Wednesday, 19 August 2015

20.8.45. Very hot fine day. Porridge & sugar breakfast. Jones invited Jack Wilson & I to a curry tiffin & I enjoyed it exceedingly, & was glad to find I could tuck away a really large quantity without undue discomfort in the tummy. All the same I required no meal at five o’clock & didn’t eat our first issue of camp cake made of ground rice (155lbs), ground beans (45lbs), bran (10lbs), sugar (55lbs) & some yeast. Am already putting on weight, 118lbs today. I didn't record that, under orders, I shaved off my beard last Friday morning 17th which I have had continuously since Dec 18th 1941 when I was wounded, except for the one occasion I took it off to take the Longinus part in the Passion Play at Easter 1943. I shall never enjoy having to shave. About half a dozen fighter planes swooped down this morning & one packet of chocolate & some six packets of Philip Morris cigarettes dropped into camp. One came low enough to get a clear view of its marking – a white star on a circular blue background. The Japanese have not fulfilled their promise to send in supplies of European food & today the matter was raised with Mr Zindel who visited the camp with Matsuda (Cardiff Joe). They promised to take the matter up. I believe Matsuda was given a genuine handshake – he is working in the foreign affairs bureau now, which is a typical Japanese move in view of the fact that he showed himself more friendly than the others during the imprisonment, & even got into trouble with his own people for it. Fifty people went to Stanley today, including Hammy. Sent a chit to Sandbach & one to John15. Hope to hear from them this evening. Later. When the people from Stanley got back we were all delighted to hear their reports that the women & children, especially the latter, were in pretty good fettle. Most of the atrocity stories we had heard are apparently untrue – for instance the one about Fraser the Defence Secretary being burnt alive is replaced by the cleaner story that he was shot. Of course they’ve had other troubles than ours by reason of having women & kids about, but they have had compensations in having better quarters, more space & facilities for swimming. Several fathers saw their children for the first time. They looked like a happy Bank Holiday crowd arriving home, tired out & happy. Bus broke down near Wong Nei Cheong & many had to walk to Repulse Bay Hotel to meet the other one returning for them. We had heard that Nomura had been particularly nasty to women & kids whenever he went out there, but it seems the story is quite untrue. Long chat with Dick & a good concert late in the evening in the main road. We have been promised a good short wave receiving set for tomorrow. Our public loud speaker is not very successful, fading etc. Wireless news is being misquoted about the place & some take a gloomy view as to very early release. Apparently there is still some more signing to do in Japan. I rest absolutely content myself.

15.John Angwin, a friend in Hong Kong with whose sister in Cornwall Carrie & Jenifer lived for some time during the War.

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