05 Jan 1942, INTERNED - DECEMBER 1941 | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

05 Jan 1942, INTERNED - DECEMBER 1941

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Date(s) of events described: 
Mon, 5 Jan 1942

((The following text is undated:))

We had to assemble in the street, carrying whatever we could, and were marched along until we came to the real Chinese area.  We then turned left down a road where the Chinese brothels were located.  As we were at the end of a long line of people, our brothel was not completely full, so that the first three floors were "business as usual".  We were crammed onto the top three floors of this dreadful old building and six of us, (Mary and her husband; Alec, my husband;Owen, Carmen, a friend called John Robertson, and myself) were put into a tiny room with a stone floor, a broken ceiling with rats looking down on us, and a Chinese wooden bed with its mattress covered in blood.  The six of us tried to wedge ourselves on the bed with legs over the side for the first night, but it was too uncomfortable, so we decided that the men would have to sleep on the floor on the mattress, while we girls, being afraid of the rats, would attempt to get what sleep we could on the bare wooden boards.  There was only one toilet for the whole floor (50 of us), and we wouldn't use it during the night, so we had to use a tin spittoon, illuminated with a torch, on the wooden bed, just above the heads of our menfolk, to relieve ourselves before going to sleep.

We were not given any food by the Japanese for four days, but we were fortunate in the fact that Alec had a wonderful Chinese clerk in his office who came with a few tins of food for us; he most certainly risked his life.

Occasionally a Japanese soldier would come into our room with a bayonet pointed at us, but would decide to leave us.  We were allowed to stretch our legs on the roof for half-an-hour, but then that had to stop in case the roof caved in!  We were in the brothel for about ten days.