12 Jan 1945, John Charter's wartime journal

Submitted by HK Bill on Mon, 03/21/2022 - 17:32

Since I last made an entry the old year has fled and 1945 has arrived. I don’t think anyone shed even a tiny tear over 1944.  Apart from the arrival of the Canadian parcels it has been a year of disappointments (the chief one being that the war is not yet concluded!) and restrictions of one kind and another. I think the most optimistic person has, by now, given up all hope of any measure of repatriation by the Japanese.

However, there is much to be thankful for – Yvonne and I are at least together and our health, really, has been remarkably good for these conditions. The parcels have done everyone a lot of good. Many people have finished theirs by now and Y and I are nearing the end of ours, but, as always, having rationed ourselves to a tin every so many days or weeks, we have halved the ration now in order to eke it out a little longer. The issue of vitamin pills has also come to an end. These too have helped to keep people fairly fit.

There has been news in the paper of a Japanese ship which was given safe conduct with American food supplies which she also loaded at Vladivostock and took back to Tokyo. There are further Red Cross supplies and recently, the paper reported that this ship had left Tokyo and was on its way with food parcels for American prisoners in China, the Philippines and South Pacific regions. We have been pricking up our ears and licking our chops in hopeful anticipation! It has stressed the fact, more than once, that these parcels are for Americans. However, a day or two ago the Chairman of the eleven remaining Americans was called up the hill where he was asked, by Hara, to sign an affidavit to the effect that all Americans shared equally with the British in the distribution of the British parcels. Also, it seems that if this consignment is being sent through the agencies of the American Red Cross, they would not discriminate between the prisoners in the hands of the Japs – or would they?! At any rate, we hope not.

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