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

Harry Ching's wartime diary: View pages

Early alarm got us out of bed and another at dusk with four high flying.

Alert at noon, but nothing seen.

Christmas Eve kids went to Smiths' for tea. Pastor Neilsen as Father Christmas.

Muriel and two infant kids for tiffin, stayed for dinner with Ella. Sing song. Happy day.

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Very quiet New Year's Eve and later Chinese New Year.

Getting dozen tomatoes daily from garden but small and family complain make throat sore.

Electricity supply to be restricted to 8 to 12 p.m.

To Kotewall for long session. Paid and gave me coffee.

Sudden alert 10 p.m. Lights out at mains for half hour. Bright moon but cloudy. No planes heard.

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Wife paralysed by loud knocking at door one midnight. Refused open. Living constant fear being pulled in again.....

Lam called. Ogura ((Editor of the Hong Kong News)) ill. Lam asked him about employing me. He hedged. Seems Kuma potted him for friendship with me.

Maude Basto pinched again. Went Lusitano Club. Sister in law knew police were there but didn't tip her off. Gloria Yee ((wife of O.Kees, POW in Sham Shui Po)) said accused spying.

Mrs Smith asks us contact Zindel ((International Red Cross Rep)) re rent and water bills. Ada Williams says they must get out by 16th. Very short notice and if we not contacted would have been shorter. Red Cross was to sell their furniture, now says sell it themselves. 

Alert 4.30 p.m. One low over Kai Tak. Big explosions and smoke.

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To Kowloon first time in two years. Place depressing.

Gharries like three mice hitched to old buses. Tricycles with boards narrow like mudguards for passengers to sit.

Cameron and Carnarvon Roads in mess.

Wongs' garden in Kowloon Tong pitifully neglected. They living upstairs mostly.

Rainy and foggy.....Downstairs father reports cannibal case. Fat woman Valley somewhere sliced. Choys say saw baby sliced.

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Indian goats go by frequently. Large herd coveted. Alleged refused Y300 for one.....Bicycles and rickshas good business. Pillion cycles familiar sight, Y3 from ferry to Valley.

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Latest economy stunt. Soak clothes in salt instead of soap. As good and cheaper says Rose Souza.....Now walking town as trams infrequent and crowded. Devise straight course to shorten distance. Conveniently passes sentries on opposite side.

Rice rationing to cease from 15th April We eating lot pintong lately. Three catties weekly. Half slab with bowl of jook.

Wongs ((Cousins in Kowloon)) having one potato meal daily to save rice. We try. At Y2.25 a catty three catties mean Y6.75 whereas rice at two catties which not sufficient costs about Y14. We find fairly filling.

Trick to feed chickens on boiled sweet potatoes instead of kai hong. Supposed to make them lay. But Willie Hung and Emil Landau say doesn't work, hens stopped laying but resumed with kai hong. We try better quality kai hong but still no eggs.

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To town for Eurasian flour. Only 14 days' ration. At end of serving discover bag has hole. 2 lbs short. Fox is last and suffers. ((Possibly Kitty Fox?)) Offer recompense for half not available but they say understand, we work for nothing so they forego. Good sports. Meeting. Decide since no more flour and only Y80 left we discontinue activities. All committee resign.

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Jimmy Kitchen and family taken..... ((Probably Jimmy Landau and family)). Rosary Hill excited by yarn me and family all in. Barma said in with Doc Arculli ((is this the same person as Tubby Arculli?)). Part of Dragon Terrace mob.....Dragon Terrace Indians mostly out and permitted leave.....Peter Abesser says applying permission go. George Lee (Dorothy's brother) applied fortnight ago. Perry ((not sure who this is)) said succeeded getting permit. Rose Peters and John Shea's wife also. Story anyone allowed to leave now. Masters and wife Morgie said going though he was P.O.W. and in gaol.

Still pondering whether go away. If no more flour ration might as well abandon Eurasian pass become enemy national eligible Red Cross relief perhaps. Waiting see how prices going. March cost us over Y1,400 including extra rice. Budget for April looks like Y1,000. Lot of people say feel must go but will give it another month before deciding.

11 a.m. first alert long time. Little plane leading big one round but nothing more. No shooting.

Story big bomber attempted steal into Hongkong from easterly direction about 1 p.m. intercepted and shot down. Fell into sea and crew captured. We heard nothing. 

Picture of bomber published. Four engines. 

7 a.m. upstairs say urgent telephone call. Feared worse re Dick ((nephew Dick Wong)) and was so. Died early morning.

To Kowloon. Raining. Long walk to ferry which crowded. Met Charlie ((Dick’s brother)) and Dot Lo going Hongkong to arrange.

At house George Ahwee, Benny Randall and other friends. Funeral 4.30 p.m. next day. Dot Lo and Bertie Guest very helpful.

Pastor Neilsen to do service, refuses fee. 

Plane on display. Yarn pilot killed. One broke leg and one injured. Blindfolded taken to hospital. Americans with Chinese flag on back of jackets. But seventeen gloves. What happened to others? 

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Alert about 4 p.m. one day. High flyers but nothing happened. Reportedly man near Dockyard ran on signal and was shot. Must not run.

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Heavy rain.

Weight 115 lbs.....

Omar now working chief watchman at Taikoktsui. Y250 plus 30 catties rice. Pretty good.....

More stones in rice. Granite, same colour and weight as rice so can't pick out. Broke my tooth badly.

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Mavis Xavier and Mrs Allen ((Probably wife of Charlie Allen)) lamenting ((both their husbands were POWs in Sham Shui Po)). Parcels to camp returned. Means husbands have gone, probably Japan.

Returning from town met Betty at Nee Kwoo's door in Tin Lok Lane. ((Who were they?)) Pressed me go in. Tiffin. Good. Says Louis Xavier and other Volunteers sent Formosa.