W J Carrie's wartime diary: View pages | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

W J Carrie's wartime diary: View pages

Nothing much more today- Septic still wants me to go to the Bank Building - Macleod is apparently up in Septic's house with his family -  I decided I would not  go.  I saw the C.S. at last and had a long talk with him.    I then went to see a Col [?Ohada] armed with a letter from the C.S. but he was out - I'm to go back tomorrow at 10. I hope to be able to fix up things otherwise H.K. will be in a sorry mess.  But there is not much use writing this when there is no chance that you can see it for months and months so I think  Darling  I'll only write now and then.  I think of you all the time - so sorry that you have this additional worry - but you needn't worry - I wish I could get that to you - for we'll be all right.    B


I see I didn't write yesterday.  I was up at the house today - looters had been in but they couldn't get into the hot room - though there were marks on the door that they had tried to get in.  They got into my den however though I had one door locked - the other onto the verandah was blown in by the explosion - I had nailed it up but they soon burst it open.  They took a few things - very little - that I had left  in my dressing table drawers - then in my desk - the only thing I missed, and I'm sorry for, is my desk Ronson lighter that Win gave me - what was the [?pony] on that occasion - I forget.  Shipmaster I think.  Well we can just hope on.         Cheerio Darling.     B


A Happy New Year to you and I am sure it is going to be a happy year. Such news as we have been able to glean sounds almost too good to be true but we have had it confirmed and believe it. (all bunkum of course) We feel sure that our captivity won't last more than a few months and then the whole business will be cleared up and we can all be together again. Here's hoping anyway!
 All my love always       Billie

Time passes on. I was up at the house yesterday - still all safe. Cressall had told me it had been completely looted. I'm going to try and move things down, but I'm not sure if anywhere else will be any safer.        B.

((Second entry for this date))

Well we are all to be interned - we don't quite know when. A great many civilians with no jobs turned up at Murray Parade ground and went into several Chinese hotels but we had to send our names in through the C.S. and will stay put until we are sent away. But we have to be ready to move in about 10 minutes. So I decided today that Betsy had to go to sleep. I was so upset but I got an Inspector to do it and I am sure it was done properly. Poor Betsy - I got to like her more and more latterly - everybody liked her here - she was so good and friendly to everybody and put up with short rations like the rest of us. 
Well - it couldn't be helped.    Goodnight L.O.      B

Still carrying on as well as we can. We are to be interned but I heard today - perhaps on the Peak in which case I shall go back to 152. I was there again today - still o.k. - I brought the small box we used to have at the matshed. There has been a plague of flies here so we all have H.K. "dog" - but I m getting over it. I am having a more or less foodless day and taking [??? Sodi? Sulphi?] - your Bournvita is a godsend. I'll tell you some day what a boon these iron rations have been to us - and your candles. What a story I'll have to tell you when you come back - and I'm sure you will have too. I worry terribly about you at times but I try to think you are safe at Goodwood - there is no military objective anywhere near by. 

I know how you must worry about me. I am being as careful as I can but there is no doubt that many will die from disease before this is over. Dysentery is rife already. We can just hope for the best. So Darling you will realise that material possessions just can't matter at present - we'll all be lucky if we get out of this with our lives.

Gimson spent 24 hours in "jug" - and really so - for they put him in a cell at Central Police Station. He wrote a very strong letter to the Japanese Authorities so they shut him up and then let him go again without any explanation.

I still have my lovely car - I had a job to do taking B.I. reports up to the W. M. H. (2 dysentery cases) and I had a lovely drive - it was a beautiful day with the sun shining and everything. Glover came with me and it really was delightful and did me a world of good. The W.M.H. seems to be functioning quite o.k. and there are lots of refugees still there. We are all hoping we may be interned on the Peak - it would be almost too good to be true. 

Well I must stop again. All my love always - oh! To see you Darling!      BB.

16% gone. Churchill said 3 months - I have given him 100 days which expire the day before my birthday - 16 now gone so we hope on. Good news still comes through - someone some place - I don't know where still has a battery driven set and he gets the news which is then passed round.

I spent yesterday in bed and I'm still there. Greaves says I've had 'flu. ((Probably A V Greaves, as he had a medical background.)) But I'm better now - but rather starving.  I've lived on Bournvita and Beemax. Well I'll write on later - it is tiring on a camp bed. How my bones ached last night but I'm ok now.       All my love.     B.

After today 20% gone! I am quite all right again and we are comfortable enough but it is not as we are accustomed to. News from outside is still fairly good and we are as hopeful as ever.   B

Later.    I went to see the C.S. this morning - his car had to go up with some things to the Peak so I volunteered to go to the Concentration Camp at North Point with Fraser and take some comforts for  the troops. G.G.Wood, Harry Penn, Bottomley, Jones and other Volunteers are there and some Canadians. 

The Jap Commandant seeing my Public Health armlet asked me to see about a sick Chinese woman in the servants' quarters of the house he has taken as his quarters - so I went to the French Hospital and got Murdo Nicholson to go and see the woman and we eventually persuaded her to go into hospital. Court is there too and Sister Cullinan - Dean Smith was wounded there - a nasty wound - he'll probably lose the use of his left arm. - he's now in Q. M. H.  It is still nice weather - bright and sunny - but getting colder - I hope it never gets really cold.   Cheero for just now.   B

Now I am beginning to worry horribly about you for if K.L. has gone they are coming much nearer - but I hope on. You must be terribly worried but stick it out Dear. We are o.k.  just waiting for the blow to fall - we'll all be interned some time - probably soon. But we carry on. I'm really feeling quite well again which is a godsend. For I felt very low for days. It can't be long now however - they are biting off much more than they can chew and I am sure the collapse will be sudden and complete. 
Cheero Darling.   AIAW  - oh! What a reunion there will be.     B

Many Happy Returns! Next year will be happy for we shall all be together. I m beginning to think you must have left Singapore and I am wondering where you are likely to be - Australia or Dacca?

Though of course you may not have left at all, for though they have advanced far south - at terrific cost we hear, I am quite sure they will never get past our last lines of defence. Singapore will never fall but it mightn't be a nice place to be in. We are still waiting to be interned. I had my first T.A.B. (anti Typhoid) inoculation yesterday - I couldn't have it last week when the others were done as I had 'flu.

I had a pretty strong reaction so I had rather a miserable night but I'm nearly o.k. now.

Cheero Darling       B.

I went up the Peak today to contact the No.1 in the B.A.T. ((British American Tobacco)) - I got some cigarettes for my men. Players are 60 cents for 10 now and I want them to keep such little money as they still have for food. I heard some cigs were sent to the internees (civilians) and I considered that my men who are still working deserved them much more. Our house is still all right - not into the hot room yet - but 4 people are living in it. Miss Kelly!! - a Mrs Priestwood, Moss Supt of Kai Tak and another man.

They are a protection so I don't mind - in fact I got out some old cushions and curtains for them. I hear from the Insp i/c of the SD Garage that they found my car today and are going to pinch it tomorrow. I can do nothing. Well Darling it is getting dark now so I'll stop. [torn page, missing word] My love always.    B.

I was late yesterday [torn page, missing word] got dark as I wrote - my car still safe and I begin to hope again - though I know it can't be true. They'll take it sometime.

I have just been to see Bertie and took him 100 cigarettes - he was so pleased as he was entirely out of them. He is progressing very slowly - his burns are not healing very well.    Cheero Darling  B.

I haven't written for sometime - everything is in a turmoil. I had a row with Macleod too who is ignoring me and trying to keep himself and his family out of internment. Septic has of course succeeded!

My car is still there! I went to the Univ. Yesterday and found Bertie had gone back to Bowen Road Hospital so I ran up there and saw him after tiffin taking letters, pyjamas and some cigs. The day before I drove Dr. Greaves out to Stanley where he has gone into internment. They have taken over Q.M.H. so all the Sisters arrived there at the same time and Prof. Digby. They have closed down the W.M.H. too and now I hear today that everybody still on the Peak are ordered in. I went up the Peak yesterday and brought down the portable wireless to see if we could use it. I can't get any of the boxes down so I fear we shall lose everything but everybody's in the same boat. It would be colossal joss if they missed the hotroom. We can just hope on. I saw Dora again this morning when I took her the chit I got from Bertie yesterday.

I had my second dose of T.A.B. yesterday so I had a rotten night and feel awful today but I'm protected now. We are expecting orders to [missing word] Stanley soon now and I won't be sorry to be quit of [missing word] responsibility - but rations are the bug bear. We can still [missing word] the stuff. 
Cheero Darling    B.

((Original text undated, but other diaries report the people from the Peak arriving on the 24th.))

Dearest, What days! When I got to the C.S. yesterday I heard that all those still on the Peak had been ordered down - over 400 I believe. I ran up therefore to see if I could help but I was too late for the people who had all walked down. I went into 152 - what a mess! - these people had never tried to tidy  up. I had let them use our mattresses - I couldn't help it - the big one was there but Joy's was gone. There was another box sort of mattress on the floor - not mine. I found ours at the corner outside the flats (I stopped there for breakfast and now it is 12 noon) - with 'E M Kelly' on it - I tore that off and put it in my car.   I took down some other luggage - Eldon Potters and Ralstons and delivered it at the Cenotaph.  Then I saw Lin and Frank - Miss K tried to speak to me but I hurried on.

I was looking for Lin then - and I got them to come quietly away with their stuff and drove them out to Stanley. The others all had to go by boat. (meanwhile however I had run back here and put Joy's mattress in here - I'll hide it someplace)

I had a spot of trouble with Win and Frank at the entrance to Stanley and Win had to get out and be perfunctorily searched by halfcaste prison wardesses - but I got them there. I hurried back to H.K. again hoping to help some others but I had to draw petrol first and by the time I got to the Wharf the small river steamers they were all on were just drawing out. Win took her two dachshunds out with her - they won't be tolerated long. But there was no accommodation for anybody and though Win and Frank were the first of the Peak party all I could do was to dump them and their luggage into an open shed  D.O.K. how or where they would sleep - I heard today they had got  the Indian warders quarters - probably lousy - but a cover over their heads. I was off early this morning as I thought that the Univ. show would be closed down today but no word of it. But Dora gave me a parcel for Bertie - a book she had managed to save for him, just sent the boy along - and of course letters. Then I went to Bowen Road and saw Bertie. He is ever so much better and is going on all right. Then I had a commission to do for Dr Greaves - I had to kiss Mrs G!! and give her a bottle of bubbly - it's the 21st anniversary of his wedding - he had hoped to go himself of course and then he had to go into internment.

Then I saw [?Alihi] again and went with him to North to see the Japanese Consul and fixed up about a van to go to Stanley tomorrow - and so back here - now for tiffin.

I think of you all the time and long for news of you    All my love always               B.

Tired tonight! - I went to Stanley this morning - but we were very late in getting away - we had to wait at the Jap C.G. for a guide. I saw Greaves but no one else I know - or rather that you know. Conditions are a bit better but rations very low. So I was very late back and had no tiffin. I had bread and cheese and tea at 3.30. Now I've had a good dinner so o.k. Things  are being tightened up everywhere however - there are no Europeans to be seen on the streets now. So I'll be off too someday soon.         Cheero Darling
All my love     B.


I have lost my car!     477 which I have been using not 4695 which is still safely tucked away in the S.D. Garage. But it is a nuisance - I had hoped to keep it until I had to go "in" to Stanley Internment Camp. I think now that I may go to Stanley on Thursday - day after tomorrow - I don't want to go but I think it will be my last chance to get transport and I do want to get my camp bed out there. I also have a mattress left by Pope but I will not take my vispring. I don't like leaving the Inspectors but I think they understand. The C.S. wants a van to go out on Thursday - after that petrol shortage will probably put a complete stoppage to all carriage of building things. 

The news seems very good - we are still hearing a little and I always say this can only last 100 days at most and 1/3 have already passed. We must just hope on. 

Cheero.      Billie

Well I'm nearly all packed up and go into "jug" tomorrow - Glover comes with me of course. I really think it is wisest. There is rather a shindy out there - everyone has gone "bolshy" - they are all agin the Govt. So it may be difficult to do anything there. But I'll try and do my stuff. We both hope to get in with Greaves and the hospital staff. But we can just see how things are when we get there. I won't try and write much today but this is my last scrap from the [?B.I.]. My new address will probably be the Leprosarium at Stanley!       Cheero Darling - how I wish I knew where you are and how you are. I got a p.c. today and sent it to Dacca for I feel sure you must have left Singapore.      All my love always       Billie


I couldn't write yesterday and today also I am exhausted - my feet are the worst part of me. We got out safely yesterday but there was no place to go to so we left with Fraser, Naismith and Batty Smith - in the C.S.O quarters       But we moved today to former Indian warders' quarters - all the best places have been pinched by the first comers as I knew would happen. But Glover and I have quite a nice wee room and Mr and Mrs Puckle (Steel Perkins successor) are next door. We hoped that that would be all but more came this afternoon and Major and Mrs Ponting (Salvation Army) are in next door also and a Mr Fisher (a funny little [?Pebbles] "body") also S.A. in with us. (not correct - he is a missionary) We had to hump everything over here and it is at least 1/4 mile from the C.S.O place - but we got it done and cleaned out this place too. So we are all settled in. Chow is pretty terrible - I could barely eat it last night but tonight was much better.    Well Darling, I'll write more in a day or so when we've settled down. I sent a p.c. to Goodwood yesterday - I wonder if it will reach you and when.
All my love.      B

Another month started - Dora and the University crowd came in yesterday, so I gave D and M a cup of tea this morning for which they were  very grateful.  We have settled down all right - but what an existence!  I wonder all the time where you are - if you got to Dacca you will I am sure be comfortable - even with the heat - but I didn't know if you got away or not.  I wish I knew. 

The C.S. was down today - he had a motor accident and has a chip fracture of his ankle so now he has to have his foot in plaster.  I am very sorry for him.       

Love from B

Dearest, We are all settled down now - it is not too bad - we'll survive if rations continue but that is about all.  I have lost a lot of weight - which of course will do me no harm.  We can get 4 cigarettes a day but no liquor of course - all good for us to do without it.  I had a tremendous walk yesterday all round the camp seeing where a few bodies are still left and where others have been buried.  I must write a report today.

I think of you  all the time wondering  where you are and what sort of conditions you are living in.  I wish I knew.  We'll have a lot to talk about when we're all together again.         All my love always     Billie