Diary of Arthur Seaforth Blackburn, April 1942 - November 1944, Part 18 of 26

Second World War, 1939–45
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1943 a 18 44 31 1014 night. I aot to a tlessone & rang up bome & some voice which I didue redognine toed me that the family diddnt want) me at home &didn't want to speak to me. I wolde up in an aesolute swere of arra secday today so there was no wah. This morning we were all made to bring our sheets out to te well & rull up occssets or dirte water & wash them, They are all a dirt arayn now out at anyrate tas have sad a waite et have got a cold & will be blacked up state of not nose it is most uncomportatly. Nake up tree or four times last, night conguing & eneaying tday by e pose has been absoedtaly running. Haave got through three banduchig since) got up this menning, I cannot olow nl left nostrie at all so that mases to even more disficlt was taly 1400 1700. Weally has egen mich cooler be last cuple of days. Am getten rather warried about my nots. It is setud very blocked up& tere are qoug stretche) of lders on and ween th cannot blad through july left postril at all. When it is like they me wose absolutely reas - I go, through about 1 pardrae her bour -and wio most uncomportable have to sleep now with my month ofen to Breath througe, a at least I cannot go to sfeep with my month sant o so freeune that &Beep my wouth open whil allea hope it Deent icrease in eye (As pollyp) at the same pase as it las come as it has all anveloped in a couple of mouths a 20. Saturday sd noe worte for us this qterson, tore still very bad, It is beginning to tale me feel terebly tired & eistless. I am being m appetite & have to drive myself at my meals. Sunday Cold terribly lad reported to bosfite tomae but thats, suglenty failed fast as I got wre do want struise back to bed Ngh guad 0030 6300 Dovelsed temperattire on Eundly nige & fave seen ead up in sed with bad cold on my cagt ever since. Have just got up for first tid today (4d yesterday was a nixpon boleday & po parig weal they iasued quite a large piece of fried fiale each. 20 was entrewety rice. Loda one briti Officer (a sus) & 4 Amonican N.C.O.S were taken off cold that they were se wo being taleen Japan. They hane lenow what for & taly tive not specialists in any prticular line, so it is difficult to precaste what the Intention Eld stice very had, or rather cold ittpl Deeus to be beter but cannot sleake of my heavy cough. my nose is also a custant sounce of worly as it never cedss running this so my fewe day efell enpired & I eas to go on roll call parade, voughingo eueening all the time
1943 Nor. 6 10 12 This morning all equads were ordere on rarade at 0830 & wirleed aleaning in the camp uniel 1115, again at 1000 we were all turned our worleed again at the same get with 1700 we were bed that bx will be an important nespection within a dy of two & that the caye must be ware to tidy. The chief jil was cutting t gass no sisble lenies o grasscutters were provided the cutting consisted in fille up a hulling of slort the whole goive grave on the clp late in the extenson we were told to cut up & stack in bel, leape a big pile of sall brancheot trees twigss no cutting ulensils were frovided te cutting consisted in treling them up with our lands Sunday Dutyall morning cleaning up our bomces et in ingadation for the inspection, so that our causse service lidd & be put o. Troudous issue of nice today, said to be because to sta are being redysed in proparation for to eopection ratte redday avering te awout rd was almost more tean wast of us could out. At 0400 lin this norning a party of about 24 arrived in this camp from favorl they were mortly Dutch but axceuded Werd Davlg wal Lyneham maior beaney Capt Hampon I capt N.C. Frac anco sid Doner of the R4 whom I last met in the Harmonte clutt in Dataven raey left Java on t6 sgv & came Engepre Du beve seaat fou lat more ofthe bedt of tratty well & ropre faie are the sars wham & lept befind in all day still there, soday we stood by for an inspeation by some buga Japeneie officer He finally arrived about 1500 arsg wrilked it due gate & out ofte obde making no atout to bee any of lig. Tee that they ave received gave parte report some eetters from Australe about te year ron 400-1668 Seautul Eught yats today day with a cooe breege, cough very bax & a bag leadaghe all day. Heard today a sugaged in vey gain tast Dear to Hope that Diele is saxe but get terrifly annjous with this utter each of news from pome Holiday from worke today for all oupere aligted men. They bad to worre as usual Dull overcast ddy with a few sts of rain & apperably cooler. rgilant Ieland 2140 - 3300 Armistice day silance for one minute ofserved this morning at eleven o'clock. Our Egrad & ns equid were excused from all work today. Another dull overlast day) which looks very like rain out nore has come during by dy ho wgh to go0142 Squads Again tetan cold whials thaut bad car u
1943 no 12 Cora. 13 14 17 18 19 20 4 seems to have come back this aftarnoon hve lear coggain all afternoon & my nose has been gusintely ounning. me autties te t Qqua ader bl that lle 3510 yen whichsdawed to be rredtof our farmage at paventeo has all san epane upon things in this farmg that day will to finance the falure actit out of Enteln profits ets no eequed out at wak today but no work for our squid. He pllesp in my nexs getting very byg & I can feal it quite distinatly nle as it seems to be coming re down my exe nstree, It is terrifly ungomfor En CBindaen amrud wnd an part sun from gava restaay Holy Communian was Elebraed It was se prse I have pean atle to receive communion since march 1942 worl ody 0845-1120 gain party releave from Quarantine & allowed to their squad had a eong garn t Lyneham & am looling forward & getting a lot of naws about Aggerent Lopo Hear tat eis george Murray is dead & nepier is aig justice, also that Erog chapan is plead. also laard that Did Reid las the ray of 3/19 sp War today 0845-1120, glasses arrived to da from the Optisian - one pair of reading glanses lone por general use, e sight sens enceliey out the brddge is too nanaon both ofiden & nurt me quite a log werk tolay 0845-430 nipparase wative was witledrewn from me today & althoure us owen mattres is very thet I good see does Dawan my seasted (which are aboue 18 accts apax) are very enccomportable wittone the curpose or the entrea mattre, me itte t sast pl ofags has been very overcast +d out rain has occurred so far aechouge it coles very time geatoing all t9 Wall 0845 -1120. Kitterly cold + very puercast but no rain, no sandres today. Wak 0845-1120 Again bitterl &d Hep wouul Cirtleday dinner with Parson- ball any Cam manmalade added to our dist, Ray last avy. nigat out noe very work tody 0845 -1120 Very muddy & dapinable cold. The cold seos to have improved the growd in my noce as it is nothing alle as big as it was Regilant quard 0200 -0330, Toaue of one wooden su for room to day Irispection by the nygs of our blankets today sunda awdld Holy Co again very cold but se come) out for about two levs this morning. Did hey laundry in sld dirty waters effect is not very good. Issue of syou fish plates hetchup, sid vego & gain Geoterday from the Anteen.
1943 nov. 22 23 44 26 27 28 29 30 Work 1320- 1660 plantig tomatee plants Clorks cleared away today &+ it was a lnight suniy day although the wind is still very cold Heave cartliquily slock sanae 2100 hro last dugao. Wageed this morning 534 pcles a cor of Skilos neppa notiday today 20 no work, nixe brigh dry reo exent most of tle time out i the sun Another clear Ang day. Weatter as freeet geautiful with cold nights & grigat warm days. ate roll call cllay we pulve each issued writ a small loas o aread st w very nice indeed & made a wondersol Ebarge Very rever sartlaste Laclin daed at 2215 lus today Hhe laster for several seconds &the whole building strooke & procked Then about a ninute later came other not quite so severe obut pretty bad my 51 birthdy, has nune I e drepsed all nigae of Rose + the chiildren. I know that was because Rose was thiking of me sanding her lave to me, I only I could got some word of home a now they are all getting any Toce is Amorican Hankigiving day. Hhis enaming we were each ssued with a beg bag of soile sweets somglt I gave a dinner part 12) to Frot, Torrence Beare, Delby& Con Callaghan Hnd a ten of pork causages which I had Brought will me from i middle east & beatte a up with a ia of corn. Werk to day 1320- 1430 At 1620 & air fraid aeam was counded & we we bund braugat back into cmp. Te alar continued in the night & we had a most unrtae rigar, bladied out sa diylicate oridge tourneent began to day our squad plyed no2 Squad & seat by 600. Black out restreations lifted lis edening yesterday two Cigaretle butts were found on the ground outside & as a result i the hipponere lave willdrawn our pniveleg of cinging outside surracus. Sunday nisual church services. bnt the afternoon I ad a long talk aboue Leprant insidents in the campaign witl Lyneban Beanss ann& taser. sll amoude of wee in the soup tonight - the first for 3 weels. nok 0845-11.30. In be afteron we weve warned to stand by r an inspetion by the fav gen of Tauon but be did nt arive no work today, The Col. i change of Admon of anss in Lwan intervieed graup Confosed respetived of Averious, Priticd & Dutch today. In the rning be interviewed o besauts te Amerions, gave than teg discussed their disficlties & the ma gaivally
1943 1or20 Dec E42 De3 De In the afternoon be saw a mr or Priticl officers of whom I was ane He starte by elaring e we seaed to misunented any over bindieg he conmitted & raleing out that it was and done because we though they were losing tho war therefoe there would be no tea of accouts for us. He te asked for our camplaints. Vrious wateers suaas caspital treatment, dvegs, wail, wrte, sanitation ste were put to ham wose of waied te said we wauld cook nt. Than te started questtoning us about the war. He asked te whether I considered papn was sustigied in attalling hearl taroo & maldy I said no. H ten assed we now thought te way would endawlien. I said I would end when the statesme of our nations coued faid a foumala for peace& would goon for a can time. He dn told as vrious shrere reverses which he said a suppored in the Colonans & gang Ielards. After us we saw as suk & gave them tea & disouito. Et is obqiously an getengt to drive a wedge batere te Britise fothers. He they Enplained that we appeared to be under the impresion that we d some rigats as P.O.W such co with te npo. Oyour protective power. This le said was quite incorrect. aur Intestie sower ad no authority wlaterey & we wee being deget wish entirdly under te Japave piale of Dushido under this we were being provided with sbelter, clothes + "enough food to keep us alive and should be gratul, Jexan was guarntelers our lived in toe ets & we must canny on rememberng we were only P0.W8 Camp camat. (Cape Immanur) left ben to He called squad chiefs together & said godle to tagn. His sunar will not afrive to tare or four days. Worte today 0845 -11:16. Nere got a slizas attec of diamboea ale ready for work the mening whar suddedly we were sent into Odmicks & all will was conselled it as transfired tha that a nipponne coedi w pond outside the samp with lis threat cat apparent suicids - & we have been les ouselve all ay as a resues work to day o845-1120. Very overcase wire a wrt easterly wind + getting steadily colder. Wantoday 1145 -1130. Bilter cold & heavy rain during edst night. soday each office & man was inned with a flancelitis spit, captured stree). They are beautiall wain out we were warned they were sp property& only on lan to us & must nor be pwarked oraterdrder i t our two thick nippon blankets must be hast secon up in our Cankat cover, &t was resented ou that as this made a very leavy thigh bunale only aboue five feet long, it must made i impossible to ise then as blankess, out


[*Oct 27*]


night. I got to a telephone & rang up home 
& some voice which I didn't recognize told 
me that the family didn't want me at 
home & didn't want to speak to me. I woke 
up in an absolute sweat of terror.

]*28.*]  Nippon holiday today so there was no work. This 
morning we were all made to bring our sheets 
out to the well & pull up buckets of dirty water 
& wash them. They are all a dirty brown 
now but at any rate they have had a wash etc. 
Have got a cold & with the blocked up state 
of my nose it is most uncomfortable. Woke up 
three or four times last night coughing & sneezing 
& today my cold nose has been absolutely 
running. Have got through three handerchiefs 
since I got up this morning. I cannot blow 
my left nostril at all so that makes it even 
more difficult.

[*29.*]  Work today 1400-1700. Weather has been much 
cooler the last couple of days. Am getting rather 
worried about my nose. It is getting very 
blocked up & there are long stretches of hours 
on end when I cannot blow through my left 
nostril at all. When it is like this my nose 
absolutely runs - I go through about 1 handerchief 
per hour - and it is most uncomfortable. I 
have to sleep now with my mouth open to 
breath through, or at least I cannot go to 
sleep with my mouth shut & so presume that 
I keep my mouth open whilst asleep. I 
hope it doesn't increase in size (the pollup) at 
the same pace as it has come as it has all 
developed in a couple of months or so. 

[*30*] Saturday so no work for us this afternoon. Nose 
still very bad. It is beginning to make me 
feel terribly tired & listless. I am losing my 
appetite & have to drive myself at my meals.

[*31st*]  Sunday. Cold terribly bad. Reported to hospital tonight 
but lights suddenly failed just as I got there so went 
straight back to bed. Vigilant guard 0030-0200

[*Nov. 1-4*] Developed temperature on Sunday night & have been 
laid up in bed with bad cold on my chest 
ever since. Have just got up for first time today (4th). 
Yesterday was a Nippon holiday & for evening meal 
they issued quite a large piece of fried fish 
each. It was extremely nice. Today one British 
Officer (a sub) & 4 American N.C.O.s were taken off & 
told that they were due war being taken to 
Japan. They don't know what for & they 
are not specialists in any particular line, so 
it is difficult to forecast what the intention 


[*5.*]  Cold still very bad - or rather cold itself seems to 
be better but cannot shake off my heavy 
cough. My nose is also a constant source of 
worry as it never ceases running. This evening 
my "five day spell" expired & I had to go on 
roll call parade, coughing & sneezing all the 



[*Nov. 6*] This morning all squads were ordered on 
parade at 0830 & worked cleaning up the 
camp until 1115. Again at 1400 we were all 
turned out & worked again at the same 
job until 1700. We were told that there 
will be an important inspection within a day 
or two & that the camp must be made thoroughly 
tidy. The chief job was "cutting" the grass.

No sickle, knifes or grass cutters were 
provided & the "cutting" consisted in pulling 
up or pulling off short the whole of the 
grass in the camp. Late in the afternoon we 
were told to cut up & stack in tidy heaps 
a big bunc pile of small branches of trees & 
twigs. No cutting utensils were provided 
& the "cutting" consisted in breaking them 
up with our hands.

[*7.*] Sunday. Duty all morning cleaning up our barracks 
etc in preparation for the inspection, so that our
church service had to be put off. Tremendous 
issue of rice today, said to be because the stocks 
are being reduced in preparation for the inspection.
Both midday & evening the amount issued was 
almost more than most of us could eat.

[*8.*] At 0400 hrs this morning a party of about 24 
arrived in this camp from Java. They were 
mostly Dutch but included W/Cmdr. Davis,
Lt Col. Lyneham, Major Beaney Capt. Hammon & 
Capt H.C.Fraser. Also Sid. Downer of the R.A.F 
whom I last met in the Harmonic Club in 
Batavia. They left Java on 26 Sept. & came 
here via Singapore & Saigon. They all seem 
pretty well & report that most of the rest of 

the chaps whom I left behind in Java are 
still there. Today we stood by all day 
for an inspection by some high Japanese 
Officer. He finally arrived about 1500 
hrs & walked in one gate & out of the other,
making no attempt to see any of us. The 
Java party reports that they have received 
some letters from Australia about a year 


[*9.*] Work today from 1400-1600. Beautiful bright 
day with a cool breeze Cough very bad 
& a bad headache all day. Heard today 
that 9th Divs heavily engaged in New Guinea.
Hope that Dick is safe but get terribly anxious 
with this utter lack of news from home.

[*10.*] Holiday from work today for all except 
Enlisted men. They had to work as usual. 
Dull overcast day with a few spots of rain 
& appreciably cooler. Vigilant guard 2100-2300.

[*11.*] Armistice day. Silence for one minute observed 
this morning at eleven o'clock. Our Squad 
& No 2 Squad were excused from all work 
today. Another dull overcast day which 
looks very like rain - but none has 
come during the day.

12.  No work for Nos 1 & 2 Squads again today. My 
cold which I thought had cleared up



[*Nov 12*]


seems to have come back this afternoon & I 
have been coughing all afternoon & my nose 
has been absolutely running. Nipponese 
authorities told the Squad leaders today that 
the 2500 yen which remained to the credit of 
our farm apc at Karenko has all been spent
upon things in this farm & that they will 
try to finance the future activities out of 
canteen profits etc.

[*13.*] No 2 Squad out at work today but no 
work for our Squad. The "pollup" in my nose 
is getting very big & I can feel it quite 
distinctly now as it seems to be coming right 
down my left nostril. It is terribly 

[*14.*] Sunday. A padre (Binderman) arrived with the party 
from Java & so today Holy Communion was 
celebrated. It was the first time I have been able 
to receive communion since March 1942.

[*15.*] Work today 0845-1130. Java party released from 
Quarantine & allotted to their Squads. Had a 
long yarn to Lyneham & am looking forward 
to getting a lot of news about different chaps. 
Hear that Sir George Murray is dead & Napier is 
Chief Justice; also that Prof. Chapman is dead. Also 
heard that Sid. Reid has the new 2/3 M.G. Bn.

[*16.*] Work today 0845-1130. Glasses arrived today 
from the optician - one pair of reading glasses 
& one for general use. The sight seems 
excellent but the bridge is too narrow on 
both of them & hurt me quite a lot.

[*17.*] Work today 0845-1130. Nipponese mattress was 
withdrawn from me today & although my own 
mattress is very thick & good the cross bars on 
my bedstead (which are about 18 inches apart) are 
very uncomfortable without the support of the 
heavy Nip. straw mattress. Weather the last couple 
of days has been very overcast & cold but no 
rain has occurred so far although it looks 
very threatening all the time.

[*18.*] Work 0845-1130. Bitterly cold & very overcast 
but no rain. No Bananas today.

[*19.*] Work 0845-1130. Again bitterly cold. Had a wonderful 
birthday dinner with Pearson - bully beef, ham & 
marmalade added to our diet. Rain last 
night but not very heavy.

[*20.*]  Work today 0845-1130.Very muddy & damnably 
cold. The cold seems to have improved the 
growth in my nose as it is nothing like as 
big as it was. Vigilant guard 0200-0330.
Issue of one wooden bucket basin per room today. 
Inspection by the Nips of our blankets today.

[*21.*] Sunday. Attended Holy Communion at 0900. 
Again very cold but sun came out 
for about two hrs this morning. Did 
my laundry in cold, dirty water & effect 
is not very good. Issue of syrup, fish flakes, 
ketchup, pickeld vegs & jam yesterday from 
the canteen.



[*Nov.22.*] Work 1320-1660 planting tomatoe plants. Clouds 
cleared away today & it was a bright sunny 
day although the wind is still very cold. 
Heavy earthquake shock soon after 2100 hrs 
last night. Weighed this morning 52.4 kilos. a 
loss of .5 kilos.

[*23.*]  Nippon holiday today so no work. Nice bright 
day & so spent most of the time out in the 

[*24*]  Another clear bright day. Weather at present 
is beautiful with cold nights & bright 
warm days. After roll call today we were 
each issued with a small loaf of bread. It was 
very nice nee indeed & made a wonderful 
change. ? Very severe earthquake shocks indeed 
at 2215 hrs today. The first lasted for several 
seconds & the whole building shook & rocked. 
Then about a minute later came another 
not quite so severe but pretty bad.

[*25.*] My 51 birthday, Last night I drea dreamed all 
night of Rose & the children. I know that was 
because Rose was thinking of me & sending her 
love to me. If only I could get some word of 
home & how they are all getting on! Today 
is American Thanksgiving day. This morning we 
were each issued with a big bag of boiled 
sweets. Tonight I gave a dinner party (?) to 
Trott, Torrance, Pearson, Selby & Gen Callaghan. Had 
a tin of pork sausages which I had brought 
with me from the Middle East & heated these 
up with a tin of corn.

[*26.*] Work today 1320-1430. At 1430 the an air-raid 
alarm was sounded & we were hurriedly 
brought back into camp. The alarm continued 
in the night & we had a most uncomfortable 
night, blacked out.

[*27.*] The duplicate bridge tournament began today. 
Our Squad played No 2 Squad & were beaten 
by 600. Black out restrictions lifted this 
evening. Yesterday two cigarette butts
were found on the ground outside & as 
a result we the Nipponese have 
withdrawn our privelege of smoking 
outside barracks.

[*28.*] Sunday. Usual Church services. In the 
afternoon I had a long talk about different 
incidents in the campaign with Lyneham, Beaney, 
Hammon & Fraser. Small amount of meat in 
the soup tonight - the first for 3 weeks.

[*29.*] Work 0845-11.30. In the afternoon we were 
warned to stand by for an inspection by 
the Gov-Gen of Taiwan but he did not 

[*30.*] No work today. The Col. in Charge of Admin 
of P.O.W. camps in Taiwan interviewed groups 
composed respectively of Americans, British & 
Dutch today. In the morning he interviewed 
the Americans, gave them tea & biscuits & 
discussed their difficulties & the war generally




[*(contd)*] In the afternoon he saw a group of British 
officers of whom I was one. He started by 
explaining that we seemed to misunderstand
 any every kindness he committed & making out 
that it was only done because we thought 
they were losing the war & therefore there would 
be no tea or biscuits for us. He then asked 
for our complaints. Various matters such as 
hospital treatment, drugs, mail, work, food 
sanitation etc were put to him, most of which 
he said he would look into. Then he 
started questioning us about the war. He 
asked me whether I considered Japan 
was justified in attacking Pearl Harbor & 
Malay. I said "no". He then asked me how I 
thought the war would end & when. I said 
it would end when the Statesmen of our 
Nations could find a formula for peace & 
would go on for a long time. He then told 
us various severe reverses which he said 
we had suffered in the Solomons & Gilbert 
Islands. After us he saw the Dutch & gave 
them tea & biscuits. It is obviously an 
attempt to drive a wedge between the 
British & others. He then explained that we 
appeared to be under the impression that we 
had some rights as P.O.W's such as communicating 
with the reps. of our protective power. This he 
said was quite incorrect. Our protective powers 
had no authority whatever & we were being 
dealt with entirely under the Japanese principles 
of "Bushido". Under this we were being provided 
with shelter, clothes & "enough food to keep us
alive" and should be grateful. Japan was 
guaranteeing our lives - subject to illness etc- 
& we must carry on remembering we were only 

[*Dec. 1*] Camp Comdt. (Capt Immamura) left camp today. 
He called squad chiefs together & said Goodbye 
to them. His successor will not arrive for 
three or four days. Work today 0845-11.15. Have 
got a slight attack of diarrhoea.

[*Dec. 2.*] All ready for work this morning when suddenly we were 
sent into barracks & all work was cancelled. It has
transpired that that a Nipponese soldier was found 
outside the camp with his throat cut - apparently 
suicide - & we have been left to ourselves all day 
as a result.

[*Dec 3.*] Work today 0845-1130. Very overcast with a north 
easterly wind & getting steadily colder.

]*Dec 4.*]  Work today 0845-1130. Bitterly cold & heavy rain 
during last night. Today each officer & man 
was issued with a flanellette shirt, 
(captured stores). They are beautifully warm but 
we were warned they were Jap. property & were 
only on loan to us & must not be marked 
or altered. Orders issued today that our 
two thick Nippon blankets must be kept sewn 
up in our blanket cover. It was pointed out 
that as this made a very heavy thick bundle 
only about five feet long, it must made it 
impossible to use them as blankets, but



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