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The question of repatriation has again raised its head. The C.S. has been discussing the situation with Mr Odah, the Japanese officer who is apparently in charge of all internees, in the presence of Mr Zindle, the Swiss who is in charge of the International Red Cross in Hong Kong. It is evident that the Japanese are anxious to get all civilian internees out of HK (presumably because of the increasing difficulties in feeding us and they have asked Gimson if this can be arranged with the British authorities. Gimson said (according to the bulletin) that he would agree to the repatriation of women, children and the aged and infirm, but he could not, without receiving instructions from the Home Govt, agree to any general repatriation of civilians. Apparently the Japanese are not interested in any scheme for partial repatriation; they evidently want all or nothing. So I suppose Zindle will now try and contact the British Home Government through the I.R.C. and find out their attitude. Meanwhile we, the wretched pawns in the game, have to endure this wretched existence with what patience we can - we have now been interned for 8 months, 7 ½ of which have been spent in this camp.

At the beginning of our internment here I gave myself a date - the end of March - by which time I said we should know whether we were to be sent away from HK or whether the Japanese would improve our food rations and decide to keep us; for it was clear they would have to do one or the other or a lot of the internees would die of starvation. Well, by the beginning of April the food supplies did begin to improve and - here we still are!

Then, a month or two later I gave myself another date to work to. I said that by the end of September we should know which way the tide of the war in the Far East was going to set - whether it was likely to be a long drawn out affair which (I believe) will mean repatriation for some, if not all of the internees here (for it is clear the Jap’s do not want us in HK) or whether it is likely to be over fairly soon, in which case it is probable the Home Government would want us to remain here. If the Brit. Govt refuses to negotiate for any exchange of internees, I believe it will be an indication that they expect a fairly speedy end of the war here. It looks as though my second date may be correct too, though I am not so sanguine as to think we shall be out of, or in control of HK again by then. I hate the thought, however of spending Christmas here, and sincerely hope something will have happened. 

The weather this year has really been amazing. July was horribly wet and we have had a few other damp and sticky periods; but the whole summer monsoon has been exceptionally cool. Towards the end of last month, August, the wind blew from the N.E. for several days and we were quite glad to have a blanket over us at night - quite exceptional for HK in August. The wind is coming from the east now and the weather is still exceptionally cool. It is possible that Stanley may be the coolest part of the island, but I am sure the difference between here and Victoria would not be more than 2 or 3 degrees at the most. That, and the fact that we have had no serious epidemics so far are two of the things for which we can be devoutly thankful to God.

At the end of August the Japanese closed bungalows D, E and F. They gave us no reason for this but it is possible that (a) these bungalows are rather near Stanley village and can overlook it and (b) they may want them for the use of the Japanese gendarmerie, in which case they will move back the 24 strand double barbed wire fence to cut these off from the rest of the camp. It was very hard luck on the occupants of these bungalows, many of whom were PWD men. I suppose there were about 40 in each bungalow and they have now been divided up and pushed into other blocks wherever there is an available nook or cranny. Incidentally everything that was movable was taken out of them, including fixtures like sinks and lavatory basins! So apart from the walls and roof the Japanese won’t find much else.

About 6 weeks ago some 50 Shanghai residents and businessmen, who happened to be caught in HK by the outbreak of war, and who could guarantee to support themselves in Shanghai, were permitted to leave this camp. People in ‘C’ bungalow saw a small coaster steaming out a day or two later with a lot of little black dots standing along the rail and furiously waving. So we presume they actually got away.

((When the Japanese invaded the Shanghai International Settlement unopposed on 8th December 1941, they did not intern all foreign nationals initially but allowed them to continue to live in their houses under strict conditions. This is why Shanghai residents in Hong Kong were keen to get back to Shanghai. The Japanese eventually decided to intern all allied foreign nationals in February 1943.))

Then some 35 or 40 people, many of them Americans, who could prove they would be supported by neutrals and third nationals (Chinese) were allowed to leave this camp and go and live in town. I think conditions there and the food situation in general must be very difficult indeed.

Finished Chap 3.

Yesterday was Dad's 50th birthday.  

I had 5th injection.

We stopped having tea to drink at the hospital, supply has run out at last.

Madame le Bon came.

Mum Mabel and I watched Ball Game in evening.

Canadians met L/C - met in Simon's room

Hot day.


Plenty of news, all for us but statistics mostly.