Last month we read Barbara Anslow's memories of liberation as the Japanese surrendered in August 1945. In this passage, Graham Heywood remembers August 1945 and his liberation from the Prisoner of War camp at Sham Shui Po.
August came in with beautiful days; towering white clouds drifted gently over the hills on the south wind, and we would lounge on the terrace in the afternoons basking in the blazing sunshine. Everything seemed utterly peaceful; there was no sound or movement in the town around us.
And then one day the news filtered in, and was whispered around the hospital, that Russia had invaded Manchuria. We heard nothing more until Thursday, August 16th. This was a very curious day, in the morning the Japs were observed to be burning their documents in the incinerator ... the first sign of changes to come. Rumours were circulated of a landing at Osaka, then that fighting had ceased. A sentry coming from Sham Shui Po in the evening informed us that the band had been playing and the prisoners making merry all day. Another said “you very happy; I too very happy; soon go back to my house in Formosa.” But evening muster took place as usual; Capt. Saito, the Japanese medical officer in charge of the hospital, was in a vile temper, and refused to say a word.
What was really happening? Was Hong Kong to be handed back without the horrors of another invasion? Was this only an armistice, or had Japan surrendered? There were some very sick men in hospital, who could be saved by good food, and for their sake particularly we trusted that the rumours were not false. We could hardly believe that our three-and-a-half years of imprisonment were really ending; the whole atmosphere was so completely vague and quiet and undramatic. We went to bed in a mood of subdued optimism, but bubbling with impatience to see the outcome of the next few days.
At breakfast the following morning I was so <Read more ...>