18 Jul 1944, Escape from the Japanese

Submitted by JerkJi on Wed, 07/06/2016 - 13:59

Goodwin did not have a watch, nor a compass, but at around midnight (June 17) he made his way up slope taking note of patrols below him that were probably looking for him.   As he went higher, gaps appeared in the clouds, and a few stars were visible. At last he had a chance to get his bearings.

"It was my belief that on the other side there would be a valley leading into Tolo Harbour, and after avoiding a building that might have been a guard-post I was deeply disappointed to see the water of a bay.  That could only be an arm of  Hong Kong Harbour, and I realised that my course had tended too far to the west."

He was no doubt looking down on Gin Drinkers' Bay, and he quickly set off along a track that had steep slopes on each side. This would be dangerous if he met a patrol, so he descended a spur heading eastwards.   He soon lost most of his sense of direction as he struggled from one valley to another and arriving in one valley he heard voices and swishing noises, and the sound of something being dragged over the ground.

"That was a disquieting situation and I lay down straining eyes and ears in an effort to understand what was happening. My fears were at once dissapated when a  figure, carrying two large bundles on a pole passed a few feet from me."

He relaxed and quietly and quickly passed between the workers, as he realised tht they were breaking Japanese law, as this type of grass theft was strictly banned.  All fuel in Hong Kong, including grass for their cooking fires was extremely scarce.

He realised that dawn was approaching and moved on through a pine palantation to find a hideout for the day. Taking care to skirt a sentry box that might have been manned, he hurried on until he found a narrow watercourse hidden by shrubbery that would have to be his resting place until nightfall.   There were sounds and sightings of Japanese soldiers, and he had to remain motionless most of the time. While in that location he revised his escape plan.

"My original intention had been to swim across Tolo Harbour from a point near Shatin, travel north along the Sai Kung Peninsula, recross Tolo Harbour near its entrance in Mirs Bay, and finally reach the mainland at a point north of Shataukok."

However he realised "that even with the aid of life-jackets I would be too weak to undertake those long swims."

He discarded the life-jackets and other heavey items, and as darkness descended continued in an easterly direction.   Pressing on into the hills he saw what he imagneed was a grassy area.  His mistake became obvious when he pitched down a six foot high bank into 18 inches of muddy water.  Exhauted, he gave vent to his bad temper and disappointment while  easing and cooling his feet.

"Then, gathering myself up I splashed across the swamp into the entrance to a valley, where my spirits rose rapidly as I found a much-used path."

Book / Document
Date(s) of events described