02 Jan 1942, P. O. W. and ESCAPE DIARY. | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

02 Jan 1942, P. O. W. and ESCAPE DIARY.

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Date(s) of events described: 
Fri, 2 Jan 1942

Bitterly cold wind last night which kept on blowing bags away from windows.  Slept very little owing to sore hips and cold wind.  Rice for breakfast with a little cabbage and carrots at 10 am.  Saw General and asked him to lodge a vigorous protest about camp conditions.  Dysentery cases in Jubilee refuse to move to new isolation hospital.  7 of them are lying on the floor in a room in Jubilee Blgs.  They are relatively cosy and if they move they will have to go onto concrete floors in a large room without windows or doors and without any reasonable sanitation.  At present their stools can be thrown down lavatory and flushed with buckets of water.  Decided to let them stay, and reported the matter to the General and asked him to allow me to come along when a Jap Rep. came this afternoon.  Bought three little pieces of almond toffee through the fence for 50 cents.  They were about 2” long and 1” wide and ¼” thick.  Plates were being sold at 1 dollar a piece and army plates too at that.  Mug of tea and 3 army biscuits at 1300 hrs.  Sat in sun for an hour or so writing when suddenly visited by a party of Japs.  Again the arrogant Major was there together with a Mjr General (medical) who said nothing throughout the interview.  Another more junior officer with a red and gold sash was very pleasant;  he apparently knew Prof Furuhata.  We asked the Major what he wanted to see, he said everything, so we started with the Hospital – no windows, no doors, no beds, no blankets, no utensils, no fuel.  He said we should ask for them and we said we had.  Next he wanted to see the isolation Hosp.  It was in just the same condition and we got the same reply.  He said we could have some straw and when I said that was no good for dysentery patients he said that is all we would get.  We asked again when we would get the med supplies and equipment and he said “tomorrow”.  We said that is what they promised yesterday and had not done it whereupon the Majs face flushed and he shouted to our interpreter to shut up and if he spoke like that again we would have the machine gun turned on us.  He then strode off in a temper to the main road.  There General Maltby asked him for permission to see Gen Nagouchi;  he flatly refused.  I asked for permission to visit the sick in Argyle St which was also flatly refused;  I pointed out that by the Geneva Convention we [doctors] were not prisoners of war and shd be allowed to visit our sick and wounded and he said “You stay here;  the British doctors in Philippines have machine gunned our men”.  We asked when he was coming again and when he would send us medical supplies.  Again the reply came “tomorrow” and when I asked at what time he said “Maybe morning maybe afternoon” and with that he jumped into his car and went, leaving us standing in the road no further forward.  A few minutes later a Capt of the Jap navy arrived with armed escort.  We approached him and he said the military officer would attend to Gen Maltby after he had finished talking to him.  This officer later said he would try and get permission for Gen M to see Gen Nagouchi.  The arrogant Major asked to see Commander Young (HE) and seemed surprised he was not in the camp.  All through these interviews he spoke through young Kerr, our interpreter, but when he lost his temper he broke into English.  Later saw Scriven who had been to Argyle St and he said conditions there were terrible.  Only Newton left there, the other two Drs being ill and there were a number of deaths from dys.  Commanders conference at 1700 hrs decided lights out 2100 hrs rev 0800.  Sanitation not yet satisfactory.  Excellent meal with Grenadiers of rice pork potatoes and carrots and cabbage.  Full moon beautiful clear night and less wind.