Harry Ching's wartime diary: View pages | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Harry Ching's wartime diary: View pages

Sensation. Arthur Woo ((well-known and respected doctor)) and Scamp taken. George She also, and many others. Seems like clean-up of population associating with foreigners.

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Later Preston Wong in, and K.C.Yeo((ie They were taken in for questioning by the Japanese.))

Everyone scared. Wai Po Cheung arrested. Learn Arthur Woo held at French Hospital, with Dorothy Lee, Helen Ho and Connie Lum. Pat Brown questioned. Early in month Luigi Souza called, jittery, and days later arrested. Pasco and Deodorant also in. Arrests make me nervous again.

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End of month Arthur Woo out. Told hold tongue. Condition of release anyone who asks questions to be reported. Dorothy Lee out and several others. Apparently Scamp's case closed. Henry Ahwee ((stock broker)) tells Fred tell me keep away. He being investigated. All brokers being gone over.

Early in month weight up to 115 but sleeping badly, rash and rheumatism. Little fever, but puffy. By end of month weight 118.

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Explosions one day and sharp ack ack. Alleged heavy bombing near border. Black-out and street searches again.

No flour since end of month. Prices rising. No fish in market. Shark 84 sen. Cucumbers 70 sen. Hard keep costs down. Seems Y450 monthly is now minimum. Has doubled in four months.

To town for meeting of Welfare Committee. Decide we carry on. Relief money will last four months. Pat Brown and Peter Abesser confident will be enough.

Micky Williams and sister Ada in. Arthur Woo in again. Deodorant out. Won't talk. Denies arrest. George She out. Scamp said tortured. Rose Souza had news Luigi be home. Waited him in vain. Cruel.

Omar paroled in house for month and forgotten for two. Went to enquire and told all finished, so emerging again. Was threatened and cajoled to pot me - offered Y5,000 and Y200 monthly.

Rumjahn the mysterious Malayan rushed in on wife's heels. Claims tried send bread through cook while I in. Hear he asking questions about me. Same fellow tried bamboozle wife while I away. Appeared with loaf of bread which said was sending in to Omar and offered send something to me. Said would return. At night back with half a dozen fellows one whereof said was policeman. Family refused open door.

Re recent Fanling bombing yarn, alleged two grenades placed on line at Fanling. Engine and carriage derailed. Hundreds suspects arrested and grilled.

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Downstairs vacates. Formosan family move in. Banging at door one night.

I go in haste having forgotten U device for by-passing electric meter. Turned out downstairs wanted for ignoring black-out.

Met Rose Souza going to see bank people. All foreign bankers interning.

Race ponies slaughtered for food. Unfit for racing, also to economise. Each carcase fetches Y50 to Y100. About 500 lbs horse flesh. Now only about 60 ponies left.

Pasco out, allegedly spent 12 days solitary. Deodorant reappears, still hand kissing. Sudden chit from Tubby ((Tubby Arculli)). In again.

Omar skinny and health bad. Forbidden the office and watchman told not admit him. Was in again, sent Stanley ((David Bellis: he would have been sent to Stanley Prison, not the Civilian Internment Camp at Stanley)). Scamp there looking bad. Grayburn and Streatfield bearing up. Grayburn sent regards. Routine up at 7 a.m. and wash. Sit with arms and legs folded and not move. Breakfast at 9. Six ounces rice and sung. Squat until 11 when one hour exercise and can speak to each other. Then squat until 3 p.m. More exercise. Squat. Supper. Bed 9 p.m. Questioned all over same ground. Beaten four times, plus four at Calvaire making eight in all. Saw Faure, admires him for plenty tough. Beaten four times, fined and then be interned.

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Middle of month sudden gunfire one afternoon. Six raiders. Much excitement.

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End of month air raid one morning despite heavy clouds. Explosions afar. Six planes.

Following day afternoon air raid. On roof saw planes high and dignified. Scream of bombs from several directions. Much flack. Long alert. Bomb hit tree across from main entrance Supreme Court. Another near Butterfield and Swire and another in Pottinger Street. Apparently small incendiary bombs. No planes up until all over, then a seaplane. Rumour 18 raiders. Dockyard three hits. Blake Pier partly busted. Hole in road Douglas Wharf. Taikoo severe pasting. Kowloon Dock hit. In Pottinger Street houses both sides collapsed. Estimate 300 civilians killed.

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Li Shu Fun ((medical doctor at Yeung Wo Hospital)) missing. Allegedly in for dealing medicines or being questioned about brother Li Shu Pui who got permit temporary visit Macao and didn't come back. Rumour Eurasian crisis next month when passes expire. Yarn is we be given choice of Chinese or Japanese subjects or being interned as British. Wondering what to do. Unsettling uncertainty.

Rosary Hill seminary at Stubbs Road being half taken as hostel for dependants of prisoners of war and civilian internees. Smiths advised. Muriel ((Cameron, wife of Policeman Bill Cameron interned in Stanley)) says won't go. But many people keen. Some not dependants. If one son a Volunteer call themselves dependants. Basto thinks bad time will be had. No cooking in rooms.

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Last week of August many raids. One day loud explosions 11 a.m. Saw eight bombers, three fighters. High flak. Another alarm same day 6 p.m. Seven high planes.

Second day hectic. Alarms all afternoon. First at 2.30 p.m. Saw five two-engined planes. Thick high flak. Nerves shaken by raids.

Third day calm but distant explosions at nightfall.

Fourth day alarm in afternoon. Some bombs distant. Two zeros aloft late. First we've seen for a while.

Fifth day alarm after midday. Some saw six planes over Kowloon.

Sixth day several alarms but no excitement.

Seventh day gloomy weather. Heard plane before noon and large explosion. Later heard planes very high not fired on. Rumour three bombs dropped somewhere but didn't hear.

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For some days mysterious men prowling about streets here.

Typhoon. Fish scarce. We have none for several days at time. Tried shark liver. Not so oily but very fishy. Gives everybody headaches. Thought of it is nauseating.

Dependants moving into Rosary Hill. 800 expected. No food in rooms but only two meals daily 10 and 6. Cissy Roylance says allowed out daily.

Septic ((Selwyn Clarke)) acquitted interned. Wai Po Cheung released says was locked up for alleged bribery. Confessed after torture. Says knows who put me in, by name Howard To. Says Grayburn dead in Stanley. Boils. Blood poisoning.

To Foreign Office for new passes. Fears not realised. Eurasian not nationality but we use it. Mavis Xavier unsettles by saying some people altered Eurasian to British and will get Red Cross relief plus chance at repat. To Red Cross to enquire. Reception cold when I say have Eurasian pass. Suggest I see Keller since Swiss are looking after British interests. Keller says British evac in offing but no info of Australian.

After midday raid. Great oil fire Laichikok burned couple of hours. Second alarm 5 p.m. Brief alert.

Fire still burning. Paper says ten planes raided. Loud bang in afternoon. Shell smoke and drone but nothing else.

Two alarms but nothing happened. Saw plane swoop low over Harbour. Yarn she brought down. Ten raiders but no damage.

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Several days alarms at end of month, but no excitement.

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Mavis Xavier into Rosary Hill. Says crowded and not enough to eat. Inmates found soldiers' bones around Mt Nicholson.

People with British passports said get help from Red Cross. Grace Ablong supposedly getting but denies. Mrs Jex ((Daisy, wife of Starling Jex)) refused help when husband died.

Bread up from Y1.80 to Y2.20. Fresh milk only for infants, invalids and expectant mothers. 50 sen per bottle on medical certificate.

Friend Richards goes often Macao. Saw Greaves who told him collect Y180 from broker Leung Yau for us. Carl Anderson there and Kent.

Dot Lo ((W.C.(Bill)Lo, later Deputy Registrar in Supreme Court)) changed to enemy pass and gets Y105 monthly. Guest ((Eurasian)) gets Y200. ((David: Is this person the "Mrs Guest" referred to in Tom Hutchinson's diary, or related to her?)) Fine if destitute or definite chance repat. Otherwise sudden internment would mean losing all possessions.

Rumours more arrests including Fred Kew. Lusitano Club closed and under guard. Grace Ablong caught there, released after three days. Maude Basto also there.

Relatives of Preston Wong and others told no longer take food parcels for them as already dead.

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Rumour British evacuation for women and only of fully European descent. Daisy Jex has asked permission leave. All interested how she gets on. Micky Williams dead heart failure.

Gloria Yee arrested ((wife of O.Kees in Volunteers)). Dhun Ruttonjee and wife in. Arthur Woo scared. Warned against having anything to do with Europeans or Eurasians. Lusitano still locked. Women only there now. 200 Portuguese detained. Rose Souza got Maude out to hospital on medical certificate. Grace Ablong went to Lusitano to return dish. Mistook warning wave for invite go in – detained.

Carried out long conceived plan see Kotewall for help. Offered me Y100 monthly to help him with biography. Accepted.

Alerts on several days during month, but nothing happened.

About 11 p.m. sound of plane. Then screech. Then big bang. A bomb, long trajectory across roofs. Siren late. Apparently one or two raiders and bombs for godowns and Kowloon Docks. Next day saw seven big four-engined bombers pass over sedately. Flak low.

Big air raid while I with Kotewall in China Building Full of glass. Felt very nervous. Big explosions. Home to find family very scared. Paper says ten planes. Alleged twenty P40s protecting bombers and seven shot down. Mrs Amy Madar killed, George Manley's sister from Shanghai. Connie Lum's sister nurse in Matilda also killed. Taikoo 200 casualties. Kowloon a mess. Hillwood, Kimberley, Cameron, Granville, Canton Roads. Two dud 200 lb bombs in Hillwood Road in Kowloon. Dud 500 lb bomb in Chungking Arcade.

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Rainy and cold. Don't like going to town. Dreary. No friends. Plenty snoopers who may be spies.

Crowd of soldiers on exercise stop next door become playful with kids. Some speak English.

Lately taking scraps food to Smiths opposite. Their Red Cross rations mean semi-starvation. Told must go to French Hospital at end of month or forfeit aid. Zindel says Smiths costing three times normal because of house upkeep.

Dhun Ruttonjee in on supposedly serious matter. Daisy Jex refused permission to leave.

Card from Cloake in Stanley ((Australian Dick Cloake, journalist with SCMP)). Bought four catties pin tong for him at Y3.90.