Harry Ching's wartime diary

Submitted by Admin on Mon, 12/10/2012 - 20:39

This diary has kindly been supplied by Harry's son, Henry Ching.

Henry notes that his father's written notes are a mixture of:

  1. a record written on the day it happened
  2. a summary written at the end of the month it happened
  3. additional notes added by his father in later years

He is confident that the notes he has sent are in the right chronological order, but as noted above, it isn't always clear exactly which date they refer to. For any entries where we're not sure of the date, I've added "((Following text not dated:))" at the start, and I've guessed a date based on the nearest entries where we do know their date.

Thanks to Henry for his help typing up the diary, and for sharing his family history for us all to enjoy.

Regards, David

Book type
Diary / Memoir
Dates of events covered by this document

Sample pages

Very early this morning the telephone rang. Bill O'Neill, Reuter's Hongkong manager, a lovable, happy Irishman. "The balloon's gone up," he said quietly. "They'll be here for breakfast."

I heard the youngsters moving in their room. I called to them, "No school to-day." Then I telephoned the Headmistress and told her the bad news. "Yes'" she replied resignedly, "Perhaps they had better not come to school to-day. I suppose things will be a little disorganised…

There was thankfully a heavy fog and drizzle to-day, which reduced visibility; but there were seven air raids. 

The rice shops closed. The Government ordered them to reopen. The rush to buy food continued, with prices rising steeply and shelves becoming mysteriously empty. There were complaints of shortage of currency. There were many $100 notes about, but the nimble tens and fives were scarce and the shops would change the large denominations only at a heavy discount. To help the…

Shattering news that the Royal Scots have been driven from the important Shing Mun Redoubt and Golden Hill, threatening collapse of the whole Gin Drinkers' Line. Also supply lines to the front line are breaking down. It is apparent that withdrawal from the mainland is imminent.

Except for some heavy long-range artillery bombardment the night is quiet, broken in Happy Valley only by the ping of a rifle bullet as a curfew breaker is chased home. The…