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

W J Carrie's wartime diary: View pages

Joy's birthday and I have no idea where you are in the whole wide world - what a situation!  We were discussing casualties last night - it is so tragic that many wives in Australia won't know yet that their husbands have been killed.  I was just saying that of course you don't know that I'm alive, well and fit - I know you must be worrying terribly but I shall get news through  as soon as I possibly can.  A lot of the Volunteers were killed around here "Rusty" Forsyth, Alexander (also C.A. - Percy Smith's firm), Young Lyon of Jardines - Dr Black too and my old friend "Jimmy" Begg - she was a V.A.D. nurse.  Someone has come in so I must stop.            Cheero.  Darling.      B

Dearest, it is now 9/2/42.  It is very difficult to write these days.  We have a certain amount of communal labour to do and that seems to take most of one's energy - then one has only to wait from one meal to the next.  I do the cooking for the 3 of us and make tea for the whole flat.  We have porridge as an extra for tiffin and then boil up the leftover rice from tiffin and dinner into a pudding for dinner. I never want to eat rice again! 
 Cheero Darling. I can't write more now.       B


Dearest, - it is now Saturday 14/2/42 and we hear from the Jap paper that Singapore has been captured.  I do so hope you are away some place.
  I haven't been able to write all week - I have had awful sinus trouble with constant headaches but I think I have conquered it.  They could do nothing for me of course.  It has been bitterly cold here but at last we have got electric light - and I have a kettle with me - the office one not our one which I hope is still safe in the B.I.  I can't write Darling - I know you'll forgive me when we meet and I can tell you everything.     All my love always.     B


Now 15/2/42 - China New Years Day.  We have just finished the box of Ryvita you left for me - it has been delicious - now we have no biscuits or anything like that but maskee. Surely we'll get a canteen sometime and also money to spend in it.  That is one soothing thought -  I don't know how you are placed bur I  am saving money just now!!  I wish I knew where you are and how you are.  You will see one difference in me - I am completely white now - I have noticed it changing since the war started.  My sinus trouble seems to be all over just when I got some Friars Balsam (through Jean Gittins nee Ho Tung) and got some menthol added to it.  She brought it out from H.K. for me - very good of her.

Dora wants me to write to Bertie who is still in Bowen Road Hospital but I haven't the energy. I may try some day.  Great news today of landings in Holland.  
All my love Darling.      B.

Dearest.  It is now 20/2/42 and I haven't written for nearly a week - but what is there to write about?   We have all sorts of troubles here but they will be all over by the time this reaches you so it seems useless  to mention them - they are mainly about food.  We had hoped to get a parcel today - I wrote at least 10 days ago asking one of the Inspectors to send me in some things -  I hear they are now coming - but not today!  Macleod and Valentine and most of the Inspectors are being sent in here next week we hear - I am not surprised.  I knew it would come in the end.

I keep quite fit - my only worry is where you are and how you are.  I wish I knew and yet unless you are at Dacca perhaps it is just as well we don't know how each other is faring - it would just make us all  the more unhappy.  But we'll stick it out I am not quite so optimistic as I was - the fall of Singapore has altered the situation I'm afraid but we'll carry on.  Dora came in there an hour or so ago to pinch a sheet of this paper to write to Bertie!  She gave me a cig - I have about one a day from Dora - and she had a cup of tea!

Well Cheero Darling.      Love.       B

Dearest - another month!  I see it's over a week since I have written.  My parcel has never turned up and I think it 's been pinched - I'm trying to find out.  I have no news Honeybun - it's just H - all the time - waiting wishing the time to pass - wishing one's life away!

All my love always - Someday we'll make up for all this.


I am starting a new page, the ink seems to have gone through the last one.  It is now 15/3/42 and I haven't written therefore for a fortnight.  I couldn't help it and in any case there was practically nothing to write to you about.  But the C.S. came in 2 days ago and today a lot of my Inspectors have come in so we have had stirring times.  I saw the C.S. at once and then he came down last night and told me very confidentially that he did not think Sir Mark Young  would ever return to H.K., so that when the Japs leave he will be O.A.G. and he wants me to be C.S.    He said Butters might protest  but that was nothing to worry about - North he had found quite hopeless and useless.  Well even if it never comes true I am glad that he thinks so  - he said he was struck by the way I had acted all December both before and after the capitulation.  Well I did my best. - now I shall have a lot to think about and discuss and so my brain won't just go to "train oil" as I feared it would!  I am starting in tomorrow to discuss some things with him.

Then the Inspectors' coming in has been interesting.  I hear my car has still escaped - I am not banking on it but perhaps it may remain now.  They have brought me in some valuable things:
- scrubbing brush and a scrubbing board  for clothes
- a hot plate.  I brought in an electric kettle which has been a godsend since we got the electric power on, and this hot plate will be equally useful         
- and some edibles.  I am so glad they were able to get them in. 

Well Darling - I have no proper table and it is tiring writing on one's bed so I'll shut up again.  I hear that evacuees from Singapore  - women and children - have arrived safely in Durban.  I wonder if you are there or whether you went earlier to Dacca.

All my love always.     Billie

Now 19/3/42  -  no more news.  We had a joint meeting of XC and L.C. yesterday and passed some resolutions. 

We are hopeful now that food may come to us from America.  I hope Anthony Eden's speech on atrocities in H.K. did not worry you too much - there have been many and useless senseless destructions but that is all to be expected.  We'll soon repair all the damage etc once we get going.  Well this is just a scrap to show I was thinking of you - I do every day - every hour I am sure. A.I.A.W.        B


I thought of Ian all Sunday the 22nd and wished him all the best but I couldn't write - I was decidedly under the weather - [??] and other discomforts.  But I'm all right again.

 No news really but we hear things are going better outside - Rangoon retaken.  We can only hope it is true. (which of course it wasn't!)

All my love.    B.

Sunday.  News today if it's really authentic -! splendid - I do so wish we could hear the news properly. That is the worst of being a prisoner.  Hunger too is a funny thing.  It is amazing to think we have never been really hungry before - now we are hungry all the time.
  Cheero Darling.         B

Dearest, I have thought of you all so often today as I know you will have been thinking of me.  I have assumed you are 3 hours behind us - we are on Tokyo time you know but of course if you went to Durban you would be 7 hours behind us - or you may be nearer - I hope not.  For if you were caught in Singapore or the Dutch East Indies you will be suffering as we are here.  But I had a happy birthday - at least we made a joke of it.  Yesterday I pounded up some rice to made rice flour - got a little baking powder and made some scones.  Then we put on them - the pate de fois gras you left - they were delicious.  Dora and Margery came to tea and Win and Frank, and Dr Greaves, Mr and Mrs Ponting next door (The two Puckles were in  Hospital with dysentery but Mrs P. came back tonight) - then of course Glover and Fisher who are in this room.  Win gave me a home made calendar, Dora a wee sample bottle of Drambuie which I have just drunk, some cigarettes (very precious now) and a cheroot from Dr Shaw and some inspectors and even a tin of "bully."

Well Honey the news which we still manage to get  (but which we are sometimes afraid to believe) seems to be getting better and better and we are in high hopes that our captivity may not last  for very much longer - we are hopeful at least that we are halfway through now.  Balean is M.O. for our block and he was round the other day - we are all suffering from malnutrition and there is no doubt that we are always hungry and very easily tired but really I feel not so bad.  Of course I've never had to subsist entirely on the rations given to us - we brought some in and have been able to buy some but now the canteen has gone "phut" and D.O.K. when we can restart it.  So things don't look too good for the future - that is why we hope so strongly that relief will come fairly soon.  But we'll stick it out. I've been going to weigh myself for days - I must try and go tomorrow.  I'll be very interested to know what I am - I was 167 in November - too much I know and I was getting a horrible "pot" - that's all gone now - and I think I must be down to about 145 - I'll see tomorrow. Goodnight then L.O. - it's 8.45 here - 5.45 in Dacca; 1.45 at Durban - perhaps you are thinking of me too.        All my love always             B

Well Honey I weighed myself yesterday 142 lbs - so I have got back my boyish figure - you won't know me!  The only drawback is that one gets so easily and so soon tired - my back seems to be breaking most of the time but still we can stick it out much longer yet. Still I do hope that relief comes by the end of May.  There are riots in H.K. and very little food is being sent out to us - we'll be left stranded perhaps and then trouble will start.  However we must hope for the best.               All my love Darling             BB

Everybody else is out so I have peace.  We had Council again yesterday and I had a walk afterwards with Gimson.  He is still in on the C.S. business and has very little use for Fraser. Butters says he has a claim.  I am rather surprised that he puts it forward   - perhaps he thinks Fraser is to act.  If Harry puts it forward against me I'll be very disappointed in him. I know you'll be thinking that I'll get away on leave.  I hope however you'll come back stay a little with me and then go home with the bairns perhaps ahead of me if I can't get leave.  I must find out when Gimson had leave.  Sir Mark Young is still here and we hear he has been moved to Barker Road - in the Socony house where Tracy lived [?"Altadenia"] but Gimson is quite sure he will not resume duty and never come back.  So Gimson will act until a new Governor arrives - I should get on leave then.  We'll have to think then whether I'm going to come back again - we have lost so much that I feel  I'll have to come back to make up a little.  We may get compensation of course but you never can tell.      Well cheero again Darling - I think of you all the time and wish I knew where you are and how you are.
All my love always        B

It is well over a month Honey since I have written - I find it almost impossible to write and I think I'll leave this alone for a while.  I think of you every day and regret so much that has gone before but we must try and make up for that when we are all together again.    AMLAML.   BB

I must try and write a little now and then.  I got weighed again yesterday 139 lbs - it's not too bad.

I heard yesterday of a man who  was on page 62 of a letter  to his mother.  It is of course in the form of a diary.  I wish I could have kept this up too but I'll explain how difficult, in fact impossible  it has been.  Parcels are coming in now and we have had a few - 2 nice ones from Inspector Warburton which we shared - Glover and I - with some of the Inspectors.  Then  a big one  - no name on it but I think it was from Dr Li Shu Fan - a very nice one from S.N.Chan and one today  from Ah Min scored out and C Hung put in.  D.O.K.  who that is.  I'll have a lot to tell you when we meet.  I long for you always.  B. 

Weighed again today - up to 142 so the diet  is agreeing with me  - more bread  has helped everybody.

Weighed again - I was doubtful about that 14 - I'm down to 134 now and look it but I feel quite fit and well.

The 23rd has come and gone - I thought of you all day - next year we must be all together.  Glover has at last got away to Shanghai - I hope he arrives safely.  I shall miss him terribly here - I may try and change my room.    AIAW.   B.B.

Six months ago today I came into this "dump"  With Glover away we have rearranged the room and fixed up a sort of table so I am going to try and write a resume' of the first six months - I'll set to sometime soon and I'll try to add a bit every week or so       Cheero Darling     B.B.