4 Mar 1944, Journal of Lt. Donald W. Kerr | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

4 Mar 1944, Journal of Lt. Donald W. Kerr

Date(s) of events described: 
Sat, 4 Mar 1944

((After two weeks in the Rock Cave, Lt. Kerr has been moved around Three Fathoms Cove and hidden in a house.))

The next morning I was taken a short distance from the house to inspect a troop of guerrillas.  There were about thirty of them – all young men armed with big revolvers and nondescript rifles.  The showpiece was a British Bren gun.  It was just like the Army – the men were lined up and we passed up and down the lines in regular Inspecting Officer style looking at each weapon.  Hok Choy seemed to be a very respected commander and his men all well trained… 

((After dark)) We set out towards the sea.  From the first step I was in pain from my leg – gosh, it hurt to walk!  It had swelled from instep to knee and the burned place was oozing and hot.  We got along, though, and after an hour reached a wide bay… Several of the men went off towards a nearby house and came back much later in a small boat.  “Ah!” I thought, now we leave the peninsula!  The beach was rocky and shallow, so I had to be carried on a man’s shoulders out to the boat.  I didn’t envy him his task as the water was far from warm.  

The boat was about ten feet long and propelled by a single large oar in the back.  We creaked out into the bay and slowly moved towards the opposite shore.  By half an hour we were in the shadow of the steep bank and I was again carried.  From the shortness of the trip, I reluctantly decided we were still on the peninsula – just a little farther along on the trip to the house of Number One.

There was a path and it led right up the world’s highest mountain.  I’m sure it was.  

The path was a narrow sunken gulley through tall bushes and as steep as a flight of stairs…after a long, long time the slope lessened and we were walking across an upland pasture.  Behind us far below was the little bay we had crossed and all around were misty mountain tops that appeared endless in every direction.  The summit of the pass was disappointing – I had expected a view of the sea but just saw more and more mountains.  

…Mercifully, we soon reached a house and were admitted by the grinning Hok Choy…((I)) made it past him to a trestle of bare boards and collapsed on it…

Young Sing prodded me awake just before daylight and said we had to move.  I looked at him blankly – move?  There was a halting explanation of a “grass-house” and the idea given that it wasn’t far.  After getting heavily to my feet, I was half carried out the door and across a few little fields to a thicket which concealed a tiny straw-thatched hut containing a primitive bed.  They eased me into it and after covering me with a smelly wadded blanket left me to welcome and undisturbed sleep.

((This journal was copyrighted in 2009.  The extracts are being made available to David Bellis for publication on Gwulo:  Old Hong Kong (http://gwulo.com) only.  Please do not republish without permission.  A Chinese/English publication of the journal is being prepared and a film is being considered.  Contact David Kerr (davykerr@gmail.com) for further information.))