Diary of Arthur Seaforth Blackburn, April 1942 - November 1944, Part 14 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

may 6 Sunday atand Burcle senie l any statily worse with be absurce of farther has Crops storedre becoming really serigus I am fi a prplad state of luinger the last ts or three dys todays aid day nal readied a new low level. Here was hea tas one poorfel of regude (warall & negotable tops) in a bowl of warne wilf the which te regetables lead been codlied in the ovesing the officer of the day bad a talle with mysone D about it & be povised to can syse t breakfast seal tomorrow at in te glan nipon authorities came along will wine sauanas and I got are, whl we very tasty & much apreciated. TodayI bded of tin of vully bea to be delivered when bully to netw te have some swolses, at least, for a white Tis morning nippon OD inspected our brlfe agreed that it whs very poor. He explayed that th is lle off season for blgetables & there prepradical none prdeuable in the indrlict. He statd thet thy have sent up into the mountains to dother village & try & get some& to try to endure a teady cuplyby sweet ptatls as s a te op loin.nt manteneh lp pone to tr t asue a little feour meesos foge ban sause to strengthen us the coups unul vegetable supply can be improved. He was estioned about s gas supplies & elaied that be cannot do anything about that a present as it is te result of certain onders but that he hopes the pition will clear up in a pew days and the ses conence agains. the madey meal was an improvement o far ap te rice went, there considerably phere, Out te soun was no better. However co seave have bear issup for tongels cany Ad o we are liveng 20 o row yesterdays to day have been thundly w very heavy showeve of rain, Red Hoesstore was opres up by nipr puttnitts to get out be wers suce ga i discovered that wit ants bisg st was unde liabe got at it very bodly. At least ten led fors indiidud farcelo lave bee dawaged, to cacte tea ren fact everything not in this havit been ruinedn ad sead riddled with white ants. A fortuigal ago there was Absolitely ws sign of the En spite oflls of cortain pencely thly repuied to give fonu isue te individual prcals afthough they save ngoed teem to Andthy stre in the fot to coutat te white anto. The co ned bey bostes all bed to be taken out opened up. we calle receved an oue today of three 12 oy twio three 8oy tus of soue payy one the of81. there are tho wretuis of tto cowe he it repsets the ssove ip 614 gune. I ap agrayd it will not last me upto until tht date as I an much too kevigg to kap myself down to 29/80 a day slayed anotherraad of te brdge torme Emay gov Spity& D6 today against sa i inother rairy afternoon after a very pagant suning preak mor ing ysterday was Inglls & sirthday. We had playned to give him a small dinner party out ou tea Gosd parcals oft as we didn't lave ben, we conedie do anything
19 very wet dull day. weals have undouseal been better sunce the respection of the witaben an it w bee tere is a bigger bage of rice & the soy is a litle better. dis a sroop ofa boold today- gave eir stenton Thomes He Amatier Gentleman in enchange for Antttiry Advers sigeldul Guard tonigat 1120 o To Carculp Coudt cae thrugh the p today Rimor is ta our canp ndt is to be away for two months owing till bealth + the Kareises man will take his placa acare pal t e we Te will a vay. As to reyon Cuttontes are cury powed rgularly tthe Aten was deided by the fold committee to usid all carry power in state to indiriduels ca Iop ti acle. It is rther a pity of a way as it would be a very usegal reserve to hold gi a shortage of euply for the liitchen. Elyed leaven declards in the Bidge toradment. Fout b 880 had very bad dreavs again last night all righ y lived was clling to we and was in need of me but I could not get to be, I feel that something is horritly wrong eitter wifl her o the dren or in some way and I get depened beyand words at the each of news from ouwe had an cllustration b how pucclal bood an be mepaned when resuany at 1500 aro live ducles were Orongat into camp at 1800 les we had very nice duc coup- and the piece of duck in w were quite eatable & tender. His noming witlout any petyniary waring be case rouged was cbaized Reveille slew as ooe call for morning roll call at 0600 lyrs are6 tws. Late in the mornin it was announced a in fulare that would be the procedure- verse at sen ochocl & roll call twenty siniutalater no exlanation has been given of the reason This morning te nipfonese Authoratic at last released another wf ropar wench caused great oecitement, t is reall entraordinan the threll there is in ppening up a parcee. My pargel was mractical gentical with the last one ae only aipt serried wettor te send that I got a con Bere is a neort care best etal pudding. throughout the camp today that fighting in hte agig has ceased & Konel bi has ecapd to germany. We are all wuble cheered at the navs which scpto be authortie Iispete by a stap officer to day. He not proshed a youe so apat exergtin was andly et satiastry atbe is fining un a little. Toughht we were informed that a real black out would be required. The shades on the lights were rspated agdin + in many cases lead to be darlieved eall farther opened a tin of No from my last Gow stree today used half of i stell no signs of circrttes Glorious bright suning day. Owving to te blackbut the gutaites would nt lat the sitdlen five be righted at the usual time so we had jno teg bfre morning hall call. &t is annay what a difference a small thing life that wal
MayF (crt 24th This morning the authorities unexpctedly came alon with an sef an ale intermed us that the debit for gransplone records which they suplied the other dad, as 14.90 yen for Officer - which is a very large Amount. An spitt of my previous resolution I did a "swop from my Red Cross parcel today - gave up the aple judding tin of golden syrcep for a lin of condeved milk. I bated giving up the apple pudding bay felt tat the food value of a tin of condensed mille was far greater than the other two articles. Kitten authoities announced that they are trying to get more cloas so that we can eash have a pair of bath clogs which will be very landy as athough I have a pair of bath, clogs naw, my others are yearly worn out in the contading strap, more paprd up to 12th may came in yesterday + it is evident from them that things are moving at last in Europe. Held te most rewarkable bridge hand - botle in cards a result - that I have ever seen. We were 60 in ruober same. I dealt & picked up A.N)5,10 Xxx &x chib & TXXx diemnds, As a shut out I bid your chibs. man on my left passed. My partvex went fur spades hold K.a,5.10xx spedes aclul K10xx bearts &x diamands man on his flefe passed. I went five clubs. my partuer went six clubs. It was doubled man on my left bead ace ofspades bave so led it. He also had July one trump, I trumped the ace of spadesg lead a club up to te gin dummy sed out te four spades upon which Idiscarded my four dliamands & took the rest of the, tricks, thus getting seven over with tarce accr against me Bealitiful wright day. Pay-paws issued today fore lice per man. A mild beat is develoving in the camp. One officer was slapped in the face yestera for not saliing an the Nypon O.O (be said te difutt see him) and today six Percy Mo Slraine was slappe in the face with a bundle of papers. Tey general air oftee place is also mush tensent made a banana puoding yesterday - with crished up banana & rice which I had bot last night. It was entremely tasty, meals generally are a sele better than they were Tonigats supper was quite good. Soup fish, rice + sweet potatoes poleed seperately. I had half a tin of bully bee with it & so made a really good weal. Today we e the last round of our bridge, to urnareat against Sir Shanton Tomas & Gen Keilh Simmands) We wn bu 1480, + thus have qualified for the psinal medy-off by the leading eight pairs o sir shopton ms received a parcel yesterday which his had sait on to him from change, having received terself from South Aprica. We are alt still aroxious awaiting wall of same sert _ oven of ot is only one letter from home. close, hot day This afternoon we at last got a cinarette seventeen pacleets ofte each fet man. This is the first supply for o long time and evenyone is dreadfully shot. There seeps to be no promise whatever of a nore regular supply in de future. A lot of prle also came in today I m from the Carenles camp- portion of one of the rigs there. It was almost on the turn by the time) it reached lave but was nevertheless very accertable + tonight we had a wonderful weal - wish, ports Toup with a lot of meat a vetale in it. Rice cooked in porle tat & with frieed onigus etc in it two sweet potatoes ach. Had be best night last night sence I arrived her vay s6 only having to get up once at 2.30 in the monnin It was a very bot oppressive night to I didn't need even a shaet over me, rqual wealy cssue of sugar & vcoa today from hed Gows stoe. I ovened a tin of candensed wilk from ay parcl & did myself frond with a cup of wcan with plenty os condused milk in it. Hd the misfortune to bredk ap a tooth at arealsfast this morning when I bit on to a small pace of some in the soun. my eyes are getting vapidly werse + my reading now has to be limited to apout half an law as the most. last night col glately from the Hospial stap porgot to put 27th his boy away in the bost room bere roll call + there was a great to do at evering will fall, & the bost room was kept lacked all day which I presume was in the nature of a punpliment upon all of us. I was consequently unable to have my usual walk. As evening roll-call yesterday the pippoha 0.0 asked if angore was sich will or if our balth was all right wwhish was a new departure. Today a cart load of new potatols_ about 220 biles & came in so aparently the new seasons potities are coming in. We have great lapes of future supplies in view of this Clayed the first watch in Bridge Counenent play-of Civliial is to be placed between poumers & runners up in eash sectton) to lay. upn by 3650 vesilant guard tonight - my first under the new echeme of 14 hrs each- from 1.30 to three oolach 38t Very close & bot in the morning but overfast & dull in the afternoon. Boot room opened up today so could resume my walks, made a fuddin o rice & tomatoes from my bed cros pcel. It was ensellent and was easily the best thing I have managed to cook 2o far. feavy rain all night last night & most of Coda The shlisted men in the camp wwere unde & wot through quite a lot oftles rain yesterday afteroon & all day today. They are repairing a road from the camp to be main road. This morping then worked very hard for two bourd with only ten Iminutes spells. They diss worlsed all aftrnon. Then were however given an aitre isme as rele making about doubte their usual issue. wals have been very much better the east fow days & tonights meal was the best since I reached Barenko (Fely, a) Were thick oup alipost a solid stew - with wk + soua beave in it a good surre or sweet patatoe & we usual vis. Had a bad night last night - up four times. Had a liberal dash of sat with m Misday meal, the first for about a montty & this may have accounted for it
My 30th June 1st Sunday, glorious bright day. Attended Church as usual. nippenese Authrities decided to will four of our goats for tonights supper ou itching them found they were all in i the cchlme was naturally abandened, neverteless meals have been very goods vestefes i peentiful. Have a feeling that things peregaing on letter at home now. F some reason 1I feel that Rose has been through some great trquble lately, but that things are improving, I have recommenced doing what I am afraid I have given up doing sense I was a bay, that is praying evert night. I pray always to god to look after hose I the girlos leeep them safe & free from worries & troubles. Ha future. is all so uncertain for me but forone thing above all else I hope that I come through all this - and that is to try to tell to Rose now much I lave hex and how mmuch she has meant to me through all my flife, inspite of my many terrible shortconings. at least whatever else I have done in life I can truthfully say that I have never been false to Rose and to my love for ber, and I am conscious of an ever incredsng dlesive to hold ber in my arms again I tell her all I can put into words of that Very bectic day today, Early this swerning we were ofaction & to get verything wand of a coringt read. He meeld ine in were fut said as wak cleasing up all around the building. than later in the day came the order that we will be prepared for inspection at 1600 lers. shortly after this the camp courdt from Karentso appeared & wallsed Around the camp. Then be inspection af 1600 frs was made - but only by e nypon However it is clear that soulthing sig is about to take place early this morning, shortly after holl call we were informed that representatioe ag intan Red Crass would inspect the cmp to dy, D Pararadnci a Twiss medday meal was put on to 1100 ais & we were warned to be ready about 1330 lis fourteen Senia officers were selected & srilled ap by the nipponse as to what to ash etc) gen aaleaglan represented the Australious, Aabout 1300 he arrived & the fourteen Seina officers were taken away to a marguce erected in the picinst. the were there interviewed by the Dr. who was sumsunded by a large, number of nippon officers & authorities, Tee interview was quite satisfactory of be enlained that they were doing all they could. He said they had many hundreds of tow of Red cross stores available but transport for same could not be arranged yet. maily was also in Japan in very lange quantities + be haped that that would be delivered shorty medical stores, clothing etc was being taken up with the nixpanese authorities + be bope would be satisfactoril adjusted. He sea later walked through the camps inspected same ad seemed a very efficient wan anxious to do but job to his farade at utirest. We were then warned for a $1500 Grs. On arrival there a complete surprise was spruing uan us as we were informed by the fareso tamp comit. that the 28 of fiers, civilians &O.R.s referred t mearously would be staying on in this camp & that all the rest of us woued be going to another camp in a few days. in subsequent Inversation with some Senior officers be stated that we would return to Karenno for a few days & then mave on to another camn. It is a damned unisance to have to pack everything un again. About 1620 hrs they agreed to release all the valance of the fed Cross stars (encept. Coots) including wouded pavcels, so we will all have (lange quantities of engar, Cocaa, Dully bef etc to carry with as in addition to ou odiary gear. The report is that we will duly be permitted to cate with us what, we can actually canny & that the rest will come on to uo in our new camp. The will be vere inconvenient as it will be dypisut to find containers for loose sugar, cocon et &to paop it safely. Holwever we must just wait + see tat hapens. June 2rd Onders cams Clersuely cmodiatel after wll fall to have all our heavy Baggage packsed by 1709 hrs re were informed that we would return to Karnho cher we would stay for about two days and then go on to the new camp. Our beavy baggge is to go, seperately by Steamer and we will t see is regain until after we reach our new camp Everything muse be classed as heavy baggage which we are unable to actually carry withlug. Lates on in the menning this was amended by allowing those ofus who have private mattresses keep then until we ourselves ao Arrangeents were imnediate made for the issue of Red Gosd stores to the limit of what we could carry. We each received a double issue of engar & trable issue of cooa. Individual parcels, sall, foots & balance afour Slare of Lugar, bee MrUretey ete pre to be caried in bulk. spent a very busix day pashing as I realise we may be two or three wag without our heavy baggeg & the question of what to eny in my packe took a be of caresul thought. Told this monning that evenyone engitle Duttle could write a letter home with ne limit as to it must be on one sheet eerath encert that etter would not be consered. We presume & that the le this means that it will not be cangored here out only in Tol etter had to be in dilite & conleted bn tonight. Played gen. Koy + Brig Ballantine on Bridge burnament & were beaten by 19p0. weished e the rars today -50.8 Cilos, an ingrease of 8 taHos. Out of our blarkets were witldrewn to ly in pueparation for the mave. Informed this merning that the mave will be toworrow comining heavy blanket + mattress cover ite were taken this morning. Our tables & forms also went of we are living eting etc on our beds at present. Rercille 0500 lvs Breakfast 0630 maved off by train at 0930 arrived Karculso aster lot trix at 1620 les Issued with one loaf of bread each for the trip.
do stell at tarenlio but under une sast found all our fries orders to mave on 7th o Exforned that we willl have a lerce mile march to do so must travel light. Gerything m what we can crry te whole distance to be pashed upt ready to be taken by 0900 lus tomorrow. I am fortunate in havd mymateres witl me for ougat but nose officer are sleeping on the floor, found that Weble (Aust. Red Gross commissioner is in the Cello, allegedly for disobeying an order. It apears that all officers were told to unpacle strow nattrene etc. Whead the job was almost conyleted there were har more officers there than there was work for weet & a numbd of others went up to their rooms. P.P. followed them up with a sently; went struight to the room wleeve ruebl +other were & placed him only under arrest + but him in the calls, Everyone feels that real offenice is excause be pet t a strong letter about the use by the camp Authoritte of 300 els o Ded Cross sugat for adinary ration purposes. webb was released late this overing. Thyar had to no over to alls whilst camp andt. spolse to weds. It was hde quits clear that real axfence was his letter re Red bross stores as camp shldt. told him the he clesenved severe punishment for writing & letter which na upon the lonor & ditearety of the uppon pomy. pere inform me that immediatlly pror to visit of papedentative of international roas society large notice yas put on the windew of one gftee dawnetai roons chain an alleged pice list of roods which could be purslased in the canten in that room, together with hours of lling etc g fixing certain times of the welk for the fur clase of to bac & tigarettes nothing ever was sold from the room but we bed cross represent wa be note As soon as be lefe, we notice was taken down spent te day seing verious friends. Enlicted yeu worlding hand pacliing up everything. Heavy banage of all Ports packed up to day the whole amp is beng maved, including all tables fhairs, t furniture even all the tember frm the pd p ets. liss have all been billed a sold but goats, fould reoles are all to be crated & taken with not somes running backwards forwards all day to the rilway station Vary inccomportable day as not even a bedsteed a borg left to sit on meals have to be served + exten of the floor. exes very bad today- adving badly sigparticularly blurred Reveille 0500 hr. Remaining one blarket psed up 9 tken by lorg. We neved of at 0950& narched without a hall along a good bittemen road to be wharf at Carepleo port arriving at 1055 bn. Enbarlied upon the Hanga marc a very clean modern ship. We were sait to te srd clasp accomodation only one deck down. The accomadation was encollent. good clean mats to sit on & all prtale yen so but we could look out + see where we were going. We hugged the cast along which we had driven twben oing to parenks & could see the road cut out of the pace of ecl we arrived at sus, the sawe railhead ap when we came to Kareako at 1615 livs, laving left Kareho at 1400 ar we were landed in open boats, seup auchering about 6001700 yds off shore. Tbe boats were large wooden barges which were towed ashore e moter &a Caushes. He surg was fiirly heave but the landing was very stacefully done. The launch cast of whip we were close to te beach + then natives rowed ps in ston first when vight in to the seore natives from the there waded outI lifted the barge as the wive fot under t bow until she was shand anpund. A Danle was then put from the stern to the beasle& we filed ashore. All blanlsets, luggage (eto leare) fe itillen goon, live stack mossnt rets et as well as all aonal inolliding the sick from hospital some of whom were stretcher cases were arcugat whore in this manner & everything was conected by 1900 has which was a very creditable isby. We then marched about 500 yds to be Railwny Station t afty waiting about I br entrained. The train was crowded to cxacity Out everyone had seating accomodation the weve comportable + clean. Whilst walking to the tren one of the guand pushed into my lands, three beg paw paws & ordered me to carry them for him in addition to my own luggace. when we got onto the train be came & god th or lue never ever gave me a slice! We left sud at 2030 brs & travelled all nat. befoe we started we were made to put up all suutters but soon after we started we were permitted to put down te shulters & look out (it was quite dam of pur) provided we but than up when elowing down for a station until we started again. During the nightthe am comat came into our carriage & set in our compartment & narned to Frott, Webby I f about an hour. He told us be had just done thee was dut ing. He dissussed our new samp with is in South Cl. & was very pleasant. At one station - I belave t Tacke Falhocku- the Col. in change ofrsoners in Taiwan came through the train. we arrived at a station at 1030 brog disitramed. Me n gst into open trucks on a narrow gauge track ribed at a village at 1300 brs. During the weole of this trip it ws evident that the villers lad been toed of our caming & officially turned out to see us, not only be advers were nanbale under an officidl but all the school-children) lined the worte under their teachors. They looked very prette les erequ clean & well -nowrished & their informed tae friendly. We got off the trucks & w had a march of two kiloo. to camps all who seall feet that they were unable to cenry all they had with them were permitted to dump it on the side of the road & it was brougat on by trucs, we arrived at the camp at 1400 hrs. much of the camp wnps obviqual newly built, pathways etc not being canleted It began to rain very heavily soon after we anive & very soon everything was sleep in mud. At firse signt he camp seems very well lid ont & poving cnsiderable comfort. gous & Brigo were put int a new building - two to a room. She rooms are aire & well lighted with big cliding glass window ot streens. In each room were f two sambos bedsteeds, a table with two drawers & two b ibolit chairs. I am slearing a room with gong Callaghan. soon afte arrival we were isued with bot te & after evening well call, with I bonanns, We were allso suplied with one eight one beary searbet each However the water was not yet connected up + we had to go to bed unwashed. as we had had yo wash since leaving Karsulio, it was a it infotinate. decent June 9th Slept very well indeed from 2130 -0520 without a speale. still no water. It rained all nige still paining to bay Breakfast was very late, not until 090 fers, as water for the leitshen lad to be carled in. We are going to have great trouble here with ants. I ppened & tin of meat for supper last night + left it on my shel in a bowl. Wichen half an hour of putting it there, it was crawling alive with ants & it ts obvides that we will have to make out proof shalves o put catables on Everyne has had the same enperieuse. Another tebnnisuetoay affi has t wide, over, shelves to but belongings on

[*May 16th*]Sunday. Attended Church Service. Meals are getting

steadily worse & with the absence of further Red Cross

stores are becoming really serious. I am in a perpetual

state of hunger the last two or three days. Today's mid-

day meal reached a new low level. There was 

less than one spoonful of vegetables (nearly all green 

vegetable tops) in a bowl of warm water in which

the vegetables had been cooked. In the evening the

Officer of the day had a talk with the Nipponese

O.D about it & he promised to come & inspect the

breakfast meal tomorrow. Late in the afternoon

the Nippon authorities came along with some

bananas and I got three, which were very

tasty & much appreciated. Today I traded one

[*17th*] tin of bully beef (to be delivered when bully

is next issued) for ten packets of cigarettes so I

have some smokes, at least, for a while.

[*17th*] This morning Nippon O.D. inspected our breakfast &

agreed that it was very poor. He explained that this

is the off-season for vegetables & there are practically

none procurable in the market. He stated that they

have sent up into the mountains to another

village to try to ensure a

steady supply of sweet potatoes as soon as the

crop comes in. In the meantime he has promised

to try to issue a little flour, meesos & soya-bean

sauce to strengthen up the soups until the

vegetable supply can be improved. He was 

questioned about Red Cross supplies & explained that

he cannot do anything about that at present as

it is the result of certain orders but that he

hopes the position will clear up in a few

days and the issues commence again. The 

midday meal was an improvement so far as

the rice went, there being considerably more, but

the soup was no better. However some soya

beans have been issued for tonight's soup and

so we are living in hopes of a real improvement

now. Yesterday and today have been thundery with

very heavy showers of rain.

[*18th*] Red Cross Store was opened up by the Nippon authorities

this morning to get out the weeks sugar, cocoa & corned

beef. It was immediately discovered that white ants

have got at it very badly. At least ten Red Cross

individual parcels have been damaged, the chocolate

tea & in fact everything not in tins having been

ruined. In addition the corned beef boxes were absolutely

riddled with white ants. A fortnight ago there was

absolutely no sign of them. In spite of the spoiling of

certain parcels, they refused to give permission to

issue the individual parcels although they have moved

them to another store in the effort to combat the

white ants. The corned beef boxes all had to be taken

out and opened up. We each received an issue today

of three 12 oz tins & three 8 oz tins of corned beef & one

tin of M&V. There are two more tins of M&V to come but

it represents the issue up to 14 June. I am afraid

it will not last me up to  until that date as I

am much too hungry to keep myself down to 2 or 3 oz

a day. Played another round of the bridge tournament

today against Gen De Fenery and Gov. Spitz. Finished 3560

up. Another rainy afternoon after a very pleasant

sunny fresh morning. Yesterday was Trott's 49th

birthday. We had planned to give him a small

dinner party out of our Red Cross parcels but as we 

didn't have them, we couldn't do anything.

 

[*19th*] Very wet dull day. Meals have undoubtedly been better

since the inspection of the kitchen than it was before. There

is a bigger issue of rice & the soup is a little better. Did

a swop of a book today - gave Sir Shenton Thomas "The

Amateur Gentleman" in exchange for "Anthony Adverse"

Vigilant guard tonight 11.30 -12.30. Karenko camp Comdt

came through the camp today. Rumor is that our Camp Comdt is to be taken away for two months owing to ill

health & the Karenko man will take his place for

this period. Usual issue of sugar & cocoa plus a salt issue.

Have given up eating salt under advice from Maxwell

[*20th*] Another wet, cold day. As the Nippon authorities are

issuing curry powder regularly to the kitchen, it 

was decided by the food committee to issue all

curry powder in stock to individuals. It came to about

¾ of a tin each. It is rather a pity in a way as

it would be a very useful reserve to hold against

a shortage of supply for the kitchen. Played Pearson &

Richards in the bridge tournament. Lost by 680.

Had a very bad dream again last night. All night 

my beloved was calling to me and was in terrible

need of me but I could not get to her. I feel that

something is horribly wrong either with her or the

children or in some way and I get depressed

beyond words at the lack of news from home.

Today we had an illustration of how quickly food 

can be prepared when necessary. At 1600 hrs ten

live ducks were brought into camp. At 1800 hrs

we had very nice duck soup - and the pieces

of duck in it were quite eatable & tender.

[*21st*] This morning without any preliminary warning the

camp routine was changed. Reveille blew at 0600

hrs and the call for morning roll call at 0620

hrs. Later in the morning it was announces that

in future that would be the procedure - reveille

at six o'clock and roll call twenty minutes later.

No explanation has been given of the reason.

This morning the Nipponese authorities at last

released another issue of Red Cross parcels

which caused great excitement. It is really

extraordinary the thrill there is in opening up

a parcel. My parcel was practically

identical with the last one, the only difference

being that I got a tin of curried mutton instead

of beef steak pudding. There is a report current

throughout the camp today that fighting in

North Africa has ceased and Rommel himself 

has escaped to Germany. We are all much

cheered at the news which seems to be

authentic.

[*22nd*] inspected by a staff officer today. he just walked around

& hardly spoke to anyone so apparently everything was

satisfactory. Weather is fining up a little. Tonight we

were informed that a real black out would be

required. The shades on the lights were inspected

again & in many cases had top be darkened still

further. opened a tin of M&V from my Red Cross stores

today and used half of it. Still no signs of cigarettes.

[*23rd*] Glorious bright sunny day. Owing to the black-out

the authorities would not let the kitchen fire

be lighted at the usual time so we had no

tea before morning Roll call. It is extraordinary

what a difference a small thing like that makes.

 

[*May 23rd 

(contd)*] This morning the authorities unexpectedly came along

with an issue of bananas & paw-paws. They also

informed us that the debit for gramophone records

which they supplied the other day, as 14-90 yen per

officer - which is a very large amount. In spite

of my previous resolution I did a "swop" from my

Red Cross parcel today - gave up the apple pudding

& tin of golden syrup for a tin of condensed milk.

I hated giving up the apple pudding but felt that

the food value of a tin of condensed milk was

far greater than the other two articles. Nippon

authorities announced that they were trying to get more

clogs so that we can each have a pair of bath

clogs which will be very handy as although I have

a pair of bath clogs now, my others are nearly worn

out in the containing strap. More papers up to 12th 

May came in yesterday & it is evident from them that

things are moving at last in Europe.

Held the most remarkable bridge hand - both in cards

& result- that I have ever seen. We were 60 in

rubber game. I dealt & picked up A,K,J,10 XXX

XX clubs & J XXX diamonds. As a shut out I bid

four clubs. Man on my left passed, my partner

went four spades held K,Q,J,10 XX spades Q clubs

K 10 XX hearts XX diamonds. man on his left passed.

I went five clubs. My partner went six clubs,

It was doubled. Man on my left had Ace 

of spades bare so led it. He also had only

one trump, I trumped the ace of spades and lead a 

club up to the Q in dummy. Led out the

four spades upon which I discarded my 

four diamonds & took the rest of the tricks,

thus getting seven over with three aces 

against me.

[*24th*] Beautiful bright day. Paw-paws issued today- one

slice per man. A mild heat is developing in the 

camp. One officer was slapped in the face yesterday

for not saluting an the Nippon O.D. (he said he didn't

see him) and today Sir Percy McIlraine was slapped

in the face with a bundle of papers. The general

air of the place is also much tenser. Made

a banana pudding yesterday - with crushed up

banana & rice which I had hot last night. It

was extremely tasty. Meals generally are a little

better than they were. Tonights supper was quite

good. Soup fish, rice & sweet potatoes cooked

seperately. I had half a tin of bully beef with it

& so made a really good meal. Today we played 

the last round of our bridge tournament against

Sir Shenton Thomas & Gen Keith Simmonds. We won

by 1480, & and thus have qualified for the pl final

play-off by the leading eight pairs. Sir Shenton

Thomas received a parcel yesterday which his

wife had sent on to him from Changi, having received

it herself from South Africa. We are all still

anxiously awaiting mail of some sort - even if it

is only one letter from home!

[*25th*] close, hot day. This afternoon we at last got a

cigarette issuesupply - seventeen packets of ten each

per a man. This is the first supply for a long time

and everyone is dreadfully short. There seems

to be no promise whatever of a more regular

[*May 25th

(contd)*] supply in the future. A lot of pork also came in today

from the Karenko camp - portion of one of the pigs

there. It was almost on the turn by the time it

reached here but was nevertheless very acceptable

& tonight we had a wonderful meal - rich

pork soup with a lot of meat & vegetables in it. Rice

cooked in pork fat & with fried onions etc in it &

two sweet potatoes each.

[*May26th*] Had the best night last night since I arrived here,

only having to get up once at 2.30 in the morning.

It was a very hot oppressive night & I didn't

need even a sheet over me. Usual weekly issue of

sugar & cocoa today from Red Cross stores. I

opened a tin of condensed milk from my parcel

& did myself proud with a cup of cocoa with

plenty of condensed milk in it. Had the misfortune

to break off a tooth at breakfast this morning

when I bit on to a small piece of bone in the 

soup. My eyes are getting rapidly worse & my

reading now has to be limited to about half an

hour at the most.

[*27th*] Last night Col Glattly from the Hospital staff forgot to put

his boots away in the boot-room before roll call &

there was a great to-do at evening roll call. Today

the boot-room was kept locked all day which

I presume was in the nature of a punishment upon

all of us. I was consequently unable to have my

usual walk. At evening roll-call yesterday the Nipponese

O.D. asked if anyone was sick or ill or if our health

was all right which was a new departure. Today

a cart load of new potatoes - about 230 kilos - came

in, so apparently the new seasons potatoes are coming

in. We have great hopes of future supplies in view

of this. Played the first match in Bridge tournament 

play-off (which is to be played between winners &

runners up in each section) today. Won by 3550.

Vigilant guard tonight - my first under the new

scheme of 1½ hrs each - from 1.30 to three o'clock.

[*28th*] Very close & hot in the morning but overcast & dull

in the afternoon. Boot room opened up today so

could resume my walks. Made a pudding of

rice & tomatoes from my Red Cross parcel. It was

excellent and was easily the best thing I have 

managed to cook so far.

[*29th*] Heavy rain all night last night & most of today.

The enlisted men in the camp were made to work

through quite a lot of the rain yesterday afternoon

& all day today. They are repairing a road

from the camp to the main road. This morning

they worked very hard for two hours with only

ten minutes spells. They also worked all afternoon.

They were however given an extra issue of rice

making about double their usual issue. Meals

have been very much better the last few

days & tonights meal was the best since I reached

Karenko (Feby 1st) Very thick soup with - almost

a solid stew - with pork & soya beans in it, a

good supply of sweet potatoes & and the usual rice.

Had a bad night last night - up four

times. Had a liberal dash of salt with my

midday meal, the first for about a month,

this may have accounted for it.

 

[*May 30th*] Sunday. Glorious bright day. Attended Church as

usual. Nipponese authorities decided to kill four of

our goats for tonight's supper but on catching 

them found they were all in "kid" so the scheme

was naturally abandoned. Nevertheless the

meals have been very good & vegetables very

plentiful. Have a feeling that things are going

on better at home now. For some reason I feel

that Rose has been through some great trouble

lately, but that things are improving. I have

recommenced doing what I am afraid I have

given up doing since I was a boy, that is

praying every night. I pray always to God

to look after Rose & the girls & keep them safe

& free from worries & troubles. The future

is all so uncertain for me but for one thing

above all else I hope that I come through

all this - and that is to try to tell to Rose

how much I love her and how much she

has meant to me through all my life, in spite

of my many terrible shortcomings. At least

whatever else I have done in my life, I can

truthfully say that I have never been false

to Rose and to my love for her, and

I am conscious of an ever increasing desire

to hold her in my arms again & tell her

all I can put into words of that.

[*31st*] Very hectic day today. Early this morning we were

warned of a coming inspection & to get everything

ready. The enlisted men were put hard at work

cleaning up all around the building. Then later

in the day came the order that we must be prepared

for inspection at 1600 hrs. Shortly after this the

Camp Comdt. from Karenko appeared & walked

around the camp. Then the inspection at 1600 hrs

was made - but only by the Nippon O.D.

However it is clear that something big is about

to take place.

[*June 1st*] Early this morning, shortly after Roll call we

were informed that a representative of the International

Red Cross would inspect the camp today, Dr. Paravachinci

a Swiss. Midday meal was put on to 1100 hrs &

we were warned to be ready about 1330 hrs.

Fourteen Senior Officers were selected & "drilled up"

by the Nipponese as to what to ask etc. Gen

Callaghan represented the Australians. About 1200

he arrived & the fourteen Senior Officers were 

taken away to a marquee erected in the vicinity. They 

were there interviewed by the Dr. who was surrounded

by a large number of Nippon officers & authorities.

The interview was quite satisfactory & he explained

that they were doing all they could. He said

they had many hundred of tons of Red

Cross stores available but transport for same

could not be arranged yet. Mail was also

in Japan in very large quantities & he

hoped that that would be delivered shortly.

Medical stores, clothing etc was being taken up

with the Nipponese authorities & he hoped would 

be satisfactorily adjusted, He see later walked

through the camp & inspected same. He seemed a

very efficient man anxious to do his job to his

interest. We were then warned for a parade at

1500 hrs. On arrival there a complete surprise

was sprung upon us as we were informed

by the Karenko Camp Comdt. that the 28 officers,

civilians & O.R.s referred to previously would be

staying on in this camp & that all the rest of us

would be going to another camp in a few days.

In subsequent conversation with some senior officers

he stated that we would return to Karenko 

for a few days & then move on to another

camp. It is a damned nuisance to have to

pack everything up again. About 1630 hrs

they agreed to mo release all the balance of the

Red Cross stores (except boots) including individual parcels, so we will all have large

quantities of sugar, cocoa, bully beef etc to

carry with us in addition to our ordinary

gear. The report is that we will only be

permitted to carry take with us what we can

actually carry & that the rest will come on

to us in our new camp. This will be very

inconvenient as it will be difficult to find

containers for loose sugar, cocoa etc & to pack it

safely. However we must just wait & see what

happens!

[June 2nd] Orders came through immediately after roll call to have

all our heavy baggage packed by 1700 hrs. We were

informed that we would return to Karenko where 

we would stay for about two days and then go on

to the new camp. Our heavy baggage is to go

seperately by steamer and we will not see it again

until after we reach our new camp. Everything

must be classed as heavy baggage which we are

unable to actually carry with us. Later on in the

morning this was amended by allowing those of us

who have private mattresses keep them until we

ourselves go. Arrangements were immediately made for the

issue of Red Cross stores to the limit of what we could

carry. We each received a double issue of sugar & treble

issue of cocoa. Individual parcels, salt, boots & balance

of our share of sugar, beef, M&V ration etc are to be carried

in bulk. Spent a very busy day packing as I realise

we may be two or three weeks without our heavy baggage

& the question of what to carry in my pack took a lot of

careful thought.

[3rd] Told this morning that everyone except the Dutch

could write a letter home with no limit as to 

length except that it must be on one sheet

& that the letter will not be censored. We presume

this means that it will not be censored here but

only in Tokyo. Letter had to be in duplicate & completed

by tonight. Played Gen. Key & Brig Ballantine in

Bridge tournament and were beaten by 1920. Weighed

by the Japs today- 50.8 kilos∧111.60 an increase of .8

kilos. Two of our blankets were withdrawn today

in preparation for the move.

[4th] Informed this morning that the move will be tomorrow.

Remaining heavy blanket & mattress cover etc were taken

this morning. Our tables & forms also went so we are

living, eating etc on our beds at present.

[5th] Reveille 0500 hrs. Breakfast 0630 - moved off by train

at 0930. Arrived Karenko after a hot trip at 1630 hrs.

Issued with one loaf of bread each for the trip.

 

[*June 5th (contd)*] Found all our friends still at Karenko but under

orders to move on 7thor 8th Informed that we will have a three

mile march to do so must travel light. Everything except

what we can carry the whole distance to be packed up &

ready to be taken by 0900hrs tomorrow. I am fortunate in

having my mattress with me for tonight but most officers

are sleeping on the floor. Found that Webb (Aust. Red Cross

Commissioner) is in the cells, allegedly for disobeying an order.

It appears that all officers were told to unpack straw 

mattresses etc. When the job was almost completed &

there were far more officers there than there was 

work for Webb & a number of others went up to their

rooms. B.P. followed them up with a sentry; went

straight to the room where Webb & others were & placed

him only under arrest & put him in the cells. Everyone feels the real offence is because he put in a strong

letter about the use by the Camp Authorities of

200 lbs of Red Cross sugar for ordinary ration purposes.

Webb was released late this evening. Thyer had to go over

to cells whilst Camp Comdt. spoke to Webb. It was made quite clear that real offence was his letter re Red

Cross stores as Camp Comdt told him that be deserved

severe punishment for writing a letter which reflected 

upon the honor of & integrity of the Nippon army.  Searle

informs me that immediately prior to visit of representative

of International Red Cross Society large notice was put on the

window of one of the downstairs rooms showing an

alleged price list of goods which could be purchased

in the canteen in that room, together with hours of

selling etc & fixing certain times of the week for the pur-

chase of tobacco & cigarettes. Nothing ever was sold from

the room but the Red Cross represent. saw the notice.

As soon as he left, the notice as taken down.

Spent the day seeing various friends. Enlisted men working

hard packing up everything.

[*6th*] Heavy baggage of all sorts packed up today. The whole

camp is being moved, including all tables & chairs, blankets

furniture & even all the timber from the fowl-yards, pig-pens

etc. Pigs have all been killed or sold but goats, fowls 

& rabbits are all to be crated & taken with us. Lorries

running backwards & forwards all day to the railway station

Very uncomfortable day as not even a bedstead or box left

to sit on. Meals have to be served & eaten off the floor.

Eyes very bad today - aching badly & sight particularly

blurred.

[*7th*] Reveille 0500 hrs. Remaining one blanket packed up & taken

by lorry. We moved off at 0950 & marched without a halt

along a good bitumen road to the wharf at Karenko port

arriving at 1055 hrs. Bo Embarked upon the Hanza Maru

a very clean modern ship. We were sent to the 3rd class

accomodation only one deck down. The accomodation was

excellent. Good clean mats to sit on & all portholes open so that we could look out & see where we were going. We

hugged the coast along which we had driven when coming 

to Karenko & could see the road cut out of the face of

the cliff. We arrived at Suo, the same railhead as when we came to Karenko at 1615 hrs, having left Karenko at 1200 hrs.

We were landed in open boats, ship anchoring about 600-700

yds off shore. The boats were large wooden barges

which were towed ashore by motor & oil launches. The

surf was fairly heavy but the landing was very

skilfully done. The launch cast off when we were

close to the beach & then natives rowed us in stern 

first when right in to the shore natives from the shore 

waded out & lifted the barge as the waves got

under the bow until she was hard aground. A 

plank was then put from the stern to the beach & we

filed ashore. All blankets, luggage (etc heavy) kitchen gear,

live stock, mosquito nets etc as well as all personnel including

the sick from hospital some of whom were stretcher cases

were brought ashore in this manner & everything was completed

by 1900 hrs which was a very creditable job. We then

marched about 500 yds to the Railway Station & after waiting about

¾hr. entrained, The train was crowded to capacity but everyone had seating accomodation & the carriages were

comfortable & clean. Whilst walking to the train one of the

guard pushed into my hands, three big paw-paws & ordered

me to carry them for him in addition to my own luggage.

When we got onto the train he came & got them from me &

never even gave me a slice. We left Suo at 2030 hrs

& travelled all night. After Before we started we were

made to put up all shutters but soon after we 

started we were permitted to put down the shutters & look out (it was quite dark of course) provided we 

put them up when slowing down for a station &

until we started again. During the night the

Camp Cmdt. came into our carriage & sat in our 

compartment & yarned to Trott, Webb & I for about an hour. He told us he had just done three years duty

in South China. He discussed our new camp with us

& was very pleasant. At one Station - I believe Taih

Taiko Taihocku- the Col. in charge of prisoners in

Taiwan came through the train.

[*8th*] We arrived at a Station  at 1030hrs & disentrained. we

Then got into open trucks on a narrow gauge track & 

arrived at a village at 1300hrs. During the whole

of this trip it was evident that the villagers had

been told of our coming & officially turned out to

see us. Not only the Adults were marshalled under

an official but all the school-children lined the

route under their teachers. They looked very pretty

clean & well-nourished & their smiles were quite

friendly. We got off the trucks & were informed that we

had a march of two kilos. to camp. All who really

felt that they were unable to carry all they had with them were permitted to dump it on the side of the

road & it was brought on by trucks. We arrived at the

camp at 1400hrs. Much of the camp was obviously

newly built, pathways etc not being completed. It

began to rain very heavily soon after we arrived

& very soon everything was deep in mud. At first

sight the camp seems very well laid out & promises

considerable comfort. Gens & Brigs were put into a new building - two to a room. The rooms are airy & well

lighted with big sliding glass windows & mosquito

screens. In each room were pu two bamboo

bedsteads, a table with two drawers & two pu  upholstered

chairs. I am sharing a room with Gen. Callaghan.

Soon after arrival we were issued with hot tea &

after evening roll call, with 3 bananas. We were

also supplied with one light & heavy blanket each.

However the water was not yet connected up & we

had to go to bed unwashed. As we had had no

[*decent*] wash since leaving Karenko, it was a bit unfortunate.

[*June 9th*] Slept very well indeed from 2130 - 0530 without a break.

Still no water. It rained all night & still raining today.

Breakfast was very late, not until 0900 hrs, as water

for the kitchen had to be carted in. We are going to

have great trouble with ants. I opened a tin

of meat for supper last night & left it on my shelf

in a bowl. Within half an hour of putting it there it

was crawling alive with ants & it is obvious that we

will have to make ant proof shelves to put eatables

on. Everyone has had the same experience. Another

three bananas issued today. Each Officer has two

wide, open, shelves to put belongings on.

 

 
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