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

W J Carrie's wartime diary: View pages

Still no news - blood count was O.K.  4,200,000 with "redness" 80% but I've to have another injection on Tuesday - my 21st since 29th March - they keep me going - I do so hope we get something when the ship gets back from Goa - one of these Red Cross parcels would be a godsend - this time however they would be from the Canadian Red Cross.

Another letter No27 of 13/12/42 arrived a few days ago - it's lovely to get them, old though they are.  Frank looked in last night and said he had one from you too. I must go up this evening and see it. My Christmas present was blankets you tell me - I have saved our blankets - about the only thing I could save - because I was using them.  You envy the Macleods being all together -you and I Darling could have gone through this together though I'd have hated seeing you hungry and emaciated - you would certainly got thin here! - but it would have been a tragedy if Joy and Ian had been here at their ages.  Think of the waste of time. As it is the Macleod children are suffering - Callum is now really a "problem" child and the children have had many extras in food etc that would have been saved many of the older men and women. Wait until you hear Dora's story - you'll be thankful that you didn't get back to H.K.  I worried all 1942, not knowing where in the wide world you might be but when I heard you were all home in Edinburgh, with Joy and Ian I am able to "get on" normally an unspeakable weight of anxiety was removed. I really do think we'll all be together soon and then we can make plans for the future.                                             All my love always Billie.

You were "collecting" whisky for me too - fancy I've been TT for nearly 2 years now! - and I'm sure it has done me good but I feel that a little of the old stuff would put me right again quicker than anything.


I went up and saw Lin and Frank yesterday and your letter.  A part of it had been heavily blacked out. You wrote something about "being very worried last week" - then the rest is blacked out.  No news yet - the No 2 in the F.A. Dept. is very ill so all progress is stopped until he gets better. We must just have patience.         Cheerio Darling - hope on, hope ever. All my love. B.


Another month gone and still no news.  We are promised however that we shall hear something soon.  There are terrible rumours about - there were some 30 or more executions 2 days ago and one man was heard to shout Goodbye in English from the van taking them down to the beach where they were all shot. One of the Bungalows overlooks the place where they had to get out of the van and some people say there were 3 Europeans - possibly Fraser, Scott (Police) and Waterton (Wireless Engineer) but others think Rees (of Cable & Wireless) and others.  I think they are going to tell us about them someday soon, tell us about repatriation at the sametime and perhaps also bring in our monthly pocket money to smother the first news. Food is terrible these days and I am feeling absolutely tired out tonight - I had to wait an hour in a queue for boiling water and it just about finished me. I never thought that I'd ever apply for or get "outdoor relief"- but I did and I got a grant of 25 Yen, so now I can buy extra peanuts, beans etc  and try and keep up my strength. I have ordered one egg a week and I may get more - they cost 1.50 each!

                                I won't try to write more tonight.           AMLA. B.


I've been in hospital since Monday afternoon. I had "scitters" in the morning and then my temp flared up - over 103 when I got here about 4. But it hasn't been malaria nor dysentery as I have thought more than once it would be. I had a setback on Friday night - up every 2 hours but it was just some yeast I had taken. I have had a terrible chill, my nose, lips and even under my chin have all broken out -I'm in an awful mess! They say I must try and shave - my moustache as well - as the thing - herpes - is spread from hair follicle to the next. So I shall have torture this afternoon.

We got the news on Monday - 7 men shot. Bradley (a San. Inspector), Hall (Lane Crawfords), J.A. Fraser, Rees (Cable & Wireless seconded to Govt), Hyde (HK & S Bank) L.R.Scott (Police) and Waterton (Govt Wireless Engineer). Then when the Teia Maru returns about 600 women children and very sick men are to get away. I believe I shall be included but I'm not banking on it yet. We'll hear very soon. I had intended smuggling this and some other papers out but I am so terrified that I might be caught and then repatriation would be refused for me at least that I'm not going to take the slightest chance.

CheerO just now. All my love. B.

I got out of hospital this afternoon - just 10 days there. "Be it ever so humble there is no place like home". - I never thought I'd ever welcome returning to this little "cell" as "home". I had a frightful chill - and after the fever went my face broke out horribly with herpes. But it's nearly better now. No word yet if I am to be included but I'm pretty sure I will be. Poor Dora is very disappointed - for I don't think she or Margery will be included. Mrs Tinson is going (as a war widow) - and as Mrs Fairburn went with the Canadians - that is 2 out of the 4 gone and naturally Dora feels being left all the more. I think there will be another ship or another trip on the same ship soon after the New Year - I do hope so for the food situation gets no better and even if some supplies come with this ship they won't last very long.

How I hope I'm going to get away - this chill has pulled me down a bit - I must weigh myself again tomorrow -. I've told Seth too that I can't carry on with the auctions - I have no energy to do anything now. Well we must just hope on.

Goodnight L.O. - I do so hope I'm going to see you soon. B.

It's not quite 4pm - so not 7am with you yet and you can hardly be up yet. Alabaster came down specially to tell me I am on the list - what a relief! Now I know I'll be free before the end of the year and home sometime in January. What a reunion that will be - you'll be scared when you see me I'm sure - I'm so thin but I'll soon fatten up. I won't be a good bed companion for sometime however - all knobs!

I have stayed in bed all day today but I must get up tomorrow. I'm all right now and my herpes is clearing up. But the weather is bleak and cold so I was just as well in bed today. I think I'll stop this letter now as I can't take it out with me. It has been a little communion with you every little while.

All my love always. Billie.

Letter No 28 just arrived.


I stopped my letter on the 12th when I heard my name was on the list for repatriation as I thought I'd be busy preparing. Now it is the 27th and we are no further on. A Jap doctor, civilian, came in the other day and checked up the sick men - he seemed quite interested in my case as I had a record of all my blood counts and injections to show him. But the lists have to go to Tokyo and it is said to London also for approval so D.O.K. when we'll get away. I had so hoped to be a free man by Christmas. However it is something to be on the list. I am thankful. I feel all right in many ways - I've had a little cold recently but nothing but it is the ghastly weakness that gets you down and the knowledge that that if these injections stop (the supply is nearly exhausted) then I'm for the high jump!

Poor Harmon died the other day - he has had anaemia for years of course; he went into hospital with dysentery (quite mild I believe) but he was allergic to Dagenin, - it attacked his kidneys and he couldn't pass water. We've had a few other deaths, some solely from anaemia and malnutrition generally so naturally I am thankful that I am going to get away. Dora took it rather badly at first - and said it was the biggest disappointment she's ever had in her life and I'm sorry for her but-------- . I only heard the other day too that Bertie's burns mightn't have gone septic if he had stayed on in Bowen Road and not wangled a move back to the Univ. Relief Hospital. So she didn't really help him there.

I have been busy since I last wrote. I got rid of the Auction business on Tuesday so now I can give all my thoughts to repatriation. I am to be O.C. Party and so I'll have plenty to do. I've already had a lot of people asking me to take messages but it will be the official messages I shall have to concentrate on. I don't suppose we'll be allowed to take out any written matter - not even a list of addresses but I shall have to get my official documents passed.

I wonder when you'll hear first that some people are getting away, next that I'm on the list, next that it is because I'm "sick". I hope you won't worry too much - of course I'll cable to you at the very first opportunity and tell you how I am. I get quite excited at times thinking of it and yet one feels one should not bank on anything until it is absolutely fixed up. If we have to have all the injections the Canadians had we won't be away for a month yet - I hope it's not as long as that.

Food I very poor and the little supplements - beans and - we were able to get from the local I.R.C. man are exhausted and he reports he has no money to buy more - and no money for our allowances. Dora lent me another 5 Yen the other day or I wouldn't have been able to get my cigarettes today. What a life. I hope to get away soon and begin to live again.

All my love always. Billie.

I really should feel thankful and happy - I have been passed by the Japanese - some 34 of the men have to go up for another medical exam tomorrow so things were not so certain after all.  Funnily enough I never had any doubts that I'd get away with the first party, since a doctor said in my presence, forgetting that I had it, that the anaemic cases were the most urgent to get away, even more urgent than T.B. cases.  I wish, however, we could get a date fixed and get on with it. I was busy last night going over the list noting up particulars etc. I'll have a lot to do before I go and on the ship to Goa. CheerO Darling. B.

Lin and Frank are of course not going either - Lin is a bit sore.