Diary of Arthur Seaforth Blackburn, April 1942 - November 1944, Part 19 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

Secuta ac5 c6 10 12 wore we were told orders must by shayed & we must do the best we could Dunday, usual Church service Fin Lear sunry day new lany vmdt toole over toda & ioected us all. He wears te allied was riton. He was formerly Court. at the coper mine camp he worle today, Fine lingle monning out overeas & cold in te afterwoon Wok today 1320-1630 cold bleale pay through some mistabe no worle rece was issued to b for todays wort. Or comr silly died at about 2230 hrs tonightof an internal comlant believed, b canser. He was a grand sapt- and optlose men the meve one met the more one liked. Empenial Resinge Day. No work to axgone this year they did not read oue tho resengt to us a previously or have any Port of coremant Had a long garn to sid. Cowner last night avour you mugh addade news but be did not more than I did no week tday. Bright day but ved night Wark & 4 1320- 1620. agso for now ont oday, I have been apoited with 43 pe 54 sen for the glasses supplied t me by the local opticion. sa no worte for our squad tooly cwvity to its being saturdry. Deautiful sunny wah day will g oit ofa inip in the air Enoppetion of fillows & pillow slipe thes monning, Bolle in my noc is getting big again (after sviting a t & is causing me consideratle wcon verorse Sunday usual decired services managed to get a lot of weishing done today. taild as at last been vermitted to do a limited Amount of work of lother P.O.Wo. All be gan do to repaire- no alterations ets. Higilant Iuard tonight 2100 2200 p0 Wall 0845-1115. Full overcast aftnoon stady rain all daygso he wor a bad of boiled sweeto a bun was issued t each P0.W today & also 15 packets of cigardtles fer naw svery day no wot arrangements Dull& were walled out mre fully & our repecte d cussed with the authorities decison given work 0645 -1120. peautiful sunny day. Contaqual stock, freceded by very bud explosion o 1600 (fer gloriou bright day no work for our equad. Ana given to send a carestin a to te su ofer wh were on camp with us at Tamacal so one was aurriedly designed + banded to be pu send
1943 Dx 18 19 26 Ane week to Ciristmas. I wxander what the somily are doing at lome. I do hope the boy manage to angt get lome an Carestigs Day &is weres lonely hare witient any werateganya then Have an attack of darhged which has been getting were for the last tre days ste wll this morning & saw the Dr. He orders w a days coneete stavve & then exting rec dry & mot nixed to my coups eatiy & very wart ware slawly Sunsay. nsuel servises Dianbace very had ress I was put on the specil res list- Aeo epoue prepared very eoge, gerious brigae day, Iee this time of year is o really wonderful. Experned that a special iuspection, gour quartes ett d a sed jardde on tare pace on reate Injy 24t when te Coudt will address us Denstitl suning day stell off Clor. no wtl e squa order issu an insfection marow spent he day prepared our rous fat came. ungratien tonigh in the prn o pried regorle in lav ofsoun Inspection torlay by Cmp conde & his stp ne gt to morning tidlying up rooms et & expection out was was held in te afternoon, no com passed on our room & I frenmelit parsed e called lyan to muster, several officers band over their diaries, papers of for expection. can caute. repores thae generally ppretedi the inspoction was satisfactory but he bas pinted out a nembber of mina matters which require reatifiction. The offices whose papers were talent prinspation will get them back (encert for quatier papers, Lody out at worle one of te hpopee N.COS noticed that two offices wee not cnng as big as of woal be wa was same tiber solicol had been prand of a bullside as be considered they should be carrying. As a result when they came in back to Camp they were ordered to etand at asteoution for three thours. They were not asked fo ay enplantionttheir sidet case in they had to say. A bis sak of suer or any some buingg about 40-50 duales a & ind same in today nizilent gaur cngad 0-0500 Weighed oday- 50:4 a lass of 2 bilos Jat e eldhu poulder fish flaties canter one sun each was iisued lut opening no nork for our squad today but obler equads were out. at 133 tee wasa geabe gavad wee t pdaddrased uanoe & mas greatings. He also calld out is frond & gave presents to le th0 We in o cam who have co-oporated particularly with be hispanese in the past. He then audouriced the speaal duties for new year. There aoe very few changes- clie one being gen Kera Simwands instead of Gen key no as
1943 this evening rall call was put of until 2100 Dasy can bys & eights out until 2200 bs aer supper a party of officers came around & san x was canes in all as buts. The were very good. my dimboea las pacticelly sarse up out now I have developed an ulcer on the lower in & have great difficulty in resiving anything. I love it has ceared up by omerrow as we are to lave toha duces. Feel terrioly depressed + despandent tonight at the lack of news of the family. I miss them terribl at all times out nowas & was it is almost overpowening. Doc25. Christmas Dary - the thind I have epent away from toe family g the second as a P4.W. It has seen a very lonely, desglate day & have been longing bot fore ohe couldren &4 2bad commynion service at 0900- over or communicants, Then a speoiel Pervic at 0945 at which I read one of the lessous. Then we hnd be mudday meal - fried vegotily & port at 1230 int gim flusers room, all the were atticeteperts o e afternoon there Austratang together. In concert, at Doth. which the camp cnat + his stap were present. Then the ovening meal at 11800 duckcoup + rice) which gen callagan 7I had again in Jem Hiers room with him pent Huals, en & col White. rll cale was at 8100 & lizats out at 2204 Adtagtter it is evident that the nixpanese did all in their power to make it as god a dy for us as they could. I aat a Lwassard in Sid Downer g Taser& Haman + this ing was spent in receiving & paying calls to convey & mas greetings. sunday usual service. Uneventful day but looks as if rain is gradually worlding up nek today from 0845 -1130. Fine day with cool breeye, last Px issue for the month. Am back outo adinary rice but find my leet are very sore. work today ooes -1120. One ben for beean Euight as well as other X states Taates issne aftersoon wat for our squad today. Truit isne tody was an orause each. They were very sweet but not veny inicy. Then were very twelssire again no work for our squad. Rain cnmenced about 0gso + was fairly beavy for same time. Tomorow there is to be an inspection by the camp coudt + so this afternoon we were wakking around the but tidying up, resterday we were each allowed to write a letter lome up to Too words the last day of 1943! Occasions like this make one very unbappy at being seperated from the bamild for so al dy long I have aced for vews of lose & the bays & gives. I 1943 Do 31 tn 1944 Jany 18t do hpe tat nent year sees all this (trouble over & the family united & gappy again. &t has rained steadil all dy. This evging gen callaglan gave a dinner party to five of us cndr Cllinson, Cast. Canbell Bn sepers, Big ter & nself. He poduced two iis of bully beef & sane sweet fou was b wonatorful dime new years day. This maning for breakefas we had sippnise Ceremanial rise calils, but they were badly cooked by our coolss + were not at all nire. A dull muerable day witl only a fe minsity sunshine. This afternoon were was an air raid wasting weish lasted above an hour Sunday. Usual hurch services. Ceremonial nice in the soup again the maning out no admive rice. Another boliday today but we are back to ordnany vice. a dil day very evercest & cold: norke today ta our sauad from 1330£1630. Quite pleasant werk straightening out the bed of the creek which runs just outsde be camp pallacade unpleasant incident occun rast night. The light globe in use by the vigilant gird blew but during the vight. I got up some time apter midnight & found the officer ondute-a pretis brig from no 2 saug setting in aarsness. He asked tule if be could bovrow my light globe & I readily agreed, tood it out gaves it to him. I have been having a bro trouble with my eyes + had incoured this glate an especiall wiht one, so that I could bead in my room in the evening. In the monning at Redille I found that my glote was gone & a very bad por candle power light fut in place ofite It was evident that bue of the British Brigs during the night and storen my globe during his tour of duty & this maning netuses to admit it I have cocated my alobe- o One enactly libe it - in air cond Ptaton poom & he refuses & give me any satisfaction As to whether it is mine or not, all the other officers who were on guard during the night have assured me that they know nothing at all about the change of globe - & of course I curnervedly aet their assurance. I have finally reported te whole matter to main gen keith Sinons no 2 squad seader a left the waole matter in his lands. Englishmen are to go on with a makes one oftle two librarians. The camp autberities have reduced the no of abrarians to two & as the library is open every day (magt Tundays & holidays) from 9:15 -11:30 & from 1500- 1700 it means that these two are doing at last twice as wuch wate as anyove else in cimpas every book has to be cllecked in & out ii te lurary records (& some 300 books a pay abange hands as well as priority lists etc. bept. The two librarians, with, one would imagin, the full aproval of everyone in camp, were put by
1944 etre Jany Care the hipponese on working rice every day rgt Sundys + bolidays). Kent Hughes is in a squad consistay of sin Australian & all the neet English The English in the squad immediatel demanded that pent Hughes put the whole ofhis ntra rice into te comman egied rice bucket por division amongst the waote sgied & when he refused went on strike & refused to serve any rice or do any other squid futies, thas placing Col. Tuer (Aust) in a spot. I wanted tent Hughes to fight the watter out but be fee, which af course is what the Enslish officers were relying on him doing- that it would be undignyied & unwise to let be matter get to be ears agan ses of thus give them capital for allegationd of interpal strise, and so over the matter by tlaimning as librarien. The squad in which the oeher Dnn te ward is, of course never raised any question weatever about him getting his extra vicet in fact one American qquad beaning after trougle actially came along & offered to atdy sent Hughes entra rico & ling it over to him! genys no mak torday as it wasa hisonerd boliday. no satisfaction about my globe as gen simmand cannot get to be botton of it. Io is veryembare ing as shig sucas - and in fact nost of the Wenders of n2 squad - feels very badly aboue in athough I have endeavoured to enplain that I do not al all blame him. Tony gen sinous came along with a good siring globe (quite oipeent to niine, + exgned thgt dethough be aned not so par locate mine we wanted me to t thes one to go on with. I felt very bad about it &ashed him not to leave it in miy reom but be insisted on it. The, whole indident is very disturbing + embarraning, cold wind today & only a very little sun. gary Bitterly cold day no seen unsil afternoon Then above 1700 aws wind prechened + the cold becaue intense. Wrk from 30-1630 debuggingthe caobage plans a little of the produce of the garder is being ficed & is, I understand being Livided between our litcon himnese citcen The last day or two my face has been getting very sore & this monning it was anronely panfl to slave. Accordingly I went across & got &c Darham to leave a lock at it. He saws I have got a dermatin + has cavered my face completely with a sucly white ointient & prbidden we to shave until fyrther notice. We were due pa work tonay but an aw raid alert was sounded about 1230 & work was cancelled for the afternoon. Very cold night east migst & cold again this tuaning out about midday the breeye died down + the afternoon was a good lot warmer. Good soup tongat with a lot of fish-tua-in & & quite a let of cauliflowe. bright sunny doy but cold wind. no work for our squad tody but four squads were out 1944 gan8 cantd working this Agternoon, which is the first time there has been any wat on a Saturday gtenoon sirce I first readhed Karerho Had an entraainent vivid dream as bome last night, I dreamt th I lad arrived back come & they family were all there encert Bob_who, they cold tie was in Amorice studying his dentistry. They were all very distingt in my dream ever down to be dothes then wadon. Rose was wearing a waite sll dreds + it had a linge stain in the side of i She expeaied that the Evircles set had fallen over just as I came into the door & Anocked her dver + she hadnt had time to change her dreas, serrible disagaintent yesterday. It was announed in the papers recently that an incaange serip had come in about tw months ago) + we leave all been anniously waiting for letter) yeterday word went around that letters ad amived -out not & in the evening they were given on a single letter from Adstralia! They were all from endieafrin, gen, canada Amexica There were very tew of them even ten - not more than sifty? I have felt quite aopeless about leterss since they were given out. peel that the authorities in Austoalia wust have fallen down horribly on their jobs, as we are the only people in the camps now who have not had one solitary wer of any sort ever siice being taken fhisane Sunday usual church services a peastiful brigere morning but about widdaya faitle beavy wind blow up & it became a bit cold wal warmer day to day, I did not go out awing to te rash on my face which I fiad to ban govered will cinturent eash still troublesome. Good las beenvery por eately Kanana seasan finished & no other frine was ben substitutes Last night there occurred what sounded like a real air nd. The first warning was a terrifes explocion_ or sanies of oplosion which shook the whole hut. Tre Iustand all eights here entinguished as the main & quards doubed out surrouided all buts. soon After another oxplosion - it coyded like another stic of comes-occurred to ter the nijpanese enplained that it was some field in mercises Beautiful sunny day. Cigarettes arrived today + were issued-25 packets per office of shira sagas The pixe has gone up to 60 sen per packet, owing to increased tanation, no work for our squad today. Rash is stll very troublesome + today a new treatment wwas started yesterday the first ofthe leoters grom. Australig Arrived. Trott got one from his wife in Adelaide & Jun Fli got one. Trels was dated Ang. The drrivse tnlease I still none or we is almost wase than it was before + I have bean utterly despondent yesterday & today to wgh this morning as a visitor came from the Imporial Folys university. He rxamined the lyks all the Dutch Australian & Americans. Thi afteroon worked from 1600 - 1615, an innavation touigae for sufpe was e small dried fish which ave usually in our soup, friet sepvately t oil
1944 Jany 15 Morle today 0845 -1130 but I was unable to 2o out because ofter rash on my face. At oath this asternon. Water was really bot + it was very pleasant meals good today. Sunday usual church services, We nhe out qide runners of have for someone o in the near future, bur nobady seem to know anything definite about it Rash on my face still very troublesme. I havent been able I shave for eight days now g as in addition to being unshaven my whole face is painted with a diorty looking yellow disifectant eiquid, mu looes depy desanytion. Danana liwe started again yesterday & today the first Qnice to Clristas Dason. wan for our squad to lay but my face is still very sore & as I have a greden ouitwent on it again I did not go out, another banana issue today. It appears that the questin of vegetables from the favm it a bil compless, We have all been expecting to get them when rge as entre to our grindoy ration, but the acting camp comat. bes toed someong that we will not be permitted to have than as entas as there is a fined basi ration for us & all that we get of our garm will be in lieu of bougal Wegdale Face was a little better today so I went out to wals. I am afraid it basn't done mme any good as tonight my face is very itchy Another hor bath today for everyone. Beautiful clear sunny day today. Reforts about that she oftle to. has said that there if very bad news for tes Jo. I pay no attention walever to tere reports I remers rai recording this only e that when we get the papers for this pfried I can show the falsity ofte refort Ternible day today, a lange number of lastes were delivered including a lt from aust.- Tyar got 3or 4 & Rent Hughes 5o4 - but not a wod for ye. I feel terribly miserable &anxious. And gltng another cold + have been congliine petty steadin. Gull cloudy day with a cold ind 22. still feeling very miserable, about haping not letters. nearly evenyone in camn hys got some - in some cases 12-15. yesterday, today & tomorrow all squads are werking ale day mostly about the camp in frepardhop for an inspection vent week. sunday owing to an enfected inspection parly vert week all seads were out worksing all moning cleaning un the camp & so church but to be ped atp, cold stielpetty beavy. Vigilant guard tonigt 830-0200 24. new order about boots & shaw today tell boot gsboes meey one ray have been collectd racked away. A new bostroom has been established sutside the p PaW terinater &n part of the nefanese quarter & our one pair have to be in there from 1900 lvs until after movning we call. general can up oy barraehs tod rispetion, ag cmp cout this afternoon. 1944 Jay 25 Jely 12t Inspection by Col. from Lamion H.Q. who is in charge of 150 y at 10.30 thes merning. The camp was in encelient order agtes all he worts we had put in. This agteroon be got together a number after Jung offices + discussed yrio matters with them. He fremised another issue of sean very soon also hed crass stoes. As far as haie was cncerned be said ta wal oo letters for the Anerisay group waiting to be consged out could fremise notag about Australian letters. He said they were doing their best to improve the wod question but we must remember that their foor was nationed, the same as in our countria. ganerally speaking the officers fresept were very peased at his synyathetic aftitude. wats tody as usual, d. beautiful clear day with a nice cool breezer I shaved ty of the first time since 7t inst. My beard had grown quite regularly & luscuriously and I was Almost sony to part with it The saving was very painful as we rash is stel bo on m face. I had to slave so that the Drs could fot as the rash with gentnents etc. unportunatel it has efread to my lead &c03 also had to have all my bor clifed of as as possible) Everyore in camp bas been ordered to write a one fage lasay on: The beooollest engagement which you have bad with the Japdese forces Holiday today for everyone: Warm supny day. We are now getting sixeet potatoes from the farm today had our second lot. & be make a very welcome addition to te food. Ast bath for everyone today Weighed today 50.8 a gain of 4of a leiffo, Cautful y frequent about h sune day. Rumars stile ver mave in the near fature. Satursay. Our squad warked this maring)-Rasa gs still prety bad but is definitely improbing. sunday. usual church senvices. Bcautiul caar day with a steady cool breee. Toushs solp lead 18 moats in it- the first indduce the rabbits we have lad suice arrivera gt Carerled 12 months ago - also quite a fot & sweet potatoes. It was a tcroughly Good Poup. sugar came int camp tonight After an interoal of twe whree weeks. work for our equad today from 1345- 1620. caol day with a strong breaye, Shaved today again & took my moustatle of -the first time sunce 1915. Very painful as resh is stel there. Exactly twelve months since I rached lrent It seems more like 12 years than twelve months wok for the squad today as usual. Dnight we had an encellent soup will forg + guita lot of bearts in it Hot unpleasent day today. I have developed

[*1943*]

[*Dec 4 (Contd.)*] were we were told orders must be obeyed

& we must do the best we could.

[*Dec 5.*] Sunday, usual Church Services. Fine clear

sunny day.

[*Dec 6*.] New Camp Comdt took over today & inspected

us all. He wears the allied war ribbon.

He was formerly Comdt. at the copper mine

camp. No work today. Fine bright morning

but overcast & cold in the afternoon

[*7.*] Work today 1320 - 1630. Cold bleak day.

Through some mistake no work rice was

issued to us for today's work. Air Commodore

Silly died at about 2230 hrs tonight of

an internal complaint - believed to be

cancer. He was a grand chap - one

of those men the more one met, the

more one liked.

[*8.*] Imperial Rescript Day. No work for anyone. This

year they did not read out the rescript to us, as

previously or have any sort of ceremony. Had a 

long yarn to Sid. Downer last night about

Adelaide news but he did not know much

more than I did.

[*9.*] No work today. Bright day but cold night.

[*10.*] Work X 14  1320 - 1630.      “        “             “

Afcs for Nov. out today. I have been debited

with 43 yen 54 sen for the glasses supplied

to me by the local optician.

[*11.*] Work No work for our squad today owing to its

being Saturday. Beautiful sunny warm day

with a bit of a "nip" in the air. Inspection

of pillows & pillow slips this morning. 'Pollup"

in my nose is getting big again (after shrinking

a bit) & is causing me considerable incon-
venience.

[12.*] Sunday. Usual church services. Managed to

get a lot of washing done today. Camp tailor 

has at last been permitted to do a limited

amount of work of other P.O.Ws. All he can do

is repairs - no alterations etc. Vigilant guard

tonight 2100 - 2300. (1st)

[*13.*] Work 0845 - 1115. Dull overcast afternoon.

[*14.*] Steady rain all day & so no work. A bag

of boiled sweets & a bun was issued to each

P.O.W. today & also 15 packets of cigarettes per

man. 

[15*] Dull showery day. No work. Arrangements for Xmas

were worked out more fully & our requests dis-
cussed with the authorities. No decisions given.

[*16.*] Work 0845 - 1130. Beautiful sunny day. Earthquake

shock, preceded by very loud explosion at 1600 hrs

[*17.*] Glorious bright day. no work for our Squad. Permission

given to send a Christmas Card to the Senior officers

who were in camp with us at Tamasata so one

was hurriedly designed & handed to the authorities

to send.

 

[*1943*]

[*Dec 18.*] One week to Christmas. I wonder what the family

are doing at home. I do hope the boys manage to

get home on Christmas Day. It is going to be

very lonely here without any word of any of

them. Have an attack of diarrhoea which has

been getting worse for the last three days. Stayed

off work this morning & saw the Dr. He orders

a day's complete starve & then eating rice

dry & not mixed in my soup & eating it very

much more slowly.

[*19.*] Sunday. Usual services. Diarrhoea very bad & so today

I was put on the "special" rice list - that is specially

prepared very soft. glorious bright day. Climate at

this time of year is g really wonderful. Informed today

that a special inspection of our quarters etc will

take place on Tuesday & a special parade on

Friday 24th when the Comdt. will address us.

[*20*] Beautiful sunny day. Still off color. No work for our

squad. Orders issued for an inspection tomorrow & we

spent the day preparing our rooms for same. An

innovation tonight in the form of fried vegetables

in lieu of soup.

[*21.*] Inspection today by Camp Comdt & his Staff. We spent

the morning tidying up rooms etc & inspection

was held in the afternoon, no comment was

passed on our room so I presume it passed

muster. Several officers were called upon to

hand over their diaries, papers etc for

inspection.

[*22.*] Camp Comdt. reports that generally speaking

the inspection was satisfactory but he

has pointed out a number of minor

matters which require rectification. The 

officers whose papers were taken for inspection

will get them back (except for exceptional

papers). Today out at work one of the nipponese

N.C.O.s noticed that two officers were not doing

carrying as big loads of wood (the work was

removing some timber which had been cleared off

a hillside) as he considered they should be

carrying. As a result when they came into back to

camp they were ordered to stand at attention

for three hours. They were not asked for any

explanation or told to put their side of the case

or anything they had to say. A big load of sugar,

some buns & about 40 - 50 ducks for Xmas

came in today. Vigilant guard tonight (1st) 0330 - 0500.

[*23.*] Weighed today - 50.4 - a loss of 2 kilos. Jam, tomato

ketchup, powder, fish-flakes, Wakamato available today in

canteen. One bun each was issued last evening.

[*24.*] No work for our squad today but other squads

were out. at 1330 there was a general parade

when the Camp Comdt. addressed us & conveyed

Xmas greetings. He also called out in front

& gave presents to those P.O.Ws in the camp

who have co-operated particularly with the

nipponese in the past. He then announced

the "special duties" for next year. There are

very few changes - the chief one being Gen

Keith Simmonds instead of Gen Key in No 2 squad.

 

[*1943*]

[*Dec 24*]

[*cont*] This evening roll call was put off until 2100

hrs & lights out until 2200hrs. After supper

a party of officers came around & sang

Xmas carols in all the huts. They were very

good. My diarrhoea has practically cleared up

but now I have developed an ulcer on the

lower jaw & have great difficulty in chewing

anything. I hope it has cleared up by

tomorrow as we are to have pork & ducks.

Feel terribly depressed & despondent tonight

at the lack of news of the family. I miss them

terribly at all times but now at Xmas it 

is almost overpowering.

[*Dec 25.*] Christmas Day - the third I have spent away 

from the family & the second as P.O.W. It

has been a very lonely, desolate day & I have

been longing for Rose & the children. We had

communion service at 0900 - over 100

communicants. Then a special service at 0945

at which I read one of the lessons. Then we

had the midday meal - fried vegetables & pork

at 1230 in the Jim Thyer’s room, all the

Australians together. In the afternoon there

were athletic sports & a concert at both of

which the camp comdt & his staff were

present. Then the evening meal at 1800

(duck soup & rice) which Gen Callaghan & I

had again in Jim Thyer’s room with him,

Kent Hughes, Pigden & Col White. Roll call

was at 2100 & lights out at 2200. Altogether

it is evident that the nipponese did all

in their power to make it as good a day

for us as they could. I got a Xmas card

from Sid Downer & Fraser & Hannan & this

morning was spent in receiving & paying calls

to convey Xmas greetings.

[*26.*] Sunday. Usual services. Uneventful day but

looks as if rain is gradually working up.

[*27. *]Work today from 0845 - 1120. Fine day with

cool breeze. Last PX issue for the month.

Am back onto ordinary rice but find my

teeth are very sore.

[*28.*] Work today 0845 - 1120. One bun per person

issued tonight as well as other PX stores. Vaccinated

this afternoon.

[*29.*] No work for our squad today. Fruit issue today

was an orange each. They were very sweet

but not very juicy. They were very welcome.

[*30.*] Again no work for our squad. Rain commenced

about 0930 & was fairly heavy for some time.

Tomorrow there is to be an inspection by the Camp

comdt & so this afternoon we were working

around the hut tidying up. Yesterday we were

each allowed to write a letter home up to

200 words.

[*31. *]The last of 1943! Occasions like this make

one very unhappy at being separated from

the family for so long. All day long I have

ached for news of Rose & the boys & girls. I

[*1943*]

[*1943*]

[*Dec 31*]

[*(contd)*] do hope that next year sees all this trouble over

& the family united & happy again. It has

rained steadily all day. This evening Gen

Callaghan gave a dinner party to five of

us, Comdr Collinson, Capt Campbell, Brig

Peppers, Brig Moir & myself. He produced two

tins of bully beef & some sweet corn. It

was a wonderful dinner.

[*1944 .*]

[*Jany 1st*] New Year’s Day. This morning for breakfast we had

Nipponese Ceremonial rice cakes, but they were

badly cooked by our cooks & were not at all

nice. A dull miserable day with only a few

minutes sunshine. This afternoon there was an

air raid practice which lasted about an hour

[*2*]. Sunday. Usual church services. Ceremonial

rice in the soup again this morning but

no ordinary rice.

[*3. *]Another holiday today but we are back to

ordinary rice. A dull day very overcast

& cold.

[*4.*] Work today for our squad from 1330 - 1630. Quite

pleasant work straightening out the bed of the

creek which runs just outside the camp

pallaisade. Unpleasant incident occurred last

night. The light globe in use by the vigilant

guard blew out during the night. I got up

some time after midnight & found the officer

on duty — a British Brig from no 2 squadron sitting

in darkness. He asked me if he could borrow

my light globe & I readily agreed, took it out &

gave it to him. I have been having a lot of

trouble with my eyes & had procured this globe,

an especially bright one, so that I could read

in my room in the evening. In the morning at

Reveille I found that my globe was gone & a

very bad poor candle-power light put in

place of it. It was evident that one of the

British Brigs. during the night had stolen

my globe during his tour of duty & this morning

refuses to admit it. I have located my globe -

or one exactly like it - in Air Comdr. Staton's

room & he refuses to give me any satisfaction

as to whether it is mine or not. All the other officers

who were on guard during the night have

assured me that they know nothing at all about

the change of globe - & of course I unreservedly accept

their assurance. I have finally reported the whole

matter to Major Gen Keith Simmons (No 2 Squad Leader)

& left the whole matter in his hands.

Y Another incident has happened today which

shows how extraordinarily difficult some

Englishmen are to get on with. Col. Kent Hughes is

one of the two librarians. The Camp Authorities

have reduced the no. of librarians to two & as the

library is open every day (except Sundays &

holidays) from 9.15 - 11.30 & from 1500 -1700 it

means that these two are doing at least twice

as much work as anyone else in camp as

every book has to be checked in & out in the

library records (& some 300 books a day change

hands) as well as priority lists etc kept. The

two librarians, with, one would imagine, the full

approval of everyone in camp, were put by

 

[*1944*]

[*Jany 4 (Contd)*] the nipponese on ^ extra working rice every day (except Sundays

& holidays).  Kent Hughes is in a squad consisting of six 

Australians & all the rest English.  The English in the 

squad immediately demanded that Kent Hughes put

the whole of his extra rice into the common squad

rice bucket for division amongst the whole squad

& when he refused went on strike & refused to

serve any rice or do any other squad duties, thus

placing Col. Thyer (Aust.) in a "spot".  I wanted Kent

Hughes to fight the matter out but he felt, -

which of course is what the English officers were

relying on him doing - that it would be undignified

& unwise to let the matter get to to the ears of the Japs

& thus  givethem capital for allegations of “internal

strife", and so got over the matter by resigning
as librarian.  The squad in which the other librarian 

Col Ward is, of course never raised any question 
whatever about him getting his extra rice & 
in fact one American squad hearing of the trouble 
actually came along & offered to draw Kent Hughes 
extra rice & bring it over to him!

[*Jany 5th*] No work today as it was a Nipponese holiday.

No satisfaction about my globe as Gen Simmons

cannot get to the bottom of it. It is very embarrass-
ing as Brig. Lucas - and in fact most of the members of
No 2 squad - feels very badly about it although 

I have endeavoured to explain that I do not at

all blame him. Today Gen. Simmons gave came

along with a good strong globe (quite different to

mine) & explained that although he could not

so far locate mine he wanted me to take this

one to go on with. I felt very bad about it

& asked him not to leave it in my room but

he insisted on it. The whole incident is very

disturbing & embarrassing. Cold wind today

& only a very little sun. 

[*Jany 6th*] Bitterly cold day. No sun until afternoon. Then

about 1700 hrs wind freshened & the cold became

intense. Work from 1330 - 1630 “debugging” the

cabbage plants. A little of the produce of the

garden is being picked & is, I understand, being

divided between our kitchen & the Nipponese

kitchen.

[*7th*] The last day or two my face has been getting
very sore & this morning it was extremely painful

to shave. Accordingly I went across & got Col

Derham to have a look at it. He says I have got

a dermatitis & has covered my face completely

with a sticky white ointment & forbidden me

to shave until further notice. We were due

for work today but an air raid alert was

sounded about 12:30 & work was cancelled

for the afternoon. Not Very cold night last

night & cold again this morning but about

midday the breeze died down & the afternoon

was a good lot was warmer. Good soup

tonight with a lot of fish - tuna - in it & quite

a lot of cauliflower.

[*8.*] Bright sunny day but cold wind. No work for

our Squad today but four squads were out 

 

[*1944

Jany 8

contd *] working this afternoon, which is the first time there

has been any work on a Saturday afternoon since

I first reached Karenko. Had an extraordinarily

vivid dream of home last night. I dreamt that I

had arrived back home & they family were all

there except Bob -who, they told me was in America

studying his dentistry. They were all very

distinct in my dream even down to the clothes

they had on. Rose was wearing a white silk

dress & it had a huge stain in the side of it.

She explained that the wireless set had fallen

over just as I came into the door & knocked

her over & she hadn’t had time to change her

dress! Terrible disappointment yesterday. It was

announced in the papers recently that an exchange

ship had come in about two months ago & we

have all been anxiously waiting for letters. Yesterday

word went around that letters had arrived

& in the evening they were given out - but not

a single letter from Australia! They were

all from India, Africa, Ceylon, Canada & America.

There were very few of them even then - not

more than fifty. I have felt quite hopeless

about letters since they were given out. I

feel that the authorities in Australia must

have fallen down horribly on their jobs, as

we are the only people in the camp now who

have not had one solitary word of any

sort ever since being taken prisoner.

[*9.*] Sunday. Usual church services. A beautiful

bright morning but about midday a fairly

heavy wind blew up & it became a bit

cold.

[*10.*] Warmer day today. I did not go out to work

owing to the rash on my face which I had to keep

covered with ointment.

[*11.*] Rash still troublesome. Food has been very poor

lately. Banana season is finished & no other

fruit has been substituted.

[*12. *]Last night there occurred what sounded like a real

air-raid. The first warning was a terrific explosion - 

or series of explosions which shook the whole hut! Shortl

Instantly all lights were extinguished at the main &

guards doubled out & surrounded all huts. Soon

after another explosion - it sounded like another stick

of bombs - occurred. Later the Nipponese explained that

it was some field firing exercises.

[*13.*] Beautiful sunny day. Cigarettes arrived today & were

issued - 25 packets per Office of Shira Sagas. The price

has gone up to 60 sen per packet, owing to increased

taxation. No work for our squad today. Rash is

still very troublesome & today a new treatment was

started. Yesterday the first of the letters from

Australia arrived. Trott got one from his wife in

Adelaide & Jim Thyer got one. Trott’s was dated

Aug. The arrival of these & still none for me

is almost worse than it was before I I have

been utterly despondent yesterday & today.

[*14. *]No work this morning as a visitor came from the

Imperial Tokyo University. He examined the eyes

all the Dutch, Australian & Americans. This afternoon

worked from 1400 - 1615. An innovation tonight

for supper was the small dried fish which are

usually in our soup, fried separately in oil.

 

[*1944

Jany 15*] Work today 0845 - 1130 but I was unable to go out

because of the rash on my face. Hot bath this

afternoon. Water was really hot & it was very

pleasant. Meals good today.

[*16.*] Sunday. usual Church Services. Very persistent

rumors of a move for someone out of the camp

in the near future, but nobody seems to know

anything definite about it.

[*17. *]Rash on my face still very troublesome. I haven’t

been able to shave for eight days now & as in

addition to being unshaven my whole face is

painted with a dirty looking yellow disinfectant

liquid, my looks defy description. Banana

issue started again yesterday & today - the first

since the Christmas Season.

[*18.*] Work for our squad today but my face is

still very sore & as I have greasy ointment

on it again I did not go out. Another

banana issue today. It appears that the

question of vegetables from the farm is a bit

complex, we have all been expecting to get

them when ripe as extra to our ordinary

ration, but the acting Camp Comdt. has told

someone that we will not be permitted to

have them as extras as there is a fixed basic

ration for us & all that we get off our

farm will be in lieu of bought vegetables.

[*19.*] Face was a little better today so I went out

to work. I am afraid it hasn’t done me any

good as tonight my face is very “itchy”. Another

hot bath today for everyone.

[*20.*] Beautiful clear sunny day today. Reports about

that one of the J’s. has said that there is very

bad news for the Js. I pay no attention whatever to

these reports & rumors & am recording this only so

that when we get the papers for this period I

can show the falsity of the report.

[*21. *]Terrible day today. A large number of letters were

delivered including a lot from Aust. - Thyer got
3 or 4 & Kent Hughes 3 or 4 - but not a word for me.

I feel terribly miserable & anxious. Am getting

another cold & have been coughing pretty

steadily. Dull cloudy day with cold wind.

[*22.*] Still feeling very miserable about having no

letters. Nearly everyone in camp has got

some - in some cases 12-15. Yesterday, today

& tomorrow all Squads are working all day

mostly about the camp in preparation for an

inspection next week.

[*23.*] Sunday. Owing to an expected inspection early next

week all squads were out working all morning

cleaning up the camp & so church had to be put

off. Cold still pretty heavy. Vigilant guard tonight

0030 - 0200.

[*24*]. New order about boots & shoes today. All boots

& shoes except one pair have been collected &

locked away. A new bootroom has been 

established outside the camp P.O.W. camp

perimeter & in part of the Nipponese quarters &

our one pair have to be in there from 1900 

hrs until after morning roll call. General

clean up of barracks today & inspection by

Camp Comdt. this afternoon.

 

[*1944

Jany 25.*] Inspection by Col. from Taiwan H.Q. who is in

charge of PsO.W. at 10.30 this morning. The camp

was in excellent order after all the work we

had put in. This afternoon he got together a 

number of the Junior officers and discussed various

matters with them. He promised another issue of

soap very soon. Also Red Cross stores. As far

as mail was concerned he said there were 2000

letters for the American group waiting to be

censored but could promise nothing about

Australian letters. He said they were doing

their best to improve the food question but

we must remember that their food was

rationed, the same as in our countries.

Generally speaking the officers present were

very pleased at his sympathetic attitude.

[*26.*] Work today as usual. A beautiful clear day

with a nice cool breeze. I shaved today for the

first time since 7th inst. My beard had

grown quite regularly & luxuriously and I was

almost sorry to part with it. The shaving was

very painful as the rash is still bad on my

face. I had to shave so that the Dr’s could get

at the rash with ointments etc. Unfortunately

it has spread to my head & so I also had to

have all my hair clipped off as close as

ap possible. Everyone in camp has been

ordered to write a one page essay on “The

bloodiest engagement which you have had

with the Japanese forces.”

[*27.*] Holiday today for everyone. Warm sunny day.

We are now getting sweet potatoes from the

farm & today had our second lot. They

make a very welcome addition to the

food. Hot bath for everyone today.

[*28. *]Weighed today 50.8 - a gain of .4 of a kilo. Beautiful

sunny day. Rumors still very frequent about a 

move in the near future.

[*29.*] Saturday. Our squad worked this morning. Rash is

still pretty bad but is definitely improving.

[*30. *]Sunday. Usual Church Services. Beautiful clear

day with a steady cool breeze. Tonight’s

soup had 18 rabbits in it - the first produce of

the rabbits we have had since arriving at

Karenko 12 months ago - also quite a lot of

sweet potatoes. It was a thoroughly good soup.

Sugar came into camp tonight after an interval

of two or three weeks.

[*31.*] Work for our Squad today from 1345 - 1630. Cool

day with a strong breeze. Shaved today

again & took my moustache off - the first time

since 1915; very painful as rash is still there.

[*Feby 1s*]t Exactly twelve months since I reached Karenko.

It seems more like 12 years than twelve months!

Work for the squad today as usual. Tonight

we had an excellent soup with pork and quite a

lot of beans in it.

[*2.*] Hot unpleasant day today. I have developed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Michael BrockMichael Brock
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