Diary of Arthur Seaforth Blackburn, April 1942 - November 1944, Part 20 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

1944 Fely2 could another attack of dearrocke but so for it is anle slight. However I have completely lost hy appette & can bardly eat even my soup. As from tomile we have been ordered to full blackout curtains across our windows as from sundayn. Og not know if it is a mere practice or ginuine but naturally hope it is te catter. yesterday con officer who was working out on be frm digging peannts was caught with a humper in his packet. The camp coudd but him up as a Gunishment, We have now been ordered to estaolish squad gardenp inside the camp perimeter, the iea being that all available space shall be uner either flowers or vegetables. Hot day. stomadhe disorder a little letter but unaole to eat m much. shavep again tody & again not quite so painful as previously. Vigilant guard tonigat 9l night). Bregat sumn day but much cooter than yesteday food is beconing a positive nightmere to me, my stowach is beconting queasy with the ricg & it wbe very little now to nauglate me. There is bondier nothing else to eat + I have gust not t male myself lat it to keep alive. good oup tonigat with a lot of fish freer tuna-in it. Very wet day, Rain started aout some time fir the night stopped at Povelle but started again aboue nine o Ceacl in the morning & seft gading all day. Very severe carthquale shock to nigh about the severest we have yet ead. Yery wes + cold day last night was betterly cold + today it has been just as bad yeus maning io areabfast we had send new kind of messo in te soup which nearly everiione found pacticulg uneatable it is reported that it will continue for as longtine + if so I do not know bow we will get on for brealfast! e bath today vsilal Sunday services encert that Commtnion bad to be put of because of the rain Had a torrible disappointment today. Last night I had a very vivid dream that it lest I had got letters from home & then this afternoon it was announced that another big batth of letter were availare for delivery - but not a single One for me. One officer got 42 letters & glite a number of afficas & wer got soor maxe. It malies me dredfully despondent not hearing a single word from te hamill. Horribly despondent all day today after Cotray letter debade. Cool, pleasant day my dyes have been troubling me again later but I think it is due to reading too much very small frint in come of the liberang sooes. another fine caol day. nothing of inpotance. Everyare is getting terridly bered writy this camp & its lack of vews. We advent even bast papers for a lang time. another beautiful day with a strong cool breae. nothing of infortance Holiday today for the anniverary of the Jaganese Expires no cempulson male out it was amouced that wat could be found for same 60 oad officers in maning & agternoon far war than this no plinteered waice rathers upeto the compants about officers bai made to work. Porle in the coup fought worts today all day announced but waly will be all day today & tmerrow (Sunday &co on from day to day until 185 when we will be inspected. nday. Holy comminsion head to be put off this rning because every squad was out ivoling. some more letters were distributed today but again there were none for me It is impossible to describe the utter block despenden which I feel when other fellows are getting letters came ofthen lots of letter– and I dont get a wend of any port. Iis abscta bellish + I find it very difficult) to keep my courage up Vigilant Guard towht on Fine claur day. wrsed with the equad on the parm tis afternoon for the first time 7o gany. fn taar nad wave tolay witle today from 1330 -1630 sorting out beanuts from the farme entracting the godd onlo = por sd to reveant!. Fine clear day will a cold wid deviloping in the afternoon Fine clear dy works from 1330 -1620 Cigprettes came nite camptalad but only the naste srt which we call parts deligat. The report is that this i the only gort we gre going to get in the fulare, am stild feling desporataly destandent & lonely. It is alleged that h letter which e th ter ay s na distributed. If that is so god knows ween we will get anynove & I fedl quite desperate abou it all. narle the moning claining up around the liits nead be tomorrow inspection. This afternoons we were and by to practice air raid & fo wared ner no pactice tol place. am diill. & feeling apallingly landy lately - a losehness which seems to be growing on me more & more. Here in this camp living and lip that we to one cannot help reflecting quite a let on ones ao, past & wesent. The more I teinly over it in more diffiriet I find it to there of anyone at all ally m life whom I can class as arreat Sintinato friend, nceyt rose. I supose durin The last ten years of so base the war m two closest men friends were malcalm & Bill Stewart. I can't really feel that Ieber got very close to malcolnt much as I like him, The relations between beg many always seemat to be in the way sometion. I suppose the s nearest I had to my ideal of a man friend was Bill stewart but somehow we didnt se very much of each other. Literall the only person with whom I really feet &9 c call over anything at all was Rox1- and I realise now what an utter fool & was in not talking over so many things with her because I feet they would worry ber or because sha 1944 tely 10t
1944 Jl 17 cont 20 21 wouldn't be interested, I thought. I realise now that I could have talked over any subject on early with her - and talked them over much more freely thn with anyone else I have ever known. I hope I havent wohenfeep to what a pol I have been too late. I cannot hep wondering now I will re-axt to much more of this eye, and what effect it will have on me in the fature. I feel that I am getting all tied upnentally in this inveronent Tere is not a soul in the camp with whom I cannot redly have a beart to heart tall, and one resuld I feel is that I am getting were & nove notia Col from Lauvan staf came to camp today but spent whole time inspecting hip hippene troops + putting them through verious srcise drills etc. Fine clearday with strong cool breaze. Holiday today after the inspction. Hin clear day a little warmer than yesterday. An feel quite so dejressed today but still wetty miserable sunday usual chrch services Fin carty but cold. Kitterly cold east night Park in the soup tonight, I got one piece about the suze of my thind naie. However there was enough to Elighnty favour all the soup. have develored a small boil under mgine. wrt today 0845 -1130. Twe bear da Qiite warn at widday but cold win in morning & evening! Been eash issued tolay Wate today o845- 430. Dull ged maning out clear aright apterroon, cold breaze. Feel despotd despondent & encl, today mave blndreds of letters were aistrabuted most officers Lefting to 2 but not a wid fo me. hs Australians go any out of thes wail. I wish our gavt could get to know it & refuse to deliver and maie whatever to any candnese in australiad unt some recipocal arrangements were pnad We all know that there are hundredga litters for us but it looes as though the Japanese worl tale the trouble to cort tamy of ours because we are Austalians. In the meantie it makes we feel just hopeless & utterly miserable not to know how any oothe family are. I have got to the stage of iagining every sore of bonra as aspening to them all. news in Col. Searles letter that he has been ferwarded the military William Cross by Dutch gorft - te highest award in the power of the Dutch to confer Riving has it that the award has been mmade also to gen sitwell, I am terrioly pleased that sprle hap got it. He is a grand. chap. However to be hanest Iam ashamed to confers that I am barioly palous about it. It seems so unfair in a way. Searly is a staffofficer whose jou compelled liing to rempin at Bandeang H. A during all ter figliting. Titwell also had to sta in andeding The onte Qmeri troofs in sava were under my command all the time of the fighting & althoug they did very good work they were artillery + did their witle from the rear! In fact not one sullet ever same near eraugh to them to bit any ofteem. Littsell 1944 Although nominally my Commander, in fact had nothin Feby 23 whatever to do with the fighting at sewilliang. He lept conld it entirely to me & andd not even know of my plans The touth is that my Bnagae of Australian troops Did practicall te and sucful fighting that was done agst the gaps& quit certainly were the July troops who successfully fousat or engaged the gars. The only English troops who did any sighting put up a poor show & lost an importants aenanme which they were supposed to be guarding without much redistance. my Australion troops by their fight at Tewillian enabled the whole of the Duch troop in Batavia to retir wilhdraw untouched from the Japanese troops who were encercling them + in doms this my chapp suppered over soo casuaghes out of 1400 figting troon engaged - and yet seatle o sittele fot this deceration the conditions of which the Dutch tell me are that it is an pibar for conspicuous bravery in the face of the enemy - and my troop get absolutely nothing I suppose it is petty of me to feel buse over (o all and perhaps it is only because I am felin so damnably lovelys defressed at present but I must confers that it does burt + I feel that my Australian troops have been damnably seighted. Beautiful swing bright day today. Wap 0845 1130. ineigled today -55 Bilds a lort of 18 Kilos Fely24 several pavcels have arrived for Awentan officer, the first to arrive since we have been grudners. a very cold sleals day wal a little fram. Vigilant Guard tonigat 9-11. Juc. 11-13.20 work 0838-1130 Work today 0830 -1130. Ternialy cold & cuild not even get warm whilst wahing. Face trouble has flaved up again & thad to go to the Dr about it again today, with the result that my face has again ofen papited all aver with sintment, a oeen feach was issued tonight. announcement that no nre Dx stree well be sold this month out only balanse of cigarettes. A few more letters arrived for sawe of the Outch officers from Java, I am feeling almost hopeless about letters now. I feel that I would give absolutely anything I fossers which isnt much- to know that suth cuset wh Eerho Sunday usual church service, glrious sfenny day. Order out today that we must each preturno te nixfonise our blanket cover & oue slt cannot iagine why unless there is a grave shortage of cotion waterials. tak o the soun today from one of our own tys the totae amount received in us waked out at a shae over 10y per person Clear bright day. Norts from 51330 -1640. At
1944 tly Midday we had a wonderful tomate Coup. There cord was no regetable in it encert tomate g e was thisl + hot. It was be first time cince leaving Batavig that I have tasted a soup a sat to which I am accustamed. The fmatoes all came off the farm. Rule came out today from the nixpanese that all meetings of Poup lectures to were strictly prohibited upou of wntten quest stating the purpose, ecope etc ofte gattering were first submiteed to them & appaved fiy them a date which I feel reasonably confident will be Fely 2 unigue in my rpeniaice as a Po.W. I fund imagine myseof still beng a prisoner int four years time. This monning there was a liga dnigle Of rain so wyk wds put off our cque worred this afternain from 1330 - 1630. Tonight ue were issued with one bis rye tomate each out of the garden in the farm. It wwas wonder- ful to taste fresh tomaro again, Disterd of the usual rather weak soup we had fried vegetables tonight. Unfortunately ist is andy rarely, I understand, that there is frough fil to fro them. announced today ta we can send a letter of 300 words- El cufest we have yet beek able to send. It is pety dincult to find enough to say to occury soy words when I have had no wast since Jany 19444 all mention of food, conditions of the camp names of other PO. Ws etc is protflited. mrs clear fine day. Wa this at ernoon 1330 -1830 digging up sweet ptatols. They are t be cut upt dried in the sun so as to presnn them give warm day. wal from 1330 -430. Hed machs a dreadful dram last night, Rose was calling to me for help & for come reson. couldnot go to ber. Her cries were becoming more + more desperate + I finally wolse up in a sweat of terror. The dream who so vivid that I could not get to skep again I have been terribly worried ever spice. sugar was issued today after a lng interoal Fine warm day. This afternoon in lieu offinals we mch 3d were taken up to the recreation Park & wrde to pose for a series of maving pistures for the Dapanrd this morning our squad was turned out o fut to worls sweeping up the camps picking up bits of paper etc for the maving picture peopler This Afternoon a shew was staged abthe fanteen. a large notice was made reading Aiggars, cpnotes syncps ot et (setting out different item In sale tody. Thes was being up outsie the Pxroom & teen American officers were made to foine up to the room & go through a perprmafice of saying they would like this or that & proending to day it. All this was photagnaphed & the conversation recorded. In fact there bavept 1944 mach4 been sufficient cigars etc to sell ever sing we came here. Hhe few that are available are always rattored cane pro rote amongst the boogo PO. W. Even Hirups etc are issued to squado & bthem issued o to office or men poo nte. In any cas today nobody in the camp lad any woney The imprasion given by the notice for sale today is quite wisleading at sales do nt take place at the room of any of thee items to individial officers. In mot addition they had to pretend to sales of bread which never taken place through the Px. Sunday usual service. The rdinang monning service mrchs was photograrsed by the movie people milk from the cows is now available at the hospital & to much appreciated sere are six cowo-three if mil three not yet in wilh out exected coo. vigilent expenstly tougat + an excelde . Swet plotses & bonight 8200 - 0330. hen lo son gn ot ouy at nupely work this mening from 0845-1000. We finished the marlb sob we were In at that bour & so were dismpsed a bn each issued today & also banangs again. fover in the coup tonight. work this monning 0845 - 1130. Ver overead gld day but no actual rain. Annound tongat that there will be a trastise by the nysonece of the depence of the camp tongat. At some baup between 0420-0630 tomorrow werning to aldam will be sounded& we must all be an pande fully clothed within 3 minutes. ha must abviusly result in us gaing to bedfully clothed as it is apparently all to be plove in darliver Iurn ou earl this morning came at 0500 lvo & we stoal out on jarade until 8520, Dull foed da with a lytle rain in the moning. We turnes out to work as usual at 0845 but at 1000 kip were sent in because of rain. Then ot 1030 hrs we were sent out again. In the afterpoon rain set in sso all work was cancelledy coe. Serham today advised me to give up shaving to grow a beard for the weant. my case flang up again every time I shave. Ioniget we have a seait by hife tomate each for supper. Daterly cold night with sleady rain stealy rainall day + sittorg roed. No wak Tris evening our squad gt alboule of milk between two & will get another boule between two tomorrawworning. It is the first with I have had enice becoming a P.0.wo/it was absolutel glovians. Fie cld day works this maring 0845 -1140. This asternoon the cloudo cleared of the mountains east of us & disclosed that way were heavily snow clad. The wind was blowing straight of them so it made it setterly cold in the deping Last night I had another of those teriofe dreaps where to family are in terrible need of me & it was Robl He was can do nothing. This ten don't know what-H in some awjues trouble. all the family were appealing to me to de something for him but I canednt ap anything at all. It was terriole. I am getting really wornied about these frequent abeants in which te pamily need me so bakly & in which I am always able to do nothinng I It was a bitterly cold night last night. I never got properly warmsouce. Thls evening we
1944 ach 11 were issued with a bun each work today O845 - 1130 shelling peannts suney usull service. Encellent mail tonight. Duch soup 160 of our ducks were billed. the nifporese toole only 5 0r 6 for their share) + rice fried with tomato & two sweet potatoes each This morning a representative from Prisoners of Yar Information Durean Toligo inspected tho kamps had an intermen with certain officers celfeted by the nippanese camp authorities _ they were all Amonions encept for Britial officer. Not mugh resulted from the intervow as he enplained that be bad only just recently been alaches to Durean gead not yet become acquainted with all details, but he said be would do whatery be could & cear up such paints as appared to warrant attention, such as now arrival of wall Works today 1336- 1630 Beautiful sunny day. Worl 1330 -1630/ Lange number of troops and now occupying the barracks alangside our camp. It is believed to be an N.C.O. School Bright sunny day but a little close Earth. qualse shock this afternoon. Vigilar guard tonight 0330 -0500 (st Rumerd of mare maiel in. I really dent know what I sfall do if I dont get any out of this paie cear day but a bit sulton. fight vaw las night. Wale tday 1330-1028. We have dug and imense number of sweet potatols lapl but a casks. There are narely enow, & staplel away my are nearly all beng drien in the sout to make much real difperence to it a sun started at about 1530 Ruors of avert 5 leter from Qustralia in we gresent batch & mail which has not get been delivered to us, in contrast to we Advnicans mail of any 1500 letters which was all delivered the very Cametday as tt arrived in the camp. heals much pover today Inspection today by C.O. PoW camps &auvan. arrived soon after 0000 hos & dfected the farm I farm stock itt we were all turned put to work at 0830 & talen out to the fanmy tere nisson senttry in clarge of our graup (1 & o sads told us thrangh col rbout that be wwants us to wgh vey hard at the sof we were werhing and ten we would be take in at 1000 hrs when the CO. bad seentbe with jol at about 10915 frs The C.O. came out tole every hand & finsted We were all warky the job we were on about 0945 Rethongd it was a prefty by sob. at 1000 liks the sentry blandl took his on to another sob merely laughed at us wher col. Woods reminded him of what be had formisd. This is te sand time in a week that this has happened. It sans to shew a ffculias standard of benar sunday usual services, Bananas issed again faday & porle in the soup tonight from one of our Rigo which was leilled yesterday nors today 8845-11130. Clear warm day. Qiste ventful day today. no work for any sguads. This worning for breakfast an enverement was reed + we were issuel wal Rice grel. It would have been quite nice but was rattr badly bunnt. Worle today o845 - 1130. Light rain in the afternoon + rather a close suetry night. newshapps issul again today after a long Interval. They are up to Fely 3nd Work o8665 -1130. Wavinday but avercast late in the evening. Work today o8605 -1130. uneventful day Esighe today. 51 Celos-an increase of hild. Wrh today O845 - 1130 Banana issue toddy Sundy usual services. Very heavy pain this asterroon which commenced with a few minites of tnific wnd whica Almost blew te place away. Duck soupe tonight one ben each. gent guard towgat $0030-0200 Another annwersary away from Rose! close sultry day. Work from 1330 -16B9. nifforer aushorities ststed us on a new mats cchle today b which we only get two sposeols oft buy each during our work bourk. cot of letters were decivered to donto British officers, but none to any Auswalfous. We can only believe that the nhart are for some reason deaberarety suppressing the Austration letters. wat today at 1330 Out a 1530b rain started & all ware had to aid Banana issue again today but inbealy the last two days have been very bad. will issue came to our squad again todday work again interrupted at 1530 by) rain at lase I have got a letter from Rose dated 30 sext 4I with good news of all the family. Actraugh letter is so old it is like a breatte from Heavan to see der handwriting again + to get her messages. There is supposed to be a lot more maie in & not yet sorted so I am full of hape for more letters in the near future wak again interrapted at 1530 by rain. Wish fish in the soup toniget - just enough to give it a flavouring. no wol today because of rain this afternoon authorities announced a new worle timetool ingreasing the periods of work. In future worning wah will be 0815 -1120 afternoon 1315-1630. At erealsfast never comes from the Aiteon ungil 720 Fmidday meal beore 1100n has to served out ofa common buclet & ten each Bo.W has to wash his own dishes it docent give much time, farticularly in the mgrning 1044 Morh 19
1944 April 1s no work for our squad today but ot be savad out new restriction issued today by order i smoleing duving works periods is pobiding we may oner sindee during by t brspels & the only when sitting down with an ashtray. veriously we that snored pipes used to finish them off particularly on some jobs) like spelling reanit more rain late in the afcernoon April 2 sunday usual services Fine day put overcast. Vale in the coup tought & about 28 hilos. no works tody. Very heavy rain last night + all Apil 3 tada Last might 15 oftle laying dixles died from same masterious suse. There was no mark on their bodies at all but a pr sleeed that their brains were very congested. It is a great pity as they were doing wellg mst beging to lan. The Dengos have not been pytad ence the wet weather started the excuse being that the roads are too wet for the carts to getin Everyone oftlen is now overflawing & the stench in the cmp is dreadful. april 4 still no Heno carts so the culisted men were fut on today to clear them out as little fit It is a diegraceful condition. Well today from 0815-1130. Food is prett scarce -agkin te rain is blamed - & the souys have been lvery poor for two or three days now. he work for our squad today although quite apl3 a fine da Vigilant guard tougat 2300- O030 Sen CFise) Ayre6 Wak today 0830 -1130. Owing to our foolests at te early starting hour tha have resperted to in the worning & 1330 in the afternoon. Ealisted wen have been put on a nnew jof some distance out of comp building a dam to potect some land from ffoodins good Freday, service at 0930 from those ofches who wished grie to attend were given leave from wark this worning Very warm sulta day + terribly leot night I have geart neading too much again lately & last night my vight eye was very sore 7 I bad a lombble becobe of warte this marning from 0830 - 430 harveting te oat crop by hand. There is a project on foot to build a ceapel & Gentertainment woon out of vequitary contribution by P0. we at a cost of affran $2200. 20 for most peoble seem very enthusiastig. anthe manyle has bee 9th Cosier Sunday. Holy Communion at 0900) Fine day. Issue of one bag of sweets + one bun eagh tody & park in the coup tonigac. Rad nigt east night as I didn't get to Sleep until long after midnight. Very heavy showersf tain this morning caused canceltion ofall wale navorder out that all area around licts must be throught cleared up by officers between Peveille & wll wll. 1944 grie 10th, Another red letter today _ another letter from Rose, this one dated Aug 29 1942. I feel totrill bucked + plased with life although of curse the news of the family is all very old. with today 1336-1630. a cittle rabbit & Chiclinn coolsed with some leans for suffer tonight - 9 robbits & 3 wosters aminget over 500 doeant go very for but still it is accetable Warke today 1330 -1630. Fine warm day but overcast late in tx afternoon. wats 1oday 1330-1630 Each of our equa reseired one boildd egg today the froduc opou own pouetry. It is the first egg I have lasted since I left Java + was absoditly delicious newspapers in again todays Fime clear day & not too bot. Wrk today 1330 -1630. Fine clear day but ben overcast in the evening. Papers were kined yesterday up to 25 Fely. Ports in the 90 tonight usual church services. Fisilan Sunday 000630 (pn C130) give day guard of Have developed a large boil under my left arm pit again &so was unable to go outo we the clear day. Banps are all overflawing again but were favtiall cleared out late this Afternoon. Botle of milk pint) today Coil came to a head this morning & Col. ligden (acting in lien of Col Derham pince the latters admisstan to loshital as a patian) lanked it. Fairly fainful. Another illustration of the why mail is deadt with occurred tody. An american mail came in this worning & was distributed this agternoon custead of the invariable 3-4 weeks for which they wseep all Britisbers waiting for wail Boil still, discharging so no work, Loday four american offisens whe were wrliig at planting peanits were found to have some in their packets. They were immediately fined up in front oytheir equads & snacked it te face ln the sentry, sweet potatoe each for supper towight ail l not oie clear. Fie sumy bot day much better soun touight but nddy sand nothing but bambous still mave to go out to work, moe letters were delivered today, all to Britishers incliding a number to australiais - but none for me. It is tennible disaginting as many of the officers have bad 507608 I have only had two

[*1944*] 

[*Feby 2*] Another attack of diarroeha but so far it is only 

[*Contd*]  slight. However I have completely lost my appetite

& can hardly eat even my soup. As from tonight 

we have been ordered to full "blackout curtains"

across our windows as from sundown. Do

not know if it is a mere practice or genuine but

naturally hope it is the latter. Yesterday an 

officer who was working out on the farm 

digging peanuts was caught with a number

in his pocket. The Camp Comdt beat him

up as a punishment. We have now been 

ordered to establish squad gardens inside

the camp perimeter, the idea being that 

all available space shall be under either

flowers or vegetables.

[*3rd*] Hot day. Stomache disorder a little better but

 unable to eat mouch much. Shaved again

today & again not quite so painful as

previously. Vigilant guard tonight 9 - 11 ( Gen C last night).

[*4th*] Bright sunny day but much cooler than yesterday.

Food is becoming a positive nightmare to me. My

stomach is becoming "queasy" with the rice & it takes

very little now to nauseate me. There is however

nothing else to eat & I have just to make 

myself eat it to keep alive. good soup tonight 

with a lot of fish - fresh tuna - in it.

[*5.*] Very wet day. Rain started. about some time in 

the night & stopped at Revielle but started again 

about nine o clock in the morning & kept going

all day. Very severe earthquake shock tonight 

about the severest we have yet had.

[*6.*] Very wet & cold day. Last night was bitterly

cold & today it has been just as bad.  This

morning for breakfast we had some new

kind of "mesoo" in the soup which nearly

everyone found practically uneatable. It is

reported that it will continue for a long time

& if so I do not know how we will get

on for breakfast! Hot bath today, usual

Sunday services except that communion had

to be put off because of the rain.

[*7.*] Had a terrible disappointment today. Last night

I had a very vivid dream that at last I had

got letters from home & then this afternoon it

was announced that another big batch of letters

were available for delivery - but not a single

one for me. One officer got 42 letters & quite

a number of officers & men got 20 or more.

It makes me dreadfully despondent not

hearing a single word from the family.

[*8.*] Horribly despondent all day today after yesterday's

letter debacle. Cool, pleasant day. My eyes

have been troubling me again lately but

I think it is due to reading too much very

small print in some office library books.

[*9.*] Another fine cool day. Nothing of importance.

Everyone is getting terribly bored with this camp

& its lack of news. We haven't even had papers

for a long time 

[*1944*]

[*Feby 10th*]

Another beautiful day with a strong cool breeze.

Nothing of importance.

[*11*] Holiday today for the anniversary of the Japanese Empire

No compulsory work but it was announced that work

could be found for some 60 odd officers in morning &

afternoon. Far more than this no. volunteered
which rather upsets the complaints about officers
being made to work. Pork in the soup tonight.

[*12.*] Work today all day. Announced that work will be
all day today & tomorrow (Sunday) & so on from day to
day until 18th when we will be inspected.
[*13.*] Sunday. Holy Communion had to be put off this
morning because every squad was out working.
Some more letters were distributed today
but again there were none for me. It is
impossible to describe the utter black

despondency
which I feel when other fellows are getting
letters - some of them lots of letters - and I
don't get a word of any sort. It is absolutely
hellish & I find it very difficult to keep
my courage up. Vigilant guard tonight 0200-0330.
[*14.*] Fine clear day. Worked with the squad on the farm
this afternoon for the first time 7th Jany. Another
sugar issue today.
[*15.*] Work today from 1330 - 1630 sorting out peanuts
from the farm & extracting the good ones - for

seed
to replant!. Fine clear day with cold wind
developing in the afternoon.
[*16.*] Fine clear day. Work from 1330 - 1630. Cigarettes came
into camp today but only the nasty sort - which
we call "Tarts delight". The report is that this is 
the only sort we are going to get in the future.
Am still feel feeling desperately despondent
& lonely. It is alleged that the batch of letters
which arrived the other day about a week ago is now all
distributed. If that is so God knows when we
will get anymore & I feel quite desperate
about it all.
[*17.*] Work this morning cleaning up around the huts ready
for tomorrow's inspection. This afternoon we were
warned to stand by to practice air-raid & fire
drill. However no practice took place. Am
feeling appallingly lonely lately - a loneliness
which seems to be growing on me more & more.
Here in this camp living the life that we do, one
cannot help reflecting quite a lot on one's life, past
& present. The more I think over it the more
difficult I find it to think of anyone at all in
all my life whom I can class as a really
intimate friend, except Rose. I suppose during
the last ten years or so before the war my 
two closest men friends were Malcolm & Bill
Stewart. I cant really feel that I ever got
very "close" to Malcolm much as I like him.
The relations between he & Mary always seemed
to be in the way somehow. I suppose the nearest
nearest I had to my ideal of a man friend
was Bill Stewart but somehow we didn't see
very much of each other. Literally the only
person with whom I really felt I could 
talk over anything at all was Rose - and I
realise now what an utter fool I was in not
talking over so many things with her because I
 felt they would worry her or because she

 

[*1944*] 

[*Feby 17 cond*] wouldn't be interested, I thought. I realise now
that Rose I could have talked over any subject
on earth with her - and talked them over
much more freely than with anyone else I
have ever known. I hope I haven't woken up
to what a fool I have been too late. I cannot
help wondering how I will re-act to much
more of this life, and what effect it will
have on me in the future. I feel that I am
getting "all tied up" mentally in this  environment.
There is not a soul in the camp with whom
I cannot really have a heart to heart talk,
and one result I feel is that I am getting
more & more morbid.
[*18.*] Col. from Taiwan staff came to camp today
but spent whole time inspecting his Nipponese
troops & putting them through various exercises
drills etc. Fine clear day with strong

cool breeze.
[*19.*] Holiday today after inspection. Fine clear 
day, a little warmer than yesterday. Don't
feel quite so depressed today but still
pretty miserable.
[*20.*] Sunday. Usual Church services. Fine clear day
but cold. Bitterly cold last night. Pork in the
soup tonight. I got one piece about the size of

my thumb nail. However there was enough 
to slightly flavour all the soup. Have developed
a small boil under my eye.
[*21.*] Work today 0845 - 1130. Fine clear day. Quite
warm at midday but cold wind in
morning & evening. Bun each issued today.
[*22*] Work today 0845 - 1130. Dull cold morning but
clear bright afternoon. Cold breeze. Feel desperately
despondent & lonely today. Many hundreds of
letters were distributed most officers getting 10 - 12
but not a word for me. No Australians got
any of this mail. I wish our Govt could
get to know it & refuse to deliver any mail
whatever to any Japanese in Australia until
some reciprocal arrangements were made.
We all know that there are hundreds of letters
for us but it looks as though the Japanese
wont take the trouble to sort any of ours because
we are Australians. In the meantime it makes 
we feel just hopeless & utterly miserable not
to know how any of the family are. I have got
to the stage of imagining every sort of horror as
happening to them all.
[*23.*] News in Col. Searle's letter that he has been awarded
the Military William Cross by the Dutch Govt - the
highest award in the power of the Dutch to confer.
Rumor has it that the award has been made also
to Gen. Sitwell. I am terribly pleased that Searle has
got it.  He is a grand chap. However, to be honest
I am ashamed to confess that I am horribly jealous
about it. It seems so unfair in a way. Searle is
a Staff Officer whose job compelled him to remain
at Bandeong H.Q. during all the fighting. Sitwell
also had to stay in Bandeong. The only American
troops in Java were under my command all
the time of the fighting & although they did very good
work they were artillery & did their work from 
the rear. In fact not one bullet even came
near enough to them to hit any of them. Sitwell 

[*1944 Feby 23 (contd)*] although nominally my Commander, in fact had nothing
whatever to do with the fighting at Lewiliang. He left
it entirely to me & did not even know of my plans.
The truth is that my Brigade of Australian troops did
practically the only successful fighting that was 
done agst. the Japs &  quite certainly were the only
troops who successfully fought or engaged the 
Japs. The only English troops who did any fighting
put up a poor show & lost an important aerodrome
which they were supposed to x be guarding without
much resistance. My Australian troops by their
fight at Lewillian enabled the whole of the
Dutch troops in Batavia to retire withdraw
untouched from the Japanese troops who were
encircling them & in doing this my chaps suffered
over 200 casualties out of 1400 fighting troops 
engaged - and yet Searle & Sitwell get this
high decoration, award the conditions of which
the Dutch tell me are that it is an award
for conspicuous bravery in the face of the
enemy - and my troops get absolutely nothing!
I suppose it is petty of me to feel hurt over it 
all and perhaps it is only because I am feeling
so damnably lonely & depressed at present but
I must confess that it does hurt & I feel that
my Australian troops have been damnably
slighted.
Beautiful sunny bright day today. Work 0845 - 1130.
Weighed today - 50 kilos, a loss of.8 kilos.
[*Feby 24*] Several parcels have arrived for American officers,
the first to arrive since we have been
prisoners. A very cold bleak day with a little
rain Vigilant guard tonight 9-11. Gen C 11-1230.
Work 0830-1130
[*25.*] Work today 0830 - 1130. Terribly cold & could not 
even get warm whilst working.
[*26*] Face trouble has flared up again & had to go 
to the Dr. about it again today, with the
result that my face has again been painted
all over with ointment. A bun each was
issued tonight. Announcement that no more 
PX stores will be sold this month but
only balance of cigarettes. A few more
letters arrived for some of the Dutch
officers from Java. I am feeling almost
hopeless about letters now. I feel that I 
would give absolutely anything I possess -
which isn't much - to know that Rose & the
children are all well. Our first monthly concert
was held this afternoon & was a great success.
[*27.*] Sunday. Usual Church services. Glorious sunny day.
Order out today that we must each return to 
the Nipponese our blanket cover & one sheet.
Cannot imagine why unless there  is a grave
shortage of cotton materials. Pork in the soup
today from one of our own pigs. The total
amount received by us worked out at
a shade over 1 oz. per person!

[*28.*] Clear bright day. Work from 0 1330 - 1630. At

 

[*19448} 

[*Feby 28th contd*] midday we had wonderful tomato soup. There
was no vegetable in it except tomato & it was
thick & hot. It was the first time since leaving
Batavia that I have tasted a soup of a sort
to which I am accustomed. The tomatoes  all
came off the farm. Rule came out today from
the Nipponese that all meetings of P.O.W's, lectures
etc were strictly prohibited upon a written
request stating the purpose, scope etc of the gathering
were first submitted to them & approved by
them.
[*Feby 29*] A date which I feel reasonably confident will be
unique in my experience as a P.O.W! I cannot
imagine myself still being a prisoner in four years
time. This morning there was a light drizzle
of rain so work was put off. Our squad worked
this afternoon from 1330 - 1630. Tonight we
were issued with one big ripe tomato each
out of the garden in the farm. It was wonder-
ful to taste fresh tomato again. Instead of the
usual rather weak soup we had fried
vegetables tonight. Unfortunately it is only
rarely, I understand, that there is enough oil
to fry them. Announced today that we can
send a letter of 300 words - the longest we 
have yet been able to send. It is pretty difficult
to find enough to say to occupy 300 words
when I have had no word since Jany 1942 &
all mention of food, conditions of the camp,
names of other P.O.Ws etc is prohibited.

[*March 1st*]  Clear fine day. Work this afternoon 1330 - 1630
digging up sweet potatoes. They are to be cut
up & dried in the sun so as to preserve them.

[*March 2nd*] Fine warm day. Work this afternoon

13.30-16.30. Had

a dreadful dream last night, Rose was

calling to me for help & for some reason I

could not go to her. Her cries were becoming

more & more desperate & I finally woke up

in a sweat of terror. The dream was so

vivid that I could not get to sleep again

& have been terribly worried ever since.

Sugar was issued today after a long interval

[*March 3rd*] Fine warm day. This afternoon in lieu of work we 

were taken up to the "recreation Park" & made to

pose 

for a series of moving pictures for the Japanese.

[*4th*] This morning our squad was turned out & put to 

work sweeping up the camp & picking up bits of 

paper etc for the moving picture people. This

afternoon a show was staged at the canteen.

A large notice was made reading Cigars, Cigarettes,

Syrups etc etc (setting out different items on sale

today. This was hung up outside the PX room

& then American Officers were made to come up

to the room & go through a performance of 

Saying they would like this or that & pretending 

to buy it. All this was photographed and the 

conversation recorded. In fact there haven't

[*1944*]

[*March 4*] 

[*(Contd)*] been sufficient cigars etc to sell ever

since we came

here. The few that are available are always rationed

pro rata amongst the troops P.O.Ws. Even Syrups

etc 

are issued to squads & by them issued out to Officers 

 for or men pro rata. In any case today nobody

in the camp had any money. The impression given

by the notice "for sale today" is quite misleading

as sales do not take place at the PX room of

any of the items to individual officers. In

[*March 5th*]addition they had to pretend to sales of

bread which have

never taken place through the PX.

[*March 5.*] Sunday. Usual services. The ordinary morning service

was photographed by the movie people. Milk from the

cows is now available at the hospital & is much

appreciated. There are six cows - three in milk &

three not yet in milk but expected soon. Vigilant

guard tonight 0200 - 0330 (Gen C first). Sweet

potatoes

issued separately tonight & an excellent tomato

soup at midday.

[*March 6.*] Work this morning from 0845 - 1000. We finished the

job we were on at that hour & so were dismissed.

A bun each issued today & also bananas again.

Pork in the soup tonight.

[*7.*] Work this morning 0845 - 1130.Very overcast cold

day but no actual rain. Announced tonight that

there will be a practise by the Nipponese of

the defence of the camp tonight. At some hour

between 0430 - 0530 tomorrow morning the alarm

will be sounded & we must all be on parade

fully clothed within 3 minutes. That must

obviously result in us going to bed fully

clothed as it is apparently all to be done in

darkness.

[*8.*] Turn out early this morning came at 0500 hrs & we

stood out on parade until 0530. Dull cold day

with a little rain in the morning. We turned

out to work as usual at 0845 but at 1000 hrs

were sent in because of rain. The at 1030 hrs

we were sent out again. In the afternoon rain

set in & so all work was cancelled. Col. Derham

today advised me to give up shaving & grow a 

beard for the present. My face flares up again

every time I shave. Tonight we have a beautiful

big ripe tomato each for supper. Bitterly cold

night with steady rain.

[*9.*] Steady rain all day & bitterly cold. No work

This evening our squad got a bottle of milk

between two & will get another bottle between

two tomorrow morning. It is the first milk I

have had since becoming a P.O.W & it was

absolutely glorious.

[*10.*] Fine cold day. Work this morning 0845 - 1130.

This

afternoon the clouds cleared off the mountains east

of us & disclosed that they were heavily snow

clad. The wind was blowing straight off them

so it made it bitterly cold in the evening.

[*11.*] Last night I had another of those terrible

dreams

where the family are in terrible need of me & I

can do nothing. This time it was Bob. He was

in some awful trouble - I don't know what - &

all the family were appealing to me to do

something for him but I couldn't do anything

at all. It was terrible. I am getting really

worried about these frequent dreams in

which the family need me so badly & in

which I am always able to do nothing. It was

a bitterly cold night last night. I never got

properly warm once. This evening we

 

[*1944*]

[*March 11 contd*] were issued with a bun each. Work today

0845 -1130 shelling peanuts.

[*12.*] Sunday usual service. Excellent meal tonight. Duck 

Soup (60 of our ducks were killed. The Nipponese took only 

5 or 6 for their share) & rice fried with tomato &

two sweet potatoes each.

[*13.*]This morning a representative from Prisoners of War

Information Bureau Tokyo inspected the camp & had

an interview with certain officers selected by the

Nipponese camp authorities - they were all

Americans except for 1 British officer. Not much

resulted from the interview as he explained that

he had only just recently been allocated to Bureau

& had not yet become acquainted with all

details but he said he would do whatever he

could to clear up such points as appeared to

warrant attention such as slow arrival of mail.

Work today 1330-1630.

[*14.*] Beautiful sunny day. Work 1330-1630. Large number of troops are now occupying the

barracks alongside our camp. It is believed

to be an N.C.O school.

[*15.*] Bright sunny day but a little close. Earth-

quake shock this afternoon. Vigilant guard

tonight 0330-0500 I we 1st Rumors of more

mail in. I really don't know what I shall

do if I don't get any out of this mail.

[*16.*] Clear day but a bit sultry. Light rain last

night. Work today 1330 - 1630. We have dug an

immense number of sweet potatoes lately but

they are nearly all being dried and stacked away

in sacks. There are rarely enough in the soup

to make much real difference to it. A bun

each was issued tonight.

[*17*] Work today 1330-1630 Hot Close sultry day & rain 

started at about 1830. Rumors of over 50 letters

from Australia in the present batch of mail,

which has not yet been delivered to us, in 

contrast to the Americans mail of over 1500 letters 

which was all delivered the very same day as it 

arrived in the camp. Meals much poorer today.

[*18*] Inspection today by C.O. POW camps Taiwan. He

arrived soon after 0800 hrs & inspected the farm

& farm stock etc. We were all turned out to

work at 0830 & taken to the farm. The

nippon sentry in charge of our group (1 & 2 Squads)

told us through Col. Woods that he wanted

us to work very hard at the job we were

working & then we would be taken in

at 1000 hrs when the C.O. had seen the work.

The C.O. came out to the job at 0915 hrs.

We were all working very hard & finished 

the job we were on about 0945 although

it was a pretty big job. At 1000 hrs the

sentry blandly took us on to another job &

merely laughed at us when Col. Woods

reminded him of what he had promised.

This is the second time in a week that this

has happened. It seems to show a peculiar

standard of honor! 

[*1944*]

[*March 19.*] Sunday. Usual services. Bananas issued again today

& pork in the soup tonight from one of our pigs which

was killed yesterday.

[*20.*] Work today 0845 - 1130. Clear warm day. Quite

uneventful.

[*21.*] Holiday today. No work for any squads. This

morning for breakfast an experiment was

tried & we were issued with "Rice gruel". It

would have been quite nice but was 

rather badly burnt.

[*22.*] Work today 0845 - 1130. Light rain in the afternoon

& rather a close sultry night. Newspapers issued

again today after a long interval. They are up

to Feby 3rd.

[*23*] Work 0845 - 1130. Warm day but overcast

late in the evening.

[*24.*] Work today 0845 - 1130. Uneventful day.

[*25*] Weighed today.  51 kilos - an increase of 1 kilo. Work

today 0845 - 1130. Banana issue today.

[*26*] Sunday. Usual services. Very heavy rain this

afternoon which commenced with a few

minutes of terrific wind which almost

blew the place away. Duck soup tonight

& one bun each. Vigilant guard tonight

12  0030 - 0200. Another anniversary away from Rose!

[*27.*] Close sultry day. Work from 1330 - 1630. Nipponese

authorities started us on a new work schedule

today by which we only get two "smokeohs"

of ¼ hour each during our work hours.

A lot of letters were delivered today to British

officers, but none to any Australians. We

can only believe that the authorities are for

some reason deliberately suppressing the

Australian letters.

[*28.*] Work today at 1330 but at 1530 heavy

rain started & all work had to end.

Banana issue again today but meals the

last two days have been very bad. Milk

issue came to our squad again today.

[*29.&] Work again interrupted at 1530 by rain.

At last I have got a letter from Rose 

dated 30 Sept 1942 with good news of all

the family. Although the letter is so old it

is like a breath from Heaven to see her

handwriting again & to get her messages.

There is supposed to be a lot more mail in

& not yet sorted so I am full of hope

for more letters in the near future.

[*30.*] Work again interrupted at 1530 by rain. fresh

fish in the soup tonight - just enough to give

it a flavouring.

[*31*] No work today because of rain. This afternoon

authorities announced a new work timetable, increasing

the periods of work. In future morning work

will be 0815 - 1130 & afternoon 1315 - 1630. As

breakfast never comes from the kitchen until

0730 & midday meal before 1200 & one it has to be served

it all out of a common bucket & then each

P.O.W has to wash his own dishes it doesn't

give much time, particularly in the morning.

 

[*1944*]

[*April 1st*]  No work for our squad today but other squads

out. New restriction issued today by order that

smoking during work periods is forbidden. We

may only smoke during the ¼ hr. spells & then

only when sitting down with an ashtray.

Previously we that smoked pipes used to finish

them off particularly on some jobs like shelling

peanuts. More rain late in the afternoon.

[*April 2nd*] Sunday. Usual services. Fine day but

overcast. Pork in soup tonight & about - 25

kilos.

[*April 3*] No work today. Very heavy rain last night & all

today. Last night 15 of the laying ducks died

from some mysterious cause. There was no

mark on their bodies at all but a P.M. showed

that their brains were very congested. It is a 

great pity as they were doing well & just beginning

to lay. The Benjos have not been emptied since

the wet weather started the excuse being that

the roads are too wet for the carts to get in.

Everyone of them is now overflowing & the

stench in the camp is dreadful.

[*April 4*] Still no Benjo carts so the enlisted men were

put on today to clear them out a little bit.

It is a disgraceful condition. Work today from

0815 - 1130. Food is pretty scarce - again the rain

is blamed - & the soups have been very poor

for two or three days now.

[*April 5*] No work for our squad today although quite 

a fine day. Vigilant guard tonight 2300 -

0030 (Gen C. First)

[*April 6*] Work today 0830 - 1130. Owing to our protests

at the early starting hour they have been reverted to

0830 in the morning & 1330 in the afternoon.

Enlisted men have been put on a new job

some distance out of camp building a

dam to protect some land from flooding

[*April 7*] Good Friday. Service at 0930 from Those of us who wished

to attend were given leave from work this morning.

Very warm sultry day & terribly hot night. I have been

reading too much again lately & last night my

right eye was very sore & I had a horrible headache

[*8.*] Work this morning from 0830 - 1130 harvesting the

oat crop by hand. There is a project on foot to build

a "Chapel" & entertainment room out of voluntary

contributions by P.O.W's at a cost of approx Y2200. So

far most people seem very enthusiastic. Another

example has been  

[*9th*] Easter Sunday. Celebr Holy Communion at 0900. Fine

day. Issue of one bag of sweets & one bun each today & pork in the soup tonight. Bad night

last night as I didn't get to sleep until long

after midnight.

[*10.*] Very heavy showers of rain this morning caused

cancellation of all work. New order out that

all area around huts must be thoroughly cleaned

up by officers between Reveille & roll call.

[*1944*]

[*April 11th*] Another red letter today - another letter from

Rose - this one dated Aug 29 1942. I feel terribly

bucked & pleased with life although of course

the news of the family is all very old. Work

today 1330 - 1630. A little rabbit & chicken cooked

with some beans for supper tonight - 7 rabbits & 

3 roosters amongst over 500 doesn't go very far but

still it is acceptable!

[*12*] Work today 1330 - 1630. Fine warm day but

overcast late in the afternoon.

[*13.*] Work today 1330 - 1630. Each of our squad received

one boiled egg today, the product of our own

poultry. It is the first egg I have tasted since

I left Java & was absolutely delicious.

Newspapers in again today. Fine clear day &

not too hot.

[*14*] Work today 1330 - 1630. Fine clear day.

[*15*]     "          "         "          "         "         "        "    but very

overcast in the evening. Papers were issued

yesterday up to 25 Feby. Pork in the soup

tonight.

[*16*] Sunday. Usual church services. Vigilant

guard 0500 - 0630 (Gen C. 1st). Fine day.

[*17.*] Have developed a large boil under my

left arm pit again & so was unable to go

out to work. Fine clear day. Benjos are

all overflowing again but were partially

cleared out late this afternoon. Bottle of

milk (¼ pint) today.

[*18.*] Boil came to a head this morning & Col.

Pidgen (acting in lieu of Col. Derham since the 

latters admission to hospital as a patient) lanced

it. Fairly painful. Another illustration of the

way mail is dealt with occurred today. An

American mail came in this morning & was

distributed this afternoon instead of the 

invariable 3 - 4 weeks for which they keep 

all Britishers waiting for mail.

[*19.*] Boil still discharging so no work. Today

four American officers who were working at

planting peanuts were found to have some in

their pockets. They were immediately lined up

in front of their squads & smacked in the face

by the sentry. Sweet potatoe each for supper

tonight.

[*20.*]Boil still not quite clear. Fine sunny hot day.

Much better soup tonight but midday soup

nothing but bamboos.

[*21.*] Still unable to go out to work. More letters 

were delivered today, all to Britishers

including a number of Australians - but

none for me. It is terribly disappointing as

many of the officers have had 50 & 60 & I

have only had two.

 

 

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