Sketch by Jack Chalker

Dairy 1945

Staff Sergeant James O’Toole

TRANSCRIPT OF THE DIARY

1945

Where the writing is not clear the word is shown in gold

    8-1-45

      New system in C/House so lose job as Representative and not at all sorry either.  No one from lines there now.

    9-1-45

      MacCulloch40 dies suddenly of brain clot was only taken ill in afternoon, died that night.  Old complaint.  Was bearer on party went out to cemetery, no coffin, age 34 really 46.  Geoffreys,

      Nichol, Bashford, Peplow, Bull, Ebbage, O'Toole, Beasley came out on party.  Kit distributed to unit Zoote hat me.

    16-1-45

      S.M. Williams died, had fever malaria for few days, then heart gave out41.  Biggest raid to date say 300 planes - lost 14 says paper.  Watched it from Cook House, they dived right down on to the ships, certain death with 5 destroyers there blazing pom-poms.  They've got guts those lads two planes on fire one parachute also, heart breaking to see them flutter down like Butterflies.  they were at it all day, stuff lands in the camp from A.A. no one hurt.  I had fine view with Bushy Bowers can see all round from there.  Hope release is on the way.  Got Johnny Sayers to do copy of Chesris42 (sic) photo, but not up to his usual.

    29-1-45

      120 men on W Party to stay at Bowen Road.  Dig up Happy Valley.

    30-1-45

      30 men on same stunt Bill Tilleey from our Room.

    8-2-45

      Letter home to Mother at Watford  none received of late.

    13-2-45

      W-Party to Lai Chi Kok, in charge long day cold.

    16-2-45

      Been very cold since 4th inclined to drizzle rotten weather for this sort of life very miserable.  Red cross ship should start from Japan on 17th/2, hope they are not delayed.

    22-2-45

      Hospital with the runs, no pain.  Doctor Bard, dose castor oil salts.  next day 2 salts. mucous in stool going about 11 times a day, none too plesant.

    23-2-45

      Red + parcels.  about 1000.  Clothing, books, medical supplies and private parcels for Canadians.  Rather a disappointment as we were expecting such great things, where actually the parcels are the same as 42 everyone each & no bulk stuff.

    27-2-45

      Canadian private parcels issued, no food, clothing, blades etc & cigarettes our officers got 50000 in other camp average was about 2000 to officers.  still waiting for our parcels to be issued, they'll be in poor shape after all this time.

    2-3-45

      This has turned out more serious than I at first thought, not just a simple case of runs, but lots of mucous discharge.  Course of M & B tablets one every four hours, had 2 goes at this for a day each, seems to be clearing up, there has been no pain.  Sorry to say after the Japanese cigarettes the couple of Virginian cigars I have been given are tasteless and seem to have no strength.

    3-3-45

      Parcel issued in good condition got a Bermonsey same as 1942.  What joy these things cause like being left a fortune.  Had a marvellous snack of biscuits & cheese, can't describe what they taste like.  Also 5 Gunn fold Tags.  Parcel contains bacon, liver pate, Galletinec, milk (condensed), biscuits, cheese, margarine, treacle, tomattoes, chocolate, sugar, tea, soap, sweet pudding, cream rice.  Very nice will keep us on a bit longer.  Milk fetching 8 eggs.

    4-3-45

      2 parcels between 3 men this remains after the one each.  Haven't got my share yet as I am leaving Hospital tomorrow.

    13-3-45

      Letter to Chris - only one so far from Chris.

    21-3-45

      Bowen Road. money in.  See Collinson.

    12-3(sic)-45

      Bowen Road goes to C.B.S. Argyle Street.  Trading going strong. Bill still out building air raid shelters.  I have just divided the prison cell into two with 2 gates.  News very good hope to be out by Xmas

    28-4-45

      Went to build Guard Room in Officers camp.  Saw Markey and Wardle, also Drawersey poor old chap he is down to 107 lbs & look like death warmed up, very yellow, also saw Barnet and Patterson.  Very little news.  Still think it will take until Xmas.  Saw Burt told him Arthur was okay when he left.  Asked Gerald to give dope to Major S ( Colonel ) .

    30-4-45

      Pills stop & are reduced to 2 a week, Monday & Thursday, still feel very fit plenty of fresh air work.

    3-5-45

      Letter to Mother at Watford.

    11-5-45

      Some grit of grind stone in both eyes.  Major Duran removed same excellent job.  Sore for couple of days.

    18-5-45

      The cease fire of Europe taken very calmly here so is Hitler's end, of course there have been constant rumours of this for years.  in fact Germany has packed in once a week for the past 18 months.  It really makes no difference to us.  But nice to know.

    20-5-45

      Trouble about cutting up mosy nets.  Oh dear.  Chap very fit on digging tunnels especially Papoloff.

    30-5-45

      Chow to be cut but a little meat comes in once a month (month is crossed out) week from June.  Oil is chief loss, but can stick it now, have plenty of tomatoes from my garden but get very fed up with them.  Bought sugar at 65 yen a lb for breakfast meal.

    9-6-45

      Bill Nichol43 goes in hospital with jaundice, later find he also has malaria.  Papers have not come in for two weeks.  the patients at C.B.S. seem to be very happy.

    17-6-45

      All maintenance have to go on W.P. in turn about 13 a day works out about every other day, tunnelling.

    23-6-45

      All maintenance together go out to pull down hut at Ma Ta Chong  walk there and back better than tunnels.

    10-7-45

      Jobs in camp have now come along so we are off working parties again thought they wouldn't last long for us so have to build 3 sentry towers, repair sentry boxes, pull down the pier, and brick up six flats in Jubillee North, that alone will take at least 3 months 72000 bricks.

    15-7-45

      Jubilee to be bricked up all windows and some doors.  long job but still have to go on working parties.  Napaloff, Moores, Fisher, Jones, Quinnell & self as brick layers.

    11-8-45

      Finish bottom flat, start first floor.  Sat 11/8 there is a rumour of peace in the camp, the Japanese are said to have accepted terms, can't believe it.

    15-8-45

      Rumour has persisted, & people outside have confirmed it with working parties, it's very high at night & drops off during next day.  But this evening the working parties have been cancelled & at llP.M. the lights went on in Kowloon & there was a lot of noise the Japs still told us nothing.  But it looks pretty sure now.

    16-8-45

      No work parties no work at Jubilee, can't believe it too big to grasp.  Officers in top camp are going to take over.

    17-8-45

      Officers take over but Japanese still responsible for us but we now run the camp.  Our "worthy" liaison officer Major Boon arrested.  and about time.  Major Ryan (I.G.) R.A did the job, later they arrested Philpotts, Bevan, Hitchens and Strangler Evans, as stooges - a fine riddance.

    18-8-45

      Ceremony of hoisting the flag very impressive all turned out in the best we could muster.  The first time this has been done in a British or any other P.O.W camp.  Also the first time such a ceremony has been carried out with no red tape.  Tokanaudo came in with Lindle and told in no uncertain terms what we want, didn't like it a bit but had to agree.  Told him to bring in European food, two lorries, wireless etc.  Our chaps drive lorries & get food.  What a break.  Also a launch for contact with Stanley.  Wrote to Alan.  Berg is going out there & will see him tomorrow.  Meat for dinner at night & a concert also lights.  The families outside of local prisoners allowed to come & see relations, but not come into camp.  Many pathetic reunions.  We of course are still working.  But what a change, even got 5oz of white sugar.  Went to Jubilee and got a few souvenirs as all the Japs have left there leaving the place very dirty.  Had a swim.

    19-8-45

      Tried to get a boat to take relations to Stanley cancelled.  Concert at night lights on till 11 o'clock.  Food much better.  Wireless in camp.

    20-8-45

      People go to Stanley in two lorries.  Berg tells me Alan very well did not see him.  All very well there.  Talked to Soares sister many horrible stories from outside.  Torture etc.  Concert at night.  Promised short wave wireless set.

    21-8-45

      The Great Question is now when we are going to be moved from here where we are going etc.  I've put my name down to go to Stanley to see Alan.  Found a rabbit in Jubilee white with pink eyes. Keeping very fit.  When are the relieving force coming – Another swim.

    22-8-45

      Trip to Stanley by launch "Clara" across the harbour two trucks in very poor condition to Stanley.  Alan just the same not changed in the least.  Peggy Harrison also same.  All look very fit especially the children & there is plenty of them.  Couldn't see Joan Whiteby.  Mrs Gill lost her little boy in the fresh water plunge on beach.  A day is rather short to see and talk to everyone.  Betty's last letter year old then very well.  Rosie Spry looks older but is well.  Got home at 11.30.  long day but enjoyable.  Had a good swim at Tweed Bay.

    29-8-45

      Visit to Stanley saw Pilkington & some police friends.  Parcels dropped by parachute, medical supplies and meal units, chocolate etc. 15 parachutes in all.  Same thing happened at camp "S".  13 chutes.  Still having to work on faddy little jobs.  The officers are polishing their pips and getting all important.  Saw Jim & Nan Moody also Mrs Lancaster .  Bill saw old Smyth.  Saw ships on the horizon.

    31-8-45

      First issue of Hong Kong Telegraph under our rule.  Admiral Harcourt arrives with his Battle Fleet & comes to camp gets good reception, looks as if we shall be in here for week or two yet owing to danger of sea sickness in weak state.  No effort been made yet to let us send messages home blast them.  8 subs in also no troops as yet.  Hope to go to C.B.S. tomorrow to see Joan Whiteley.

    1-9-45

      Went to C.B.S. saw Joan & Taylor etc. Later in day they were all put on Hospital ship Oxfordshire.  Went aboard sub talked to crew.  they gave us milk in tea and 50 woodbines.  Maidstone mother ship to subs. Very welcome aboard.

    2-9-45

      Take worst cases from here on Hosp ship.  Bill Bashford, Clancy, Roberts, Collinson, all RAOC.  Fancy Bill Bashford got his wish in the end.  Gordon Horrop also went had a drink of Saki with him before.  Gave my white rabbit to Soares boys.  We may go any day now.  Pictures (Bitter Sweet) in the evening in camp.  Nice to smoke a Players cig.

    3-9-45

      No food change much, still doing it the good old British way.  Don't affect me but the camp grumbling.  Nice skilly for B/fast, and have to work!  Roll on the Yanks.  Invitation to go on battleship Anson tonight - that's a treat.  Great reception on Anson.  Burns 80 tons  in 4 hours.  Beautiful ship - last word in battle waggons.  14 Guns.  5.9s & lashings of AA all R.A.D.A. controlled.  Nice tea and luck to be selected to make a recording to be sent on the air by the B.B.C.  Up on the Admiral's Bridge in the Control Room.  It went like this: name, unit, where from, how long in Sham Shui Po, how many Red + parcels.  How many letters from home, did we send letters, theatre, work done in camp & out, tunnels etc.  Supplies coming into the harbour.  Attitude of Japanese for past three months, impression on coming aboard a battleship, what kind of library, type of cigarettes, what did you think of those guns now.

    5-9-45

      Aboard Castlemaine Corvette.  Very hearty welcome Australian crew.  Told us not to miss going to Sydney.

    8-9-45

      Aboard aircraft carrier Venerable.

    7-9-45

      Aboard destroyer BaderKempenfelt.  Great time, nearly had too much rum.  Very, very welcome aboard.

    8-9-45

      Looks as if we are going tomorrow at 8 o'clock.  Ye Gods Manila first stop.  The American crew of a ship that were here during the war were flown out today by Yank air force.  (The diary end here)

    Notes:

      40 - Cpl David M MacCullough RAOC died 9 Jan 1945 (CWGC}

      41 - WO1 Herbert Joseph Colin Williams, 12 (Hong Kong) Coy., RASC, died 16Jan45 age 39. (CWGC)

      42 - Should be Chris, presumably

      43 - Bill Nichol survived the war and rose to the rank of Captain.  He was still alive in 2002.

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