12 Dec 1941, W J Carrie's wartime diary
Dearest - home at last. Before I forget - I have heard a rumour that the ship N.L. was on – I think my parcel for Christmas was bombed and sunk. I’ll be so disappointed if that is true.
I’ve been reading over this letter - I am tremendously glad that you too – as well as the bairns – are not here. It is not nice to hear the whine of the shells and not know where they are going – but more later.
People will ring up when the news is on - I’ve missed most of it but I’ll get some at 9.30. Dora rang up – Bertie’s been hit but has got off fairly lightly. He was sent on fire by an incendiary bomb - he has lost the two small fingers of his right hand and has been burned a bit - but not seriously on his chest. He was somewhere near the Matilda Hospital - climbed up the hillside with his clothes aflame and got first aid there. He is now in the Military Hospital. If I possibly can I must go and see him.
Today started badly - the drivers of the Peak Tram deserted last night - so I had to walk down the Peak with Harry, Megarry and Himsworth. I haven’t felt it much so far, but I expect I’ll be stiff tomorrow. When I got to office - I stripped to my waist – I was just soaking - and dried myself and put two towels round my shoulders while my office Attendant dried everything in front of my electric fire. So I’m O.K. - we really are toughening up. I’ve got Roe back - I insisted - I told Purves I wouldn’t have it. I let him off when we thought we’d be in Kowloon for quite a while yet and he could be near his wife and family. He only got them away in time. The trouble yesterday was not the Japanese - but Fifth Columnists – Chinese supporters of Wang Ching Wai and the Nanking puppet Government. But today we really have evacuated part of Kowloon but we keep cheery thinking that possibly it is time Chiangkai Shek’s troops have re-captured Canton and are advancing down to cut off the retreat of the Japs. We can only hope so. For we have to hold on to this island no matter how much bombing we get and shelling from the Kowloon Hills. I don’t know if we can do it. One of our shells hit the Bank Flats above Mt Austin Barracks and it was found that they were in the line of fire- so they have been demolished. A bomb or shell fell just behind the Peak Garage and 2 in the open space at the back of Hill Crest. Our inner front door had nearly every pane cracked but nothing blown in yet. I certainly don’t like the whine of shells coming over but we must get used to it! They have really been fairly decent – one can imagine that they are trying for a military objective.
Well I had to stop – and have chow. I’ve had a lovely dinner – mince cake, potatoes and a lettuce – the first from my own garden – sago without milk but with strawberry jam –a little piece of toast and butter and a ”coolie” orange –what more could anybody want? But I think we’ll have much shorter rations soon - I had my “spot” tonight and I still have 1 bottle Gin and 1 ½ bottles Whiskey but I doubt I’ll get any more and cigarettes are difficult to get. The Club boys walked out today and so I had to tiffin in Gloucester and had a splendid tiffin for [?H 1.50]. Well Honey Darling – I must close down –I am tired. It would have done me a world of good – as Glover advised me to – to have had a nice warm bath whenever I got it. But I put off – I may have one yet.
So Goodnight Loved One. A.L.A.W. BB
Later It is utterly amazing – just now it is absolutely quiet – and here in this room one could imagine that there is peace everywhere. But what it will be like an hour or so on D.o.k.. News now on. B.