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

Harry Ching's wartime diary: View pages

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Woman's body disembowelled. Hungry dogs.

First daytime raid for long time. 

Alarm while walking home from town. First time caught in street.

Big raid. Family jitters. Saw about 30. Beautiful sight glittering in sun. Said to be China based. Officially six downed. Rumour 200 school kids killed Hung Hom school.

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Upstairs admit moving out. Claim careful get Chinese tenant replace. Meanwhile ask me caretake and free phone, but then don't give me key. We nervous burglars.

Throughout November alerts almost daily. Planes heard but no bombs. Dropping mines?

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Rosary Hill sung to be cut out. Rice supplied only. Other food cook your own in basement 

Upstairs burgled. We didn't know. Bag of rice and charcoal worth Y5,000. We now sleep worse. 

Alerts almost daily during December. Mostly daytime. 

Sudden bang mid-day. Lively raid.

Raid again. Dive bombing.

Raid while walking town. Naval Dockyard not passable.

Lively raid a.m. Another in arvo. Saw plane down in flames. One bailed out. 

Alert at dawn and then lively raids all day. Several fires Taikoo, Kowloon and Repulse Bay. People in street hurt. Thrilling dive bombing. Paper says 300 raiders. Claimed 14 down, one probable and 10 damaged. Didn't seem like it. Macao said to have been bombed thrice on 16th. Portuguese and Third Nationals killed.   

((Following text not dated, but written after the bombing of Stanley Camp on 16th January:))

Great astonishment. 200 Canadians and Volunteers digging vegetable garden in centre of racecourse. Rosary Hill women hang around. Mavis Xavier and others pinched briefly for signalling.

Bill Shea arrested. Wife Rose sad. Food rejected.

Stanley Camp bombed, fourteen killed. Up to 9th January not a bomb since Xmas though daily alerts.

On roof when drone and saw many planes. Flak then late alert. Formation bombed Wanchai from Oriental Theatre to Naval Yard. Terrible devastation. One third of area. Many casualties. Exhibitionist bombing - 99% civilian damage. Doesn't shorten war by a day. Paper says over 1,000 killed and several thousand wounded. Over 500 buildings demolished.

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Out of firewood. Take skirting from stairs.

Ogura dead - rumour suicide, but don't think so.

Bill Shea out.

Downstairs Jap family away again, then return. Rumour all Jap families evacuating to Canton and Hankow. Japanese scared, leave Valley. All month no raids. Gloomy weather and dark nights. Sirens sound but nothing happens.

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First week of month loud explosions at night. Black out every night until further notice. Hawkers limited 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. because won't dim lights. Siren erected at electricity substation opposite us. Makes us nervous. Paper says siren now only for big raids and night raids. Too much dislocation. 

At Tin Lok Lane returning from town when everybody ran. One bomb and black smoke at Kai Tak. Unsettling. Prefer to be home in raids.

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Downstairs Japs ready to hop any time. Frequent false starts.

All-day raids to 4 p.m. Whole place shaken and we had tiffin walking about. Queer streamers of tin foil. Siren at back makes alarming noise. Flak light. Paper says 49 raiders mostly B24s.

To town. Alert while at Ken Chaun's ((the dentist)). They hear bomb scream for first time. Makes you feel ill. Bombs on Causeway Bay typhoon shelter, Wellington Barracks, Sikh temple and school, French Hospital hostel burned. Five nurses killed. 20 killed at Sikh temple. Debris all over Gap Road.