Diary of Arthur Seaforth Blackburn, April 1942 - November 1944, Part 12 of 26

Conflict:
Second World War, 1939–45
Part of Quest:
Subject:
  • War Diaries
Status:
Awaiting approval
Accession number:
AWM2020.22.18
Difficulty:
4

Page 1 / 5

gne and April 4 ) in a barb wire endlooure about tocired sasie amp. Deon to be planty of room in barades allotes suade aI way alloted wil othe wst callada Taylor, manwell, Derban a Ang Irote (Aud wilh tudig Aery), bny Lopeye s Ea mynd quad of s & rlue Dut are ses. Had a comnbe nix up gelantmatone, llme blantiets et for nighe as bandles were noy martied, istead of tahins own everyone grassed reapest oner I lost both my choets my mattrews cover skoued at yt no other in . However settled in to Careyho excer no lockers out Damacks ave siil ever sam enchyn sed Alngside Castril open oebu in the diviion of room & get two bcke ground floor served will a susher of aoe poup which was much aspeciated, Bund, that s gogls from arecko t down a seare of patt wh ore have all been deducted an equal amount to ay mone out no live figse mobits. Onepy was luilled + brought in with us. Caun coudt of Parenks Cobe were gave up a few dayso charge of Canip 9 Col who infected us was awailing our trfival & inspoted us. Dread was vert apreciated, Goof that bario woable is due to rice was shovied by faat the actnouge I lead foar caps offeg about 1930 hro only lied to Dee an twice to barys try negre berse not illy o so ed an 8r ever ae areace Dune many good point in lagout of vun, fooleing all gt u by staan tells gue are t0 Ooiling water at all hours so wadle len of te Eg olor cun befre norning roll call. Goo in cme whore we eamled in agternoon. th t again gex our in front I have aaryting aspested, te all te enall por botiee of refined retrol which I was laing br omea0 fotnle thing ase posed Condition generall look a well e quite good a al wities reminded as of our momise of absolute obedience & provioed frops treatee seved geveral atwonthere cavs ods pria or6 fit Cooles as though our treatmant will drepand upot oursever rood is not replantiful yet a all to eat e are new taste of new wood st is very Thong sal feel we can ou wace andin camp is dontled in As it is a new come& te had to bri everything with us sent doe taying un gutade sning windows, wasting floors ets. Oatgen are a t scere & a logter as Crough I may lose iugly a v nixe gnceant las frm ilaw wal & wleo I have been sbartig with line Linger have reqests as his digation oe to be continue t lorke aster me as though I am be differect mad from malte. Other Aucatos Noft oneve ve gon thy ae he is tex angugte and very dipl ad i aot weetter, rorer am mae libe save wan wege cord, 22 son for comprl god meal at night. Far moe rice, good toue oun and tedicn sued slix of bile fot eac a sed fou day Heavy thter stor at about 192s bn Sunday. Fine morring but cool breye. Upual Church service in nerning. In alenon coudetohoey cold then order out that in a teno &bg moruisnet must be spead out over yed & retu On ground to maent mosquitees gathering under beas. Appainth there is a risk of malare nequte are very plantiful. Had excellect night- only jup twice at 0020 $0400, better quantity of rece continue
apis 5 Dull Londy day with rage about mu butmecs s Exapies Esteriend a epare rase of ago tha rotler guoditi, Resliad very well e the it would be done as soon as pr. all de serror re wengton clayd boot ron lagg tl ets comested trrangengets oor indiriace wtb insterd of one engeare Eaalos rig anon systen thosed very clearly last nene. Had 69 S time, Lights failed in came are agring night wle pace was in darlinen. Mppon auteitis tne us today that they are building new kitten for ther own wse glope to move ito same tomony & hiand pecent butcher over to our enluewe use, cold blustory day. All lights our at 1abagan nalies everyn beg bon Tunt Clange of ou it drinks ball after 1400 p lunde ric & eating it at 2100 lis gngeall had mee effect nlyp ame last pight. Caye over to individual nots for morquitoe weels not god but think they will improve woher things see Better t conditions still sewing exfect only ap thre ti last night. Another cold slgwery day. Twelve dushs Brought into camp to dy ho tongle st Also informed that Conall baliers over will be built Eng Taylar instructed & brew is8 moutersul preams of losd yer mading. an hoving on every night lattly and look parpert to. deen 2 day so Astd may call then back to me sitted De day coldon I bare eececed s moge have been very por which leas not holped, te soap at Creatifix & wellday were nothing oue bot water in very fow gren regetable in them, although fice wsye wa acclage, 200 cold to do anything at all maye walk about and unfortunately th authrities piled unoc te boot room we conede gt a ou voots. Order issued to day thee during gold weather ever doors window must be doe ohu vigilare guara muce walk around barracks all the time Impoved ing ater e that it is done. was a peer supply of swed potatoes mined will rce Warmer day sun came out for about 34 lo norb claudy & cold in afternoon. Air raid pastice pie today & lights are again allowed sp to a10p les 26 night yt night tis only head to get uppoice. speats on the whole better &dry. Had a feet toyght as other cuts. bad brought some tomatels witl am from sarenns & gave me one. 2t was very taste and d that all booles must be bandled cral litzary instead of being retaineg bent individualle milcle wvartia, Drent some hours gettins ofein the in Pminion to write a letter simite 4 E50 wards al must be pinted in Olocty cetter &canterly afte so three thins to be sut to res, desorned we pan go sucha er once a month. Want such a lto things that it was difficult to deside Ashed to and me warm whoe clotting t ton i do & soap. Pyt in thas I contant smolic a pirp dccaye didnt have pipe & tobaces would tely to have vrition a lot more! Stiel dream of hove evenpight &co have that consolation. Good llle venyhable con reall aso n nounesliment whatever in it sn usu tik ful heals still baxs my hange is beaning cntersl In ege gaps lnded and to as a goon gramossoness a large member of good rleads.
April 14 and annd 1e Dull, ad day. meals letter. Twro fasless of sweet ptato came in were iue to rs n tasternoon o lad Cron stores arrived, but could not be isshed becase cary amat is away from campo se cnnot get at anytling until be returns blic will not be for some days. Evening meak had swet statoe in the coup & also one large exect ppto per person cosuld coperatal in addition to usace souprice ga amounted todoy ta te propose to commeice a livestocl farm tive simblar t Harenlio. Late last night I will bailed up- with Six other officers on te wvoy to the atring sowes aparende some mounderstending agoven non don't kenow what it was all about but wee were ythe sll sart 20 soed on much Issulation as to ti tave only got tof led Goss stores instead of t tey ane all branded Issued by Brittial Red goas for Brutal P.043 I have come via south aprice. Taey are of curse. issued to all cave lAmoican Dutch & Pritial Hey nslade 2 pairs of boots per man, but all boots quest one pair are taken from us o id am uneventful day. camp counde, returned & reforted that bet we Red Gort parcats at le ean ar an rfect ours Common. Another a noploea oday He other one was taken Olat Red tross issid connenced & ing tofl suppe p are 346 indivisual paveds, 280/e vcoa 1102 into th tins of 131, 1104 8 0 two of coed beg 1968 1& tin of 8240 pai beg, 3200 llr of sughr, 500 lls of 2 oeEversone was issued fortle cax medical i tos Livide Heeh regas Mr ane one r sidel far containedh beef & about th et Oct t ill, &ten golden eyrey, be b stale on phing th liver t t appaing mae I suel this ougar 1 sacn th chasse tin re besary cale how de is te feet be iisued every other day, easar & tere sfadly, salt monthly & another parcal in one month, I can apreciate much more fully de clueds atty daligat at ing his parsels at Xinas now. It is spell inpr to describe the absolute trill of opening up & pavcel taking out itam after tten. Had half my lunst rice wish a very liberal sprinteling of euter & it male a tremendous difference. Nion ullet today that tey detend to start construction of balens aver also accomodation for lertoc at ou tr a return of pople accustamed to Aridelaying & carpnte heppon order from mesfical authorities, today to the efect but a return must be ropt of how long eveng ferson takes aver each neal & it will be perioficll wt very person must mestrate their food for ay them. at last 20mins. I tied mysef at Apich 1 that I took 30 mins ligart ption is agin acli w me as I am now down to te last 30 iflesh I have managed to borrow, Dall but very pleasuely warp day a maring ordered by camp auttonittes oo talee wellg Bercige by squads for one hour in morning, nn Red mush appreciated Pasht to play to ste are crondo Beneque in asternoon. Afternoon & evening coft & cold +& inoculation in morling. Warned opteoestion by a fear Admiral, on the axteroon. I ssuld in 6. Katiol meals are still very pruatiotr mere a ner par that they will not ingrove wlilet bed gow et are available. Very wet afternoon. rear Apiral & ls Stapp walked lurnedly throngle camp & infected no
21 22 from he sor of our roon fordeng eten tasts reveved & authoritts suggester we cher grouuess plant vegotable garden outside as in Carerled. Do not thil that any officers are paysically capable of it at prapt. the have allotted portion of te inside area pr equar gardens & have agreed to llit the work to that forthe A much discussion on the subject as many fificers tit that even this is too much, iboling pard inour our was, & want ns to object to doing any ingleat alll. view is equagenteus toatot my woked as we seel capole is an orcfllent lofe & will certainly provise a very acgyeadle pedition to our 100 renevniful day. Food a bit better, much discusion "going on as to gandening propr Sunday. Glerious warm dy with a bugnl repreding brege. hard the sand lason at Caurale this morning. Rig exorder came in a yeo distbute mactically everytling oeeit euolies & tee. An ere had pumplious in te sup which wede it very thish & nice. Authorities intrusted oo Heaver with it of marliig all booles with msastnp sapovng hae w as a bt of trouble feeling much better slepping botter with lags distrorbances at nght enice the bed crow good arrived hve a couple of cup of coop a day &a llistle beaf fer day loc of sugar with every to am finding it a little spoult to elei wi other cust m are asfully juny fincly real oll women I have heard them descrited by oth ees the are also very alcquey a constad are otting together in a comer coluspering. I can unerstand iolationof gene no, as he desnt mise in with either of the botherso all Icuoenarrowners is subitabl in a 10.4 camp probably I seeu as bad to others as some of sd but some ofthe things tie and ew do appalling. The eatert is in lot of sitterte anoigot same of them that the sad croes at tells an isued &n9 soledale- they want to vary it to suit themslves, dont seem prepared & abide by the majoretys eialie It all counds very trivial but assumes bis prtey when we are al dut up bere togetter. uneventful day. Very waring pledsant in a nder se b but late in tafter on with a cittle rain. gave found a carpositor amongse a enafted man and he has taken on the of making me an even clair out of my old camp eGeccher. & ind lla my desire for sweat things to colosial. My iinve of 14 from stae is p extausted I could earily finish of the salan ofit at one neal over n rece Tarm day with very pleacant breae, Iroh thar of Ligard were you hed Cow stges, two begof suge devided between us a bit over 15ll each the sawe quantity of as last welk. Issue meals are very foor & we would be very luinng without the acrition o tee lo Goes llens t ostor wa ape toplay on a different baais vi to one week. Ed of us got 3 128 tris of stef 1 ten of meat vegetables Todays issue frm th leitiden was we woret we have het hads rese was very saort + soup was little may lan vegotable water we would be eterving wihous the d ow issue Trial bakin o areat
ape2ta]. It was quite suscerful although and a ver lifte was dore Howerer yf we can ye mond flour we will be able to add abed to the mene Had our second 748 inocilation t my arm is very eare tonight. Ty cross bodd anaoles me to have at good meal of mext at night & this gives me a far less distrubed night & only bave to get up aire last night Had a waite in tee sunr a long tall in Sen Allaghan. There has been a clange if the kededen amangements whichI hope will produce ben meal ttes had peniously told us to send for tno she offcer ogls day if we conidered the meall too lige be the Enittal officer in charge oe blden leps fail to so either throuse lagirers or through a textency o which I see many sight amongst the pritet& as anr that it only reasts on us is we make compleints, no Brittal ofpier has been replaced by en Abe 164 that he will call the Npon O Dove we are all bo he him bowl pr te neals a good Friday, my thougats are very mught will foe Oothe children & dlo bere they haver oleqsent mewere holid over Easter & act away bos Diax & Ral manar to got liome my pain wer to that tey don't Chinle & worry too mugh o Had cunale this norning wliccle I was quite a De a eighd by the Jap today and according to the sale m tright has now insreaud Lee aoonr 112 ett. I hope this insos is a eomnorgn ue bere 178 cow wh m- are laying themselves out to bait o setittle wor bgeca old callaghan. I. i really a extre emplotely castistivel; yet nttrly wishout deciaioner w was at sysety an nthrse apparently was a wasbout in Malay- and laving on a lift of him here I aan landly ngie being o thembise, meals to day lave begd as bad as ever oup has been t featureles morely vegetable water with no thalgening & the nice is she has ben very ligat Pleasent jum day but feels a bit hundery eatl clear nn morning but claud ovei the afternoon, for the first time since we arrived here the surmanding mountains were coteel ceer of clands& we were able to see tem this they are very high stoo & covered poath oa wgle. no eique of babitatin are ikible mnigt ant te very Cowlt slopes Hee Jap autheriti issued an order that evenyone shall srce by walking two milesper dd around e coup one in the morning sone in the externon. &t & after the monays comen a today an 24 mile that I was theroughly tired. It shew mealsengs vey bad now weal I am becon not enaugle rice to go one decat boweful each eittler at Crcobfast or lunch. Opened the ten of bacon from my led gos pgreel, it was excellent + oner third of it tasted by wa bowl of rice, it also contained the ftin thay a a lor of hat waids I got out by boathy water & poured over iy rile. Itell us pates or supply & I am fractually out con of batt tobace with which I bave been malling my own cigarettes. Meals weefully bad all 24

[*April 2nd (contd)*] in a barb wire enclosure about ¼ size of Karenko

camp. Seems to be plenty of room in barracks allotted to

Squads & I was allotted with other Austs, Callaghan,

Taylor, Maxwell & Derham (M.O. to camp), together with 

Brig. Trott (Aust with Indian Army) & Brig Torronce (Canadian)

to a mixed squad of Ame 3 Americans & nine Dutch. Dutch are

all major-gens. Had a terrible mix up getting mattresses, 

blankets etc for night as bundles were not marked, 

instead of taking own everyone grasped nearest one. I

lost both my sheets & my mattress cover & could get

no others in lieu. However settled in for night satisfactorily.

Barracks are similar to Karenko except no lockers, only

open shelves. I am lucky in having a bed alongside central

division of room & get two lockers in the wooden Div. on

ground floor. Served with a bucket of hot soup which

was much appreciated. Found that 8 goats from Karenko

had been sent down as our share of farm (for which we

have all been deducted an equal amount from our

money) but no pi live pigs or rabbits. One pig was

killed & brought in with us. Camp Comdt of 

Karenko bas (one who gave up a few days ago) is in

charge of camp & Col who inspected us was awaiting

our arrival & inspected us. Bread was very much

appreciated. Proof that "banjo" trouble is due to rice was

provided by fact that although I had four cups of tea

about 1930 hrs only had to get up twice to "banjo" during

night, first not merely 0030 hrs on 3rd. Everyone fo had

same experience.

[*April 3rd*] Found many good points in layout of camp. Cooking all

by steam & kitchen quite close to our my quarters. Unlimited

boiling water at all hours so made tea of at 0630 hrs &

had cup before morning roll call. Good hot bath amazs

in camp which we sampled in afternoon. Had to again

take all luggage out in front & have everything inspected,

Small petr bottle of refined petrol which I was using

for treatment of minor foot trouble taken from me. Every

thing else passed. Conditions generally look as if they

will be quite good. Camp authorities reminded us of our

promise of absolute obedience & promised proper treatment

if we behaved. General atmosphere seems good & friendly

& it looks as though our treatment will depend upon

ourselves. Food is not very plentiful yet & as all food

buckets etc are new, taste of new wood etc is very

strong but feel we cannot complain of amount until 

camp is settled in as it is a new camp & we had to bring

everything with us. Spent day tidying up outside &

cleaning windows, washing floors etc. Batmen are a bit

scarce & it looks as though I may lose "Inglis" - a very

nice gentlemanly lad from RAF who was Maltby's servant

& who I have been sharing with him Sincerely hope not &

have requested  - at his suggestion - that he be allowed to

continue to look after me although I am in a different squad

from Maltby. Other Austs & Trott & Torrance very good &

sharing everything with me - in fact accepting me in their

group. Climate seems very different as today was hot &

steamy - more like Java weather. Prospects still good

look for comfortable camp when we get settled. Very

good meal at night. Far more rice, good issue of 

soup — and medium sized slice of boiled pork

each - a Red Letter day. Heavy thunderstorm at

about 1930 hrs. 

[*April 4th*] Sunday. Fine morning but cool breeze. Usual Church

service in morning. In afternoon cloudy, showery &

cold. New order out that in afternoons big

mosquito net must be spread out over beds & resting

on ground to prevent mosquitoes gathering under

beds. Apparently there is a risk of malaria. Mosquitoes

are very plentiful. Had excellent night - only up

twice at 0030 & 0400. Better quantity of rice is

continuing

 

[*April 5th*] Dull cloudy day with rain about midday, but not so

cold. Px officer interviewed authorities re purchases of cigs,

tea & other commodities. Received very well & assured that

it would be done as soon as possible. Spent all day in

minor re-organisation - changed boot-room, luggage room

etc & commenced arrangements for individual mosquito nets

instead of one large one. Effect of rice diet on my

system proved very clearly last night. Had to get up

six times. Lights failed in camp area during night &

whole place was in darkness. Nippon authorities informed

us today that they are building new kitchen for their

own use & hope to move into same tomorrow & hand

present kitchen over to our exclusive use.

[*6th*] Cold blustery day. All lights out at 1930 hrs again. makes

everything very inconvenient. Change of diet etc - no

drinks at all after 1400 hrs & keeping half breakfast & half

lunch rice & eating it at 2100 hrs & no salt - had

immediate effect. Only up four times last night. changed

over to individual nets for mosequitoes. meals not

good but think they will improve when things get better

[*7th*] Diet conditions still showing effect. Only up three times

last night. Another cold showery day. Twelve

ducks brought into camp today for tonight's stew.

Also informed that Small baker's oven will be

built & Brig. Taylor instructed to brew some yeast

for bread-making. Am having wonderful dreams of Rose

& the children every night lately and look forward to sleep

every day so that I may call them  back to me.

[*8th*] Bitterly cold day - coldest I have experienced since Moji. Meals

have been very poor which has not helped. Stew Soup at

breakfast & midday were nothing but hot water with a

very few green vegetables in them, although rice issue

was average. Too cold to do anything at all except

walk about and unfortunately the authorities failed

to unlock the boot-room so we couldn't get at our

boots.  Order issued today that during cold weather

every door & window must be kept shut & vigilant

guard must walk around barracks all the time to

see that it is done.  Meal improved at evening as there

was a fair supply of sweet potatoes mixed with rice.

[*9th*] Warmer day. Sun came out for about 3-4 hrs in morning.

Cloudy & cold in afternoon. Air-raid practice finished

today & lights are again allowed up to 2100 hrs. Excellent

night last night as only had to get up twice. Meals

on the whole better today. Had a treat tonight as other

Austs. had brought some tomatoes with them from 

Karenko & gave me one.  It was very tasty. Announced

today that all books must be handed in to a

central library instead of being retained & lent

individually.

[*10th*] much warmer. Spent some hours sitting out in the

sun. Permission to write a letter limited to 50 words in

all. Must be printed in block letters & can only ask for

three things to be sent to us. Informed we can send

such a letter once a month. Want such a lot of

things that it was difficult to decide. Asked Rose

to send me warm underclothing etc, tinned food etc

& soap. Put in that I couldn't smoke a pipe because

didn't have pipe or tobacco, would like to have

written a lot more! Still dream of Rose everynight

& so have that consolation. Food still very inadequate

soup really has no nourishment whatever in it.

[*11.*] Sunday. Usual church service uneventful day. Meals

still bad & my hunger is becoming intense. In evening

Japs handed over to us a good gramophone & a

large number of good records.

 

[*April 12th*] Dull, cold day. Meals better. Two baskets of sweet

potatoes came in & were issued to us. In the afternoon

1/5 of the Red Cross stores arrived, but could not be

issued because Camp Comdt. is away from camp &

we cannot get at anything until he returns which

will not be for some days. Evening meal had sweet

potatoe in the soup & also one large sweet potatoe

per person issued seperately in addition to usual

soup & rice. Japs. announced today that they

propose to commence a livestock farm here similar

to Karenko. Late last night I was bailed up - with

six other officers on the way to the latrine. It was

apparently some misunderstanding as even now I

don't know what it was all about but we were

kept standing in the cold for about 20 mins & then,

allowed to go on. much speculation as to why we have

only got 1/5 of Red Cross stores instead of 1/3.  They are all

branded "Issued by British Red Cross for British P.O.Ws"

& have come via South Africa. They are of course being

issued to all equally - American, Dutch & British. They

include 2 pairs of boots per man - But all boots except

one pair are taken from us & locked away.

[*April 13th*] Uneventful day. Camp Comdt. returned & reported that

Red Cross parcels etc have been issued at Karenko & that we

can expect ours tomorrow. Another gramophone came in

today & the other one was taken back.

[*April 14th.*] Red Cross issued commenced this morning. Total supplies

into this camp are 346 individual parcels, 280 lb cocoa, 1152

tins of M & V, 1104 8 oz tins of corned beef, 1968 12 lb tins of

corned beef, 3200 lbs. of sugar, 500 lbs. of salt, 240 pairs of

boots & 1 case medical stores. Everyone was issued with

one individual parcel, about 1 1/2 lbs sugar, 1 8oz tin corned

beef & about 1/4 lb cocoa & about 1 lb salt. My individual parcel contained 1 tin

sweetened condensed milk, 1 tin golden syrup, 1 tin beef steak

pudding, 1 tin Liver Pate, 1 tin apple pudding, 1 tin margarine

2 small tins sugar, 1 tin bacon , 1 tin tomatoes, 1 tin cheese, 1 tin

rice pudding, 1 cake toilet soap & 4 lb chocolate slab. The scheme is that meat

will be issued every other day, sugar & cocoa weekly, salt

monthly & another parcel in one month. I can

appreciate much more fully the child's utter delight at

opening his parcels at Xmas now. It is really impossible

to describe the absolute thrill of opening up a parcel &

taking out item after item. Had half my luncheon

rice with a very liberal sprinkling of sugar & it made

a tremendous difference. Nippon authorities announced

today that they intend to start construction of a Baker's

Oven & also accomodation for livestock at once & called

for a return of people accustomed to bricklaying & carpentry.

Nippon order from medical authorities today to the effect

that a return must be kept of how long every person

takes over each meal & it will be periodically inspected

by them. Every person must masticate their food for

at least 20 mins. I timed myself at lunch & found

that I took 30 mins. Cigarette position is again acute with

me as I am now down to the last 30 which I have

managed to borrow. Dull but very pleasantly warm

day.

[*15th*] Warm morning. Ordered by Camp authorities to take walking

exercise by squads for one hour in morning.  M Red

Cross stores etc are being much appreciated. Learnt to play

Berzique in afternoon. Afternoon & evening wet & cold

[*16th*] TAB inoculation in morning. Warned of inspection by a

Rear Admiral in the afternoon. Issued with new numbers.

mine is now 66. Ration meals are still very unsatisfactory

& fear that they will not improve whilst Red Cross stores

are available. Very wet afternoon. Rear Admiral & his

Staff walked hurriedly through camp & inspect us

 

[*ril 16th cont*] from the door of our room. Gardening question has been

revived & authorities suggested we clear ground & plant a

vegetable garden outside as in Karenko. Do not think that

any officers are physically capable of it a present. They have

allotted portion of the inside area for squad gardens &

have agreed to limit the work to that for the time being.

Much discussion on the subject as many officers. think

that even this is too much, working purely in our own

way, & want us to object to doing any work at all.

My own view is that squad gardens for tomatoes etc

worked as we feel capable is an excellent idea

& will certainly provide a very acceptable addition to

our food.

[*17th*] Uneventful day. Food a bit better, much discussion

going on as to gardening proposals.

[*18th*] Sunday. Glorious warm day with a beautiful

refreshing breeze. Read the second lesson at church

this morning. Big PX order came in & was distributed.

practically everything except smokes & tea. In evening

had pumpkins in the soup which made it very

thick & nice. Authorities entrusted Gen. Weaver (U.S.A)

with job of marking all books with censor stamp

& approving same which has saved a lot of trouble.

Am feeling much better & sleeping better with less

disturbances at night since the Red Cross food

arrived. Have a couple of cups of cocoa a day & a

lot of sugar with every meal & 4 oz beef per day.

Am finding it a little difficult to settle in with the

other Austs.  T. & M. are dreadfully fussy & finicky - 

real old women I have heard them described by other

officers. They are also very "cliquey" & constantly are

getting together in a corner “whispering". I can

understand the isolation of poor old Gen C. now, as

he doesn't mix in with either of the others at

all. I suppose "narrowness" is inevitable in a P.O.W 

camp - probably I seem as bad to other as some of

them do to me - but some of the things here are

appalling. The latest is a lot of bitterness amongst

some of them that the Red Cross articles are issued on a

schedule - they want to vary it to suit themselves &

don't seem prepared to abide by the majority's wishes.

It all sounds very trivial but assumes big proportions

when we are all shut up here together.

[*19th*] Uneventful day. Very warm & pleasant in morning

but late in the afternoon a thunder storm blew over

with a little rain.

[*20th*] Have found a carpenter amongst the enlisted men and

he has taken on the job of making me an easy chair

out of my old camp stretcher. Find that my desire

for sweet things is colossal. My issue of 1 1/2 lbs.

sugar from Red Cross stores is already nearly

exhausted & I could easily finish off the balance

of it at one meal over my rice.

[*21.*] Warm day with very pleasant breeze. Fresh issue

of sugar & cocoa from Red Cross stores, two bags of

sugar divided between us - a bit over 1 1/2 lbs.

each & the same quantity of cocoa as last week.

Issue meals are very poor & we would be

very hungry without the addition of the Red

Cross things.

[*22.*] Meat etc from Red Cross stores was issued today

on a different basis viz for one week. Each of

us got 3  12 lb. tins of beef & 1 tin of meat &

vegetables. Today's issue from the kitchen

was the worst we have yet had, rice was

very short & soup was little more than

vegetable water. We would be starving without

the Red Cross issue. Trial baking of bread today

 

[*April 22 (cont.).*] It was quite successful although only a very

little was done. However if we can get enough

flour we will be able to add bread to the

menu, Had our second TAB inoculation today

my arm is very sore tonight. The Red Cross

food enables me to have a good meal of meat

at night & this gives me a far less disturbed

night. I only had to get up twice last night.

Had a walk in the sun & a long talk with

Gen Callaghan. There has been a change in the kitchen

arrangements which I hope will produce better meals.

The authorities had previously told us to send for the Nippon

officer of the Day if we considered the meals too light but

the British officer in charge of the kitchen has failed to do

so - either through laziness or through a tendency of which

I see many signs amongst the British & American officers

that it only re-acts on us if we make complaints. Now

the British officer has been replaced by Gen Beebe (U.S.A) &

we are all hoping that he will call the Nippon O.D. over

& show him how horribly poor the meals are

[*23*] Good Friday. My thoughts are very much with Rose

& the children I do hope they have a pleasant break

over Easter & get away somewhere for the holidays. I

hope Dick & Bob manage to get home. My main worry

is that they don't think & worry too much over me.

Had church this morning which was quite well attended.

Weighed by the Japs. today and according to this scale

my weight has now increased to 50 Kilos 108 1 112

lbs. I hope this increase is correct!  The "atmosphere" is

becoming more & more unpleasant here - T. & to some extent

M. - are laying themselves out to bait & belittle poor

old Callaghan.  T. is really an extremely unpleasant character - 

completely egotistical & yet utterly without decision or

loyalty. An entire self centred, self-interested man who

apparently was a washout in Malay - and having

seen a bit of him here I can hardly imagine him

being otherwise.  Meals today have been as bad

as ever. Soup has been utterly featureless - merely

vegetable water with no thickening & the rice

issue has been very light. Pleasant warm day

but feels a bit thundery.

[*24.*] Beautiful clear warm morning but cloudy & overcast in

the afternoon. For the first time since we arrived

here the surrounding mountains were entirely clear

of clouds & we were able to see them this morning

They are very high & steep & covered mostly with

jungle. No signs of habitation are visible except

on the very lowest slopes. The Jap. authorities have

issued an order that everyone shall exercise

by walking two miles per day around the compound -

one in the morning & one in the afternoon. It

commenced today and I found after this morning's

mile that I was thoroughly tired. It shows

how weak I am becoming. Meals still very bad.

Not enough rice to go one decent bowlful

each either at breakfast or lunch. Opened the

tin of bacon from my Red Cross parcel. It was

excellent & one third of it tasted the whole

bowl of rice. It also contained - the tin that is -

a lot of fat which I got out by boiling water &

poured over my rice. Still no cigarettes

for supply & I am practically out even of "butt"

tobacco with which I have been making

my own cigarettes. Meals woefully bad all

day

 

 

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