Friday, 28 August 2015

29.8.45. A wonderful red letter day in my life when I visited the Stanley Internment Camp. Up early & had porridge breakfast & a shave & then about 200 of us fell in & got on a good sized boat & made a very pleasant journey of over two hours via Green Island to Stanley. It rained a bit but it was pleasant. We got a royal welcome. These people at Stanley in spite of having had visitors for about ten days, just made you feel as though they hadn’t seen anybody but you in years. Lambert got hold of me & I had tiffin with them. They share a room with Mr & Mrs Wyllie of the Dairy Farm. Later I saw Swan, & he took me round to the bombed bungalow & to the cemetery. There were names on some headstones that I was surprised to see. And so round to see various ones, meeting others on the way. Many handshakes & short conversations. To Tweed Bay hospital where I saw Ann Rogers, Fisher, Miss Davies, Miss Riley, & several others. What cramped quarters they have had, & what spirit they have shown. Absolutely wonderful. How the others, too, have lived mixed up together six in a room is remarkable. Yet take Willie & Jane Lambert. They have sold all their valuables to buy food, and to see them now sharing their ration with you is quite astounding. It seems to me to have brought out the best in them, & I couldn’t have been made more welcome had I been their son. Saw John late in the afternoon. Poor old boy was I think a bit piqued that I hadn’t got to him sooner. But he has been through it, & as good as dead at one time. Early on he got sprue & for a couple of years was very unwell. I counselled him to get out of the Colony for recuperation as soon as could be. Had the great thrill just after tiffin of seeing parachute supplies dropped from a large twin engined plane. Oh the cheers & the excitement. Mostly medical comforts & then a little food. Saw Ernest & Marie Sandbach. He has been a tower of strength there. Had tea with Hey & Elsie Gelling. Hey looks reasonably well & Elsie quite so. People just simply couldn’t do enough for you & when the time came to leave again they thronged down to the pier to cheer us away. There are naturally I suppose, some scandals at Stanley, but generally people must have got a very good grip of themselves to have been able to carry on at all in conditions which so much lacked comfort & privacy. Forgot to say that the day cracked off at dawn with the sound of many planes & a little later fighters were swooping down & skimming our hut roofs in grand style. Likewise in the course of our voyage to Stanley they gave us a great show – in fact there seemed to be planes everywhere. In the early evening those at Stanley with binoculars & telescopes had distinguished naval vessels including Aircraft Carriers together with transports over under the Lema Islands. I arrived back in camp very well pleased with my day. Parachute supplies had been dropped here much as at Stanley, & we heard that Admiral Harcourt intended to come ashore in Hong Kong tomorrow at noon. Life is very topsy turvy in regard to the hours we keep, & we are living on our nerves a great deal. There will be a reaction when we get settled somewhere.

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