Tuesday, 18 August 2015

19.8.45.Sunday. Warm close day. Porridge & sugar breakfast, rice & good meat & root veg stew for tiffin. Rice, oil & sugar for tea. News is getting through on the wireless now, & a loud speaker is being rigged. Issue of ¾lb sugar & 1lb of oil today – & not too particular in the store when we weighed it out either. What a change. When the issue was (say) 3¼ ounces per man we had to be careful of the last spoonful for a whole hut. Many conferences going on today. It is evident that the Japanese are making no bones about the surrender in this part of the world, & one suspects they must have been very near the end of their tether in making believe that the Colony was still in running order. Many further gruesome stories of atrocities, & the activities of the Gendarmerie. Among our lesser delights is the ability to have tea to drink at almost any hour of the day, – good strong tea too; no more secrecy about news; ability to check up on what we hear; throw away butt ends as we’ve had an issue of 12 packets of reasonably good local cigs. It is all too good. A postscript in a card from Stanley says they have seen the British Navy. Bugle calls in camp are just music to the ear, and I wish dear old Dad were still alive for me to tell him so too. I do hope that soon we shall be able to get cables away to our dear ones – I know that Carrie will be excited & longing to get one. And then for air mail letters. Probably she will already have been able to get one in the post & it will be here before we leave the camp. Concert in the road again tonight, with flood lighting. It is an alfresco sort of life for the moment & extremely pleasant. The big-wigs of the camp managed to get to Stanley & back today, & brought back many messages, one of which I got from Sandbach13. Said all well out there & early re-union is the universal hope. Listened to the wireless relayed from San Francisco – poor reception but gathered that the wording of the Emperor’s Rescript conferring peace on the world is not popular, & that the Japanese have run true to form in procrastinating at the last minute. Nevertheless they have come to Manila to sign on the dotted line. Even tonight people were fearfully asking you whether you were still confident about the war being over. They give me a pain. It might take a few days longer than one might have expected – but then we are dealing with the Japanese, & whoever knew them to do anything at the appointed time or in the usual manner. Relatives with one another all day at the gate – there was even some dancing. It is a fact that more than one former cook-boy has turned up to see the old boss, also office clerks, works foremen etc. I believe the Chinese in town are jubilant & our chaps who have been out in the lorries were cheered all the way. Novikov14 went out today with special permission I think to see his wife who had to go into hospital. He said the town is in a very horrible condition, gone to rack & ruin. It depressed him.

            13.Revd J.E.Sandbach, Methodist Minister     14.Fellow HKVDC batman


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