R. E. Jones Wartime diary: View pages | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

R. E. Jones Wartime diary: View pages

Raids began at 9.15AM & increased in number during the afternoon. Targets are still the north side of HK. A squadron of Spitfires would clear them out in half a minute.

Clouds of white & brown smoke over Repulse Bay way due to bombing. Big column of black smoke over Shau Kei Wan way.

Quiet night.

Planes over & bombarding at dawn. 2 A.A. guns N.W. of Prison.

Japs truce 11AM to 4.15PM to give us time to give in. Gov. told them where to step off.

Waterfront & Central catching it badly.

Lights began to flicker during the evening.

(Many Happy Returns of today pal, under happier circumstances)

Japs got the Electric Works during the night. The coal stove will come back into its own once more.

Electric on again at noon, good work somebody.

Japs bombarding North Side plenty of black smoke visible.

They bombed the Fort 12.50 – 1.00PM but missed.

Platoon called out 7.00AM. Took up positions around St. Stephens College commanding Fort Rd. Fort bombed & Island Rd shelled.

Canadians came up & re-inforced us for a while. (Japs landed at Taikoo during early am)

All quiet during the night.

Returned to Stanley 9AM for food, clean up & to await fresh orders.

Remained in Club (H.Q.) all night.

Japs shelled & bombed during the day.

Quiet night.

Orders T 10.00AM & attached to the Middlx. Regt. Catchwater overlooking Rep. Bay. Knocked some Japs over during the afternoon.

Retired to Stanley View for the night.

False alarm 1AM (Japs landed at Stanley.) Canadians turned out & manned roads. All OK. returned to H.Q. 8.30AM for much needed food & clean up.

1.30PM manned position N of Village commanding shortcut paths from Stanley View. Sandbagged our position & stayed the night, nothing happened.

Ordered to move 9AM & found new position on top floor Stanley Dance Hall commanding same outlook. 11.30AM shelled out & our poor old stewpot was shattered & the contents lost. Returned pm & occupied the dance floor itself. (Lyle ((probably John Lyle)) & McGrath ((probably G. W. McGrath)) wounded during a.m. shelling)

All quiet during the night.

Four R.E.s swam from Repulse Bay to Stanley Village 9PM.

Frying bacon on a Chinese chatty in the middle of a dance floor has its humourous side. Grabbed some salvage, tinned peas, cocoa, milk & packet of Woodbines & a Mills bomb.

Shelling commence 11.30AM & ended 1PM leaving us with a 5.9 dud at our door. Shop next door damaged so we collected more salvage, mineral waters mostly.

Planes bombed Fort & snipers active locally.

All set for night watches but at 7.30PM Major Forsyth took over & our section changed position to SE corner of wooden hut E of Police Station. Lousy position too with a frontage that shut off the view at 20* due to rise in ground. Left flank was the road, right flank McTavish & one section, rear Vickers guns in strengthened position on the fork in the road. Canadians marched out.

8.50PM heard the rattle of tanks on Island Rd as they approached the village (Jap). 2 knocked out by anti-tank gun & hell broke loose. Everything opened up on them & the Jap troops with them who were urged on  by peculiar cries from their Commander.

The Japs spread out each side of the Rd. & bombed our lads out. We got on to the Rd. hoping to get a better advantage point but we could only see as far as the police station. Shot at by our own men. (Grants section, I think) bullets tore up the rd. 3 ft. from me. Got on to Fort Rd to cover Middlx. position. Ran out of ammunition so retired 100 yds to Garage. Middlx. grenaded out and we made our way to the Fort at about 2.30AM

Got 300 rounds from a lousy piece of work named Templar & so returned & took up position on a hill W. of Prison. Japs took Prison Rd & H.Q. Retired to Fort at 6.30AM where we scrounged breakfast & was billeted behind No1 Block (Some Xmas). Odd units trickled in all day. Fort bombed & shelled. Last night Murphy & Crossan were shot by our own men. McLeod, Carr, Gowland killed. Cottrell*, Foster*, Pearce, Stevens* missing. Winterton lost right hand. 7PM Posted as B.H.Q. guard ready for the final stand but it never materialized. Terms of surrender discussed & all was over for us at about 11PM. (The civil population’s position became acutely distressing due to lack of water etc in town). We are now prisoners of war.
*Turned up later. Stevens wounded.

Collected all arms & amm. Billeted in Sgts. Mess (You have been there too darling Marj but I didn’t expect to see it under such circumstances) Had some beer. Frank ((possibly fellow prison officer E S Franks)) & I went to Sgt. Dick’s place for food etc. Rum PM. Stevens turned up wounded. Although capitulation is not so good it feels nice to know that the likelihood of being shot or blown apart is gone.

Stanley Platoon returned to Prison at 10AM & occupied what had been the Day Guard Qtrs. Allowed to our own qts for 20 mins to collect essential gear (Marj pal, what a mess our place was in, everything ransacked & a bomb had been thrown at the bedroom window) (Blackie had been put to sleep Wed)

Resumed Prison duties & commenced clearing up the debris. The Prison had been bombed & shelled & there was plenty of loose brickwork & concrete around. No water or electric on. Pris’s allowed to smoke. Indians, what are left of them, are very insolent. Tweed Bay cleared. Pos, ex ARP AHS’s, wardresses etc all eat together in ex G pty now.

Foster turned up. ((Probably fellow Prison Officer, G.B. Foster))

Got a few more odds & ends from GII (Makes me sad to see our little home messed up pal). 2nd night. No news from outside of any sort, no radios going. So we do not know what the situation is.

Retrieved as much gear as possible from our Qts. & placed it all in D Block. The Japs are to occupy our flats. (I saved all I could sweetheart & said Goodbye for us both to our first little home, maybe we’ll get back there yet dear) (We are all worried now because none of you down there know what has happened to us. I hope you are bearing up Marj dear).

Quiet day generally. Water came on. Lovely weather. Frank & I changed to another room. ((Possibly fellow Prison Officer, E S Franks."))

Rumours still persist re collapse of Italy & Hitler’s request for an armistice with Russia.

Japs took over the administration today. Payed $5 today but we cannot do anything with it. Priste[?] 50cts packet?

Retrieved safe from Club ($1347) Lent Hill & Stevens $50 each from my 173 & 18

All radios confiscated by Japs. Perhaps news is so good for the Allies that they fear us being able to listen to it & doing something about it. Anyway, we are helpless without arms & there is no electric on anyway. So the radios are useless.

Radio confiscation not true. Gear being brought into gaol by some of the chaps & they are spoiling other people’s stuff in the process.

Manila gone? Went to DI [scrounged?arranged?] my gear again OK & retrieved my wedding suit.