21 Jan 1942, INTERNED - DECEMBER 1941

Book / Document: 
Date(s) of events described: 
Wed, 21 Jan 1942

((The following text is not dated, but other accounts put the move to Stanley on this day:))

We were then ordered out onto the streets and marched to the sea wall, where the oldest looking launches were awaiting to transport us to Stanley Peninsula, where we would be out of the way.

Again we were at the end of the line, and while we waited for our turn to be put on a launch, I saw a Japanese soldier beat a Chinese to death with a bamboo pole.  He seemed to be thirsting for blood, and I was terrified that he would do the same to Owen.  There was another Japanese soldier who had a golf club in his hand, who was making for an old Chinese woman who appeared to be in a rice queue.  He swung his golf club with all his might at the back of her head and she fell like a stone.  Thank goodness we moved on after that and were put on the launches, herded like cattle.  We reached Stanley, where it was a "free for all" to find somewhere to live.

Stanley consisted of the prison warders' quarters, several bungalows, and a college.  Five thousand of us had to find accommodation!  We five (Carmen, Mary, Alec, Owen, and myself) found a room with a mother, father, and daughter, in what was known as the married blocks, which had been occupied by the European staff of the prison, and was really the headquarters of the camp where all the administration was carried out.  There was little or no furniture anywhere, as the whole place had been looted, so we had to sleep as best we could, all eight of us.  There was a double bed in the room and the parents and daughter slept in that; I slept on the floor on a none too clean mattress with Alec and Owen, Mary and Carmen did their best to share a camp bed.

While we were all trying to settle ourselves, an old piano was found in one of the flats, which was brought down onto the lawn outside, where someone started playing all the old songs that everyone knew, so all joined in a "sing-song".  The Japanese could not understand this; we had been defeated, and here we were singing for all we were worth!