03 Dec 1942, John Charter's wartime journal

Submitted by HK Bill on Sat, 05/22/2021 - 12:32

Tonight we have been told the black-out restrictions have been lifted and that the men need no longer sleep in gaol. A Japanese Major General has been here today and we wonder if these latest orders are the result of his visit. The imprisoning of civilians by an enemy power is a contravention of the Geneva Pact, though I believe they are quite within their rights to insist on a total blackout. The camp perimeter lights must have been erected, therefore, to prevent escapes and not in order to comply with the Geneva Convention as we thought. The stipulated 3 weeks of imprisonment should have ended last Friday, Nov 27th.

There is a great deal of speculation roused by this order. The news both in the paper and the ‘bamboo wireless’ has been incredibly good for some time now. We know from the paper that the Russians have affected a great pincer movement somewhere N.W. of Stalingrad and the other pretty reliable sources of news gives the number of Germans thus cut off at some 200,000.

We hear also that the French fleet at Toulon has partly come over to our side and partly scuttled itself. (In fact only one submarine escaped to French North Africa and 77 ships and submarines were scuttled.)

We also hear enormous quantities of American arms, ships and men are already on the way to China. In fact we have a feeling that the Japs will have to watch their steps, and that in any case it is only a matter of time now before even their stubborn military leaders will see they haven’t an earthly chance of winning this war.

(I devoutly hope this diary will not be discovered by any Japanese before the end of this war, as I am sure they would object to some of the things I have said! I notice that in the beginning I omitted many things that I might have said, but as time has passed I have grown bolder, or more reckless!).

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