11 Dec 1941, W J Carrie's wartime diary
7.45a.m. I can’t get any news on my wireless in the morning - I don’t know why – London just won’t come through. I slept all night – Win however rang up in the middle of the night - to say they were shelling us. Like Frank I said it was miles away and probably our guns. But one heard the whine of the shells and then a crunch. Now back to work again. So my food problem – how to feed my 4,000 coolies! So Cheerio. Billie.
HOME 6.45 p.m. Girlie - what a day! They did shell us last night and hit the Military Hospital and we’ve been shelled all day. But after really a terrible day there is one bright spot – no billettees yet. Lisa rang up and said she wanted to come here. I wasted a lot of my time trying to fix it up. I have grave doubts about it – she would boss everybody and there would be a row in no time. But she would run things well. I got Julius Ring’s permission – she is down to go to 376 – Gilmour’s (Chartered Bank) old house – Dawson there now, and I think little Mrs Rickett “living in sin”!! When I told Lisa that she’d be in one room and Frank in another - she cried off!! But I will not give up my den or our bed.
Well the news from Home - for the first time since the war began - means very little to us. Of course I would be rung up on the phone just when London started to talk about H. K. so I don’t know what was said but I am sure it was [???] – it was - I heard it at 9.30.
Kowloon is evacuated and D.O.K. what the night and tomorrow will bring us.
I sent you a cable today L_C. to be quicker and I hope it gets through soon. Sweetheart - I wonder when you get it if you will realise that I thought it might be our last communication together. But that was my feeling Darling - I have no hope of this going out tomorrow but I’ll post just it in the hope. Though how any plane can come or go when we have evacuated Kowloon I don’t know. I heard that the ship N.L. was, I think on was either sunk or captured.
But we are now in for a really tough time - I am not going to stay in little huts in the middle of Statue Square any more. I’ll move up to my Burials H.Q. in the basement of the newly built Northcote Training College and leave the damn huts to be plastered with shrapnel or blown up with H.E. Then I’ll be quite safe. For we are really in for something stiff if we don’t give in. Our local communique was equally non-committal but why not?
Well Honey I’ll run down for chow now and write on later – though one doesn’t know if it will ever get through.
I forgot to tell you - Betsy is in rather a flat spin and I may have to get rid of her. With two howitzers on Purvis’s and Alabaster’s tennis court going hell for leather now and then- she just goes “bats”. Mackenzie drove me up tonight - I am very grateful for the lift but it wasn’t all altruistic as I may tell you some time. We were just coming round the corner at Ho Tung’s house when the howitzers went off and poor old Mac. nearly had me over the hillside – he’s a wee bit nervy these days. We are none of us as young as we used to be.
Win rang up again - she has just gone to bits and I am glad she is not coming here. I gave in much against my better judgment though Lisa might have been very useful. But now I suppose she is very sorry she ever came back to H.K. and a lot of women are sorry they ever stayed. Lisa is now in 376. Well Honey I could go on writing till midnight - it gets me that way! But as you may never see this letter - I think I’d better go to sleep so long as it is quiet.
So Goodnight My Lovely Little One.
You have always been my ideal little wife and sweetheart and if I go out I hope you will get this letter and know that I love you and long for you more today than even 30 years ago.
All my love always Billie