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

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

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Date(s) of events described: 
Fri, 9 Jan 1942

No wind last night and slept fairly comfortably.  When shall I sleep in a bed again.  Thought hard about our plans last night and now feel we should go on the south side of the hills on account of the barbed wire.  Inspected the isolation hospitals with the Brigadier and again with the General.  Still in a filthy condition.  Japs ordered us to put barbed wire around Indian hospital;  moving all serious Indian cases over there.  Met Morley and Davis at 10 and again at one p.m.  Saw Simson at the gate about noon.  He thinks the total wounded must be about 1700.  There are about 2500 prisoners at North Point and they are in a very bad condition, getting no food and they have to go out and pick up what they can at the various food dumps.  When that is finished they do not know what will happen.  Everybody at the hospitals O.K.  Most of the civilians are virtually prisoners including the C.S.  At conference warned of the consequences of trying to escape, after the unsuccessful attempt of the Mx pte.  Nothing could be done thro’ the Japs today because they were all in a flap about the General’s visit.  They demanded that we get 150 beds for the hospital and blankets.  I said we had none and could they provide and we should do the spit and polish.  Answer of course was no.  We had to provide from the other units that had beds.  I said it was imposs and there the matter ended.  The G’s visit was in matter of fact an awful fizzle.  About 25 cars and 5 lorries c [with] soldiers and Bren guns.  They lined up on the parade ground with all their officers our G and Commodore, had a photo taken … [illegible] said something and off they went.  I spent the time discussing affairs with Morley and Davis.  Packed in afternoon, in the end had to leave the little leather attaché case that has been with me so much.  Told the rest of the officers that I was expecting to get off that night.  Crawford thought it was 10 to 1 against me;  Robertson “Good lord whatever for and where on earth would you go to ?”  The rest of them “Good luck”.  At about 7.30 saw Davis for final talk about food etc.  Sold his tobacco to Coombes.  Had biscuit and bun and some jam and also some rice.  Atmosphere rather tense.  Purves, Taylor, Crawford, Robertson, Gray all there.  Gave instructions what to do when found [out] but did not think of saying I was dead of dysentery and buried.  Hope Crawford thinks of it.  Went to see General and Brig but they were busy.  About 830 Morley came to say there was a sampan there.  I hurried out and sure enough there it was but there were a number of inquisitive sailors at the corner one especially.  At last I had to go up and say I was expecting communication from outside and would he mind going away which he obligingly did.  Lee was aboard and he assured me that there were no Nips along the road.  I gave the tip to the others and off we went for our kits.  I had no time for goodbyes just dashed in said Cheerio and was off with a good luck from Crawford and Albert.  Again some sailors had collected at the wire and I had to get them to leave.  We got aboard but of course the boat was weighed down too much and was too heavily aground to move her.  It seemed ages before the boatman got us out and then the phosphorescence was so bright, it seemed as though I had never seen it so bright and that we should be given away by it easily.  We lay crouching together in the bottom of the boat as we passed slowly along the breakwater;  as we turned in we were ordered to lie still and not speak.  He threaded us in and out and eventually we grounded on a sandy beach where the phos was brighter than ever.  Each wavelet seemed to switch on myriads of tiny electric lights and each footfall on the beach another.  $10 each was paid over, we got up our bundles and off we went.