12 Dec 1941, Laura B Ziegler's wartime memories | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

12 Dec 1941, Laura B Ziegler's wartime memories

Date(s) of events described: 
Fri, 12 Dec 1941

The next day ((ie the 12th)) we barricaded ourselves the best way we could in the ground floor basement. We strapped boxes of books and trunks into the window sills and doorways. We hoped this would stop shrapnel, but we also knew there was little or no protection from a direct hit. We also nailed quilts over the windows, fastening only the top side, leaving the rest loose. This would also stop shrapnel and the concussion of a bomb if one would burst close at hand.

We slept on the army cots which we had taken along from Cheung Chau. We never dared to undress during the war because we didn’t know when we might be asked to move on and retreat with the British army.

During the day each one of us knew exactly where to go and what to do in case of a bombing. There was very little we could do during those winter days. It was quite dark in the basement most of the time because the windows were covered. We were not allowed to have lights of any kind so we went to bed as soon as it was dark.

We had one side window which afforded us a little something to do. We would crowd around it for an hour or more at a time watching the shells burst on the mountain side and counting the number of explosions in an hour. We were often rudely interrupted by a bomber flying overhead on some deadly mission to bomb an object close by.

One afternoon a supply truck was passing our place when they were spotted and a bomb was dropped. It left a deep hole in the road 50 feet behind our place, but the truck went on unhurt. A few days later a group of soldiers was repairing that road and a plane machine gunned the men. They flew so low that some of the bullets even landed on our back porch and in the houses.