Monday, 17 August 2015

18.8.45. Close steamy day. Ceremony of hoisting the Union Jack in camp was held at 8am with a full parade & band. O God our help, & the National Anthem were sung. It was very affecting & I should have cried had I tried to sing. An emotional moment and an unforgettable occasion. Plenty of cooking salt came in this morning – at least two months former rations. Also a record quantity of fresh meat – 550lbs. Porridge breakfast with all my sugar; rice & a tin of Pete's sardines & tomato juice for tiffin. Church & Alec Black, technicians released from Stanley a week ago, came to the gate today. I couldn’t get there but Church looks well. Horrible stories of events at Stanley – if correct then we just haven’t seen a thing. Tokunaga & Zindel in for a long conference today with our people. We have a wireless set in camp, & will try to make or get a transmitter. Yeung, the Secretary of HK & Yaumati Ferry Coy has put himself at the service of the camp & we now have two lorries & a launch at our disposal. So we are beginning to get somewhere. Several reunions between husbands & wives between the two gates of the camp – mostly Portuguese – very good to see, & very sad too in one case where the man was minus a leg. They brought in a lorry of pumpkins this afternoon, whilst two of our lorries are out looking for good food. I do hope they find Red Cross parcels which have such varied contents. We know that the Dairy Farm was handed back to European staff a few days ago, & all milk is sent to Stanley. Relatives & friends are coming freely to the compound at the gate & we are hearing many things. The town is quite desolate it seems, and there are very few habitable houses, certainly for Europeans. Pete saw his girl for some hours, & there is no doubt they have all been through a long & horrible experience. Town & Stanley stories leave no doubt that the most cruel & horrible atrocities have been committed by the Japanese on all & sundry. It would seem that we POW, relatively speaking, haven’t seen or suffered a thing. Torture & starvation have been the order of the day, & it is good to think that the day of retribution has come. White has demanded to know the whereabouts & state of health of all officers who have been taken out of camp, & I fear an ugly story is about to be told. Our greatest thrill happened at 5pm when about twenty (American?) fighters appeared & scattered leaflets all over the camp. They were not high, but also not low enough for our liking, but we waved & shouted. I got one of the leaflets. Hurrah. Incidentally the message on it to POW & Internees immediately modified the Staff’s attitude to the Japanese – & quite properly I think. Our food foraging party under Major Ryan RA which had made arrangements to stay overnight at the Peninsula Hotel, returned to camp instead. It had secured a wireless receiving set, a little evaporated milk & a few other trifles. However plenty of peanut oil has been found in the Japanese store in the camp – 16 large drums which is more than we require, & also 2000lbs of excellent white sugar. Why these things were never issued will never be known, and only a fortnight ago we were glad to get an ounce each from the drain sump. Lights were on to any old hour tonight, & the freedom to move about within camp bounds is just wonderful. Beef tea in evening.


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