Saturday, 15 August 2015

16.8.45. Fine day, but heavy showers at midday. Most people found it difficult to get to sleep last night, & for me I found that the quantities of beans we had eaten yesterday made for an uncomfortable tummy & sleeplessness. Quite early this morning we heard they had got the paper in the other camp carrying the news of the Imperial Rescript concerning Japan’s surrender on the basis of the Potsdam Ultimatum. The remaining sceptics as to the news surrendered too. Immediately people started to pass to & fro between the two camps quite freely. On parade as usual at 8am & instead of Col White being alone in front of us he had Cmdr.Vernall & Cyril Owen the interpreter. Lt Wada11 & Kiteyama approached wearing grins, but noticing the change, looked sombre. Anyhow White asked Wada into the office, while Kiteyama carried on with the count. He went. Later we learned they had asked point blank whether the rumour that the war was over was correct. Poor old Wada hedged, confirmed & denied nothing and said he had no instructions. He must have had an uncomfortable time. Later in the morning we had the full text of the Imperial Rescript translated & read out quietly in each hut, plus reports of all the cabinet meetings held in Tokyo leading up to it. So that is that at long last. I don’t know what our gallant Colonel Eric Mitchell thinks now of his recent prophecy that we wouldn’t get out before the end of next year. Barnett too said to Pete yesterday that we “might be out in three months”. Porridge breakfast this morning, & Pete held quite a tiffin party today. He had a tin of HampĂ© reserved for his birthday next month, & decided to have it today together with two tins of Red Cross parcel tomatoes. Hammy & Hobbs were invited. However Hammy chipped in a tin of Red Cross biscuits, tin of cheese & tin of meat paste, & so Charley Matthews & Jumbo Smith12 joined us. It was a damn fine lunch. Early afternoon Wada was in for another conference with White, & unofficially admitted the war was over. Col White requested to see Tokunaga immediately, said we would do no more parades for them, or night watches either. Requested food & clothing to be sent in, sentries kept outside the wire etc. Wada said Tokunaga was busy at the Governor's Office. So we must await the next move. I am sure Carrie will be expecting a message from me soon, but I reckon it may easily be a few days before we are relieved, or even a week or two. Yet H.Kong I imagine means a lot one way & another, so maybe it will be very soon. We are now (late in the day) promised lights until 10.30pm, a newspaper etc. White told Wada that we did not wish to see Nomura in Camp as he was not liked & “we could not understand his English very well”. I wish Cardiff Joe had been asked for as we all liked him. Kiteyama is to carry on as interpreter. It would be impossible to record all the casual & cheery conversations of the day. Just marvellous it has been. I spent the evening with Dick in the other camp – no-one to say us nay now. Small fires & cooking everywhere – they had had a double ration of rice today with sweet potato & oil as a chow fan. Then there was a great “sing” in the main road ending with God Save the King at about 10pm. After we piped down I was almost immediately asleep for the first time in some while. No evening parade today – the sort of little thing that indicates a big difference.

            11.Camp Commandant.            12.Fellow batmen


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