15 Mar 1943, Harry Ching's wartime diary | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

15 Mar 1943, Harry Ching's wartime diary

Book / Document: 
Date(s) of events described: 
Mon, 15 Mar 1943

((Following text undated:))

Middle of March midday meal is cut out. Only Japanese, Formosan and ex-policemen get lunch. Verandah residents expelled following big shot visit. Formosan in my cell, sleeps next to me. Takes all my nails in wall for hanging his possessions, leaving me one.

Then a wonderful day. Mum sends food. Also underclothes and pyjamas, but they are my undoing. Had fight with Formosan. Pyjamas too much for my nail and fell on his basin. He slapped my leg. I punched his nose and the fight was on. I could hit him but wasn’t hurting him. I decide let him hit me and get it over. But he wouldn’t stop. In pain bleeding and exhausted. Room made for me near shit buckets. In bad way. Formosan invites me return to other end of cell. Still in pain, I return to old space.

Sat up and took notice when someone said Europeans, Hongkong Bank. Outside Sir Vandeleur Grayburn and Streatfield. Latter to Cell 2 and Grayburn into ours. Call him and make room near me.

Arm troubling me, Sore where hit on ground. Getting septic. Still can’t get up easily so Grayburn helps me. He is second class prisoner so gets no soong, so share mine with him. Cell population now 33. Someone gave us spoon with all plating off. This we use between us, spooning rice into hand in turn and licking it off.

Van getting food parcels, sharing with me. Mutton chops or tinned meat. Potatoes, tomatoes, eggs, bread and butter, bananas and sometimes oranges. Mighty good. He wants eat everything up. I urge leave some for snacks, so we snacked bread at midnight and orange if any early a.m. He not taking his share of rice. But I manage give him biggest egg or odd one of three of anything.

One night guard thrusts bayonet through bars and whacked Van in face while he lying silently thinking. He got shock. Pessimistic, used to say wouldn’t come out alive. Tell him important thing is remain alive then you win.