25 Dec 1941. Barbara Anslow's diary | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

25 Dec 1941. Barbara Anslow's diary

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Date(s) of events described: 
Thu, 25 Dec 1941

((Diary doesn't say anything about my working part of this day.. an anxious time as we knew Jap troops were advancing towards Central where we were, and heard that our a.a. guns were to be set up outside the tunnel we were working in.))

Mr Bendall took photos outside the CSO Tunnel ((where we were working) in morning of Mr Garton, Mr Skinner and me.  ((These photos were developed and printed post-war, and one of them still exists:))

Photo: Christmas Day, 1941

Left work at 3pm. Spent Christmas Day with Sid at the hospital, sitting beside him on the floor. No question of going to Mass, duties sacrosanct now.  While I was sitting on floor beside Sid, Mrs Johnson a friend who was helping the wounded, came over to us and said 'I have bad news for you - we've surrendered.' She was half-crying, and wouldn't look at us.

Sid shouted to his neighbour 'Did you hear that?  We've surrendered!'   The news passed about quickly, and everywhere up popped bearded faces, because every one naturally queried it, especially as shelling still going on and plane overhead; and a news bulletin was circulated just afterwards, giving heartening news about our defences.  But then we heard confirmation of surrender, and still could hardly believe it.  We'd all laughed so much at the Peace Mission that had come a few days earlier and been rejected.
My sister Olive phoned me at the hotel and told me to go back to Dina House ((where I was billeted)), so I did, but not before going first to the Parisienne Grille ((nearby)) for a meal... had turkey but no dessert.

In Dina House ((where we ARP folk were billeted)) we all wondered what was going to happen to us.  Mr Bevan (Deputy Director of ARP) said there was talk that we might be sent to barracks in Tsingtao.

In Evening Mr C. Bailey came into our girls' room wearing a paper hat and asked me to go along to the men's room for a party.  But the other girls weren't feeling like celebrating - ((most of them were married women who didn't know where their fighting husbands were, or even if they were alive)) and I didn't want to spoil their mood, so said No. But Mr Bailey came back again, paper hat askew, and gave me a bottle of eau de cologne from him and Tony Cole, so I went.  Mrs Vi Evans was there, Mr Hyde Lay, Lillian Hope, Janet Broadbridge and Tony Cole.   We had Xmas pudding ((heated on a primus)) absolutely delicious, and chocolate and sweets; and played games.

((Mrs. Evans died during an operation in Stanley Camp.  Mr Hyde Lay (and his wife Betty) were both killed in Stanley during an air raid by the Allies on 16th January 1945))