Diary of Arthur Seaforth Blackburn, April 1942 - November 1944, Part 17 of 26

First World War, 1914–18
Part of Quest:
  • War Diaries
Awaiting approval
Accession number:

Page 1 / 5

1943 eyt 25 26 25 Waleel out at the farm from O820 - 1140. A bat not to impleaint wall shatage still on bat managed to bath in a can of water when I m. 2odlay we goe tin sicaled weedarlei rah voale curry powder, & ten fich flates t bowle Papple Syreep Brule Olive gre cagh Ead I get 100 pgrs a Dcrubbing Dudle, 2 doe buttong &1 bale muccilage se arrioug te amenans but none for us. sac puse we were given pernuosion to write Another letter unted to 0 words it is so borible write into the blue will never a wrn fom home I know whether onr l are ever recove water wes times on sunday usual service. for about an hour today co we panaged to o a decent wash & even wasle same gloths t is remarleable how the meejorit ontle t. Opes read t every scrap of converatch from ostade optenion seps & rn riot with a rge of u o estrgadwan Cluctration bas jud one to ligt aper that the swe nulan he visit sdid to the Eruce offices I well war wants last for ever you lonow so chear up this lils now been incerprate by most oftee camp as an inglisation, that the war is going very well mased_ ifface w giben conreed it an inderation slge gonen in pactically ended that peace int curope will come at any moment - is it faont efrealy came worked to dlyy at the farm from 1460 7916. acthough the work was not ban tncroughle, tired me out, I supposd because & an in such bad condition & conggat in back is achung so that I cannot btoh down without pain. vere little mira were e toniat. of morning we lad a ac ispection of all gapanae ise apticles worked again today from 1480-1715, Patintol a coal Dreage wess bleuing but Itlo fird the wale very exhauseing. Am worded nighe day by a terrible exqression late tel that things are very very wrong at tome with kore + as caildren no one will ever know how I long all the time t be there with them & to try to relieve then of the boubles that I now feel cattain tray are in. I am so uttaly pribalees fore & the feeling all the time that I am letting rose down so bdly is utter hell t me. However if the troubles are - as I believe they are- the recuet of my own muching a memanagment, I fell almost good that I am suffering so much weutally. It some small punishment for having ltt let cose down in my business degaing. Jnst as we went onto roll call at ro0l lvo lat nght all ligsts west out& stayet out all nigat. Ic was very dake fuside our auts & most uncomfotdole malsing beds etc+ maving around in the dart. Wale teray from 1420-1730. It uouedit
1943 sge 10 oct our be sd bad if it wasnt for the wattr elrtage but, one lomes on from the favin fietle irtyannot goa bathal wd in very limited supply of writer Nork cond from 1430 1800 Bairg edy to day with a my cool breeye mpers cangcht up to 2 ang. news generally seems to be pete good but of suse we do not really know lhow things are going. Nigilent guard conighe from 02000330 levo. Winter time table started tolay. Only charge is that Peveille is at 0630, maning roll call parade 0700 & breatyast inediatal ater & afternoon cista to wyedout. Bod nipponese took us out to wek at 1400 as there was no siesta + leest usput until 700. This morning we were ordered to sew our two heavy cssue scarkets out ou nattes cover in a frad way which was shown to us. no reason was given but it looks as though the ided is to make a mattress of it all. It cortainl fill be re use for anything else cold dull day a very marked anp in temperature. No work thes asternoon ag was saturday started one welles ogit as sout senver Sunday urual church service which I ied the morning still nice gease, meals have been much etereately & sananas are again coming in steadit Wok today from 1400 - 1700. weather stie very cool & pleasant. Had two light clantets on that night & was not really proferly warm, no watter at all on today so water fatgul lpd to carry from the outside spring, Vhry porsistent rundrs that I tall gave up all vecinance a week ago & now is how helping t pllees to drive the Germans out of state apticia arrived at the caule toray r started examning those in need of glasses I waited all day but be didnt reach me. Hope be returns tomorrow as my sue are very troublesome signed for pdy today months deductions were 35 yeu for food ofc 760 add yen for canteen sepees - mach of which food such as sugar, bescuit syreys, cauces of salt seffer etc opticion did not come today work som 0846 to 1120. Weather gradually geting wemer) sall fish fealeess pepper from cauteen Corty. save a talk to some of Houghang officer on Anien campaign. ortrion amninet again at 1000 lrs. Iquad went out to wale at 0845 lers. I stayed in eb optician. Dananas which have been missing for 3 days- were resumed trday ye writing around are day often still did reads me.
1943 Oct 8 10 t 12 13 14 Eyes very bad today. I tobing all the time & exe dery sburred. Cattanl also very bad es abtnber I have bad a bad day & large number of letters were delivered tto flay to the Critiee officers dated, warce, april & may of this year _ but also none from pustratia We are all feeling terribly sick of things you as we are the only ane who have bad abscluty no letter Law optisin taday. He teated my ryes at benglte finally informed me that I would have to have tho pairs of glasses- one for rending one for outsise work. H also informed we that it was quite passible that in the not far distant fature I might be agle to read without glasses at all, no banapes tody This worning evengone in the squado 1,2341 wero did not g but & worte ad lined up & interragated by the Jay medical crparl as to his reasons for not being at work the Crporal witdrew a number of rex tilats in spite of the protests of our medical oan about same. Suny usual church service warring tol that saluting of papanose coldier o b u to falling e must be ruproved atovee. Weather still col at night, but feautifull sunny & warm in the dytime. e nit two or three officers on vigilant guard were reading when a nippene t came around + confiscaced all the botks so far they have not been reconed war today from 1400 & 1700 no bangas te last couple of days weather is sall keeping very beautiful will brigae sunny pays. code nights Vigilant guard toright srop 2100-2308 work from 1400-1700 Prnission to write another letter limited to 100 words to be banded to morning I do hope that letters ar reashing hove & that low is nt going through the same borror of tacl of nav that I am. Vory tirig day today Tuned out for water carnging fallgue at 0845 beggs I lad bad any tea or staved. We were rat at it carrying ange oucrets of water (eacly aeld ordinar sized Ouchete) until 120 we lead to fill up the tanks in the nyfonere leitchan & their Callrsony water cstainers etc. We were given no sunokealy & by 11I was abaditely bagged out tn at 1400 lers we were turned out again for t usual farmlabouers ib on th par & lapt as that uniil 1700. wgh today from 1400 -1715. Heavy wot lising a le in heavy clay sail. Earal Plisters on my hands Lananes bape started again
19 4 Weigled today 53 Relos gai of 1 lecls, wrt today at 11400 levs but sudderly at 1600los we were trougat back wto camps dismissed: Isoue of saft to each man today no bauanas pon lliday today &co no werk Ancasin apeayr to be toe benvest featival. Catarl very bad trdy, were me up lase ngae tre. ffit Exterstin Each time with violent engoin gure have been entrasted as a fesult but weyting. All these made to go out to wok eet an ente bowe of rice, whils those who are encused just got te ordinary ration. The fisures shew that in every squad those working have lost weigat on a gverage throughut te equad & the ottord have gained Our soad figure were walars avsrage loss1175 relor hon walie average gain.11 hlos Bunday usual church services. No wates tirned on today but late in the afternoon a part was allowed to go out & draw cone from the cylle. Oaner pive todal auners of to ay Nomernng being a blida proved entirel goundlers, a we were talen out to wih at 0845 stel /1130 Avo Weatter to getting warm again & last ngat in the early part, was devidely bot returfy wat as usual to day fromo 840 to 4130. Canteen suppled etchu sugar tea t tod wate shortag is terribly dcconvenient. shate to he wate turned on a stered in the camp at all & all those wilhout buchats find it iractual impossie to get a decent th. One come in from work covered in duit sweat it is difficult to get clean in about a cup full of water Wale this morning. Atwoshere very changed. One officer E Rshandwas sicked by gap ent centry because be did not understand) wla te said to ben in gapancse & tho o thre alew were but. When we got back to camp we found that ane ofthe amerta cssquad hadte mate t srend the morning emptying the Bonjes. This agteroon a Pritist officers squad was enlyed an the same gob. We are naturally all very indignant about tofficers being made to wite at Dupli a disgarding st Ti maning the lmp coudt agcresed us rae call parade, told us that to job & enlyae the Bonjs was not in any sense a plushment enplained dec in gapancie agrioulture asstriots te a the cavariable practice to enyth all urine ets put the vigetiol gardens or outo wanuue legaps t be put outo ty vegotable gardens that it was being done bere and in accordaned will that custom. We could lok forward to being lige for a good long while 550 must be content to a do all jobe beceasvy to bringou the farmg froduce vegetibles at
1943 ovr 24 26 27 Early this morning Alr said protaio started. We ee legt in our rooms unal o7. 20 rte went out to with until 11.30. fast nie we lada sudden order in rell call at 1900 ls we ore then told it was a blackout & lights all bad to be out by thn minutes after we were dismissed to wite a longuighe fom 193 0630 no work today, This morning the cane and addressed us to lusnees on us that we could we enect an earl, end to the war. ted us that the germans were loeding onte ive seningadlen ar for the winter, that we aa laraat in Staly & were holding a nne acrows stal about the neighbourbood of naples, & that the gagargge ead a writedtawn fom suadal Canal Island new Georgia Kiha & Aleutians that there laxe been no hir raido on dep propy & he was obmoud would lepe for a lang time yet. He therqpe pointed put that it will ao ou interest to push an fland with tos gardens farm. Sody the exercee Park was opened for our se Grom 083-12 & from 1820- 1700. Loug prolouedd partaguete thi morning Tis agternoon we aad our first rain for about eir weeks. a good bard shawer Air raid prastice inderd jesterol, Snday. church service this morning held up po the recreation Park. It is a distind acquestion was very pleasant up there. opened of tii & canped con today. It is we best lepig we have bad one ones canter. wok Poster was clanged this wornis 30 nos1 squids go out as dissoent times this ups done so as to oven up the Rinilat paople for water caorging as we has 13 saurs are dsfired from water corging duty. some fiale was prefurded the Toup Cnigal just anough to flavou it bu sace a ou ope clange. werer 1400 -1700 wale today 1400 1700. Had my nose expaine lap Col Derham tells me I have a flly ii out it is unsep to have it remaved heve my nose is blocked up in one nostal a or toe other fractically all the tupe. Euo boules of surcp ec availeble today Work 1404 1500 under out today) that eigato can not be tunned on sual 1880. As by this time it is practical dark in our rooms it a very infonpeale Had a barrible dream last night that I had arrived back in Australis 1d was tractically blind & was sitting on fin engage in a big so sadeti r suard nhad riedt me me + I had had no word pou any of the fmily &c was terriol bot 1 Ididnt know weae to do. Finall after whiting bours, I goe leave to steep in a sed

[*Sept 25.*] Worked out at the farm from O820 - 1140.  Hot but
not too unpleasant.  Water shortage still on but
managed to bath in a cup of water when I got
in. Today we got 1 tin pickled vegetables, 1 [[Wakamoto?]]
1 bottle curry powder, 1 tin fish flakes, ½ bottle 
pinapple syrup & ½ bottle olive syrup each. In addition
I got 100 pins, a scrubbing bush, 2 doz buttons & 
1 bottle mulcilage.  Letters still arriving for the 
Americans but none for us.  Late this afternoon 
we were given permission to write another letter 
limited to 100 words.  It is so horrible writing
into the blue with never a word from home 
to know whether our letters are ever received. 

[*26.*]  Sunday. Usual service. Water was turned on 
for about an hour today so we managed to 
get a decent wash & even wash some cloths. 
It is remarkable how the majority of the P.O.Ws 
re-act to every scrap of conversation from outside. 
Optimism seems to run riot with a lot of us. 
An extraordinary illustration has just come to 
light. It appears that the Swedish Consul on 
his visit said to the Dutch officers ''Well the 
war won't last forever you know so 
cheer up''  This has now been interpreted by 
most of the camp as an indication that the 
war is going very well indeed - in fact many 
of them consider it an indication that Germany
is practically ended & that peace in Europe 
will come at any moment - if it hasn't already 

[*27*]  Worked today at the farm from 1430 -1715. 
Although the work was not hard it 
thoroughly tired me out, I suppose because 
I am in such bad condition & tonight my 
back is aching so that I cannot stoop down 
without pain. Very little extra work 
rice tonight. This morning we had a kit 
inspection of all Japanese issue articles. 
[*28.*] Worked again today from 1430 - 1715. Fortunately 
a cool breeze was blowing but I do find 
the work very exhausting.  Am worried night 
and day by a terrible depression lately. Feel 
that things are very very wrong at home 
with Rose & the children. No one will 
ever know how I long all the time to be 
there with them & to try to relieve them of 
the troubles that I now feel certain they 
are in. I am so utterly powerless here & the 
feeling all the time that I am letting Rose 
down so badly is utter hell to me. 
However if the troubles are - as I believe 
they are - the result of my own mucking a 
mismanagement, I feel almost glad that 
I am suffering so much mentally. It is 
some small punishment for having lette
let Rose down in my business affairs.
[*29.*] Just as we went onto roll call at 2000 hrs 
last night all lights went out & stayed 
out all night. It was very dark inside 
our huts & most uncomfortable making 
beds etc & moving around in the dark.
Work today from 1430 - 1730. It wouldn't


[*Sept 29*] be so bad if it wasn't for the water shortage 
but one comes in from the farm filthy 
dirty & cannot get a bath & only a wash 
in very limited supply of water.
[*30.*]  Work today from 1430 - 1700. Fairly easy today 
with a nice cool breeze.  Papers came in today 
up to 21 Aug. News generally seems to be pretty
good but of course we do not really know 
how things are going. Vigilant guard tonight 
from 0200 - 0330 hrs.
[*Oct 1st.*]  Winter time table started today. Only change 
is that Reveille is at 0630, morning roll 
call parade 0700 & breakfast immediately 
after & afternoon siesta is wiped out. Today 
Nipponese took us out to work at 1400 as 
there was no siesta & kept us out until 
1700.  This morning we were ordered to 
sew our two heavy issue blankets onto 
our mattress covers in a fixed way which 
was shewn to us. No reason was given 
but it looks as though the idea is to make 
a mattress of it all. It certainly will be no 
use for anything else.
[*Oct 2.*]   Cold dull day. A very marked drop in 
temperature. No work this afternoon as it 
was Saturday. Started one weeks duty as
soup server.
[*3*]  Sunday.  Usual Church service which I missed this 
morning.  Still nice & cool. Meals have been 
much better lately & bananas are again coming 
in steadily.
[*4.*]  Work today from 1400 - 1700. Weather still very 
cool & pleasant. Had two light blankets on last
night & was not really properly warm. No water
at all on today so water fatigue had to 
carry from the outside spring. Very persistent 
rumors that Italy gave up all resistance a 
week ago & now is now helping the Allies to 
drive the Germans out of Italy.
[*5*]  Optician arrived at the camp today & started 
examining those in need of glasses. I waited 
all day but be didn't reach me. Hope he 
returns tomorrow as my eyes are very 
troublesome. Signed for pay today - month's 
deductions were 35 yen for food etc and 60 odd 
yen for canteen supplies - much of which is 
food, such as sugar, biscuits, syrups, sauces, sh 
salt, pepper etc.
[*6.*] Optician did not come today. Work from 0845 to 
1130. Weather gradually getting warmer. Salt, fish
flakes & pepper from canteen today. Gave a
talk to some of Hongkong officers on Syrian 
[*7*]  Optician arrived again at 1000 hrs. Squad 
went out to work at 0845 hrs. I stayed in 
to see the optician. Bananas - which have been 
missing for 3 days- were resumed today. After 
waiting around all day, optician still did not 
reach me. 


[*Oct 8*]   Eyes very bad today. Itching all the time & sight 
very blurred.  Cattarrh also very bad so 
altogether I have had a bad day.  A large
number of letters were delivered today to 
the British Officers dated, March, April & May 
of this year - but alas none from Australia. 
We are all feeling terribly sick of things now 
as we are the only ones who have had 
absolutely no letters.
[*9.*]  Saw optician today. He tested my eyes at length &
finally informed me that I would have to 
have two pairs of glasses - one for reading & 
one for outside work. He also informed me 
that it was quite possible that in the not 
far distant future I might be able to read 
without glasses at all.  No bananas today. 
This morning everyone in the squads 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 
who did not go out to work was lined 
up & interrogated by the Jap. medical Corporal 
as to his reasons for not being at work. The 
Corporal withdrew a number of "red tickets" 
in spite of the protests of our medical officers 
about same.
[*10.*] Sunday.  Usual church service. Warning today 
that saluting of Japanese soldiers etc by us 
is falling off a must be improved at once. 
Weather still cool at night but beautifully 
sunny & warm in the daytime. Last night 
two or three officers on vigilant guard 
were reading when a Nipponese sentry 
came around & confiscated all the books. 
So far they have not been returned.
[*11.*]  Work today from 1400 161700. No bananas the 
last couple of days. Weather is still keeping 
very beautiful with bright sunny days & 
cool nights. Vigilant guard tonight from 
[*12.*] Work from 1400-1700.  Permission to write another 
letter limited to 100 words to be handed in tomorrow 
morning. I do hope that these letters are reaching 
home & that Rose is not going through the same 
horror of lack of news that I am.
[*13.*] Very tiring day today. Tuned out for water 
carrying fatigue at 0845 before I had had 
any tea or shaved. We were kept at it 
carrying huge buckets of water (each held 
2½ ordinary sized buckets) until 1130. We 
had to fill up the tanks in the Nipponese 
kitchen & their bathroom water containers 
etc. We were given no "smoke-oh" & by 
1130 I was absolutely fagged out.  Then at 
1400 hrs we were turned out again for 
the usual farm - laborer's job on the farm 
& kept at that until 1700.
[*14.*]   Work today from 1400 -1715. Heavy work 
using a hoe in heavy clay soil. Several 
blisters on my hands. Bananas have 
started again 


[*15.*]  Weighed today. 53 kilos - gain of 1 kilo.  Work today at
11400 hrs but suddenly at 1600 hrs we were brought
back into camp & dismissed: Issue of salt to each
man today - No bananas.
[*16*] Nippon holiday today &so no work.  Occasion
appears to be the harvest festival.  Catarrh very
bad today.  Woke me up last night twice.
Each time with violent sneezing fit.  Interesting
figures have been extracted as a result of
our weighing.  All those made to go out to work
get an extra bowl of rice, whilst those who
are excused just get the ordinary ration.
The figures shew that in every squad those
working have lost weight on the average
throughout the squad & the others have
gained.  Our Squad figures were: - workers
average loss  .170 kilos.  Non workers average
gain  .11 kilos.
[*17.*] Sunday.  Usual church services.  No water turned on
today but late in the afternoon a party was
allowed to go out & draw some from the well.  Banana
issue today.
[*18*] Rumors of today & tomorrow being a holiday
proved entirely groundless, as we were
taken out to work at 0845 until 1130 hrs.
Weather is getting warm again & last night,
in the early part, was decidely hot & stuffy.
[*19*] Work as usual today from 0845 to 1130.  Canteen
supplied ketchup, sugar, tea etc today.  Water
shortage is terribly inconvenient. There is no
water turned on or stored in the camp at all
& all those without buckets find it practically
impossible to get a decent bath.  One comes
in from work covered in dust & sweat &
it is difficult to get clean in about a
cup full of water.
[*20*] Work this morning.  Atmosphere very charged.  One
officer Brig. Richards was kicked by a Jap senty
sentry because he did not understand what he
said to him in Japanese & two or three others were
hit.  When we got back to camp we found that
one of the American Col's Squad had been made to
spend the morning emptying the "Benjos".  This afternoon
a British officers Squad was employed on the
same job.  We are naturally all very indignant
about officers being made to work at such a
disgusting job.
[*21.*]  This morning the Camp Comdt. addressed us on morning
roll call parade & told us that the job of emptying
the "Benjo" was not in any sense a punishment.  He
explained that in Japanese agricultural districts it is
the invariable practice to empty all urine etc onto
the vegetable gardens or onto manure heaps to be
put onto the vegetable gardens & that it was
being done here only in accordance with
that custom. We could look forward to being
here for a good long while &so must be content
to all do all jobs necessary to bring on the
farm & produce vegetables etc.


[*Oct 22:*]  Early this morning air raid practices started.  We
were kept in our rooms until 09.30 & then went
out to work until 11.30.  Last night we had a
sudden order for roll call at 1900 hrs.  We
were then told it was a blackout & lights all
had to be out by ten minutes after we were
dismissed.  It made a long night from 1930 -

[*23.*]  No work today.  This morning the Camp Comdt
addressed us to impress on us that we could
not expect an early end to the war.  He told
us that the Germans were holding on the 

line Leningrad, Smolenk, Kiev, Sea of Artoz
for the winter, that we had landed in
Italy & were holding a line across Italy
about the neighbourhood of Naples, & that the
Japanese had withdrawn from Guadal
Canal Island, New Georgia, Kiska & Aleutians;
that there had been no air-raids on Japan
proper & the war obviously would last for
a long time yet.  He therefore pointed out that
it was to our interest to push on hard
with the garden & farms.  Today the exercise
Park was opened for our use from 0830 - 11.30
& from 1330 - 1700.  Long prolonged earthquake
at 0330 this morning.  This afternoon we
had our first rain for about six weeks. -
a good hard shower.
[*24.*]  Air-raid practices endend yesterday, Sunday.
church service this morning held up in the
recreation Park.  It is a distinct acquisition &
was very pleasant up there.  Opened a tin
of canned corn today.  It is the best thing we
have had out of the Canteen.
[*25*]  Work Roster was changed this morning so that Nos 1 & 2
Squads go out at different times.  This was done
so as to even up the available people for water
carrying as we (Nos 1 & 2 Squads) are excused from
water carrying duty.  Some fish was provided in
the soup tonight, just enough to flavour it but
still a bit of a change.  Work 1400 - 1700.
[*26*] Work today 1400 - 1700.  Had my nose examined
today. Col Derham tells me I have a "pollup" in it
but it is unsafe to have it removed here.
My nose is blocked up in one nostril one
or the other practically all the time.  Two
bottles of Syrup each available today.
[*27.*]  Work 1400 - 1700.  Order out today that
lights can not be turned on until
1830.  As by this time it is practically
dark in our rooms it is very uncomfortable.
Had a horrible dream last night that
I had arrived back in Australia.  I was
practically blind & was sitting on my
luggage in a big sunny shadeless barrack
square.  Nobody had arrived to meet
me & I had had no word from any
of the family.  It was terribly hot & I didn't
know what to do.  Finally after waiting for
hours, I got leave to sleep in a shed for the 


Last edited by:
Ray WilsonRay Wilson
Last edited on:

Last updated: