A” Coy. At baseball. Bridge and to bed.
27/8/42 Very hot so spent most of the day inside, but did win a volleyball game. Beaten by “Brig”, “Brigade Major” at cribbage, we didn’t like this. Lovely evenings the last few nights and very moonlit. Sat out and gassed until time for bed.
28/8/42 Paid before breakfast today but the canteen is empty again. Several parcels came to the camp for M.O.’s from the Chief Medical Officer but due to the escapes they were not allowed to be given to the doctors. It would be just our luck to have mail from Canada arrive now. As a further punishment, 3 N.C.O.’s have been sent to prison with a warning that 3 officers go next time. Comprador will not be allowed to visit the camp for an indefinite period, hence no smokes or extras for mess. Played a ball game and volleyball in very hot sun and believe I got a touch of flu. So to bed very early.
29/8/42 In bed with fever all day. Temperature was 101. Some kind of an alarm was raised about 11 so roll call was held. Not satisfied, so Col. Tokanaga was notified and a general muster was called. Everybody was out in the rain ‘till 5:30 Sunday morning. I managed to get into another hut for a while, cold and wet with fever still raging. Everybody was accounted for so the excitement was for nothing.
30/8/42 to 4/9/42 In bed all week Felt very low, fever, very weak and no appetite. Weight is now 148 lbs. This fever is very prevalent. Several officers came down with it including George Porteous, Blake Harper , Dick Maze, Win Cunningham and Ted Dunderdale. I’ve read quite a bit but no exercise.
5/9/42 I feel a little better and appetite is better. Ban on comprador not lifted so few smokes these days. W.G. N.C.O.’s back from prison. They appear no worse for the experience. Concert allowed to be held tonight. But as no time to prepare, it had to be short, but was fairly good. George Porteous still in bed so Hugh O’Neill and Sgt. McKinnon acted as M.C.’s Sports cut to a minimum these days due to sickness which has been much too common due to heat and rations. Five deaths in the last month.
6/9/42 Taking things very easy. Nothing much to do or say anyway. The whole camp seems very despondent. Besides groups of five, companies are now divided into “parties” under a subaltern or N.C.O. In case of escape, each of the five, the group leader and the Coy. Commander are now jointly responsible. Played a few games of chess and some bridge.
7/9/42 Still weak, but took class again after a week’s holiday. Plenty of rumours again but no facts. Bill Nugent is down with fever now.
8/9/42 Feeling a little better each day. Did nothing today however, except chess, bridge and reading.
9/9/42 Surprised us this a.m. with a thorough search for anything , they said, is not required for every day use. I lost a ground sheet and rain coat, both of which cost me some of my scarce cigarette supply. They were taken because they were made of rubber. Whether it’s on account of the charged wires or the rubber shortage in Japan, I don’t know. But it is going to be dampish on outside trips from now on and the toilet is a few steps away. Nothing else happened today and we all wish something would, to break the monotony. Chess, bridge and reading.
10/9/42 Still no sign of comprador, our punishment continues. I’m still a little weak so no exercise. Japanese paper shows situation to be grave in Russia but Stalingrad still holding out. Read quite a bit and played some bridge.
11/10/42 Life goes “merrily, merrily” in the same humdrum fashion. Except for a very little mouldy beef, have had no meat for two months now. Rations very poor, only protein is a smelly, spiny glue-tasting fish of which we get 1/4 lb once every third day. We are being very well supplied with a tasteless yellow tuber that is called sweet potato. Usual day...bridge, chess and reading.
12/9/42 First death right in camp. Chap by the name of Smith went to bed last night with dysentry. Dead this morning from that and beri-beri. Buried nearby in the usual blanket. The Japanese supplied some lovely flowers. If only we could get proper food and medicines so these things wouldn’t happen. No change in routine. Had a good concert tonight.
13/9/42 Usual Sunday. Church service early in a.m. and another in the evening. Attended neither as I still am very restless. Can’t stay in one position long. Read all day and bridge at night.
14/9/42 As the Pay Sgt. and one Pay Clerk are in hospital and the other sick, I spent today on the books. The Japanese like our figures early so we have to be prepared. The men can’t earn much but it is a few smokes. Usual day other wise.
15/9/42 George Porteous is homesick today. It is his eldest son’s 13th birthday. He showed me a few snaps he had saved so I sympathised by becoming more homesick than ever myself. He has a nice appearing family but of course they can’t compare with Marnie and Teddy. It is a miserable day, very wet and stormy and of course I now haven’t a raincoat. Nothing ever happens, bridge, chess and a book.
16/9/42 Bob Phillips with his glass eye arrived from Bowen Rd. Hospital today. He is still on the repatriation list but moved out here to make more room in the hospital. He seems quite fit and is very cheery. Just the usual day, not even a rumour. Just heard that Sgt. Lumb (spp??), Brigade pay Corps., died at Bowen Rd. Last Sunday of a throat complaint.
17/9/42 Heard a rumour today that some Shamshuipo prisoners are being moved elsewhere. Hope it makes the ration situation better. I’m still off parades and sports but feeling much better. Life becomes more monotonous daily.
18/9/42 Received our issue of soap, toothbrush and powder, towel, T. Paper and also a pair of long hose today. Believe I am getting a little better at chess, have broken even the last couple of days. Am now working on plans for a workshop. Sure wish it could be set up now.
19/9/42 Bitzer still my batman and doing a better job now that the trading business has fallen off. Only highlight on this date was a mug of suds. Where it came from or how it got here, I don’t know. But it certainly reminds one of the delights that can be. The usual weekly concert was quite good.
20/9/42 Sunday, but just the usual day in P.O.W. Camp
21/9/42 A month has elapsed since the escapes, but still no comprador. I was going to play volleyball, but decided it’s too hot. Took my bed apart and found about 50 bed bugs. Oh what a bug bear this life is. Usual chess and bridge.
22/9/42 Most unusual day. Played cribbage instead of bridge.
23/9/42 Baird and Golden back from hospital. They say that Nugent and Harper were very sick and that Harper was despaired of for a few days. Both now rounding out. The last 10 days papers were brought in today. Stalingrad is still holding but the news is gloomy.
24/9/42 The same monotonous kind of day up until 8 o’clock when we were informed that we are to return to Shamshuipo on the 26th. This news is rather startling and everyone becomes very gloomy as memories of Hankow Barracks are not pleasant. The Royal Scots and Middlesex have been moved and we are told it is to Japan. I suppose the idea is to do away with 2 prison camps when one will do. We can take all we can carry, but no beds, looks like a tough time. Finished and won a bridge game. Went to bed but couldn’t sleep.
25/9/42 Spent the day packing. Hard to realize just how much we have accumulated in our months here. Very tired at supper time so to bed early.
26/9/42 Up at a quarter to five, breakfasted, finished packing and on parade square at seven. Kit inspection and roll call over by eight. We then sat around ‘till 12. We all had been issued with 5 buns to keep us ‘till next day if necessary. So lunched on a couple of these. Moved out of camp about 12:15 and the boat left the dock at 12:45. Got to Shamshuipo at 1:45 and found our quarters and area in very poor shape....lousy, buggy and dirty. Fixed ourselves up temporarily, had a meal about 9 p.m. then to bed. I had managed to obtain an iron barracks bed but no mattress. Consequently I slept very little although very tired. The bed is just too damn hard because this type of iron bed has no springs. The part you lie on is also iron.
27/9/42 Spent the day cleaning up and trying to get settled. Feel rather low and have this sore mouth trouble again. Played a little bridge at night but retired early and slept.
28/9/42 Took things a little easier. Talked with some HKVDC’s (Hong Kong Volunteer Defense Corps) here including McIntyre, an acquaintance of Queen Mary Hospital days. They think we will be going on to Japan soon, those of us who are fit. Berg not here and K.S. Robertson is at Argyle St. Selby must be there too. I’ve been made Paymaster for all Canadian work parties and it will keep me busy as pay is issued daily. Men here get 25 sen for work. An R.R. of C. lad died tonight in camp. My mouth is very sore. Rations more plentiful here than at North Point Camp. Of course no meat, but fish and plenty of greens and vegetables, not to mention rice. There is also a daily issue of yeast here to off-set beri-beri. It is horrible, but I’ll take anything for health. To bed. Many and varied dreams. When drowning I finally fell out of bed and got all tangled up in the mosquito net. That is what war and the Orient does to a person. The fall didn’t hurt as the concrete floor felt soft after the iron bed.
30/9/42 I am working to beat the devil on the pay work as my old staff still in hospital. Officers get paid today and we have been assured that the canteen will be in by Tuesday. Everything in an unsettled state as so many men are needed for working parties.
1/10/42 Pretty well settled now. We have a home made toaster. By saving a slice of bread and scrounging some tea we are able to have a snack before bed. Japanese pay Warrant Officer Karusaki is a pleasant chap and easy to get along with. Am feeling much better.
2/10/42 Paid troops today. A much bigger pay due to large working parties. Quite a bit of diptheria. 3 more Rifles and a W.G. have died here from this and dysentery. Terrific wind storm with rain last night. Our room was flooded and we were all in drizzle all night. Rumours here prevalent, but nothing definite. Japs say Red Cross parcels are here for us , but no mail. God only knows how much I long for news of Marnie and Teddy. Just have to bear it and pray for the day when I will be with them again.
3/10/42 Another little incident today that endears this Regiment to me. The Col. claimed my one and only dish as his, pointing out an identification mark. When or who put this on I don’t know but am cocksure from the cracked enamel design that it is the same plate I have used for months past. Oh Well !! I lost my temper but haven’t been pegged yet. I got a better plate as Bob Phillips, just out of hospital, had an extra china one which he gave to me. Still play a little chess and bridge each day. Doctors are kept busy swabbing to find “Dip” carriers. Possibly in preparation for our move as the English troops formerly here had this done as well as several inoculations.
4/10/42 No rumours, no nothing, just another day.
5/10/42 Swabbed for “Dip” Result in a few days
6/10/42 Canteen in today. First time in almost 2 months. We are able to buy individually now with what little money we have left after mess fees and other contributions are paid. As we can boil water and make toast on home made appliances, life would be almost bearable if it wasn’t for the appalling amount of sickness. 172 in hospital, many with “Dip”. My mouth is sore again.
7/10/42 Inspected today and a Jap Medical Officer guaranteed a supply of serum for “Dip”. 12 deaths to date since coming back here. 5 are W.G.’s, the rest are R.R.’s Our M.O. says he can check the disease in two or three weeks with the serum. Just our luck, rations are cut again. Our personal purchases make meals edible though. Still playing bridge every night and a little chess. The daily pay apparently has gone by the boards as the Jap R.S.M. hasn’t been near me for a week.
8/10/42 Chess bridge and a book. Ankles swollen a little but no pain. Hope it isn’t the start of beri-beri.
9/10/42 Result of swab made public. Only one Cdn Officer and he is the R.C. Padre. The paper says that the ship taking British prisoners from here to Japan was sunk by a U.S. sub., very sad. Also says that Stalingrad is still holding but no other news. Am feeling quite fit again and put back on a few pounds.
10/10/42 Rain all day, very miserable. Swabbed again.
11/10/42 Sunday and a day of “rest”, working parties as usual. 5 deaths last night, 3 R.R.’s, 1 W.G. and a Britisher. Serum came too late to help those fellows. It’s damnable to go through 18 days of shell fire, 10 months of hardship and then die from some infernal disease. The men have no stamina to give them power to fight. Another death in the morning. 6 funerals today. A sad incident, a father aged 65 and son both in the HKVDC, the son died and the father, although ill attended the service and funeral.
12/10/42 Some wedding anniversary this is, how different from one year ago. Marnie happy and healthy, Teddy baptised, Irving and Ruby present, the Pages all on hand, me weighing 190 and in Canada. Now at 150 lbs. And a P. of W. in China. The Sunday afternoon reception at the Rainey’s, Andy Larose letting the cat out-of-the-bag about me leaving Canada soon, the lovely gifts, especially the blanket from Romeo and Orville, my big build up by Orville. Anyway, it was a grand and glorious time and Marnie my dear, love and kisses to you for putting up with me for 11 years. The rate goes up three more deaths last night. Bridge and to bed.
13/10/42 One year ago I received a wire to report to Ottawa, and this result. Woe, woe is me. Canteen in today. Bought some honey and cinnamon. Costly, but make meals more tasty. Paid the boys 7 days pay. Quite content as they can now buy smokes.
14/10/42 Deaths lessening. Only 2 Canadians gone the last two days. The serum is doing a lot of good. First good-bye party in Cornwall this date last year. Feel fairly good now and my mouth is almost better.
15/10/42 It should be pay-day. Sometime it will be true again. Had a slight change today. Called out to attend a meeting at the Camp Commander’s quarters about 2500 yen donated by the R.C. Church for P. of W. His quarters are not far from camp but different and aides served a nice cup of tea. Usual bridge and chess these days.
16/10/42 Couple more deaths last night and today. It’s too bad, but under existing conditions it can’t be helped. Paid the boys again today. Pip, pip.
17/10/42 Constructed a new diary out of odd pages today so I can write a bit more legibly from now on as I have a good sized book rather than a few pages. If I fill the new one before I’m in a position to buy a properly made book I will cease keeping a log as interest in anything will probably have completely lagged by that time. Nothing new, no rumours and haven’t seen a newspaper in weeks.
18/10/42 We are more contented here now as we are not all in one big room, but separated three or four to a room. We are thus able to pool our resources, buy a few food luxuries and make our meals much tastier. Ted Dunderdale sold his watch and by the deal raised some cocoa, sugar, peanut oil and bully beef. HKVDC chaps challenged us to a game of softball today. I am sad to relate they beat us 8-7. My first exercise since fever bout and I was very unsteady. I took a bad spill sliding into second base and lost a lot of skin. Very tired, stiff and sore.
19/10/42 One year ago tonight I saw Marnie for the last time. A couple of hours previously I had said good-bye to Teddy, asleep in his bassinette. Kissed Marnie good-bye on the steps and she ran back to the others in the station. But it’s the same old routine here. 3/4 of an hour on parade for roll call every morning and night, a little while on pay work every day, a shower every afternoon, bridge or chess and a snack every night. Doc Crawford and medical orderlies all got their faces slapped yesterday because they said they were doing their best for the sick and yet Canadians continued to die. I believe the number of deaths since leaving North Point is 25. Ironical.
20/10/42 Canteen in today. I bought some ginger in syrup. I was not fond of it before, but it goes nicely here. Swore off bridge for a couple of weeks, have had a months run of very bad luck, this may change it. A very ordinary day, just one death. To bed early.
21/10/42 All quiet on the Far Eastern Front.
22/10/42 Weather has turned very cold with a terrific gale blowing. I don’t know how we will stand a Canadian winter as we shiver and shake and find it impossible to get warm although the temperature is actually at about 65F. Must be due to dampness and our poor physical condition. Spent most of the day in bed under blankets and am still cold.
23/10/42 HKVDC being cleared out of the Jubilee Building today. Rumours are rampant, but we think it is to be used as a hospital. The huts they are moving to are very crowded so a further move of the same kind is expected. The first messages of any type from Canada arrived today. There were about 40 in all and all but four were for the R.R. Two of our privates got messages and there were messages for two of our chaps killed. Balance were for R.R. including several of their officers. There must be more in the offing. Would sure like to get one although they are only 20 word Red Cross stereotyped forms and they are dated late in March or early April. Only one actual letter arrived and it was for a Rifleman, addressed to Force “C”, Japan. Some dizzy person took a chance and it worked. Messages for the killed showed that our casualty list hadn’t reached home 3 months after the surrender.
24/10/42 Troubles continue. Scrape from ball game on my leg has become infected and I can hardly walk. Hot fomentations and dressings every hour. Remark about food: Canned milk has become so expensive we have had to forego it. So a typical breakfast is rice with a sweet sauce made of sugar, water and browned flour; clear tea. Lunch will comprise of rice and some vegetables fried in peanut oil, a 5 oz. bun ( our daily ration of bread) and clear tea. Supper will be rice and a stew made of bully mutton or perhaps sardines (the last two items we have to buy through the canteen) and tea. Occasionally, very occasionally, an extra flour ration together with flavouring etc. bought from the canteen we can have little cookies (once a pudding) or a meat pie. A delicacy these days are inferior corn fritters made from canteen bought canned corn, a flour paste and fried in peanut oil. Very primitive, but tasted like nectar from heaven. Of course we augment this menu with little individual purchases, for instance a small portion of catsup has made life worth living for me again. Fish is an occasional issue.
25/10/42 The 25th seems to be a fateful day for W.G.’s One year ago we left Winnipeg. 10 months ago we surrendered. Today, Hong Kong was bombed by about a dozen large bombers. Everybody was very excited. We couldn’t see the markings so don’t know if R.A.F. or U.S.A. A few skeptics like myself think possibly only just Jap manoeuvres, but several fires were noticed and our restrictions are stricter. Also, black-out enforced. So it seems as if the raid was the real thing. It happened at 3:30 p.m. and it was followed by a larger raid at 1:30 a.m. I hope airmen realize the former British barracks are being used as a prison camp. The Jubilee Building is definitely being used as a hospital. A wise plan as it’s much dryer and more sanitary than the huts.
26/10/42 No air raids today. One of our room-mates was taken from us today. Ted Dunderdale’s swab showed him to be a “Dip” carrier so he is now with the other “isolationists”. A W.G. died today, the first in three days. My leg is still very sore. The last couple of nights were long gloomy affairs. No lights, so can’t play cards. Our main diversion is to discuss the amount and quality of food we will consume when we get home. Believe me Marnie, your pumpkin pies will have to be a real success the day any of these Western chaps call for a meal. Our rooms are gloomy enough at any time as there isn’t a pane of glass left in camp after we withdrew from the mainland last December. Chinese looters removed all the wood removeable. This included window frames and sashes, doors, door frames, cupboards etc. Not bad with the lights on at night, but in daytime, pretty terrible.
27/10/42 Anniversary of departure from Canada and last contact with relations when Eleaner, Art, Audrey and Paul dropped me at my Vancouver hotel. Canteen this morning so bought extras for November. To give an idea of how little we get I will give a few examples of prices and please remember that after messing and other contributions are made I have a scant 20 yen left for smokes etc. Average size pork and beans 2 yen, small bottle of honey 2.20 yen, medium catsup 1.65 yen, 12 oz. Jam 1.20 yen, tin of pineapple .90 yen, 1 lb of salt 1.10 yen, butter per pound 15.00 yen (needless to say we don’t buy any butter or margarine which is about 8.00 yen.) So you see we can’t buy much. Our mess fees are used to buy mainly the following: bully beef or mutton @ 2.80 yen per lb, tinned herring @ 3.25 for less than a pound and a few spices. These make the heavier parts of the meals better. One more death today. Blackout still in effect.
28/10/42 Quiet night but a noisy (effect unknown) air raid takes place just before noon. Japanese say they are Chinese planes.
Editors Note: The diary ended abruptly on the 28th of October 1942. The author, Capt. Edward Louis Terry was sent from Shamshuipo prison camp on November 11 to Bowen Road Hospital due to the serious leg infection. He died there three days later on the 14th of November 1942. The first official notification of his death was received by his widow Marjorie R. Terry (Marnie) shortly after July 2, 1943 and it listed the cause of death as heart failure, but the date of death as unknown. On July 8th, a revised notification was mailed from the Cdn. Dept. Of National Defence listing the cause of death as dyphtheria and the date of death as Nov. 14, 1942. Now it is known that his death resulted from the leg infection exacerbated by the lack of antibiotics and malnutrition.