70 years ago: Hong Kong's wartime diaries | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

70 years ago: Hong Kong's wartime diaries

Shows diary entries from seventy-one years ago, using today's date in Hong Kong as the starting point. To see pages from earlier dates (they go back to 1 Dec 1941), choose the date below and click the 'Apply' button.
  • 19 Jul 1944, R. E. Jones Wartime diary

    Book / Document: 
    Date(s) of events described: 
    Wed, 19 Jul 1944

    Nice day except for heavy shower am.

    The arrested people released 10am.  They had violated the Jap. Gov’t rule forbidding public dancing, however, they were treated OK at HQs given cigs & tea.

    Excellent news from all fronts. Saipan ours 16th & Arezzo 16th. Russians pushing ahead 19 mls per day. Turkey likely to abandon neutrality on our side & Germany indicates her selfish desire to protect the Fatherland only, to hell with her Protectorates it seems.  

    With Steve pm.

    Current in town reduced 1hr. ie 8-11pm.

    Wind E stronger pm.

  • 19 Jul 1944, Eric MacNider's wartime diary

    Date(s) of events described: 
    Wed, 19 Jul 1944

    “Coffin” Tribunal (Nielson)

  • 19 Jul 1944, Escape from the Japanese

    Book / Document: 
    Date(s) of events described: 
    Wed, 19 Jul 1944

    It must have been around midnight when Goodwin set off along a good track which he assumed would lead him to Tolo Harbour. However after following the track for about a mile, it disappeared into an area where the ground was churned up and there appeared to be landslides.   Also here were masses of broken concrete piled up.

    "Then a darker shadow on a face of rock resolved itself into the entrance of a tunnel, and I realised that the upheaval had been caused by the collapse of a mine."

    This assumption is probably incorrect. He must have been close to the network of British defenses known as the Gin Drinker's Line. The upheaval he describes, and the broken concrete may well have been pillboxes and structures destroyed by the Japanese in December, 1941, particularly in the area of the Shing Mun Redoubt, which could have been on his route.

    He cautiously made his way around the debris to the edge of a valley and very nearly ended his escape right there.

    "Unable to see anything, and probably giddy with fatigue, I suddenly fell out into space"

    His fall took him down to a stream bed, receiving violent blows as he fell, and he blacked out.

    "Full conciousness returned suddenly, and I realised what had happened. The end of the fall had taken me head first down between some large boulders, and there I had come to rest with my feet pointing skyward through the hole above."

    Goodwin had fallen several times in the darkness of his first three nights outside captivity, but this was one of his luckiest escapes.   Nothing broken, nothing damaged.

    As dawn was fast approaching he regained his original path. He walked on quickly until he found a hiding place in a shallow excavation hidden by grass and scrub. His hideout gave him an excellent view from the Shingmum Dam down the river to Shatin. He settled down, but was soon surrounded by about thirty Chinese men and women cutting all the grass and brush-wood from the hillside. He was worried that they might work towards him and was preparing to move away when a shot rang out from above him. It was fired by a sentry standing only fifty yards above him.

    "That shot was not aimed at me, but I flattened on the ground again, very thankful for the warning. In another moment I would have crawled out into full view, to be a perfect sitting shot. Overhead a hawk made several leisurely circuits, and possinbly the sentry in his boredom, had fired at that"

    He settled down in his shallow hollow, making use of the little cover he had. The sentry stayed above him for the rest of the day, often talking to the Chinese who were only thirty yards away. As he lay there he recalled the words of a fortune-teller who had made some very accurate forcasts of his life. She had said:

    ''I don't know how this can be, but a bird is going to save your life."

    Whatever it may have been, "I shall always hold feelings of high regard towards that bird."

    As evening approached the Chinese and the Sentry departed and he considered his next move.

    "On the opposite side of the Shingmum River there was a poorly defined track close to the water, so I would follow that."

    As darkness fell, he moved down a deceptively steep and long descent to the river. He waded along the river before climbing the bank to find the right track.

    "At first a few stars were shining, and I covered two miles on a reasonably smooth path."

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