Diary pages from this date

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Leading Hong Kong surgeon and Nationalist Li Shu-fan begins his escape.  Because of his prominence he was courted by the Japanese and then watched carefully because of his steadfast refusal to co-operate with them. His departure follows a long campaign to convince the authorities that he's given up politics for a life of pleasure so that they'll relax their vigilance and allow him to prepare for and execute his escape.

Dr. Li had sent help to John Fraser and other interned  friends until it became too dangerous to do so. But he continued to take an interest in Stanley:

I used to go down to Stanley Beach, a few hundred yards from the camp, to observe what I could of the inmates. They kept the place orderly, and conducted themselves well. In course of time I noticed that their outdoor games slackened off, no doubt from loss of energy through lack of food.


Escape: Li Shu-fan, Hong Kong Surgeon, 1964, 165-180; Stanley conditions: 144

"Full House" by Ivor Novello ((see 29th for details))

B.O. reverts to midnight

Cholera inoculation

One more month gone: one month nearer to blessed freedom. We have had some excitement since I made my last entry. Recently our flat has, apparently been consuming too much electricity and for two or three days we had our current entirely cut off during the day so that we were unable to do any cooking. For this reason our Sunday community curry had to be postponed. On Tuesday the current was switched on for half an hour at breakfast, lunch and suppertime, so we decided we would open our community tin of corned mutton and have our deferred curry.

We were just sitting down to our meal with considerable relish, when we heard an excited voice shouting something in the courtyard. We dashed to the hall window and I saw Ward holding up a fair sized looking handbill and shouting “Resignation of Mussolini” at the top of his voice.

Forgotten was our rice and curry. I dashed down the stairs and managed to have a look at this notice, which proved to be a special edition of the HK News. It stated that King Victor Emanuel of Italy had accepted the resignation of Signor Mussolini and that Signor Badoglio had been appointed his successor, or Premier, that the Fascist army had been incorporated with the Italian Volunteers (which we understood to mean that the Fascist army, as such, no longer exists); that martial law had been proclaimed throughout Italy; that a curfew had been ordered and no one may carry arms between sun down and sun rise; and that the Italian army will still safeguard the people!!

What excitement in camp! What a tonic effect to internees! We guessed the intense excitement this news must have caused in England and though we had no church bells to ring we rang our block electric bells (which are used at meal times, curfew etc.) good and proper and there was wild cheering. People say they heard it at the hospital! So we hope our friends in the gaol heard it too. Well, there were soon wise-cracks passing round, “It’s got too hot for the ice cream,” “Poor old Musso, he didn’t ought to do so,” and there was much speculation.

Did this mean that Italy was out of the war? Would she ask for peace terms or would she try and become a non belligerent and neutral power if the British and Americans kept out of her country? According to the Jap paper, fighting still continues in Sicily. If only we could listen in to a BBC news bulletin now. At all events, we can safely assume that for all practical purposes Italy is out of the war – or soon will be.

Y and I had arranged to visit Maudie that evening, but Y had had her third wisdom tooth removed on Monday and was feeling rather under the weather. It was an impacted tooth and Shields had had to remove the one next to it as well before he could get out the offending wisdom tooth. It seemed a shame to have to do it, but I suppose it was necessary. Y’s jaw ached badly when the effect of the injection had worn off and so I introduced to her the old fashioned remedy of ‘vinegar and brown paper’. We had bought some pepper from the canteen and the vinegar I obtained from a small tin of ‘mixed ginger’ – gingered vegetables pickled in what I assumed must be some kind of vinegar. Anyway, it did the trick: this vinegar and pepper paste, spread on rough paper and gently rubbed against her cheek for a while, caused such a burning sensation that this counter-irritant drew all the pain from her jaw! Marvellous these old wives remedies. 

Chopped wood & little walk with Bon.


To tea at Ms Win’s birthday. ((Probably Winnie Stevens, see a similar entry for this date in 1944.))


Steve to Concert pm. 


Cloudy & humid. Blackout cancelled.

Though Italy does not appear to be out of the war yet it is clear she is nearly finished. We have had raids here 3 days running but yesterday it clouded over and this morning  we had a thunderstorm so they may stay away again today. It is a real tonic to see them.  Of course they do only "slight" damage  according to the HK News and are chased away by AA fire - which so far as we can see is never anywhere near the planes!  They apparently have no planes here to send up and fight them.

I've been busy the last few days finishing up my quarter's accounts as Treasurer for the I.Q. - we started in February so we are always rather out of  step with the calendar but that doesn't matter.  So I am ready for my auditors tomorrow!

Next room they want to borrow this pen so I'll' shut up for the present.        A.I.A.W.      B.B.