The Diary of Mrs Grace Smith - the blind lady of Stanley Internment Camp: View pages | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

The Diary of Mrs Grace Smith - the blind lady of Stanley Internment Camp: View pages

Diary - opening pages
Diary opening page

The little notebook that became Mrs Grace Smith’s diary of her time in Stanley Internment Camp was not shiny and new. We might surmise that it had once belonged to a teacher. It appears to show part of their weekly timetable, teaching Forms 3A and 3B.

It is believed that Mrs Smith was completely blind, which poses the unanswered question, “Who wrote it for her?”

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First entry

[Right page] Mrs Grace… Left my home… Dec 8th when… broke out…sent up…Peak…on the 12th …

Stayed there…Jan. 24th…was then [sent to (?)] Stanley… Chan [was sent (?)] away in… so I was [left]… all alone…

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Diary - pages 5-6

[Left page] Went into hospital on April 23rd with dysentry where I remained for 5 weeks

June 13th Tigers appeared

July 1st still in hospital, another bout of fever

[Right page] “This is My Life” by Agnes Hunt

9th July 1942 Left the hospital for new billet in the American block. Typhoon blowing

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Diary - pages 7-8

[Left page] Was carried down in a chair by Captain Basham, Mr Crofton [?] and his [?] son. They said I looked like the Queen of Sheba. Met with very kind people and settled in comfort. Thank God for that.

[Right page] 8th October 194[2]

Food very tight. My weight has gone down to 114 pounds.

Here are a few of the prices:

Duck eggs $2.00 [illegible]
Sugar $4.00 a [pound?]
Margarine$8.60 per [illegible]
Tea $10.00 per pound
/XL Jam 12 ozs $7.20
Butter $
No fat at all to be got Dripping $16.00 per [packet?]

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Diary - pages 9-10

[Left page] Two meals a day. ½ pint greasy water with a bit of rice in it, and a little green. Dinner [?] at 5 p.m.
A little [?] meat – 3 [?] 4 pieces – which [?] been stewed in the broth. Sometimes a little vegetable, but always rice which 
[Right page] I loathe. A small loaf of 7 ozs once a day.

26th November 42
During October the tiger again appeared and looked through our bedroom window. Mrs Moss said it had 4 legs. I suppose it must have been the Indian Guard [/Grand?]!


pages 11-12
Diary - pages 11-12

[Left page] Since being in Camp I have received HK$17.40 from Canteen profits, HK$5.00 from the Pope, $15.00 from Camp Fund.
¥6.00 from British Shanghai Association. I have paid my debts out of these funds. $16.00 in all.

Fruit is now [Right page] obtainable.
Chinese oranges
Bananas   10 sen each

Pencil  $1.60

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Diary - pages 13-14

[Left page] A Long Lapse:

12th Feb 1943

Long lapse since I last wrote. Went into hospital 10 days before Xmas. Came out 14th Jan.
Another bad dose of dysentery which left me very weak. Food very scarce and I am always
hungry. Continually…

[Right page] …dreaming about cold ham. Red Cross allowing us ¥20 a month. Have received ¥15
other ¥5 still to come. Prices in canteen exorbitant:
¼ margarine ¥2.40
Sugar ½ lb ¥1.05
Jam 12 oz ¥1.70
Money does not go far.

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Diary - pages 15-16

[Left page] 3rd March 1943

“Honourable Estate” by Vera Brittain

Puffed wheat 1.35
                      - 75
Cash in hand 31st March
¥20 (2 ¥10 notes)
¥5 (5 ¥1 notes)

[Right page] Small change 20 sen
                                        + 13 cents

20th April ’43
Another lapse. On the last day of March I was informed that Raymond
[Her son] was sent to Japan in January 1943. It was a great shock and I felt very miserable

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Diary - pages 17-18

[Left page] I feel that I have no hope of ever seeing him again. Saved up a little money and had my picture painted by a Russian artist in hopes that some day it may reach my boy. Crofton is taking care of it. Received more money. March…

[Right page] …allowance of ¥25. Prices in canteen exorbitant.
Sugar now ¥1.60 a lb. [illegible]
One 5lb tin Jam  ¥17
Lard ¾ lb ¥3.80
Peanuts ½ lb ¥1.00

Food very bad again. Flour ration cut down again. We only get a little 4 oz…

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Diary - pages 19-20

[Left page] …loaf for 2 days.

Eggs       .40 sen ea.
Oranges .30 sen   “
Bananas .7½ sen  “

[Right page] …allowance of ¥25. Prices in… [Seems to repeat text from top of previous page]

22nd June 1943

Red Letter Day
Lovely letter from Pixie [Her daughter-in-law] which did much to hearten me. After two months without a cent, I got ¥20. I could now buy a banana [illegible]

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Diary - pages 21-22

[Left page] … an egg having now [?] cash. They are now up to double the price. We are hoping every day to hear that we shall be sent away. We have already been informed that we shall be repatriated this… [Right page] …summer, and that further news will be given us later. Meanwhile repatriation wild tales. 1. That we are to be sent to Lorenzo Marques, Colombo, Canada or Australia.

This was the final entry in Grace Smith's diary. She died in internment on 14th January 1944 and her grave is pictured here.