30 Jun 1942, Ella Buuck's wartime diary
Finally the day came when our ship came in. Three times we were put off: first it was to be the 16th, then the 23rd and again we had to wait.
But here we are on the Asama Maru now, sailing for Saigon. What an experience to be taken from an internment camp onto a repatriation ship! Our big baggage went a day ahead ((on the 28th June)). It was examined in the dining room block by block. The inspection that everyone feared was not so bad at all, but they threatened such severe punishment that no one dared pull anything. Then all was loaded onto trucks and put into lighters to wait for further transportation.
Lorenz being sick with a bad ear, I was quite busy, but all went well. On the final day ((yesterday, the 29th June)), we were all up early for the last packing. The British cooked our breakfast for us at 9:30 am. At 3 pm the bugle called us to order and we Americans marched down Roosevelt Blvd. and out of Stanley Camp. The British waved good bye with sad hearts. Some dared walk along until the soldiers turned them back.
We were put into small ferries in alphabetical order. Then into a larger one farther out, finally again to be transferred to the big ship. What a hot day and how we did drip. At 6pm we reached our end and were handed our cabin tickets. Lorenz and Leonard in one cabin, the rest of us ((children Elaine 4 and Bobby a toddler)) in another.
We have restrictions as to water: only ½ hour in early morning and again ½ hour at suppertime. No bath tubs to be found. I have a kettle in which I save fresh water for Bobby’s wash bowl bath and then after his bath I wash our sunsuits.
Lorenz eats third class mess. Leonard and I in second and Elaine and Bob in first Class. What a business. We are always losing each other on this immense floating hotel.
Meals are grand and what a treat to have potatoes and egg, etc. Our first night on the ship was very hot but we did get some sleep. Many people go up on deck to sleep!