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The water shortage is upon us and it is not nearly as bad as we had feared. This is because, at present, the water is turned on at the mains every third day, and so, by filling the one bath in each flat every third day, we have sufficient water to carry us through the two waterless days – that is for flat uses only. Those who want it can draw about 1½ gallons per day from this source and it still leaves ample for flushing purposes. Harold and I (being the only able bodied men in the main part of this flat) have the unwelcome task of flushing the lavatories. This we do four times a day. For communal purposes, such as kitchen use, the newly organised water squad fetches water from the MQ garden fresh water spring. The Japanese have supplied kerosene tins for this purpose and they have also supplied big oil drums to all the blocks in which this water can be stored daily.

The construction of the big community storage tanks has, for the moment, been held up, pending the arrival of some cement. They tried lining the sides with brick walls laid in red earth, but the seepage was much too rapid. I wonder from where the Japs will raise cement in HK. They must have pretty well exhausted all the reserves of the Green Island Cement Co. by now. Perhaps the best thing about this water every third day is that we can have all the chlorinated drinking water we need. If we could only be sure that the water will come on every third day regularly, by judicious rationing, the storage tanks on the roof could be made to supply nearly all the water we need for the two off days. Of course, these tanks were intended to supply about 6 people per flat whereas now there are about 26 people per flat. Even so, they would be large enough to enable every one to have say, a basin full of water per day for washing and enough for adequate flushing purposes. But the Committee dare not use the water on the roof for anything but drinking purposes in case the Japs, without any warning, suspend all further supply. This, unfortunately, is the sort of thing that is quite likely to happen. The Japanese methods of administration seem to be extremely haphazard. Now, when you go to the bathroom, in addition to having to take your towel, soap and toilet paper, you take your small pot of washing water as well! I think it is the every day facilities like these that we shall appreciate to an unexpected degree when we get back to civilization.

The night before last, most people were awakened by shouting and rifle shots. I heard one shot quite close to our blocks but did not get up to investigate. The people in the Indian Quarters say that quite a fair sized party of Japs (about 14-20) went yelling along and firing their rifles. Another, smaller party came from the direction of the Prep School as people in Block 2 heard orders and shouts from ‘the hill’. A number of people say they heard shrieking and wailing and I think some Chinese had tried to escape from the prison and had been caught and killed.

Others seem equally certain that it was the local Japanese forces carrying out night maneuvers for the defence of the camp HQ and that the yelling was caused by the attacking force, who were giving their battle cry as is usual with the Japanese. It seems that this second explanation is more likely to be correct. If it is, then it is extremely interesting. It seems as though they are preparing for the attack on Hong Kong! In addition, during the last three days, some 10 merchantmen have left HK in groups of about 3 at a time, usually with a destroyer in attendance. Many of these we recognise as ships that came in those two big convoys about a month ago. Why have they been waiting in HK for such a long time? We do not know if any left during night time, but it seems as though these ships enter and leave HK during daylight. Last night a single merchantman came in by itself at about 10 p. m., waited all night just off Stanley Point, showing one riding light, and sailed on (presumably into the harbour) at about 8 a.m. this morning.

Fine, dry, variable wind.

Bootmakers shop & trench-digging.

Workers’ oil & sugar issued. Matches (2) issued.

Rec. letter  3-1-43 from Marj.

Saw Steve noon with oil lamp, coffee & cigs.

Lorry 4pm with wood & salt fish.

US troops advanced to 7mls of Julich 15th. French troops crossed Doubs river. Russians captured  Godollo 10mls E of Budapest & advanced to 5 [mls of?] Miskolo.  

Cup of tea with V & E 6pm & showed them snaps.