Despite being shipped to Japan in the summer of 1944, the diary does not start again until July 1945. What happened in that year is unknown. I’m sure that my grandfather was at the same camp for most if not all the time he was in Japan. Perhaps there was no writing material. Why didn’t he write during that first year? Why did the diary start just a month before the Americans dropped the Atom bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki? He arrived in Japan on the 28th of August 1944. According to the POW record card I found at the National Archives in Kew, London, he was transported from Singapore on the 15th of June 1944. This causes one problem as the date of the admonition given at Havelock Road in Singapore upon their departure was the 17th of June. One other problem is that the date of the POW record card shows that my grandfather was transferred to a POW camp in Osaka on the 28th of August 1944. The journey from Singapore to Japan can’t have taken over two months, so I’m unsure about the date of arrival in Japan. It is most likely that he arrived in Japan and was then held at another camp or camps before being transported onto the final destination camp in Osaka. However in the diary again this date is thrown into doubt as the entry on the 28th of August states, “arrived in Japan over a year ago today.” Further to this, on the 31st of August 1944 they arrived at Amagaski at night. So he must have spent some time travelling to the camp in Osaka once they arrived in Japan. If they did arrive on or around the 28th of August, what happened during the two months they left Singapore?
Everybody hungry this morning. Wet day. On for 24 hours up to 12pm. Food as usual. Finger as usual. A new month begins. 346. _____ of gloves.
Up to midnight. Dry. Slept well. Finger same. Food same. Roll on the day _____ _____ 5 mail but none so far. 345.
Air raid. Things as usual no work for _____ of 50. Finger as usual. Noodles for dinner, onions, seaweed, rice continuous. 344.
Big night. Air raid till 5am. Almost had food at 10.30. Just as well too. Lights out in the evening. Day party came back with early day party. Furnace sealed. No night work for us tonight. Noodles tonight. 343.
On tunnel in morning filling in track with sand. Not a bad day. Noodles, fish tonight. 342.
Very bad day. Fever after 16 months. I felt bad. Everybody at work. Factory still not operating. Rice small bowl deadly ration. Finger same. Rheumatic fever I dread. Glad to get in bed. 341.
Holiday at last, but I can’t say that I have enjoyed it. Legs no _____ so had spent all day in bed tossing and turning. Summer so far disappointing. Hot day then a chilly one, then rain, pretty cold nights for July. 340. 20 cigs.
Much better day. Thank the lord working on furnace runway. Worked with easy heart. No pains today. Weather a bit better. Noodles, beans and rice tonight. Pumpkin in stew. Last night carrots. No bread after today. Finger improving. 339. 50 cigs.
_____ up furnace runway again. Heavy work but I enjoyed it today. No bread. Beans, noodles and rice. Weather hot. Shoes bad state. Meal better tonight. Cigs _____. Fever seems to have gone. 338.
Very busy day. On regular job this afternoon. No bread. Rice and veg today. Feel 100% better. 40 cigs. Finger better but slow. B.B much better. Days move on. 337.
July 11th – Wednesday
On for 24hrs today. Weather sultry and hazy. Very common here. Rain round about 6pm tonight. On regular job. Work _____ furnace not yet fully ready. RN & cucumber for the two evening meals. Feel much better. 2 air raid warnings. Did _____ salt. Finger improving. Pack of tea at last. 336.
Still wet. _____ for breakfast. Still no bread. _____ came round after 2pm asked about preference for bread or rice, also salt. Work easy. Still raining at 6 tonight. _____ yaki _____ - _____ allright. Chilly tonight. 335.
The good old day. Dry. Breakfast good. Long raid. Very chilly. Did not eat till 2.30. Slept very well till 3. Up once. Cabbage tonight. The midnight meal very unappetising. Cold rice, carrot tops. Raid at 9 and 11.30. B.B coming up again but thumb improving rapidly. A quiet 13th. 334.
Raid, 12.30-2 roughly. Not so chilly as last night. Slept very well. Up once. Slept till 3. Cabbage stew. Weather dull. No raids. Rice, cabbage. A bit chilly. 333.
Raid. Quiet night. Slept well – good dinner. Noodles, dough boy, rice and pastie for midnight meal. Early raid. Short one. Weather dry. B.B again. 332.
3 raids after 12. Good evening meal. Pasty. 1st _____ had very good. Pumpkin good. Hot night. Slept well today. On days tomorrow. 331.
Busy day. Furnace trouble downstairs. Wet day. Evening meal good. Pastry noodles, _____ in bad condition. 330. Air raid last night.
Downstairs on furnace. Good day. Finished early. 3 raids last night. Food definite improvement. Feel good these days. B.B going. Finger improving. Work easier don’t feel so tired now. 329.
Same work. Easy day _____ ____ _____. Steady weather. Chilly. Surprisingly so _____ of my _____ for the past 3 days. 328.
Wet day. Same job. Stomach bad. Colic I think. Glad to see bed. Flour issue - some doughboy. Got afternoon off. 327.
Busy day on furnace. Chilly and wet in barefeet. Feel bad. Cut noodles at night. Doughboy and rice for midnight meal. Browned off today. Stomach much better. 326.
Busy night. Really browned off. Worked till 6. Glad to finish. No raid. Bath then bed. Yasmi tonight. Raid about 1 hr or so. Pasty tonight. Food has been better lately. 325. Enjoyed Yasumi
Slept most of it. Pasty _____ good. Did some washing. Slept fairly well last night. Weather chilly for July. Up to midnight things quiet. Furnace working now so back on old job. 324.
Raid just before 6. Raids all morning. 80 cigs stolen. Soup, tea – biggest loss. If only I could catch him. Makes one feel so rotten. Spoilt the day. Exciting day too. Still I must carry on I suppose. 8 cigs issued tonight. Stew, pumpkin _____ _____ and _____. Weather really chilly for July. I have offered next 3 cig issues for information regarding the thieving. Had weight taken yesterday. 56kg. Dropped 5kg since coming here.
2 raids after 12 but short. I _____ wet. I feel cold more because of Thailand? Perhaps. Good sleep. Reconciled to my loss. Dinner not so good. No salt. Pastry and pumpkin. Fairly busy tonight _____ from 8-12 then. Steve Birthday. 322.
Very busy tonight. 2 raids. _____ really told off last night. Good bath. Good sleep. Cleaned up after 3rd _____ etc! 321.
Weather good. Not too heavy a day. Did salt. Black rice and beans tonight. Some pumpkin. 320.
Weather sunny – air raid in morning. Parade on and off all day. Easy day. Beans and rice. Tonight’s meal good. Dough boy now – no noodles. Tiffin rice sour. 319. Cigs issued. Beans and rice.
Good. Steady. Did not feel so hungry today. Weather good. 2 raids. Good meal tonight. Beans and pasty. 218. Slept better. The other nights have been bad. The fleas.
_____ in morning a matter of water bottle being emptied on round. We got our breakfast in a rush – good day on whole. Raid. Factory staff organising salt for everybody so we should get some salt now. Fleas are terrible at nights. Glad to get on night shift. 317.
Weather good. Work ok. Finger big improvement _____ _____ _____. Stomach trouble which cleared up in afternoon. No pasty tonight _____ instead of flour. Fairly good but miss the pasty. 316.
Started 24 hours this morning. Good weather. Miss the flour. Busy day. Cigs issued without 2 meals. 10 per man. Rice and stew. Beans and cucumber for midnight meal. Not very appetising. Salt this morning also tonight. Very welcome. ____ back to camp about 8 pretty bad I rekon. Very thin the past few days. 315. Replaced by Chick W Heatly.
Slept till 3. Up once. Beans, pumpkin stew. Same for midnight. Nippon doctor in camp. Sun hot. Weather better, not so misty. Rain seems to have stopped. Very busy _____ on _____. Very tired. No raids. Cigs 60. 314.
Slept well again. Up at 3. Diarrhoea started. Big outbreak in camp. Beans separate tonight. Toilet 3 times in 1st half hour. Going to be a bad night. Still hope for the best. Cigs 40. M.O. inspected sick.
No more ______ - but work hard. Fight with _____ bad show. Banged my eye, left one. Finger great improvement. Nail growing. Beans for breakfast. Slept very well. Very hot night and day. Same food again tonight. Beans to finish I believe. No raids. 313.
A raid at 12. Very short, much easier night. Stomach ache but _____. No bath, straight to bed. Very hot these nights. Beans stopped. Noodles and flour issued. Pastry _____ more _____ sick now. Easy night. Raid at 10 so we had food. 312.
Raid finished 3 or so. Downstairs. Furnace trouble again. Worked till 6. Good bath. Soap, razor blade. Did not try to sleep. Read, shaved etc. Very hot. 2 raids during night. Rice and _____ only stew. Very hot. 311. Rice cut.
Hot night. No _____. 2 raids. Sun hot. Still a lot of diarrhoea. I am doing pretty well now. Nail growing. Tiffin good. Evening bad. Just in bed. Called out. Cancelled. 2 sections called out halfway to factory. Cancelled. Hot night. Mats have been lifted. Fleas worse than ever.
Yasu today. All right too. Spent on back. Food same. Rice and pumpkin stew.
½ pint. Amazing how we manage. 2 raids last night on _____. Steve did it again. Days roll by pretty fast. Salt 1 in 3 days now. 310.
On furnace _____ _____ downstairs every day. 1 raid. Food as usual. Furnace off for a while. 309.
On furnace again. Easy day on whole but tired. Tiffin as usual. Good evening meal. Stew beans and rice. Weather good. 308.
Started 24 hour today. Heavy work. Food as usual. Very hot work on furnace. Beans and rice. Pumpkin. Weather hot. Fairly steady up to 12. No raids. Food as usual. Potatoes in camp. 307.
Good night. Finished 12. Slept till 5. Breakfast _____ _____. Beans and veg tonight. Busy up to 12. So far very busy. Nip inspection on camp. No _____. 306.
_____ out now. Finished at 3.30. Rice, veg. Very quiet night. No raid. Good evening meal. Potato, beans. Potatoes good on _____. Moving furnace ready not going yet. Steve on Yasumi. Weather very hot _____ on and off. 303.
Good night. Slept till 5am. Bath, bed. Slept well but several raids. Potatoes at night. Busy up till 11am. Furnace will be ready in 1 hr or so. 304.
Slept till 3. Then downstairs for 1hr then up on old job. Wood and coke in furnace. _____ for breakfast. Hot day. Felt tired. Potatoes again tonight. 303.
Easy going till 12. A little busier after that. 303. Swim in afternoon.
Steady night. Bath. Pop for breakfast, poor. Excitement in camp still _____ tonight very close. Very tense atmosphere. 302.
Fairly busy day. Very hot. Tense atmosphere. Rumour after good meal. What tension. Tonight it’s over they say. _____ off again. Stiff aching _____. 301.
Bad night, but what a morning. All ready for work – then stayed in – it’s over. We shook hands on it anyway. At last. What a day. 300. In afternoon _____ announced its over. We gave one cheer, short thanksgiving service. Section leaders on about food but we must wait. We have decided to _____ _____ tomorrow’s tiffin tonight so we can have a bigger meal tonight. I cannot explain my feelings it’s so hard. How pleased they will be at home. But food it must be admitted is first consideration of everyone. Was very hot. Nips attitude in factory was certainly _____ we do not yet know the actual time of war finishing yet. Section leaders still on about grub. Interpreter _____ with section leaders but stood still up to present really amazing. To bed. See what tomorrow brings. Took _____ _____
Reveille 6am. Now _____. Davis took roll call in British fashion. Breakfast – 1 small bowl rice, ½ of potatoes, seaweed went on water. Truck _____ to factory – strange to walk about and know that we are free. Although we shall not really realise it till the yanks come. Factory Kancho/Honcho tried to be funny but we refused everything he said. Saw our no.2 give him a bow. A strange atmosphere. Our tiffin the same but rations gone up to 650gms. Still on same food but I _____ we can wait a little longer. P.T. in afternoon before dinner. Short service. P.S. of boots at last. BOOTS! Rice _____. We have been promised more kit etc. Meanwhile we had singsong after tonight’s lights out 9pm. What will tomorrow bring? _____ gave out news in the hut. He has been a Godsend to the men. We hold our own roll calls now. He said war finished at 1pm on 15th. Paddy _____ stopped Nip from bashing one of our lads. Nothing happened after.
Slept better last night, in fact to 6. Breakfast smaller than yesterday. No potatoes. _____ rice, a few potatoes in soy sauce. P.T. A general complaint about rations. Section leaders got Davis to see C.C. Food not so good. Red rice or rather millet is very poor quality indeed. Davies gave result of interview in afternoon. We got 15 cigs and swim our _____ did good. C.C. said he was in dark and awaiting orders to see what to do with us. It’s the food that's annoying the boys. War finished 3 days ago and we are getting less – no veg. Saw some planes in afternoon. We were all sure that they were USA. Yanks should be here soon. Concert tonight as roll call _____. Our chief cook asked if anyone had a match. The Nips had none. What a country – not even a match.
Still we wait our activity. Saw heavy bombers. Must have been USA. P.T. again. Rice and potatoes for tiffin. Rice and seaweed. Breakfast. In afternoon, swim. Won 3 cigs in sidestroke race. Bill Walker beat me by ½ stroke. Very good. I did not think I would make it. Very hot. Wireless on in afternoon. We picked up _____ _____ and mention several _____ things happening now lots aerial activity. ______ paper for _____. Tired after swim. We are still hanging on _____ but provisions still.
Sun hot. Did some sun bathing. Rice and seaweed for breakfast – slept well – must be content in mind – not working, resting all day yet manage to sleep. _____ about tiffin but it was issued later so we had it in afternoon. _____ of medical kit issued _____ rations increased. Oil, flour, salt, big meal tonight. Noodles - 1 big bowl, 1 small of rice, potatoes, soup. Things are changing. We are getting what we want now. Good swim in afternoon. Swimming out a distance when called in. Rumour of shark which turned out to be dead fish. Everybody in high spirits now. Food makes all the difference. Meal good, at least big, but we want taste now. No concert tonight.
Big day. Plenty food, free ______ _____ stores. Hot weather. At least got rid of hunger feeling at last. Red letter day. Kit issue. K.P. longs and jacket, towel _____ soap, toothpaste, brush, shirts. Things are moving. Good swim in afternoon ______ _____. Plane expected day after tomorrow with Red Cross and instruction council. Supper, roll and tea, no more hunger anyway.
Slept very well. Blown out in _____ _____ and sugar – getting veg and fish today. Weight 59kg. Factory now doing water. Fatigues, razor blades, jacket and ½ Gillette. Roof painted for tomorrow. 2 Jap happies fixed up a bit. Lads more excited now, food situation different, but we want taste now. Grapes tonight amazing. Pumpkin and _____ in. They are paying attention now. Someone took window frames. All attention now, the nips. Slight diarrhoea, otherwise feeling good. Did not swim today. Razor blades issued, ½ packets of Gillette. Typhoon expected.
Slept outside till 4.30am then slight rain, so inside till before reveille. Up, wash, shave with new Gillette blades. Ground share busy. Tonight making hold all. P.T. Everybody on _____ but day dull. 12 planes did come over, but no big display. Rain in afternoon heavy and squally. Lights out _____ times tonight. Nips apologised. Grapes in again tonight. Rice, potato, pumpkin. Fried _____, fish paste, rice meal. Putting on weight. On sea front for 1hr before dinner. No swim tonight. So we are all anxious again for tomorrow. C.C. told Davis that _____ out committees have been arranged for U.S. and British troops he no longer says _____. Made hold all. No roll call. Great expectations for tomorrow from the air. Feeling good. Like to get word home now. Rain heavy afternoon and Steve on tables. Percy and John moved.
Very bad night – real typhoon weather. Large pieces of the roof blown off. Gate blown down – rather symbolic – cleared up in middle of night. Wash – shave, P.T. Swim before breakfast. Nice morning. Great expectations today, but no aircraft. Cloudy towards tiffin – in water 3 times today. Lads _____ fishing – we just walk in and out of camp when we wish now. Meat in this morning. Had pasty tonight. More grapes. Factory hands came in to fix roof first thing this morning. Some of the P.W. was blown of last night – no planes - _____ day so we must wait till tomorrow _____. C.C. said weather stopped planes so here’s too tomorrow. Still hard to believe I am free. More meat in tonight, decent amount this time. Meat tonight. Beans, potato, rice, pumpkin, pasty. Putting on weight. Water trucks running tonight they were off this morning and afternoon. Made _____ today – well till tomorrow.
Slept in hut last night – ground damp. Tired, slept well. Weather still boisterous. Shave, wash, P.T. swim. Breakfast _____ bread. Effort – sea rough but good swim. Slept in afternoon - tired. It’s marvellous to walk along the quay naked with gentle warm wind and occasional salt spray. Bread, rice, veg, pumpkin, pasty. Picked up souvenir from dump. No planes again today, but weather improving. Lads impatient. Grapes this morning. Factory hands repairing hot wells today. Big dinner tonight. Potato, pumpkin, meat gravy, miso gravy, beans, large meat and potato pasty – I am putting on weight all right. Sleeping outside tonight – tomorrow should be the day.
A year ago today I arrived in Japan. I never in all my childhood dreams thought I should spend a year in Japan. Last night rain before 12 so came in, waited a few minutes then out again. Then back in again once more, so stayed in this time. Slept very well – a lot of lads upset with wind etc. Weather cleared up in morning, P.T. swim etc. Feeling good. Several aircraft over in morning. But the afternoon was the time. A 4-engine plane swooped over camp. It looked beautiful – all silver with P.W supplies in black paint. Plane dropped message, which somehow was not read out before the plane circled over again. It came towards camp at about 150ft and dropped parachute. I kept well to side fortunately for the para did not open properly and the drums crashed down seriously injuring 5 men and minor injuries to several others. A great pity. First aid was rendered and plane came over for 2nd time. Many of the containers burst. A lot of the stuff was rendered useless. The excitement was terrific. (Bently _____ queer _____).
We carted stuff into camp. Food, cigs, boots, clothing, medical supplies etc, what a mess the camp is in. Excitement amazing. But the tragedy of those men overshadows things. Nips for once get moving and they were rushed to hospital. Last bulletin reports they are doing aswell as can be expected. Tom Whitly may lose his foot. Meal tonight – MU pots – beans and peaches and milk – NO RICE – a grand meal sir a grand meal. A good pair of boots for a change. The men with large feet had the best chance. Good wind beater – overalls – towel – choc – cigs – matches – toothbrush, socks. Matches caused as much excitement as anything. Cocoa tonight at 9. The hut in a terrible mess. Nips amazed at supplies. Today our first contact with allies. How we have waited. 13th day since we finished.
Had to move into hut at 5am as rain started – slept very well. Breakfast after work. Did not swim as I had fresh water wash and salt water makes one so sticky. Small bowl of porridge or oats actually. Also 1 small tin between 2 of US army field ration. Small packet of porridge, coffee for a pint, 4 lumps sugar, few sweets, 4 biscuits, very neat affair. Straightened out my kit a bit. Then down to beach, got a book to read. Also 2 biscuits for breakfast, or rather bread and fruit salad, which was marvellous. Swim before dinner. Pots, rice, stew, leeks. In afternoon went down to factory for some para-drop which landed 6km from camp. Most of it smashed, still we got it back – clothing and tins, cigs etc. Dinner, fish _____ potatoes, stew – m.v. – choc roll – so heavy half lads did not eat them. Poor effort. Cocoa at 9 with _____ of field ration between 2 again. Saw a few snags. Great to see some decent books. Lads doing well in hospital. Whitly to lose foot I believe. Lads a bit easier now as we feel that we have not been forgotten. Another towel – socks – US jacket.
Slept outside last night – very tired, did not move till about 5.15am. Shave etc. Breakfast had a real “do” over the pap. I saw _____ it was a disgrace – cookhouse suddenly dished out large tin fruit per man. Not long after breakfast the old plane came over put light – warning light we assumed – so we all gathered at waters edge – plane circled several times to get best position I expect. It eventually approached from the dead south i.e. at right angles to our camp. Flew straight over old factory ruins released para-drop onto hillside – only one burst the rest we gathered. Nips carried – for a few fags – changed days eh! Para – green, red, white, blue and red. A grand picture as they came down. All food this time - £70 worth of chewing gum. More cigs than lads can smoke – I got my choco all right – not like ours. Great excitement again. Dozens of Nip kids round camp. We gave them lots of stuff – they are clearing up the camp now. Davis went to hosp. Lads doing well. Hosp. no food so we sent plenty. Got a small radio gram tonight – only 2 Nip records. _____ to Hosp. _____ and fish, no rice. Tiffin or _____ marvellous to taste chicken etc. What we have missed for 3 ½ years. More lights in hut yesterday. Lots of factory Nips came to see lads tidy ours. 2 honchos coming tomorrow perhaps? Meanwhile we wait for morning – fairly impatient. Yank soap does lather in salt water. Matches by thousands. Tinned rations amazing. Yanks certainly do it well. Kg tin of coffee, sugar, porridge – few sweets, biscuits in one tin.
Slept out till 12.30 then rain chased me in. Slept very well. Breakfast tin ration, tomato juice, fruit, doing well now – weather dull and showery – made kit bag, cleared out latrine – men in hospital doing well. Saw a black widow. Fresh squid tonight – poor fish. American rations really amazing. Cannot get anything on wireless set – we are still waiting for results as regards moving. Soap, shaving cream today. Heavy rain tonight. Collected some para silk. A year ago tonight arrived at Amagasaki.
Raining this morning about 10 – Jock, Alf and I dressed up and went for a walk through the tunnel down to the town and what a town. To think they had the nerve to declare war on U.S. etc. all shops empty – gave away packets of gum and cigs. Went up to see old honcho he was surprised and also embarrassed. I gave 2 packets of cigs. Back to dinner. Then terrific excitement. 2 Red Cross representatives appeared – Swiss – we had tiffin, then one gave us a speech explaining position - _____ smashed country, disorganised – they are looking after 8 camps – H.Q. 3 hours away. Told us to have routine. Going to Manila – Nips clearing camp. Davis has been slow on this point. Relieved everyone this visit. Back to factory in afternoon with cigs, coffee, biscuits, gum, choc etc. Honcho _____ overjoyed he did not know what to say or do. He went mad over matches, really surprised he was – he noticed we were putting on weight. I am now 60kg. Walk back through village. Then dinner. More Red Cross drop. Para. came in today dropped some _____ away _____ more veg in. Lads in hosp. doing well. Heard of 4 Americans being killed in one camp. Roll on Manila. Nips outside very cordial they are glad war is over alright.
Still raining – good long walk in morning – for 1pk Old Gold I got a panama straw hat. Had shave etc. In afternoon took some silk for fashioning _____ _____ all day but US waterproof. We still wait patiently for move. Weight, 60kg. Very tired tonight so to bed early. Expected plane today but weather against it.
Rain this morning. Went for a walk, about 12-14 km. Saw many demobbed. Squad of us had an ice cold drink at sea front café in front of hundreds of Nips. Retraced steps, went into hospital – lads alright. _____ pretty bad – sun got very hot. Felt very tired too. Back to camp just in time for tiffin. Dutch doctor in camp – from _____ camp of 15 _____ 27 men, he visited hospital ship that was sunk. Slept in afternoon, I was tired. Washed about 5, dashed out and got scarf from shop then got a few tomatoes. Heard that PW’s are being moved from Tokyo area – we are next. Had collection of cigs etc for the doc. They have not had any Red Cross yet. Taffy said _____ tomorrow. Plane expected but not yet here. Perhaps tomorrow. Wind last night but cleared up before breakfast.
More rain – spent morning in camp. Felt tired. Red Cross supplies running low. In afternoon walk with Steve and after got some tomatoes and onions. Meet the Nip Sgt and other camp staff – he took us to his house. We had a bottle of Port. Amazing to be sitting there with Nips. Tonight we got rest of breakfast ration – bad organisation. Actually got few sentences on radio this evening. Yank announcer. We are all very impatient but we must hang on I suppose. Taste bacon tomorrow, we drew it tonight. Took _____ along again for scarf.
Weather better this morning. Slept well during night. Weather very hot – a great change. More rice in meals now – tinned food going short. Took slacks to shop for making into shorts – invited to cup of tea and rice flour bun with a pumpkin filling. Very tasty. Walk round to other side of bay. Went to same house as yesterday, he wanted boots changed. Back in afternoon – 2pm. Had just eaten big tiffin, we got large plate of rice onions and fried squid. Very tasty, I got _____ all the same back to camp for evening tea. Heard short broadcast again today. Camp guard left this morning we are on our own now. Camp staff still in village. Lots of Nip soldiers now coming back to village – a little pork tonight and prawns. Everybody impatient _____ _____ almost a fight. Still putting on weight – boil on stomach, common complaint now.
The flying grocer flew over about 9.30am, more excitement too. We were running out of tinned stuff. He circled over area twice then dropped first lot in sea also second load. We ran through tunnel to village got on boat with _____ and Q Bridges. and 4 Nips. B.H got onto boat with Nips but then Bridges had to go off. So on way over Nips tried to bribe me with our own Red Cross food. Had a bit of trouble but by threats and bad Nip eventually got to beach with 5 boxes. All the stuff dropped this time consisted of 1 packet for 5 men for 1 day, enough for 5 days. Taffy starting a bit of discipline row. Swim in afternoon. P ____ had a scrap in afternoon. 3 men fell foul of him over hospital do. Very hot these days. Boil on stomach painful.
New order in Tamaru camp. Parade by units this morning then P.T. I had swim. Out for walk with Steve. Collected scarf and shorts. Heard lads dying of _____ _____. Best breakfast for over 3 ½ years this morning. 2 fried eggs and bacon, with tomatoes, porridge (rice) with _____ cereal, sugar and milk. 1 Pancake and coffee. The best meal for over 3 ½ years without a doubt. Swim in afternoon. Very hot tonight again – I was preparing to sleep out but rain threatening. Heard that Amagasaki is flat. Outside afterall. Letters of thanks from Dutch _____ camp also a handkerchief with all the signatures of camp _____ on. Very good. It is to be raffled tomorrow. The nurses stated they danced, had music, real cigs and choc. I know how they felt.
Slept outside last night. Beautiful night. Rumour of Yank officer coming but by evening no fullfillment. Swim before breakfast and in afternoon otherwise a lazy day. Two Nip M.O. here. We are getting browned off.
Just after breakfast flying grocer came over. A good drop today. All the chutes landed along the tract except 3, which landed on hillside. 1 of them hanging over cliff. I climbed with _____ and with 4 Nips we managed to lower the cases to the ground. One of Nips had to slide down rope and release package at one point where it caught cliff 150ft. All the other packets in camp within 30 mins. Only the 3 on the hill spoiled a prefect drop. So we are ok for food, well in hand. Yank did not come today. A little rain today. Sleeping out tonight I hope. Certainly be glad to move. On beach watching _____ _____ got issued with 5 days US rations.
Good nights sleep – up at 5. Spent morning writing up diary. Taffy fixing to go to _____. Heard on broadcast that 1/3 of P.O.W. evacuated from Nippon. Walk in afternoon for _____ went round factory road and back to camp. Swim. _____ got pear _____ apple fruit from the Honcho. Very nice weather. Still hot. _____ finished. Alf went with Taffy. Alf got BB. I have slight touch.
Wet day, didn’t feel so good. Slight fever. Spent day on and off bed. _____ Alf came back about 9 with news of more photo _____ tomorrow but it will be to late to get _____ of Yanks coming at last. Excitement has certainly risen again. Some new _____ American nurse coming. Will be first white women lads will have seen for over 3½ years.
Slight rain – morning in camp. Felt slightly off this morning. Steve and I went to Honchos house. He gave us apple and bread _____ _____. Back in camp. B.N. officer arrived, the first of our troops we have seen. U.S. doc and nurse expected tonight. Felt bad. No tea. To bed.
September 13th – the good old 13th
Spent a good night – Yanks came just after Breakfast. A nurse (first white women in 3½ years) a doctor, 2 other yanks, 1 British P.O. 1 Brit A.B.S. We got forms to fill in, usual details, then short medical. I slipped into village gave Nip woman big “presents.” Packed kit – took kit bag to luggage truck before tiffin. Not much in it. Travelling light. Taking case in afternoon. Beer at 11.30. 1 ½ bottle per man. We don’t know what to do with the food we have got. I was in first batch to move – 3 o’clock. Numbers 1-100 – 4 cameramen arrived in time to take us leaving camp. Hoffman hoisted _____ an Nip rifle and we marched out singing. Excitement terrific. Marched through village with photographer doubling about taking shots. Gave parcel of food to my seamstress. Waited few minutes for buses then off to Uno for train. At Uno – met some Dutch ex P.O.W. Greatly surprised when our Honcho turned up at station. He shook hands all round. Got on train about six. Plenty of room this time. Had bread, cheese and ham. Settled down for night.
Spent fair night on train, but tired. After dawn we began to see results of U.S. bombing – certainly devastating. Really amazing. Arrived Wakamura 9.30am. Marine Band playing at station. Nurses and doctors. Twenty men onto electric train – 20 min journey to pier where magazines, choc, (off the ice) and coffee were being distributed. Half hour or so wait then onto large barges. 10min trip on sea and we landed on beach of former Jap hotel. More coffee, also stew, bread and jam, coffee _____. We are doing well. Unfortunately, rain started and continued on and off till midnight. Bad luck on U.S. sailor who was injured. Very bad when he got in way of the landing barge drop door. At 7 or so we started on the great clean up. First we deposited kit. _____ in paper bag with valuables etc. Labelled some, also boots and case or packs etc. Got another new number. 691 this time. Number painted on chest with _____. Then _____ shower – soap plenty – this issued with towel – dry then draped with excellent _____ _____ flea powder etc – upstairs – then passed a _____ of M.O. Blood pressure etc then issued with slacks – shirt, vest, pants, socks, collected paper bag and boots. Alf did not get his boots so we carried on upstairs again. (Emergency Dental Centre for any interested.) Food same as before. Choc added. Lined up again for ship designation number etc. All on SS Sanctuary. Then on to find room for check of papers and sending message home. Then to Crime room where we made list of bad treatment etc by Nips, then collected heavy baggage onto invasion barge.
Got to bed about 2am. Hospital ship – really marvellous. Steve in ward across passage – but John, Jimmy and Alf and I together. Air conditioned, shower then pyjamas and slippers – seems unbelievable. Grand cots – super mattress, white sheets, earphones on each bed. Battery plug in for entertainment. Breakfast orange, scrambled egg, toast, some cereal or other. Started on our way about 9.30am, so at last we leave Nippon. Not sorry either.
Typhoon. Wrote letter home. Attended mass. Don’t feel so good. Should be in tomorrow, but doubt it.
Very stormy. Only 2 meals today. Cinema at night. Maureen O’Hara. 10 Gentlemen from West Point.
Much better today – on my feet. _____ ok. Downstairs at night for meal. Sea much calmer. Due in tomorrow. The food tastes wonderful. Alf is on his feet. Steve is ok. Saw cinema on deck.
Doing well. Got to Naha, Okinawa this morning. We are going to fly from here to Manila. Still hot, good weather. Bed patients have already left ship – meal in mess and upstairs cinema on deck then when down in ward another.
On to another ship _____ - a _____ on board by 12 or so. We met _____ _____ some of 122nd. Good food. Two meals ok.
Breakfast at 6am bad _____. Slept afternoon. Next meal 7. Then cinema show. A big crush on this boat allright – still as long as we get there that’s the main thing.
Breakfast at 6. Dinner 3.30. That’s all. Could do with another meal. Sailed at 6. On the move at last. Got kit today – it’s handy _____ some choc. Steve had some tins of meat left. John gave us some of his. That helped a lot.
Making good speed – sea calm. Weather good. 3 meals today. Church service.
Weather slightly rougher. Felt rough before Tiffin. Alright in the afternoon. Due in tomorrow afternoon. Took library book back.
Bad night. Stomach upset. Land spotted about 10. Then slow sail right up to Manila. Big difference to last occasion when I saw Manila. But aircraft carrier. We did not disembark as planned. Still anchored some distance from there. Movie at night and only saw 15 mins. Felt rough, had to leave.
A good breakfast. Tiffin about 4 or so onto trucks. Dutch – Aussies off first. Dock was composed of pontoons. Very good too. Manila in a terrible mess. Some 20 minutes from Manila there is a huge camp. Roadside lined with stores. Camp heard _____ left yesterday. 25 group etc have more particulars. Kit, US bag, pack, mess tin _____ Aussie blanket. Meal – cheese bread. I _____ peach, coffee. Shower bed. Capt. Hall injured in plane crash.
Had medical – vaccination. Cholera tablet. Food good – cinema at night. Sleeping well on _____ course. Nips working in camp. Sent cable home.
_____ at _____ in morning. Pictures at night. Saw Bruce Frazer got _____ postcard from home. Hot.
Walk to Chapel in morning. Wrote letters. Very hot. Did some washing. Rain at night. Saw part of picture show. Some more of 25, 26 group etc have come into camp. Keep meeting various lads. Telegrams etc for _____ Mandley. Terrible for their people. Earlier to bed.
Very wet day. Busy letter writing. Got letter at night from home. Made me very excited – a relief to know everyone all right. Pictures at night but it rained. Anxious to get home.
Rain heavy – typhoon threatening. Got some _____ _____ still waiting on pay. Talking to Pluto again. Lecture at night. On Blighty _____. Maj. Wilson.
Got pay today £6.3 or _____ _____. Weather still hot and rainy. Aussies left in morning came back at night. We are all impatient now. Pictures at night terrible. What’s wrong with Hollywood. Over to Aussie canteen but closed. Rumour of _____ the Q. of Amagasaki having been shot.
Wet. Dutch in camp _____ everywhere. Bed early tonight. Wish we would move.
Typhoon weather finished. Hot once more. Pete fighting. He has been bad. Many of the lads have had shock by mail divorce. Girls marrying brothers etc. Pictures at night. Dutch a nuisance.
Hot – rest of Signal lecture from Korea, Mullet, Anderson _____ Hutchinson. We are browned off. Movie at night.
A bit of football – hot. Pictures at night. Lady Mountbatten gave us a speech. Very good too. Very important. Boils cleared up.
Pictures good too. Hot. Rumour of move. Wrote letters. Chicken for dinner.
Rain in morning. In afternoon told we are moving tomorrow. Got greatcoat and jacket.
Dull. Kit packed. Moved after Tiffin by truck. About 3.30 – 4pm on board USS Marine _____. Meal. New ship. Maiden voyage from USA. Terrific ship, very clean.
Very hot night. Sailed at Tiffin. Food good. Prepared to sleep on deck, but it rained. Book from library.
Very dull all day. Heavy rain. Sea choppy. Gave canteen orders in _____ show but too hot to go. It is going to be a monotonous trip. Everything so crowded. I hope we go north. It’s too hot here.
Very hot today. Food is good. Better than Bingham. There is an inspection every morning – good idea for it clears the quarters and gives the air a chance to clear. In afternoon we had a boat drill. Yanks are not so hot. After that went for some canteen goods. Helped to dish them out. What a job and sweat, oh dear. Pictures at night but wind blew all sound effects away. Sleeping on deck tonight. Long talk with 2 Yanks, were they dumb. Roll call and boat drill.
Did not sleep on deck. It rained, so down into sweat box. Boat drill again. Cinema at night very good for a change. M. O’Brian. Sleeping on decks tonight. Passed some Islands. Lot of shipping.
Very tired this morning. Up 3 times last night due to rain, but I did not want to go down. Slept in morning on deck. Service on deck. Good food in the afternoon. Short medical and issue 2 _____ of milk, frozen solid. Sleeping on deck again tonight. I hope I will be lucky this time. Very tiring this voyage. Everything _____ too hot down stairs, no room up, cinema in mess-room, but too hot for me.
Hot day again. Played chess with Percy. He won. Some lads have been paid 4 US dollars. Busy on canteen list in afternoon. I was lucky last night – no rain. Trying again tonight. Really a very uncomfortable voyage – no room, crush all the time. They would paint the decks or rather _____ etc – one good thing, I have not had my usual seasickness. The sea has been very calm.
Very disturbed night – up 3 times for rain at 4.30am. It rained so hard I had to go below and it’s awful. I get quite panicky at times. Got canteen orders today. Only orange juice and _____ passed _____ in afternoon. Also saw a plane. Sleeping upstairs again tonight. Short service on deck. Sea still calm. Saw the lights of a line of 6 or 8 ships just before turning in. Told we will be able to post letters from Honolulu. There was also a great line of ships on the other side – but I did not see them.
Good day. Weather still ok. Pictures at night. Busy on _____ orders – had a good night last night, only up once. Movies in mess – too hot.
Weather a bit rough. Sea not so good – rain. Felt a bit queer in bed early. Same lifeboat drill in afternoon. Sleeping below tonight.
October 19th (Friday)
Why they want to paint ship I don’t know. Top deck being painted so we are all crushed onto boat deck. Only running on one engine. Just our luck. Still we shall get there eventually. Busy on _____ _____ _____ anyone at night. Ship stopped at 11 some time.
Ship going slow. Weather same. Showers all day for a change. Still crushed on _____ use upper deck yet. Slept on deck. Only up once for rain. Sleeping on deck tonight. Before tiffin all downstairs for _____ inspection. A farce but waste of time. Thoroughly browned off. Ship stopped at 11pm. Engines cooling.
October 20th (Saturday)
Yet another _____ crossed the deck line. This morning hot. No double pay – still going very slow – could do with more to eat. Pictures on deck. Sleeping on deck, already had 2 minute shower, enough to wet things.
_____ Mess – rain not enough to sleep. Very heavy just after – news of mail post today. Pictures at night. Straightened out my kit. Getting there gradually _____ _____ four today. Slept till about 3 this morning then heavy rain forced me downstairs.
Changed library book. Wrote letters. Good night, no rain. Getting near Honolulu. Pictures at night after show. Yanks, because crowd did not get out of hatch turned hose on them. Wrong thing to do. Already one between Scotch lad and Yank Sgt. Our lads won’t be intimidated.
Good night. No rain. Land first seen about 7.30am. By mid-day we were alongside a quay in Pearl Harbour. Hawaii looks very attractive. Not quite so luscious as Singapore. Huge air bases – entrances to harbour very narrow. Docks not near so neat as Singapore. Bought a paper – first real newspaper since release. We expect to sail tomorrow. I hope so – order just after lunch for everyone to go below. Lads just refused, then they said ok, but must not go on rigging etc. A sensible and reasonable request but why threaten to put us below where heat is terrible. US methods of discipline very bad. Chocolate and _____ for sale. Did not get near _____ - I was having hair cut. No pictures on deck.
On new mess roster. E are first. Choc, ice cream etc being sold if one can get near. Sailing at 5. Sent telegram. Engine fixed. It was dark as we left Honolulu behind. Beautiful sight. Picture – they have got some new ones. I need some sleep – so downstairs tonight. 6 more days to Frisco. Many rumours of Seattle, Vancouver etc. Lei garlands are really beautiful. Nurses have them – no show tonight. Good speed. Sent cable before leaving Honolulu.
Slept downstairs last night, too wet on deck. Ship stopped at 12 o’clock for 3 hrs or so – more engine trouble. Today has been choppy and windy. Life boat drill. _____ in canteen gone. Taking cig. orders. Show quite good too. Getting impatient again. This feeling comes in fits/starts. Glad to get on. Otherwise things going well.
Not so hot now. Temp downstairs dropped 10 degrees. Chief engineer arrested – drunk – engine trouble, but fair speed all the same. Show in mess hall tonight so did not go. Collected cigs for canteen and dished them out. Sea a bit choppy. Latest rumour Frisco Tuesday night.
Very rough – in bed most of day – speed slow. Official going to Seattle. Very rough and the Yanks hold a field day in a special inspection of ship but it was cancelled at last minute owing to sea sickness. I am allright so long as I have head down. Oil spilt all over deck. What a ship. Passed day in bunk. Going to Seattle. Given out officially.
Still rough – stormy. Meal short too. Are we browned off. No deck mass. General service in mess hall. Rumours now of San Diego.
(At this point in the diary there were pages missing and the exact date of arrival in San Francisco is unknown.)
Busy day doing little. Up at 5 – breakfast at 5.30. Down to H.Q. and P.X. Hanging around till almost 1. Tiffin. Got pay just before. Up and down to billet all day. By 5.30 got B. Dress etc. Rush for dinner – then dash to show. Leaving tomorrow I believe. Tie on tonight, first time for over 5 years.
Up at 5.30 or so – shave etc. Kit onto square – breakfast then straight back to billet. On baggage cart with _____. Down to Pier, loaded on the kit. Across S.F. Bay to Oakland under the bridge. Station at dock. Loaded kit on. A very heavy and warm job. 10 of us on truck, rest on ship. Finished U.S.D. for coffee and 2 U.S. _____ claimed Aberdeen ancestry. One been to Edinburgh. Then in parties for train. 2 Scotch again, one stayed in _____ street to _____ in Glasgow. Red Cross train – only 18 going to huge carriage. A grand soft spring bed. Air conditioned. Gangway wide enough for 2 persons to walk easily. Showers, carpeted floor, towels. We had to get into pyjamas. We travel as patients. _____ (Had tiffin on ferry – wonderful orange choc.) Meal at 6 – chop tomato, beans, peach, ice cream, coffee. Really good.
What a method of travel, really grand. Food wonderful. Fruit choc, ice cream – everything. _____ grand. Drill in _____. Noon rain, eating all day, ice cream and fruit. Got to 17. Lewis at 7. Huge comp. Certainly chilly here. Huge service club. Marvellous cafeteria. Had _____ then to bed.
A ½ mile walk to breakfast, then a walk around – write couple of letters home on _____. Pay at 3 then we set off for Seattle. We could not get _____ huge crowd. So we _____. We had to split. Steve and I got a lift about 10 miles then waited about 10 minutes and US officer picked us up. Right into Tacoma. First thing we did was shoes. Left our boots. Were regretting very much having been split when in crossing we saw Percy and John. On to _____ then bus for Seattle. (We had no passes of course) so we were now 50 miles from camp. Got to Seattle 7.45pm and went for a drink. That started it. Eventually about 2 or so we ended up in a big hotel with some US sailors.
Bath in morning, then out for shave 5/-. Breakfast – that started in about 11am – went to pictures. Met some more Yanks. One started back to Tacoma with us. At 1pm in hamburger stall met Yank soldier who took us right to our hut. On way to Tacoma we lost John. He……(this entry ends here in mid sentence)
Up early – snow. Due to leave at 9 or so. Our heavy kit had been lifted from our bed spaces. John came back last night about 3 or so. He was not sure where he had been. To station at 10.30. Train late because of landslide. Did not leave till 12.30. In Pullman 1 man to 2 seats – going to be alright. One lad married to US girl. Had lunch and supper – beds very comfortable.
Breakfast. Beds made up or down if wanted. Cold outside. Got up at Blue River shop owned by Mrs McFadden. Had coffee and sandwich, then to bed.
On the plains now. 10 degrees below – food good – cigs and fruit. It’s only a pity we couldn’t stay for a bit. Grand snow covered occasional small towns. At 5.30 in _____ met a Mrs _____. Coffee and sandwiches, sent postcards. Coca Cola, 3 per man.
Still cold outside. 20 degrees below. Stopped 10.30 in Winnipeg for ½ hour, then day as usual. Had snow fight at night with kids. Bought poppy.
Stopped _____. Plenty _____ still fir and larch. About 11.30 into Ottawa. Snow. Mayor was there aswell as the Red Cross. Coffee – biscuits etc. Very nice of them. We will have to move to catch Queen Mary.
Restless night. Through Albany etc, N.J. for ferry, which went straight across the Queen Mary dock. We got milk and doughnuts from US Red Cross. When we reached Queen Mary we were going on in units when suddenly a Yank in _____ came through _____ yelling for Ross. I was there. I knew it would be Pete and Jean. He got me past the gangway, a red tape right down the length of 1 craft shed into a hole, then I was grabbed by Pete and Jean. Could not get over Ann and Edward – Ed as tall as I am. Jean looking very well and younger than ever. Pete was excited. They had everything for me. Pete got me some _____, then went off for shoes. Sister Gabriel went off. Had a good stay then officers gradually got lads back on boat. Mr _____ kept me to last. I was last on boat. Then did I sweat. All over ship with a pile of packets. Still had greatcoat and 2 packs on. I was dead tired by the time I got a cabin. Then I met Steve and found kit. Only 3,000 on board, plenty of room in cabin, various numbers, 9-12, in cabins, but nearby cabin has only 6 or 9 in. To bed. Pete at last minute got me supper in box with all the trimmings.
Breakfast in 1st class dining room in the old boat fashion – 2 men do table. 2 sittings. Sir Robert Fleming on board. Also Chinese Ambassador. Had some exercise by walking decks. Needed it after train journey. Meet Percy and John. Got mail from home. One from Syd in New Zealand. Sailed at 12. Foggy, but it cleared up a bit as we left enough for us to see the skyscrapers. No tiffin because no helpers. No organisation on this ship.
Got mail today from home etc. One from Syd in New Zealand. Just a routine day. _____ up mail etc, cinema, did some washing.
Handed in pay books, Red Cross parcels dished out. Steve, Percy and I did not get one. Terrible organisation.
Pay in afternoon. A bitter cold today, but sea still calm. Cinema at night.
In Thailand Maj. Wood, peanuts at Takanun.
November 17th (Saturday)
Sea fairly rough, passed ship. I’ll say everyone excited. Tomorrow is the day. First glimpse of England after a long time. Meet Arthur Butler today. Passenger complained about privacy. Capt. said to us to carry on. Officer meeting fiasco.