4 Sep 1945, Barbara Anslow's diary

Submitted by Barbara Anslow on Mon, 06/04/2012 - 18:55

'Empress of Australia' arrived in, with 3,000 RAF toops, also another hospital ship.

Empress of Australia in Hong Kong
Empress of Australia, by Imperial War Museum

We town girls received each two 4 oz packets of Cadbury's milk choc, and a pkt of 20 Craven A cigs from parachute supplies from Stanley.  And some one came in office with 4 dozen 2  oz. pkts of Nielson's choc, we had 6 each.

Visited Olive's quarters after work, then she came to see mine.  

After dinner, Nan (Grady), Barbara B and I walked via CSO to Government House, which has been partly rebuilt, redecorated and furnished, massive armchairs and sofas. Really lovely, except for a strange tower on the top.

One part upstairs has been rebuilt as a Japanese residence: a little wooden springboard for taking off gitas and leaving them, then up to a wooden flooring which had some sort of soft material on as well, covered with straw matting; ceilings very low, room divided into partitions by sliding screens covered with traditional paper; small alcoves, a very low wooden table, and small cushioned stools.

Bathroom queer, the bath built-in, but wooden, with a little seat,like a boat.

There was also a little shrine; the floor was sandy and earthy and stony with big stones strewn here and there; a minute pool no bigger than the page of this book, and a kind of confessional and little temple, complete with roof.   Mr. ((S.)) Marvin showed us round.  ((Barbara B had a particular interest in Government House, as she had worked there for H.E. (Governor) pre-war))

Pam Turnbull married R. Sleap.
EXTRACT FROM LETTER of 4th September from me to my Mother still in Stanley:

'Hope you enjoyed the bread and butter and choc. we sent.   Olive and I have decided to draw a certain sum of Yen each and buy food right away to send you.  I can get you a jar of pickles for 50 Yen...

Both Olive and I are coatless – what happens in wet weather I don't know.  ((We had left them in the camp)).

Things are rapidly becoming organised, but most of the men are pretty tired, working very hard, with very little rest, and so many of them aren't fit to do so.  Three weeks ago, we would never have believed it possible to do so much in present conditions.

I'm feeling in fine fettle.  Judging by my white skirt I think I've put on a litle weight. Things aren't nearly so hectic now, as in the new offices (HK Bank) we have a typing room to ourselves, with only one phone, whereas in the French Mission, a large number of staff shared one big room and we were always having to answer the phones and chase up and down stairs trying to find people we didn't know...

Our meals have been getting slightly more subtantial these last few days, tho we're getting blase enough to say 'corned beef again!' as if it was rice and stew...

The Chinese are still celebrating with fire-crackers; more and more shops are getting ready to open, by sticking a cardboard notice on their shutters or in the window, with their name.  It's intriguing to see things becoming more and more normal every day...

Still haven't had a hot bath, our ambition is to dine on one of the ships and see their movies - some of our men have done this...

I enclose a piece of paper for reply - don't use it for bridge scores!

Did I leave the nut from my camp bed at home? One is missing, it's the bit that goes on the end of the screw securing the legs?'
((Imagine calling 'Stanley' home!!))

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