Sunday, April the 12th 1942
Attended church this morning at 0745 and once more took Communion. Jerry Mabley was baptized and became a member of the United Church. Things are more or less rolling along in an endless sort of way and this life certainly has the tendency of making you very lackadaisical. Sometimes it is hard to imagine just what it really is like to be free and more particularly, to be in civilian life. However, am confident and am convinced that once again I shall have the privilege of walking out as a "civvy". Can't help at times but think of home and more particularly, Pop. Will be a great day when I can once more greet him and be able to sit down to a glass of beer and a good talk. At the present time, our rations are very good and there is a better sense of contentment afloat right now. Just how long this will East is a horse of another color but if we can get by with these rations so long as we're incarcerated and escape any serious outbreak of disease, we won't have too much to complain of and of a certainty, it won't be long before we're back in shape again. Bight now I'm in pretty good shape save my legs aren't in any too good a shape. Circulation right now in the body is poor and it certainly isn‘t helping me get over that shot. Still swell up and my feet bother me. However, that's a minor ill and if we ever get out and back to a balanced diet, shouldn't be long 'ere this is remedied. Have a couple of sores on my feet, too, but in time they'll clear themselves up. Flight now there isn't very much in the way of news. It is reported in the Jap paper that they sunk two British cruisers in the Indian Ocean and the aircraft carrier "Hermes". Also that they captured the Bataan Peninsula in the Philipines. Another rumor to the effect that the British have landed in Holland and are advancing all along the front. If we could only believe this landing has taken place, it sure would be cheering. Had quite a talk with Lieuts. MacKechnie and Corrigan last night re the war. Neither one of them are convinced that the British have landed on the continent and as a matter of fact, are doubtful as to whether or not they are in a position to do so. However, Corrigan is more or less convinced in his own mind that we'll be free 'ere the year end whereas MacKechnie is inclined to be a "crepe hanger". Personally. I'm convinced that the British not only are ready but have landed. However, time alone will tell. Had quite a talk with Ken Hogarth the other night. Ken lived over on Chalmers Ave. and went out with Dorothy Clift for sometime. Talked over the situation here and also as to our future after leaving the Army. Is a very good chap — know him from being on guard in Jamaica. Wonder how Alb is doing. Last night Murray made a statement that a farmer, Joe Herber by name, near Transcona, used to buy 2 carloads of crushed peanuts to feed 90 pigs. Needless to say this occasioned much caustic comment and the prize remark of all came from "Pat" Patterson. It appears that there was quite a discussion going on about the draught and how dry it was. One old chap, who had come from the dried out area, said, "H’m, that's nothing - we had to soak our old sow in the well for three days before she'd hold swill!"
Friday, April the 17th, 1942
News of any reasonable authenticity has been virtually non-existent. Rumor has it that the Japs have captured Ceylon and have bombarded Aden. Also supposed to have been pouring troops into Burma. Nothing very definite re the European situation and this is a matter of great speculation right now. Made a bet of Cato's Black Label Scotch with MacFadyen that India will not tall 'ere the end of the year. The Cripps mission, incidentally, is supposed to have sailed for home, a failure. Wish we could get something definite as to how things are progressing in Europe, as surely by this time, something is doing. Great Britain must be ready and surely will make an offensive this spring. lf they don't, in my opinion, they might as well fold up and certainly l will be a very disappointed man. Life still clips by with us. Right now the Japs are electrocuting all the fences around the camp and sure are placing plenty of wire around us; Am still serving at the Sergeant's Mess and looks as though l may for some time yet. Not too bad a job and lately the grub has been pretty fair - plenty of it and a fair amount of variety. Had whale meat the other day and it tasted like liver to me. Made it in the form of a pattie and as we're getting buns instead of bread right now, had an excellent "whaleburger"! Mr. MacKech·nie introduced me to a couple of old gents, Johnson and Ambrose, by name, who have been out in this part of the world for the last 30 years or so. Very interesting to talk to and will have more to write of them soon. My legs are still swelling up and am getting a little worried about them. Sleep at night with my feet raised up and this helps some. However, in time s'pose they'Il come around. Am still on "Light Duty" and haven't done a P.T. parade for 5 weeks now. I'm still hoping that we‘lI be tree for Xmas, aIthough it is somewhat hard at times to maintain your faith in things but as Floss says, "It's a long road that has no turning", and we, the Allies are certainly due for a break of some sort. It's rather difficuIt to imagine one's self in "civvy" lite and clothes once more. it certainly will be hard getting adjusted but will have to buckle down.
Thursday, April the 23rd, 1942
It is some time since I sat down and made any sort of an entry but the last week has been one of activity and quite a few changes have taken place. First of all the Navy has moved and gone back to Shamshuipo. In a way, l was sorry to see them leave, as I had made many friends amongst them but in another was glad to be rid of them, as it certainly made a lot more room and also there are now only Canadians left. Said good-bye to "Knocker", Johnson and the signaller from New Zealand and have their addresses, so that we may correspond. Sure rained cats and dogs the day they left —— Saturday -- and felt sorry for them standing out there on the square. Japs thoroughly searched all their stuff and confiscated quite a few things. Had a flashlight given to me by one of the Chiefs. Since then there has been a wholesale moving. "B" Company U was fortunate insomuch as they got Hut 20, which is where half of 11 and all of 12 were. However, had to move myself as all the Sergeants are now located in Hut 18. Have a single bed, made of sacks and certainly have a little more room but am not at the time exactly enthused over the change, as there are just as many heels and deadbeats in this bunch, as there ever was in the Company. Am. sleeping next to Buzz _ Winram. Actually, my bed is next to Sgt. Can. Fortunately he is rather quiet and leaves me pretty well alone. Am not exactly persohna gratia in the Mess, as am rather looked upon as an upstart. Still am kind of comfortable aIthough this is a rather poor hut and is right next to the harbor. Mosquitoes are pretty bad and we are also blessed, or should I say cursed, with rats. Have fixed up three shelves and made a little cupboard out of cloth. Also fixed up a little table, which raises and lowers on hinges. So, in time, it may turn out OK but cannot wax very enthusiastic about the arrangements at present. Was B.O.S. on Sunday and am C.O.S this week. Needless to say, have been very busy, what between moving myself and getting the Company moved. Also having a little trouble over "pegging" and sure am rapidly becoming the most hated man in the Company. However, c'est Ia guerre and that's life! Had Millitaire up on a charge for talking on parade and he got 7 day‘s extra sanitary fatigue. Younger was up on the same thing and received 3 day's extra fatigue. The next day put Iles on charge for the same and when he came up before Major Hodkinson, he denied talking. The Major asked me if l was positive that it was Iles and needless to say, was quite certain of it. However, ties still denied it and Hodkinson said that, as there was a doubt, aIthough in my mind and his own, there wasn't any, yet, on this U occasion, he would give him the benefit of the doubt. However, should this occur again, doubt or no doubt, Iles would be for it. incidentally, Iles said he could call witnesses, mentioning Olafson, Younger and Zane. So the handwriting was definitely on the wall. Terminate my serving at the Mess this weekend, thank goodness and am not sorry although i certainly cannot complain yet I don't particularly relish it, the more so as now live with the rest of the Sergeants. Had a slight run—in with Leo Berard last night over his bun and referred him to the Mess Committee. He is rather a poor prick anyway — don't think he had very much of anything prior to this war and sure is a sour individual. With regard to news, it appeared in the Jap paper that three unidentiRed aircraft carriers, heavily escorted, had been in Jap coastal waters. Captain Prendergast came back from Bowen Road and said that Nagasaki, Tokyo, Kobe, Osaka and Yokohama were all heavily bombed from two directions. The Russians are bogged down, owing to the wet weather. The British are bombing the Ruhr day and night. ln Burma, things don't appear to be going so hot with us. ln the Philipines, the Japs claim to have control of them save for the fortress of Corrigidor. A rumor around now - 24 - 4 — 42 — that Russia has declared war on Japan. Today we're duty company but it's rather a miserable day and we're getting off easy inasmuch as there‘s no parade today. My legs are really giving me hell and sure wish that this swelling would go away. However, hope they will go down. Len Seaborn fixed up my runners by stitching on belting with wire and putting on tar to stop them from fraying. Hope they last, as they sure are comfortable. Haven't been doing much walking around, due to bad weather, moving, and this C.O.S. job. However, come off this next week and shall have a little more time to do things and rest up. Here's hoping that in the next few months we get good news from the European front!
Monday, April 27th, 1942
The last three or four days have certainly been wet and must be now in the rainy season. Really pours at times and this hut of ours leaks pretty bad. Am fortunate that it does not leak above my bed. Well, it appears as though I'm a victim of beri—beri to add to my other troubles. Went up to the M.O. on Saturday and he told me to come for another shot on Sunday. Figured it was for varicose veins but on arriving found it was for beri-beri. According to a medical book I was reading, this beri-beri is common to Japan, China, Malaysia, and Indo-China. it is due to a lack of Vitamin B1 and is caused by eating polished rice. It says further that recovery is slow. Unpolished rice is OK but in the process of milling a certain type of protein is extracted and makes the polished rice deficient in Vitamin B1. Asked about eating rice and they said to go ahead. Have to report to the M.O. on Tuesday - so will see what transpires then. Have been helping Bob Boyd compile a list of "civvy" occupations for the Japs under certain classifications, which they set. Myself, am classiRed under Stenographer and Bookkeeper. Don't expect anything to come of it and just another, more or less, bureaucratic move. However, passes time away and keeps me in trim on my typing. Rumor to the effect that Germany has collapsed once more - that there is rioting in certain parts of Germany — that the Russians have declared war on Japan. Jap sentries are alleged to have said that, "Canadians want to go home - Japs want to go home but Americans, bang, bangl" Also that soon Canadians and Japs go home. Another that there has been a conference between States, Britain and Japan. These are all in the "latrinagram" class but one of these days we will get one on the collapse of Germany and won’t believe it- only to find it to be true. This can't happen too soon to please me. Had a battalion parade and whilst we were waiting to march on, certainly had to listen to a bunch of crap. lies admitted that he had lied on his charge and needless to say there were the usual threats of Sergeants vanishing overboard on the way home from Olafson, Iles, Zane, Sumner, etal. Actually this is pathetic and it certainly goes to show what a bunch of morons they are. Will bear this in mind and at _ some future date will remind them of it. Can't help but wish it was all over and that we were free once more. It sure is going to be a problem to settle down once more to work but will have to make a go of it. Life moves on in a listless sort of way and it doesn't pep one up at all. Can't help but think of home and wondering how Pop and Alb are doing. Wish we could get hold of some authentic news. Rations have been pretty slim lately but today beef, dates, egg plant, and sweet potatoes came in - so we're OK for a time. Here's hoping this beri—beri goes away soon and that in a few months we'll once more be free men.
Thursday, April the 30th, 1942
Today is the Emperor of .Japan's birthday, as well as being election day for them. Rumor has it that the Navy party, who are favorable to Britain, are favorites to cap it. Hope they do. Germany has collapsed several times in the last few days. Russia and Japan are supposed to be going at it hammer and tongs on the Manchukuah border. There ls alleged to have been peace conferences in Europe, which resulted in an armistice and out here, a four power conference was in session. Then heard that the Russians were advancing on Helsinki and were battling with the Germans furiously on a 69 mile front. Japs had air-raided Australia again and lost 11 planes. Today was told that the Americans are raiding Japan from the Aleutians. "Hope springs eternal in the human breast" but am afraid that the majority of the foregoing is a matter of "wishful thinking". Personally my chief worry at the present is this beri-beri I‘ve got hold of. Have now had three needles and whilst the swelling has gone down considerably yet some still remains. My face is puffed up a little, noticeable more in the morning than at any time. Do not feel too bad aIthough at times sure am listless. Also very hungry. Last night we really had a meal - plain rice, whale meat, bun, whale gravy, and 4 sweet potatoes and dates. Quite a blowout! However, so far we've paid for it today as we only had plain rice with dates and tea for breakfast and 1 flapjack and tea for lunch. However, supper should be a little better as rice flour came in this morning. Today we're Duty Company, but as |'m more or less on the sick list have been excused doing much. Japs are busy building something and our boys are excavating on it. All week it's been raining off and on. Certainly shouldn't kick at our Canadian weather again. Have been circulating amongst my own platoon playing crib to keep in touch with the boys and we're starting up another crib, checker and bridge tournament. Major Hodkinson is putting up cigarettes again as prizes. Passes the time for the gang and it gives me something to do as well. Am beginning to feel more at home in the Sergeant‘s hut, aIthough am still treated more or less as an upstart by the majority. Just heard that things in Europe and Libya are pretty well the same with very little change. Australia is really being packed with troops and equipment. American Navy is pretty well distributed and has evidently taken on a lot of Britain's police work. Japs l have raided Darwin again and suffered more losses. The Cripps mission to india has returned home a failure. It would appear that they now have Australia in a pretty fair way to repel any attack and the Americans are evidently using it as a base. Furthermore, the Philipines are still supposed to be under American control. Bill g Pugsley gave me this and he had it from one of the officers. There is still supposed to l be a radio in camp but they're keeping it pretty dark, which is a real good idea. It would appear that we have some time yet to spend here and unless there is a radical change in events this summer, it may be a lot longer stay than what we think. Can't help but think that we'll get a break this fall and hope to be a "tree nigger" by the first of October. However, must not be too disappointed if this does not occur but it is tough, when you figure that, as yet, the people at home have no word as to our fate. Is really tough on the womenfolk and am glad in a sense that Mom isn't alive. Still Pop is probably worrying his head off and that is bad, as he has enough on his mind without this too. Some day, though, word will get through, which will do a lot to alleviate some of the strain. In the meantime, there's nothing we can do but keep our chins up and pray it'll all be over soon. Pretty hard to imagine just what it's like in “civvy" life and it'll be a job getting back into the swing ot things. Be quite a laugh, too, to check over the back files of the Press to read the accounts of the fall ot Hong Kong and to check up on these rumors, which have been recorded, herewith. Right now am in one ot my pensive moods and you get a lot of those in here. However, that's only to be expected and lite is just one series of ups and downs and we must learn to take the rough with the smooth.
May the 5th, 1942
It is eight years ago today that Mother died. Seems far more than that and in here, having plenty of time in which to look back on things, have been through a variety of experiences. Out of work — in a relief camp — part time employment — steady work and then the Army. Since then, Alb, who was only 17 then, has got married and is the father of a son, now over two years old. Furthermore, there he is out on the farm. Also, Pop and l are now without a home as on Alb's marriage, we rented the house, which we called home for twenty odd years. Now at 27, here l am, a Prisoner of War. What _ will the next eight years bring forth'? Attended Communion again on Sunday. Sunday night we had an Amateur Night in "B" Company. It wasn't too bad, although, on the whole, the talent wasn't upto very much. We've never been inclined that way very much. Plenty of rumors around. There are supposed to be a 1000 American planes in Chungking. Singapore is alleged to have been bombarded by sea and air. Further to this, it has been reported that American troops have landed there. In Europe, situation in Russia remains unchanged. England is reported to have had some heavy air raids and the city of Norwich took a severe pounding with very heavy loss of life amongst the "civvy" population. Pop would feel that as Norwich is the capital of Norfolk. Have been working with Bob Boyd lately on one thing or another. Have just finished compiling schedules for cribbage, checkers, and bridge. Schedule will run till the end of May. Will give me plenty to do keeping records of the scores.
May the 9th, 1942
Another week ended. Read a Jap paper, dated May the 5th and in it, Toio, the Premier in a speech admitted that there had been a "guerrilla air raid" on Japan. This is rather heartening news. Also in the same sheet was a notice of a meeting at Salzburg between Hitler and Mussolini. They said that this should effectually squelch any British stories of a rift between the two but further down in the article they said that, owing to the heavy German commitments in Russia, she would be unable to send any l further reinforcements to Africa, which should be helpful. Things in Burma do not appear to be going very well and the Japs claim the capture of Mandalay. A very persistent rumor is to the effect that the Americans have made a landing at Singapore. Another has it there has been a naval engagement in the Indian Ocean. Cannot · believe that one re Singapore. Here, in camp, the Japs have issued Air Fiaid orders and we had a test the other night. Blackout shades have been issued for the lights and areas allocated where the Companies are to goto lie down during the raid. Needless to say, no lights are to be shown. A first-aid party has also been detailed to stand by at the M.I. Room. Cannot make up my mind as to whether this is merely a routine precaution or whether they actually have the "windup". To my mind it unlikely that any raids will take place here, although it certainly isn’t impossible. Still here's hoping and am of the view that it is a good sign, as we need something to cheer us up. Another one is that the Nips are to allow a broadcast home; ie. recordings will be made of talks from the boys and in some way, got to the B.B.C. Bill Laidlaw is to speak for "B" Coy. and so far, all we know is that he is to be allowed 45 seconds. Nothing is definitely known as to what he may say and more of this later. is this another gag? Pretty hard to say but here, one can only hope for the best. So much for the news. Have been taking things fairly easy and my legs are quite a bit better. Seem to have got rid of our old pal, beri-beri. Was on Sick Parade today and am now Nl and D. Have a slight cold due to weather conditions. Speaking of the weather, it sure is the shits — rain, more rain and rain. Do not mind rain but here it is so damned cool with it — that damp, penetrating cold and I can't say that I like it. Rations are pretty fair these days - rice, egg plant sauce, sweet potato sauce, sugar sauce, dates, whale and beef occasionally in either stew, patty or gravy and buns. For here it isn't too bad, I s'pose Q and the boys are a little more cheerful than usual. However, on the whole, they're pretty well adjusted and "fed up" with things. Sure have a great hatred, shall I say, of the officers. Some of them are actually little better than animals in some ways and the intelligence rating of this battalion is pretty low. This last draft sure didn't improve it any either. Actually it's pathetic in some instances but in some ways, they have a kick coming, as, on the whole, our officers are pretty poor specimens. At our concert, there wasn't a smoke handed out by our officers and yet at "C" and "D" they gave the boys one apiece. it's pretty tough on us to explain or reason with them over this. The officers all get paid, which, after all, is up to the Japs and is no concern of ours. However, it does not lead to harmony and they certainly could help things out more than what they do. Am still looked upon more or less as an upstart amongst the Sergeants and in my own Company , the three Sissons, Shayler and Budd - sure - would like to slit my throat in more ways than one. However, they do not worry me, as I've bumped up against tougher oppositions than that in my day and am still continuing to do the job as best l can. After all, that is all one can do —- do your best and after that, why c‘est la guerre! Sure have some great arguments in the hut here but l steer clear of them so far as possible. Some are pretty senseless but others have a little merit. All of them are great eye-openers into the mentality and views of some of my fellow Sergeants. Am afraid that in most cases l have very little in common with them . Have some great conversations with Dan Aitkens on some varied topics - food, clothes, New York, humanity, books, etc. “Slobberguts" Shayler just came in his boisterous manner, with a rumor to the effect that the hospitals in Kowloon are being filled with Jap wounded. Aheml Here food is an absorbing topic and you can really get interested in it, far more than we ever will in "civvy" life. Talk about different things we enjoy such as roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, etc. , how you like your potatoes done, different pies, vegetables, etc., and will have to make a list some time of the different methods of cooking stuff. Will be quite a problem furnishing oneself with clothes, when we get out, as l believe we'll only get an allowance of $50.00 on our discharge. However, hope most of my clothes are in fair shape and so may be able to get by with a small outlay to start with. Needless to say, when we will be tree is an all absorbing topic. Major Baird was in here today and he said we would be lucky if we were home a year from today. Certainly there may be a lot to be said for to back this up but have still confidence and a sort of blind faith that, in the next month or two, things are going to happen and that we will have a good chance of being free sometime this fall. One thing to my mind is certain that, if by September there are no signs of activity either in Europe or in this neck of the woods, we may as well resign ourselves to another long, hard winter of waiting. After all, we are not unique in being prisoners — we are not the first and certainly won't be the last and can stand quite a bit, if necessary. However, the Allies are certainly due for a break after 2 1/2 years of fighting, 1942 has always been mentioned as our year by Churchill and with the Americans stronger every day, may the Good Lord be generous and give us a break and set us free this autumn!
Tuesday, May the 12th, 1942
Not very much to report. It is fairly certain that there has been a naval engagement off Australia. According to what can be garnered, the Japs lost one aircraft carrier and seven other warships. It is purported over B.B.C. that our losses were slight. In the Japs press they claim just the opposite. ln any event, some action took place, which is rather cheering. Chinese guerrillas are alleged to be very active in between Kowloon and Canton. Also in the Jap paper was a little item by Domir, the Jap news agency, who claimed to have picked this up from Lisbon, to the effect that the Canadian Minister of External Affairs had issued a statement that Canadian prisoners in Hong Kong were being well treated and being fed rice, meat, flour and vegetables. On its face, encouraging as it would lead one to believe that possibly our casualty fist has got home. If it has, certainly a great load has been liRed and can only hope it is so. Here life still drags on and sure indulge in a lot of wishful thinking at times. Ha quite a chat last night with a young fellow, only 20, who is C.S.M. of "B" Coy, RR. Chewed the rag about one thing and another and found that their Colonel is of the opinion we will be free this fall. Doesn't actually mean a lot, but it sort of cheers you up to find at least one senior officer is hopeful. The Rifles have a far better opinion of their officers than we do and there is far more harmony amongst them than is found in ours. Have had quite a few interesting talks with Billy Pugsley on different subjects. He is a Welshman and served in the imperial Army - Machine Gun Corps during and after the Great War. Not a bad sort of chap once you get to know him. Keeps to himself quite a bit and certainly doesn't bother anyone. Cribbage and checkers are coming along all right. So is the bridge. Don and I have, so far, lost two and won one, which isn't exactly setting the _ world on fire. Some great discussions ensue in this hut at nights — some are very interesting and others, to say the least, illuminating. Steer clear of them myself especially the ones on the war out here. Often wonder just what I shall do when we get home and are demobilized. After the way I left Sparling to enlist, can not expect to be welcomed back there with open arms and even if I was, do not think I should care to work under same setting as before. Perhaps it would be an idea to head for a government job of some sort as they are steady and secure. However, first of all must get the farm straightened out. In any event, will be glad to see the last of this outfit and be able to associate with whom you please. No more lining up for meals and above all privacy! This is a great thing and one you don’t fully appreciate till you‘ve had a couple of years of this life. However, must be patient and pray that it isn't much longer. Sometimes there is considerable doubt in my mind as to whether we will get out this year but on the whole, I'm still hopeful that we will be freed this fall and that in some way or another, this year will see the end of the war. Let us hope so and would like to be free for Xmas.
Sunday May the 17th, 1942
Here is a half month gone again. As the old Romans said, "Tempus fugit." When you look at it in that light, ie in months, time sure has flown but from a daily viewpoint, certainly drags along. Nothing of any real import has taken place aIthough some of our boys have arrived here from Bowen Road amongst whom were Sgt. Ray Pellar and Cpl. Hughie MacTaggart. Sure was glad to see old Mac , as I always had a great respect and liking for hirn. Has lost about 40 pounds in weight but otherwise isn't looking too bad. However, they did bring some news. in Europe, they are preparing for an offensive and as a matter of tact, have since heard they've made a drive in Southern Russia. Britain undoubtedly has her air supremacy in Europe. Rostock, one of the Baltic seaports being used as a base for shipping supplies to the Fritzies in Northern Russia has been so badly bombed that it has been completely evacuated. The Hunkel factory there is reported to have been completely destroyed. In Czecho- Slovakia part of the munition works has been demolished. In the South Pacific, we are now purported to have air control. In Burma the Jap drive has been stopped but they control most of the country. Britain has moved in on Madagascar and is taking it over. Singapore and Rangoon have both been bombed by the Allies. In the Jap paper, Japan now claims the fall of Corrigidor and full control of the Philipines . Also in the naval battle in the Coral Sea, they claim one British battleship of the "Warspite" class, one heavy cruiser of the "Canberra" clan, two American battleships of the "California" clan, one aircraft carrier similar to the "Saratoga" and one to the the "Yorktown". it goes without saying that their losses were practically nil. However, heard that, over the B.B.C., it was announced that our losses were slight and that the Japs had lost l I nine warships. In camp, life moves slowly forward and I s'pose every day's one day nearer home. That is rather a poor consolation, and at times, it really "gets" you. Freedom is a very, very precious thing and the right to live your own life, as you choose, is certainly well worth fighting for . Can understand better than ever before how people would leave everything they had to hie away across the sea to some wild place, just in order to have freedom. Can also realize how men go "stir crazy" or get "le cafard" as the Frenchmen say. At the time of writing Ernie ie Major Hodkinson has one of his moods and the decree has gone forth that, if we wish to hold our stripes, we have to clamp down. lf necessary, he will bring N.C.O.'s from other companies. This kind of crap certainly burns you up and right now, what is needed is a little horse sense. On parade the other day, he pegged Pott for talking, when he was standing with his back to the company. Pott got four days extra fatigue. Yesterday he pegged Mallows and Hodgkinson the same way. Today on parade, checked up on talking near me and had things in my sector pretty well under control. However, off to my right I heard a rather persistent buzzing and aIthough I couldn't hear the speaker, from the timbre, tone, accent, etc. judged it to be McShane. Cautioned him and he retorted that he wasn‘t talking. Kept an eye on the spot and observed him turn around and talk to Patterson. Immediately placed him under open arrest. The ironic part of the whole situation is that LSgt. Budd was standing much closer to the scene that what I was but made no attempt whatsoever to either remedy my error or to check on the talking. Actually, my three brother sergeants aren't worth a shit and sure have no love for me. This perpetual nagging certainly gets a man and under the circumstances should be kept away from as much as possible. Old MacFadyen is just as fed up on it as any of us but what in hell can he do? Hodkinson to me has been a prick for some time and certainly you can not get a leopard to change his spots. These officers of ours are the I biggest collection of pricks I've seen in one bunch for some time. Every company, but ours, gave cigarettes to the men on their concert nights. This, in here, where smokes are more valuable than gold, sticks out like tits on a bull. However, in the words of our famous Company philosophers, "There‘ll come a day", and I sure as hell will never forget this. Cannot help wish this phase of my life was over. To cap things off, served ` out the sweet sauce and had too many seconds. Needless to say, my old pal, Olafson, capitalized on this and made as much of it as possible. However, must make allowances for such ilk but hate like hell making such a ball, Had a talk with MacTaggart the other night and he sure gave me a real slant on Shayler in the hills. Even worse than what I had imagined or knew. Certainly is a fine specimen of humanity. Dan and I have some interesting talks over various topics. Also, with Floss; Buzz and Bill Pugsley on various things. Have been working with Bobby Boyd lining up different things- made up a quiz contest for the Sergeants to be run tonight, ‘ Spelling Bee for HQ. and another quiz to be made for "B" Coy besides typing out a play and doing various other things. Pellar says the morale in camp has improved 100% over what it was when he left. it is far more noticeable to him than to us, as it has been very slow and gradual. Am keeping in fairly good shape now. Beri-Beri seems to have gone away and hope it remains that way. Still have some great old discussions on various types of food that we prefer and would like to have when we get out. Still think there is a good chance of being free this year and made a bet of Scotch that we'll be free before Xmas, 1942. Sure hope so and really will be glad when I get away from this outfit forever. May it be within the next six months!
Friday, May the 22nd, 1942
Once again I take my pen in hand to inscribe a few things in this journal. Lately we've been hearing some good news. It is reported that on the Russian front, the Russkies have made drives in which they have gains of anywhere from 30 to 50 miles. They are reported to have put 2,000,000 new men in the line. ln one drive the Germans are alleged to have lost 75,000 men in killed, wounded, etc. and furthermore it is claimed that the German troops are inexperienced and tired. It is said the the largest Jap battleship has been sunk in the Indian Ocean and that the Japs have suffered severe losses in a naval engagement in the same area. Furthermore, they are said to be short of cruisers, destroyers, etc. and have mainly big craft left. The "Prinz Eugen" is supposed to have been sunk and they were after the "Von Tirpitz". ln the Jap papers, up till today's, however, things were very much against us. Fritzie had made gains at Kerch in the Crimea and the Yanks were definitely out of luck so far as aircraft carriers in the Pacific were concerned. Another story now has it that one of the “Empress" liners with 2100 Canadians aboard was sunk off Singapore. Mr. MacKechnie told me this morning that, in the Jap paper, they admitted that the Germans had been stopped at Kerch and around Kharkov a huge tank battle was in progress. The Russians had a million men in action and the Japs figure if they win it will be too bad for Fritzie. In the Pacific, somehow or other the Yanks have dug up a couple of aircraft carriers but according to the Nips, it's just a waste of effort, as they, too, will be summarily dealt with. The British are said to have made a statement to the effect that the next two . months will decide the war. The aircraft carrier "lllustrious" is once more back in service, which is helpful. So, all in all, things would appear to be rapidly coming to a showdown and from the Jap admissions, evidently we‘re not doing too badly. At any rate, let‘s hope the Russians really hammer the daylights out of Fritzie around Kharkov. So much for that phase of the news. One piece in the Jap paper of May the 17th was that Switzerland had been recognized by the Japs as looking after Canadian interests. This is cheering and it may be we shall now have a chance to write some sort of note home. ln camp, life is still meandering along its own sweet way. Last night, we had another Amateur Contest, which turned out to be very good. The Company Commander called in all the Section leaders and gave them a cigarette for every man. Mr. Porteous looked after the main part of the program and yours truly the Amateur Hour. Have a copy of the programme herewith. Have been C.O.S. all week, which entails a lot of detail work. Tomorrow is my last day. On parade last Sunday put Raites on the peg and he got three days' extra fatigues. Had a talk with McShane and got the affair straightened out. Dropped the charge against him and as I've above mentioned, finally got the guilty party. Still are having trouble with the Company, though and the other day had to give them extra drill. Morale ie so far as esprit de corps is concerned, at the time of writing is non-existent in "B" Company. Personally, am not very popular and am known as "Peg-em-all" Porter. However, am trying to do my best, which is all any man can do. Rather a thankless job at the present time and aIthough you hate to clamp down, yet it is necessary. "Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile" certainly applies in this instance and l‘m afraid it will have to be a case of "bullwhip" methods for some time yet. In the Sergeant's hut an epidemic of dysentry has broken out and about nine of them are in the hospital. So far have escaped this but am scared of beri-beri coming back. Flight now it looks as though it may be and am worrying about it. Sure can't help but hope it holds off.
Sunday, May the 24th, 1942
Yesterday, 23-5-42, we had a Muster Parade in the afternoon. Major Hodkinson told us that we were to be asked to sign a form to the effect that, so long as we're prisoners of war under the Japs, we would not make any attempt to escape. He advised us to sign and said he was himself. Failure to sign would mean a trial by the Japs. I asked him it we had the C.O.'s permission to sign and he said that this would be granted. Marched on to the square and had a talk in Japanese by the Colonel in command of the prison camps. This was translated by a Jap interpreter and will give the gist. Briefly, it was that we had made an unconditional surrender and were completely subject to Japanese military law. Failure to obey any order would constitute an act of insubordination. He then gave an order that we should sign these forms. Under the circumstances there wasn't very much we could do except sign. One man in the Rifles refused to and he was marched away. So far l haven't heard what happened to him. All our officers signed, so that we're all in the same boat. To my mind do not feel bound in any shape or form and this certainly will not deter me from escaping should an opportunity present itself. lf we had all refused to sign, all they needed to do was clamp down on us in the matter of rations. The Nips do not recognize International Law, claiming that we have broken it by sinking several of their hospital ships. Cannot figure out just what was behind it all - ofcourse there is a certain amount of propaganda value in it but otherwise cannot figure it out. Only hope people in Canada do not take the wrong slant on the situation but do not think they will. News has been ‘ very meagre but it would appear that the Busskies are still doing pretty well on the Russian front in the Ukraine. Hope so and more power to them. Supposed to have been said by a BBC. news commentator that the next two months will decide the war. Hope he's right and it cannot come too soon. Went sick yesterday, as this beri-beri or whatever it is, has come back on me. Got seven days excused all parades and was told to keep off my feet as much as possible. On Monday night at 1900 hrs am to go for another needle. Am of the opinion that, so long as we're on this diet, will be troubled with this. Lack of meat, eggs, milk, etc. are to my mind the cause of it. A couple of quarts of milk per day would certainly be all right. However, not much one can do but keep plugging along. It's the 24th and back home people are away on a long weekend. Last year we were up at Newcastle on a rest. The year before, 1940, I went down to Grand Beach with Frank Pinchbeck and Norman Gall. Certainly went on a real tight and had a hard job making the barracks. We were out at Fort Osborne and Bobby Smith and Rodd helped me into bed. I wonder how l shall celebrate the next 24th? Should be able to have a weekend with Alb out at the farm. It has occurred to me that, at some very distant date, someone whom I shall never see, may get hold of this diary and marvel at the vagaries and idiosyncrasies of a simple Grenadier of 1942 vintage. If so, whoever you may be, male or female, kinsman or otherwise, I give greetings and ask that you bear with me, as, under the circumstances, a lot of things pass through one's mind, which under normal conditions, would never enter into your scheme of life. Possibly, under more pleasant days, shall read this myself and am going to set forth, herewith, my views and ideas on different phases of life. It will be rather interesting to compare them twenty or thirty years hence. With regard to my ambitions or desire for worldly fame, would quite naturally like to be more or less in a position of financial independence, so that I might have a sufficient amount of leisure to enjoy myself in various pursuits. At the time, it doesn't seem very possible or probable and it is a certainty that on my return home, shalt have to work for a living. This leads into the question of how to earn my living. Shall I, more or less, bury myself by getting a Government job or shall I venture forth into the business world and endeavor to start my own business? Conditions at home will have a very definite bearing on any plan of this nature and until such time as we get there, cannot arrive at any decision. Personally, I lean to a business of my own or at least a share in one. However, a Government job has much to commend itself insomuch as security etc. is concerned. Furthermore, with the farm and Pop to get settled, am not in a position to gamble. Another angle, needless to say, is the social one, which leads into the question of marriage. I am now 27 and am still footloose and fancy free. Prior to my enlistment, had no urge to settle down but now, have a more of a bent in this fine. The need of squaring off the farm etc. will have something to say on this subject also but in time this will be rectiRed. Marriage, to be quite frank, has always rather scared me in a sense, as I'm, in some ways, rather of the timid type. This would surprise some of my fellows. Have lived all my life in a house complete with a garden and would never be satisRed living in a block. One of my pet hobbies will be puttering around in the garden, as I grow older and have definite ideas of purchasing a house and lot. If by the time I reach 35, am not married, do not think l ever will. Still one never knows and it may be that l will be spliced much sooner than I think. Have no one particular in mind at this time and still am very dubious over the possibilities. So much for that, which will depend a lot on my ability to settle down on my return. Most certainly shall endeavor to travel as much as possible - more particularly to large cities such as New York, Chicago, Montreal, San Francisco, etc. Will also build up a good library consisting of reference books, maps, travel, biography, etc. This is really indulging in fantasy but at this time, it does you good to look ahead and plan, as it takes your mind off the grimness and starkness of our present mode of existence. Incidentally, ere I forget, Mr. Mackechnie gave me a box of raisins, which sure are more than welcome, the more so with this beri-beri back again. In ending, let's hope that before Xmas we shall have again our freedom.
Wednesday, May the 27th, 1942
Once more I sit down to scratch out a few lines in this journal. So far as news is concerned, have not much to report and nothing of any great authenticity. The Russians and Germans are still going at it around Kharkov and the Germans are supposed to have landed great numbers of parachute troops behind the Russian lines. However, by the use of cavalry, they are being mopped up and the Russkies appear to have things well in hand. According to Mr. Mackechnie, the Jap paper doesn't sound too enthused over Fritzie's prospects and says that the next six or eight weeks will tell the tale. In any event, if old Joe beats Fritzie at Kharkov, sure will relieve the pressure in Ukraine. In camp, S/Sgt. Clark of the C.P.C. has been told by the Japs that mail will be in on the 5th of June and that he is to make preparations for distributing it. Can hardly believe this but will not make me mad to receive same. Had an injection for beri beri, Monday the 25th and it seems to have helped quite a bit. Evidently it‘s thiamin they use. This is a drug, very, very rich in Bf. Hope I can get rid of this but think under the present diet will always have trouble. Incidentally, I understand that our rations have been cut 20% by the Nips. Certainly the last few days have been pretty slim —- - straight rice with sweet sauce and greens. This may be a good sign in some ways, as I believe things are bound to be tough before the end and to my way of thinking we have reached the halfway mark in our captivity. At least I sincerely hope so, as it is beginning to pall with the advent of the real hot weather, to put it very mildly, it will be a bastard. This week so far it has been very warm and I can well imagine what July will be like. The sun is very similar to our own in July , only a little hotter. Mosquitoes are fierce and no doubt will get even worse as the season advances. Have some good talks with Ray Pellar, Buzz, Bill Pugsley and Firmia Lyras. Old Bill and I get into some real arguments over Great Britain and the States. Rather foolish as neither one could convince the other. Talks range over such subjects as business, food, shows, books, etc., what we're going to do, jobs, get-togethers, politics, Legion and one thing or another. Am taking life very easy and am doing a lot of reading. Had a talk with MacKechnie and Queen-Hughes last night and they‘re both of the opinion that this fall will see the finish of it. Queen-Hughes is certainly very bitter about the whole thing and certainly he is going to demand an accounting on our arrival home. Cannot see how Germany is going to last another winter and surely the British will make a drive in the West in the next month or so. Understood that the Japs are going after India and if so, think they are going to bite off more than they can chew. Got hold of an "Esquire" September, 1940, and it was good to read it once more. In normal times, l never bothered reading the ads to any great extent but now believe they have as much if not more, attraction than the articles and stories. It is good to read of different styles in clothing, shoes, drinks and what have you. One's faith in the uItimate triumph of right is strengthened and it does you good to realize that such things as "civvy" clothes, music, etc. still exist and count for something. Buzz, Bill, and l have just been talking of the trouble there'll be in maintaining discipline once we're free. Undoubtedly this will I be quite a problem but we have a hold over them insofar as their pay is concerned. Then again, the big bulk of them are, at heart, pretty decent fellows and instinctively will do the right thing. Still it will be a rather difficuIt time but one which will have to be deaIt with firmly yet tactfully. Whether or not our officers can rise to the occasion is very, very doubtful. Certainly the Senior officers, on their past performances, never will and the onus will rest squarely on the N.C.O.'s . But we will cross the Vistula after we cross the Elbe - the Elbe in this case, being getting free.
Wednesday, June the 24th, 1942
It is sometime, indeed, since I sat down to write a few lines in this journal. For the past 23 days I have been in the camp hospital down with dry dysentry. When l went in, l weighed 141 and on my release 119 - a loss of 22 lbs. I am, needless to say, very, _ very weak and can hardly hold this pen steady enough to scribble these few words. In all honesty, the past three weeks have been the grimmest I have ever had to face and certainly, up to the time of writing, represent the lowest time of my life. For six days all I had was a liquid diet of tea 4 times a day and as much water as I could drink. For 7 clays I even slept on a bedpan. Even now I can't eat all my rations and still am not allowed to eat any stews of meat or vegetables. My diet now consists of rice and l sweet sauce for breakfast, a bun and tea for dinner, and plain rice for supper, which certainly is a great thing for anyone recuperating from a sickness. In the hospital, the orderlies and the doctors were very, very good to me but they haven't anything to give you -- their medical supplies are of the very scantiest. In getting rid of this dysentry it is essential that you drive it out and you should at the start get about 5 or 6 oz of Epsom salts per day. Here they haven't even got salts! So when you're let go, there‘s no guarantee that all the germs have been passed through you and consequently, there are numerous recurrences. That is what I am afraid of and am keeping my fingers crossed. Another thing, which worries me, is the possibilities of after effects in later years. Certainly shall always be assured of free medical attention and there may be the possibility of a small pension. Since I've been in hospital, quite a bit has transpired in Camp. They now take men out every day to work on the airport at Kai Tak. Are going to get paid but just how much they do not know, aIthough it is reputed . to be either 10 or 15 sen per day. At first there was great rejoicing over this but lately I do not think they’re quite so enthused. However, will write more on this later as I gather more information. Another thing is that, at last, we've been permitted to write a letter home. Couldn't say much as were pretty well restricted but you could write up to 200 words. Was in hospital, when my turn came to write but scribbled out a letter to Pop and Dan typed it out for me. Am on the third bunch and should be sending another one soon. As a matter of fact, the first lot have sent their second -only a post card this time. Shall write to Alb. Well I'|l sign off for a while as I'm getting tired.
Sunday, June the 28th, 1942
In the past month, news has been rather scarce and we are rather in a quandary as to what has been happening. However, the Japs made an attack on Midway Island and A from all accounts, took quite a licking.
Saturday, July the 4th, 1942
It is a while since I wrote herein and quite a few things have occurred. Wrote home to Alb yesterday on a postcard and managed to squeeze some 200 words on it. Right now there is great speculation in camp as to just what is actually happening in the way of alleged negotiations, which evidently have been going on for some time between Canada and Japan over our repatriation. The Colonel told Sgt. Maybury that these were now reaching a stage whereby he had hopes that we would be on our way home by the end of September. Maybury came in to the Mess and made bets up to $75.00 to this effect. Since this, there have been other things which indicate that these negotiations are being carried on, although as to their nature, success or final outcome we cannot even hazard a good guess but can only wait and nope. Mr. Mackechnie, _ however, is very sceptical of the whole thing but still believes that we will defeat Germany this year. Needless to say, this has caused quite a series of rumors - some of which are to say the least, childish. Latest is to the effect that the Dutch sailors are moving to Shamshuipo next week. Another is that next week we are to be photographed and fingerprinted! However, take all this with a grain of salt and whilst cannot help but hope this is true, am not counting on it at all. News via Jap paper is not very good. Germans are now only 50 miles from Alexandria in Egypt and Sevastopol has at length fallen. Churchill took quite a panning in the House but was given a vote of confidence of 75 to 25. ln his summary he said that never before in the history of the world had two nations been working together so closely as were the States and Britain. They were determined , he said, to carry the war to a successful termination this year. Just how the Japs are doing l don't know but it looks as though things are more or less at a standstill out here. Still ranting at Australia to repent and join the new order, as it is a foregone conclusion that it's all up with the Allies. However, if Australia is such a pushover, why don't they go ahead and take it'? Things in camp are about the same, although there has been quite a shakeup in camp over the cookhouse. Jeffrey has now been tossed out and Sinclair is now in. He is right in there with the Colonel and now, there are no more QM. meetings and no one can get in the cookhouse. On these working parties, too, the Officers sit down to eat sandwiches and cake right in front of the men, who get 4 buns with a piece of meat in between. On the 1st of July they had steaks for dinner and the Sergeant Caterer came around and asked each officer how he‘d like it done - medium, rare, or well done! Judas Priest! and we got one bun and a concoction made of burnt rice and sugar to take the place of teal As my old Dad says — "The mills of the gods grind slowly but surely" - and if there is any justice in this world, or a God in heaven, certainly there will be a great day of judgement. All the officers are not in the same category but the majority aren't worth a pinch of coon shit and there are actually some who w0uldn't mind staying in here for a couple of years! if they were eating the same as we are, they’d be singing a different tune. Flight now am beginning to feel a little better myself - gained 3 lbs so now weigh 122 lbs but still am pretty weak and have no appetite whatsoever. Eat half my rice only and none at all at night. Am not crapping too badly now, although at times it still runs through me. Pretty weak yet and sure am thoroughly "fed up" with life in this hole. Have some great talks with Ray Pellar and Buzz. Chew the rag over business, religion, the war, army, "civvy" life, and what have you. Cannot help but wish it was all over and it will be a great day when I can put my "civvy" clothes on.. Had a very, very good concert on the evening of the 1st and really enjoyed it. Last year - 1941 - got tight as a Lord in Kingston - 1940 - as internment Camp Guard - 1939 - Grand Beach — 1943 ......... Get into some real hot arguments with Sgt. Major Tugby over various subjects. Certainly cannot rate his intelligence very high. To him the Army is as a tin god and that doesn't go with me. Cannot see where there is any justice in the army. After three years in this regiment, it certainly is not conducive to making one feel there is and I'lI be glad to get back to a world where a man stands on his own feet and is not subject to all this suckholding and petty jealousies which enter so much into the life of this outfit.
This journal was commenced on July the 10th, 1942, at Bowen Road Military Hospital and is a continuation of the one kept at North Point Internment Camp by Sgt. K.E. Porter, H - 6118, "B" Coy, Winnipeg Grenadiers. Anyone finding this book at anytime, it would be very much appreciated if they would either return same to above or mail it to the following address: Sgt. K.E. Porter c/o C. Porter Room 79, Brunswick Hotel Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada Please forward Reimbursement of funds for postage, etc. will be willingly made. Thank You!
July 10, 1942
I Once more I'm under the weather with another touch of dysentry or diarrhea. Went back into Camp Hospital on Tuesday, running pretty badly. However, got six doses of salts then and thru the next (day) with the resuIt that it really ran through me. Got sent to BR. yesterday - why I do not know, as I was feeling real good and had only gone once. Since my arrival here, I've only gone twice - this isn't so good, as I've been starved now since Tuesday and so long as they don't get a stool to test, will continue to be. So, here's hoping I can make a stab at it before long. Have had quite a variety to drink — watered, powdered milk, watered tomato juice, cocoa and rice water. This isn't too bad a place but run on the usual Imperial lines. It's much better than the one in Jamaica, as the staff seem more efficient and certainly are more cheerful. Major Harrison, in charge of our ward, certainly gives you a very thorough going over and also is an easy man to talk to, which helps a lot. Here, they have nurses - Sisters, V.A.D.‘s, nurses and a Matron, which helps to make it look more like a hospital. Fl.A.M.C. orderlies complete the picture and they're the usual R.A.M.C. crowd, pretty cheerful but calloused, which is only to be expected. Flight now, as I write, we're waiting to see if a reputed typhoon is going to break or not. Doors are battened down and all windows and shutters bolted. Rather crowded, as all patients, who sleep on the verandah, are all packed in here till this thing blows over. Still anything I s'pose to . break the monotony. Johnny Brittan is here and whilst he has lot a terrific lot of weight, having been as low as 106 lbs., yet he is in good spirits and is slowly but surely on the - road to health. Bob Stager was in to see me and he's looking pretty good. Told me that in Egypt, Americans, Canadians and New Zealanders had been landed, had stemmed RommelI's advance and were making a pincer movement with two armored columns. Here's hoping this is true and that they really clip them. Our red hot subject; ie the negotiations, is practically unknown and they sure are more than interested in the details. Grub seems to be pretty fair and right now the chaps on full are certainly going to town, as they draw full rations for everyone. Flight now, in our ward, there are eight of us on liquid diet, about seven on light, so the "fulls" are really getting their fill. However, my day, in that regard, l hope, is coming. Will now sign off.
11 — 7 - 42
Another day and another dollar. Well I'm still constipated which sure is a screwy way for anyone to be with dysentry. I'm now on some special, light diet - had first meal today at noon of a very small portion of rice, with some onions on top, plus half a slice _ of bread. Sure tasted good and I feel a lot better for it. Well, the typhoon scare is over. Everyone had to sleep inside last night and all the doors, windows and shutters were fastened down. Got some alleged news from a C.P.O. to the effect that the Japs lost three more destroyers and the "Von Tirpitz" is supposed to have been sunk. In Egypt, Rommell has been driven back and a pincer movement is being tried on him. Here's hoping but I'm afraid he's too wily a bird to be caught like that. Roger Nobiss was up to see me last night and he's looking fine. His arm is in bad shape and evidently will never be much use to him. Consensus of opinion, here, is that we’ve got to put in another winter, although some of the Naval officers think that Japan will be proped in ere that. Remember Shamshuipo and the Naval Officers and take it with a little salt. Still am hoping that Britain and the U.S. will make a drive this month and prop in Germany this fall. Can only keep my fingers crossed in this regard. Brittan and I had a talk yesterday and I'm glad to say he's getting to be more like his old self again. If he doesn't get some sort of a pension after this, there sure as hell is something rotten in Denmark. Britt figures on a little place of his own and just taking life easy. This has a lot of appeal to me and often I wonder whether or not I should go out on the farm with Alb for a year and look over Teulon and the district as regards some sort of a small job- half time, maybe, and the rest of time on farm. Certainly, if I ever get a pension of $40.00 or so, shall definitely go out there to live but that's in the lap of the gods until we get home and see actually how things are lining up. Until then it's nice to try to plan and it helps take your mind off this situation, which sure gets monotonous and trying at times, to say the least. In here, as you're lying in bed, one cannot help but wonder how they are all doing at home. Let us hope that, before another year goes by, we will all be united once more on the old farm. In any event, can't help thinking of home at this time.
12 - 7 - 42
The "Giorious Twelfth" and what memories that evokes! Dave Woolley, Jimmy Quinn, Tom Humphries, "Scotty" Young,"Old" Jack Mavins, "Young" Jack, Bob Carter — "rest his soul" · to mention just a few. Days at River Park, the Beach, Selkirk and what not. Let us hope that the next 12th is under better auspices. Still am constipated and had a dose of salts (2) but so far, have not been very successful. I-lad a real good dinner, as they had extra rice from somewhere and felt full for the first time in ages. Young Sellars from "C" Coy was brought in on a stretcher in bad shape and I understand Mr. MacKechnie came in too with dengue fever. Shall be glad to see him again. Roger Nobiss was up to see me again. He's looking pretty fit but his left arm is useless. The nerves are all shot and they can't do a thing for him here. Looks as though it is always going to be that way, which is too bad, as Roger is a helluva swell fellow and deserved better but c'est Ia guerre, I guess.
13 — 7 - 42
Well, today am to be allowed up and an increase in rations. salts worked and as a matter of fact, are kind of bothering my stomach a little right now. Britt and Scotty Adams were talking to Bob Phillips separately and he tells them that the Brigadier has confirmed this story that negotiations for repatriation am supposed to have taken place and that they are going through. There is another story that this applies only to those over GO, limbless and T.B. cases. So it boils down that we can only keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best. Would be more than nice, though, to have our Xmas dinner at home. Had quite a chat with Jack Fordyce, our Pioneer Sgt. last night and we certainly are agreed on the subject of our officers. Have a pretty fair library here and so tar have not done too badly on the books they bring me. This is a great place for sleeping as it is real high and you always get a swell breeze. Enjoy living on the ride or top of a hill but will not be sorry to see the good old prairie ot Manitoba. Wonder how they're doing at work these days and if Drew is keeping OK. Imagine I shall find some great changes, when I get home in more ways than one.
14 · 7 - 42
Well, have stopped running and as a matter of fact, so far, have not gone all day. Sure wish I could get down to a regular basis again. Am going to see the Dentist at 11 tomorrow. Met Mr. Cole of the Middlesex again and had a little chat with him. Talked a lot with Britt all day about one thing or another- mainly life as we see it - farming experiences, etc. and one thing or another. Also had quite a talk with Albert the Frenchman re grub, life at Dundurn at the Training Centre and what have you. According to the grapevine, Rommell is catching it pretty hard in Egypt and the ‘ Russians have been pushed back but are holding Fritzie at the Don River. Negotiation rumor has quitened down a lot. What are the British and Americans doing? Today's menu for me consisted of 2 slices of bread for breakfast, rice with some herring plus a small halt slice of bread for dinner, and rice with some mixed orange and lemon peel plus plus 2 1/2 slices of bread for supper. Quite an array of talent. Will have to make up for this day and let‘s hope it's soon.
15 — 7 — 42
Payday again but it doesn't mean very much to us right now. Had my first solid crap in seven weeks today - two of them in fact. So, let's hope I'm on the road to recovery at last. Had quite a talk with the dentist today and he told me l was very fortunate in having such good teeth and gums. Told me he thought this soreness would vanish as soon as the dysentry disappeared. Bob Stager was up to see me last night and he repeated the fact or story that the Brigadier had confirmed these negotiations. Here's hoping! Had a long talk with Britt again and played some cribbage. Mr. MacKechnie is now up here in a private bunk with dysentry. I now visit him. Don't think he has it very bad, thank goodness, and sure am glad to see him. Had a pretty fair dinner today, as there was meat in, which makes quite a difference. Really been running the last clay or two. It's nice and cool for sleeping which is a big help at this time of the year
17 - 7 — 42
Raining to beat the band again today. Sure is a great country for that. Had a touch of indigestion yesterday but it has eased considerably today. Washed out my clothes . and hope they'll dry. Had a long talk with MacKechnie and he's quite a bit better. Bob Phillips looked in and said there's no news whatsoever. However, let’s hope some action is taking place somewhere to our advantage. Britt and l played again for sometime and chewed the rag. He figures a John Deere tractor is the best buy for anyone, who has not has much experience along that line. Hundred less parts in them than any other make and no particular complicated gears to bother about. Have read some pretty fair books since my sojourn in this place - one in particular "The Story of San Michele" by Axel Munthe was very good. Time passes not too badly considering and I sleep pretty good at nights! We're more or less quarantined in this ward but it doesn‘t bother me very much. Still think of home and wonder what they're doing and what kind of a setup we're going to bump into on our return.
17 - 7 - 42
Well, am now beginning to feel more like my old self. Had two good stools today - the second one being the first decent one in eight weeks. Am not on full diet yet but am getting enough, as I still haven't much of an appetite. Mr. MacKechnie has been shiRed down below again, so cannot talk with him. We're completely isolated now, as there have been a number of cases break out in the hospital. Had a bath today and it sure felt good. Talked a lot with Britt today as usual about one thing or another and played some more crib. Rather a monotonous life but still it's a welcome one from Camp. Often wonder over how the war is going and how things are at home. Also on what l'll do when I get that "civvy" suit on. Of course, time alone can tell in that regard. Sometimes l wonder if l shouldn't go out with Alb and scout around to see what chances are for getting some small business in that district. Has always been in the back of my mind about a small newspaper but as I haven't any experience at all in that line, it's rather a long shot. However, it's something to bear in mind. Only rumor is to the effect that the buns in Camp are now taken outside to be baked. Well this is today's stint and here's hoping it isn't much longer.
18 - 7 — 42
Have been put on a full diet and cannot say I'm very pleased about it. Sure get lots to eat but it's not as appetizing as the other diet. Couldn't eat everything and had a touch of the shits again. Have moved out on the verandah next to Britt. Certainly is nice out here - really fresh and it should be an A-1 place to sleep. Was downstairs today to get a book and saw Cam Maddess for the first time. He is in bad shape, aIthough they've fixed his face pretty good by grafting. Has had now 27 different operations for one thing or another. His left arm is in a bad way and whilst he thinks he'll be able to use it again, I very much doubt it. Have had several interesting talks with a chap in the Rifles by the name of Gallagher. He comes from the Gaspé Peninsula near the Bay of Chaleur and was, more or less, a farmer. Is a pretty sensible chap and we chew the rag on one subject or another. Boy, did I ever feel it climbing up those stairs today! You don't realize how weak you are till you try to do something like that. However, in time, l s‘pose I‘ll regain my strength and ambition. ln the meantime. roll on freedom as fast as possible. 7'sl
19 - 7 — 42
Am once more passing light stools but feel a little better tonight as I ate more lightly today. However, sure haven't got much of an appetite but in time I guess that will remedy itself. Latest rumor is to the effect that the deal for our exchange has gone through but I'm afraid it's more wishful thinking or somebody had a bad dream. Would be very nice but somehow l cannot get up very much enthusiasm about it. Nothing much to report so far as this place is concerned. Japs are supposed to be going to take away all the beds, whether for their own use or for scrap metal I cannot say. Had another talk with Maddess and got into quite an argument with old Dave Johnson. A little argument sure peps one up. Britt and I had some interesting talks on different subjects. Am doing a fair amount of reading aIthough the books here are not so hot. Certainly you have plenty of time to think along any lines you desire and naturally, home is uppermost in your thoughts. Often l used to wonder what we were fighting tor. There'll come a day, when once more l'il stroll down Portage Avenue and wear a suit of civvies and sure can't help but pray that it will be very soon. 20 — 7 - 42 More rain again today. Doc put me on reduced rations and I feel a lot better. Had a l stool to the Lab and it was both solid and normal. Weighed myself and am 119 1/2 lbs., which is a lot less than what I should be. Life is getting very dull and sort of won't I mind getting back to Camp. Rain is really blowing into this verandah and it's coming down real hard. ls a great place for rain. Evidently, August is the hottest month here. Have just been told by a C.P.O. in the Navy that this repatriation scheme has gone through and we're to leave on the first of next month for Portugese East Africa. Here's hoping but I'm not going to lie awake nights losing sleep counting the hours. Heard that the Russians are being pushed back in the Ukraine. Had quite a talk with one of the nurses on Hong Kong. Evidently it was a pretty good place to work and live prior to the war. Nothing much of any import — just marking time and keeping our fingers crossed on more ways than one. Wish l could hear of a British invasion of the Continent. Would sure cheer up, as it is now beginning to look as though the war is to rage on another year or so.
21 - 7 — 42
Had quite a night being up no less than six times and now find myself back on practically a fluid diet. However, don't feel too bad and reckon l can stand it. Met Mike Bilyk today and his hand will never be the same. Had his little finger off and cannot clench his fist at all. Also saw Sgt. Major Adams and he's not looking too bad. Art Budd is in with an ulcer in his eye but it's not real serious. Matron told Freddy that this deal is coming off early next month and here's hoping. lf this is just another hoax, someone should get hell for letting it get around the way it has. Got hold of a good book "Ollver Wiswell" by Kenneth Roberts. Still raining which makes it very dull. Can't help pondering over how conditions are going to be in Canada after this - just what prices will be, how they'll handle the immigration question and just how they propose to pay for this war. Assuredly, there will have to be a change from the present form of government and just what form it should be or will take, Quien sabe?
22 - 7 - 42
Had a real good night's sleep - only had to get up once for a leak. So far today I haven't even had a crap. which is the way l go, from one extreme to another. M.O. now has me taking needles and some sort of green medicine, which is pretty rough on the palate. Am still on fluids and at meaItimes, l sure feel hungry watching the others eating but otherwise, don't feel too bad. My stomach must be in pretty bum shape and It's going to take some time, especially on this diet, to get back into shape. Still raining and it came down in bucketfuis during the night, so l‘m told, as l managed to sleep through it all. No news save that this repatriation scheme looks as though it applies to "civvies" ie women and children and not to us. Have had two interesting talks with a S/Sgt. here on various subjects. He is well-read and have enjoyed my conversations very, very much with him.- Had quite a chat with Britt over pensions and we're both agreed that there will be too damned many try to take advantage of the Government _ and the people on their return home. Must buy a copy of "Oliver Wiswell", as it sure has the right slant on war and how an army is run.
23 - 7 - 42
No rain so far today. Am on a special diet again and am not doing too badly. So far I haven*t had a crap which is bad. However, that‘s the way it goes. My stomach certainly must be in bad shape and it's going to take some time to mend. Visited Art Budd and he's not doing too badly, aIthough his eye is still painful. Had quite a talk with Hughie Anderson. His feet have healed up and look an awful lot better than they did when he left Camp. He's pretty optimistic about this trade and figures it should happen around the fifteenth of next month. Some more came in from North Point Camp, amongst whom was R.Q.M.S. Bert Beare. Shall have to see him tomorrow to glean any news he may have. Today has been dead so far as news or rumors are concerned. Britt had his back dressed today and he sure had a bedsore. Originally it was the size of an egg and went right down to the bone. Was rotten and full of pus, so they say he must have gone through hell. However, it looks fine now and if it continues mending as it is, should be cleared up in about two weeks time. Had a talk late last night about my status quo in "B" Coy and he told me I had three strikes on me, so far as the men were concerned. lf we ever had to soldier the same way as before, he figures that I wouldn't be able to hold my hooks. This is no news to me and I've given some thought to it. Do not think we will have to do any real soldiering, when we get out of here and if we do, it won't be for long, as they'll rush us home as quickly as possible. Furthermore, shall more than likely have to help in the Bn Orderly Room. Britt says l'll have plenty of company in my travails but until we get there, why worry and in the meantime, the dough is piling up, which is what interests me particularly.
24 - 7 - 42
Finally had a crap this afternoon but had to have two doses of salts before I could. Do not feel too bad and am fairly satisRed on the meals. Get a little beef dripping on my bread, which is sliced so thin I call it tissue paper. Always did enjoy dripping and it goes down very easily now. To cap it off, I spread sugar on top of it! Quite a combination and one that would never have entered my mind under ordinary circumstances. So, once more am starting another cycle and hope they do not rush me onto a heavier diet. Heard today that the British had bombed Bremen using the new Lancashire bombers, which are larger than the Flying Fortresses. Crete was bombed and there is a huge tank battle going on in Egypt. On the Russian front there is a seesaw battle taking place around the Don Biver. Canton has been bombed again and there is evidence of Chinese activity south of Shanghai. New Guinea has been invaded again by the Nips but MacArthur has the situation well in hand. -I-leard here that the Japs are going to discontinue letting them have a dance Saturday night, as they consider them to be immoral. Had a talk with R.Q.M.S. Beare and he says the grub in Camp, insofar as the cooking is concerned, is very poor. Men are only putting up with it because they figure this exchange is going through. Have had trouble over rations and the Colonel is backing up the Sgt. Cook against all the CQMS's. So it's to be hoped that this deal does take place to relieve the pressure. Went down stairs for a walk around the hospital three times, which is tantamount to 3/4 of a mile. Climbing back up stairs was a real heartbreaker and my old knees sure felt it but that's only natural after what I've been through.
25 - 7 - 42
Had an A-1 crap this morning and so far have escaped any further goings. Do not feel too bad and am glad to say my legs are getting stronger as a resuIt of my walks. I-lad a slight tinge of indigestion today but hope it isn't going to resuIt in further complications. Am now on the next thing to full rations and am quite satisRed to stay there for awhile. Saw Mr. MacKechnie for a short time but as this was inspection day, couldn't stay very long. Also talked with Mr. Cole, Phillips brothers, Mike Bilyk, and Hughie Anderson. Was told that one of the Navy officers figures 50% of the Jap Navy is now out of action and Bob Phillips said that the Americans had announced that 3/5 of the Jap Navy has been rendered ineffective. If this is to be believed, Japan must be in a bad way. Personally, do not think it is true. Colonel came around on his inspection — the usual line of Army bull, aIthough he certainly is a vast improvement on Col. Robb in Jamaica. This man's name is Shackleton and he doesn't seem to be too bad a chap. Pretty quiet here today and rather monotonous. At the time of writing, they‘re beginning to congregate for evening muster parade. The bell for assembly is ringing and the Japs will soon be coming around. Do not have to attend these as yet and am going to stall them off as long as I can. So far have not been able to put on any weight but hope to start picking up soon. It's Saturday night and back home I guess I'd be sitting on the train heading for Grand Beach. At least, prior to enlistment, that constituted my weekly ritual and when I look back on how l acted and some of the stunts I pulled off, I certainly was very harebrained, to put it mildly. Do not suppose I shall ever go back to those carryings on, aIthough I shall certainly take a trip there.
26 - 7 - 42
Sunday and the start of the last week in July. Am feeling pretty good and had an A—1 crap this morning, aIthough there was some blood in the pan. Looks as though I now have piles to add to my other sins. Showed my varicose veins to the Doc but he says l to wait awhile and show them to him again. Still on special and it suits me to a "T". Have no great appetite. Weighed myself today and minus my boots, tip the old scales at 115 U2. However, as I said before, feel pretty good save that my legs especially are very weak. Went to church for the first time and really enjoyed it. Padre Squires · preached an A-1 sermon on "Discipline", taking his text from St. Lukes - where the centurion sends for Christ to try to help his servant, who is lying sick. He very skillfully led the subject around to our present plight. He stated that a lot of us considered, since we were prisoners, there was no longer any need for discipline. Others had lost their own sense of self-discipline and self-respect. Then again, some, who were in positions of authority, had forgotten that they should set an example for those underneath them. All in all, it was very good and he finished it off by reading a poem which I hope to get a copy of. Visited with Mr. MacKechnie and he told me he had heard the largest convoy in history had crossed to England - 155,000 troops fully equipped. Cannot imagine them bringing in all those men just to have them sit on their fannies all winter. Talked with Art Budd this afternoon about war, food, what we'll do on our return home etc. and also talked to Woodhead re books and grub. Food is a topic which is all enveloping right now and if we try half the things we talk of, are going to worry someone nuts. However, I figure we'll forget half of these things when we get back to normal.
27 - 7 - 42
Started off the day with an A-1 crap, aIthough there was blood in it. Evidently, l have a bleeding pile of some sort. Otherwise do not feel too bad but still no appetite. Am bothered at times with acidity in my stomach. Will try to get off rice and totally onto bread. Today is Brittan's birthday - 35 yrs old - they had a little party for him. He's coming along good and is in fine spirits - more like his old self. Had a talk today with Cam Maddess about the hotel business. He used to be Assistant Barkeep at the Empire in Winnipeg. It you behave yourself there is a good chance for advancement. Had another talk with R.Q.M.S. Beare about one thing or another. Bert was telling me he figured on going out to the coast and starting up a chicken ranch. Thinks he will be able to make a go of it on a little piece of land with some fruit trees, vegetables, etc. Had quite a discussion with him, Jimmy Downey and Doug Morrison re the war, Japs, negotiations, etc. Supposed to be very good news from Egypt - 700 planes bombed Berlin in daylight with little or no opposition - American troops have been taken from Ireland and concentrated in England - 3,000,000 troops took part in maneuvers and the British and Americans press are clamoring for a second front. A couple of fellows landed in today from Camp and one of them told me there was a rumor to the effect that these negotiations are a lot of hooey. Sooner or later, such a story was bound to crop up but somehow I think there are some dealings taking place. Bert Beare was told by Sister Waters, the Canadian sister from Winnipeg that we should be home in October. Sure hope it's true and the sooner, the better.
28 - 7 - 42
So far haven't had a crap, which under present circumstances, is a major catastrophe. Certainly have had my share of ups and downs. Still no appetite which is a good thing, as all there was for supper was plain rice. Am still on Special, which, the way things are going, is better than full. Went and had a chat with Mr. MacKechnie and the Phillips brothers. Mac is going back to Camp with the next bunch and he isn't sorry to be leaving, as he can't get enough to eat here. Still figures on a second front this summer and believe Germany can be pooped in this fall, if the affair is handled properly. Real nice sunshiny day - the kind you want to Ioll around and do nothing. Had an interesting talk with SlSgt. Shorthouse re farming in Canada. He was brought up in East Anglia and knows Swaffham - also- knows Carfe, Wareham, having been stationed at Dorchester for a couple of years. Was talking to Britt re tres for farm etc. and he figures the best things for a windbreak are caraganas - don't trim them but let them grow. Maple trees are very good for holding the soil. Can get information and trees free from Gov't by writing to the AgricuItural College. Must do this on my return _ home. Still go for my evening stroll of three times around and then upstairs. Climbing - those stairs is the hardest part of the whole procedure. Feel pretty good physically but otherwise certainly am "fed up" to the hiIt and hope this thing clears up soon. No one can understand how it feels to be cooped up with no news, food, which is foreign to anything you've had before, and restrictions heretofore unknown, unless he has experienced it himself. However, let‘er buck, we'll ride‘er through!
29 - 7 - 42
Well, pretty fair today. Drank two mugs of hot water early this morning and nature responded at 1145 with a generous evacuation. Still bothered with traces of piles but l s'pose that's life - one thing after another. Just after dinner we all had to move from our top ward down to the main floor because there's another typhoon warning up. It's been blowing to beat the band and raining fairly heavy. Have a real hospital cot to sleep on tonight but have to sleep inside which doesn't appeal to me after sleeping outside. Expect to be able to go back upstairs in the morning. "Bucktooth" Davies came around around and gave him notes for Buzz and Mac, as he was told they would be going back to camp today. Went to see MIr. MacKechnie and he had been warned also. Sure is a good head. Finished that book "Days of Hope" and must procure a copy on my release, as it certainly is well worth reading over and over for the the different philosophies and reactions of men under fire in the throes of a revolution. Something l haven't mentioned ere this but which cheers one up or makes you homesick, depending on your mood, are the sparrows. Just as cocky, chirpy, and tough as they are in Canada. We always scatter bread crumbs and rice for them to pick at with the resuIt that they're quite tame. Always did admire them for their spirit and now they're a link with that which is uppermost in our thoughts - home. Britt says one night he heard a whip-poor-will . The last one heard was out with Alb and here‘s hoping it isn't much longer before I'm there again.
30 - 7 - 42
Well we moved upstairs again, as the typhoon failed to materialize, thank goodness. Haven't felt so good today - my stomach has been giving me a little trouble. Had an A- 1 crap this morning, which is a step in the right direction. Piles still bother me and had some ointment for them. Still not much appetite and right now, the rations are pretty meagre. Haven't had any meat for over a week and not much hope of getting any. Not much in the way of news, aIthough it is alleged to be good. Have heard there has been a lull in the fighting in Libya, and in Russia, they're still at it hammer and tongs in the Ukraine. Repatriation talk has died down to a large extent with some pooh- poohing the idea and others still upholding it. Bob Stager is all for it and insists it is going through. Claims to have overheard some conversation, which he cannot divulge. This appears to have all the earmarks but who knows. Had a chat with Art Budd and Morrison, from the band, on one thing or another — news, patients, our return home, and what we'll do etc. Saw Hughie Anderson, also, and conversed with him re Trade Univas and organizing work in the mines. Got some info re work insofar as an office job is concerned and there certainly is a fair opportunity in some jobs. Then went and visited Bert Bears. Chewed the rag with him on various topics — repatriation, war, Winnipeg, homecoming, future and what have you. The other day was washing my plate and quite accidentally took a look at the trademark -"RoyaI Soverign Chinaware“ Mateuma 8. Co. - Japanese goods in a British Military Hospital! Sure are some ironic aspects to this war to say the least. However, twenty years or so ago, the Nips were our Allies! which probably accounts for the foregoing. Still it makes you wonder what the score is.
31 — 7 - 42
Had a real bad night with plenty of gas in my stomach. Sure felt tough but after drinking my two mugs of hot water, had a good crap, which helped a lot. Feel better tonight, thank goodness, and hope it continues so. Am now taking some sort of acid besides a shot in the arm every second day. Still haven't got much appetite and practically no desire to eat at all. Heard today that the Russians had told the British unless they open a second front, they're going to make a separate peace. Hamburg was bombed for 12 hours first of all with incendiaries and then for another 12 with HE. So maybe the issue is now to take definite form. In Libya, there is a lull in hostilities. Had a talk with Cam Maddess on various subjects. He has a bad stye on his eye at present. Brittan and I talked most of the afternoon on farms · mixed vs grain, keeping books etc and what have you. This is payday but it doesn't mean a thing to us at the g present time. However, there'll come a day, as they say, when it once more will mean something to us. Sure am getting fed up on this life and in more ways than one, wish it was all over. Hope I can get out of the Army right away, as have had more than my share of it. I wonder how Pop is - can well imagine he is really worrying over me, as I don‘t think they know yet lust who is alive or dead. Cannot see how we'll be free this year, unless there are some very startling developments in the next month. Certainly hope this second front is opened up ere September and can only keep my fingers crossed! Hope Xmas Day is celebrated as free men.
1 - 8 - 42
Here it is the start of the 8th month of 1942 and let us hope that it brings forth good tidings. Certainly we're due for a break in more ways than one - not only us but the Allies. Russia, in particular, deserves good luck after what she's been through. in any event, let us hope that August, 1942, will redouned in our memory as a very happy month. felt quite a bit better today, although have not had a crap which is bad. Rather a miserable day - raining most of the time and cool - that damp, penetrating kind. Today, being Saturday, we had our weekly inspection by the Colonel, who isn't . a bad head. This appears to be somewhat of a ritual in Imperial hospitals, as they used to have it in Jamaica, too. However, as I've remarked before, this place is run far more efficiently than ever in Jamaica. Had quite a gab fest with Dave Moffat, who is in with a bum eye. Talked about the negotiation deal, speculating on same, about the Red Cross, conditions at home and in Camp, about the Company and needless to say, grub. Dave is a damned decent head and one whom I shall always be proud to know. Nothing in the way of news. Read an A-1 book, "The Yearling" by Margaret K. Rumlings. Very good and very appropriate for the present time. Wouldn't mind getting hold of it again later on. Am rapidly becoming fed up with life here but this is better than Camp in a lot of ways. Less to do and at least a clean place too sleep and eat in. Also a lot less bickering to put up with.
2 - 8 - 42
Felt pretty good this morning and started the day off with a crap, which is something. Still have a foggy feeling in my stomach and have had the odd dizzy spell. Rations are pretty slim and shall ask the M.O. to have mine boosted a little. Tonight we had a slice of duff pudding. My slice was pretty small — not so large as you would have for dessert back home. This, plus 2 1/2 slices of bread, as thin as tissue, constituted my repast. Cannot say, however, that i‘m particularly hungry, which is the strange part of it. Went ’ to church again and the sermon was on consecrating one‘s life to God. One point mentioned sure brought Too H to my mind - "Service is the rent we pay for our room on earth." News to the effect that Sir Stafford Cripps said there are 7,000,000 men ready for action. Also the Czechs are supposed to have risen in revolt, which, if true, is a real good sign. Had a talk with Morrison of the band re news and one with Jack Fordyce about Riding Mountain, hunting, guns, and what have you. Jack was once on a spree with old Otto Halverson, my Camp boss, in Erickson. Visited Hughie Anderson and chewed the rag over silicosis, news, mining, and what have you. This Britannia Mining and Smelting Corp. at Vancouver, B.C., seems to be a good outfit to be in with, as is Sherritt—Gordon in Manitoba. Then went and talked with Dan Phillips and his brother on the news, repatriation scheme, Canada after the war, employment, and what have i you . They are of the opinion that, if an exchange goes through, we will be kept in a neutral country — Portugese East Africa more than likely. This is OK by me, as at least l there‘d be enough grub there and we'd be able to get parcels and mail from home.
3 - 8 - 42
Don't feel too bad today and have asked the MO. to increase my rations. Did not have a crap so far, which is not so good. Weighed myself and am now down to 111 lbs! Caromba! If I go down anymore, I'll be a walking skeleton. Not very much in the way of news, although we're supposed to be doing OK on the Libyan front. Had a chat with Bert Beare and Jack Fordyce mainly on the subject of hogs. Spent practically all afternoon talking with Art Budd on farming and trips. He figures caragana makes a very good windbreak and advocates planting berry trees. Can procure these from the Gov't or buy them from a nursery very cheap. In using your manure, which to him is a good idea, also, he says to be sure to crush your grain before you feed it to your animal so that there will be no seeds left to grow, when you spread it on your land. Thinks it's a good idea, also, to have a couple of bee hives on the place, as, not only do you get the honey, but they ie the bees do a lot of good around the place. Been raining on and off all day and it sure is a very screwy country for weather. Am getting pretty fed up with the place but the way things are and the way I feel, am better off than at Camp. Rations, the last few days, have been pretty slim and we haven't seen meat in over a week. Not much rice, either, and they say the flour supply is pretty slim. Have always said that things are bound to get worse before they get better and as the old saying has it, "It's always darkest before the dawn."
4 - 8 - 42
Started the day off all right by having a crap - still bothered with piles but crap is solid. Am now on full rations and so far have been able to handle them all right. Went out for a walk this morning and bumped into Art Budd. Chewed the rag with him on different subjects as grub, marriage, army life and different fellows whom we know. Art is a real decent fellow and l like him very much. The M.O. told Britt he considered him nearly ready to be operated on for his arm. So, one of these days, Britt will be going down to be operated on. Sure has been a nice day - no rain for a change and the sun actually came out. Not very much in the way of news - heard that there have been riots in France, Belgium and Yugo—Slavia respectively. lf this is so, may be the beginning of the end. There is a little chap sleeps next to me from the Bifles. Name is Dunlop — he's ‘ only 5' 1" and weighs 96 lbs. ls a cheery little fellow and worked in retail groceries etc. down in Stratford, Ontario. I-lave some great gabfests with him on business, credit, life in the East and what have you. He's married and has a little girl. Was feeling kind of n down for a time but feel much cheerier and brighter. Our Sister right now is Miss Waters — a Canadian right from Winnipeg. Have a great liking for her and she has treated me pretty good. Sure hope this thing doesn't last much longer and that the British start the second front in the next few weeks - otherwise I'm afraid we're in for a long stay. Well, chin up and carry on. 73"s
5 - 8 - 42
Started the day off right with a real good crap — still am bothered with piles but the main thing is that it would appear I've rejoined the "reg'lar fellows" once more. Not very much in the way of news. However, have been notiRed we can write. So, will get a letter off to Pop again. Boys got their chits for Y2.00 but I didn't, as I haven't been here for 30 days yet. Went down for a stroll this a.m. and bumped into Dan and Bob Phillips, Cam Maddess, Art Budd, and Prieston. I-lad quite a gabfest on various subjects such as the war, our release, food, radio, Deer Lodge, bonus money and what not. Time certainly passed quick. Today was a very warm one, with the sun shining almost continuously for a welcome change. Saw Sgt-Major Adams in the afternoon and talked with him about home. Reminded him of the time we met at Mrs. Rich's with Mr. and Mrs. Hall. Also asked him if he knew Ms. Pinchbeck, whom he did. Good to talk with someone who knows some of your friends. Rather a breath of home l and it makes you feel better. Had a shower and a bath. Even though we've only cold water, it is good to sit in a genuine bathtub and be able to wash. Used to think it would be great to grow a beard but have changed my mind since then. It will always be a pleasure to be able to shave every day again and if I ever grumble over doing so, just let me cast my eyes on this as a gentle reminder. ln this hospital, we're completely surrounded by the hills and that old Biblical phrase keeps repeating itself to me, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, whence cometh my help."
6 - 8 - 42
Bothered today by gas on my stomach. No crap either, which is bad. Rations are pretty slim these days and Britt was remarking about the fearful waste ih Jamaica. When I think of all the bread, which was thrown away at the end of each meal alone, the old saying, "Waste not, want not" takes on an added significance. Experience is a great teacher and I sincerely hope that this one will be indelibly stamped on my memory so that, in future, shall appreciate more fully the deeper meaning outlined in the simple and homely saying, "Give us our daily bread". Some of us will profit by this and others will not. Such is human nature but this should be a damned good lesson to most of us with respect to the appreciation of some of the everyday part of our life, which we just took for granted. Such things as our meals, clean clothes, soap, a bath, a decent toilet, etc. from now on should mean something more to us. We used to laugh about the old people, who told us of hardship and suffering but, in all probability, they lived a much fuller life than any of us have up to the present. If we aren't incarcerated too long, all this should be to the majority of us, a damned good lesson. At least one thing, which I have discovered since my captivity, is that what I really was fighting for was freedom - the right to live my life as I desire, bearing in mind the common laws, which are necessary for the good of humanity. It is now far easier to understand why, in the past, men were willing to leave all their possessions and to strike out for some wild land just in order that they might have liberty and the right to lead their own life.
7 - 8 - 42
Had a fair night although troubled with gas on the stomach. Got up this morning and had a fair crap, so that's something. Wrote my letter to Pop today. Could only use 100 words — so that with the restrictions, as to what you can say, had a pretty feeble effort insofar as news or anything is concerned. Was fortunate in one sense, as here you can still write a letter, whereas at Camp you can only send a postcard. Went and saw Bert Beare last night. He is still very optimistic about things and figures we're going to make it this fall. Haven't been able to do anything for him and they never will as long as we're on this diet. He has been troubled for some time with ulcers and on this rice diet, sure isn't much help tor that. Rumor around to the effect that the second front has been opened but do not put too much faith in it. Britt weighed himself the other day and finds that he's now 116 or a loss of 4 lbs in a week. On these present rations that is about all you can expect to my way of thinking. Have just finished reading "Flotsom" by Erich Maria Bemarque. This is the story of the refugees, created by the Nazi regime y and is a very good one. On the wall ot one of the prisons, in which these waits used to find themselves periodically, someone had inscribed, "There is an end to everything, even a lite sentence." It ever a saying or thought were more appropriate for our present position, I have yet to bump into it. There is comedy, pathos, irony, tragedy and what have you in it and yet tor the perpetual streak ot optimism in human nature - hope. The negotiation talk has died down and very suddenly and can well imagine - that everyone is waiting to see what happens when these two boats arrive.
8 - 8 - 42
l Had a pretty fair night and had a good crap this morning to start the day off right. Still have gas on the old tummy but it isn't so bad now. Am fairly weak and sure feel it when I climb up the stairs. There has been a great ciearout in the hospital. Old "Pop" Doucette, the C.P.O., is away to Shamshuipo along with a bunch of the other Imperials and the Barrack Block is full of chaps bound for North Point. Rumor has it that all the V.A.D.'s and Sisters are to go to Stanley on Monday. Sincerely hope this isn't true, as they make a big difference around the hospital. It is also rumored that the Third Nationals have asked to be interned because it is so hard to obtain provisions outside. Jugo-Slavs are supposed to be raising Cain but otherwise, everything is pretty quiet. Sure is warm enough right now and it must be pretty hot at Camp. Up here you always manage to get a pretty fair breeze. Tonight we had duff pudding - rice flour and a few dates in it. Tasted pretty good and is a welcome change from the plain rice diet so far as I'm concerned. Haven't had any meat now for over two weeks and it looks as though we might as well forget about such a thing ever existing. Two or three days ago a Jap Hospital ship pulled out empty and last night she came in loaded. Couldn't have gone any further than up the river to Canton. So it may be that there are a few things stirring in that direction after all. This is Saturday night and can't help but wonder what I'd be doing back at home. it's possible I might be going to the Beach but more than likely it's between paydays and after a long weekend would be marching down to the LaSalle with Tom or Cliff for a few beers and a couple of games of snooker. However, as it is, shall spend a quiet evening with a visit to Dave Moffet and talk about farming or some such subject. In the meantime, here's hoping!
9 — 8 - 42
Started the day off with a good crap, which, at this time, is an item of great interest and satisfaction. Feel pretty good although l have a sore mouth. lf it isn't one thing, it's another. Definite that all the nurses are going tomorrow to Stanley. Leave here at one o'clock and it seems as though they may be going for repatriation. Let us hope so anyway. Certainly am sorry to see them go. It will make a big difference in the atmosphere of this place. Went to church and the sermon was more or less, in the way of a farewell and Godspeed to the nurses. Kind of sad in some ways but such is life. So far the boys haven't left for Camp and I've heard there's to be a big clearout on Wednesday. lf so, will be on the draft. Got my chit today for two yen but haven't anything in, which is of value - so haven't bust it yet. What with writing my letter and this chit, haven't done so badly and will at least have something with which to make the rice palatable on my return to Camp. Hope they get some soya sauce in soon, as _that's the best buy there is for us. Was talking with Art Budd and he heard that this repatriation scheme is fully settled. It is alleged to have been in the paper that these l two boats are due in around the 17th or 18th. Bert Beare is very optimistic and figures we're going to make it this month or the next. Sure is an altogether different man to talk to than when he is in the stores. Rather like him and yet at Camp cannot understand him. It is still strongly rumored that the Canadians are to be shiRed from the Camp at North Point to Stanley. Also, will certainly give rise to a lot of conjectures. Cannot help but have the feeling that there is something in the wind with all these sudden shiftings. Let's hope so and may it be to our advantage.
10 - 8 — 42
Feel pretty good aItho' my mouth is sore and bothering me. Weighed myself and am now 114 1/2, which is a gain of 3 1/2 lbs over last week. Do not exactly relish the idea of my going back to Camp but it looks as though the next bunch will include yours truly. It has been a great change and a little bit of all right to have clean sheets, bed, bath and pyjamas. Son of helps to restore one's faith in the ultimate triumph of right. Today all the Sisters and nurses left, bound ostensibly for Stanley. The consensus of opinion is that they stand a very good chance of being sent home. lf such proves to be the case, there may be hope for us yet. Right now really feel "fed up" with things in general and wish more than ever it was all over. A year ago today was when we first . got word we were slated to go home. Were we ever enthused! A lot of water has gone down the old millstream since then and let's pray that next year finds us home for good. As far as I'm concerned, have had all I want of Army life, as put up by the Grenadiers, and this shall last me for the rest of my days. The boys left for North Point today and the Barrack Block is now empty. Hope Alb has a good crop and is able to get it thrashed in time. Can't help but let my thoughts stray homewards every so often and speculate as to what's doing and how things are going. Judas Priest! (as old Drew used to say) but this sure gets a man bitched, buggered and bewildered! Here's praying it doesn't last much longer.
11 - 8 - 42
Feel pretty good aItho' my mouth is still sore. I guess l'Il be on my way to Camp soon as the M. O. asked me if I could make the Barrack Block OK. Haven't much to complain of, as I have done pretty fair and it has been a great change. in some ways, . will not be sorry to get back and in others, well Hope we don't have to put in another winter at North Point, as it will be a bugger. Changed my chit today into Jap yen, just in case we have to leave in a hurry. Wrote a note to Pop and gave it to Britt, just in case either he or Cam Maddess gets away before we do. Grub is getting pretty grim and l‘m of the opinion we've definitely seen our best days in that respect. Plain rice and sweet potatoes for supper tonight, which doesn't appeal much to one's palate. Am beginning to like these sweet potatoes more, as they're evidently getting a bit older than they were before and are a lot firmer. Shalt definitely have to have a feed of them, when I get free, with some roast pork. Rumor today that a force of Aussies, British and Yanks have made a landing somewhere to the north of here. Personally, think it‘s a lot of bullshit myself and cannot even get gj@ bit of enthusiasm over it. Still one never knows and that is the big trouble here - you've nothing to base your opinion on or to use in judging these rumors. However, can only hope there’s some truth in some of these and sure can‘t help believing or trying to, rather, that they are true. 73‘s
12 - 8 - 42
Another day nearer home, which is a rather optimistic way of putting it. Do not feel too bad. My mouth seems to be getting a little better. Still have gas pains and it looks as though these are to constitute a legacy for sometime. Today, we buried a chap, Lucas, by name, a Grenadier and one of the new draft. Yesterday they buried a Rifleman - Bacan [probably Bacon -ed]. Lucas died of Vincent's Angina, something pertaining to the throat. A bunch came in from St. Theresa's Hospital in Kowloon, which is being cleared out by the Japs. According to them, for the last six months, someone has died from diphtheria or dysentry. So i guess we've been lucky so far in that respect. Had a chat with Dave Moffet on one thing or another. Old Dave is a pretty good head, aItho' he sure is fed up with this life and also the Army. Will always be glad to see him after this is all over, which is more than I can say for a lot of them. Saw the Phillips boys today and they sure have had enough of this. All they can think of is getting home. No news or rumors floating around today. Went to the funeral this afternoon. Paired to beat the band most of the day. Have been reading alot lately - too much in fact but there's ‘ nothing else to do. On the whole, they've a pretty good library. Had a date and rice duff for supper tonight and it was very good — well cooked for a change.
13 — 8 — 42
Had an awful night with gas on my stomach. Had a duff pudding and it sure was hard on the old tummy. Evidently it looks as though a bum stomach is to remain as a legacy from the dysentry. This isn't going to be so good, -especially on this rice diet of ours. Very quiet around the place - nothing doing and deader than a door nail. it's very monotonous and about all l do is read. Had quite a talk with Art Budd on one subject or another. He is a pretty level headed chap and has a good practical view on most things. Told me today about his brother up in Churchill - has a lumber and hardware business and evidently is doing fine. Have a notion to head north, myself, as there's good money to be made and a chance to advance yourself. But that's in the lap of · the gods. In the meantime, the negotiation talk has taken a slump and all you hear now is the possibility of the amputations and the blind going. It will soon be time for the boats to be back and maybe they‘ll bring news of one sort or another. Am hoping they will have some mail for us. Cannot understand why the Fled Cross has not reached us 'ere this. Surely in eight months, they could have made some arrangement.
14 - 8 - 42
Don't feel too bad today although we've had duff tonight for supper — so it's hard to say U what kind of night l might have. However, that's part of life. Pretty dull and it's very tedious. Went to see Dave Mloftet last night and we chewed the rag about one thing or another. Talked of killing pigs, beet etc., making sausage and headcheese, beer, brew, camp lite, life at home, Saturday nights out and various people we both know. Dave‘s eye is coming along aIthough it will be another couple of weeks ‘ere he can see out of it very good. This ulcer was caused through malnutrition or a lack of something in our diet. Queer how this affects people in so many different ways. No news at all - not even a good rumor, aItho‘ it is still mgged [?] that amputations and the blind are to be sent home very soon. Talking to Cam Maddess and he sure isn't very optimistic about getting released very soon - figures we're here for at least another year. Am very disappointed we haven't had some definite word regarding the opening of a "second front" by the British and Americans. Can't understand this at all, as they surely don't think that Russia can stave off Germany for another winter and they cannot afford to see the Huskies licked. Of course, for all we know it may be opened - if so, all power to them - if not, then it's a long, hard winter ahead of us and it will undoubtedly, be another year at least.
15 - 8 - 42
Had a pretty good night and don't feel too bad. Stomach has eased off quite a bit lately, which is a big help. M.O. asked me about working today, which is OK by me. Bob Dunlop and I saw the R.S.M. and he said he'd likely find something for us to do. Later, Major Harrison saw me and said he'd see if he couldn't get me something in the way of a clerical job. Had a little set to here at dinner time over work around the ward and l rather had to lay the law down. However, think I now have things straightened away - hope so. No news save that the blind and amps have got notice to be ready to leave for Stanley and eventually for home. So that‘s a start at any rate and let's hope we aren't far behind. Old Chappie - Jim Chapman - one of the old original Grenadiers — died last night from this Vincent's throat disease. This really strikes home, as old Chappie was quite a character and can't help but think of him up at Newcastle on the 'phones. Sure was quite a man and he was a great one for his "wee drop". Been a really nice day - cool and warm, which is singular way of describing things. Thoughts right now revert to home, as this is Saturday and payday. In the Army that's a big event, needless to say, and back on "civvy street", it would mean stepping out a little. It seems like 3 centuries instead of 3 years since l was a "civvy" and hope that it isn't that long 'ere I am once again.
16 - 8 - 42
Here is half of the month gone again — the 8th month of the year. Time, in one sense, · has flown, yet, when you try to think of being at home, it seems a century or more. Feel pretty good today and stomach isn't bad. Went to church this morning and stayed to take Communion afterwards. Very good attendance but the sermon was on a difficultlt and awkward subject — prayer. Went to concert last night and it wasn't too bad. Enjoyed the singsong and there were several chaps with good voices. This is all for today.
17 - 8 -42
Feel pretty fair today. weighed 114 1/4, which is about the same as last week. Started in doing clerical work for Major Harrison. it's going to be quite a job, as he‘s the worst writer, so far as legibility is concerned, that I've bumped into for a long while. Moreover, am not familiar with these different medical terms, so will have a job for a while. No news of any sort at present and even the rumors have been down.
22 — 8 - 42
It has been a few days since I sat down to write a few things in this epistle but, in the last day or so, whilst there has been some activity, life moves on in an endless sort of way. In the news line, it has been reported a landing has been made on the French Coast near Dieppe. Some say this is the real McCoy, whilst others say it is merely another one of these Commando sorties. The Americans are alleged to have landed in Norway. The Russians are supposed to be doing a little better. Churchill has been to see Stalin and old Joe told him unless a second front was opened, the Russians wouldn't be able to hold out this winter. Needless to say, full assurance was given that this would be done. On this front, some activity is reported around the city of Canton. Last night came a story of 4 Grenadiers — Johnny Payne, Scotty Adams, West and Williams - escaping from North Point. Cannot quite believe this but wish them all the luck in the world. Do not think they have much of a chance and certainly the odds are all against them. Right now, so far as I'm concerned, it's out of the question, as I'm in poor shape for trekking of any sort. Have been transferred from #7to #2 ward on the second floor and sleep next to R.O.M.S. Bert Beare. The more one talks with him, the better chap he turns out to be. Have a sort of half-ass position now as a clerk to Major Harrison and also have helped out a little in the Hospital Office. So it looks as though l may be able to work into a steady job. if so, shall stay as l figure this is a lot better than at Camp. One thing it's clean and if they keep this chit system, you're a lot farther ahead than you would be at Camp. Granted I'm an N.C.O. and possibly should go back to my duty but from what has happened in this outfit before and for all the thanks one gets, it behooves you, especially the way conditions are now, to think a little more of yourself, as no one else, at the present time, is going to. This is a deplorable state of affairs but right now, it's practically a case of dog eat dog. Well, thumbs up and let 'er buck! 73*s.
31 - 8 -42
Here it is the end of the month and no signs yet of getting out. However, news lately has been pretty good. The Americans have retaken the Solomon Islands and the Nips lost 700 odd men trying unsuccessfully to recapture them. Evidently the Yanks are preparing to make an attempt on the Philipines. ln Russia, the Germans have been making huge gains on the Southern front but have not been able to break the Russian line, which is still intact. Now comes word that the Russians have launched a drive on the Northern Front and have put 5 million more men in the field. Germans are having trouble finding men to work in their factories and are making every inducement in the area, taken from Russia, to go to Germany to work. The trouble is one doesn‘t know what to believe and what not to. Bert Beare is still confident that we'll be out of here this October and in a note I had from Dan yesterday, he still hasn‘t given up hope either. Sure am disappointed that a second front hasn't opened up and cannot imagine what is holding them back. Churchill has been in Russia for sometime and has just returned. Everyone is anxiously waiting a statement from him. The big news from Camp is that Sgt. J. Payne, LCpl. Geo. Berzenski, Pte. Percy Ellis and "Tiger" Adams have escaped. So far they haven't been caught- so far as we know , at least. Repercussions in the way of Sgt.-Majors Logan and Adams, as well as Staff McNaughton being jailed at Stanley, have taken place. They were picked on as they were seniors in the huts, where these chaps bunked. Sure wish them every bit of luck in the world, as these Nips, should they not make it, will show no mercy. Have clamped down at Camp - allow no sleeping out and have Hut Guards on every night. So far they haven't cut the rations, as was threatened. This is a good thing, as they're meagre enough now, without having them cut anymore. Am now helping Major Harrison by doing clerical work. Have taken down in shorthand notes on different patients discharged and then transcribe, making a carbon copy for Major Crawford. Look after the cards, enter up Lab reports, fill out these sheets on beri-beri symptoms and generally stooge around. He got permission from Col. Bowie for me to stay as Major Hodkinson is now in, took it up with him and got his OK. Actually, this latter was not necessary but rather good policy on my part. Am a lot better off staying here and doing this than t would be back at Camp. Had a note from Dan the other day and things are not so hot. Evidently they're getting less rations than we are here. It is over six weeks since we had meat but we've been having a fair amount of fish, sweet potatoes and greens. Still have a fair amount of flour and the bread is very, very good. One thing about this job, the time certainly passes much more quickly and it keeps one's mind occupied. It‘s getting my hand back in shape so that, when I do get back to that delectable place called "Civvy Street", l will be that much farther ahead. Work is rather interesting, especially this survey on beri-beri. This manifests itself in a variety of forms and really opens one's eye to the absolute necessity of maintaining a balanced diet. There is one chap, who is totally paralysed in both legs, as a resuIt of this lack ot B-1. Fortunately, they have a fair amount of Thiamini Chloride for injections but even this does not alleviate the pain an awful lot, varying according to the case. So, they're trying to strike off a finding eventually to cover the different aspects of the disease. Actually, there is a fair amount of "leadswinging" going on in my opinion and Major Harrison isn't blind to it altogether. Pay visits to see different chaps but it's rather a monotonous thing, as the chief topics are always food or when we're getting released. Major Hodklnson is in with the same troubles as before; ie his lungs. He isn't very optimistic, figuring we‘re here for this winter and then some. Big Ed Johnson is upstairs with sores on his legs. Dave Moffat is still here with eye trouble but seems to be getting better slowly but surely. Have been a couple of deaths in the Dysentry Ward. Quite a number of admissions lately from Camp and things are getting worse there evidently. Just had word that 45 cases of sore throats are coming in some time this week. Am feeling pretty good myself and have started to put on weight. Now tip the beams at 125 lbs. Feet are bothering me again but think this is because I have been off them for so long. Am getting 20 mg. of Thiamin Chloride per week. Chew the rag with Bert Beare on a good many subjects and a lot on after reaching home. Do not think quite so much of home now, as I've more to occupy my mind. However, am looking forward very much to having a good month leave out on the farm and only hope it can be arranged that Pop can get a few days off, so that we can all be together again for awhile. There are a lot of things to be threshecl out and it would be very, very nice for the three of us to be together once more.
Here's another month and we sure aren't any further ahead so far as getting out is concerned. News has been meagre. The Russians are still being driven back in the South but are s'posed to have made quite a drive in the North, repulsing two attacks on Leningrad and making a gain in one sector of 45 miles. ln the waters, the Americans seem to be very active in the South and have consolidated in the Solomons. They’re alleged to have a bunch of Nips corralled on some Peninsula in New Guinea and have made an attack on Boreno. They're supposed to be meeting with very little opposition on their air raids, which is a very good sign. The Chinese are purported to be active around Canton and the Nips are said to have moved their HO from there to Fashing in the New Territories. Cannot get overly enthused re this. Things in hospital are really humming. Every day sees more in from North Point, complaining mainly of burning pains in the feet or dysentry. Austin Moffat, a cousin of Dave's, died from dysentry with pneumonia on top of it. So far, we've lost Col. Sutcliffe, Rudd, Moffat, Lucas and Chapman, either through dysentry or Vincent‘s Angina. Dysentry Ward is overflowing and so are we. One of these days will be getting sent back myself but will try to hang on as long as I can. Am pretty busy and my feet are giving me hell again through swelling up. Do not think they'll ever be able to fully cure these chaps so long as we're on this diet. Thiamin Chloride is OK but the trouble is one's system uses it up immediately it is given. We're getting enough to oat but the trouble is the diet has no balance. Had quite a talk with Big Ed Johnson last night. Ed comes from Otterbourne, just south of Winnipeg, where his dad has a half section. incidentally, his father was very sick with cancer last October and is a man over 70. So, Ed figures he'll have to go back home and take over. is twenty-nine years old and has saved about $1500.00, which is good going, the more as he's just been working on farm jobs all his life. Ed is one of these big, slow moving men, who do not worry very much and whilst not particularly brilliant, are sound and more content than those more highly strung. Have always liked him and incidentally, Ed worked for some time on Market Gardens in and around East St. Paul and Bird's Hill. Britt got operated on his arm about two days ago, having a piece of nerve graRed in about 2 1/2 inches long. Has his arm in a cast and strung up for two weeks or so. It may be two years 'ere he knows whether the operation is a success or not but it was a gamble , or, rather, no gamble, as it would never be well the way it was. So all he can do now is keep his fingers crossed until time elapses. That is one thing we've plenty of - time. Wrote another postcard to Alb again - 100 words again, which does not give one much to say. Furthermore, you cannot say very much according to the Nips. Bert A Beare is still hopeful of being out in the next month but unless a miracle transpires, can't possibly see how. It's beginning to look more than ever like another winter and if so, God help us, as no one else can, unless we get a radical change in the rations. I still somehow can't see Germany going through another winter and only hope the Russians can hold out. What are the British and Americans up to? In the meantime, can only keep plugging along with my fingers crossed. It can't last forever, that's certain.
7 - 9 - 42
Three years ago today that I affixed my hand and seal to the Attestation paper and became a soldier in the Winnipeg Grenadiers. During that period a lot has transpired and many changes have taken place. It never once entered my mind at that time of ever being a prisoner-of-war and certainly not in Japanese hands. Two years ago we were up at Newcastle on our first sojourn in that delightful spot. Last year we were getting ready to leave Jamaica and were in a very, very happy state of mind. And next year? Oui connu, as the Frenchman says. Do not, in one sense, regret the three years I have put in and in some ways, it has done me a little good. Believe that |'m more settled in my own mind and have matured far more quickly than l would have normally. Will always be much neater and tidier than heretofore and will walk more erect. Nevertheless, to my way of thinking, the disadvantages outweigh these and the sooner this affair is cleaned up and one can get back into "civvy" life, the better. .
27 - 9 — 42
There is quite a gap in my entries but I've been busy copying from an old receipt book the foregoing and eventually have got caught up. Will try to rewrite from odd notes, things which have transpired during the period from the 7th till now. On the 12th of September, 1942, "Rocky" Smith died at Camp. Was in the Camp Hospital and passed away quietly during the night. Dan says, in a note l got from him, it was pitiable to see how small and shrunken he appeared, when they buried him. Says he had really failed the last few months. Did not put any credence in the story when l first heard it but it is the truth. Rocky was quite a lad and whilst he had his fauIts and _ failings, certainly proved to be a man when the chips were down. Genuinely liked his beers and was very, very fond of fried chicken, southern style, as well as cigars. Originally, when I first met him, he weighed 225 lbs. but he reduced in Jamaica to 185 approx. In Camp, here, he couldn't have been any more than 140. Was only 5'4" high but sure was big boned. Shall never forget - "It's the malt; it's the hops; it's the shitsl" Very tough to go this way but c'est la guerre. Must obtain a photo of him. Had a chat _ with Dave Moffat on the 12th. His eye has healed but the scar tissue from the ulcer is obstructing his vision, inasmuch as it covers the pupil. When he gets home, it will be necessary to have an operation to push this back so that he may have at least partial vision. Conversed with Jackie Aubert, who is just a rosy cheeked youngster around 20 but who looks more like 15. Lives on Jubilee and worked for Dawson Richardson Publications. Knows Ches Beachell, who was working for C.J.G.X. We were chewing the rag on different snack shops , such as KeIly's, the Grange, Sid Oruse, Checkerboard, Sandwich Lunch, and old lady Myers, who used to have a stand on the top floor of the Exchange. Jack is bothered with his feet - burning pains, can't sleep and not very much appetite. Rather like him, as he is a cheery sort of a youngster and evidently comes from a good home. The news, or what is called so, on the 13th has it that Wavell has been made C in C of the Allied forces in England. Goebbels has issued a decree to the effect that every available man, woman and child must come forward to combat the terrible fires now raging in the Ruhr. Russians are still holding Stalingrad, despite repeated attacks. Auchinleck and his Chief of Staff have been recalled and things in Libya are once more at a standstill. Saw old Ed Johnson and he's progressing favorably. Was telling me of his job at Treesbank and about the money some chap out there made from bees. It you go into this properly, you can make a pretty sort of living. One year ago, on the 15th that is, we pulled out of S Kingston "bound for the land they adore". Time marches on! Bomendine and I really _ had a gabfest over the matter of promotions and transfers in the Grenadiers. Cpl’s ‘ Coutts and MacAuley have been made full Sergeant and Lance respectively. They passed over Bommie, who has been a Lance for sometime, just because he isn't popular with Baillie. He has very little use for their methods either - no more than what l have myself. Padre preached a sermon Sunday re old Victorian system and our present realistic methods. He seemed to think Victorian was the better of the two. Cannot see this myself and whilst freely admitting that this one of ours has plenty of faults, yet believe it to be of more use and advantage than the other. Sgt.—Major Dick Collings and l chewed it over and we both agree that we*d sooner be living the way we are now than under the way of our grandparents. Worked pretty late a couple of nights doing the case sheets on Rfn Guster and L-Corporal Whillier, both of whom died from diphtheria on the 9 - 9 — 42. There is no anti toxin for diphtheria available and whilst the Nips have been asked repeatedly for some, none, as yet, has been forthcoming. It is murderous that, in this day and age, men should be dying for lack of serum. The Nips will have something to answer for when this is all over. Major Harrison has been slipping me the odd egg in the way of showing his thanks for my work. They hit the spot with a bang and go down very nicely in the morning. Have a novel way of making a sandwich - take a piece of bread, put a spoonful of soya sauce on it, spread some bean curd, if I have any, then spread the egg and put a little salt on. Does it ever go down and is a delicacy here. Shall have to repay him in some way, as these are worth l their weight in gold right now. Charlie Watson sleeps beside me and he's on all extras, such as sago, sardines, bean curd, tomato juice, Bemax, LactovomaIt etc., whilst l have straight rations. It's kind of tough to have to munch away at plain rice , when someone else has sardines or sago to go with it. However, just have to make the best of a bad job and pretend l‘m eating beefsteak. The Nips were in early in the morning to examine chaps, who are marked as "permanently unfit" with a view to l eventually repatriating them. I\/lost of the ones looked at were the blind and the limbless. Britt was examined and hope he made the list. On the 14th talked with Harding, at all, slim, dark, young lad of 20, who comes from near Boston. Used to belong to the U.S. National Guard and has worked at various jobs. Figures on taking a veterinary course when we get home, as he worked at a kennel where they bred "Boners" - a cross between a Great Dane and a bulldog. On good old payday it rained to beat the band. Did case history on Rin Caffin, who died of cardiac beri—beri. Hadn't been able to eat for 17 days and was placed on the “D.l.L." list, as soon as he came in. Was semi-delirious and rambling - couldn't get much out of him. Was only here less than 24 hours 'ere he died. The same time a CSM. — Kirovac by name - came in from Camp suffering from a mild case of beri—beri. With him was a very, complete history of his case and yet with Caffin not a thing! <removed> Worked on making out Jap proformas, which are a form for the Medical Case Sheet of each patient and which must be filled in when a patient is discharged. Every day a yeast drink is furnished us. This is s‘posed to be very good for this beri—beri and isn't . too bad to drink. Bread is OK and they now make it in individual buns or loaves. Very nice and easy to distribute. Rations are pretty slim and not much variety. Bread — ff oz. and sugar for breakfast - rice with soya sauce and greens for dinner and rice and soya sauce for supper. Have what is alleged to be tea for breakfast and supper. Have been having fish similar to whiting - one fish about 6" long between two or three men depending on the issue. lsn't very much and often I'm hungry. Enjoy breakfast very much and only wish there was more of it, ie. of the bread. However, can only take things as they come. On the 21st I worked with Major Harrison till after "Lights Out" on Japanese Proformas and Case Sheets on different men - Moore, Harkness and _ Hawkes. Hawkes was only in here for six hours before he died. Personally, think worry had a lot to do with it. Doug Moore was improving and was doing fairly well. Then he contracted dysentry and bingo, away he went. Funerals are very short and to the point. Two bodies are placed in one grave and are wrapped up in a blanket. Japs supply plenty of flowers — a cross, a couple of wreaths and plenty of cut flowers as a rule. Is a very disheartening thing to have to attend — never did relish it and under these conditions, it is even worse. However, that is the least one can do now. Some news to the effect that the Nips landed in Bena in northern New Guinea and proceeded inland to attack some town. American planes went over and destroyed 30 or so of their invasion barges. Some "Flying Fortresses" came upon a Jap fleet of 2 battleships plus cruiser and destroyers. ln the Solomons, the Yanks are holding them off at a place called Talagi where there is a large airfield. Australians have landed at Timor, evidently sneaked on and are waging a guerrilla warfare, being supplied by 'plane from Port Darwin.
30 - 9 — 42
Well, pop's birthday has come and gone. Can remember when I had great hopes of at least being free to celebrate it but looks as though will have to wait until next year for the opportunity of doing so. imagine to him it was another day but next year, hope to make it a little better than that. Quite a clearout here of 32 odd to Shamshuipo. Evidently there's a big shake up coming off at the end of the week and there's 42 gone to North Point ie. on 23rd of Sept. we had 14 go out of our ward and we're filled up again with mostly bed patients. To cap things oft, they had things balied up in the kitchen and supper was half an hour late. Flight now there's only 4 of us as op patients, so we had quite a time serving. There's 29 out of 49 on special diets, so we're kept humping. Dick Collings and I never ate our supper till after parade. Had a visit to Mr. Queen—Hughes who is now in hospital with dengue, and had a talk about the unit and things in general. He certainly hasn't much use for this outfit and rather thinks it stinks, to put it mildly. Quite a nice chap when you get to know him. Had a long talk with Captain Golden on the 19th re prospects for work and post—war conditions. He figures Vancouver and Edmonton are both very good spots to head for - more particularly the Coast, where he made suggestions of getting into an import g business or a steamship line. Prices will be high due to a scarcity of civilian goods. Doesn't like the Army any more than what l do. Was telling me how he happened to join the Grenadiers. Had no particular unit picked out and the Major c/c of the O.T.C. happened to be an old 10th Machine Gun man, so he put Golden down as preferring the Grenadiers. And here he is! Has a Rhodes scholarship to go back to and figures on going there for one year at least, depending on how conditions are. Thinks we have another year, at least, of this durance vile but admits that anything can happen this winter. 57 were admitted from North Point - mainly throat and dysentry cases. On the whole, they do not look too bad, although there there are some in pretty bad shape. Brought all their kit and the kit belonging to the men in hospital has been sent. My own was sent up by "Buzz" some days ago and Holly, who came in with a sore throat brought my belt and diary. Reserve rations from North Point have been brought here, as they're evacuating. Major Harrison was up there on the night of the 24th to see a throat case - young Harding as a matter of fact -and talked with Major Crawford for a very short time. It's definite they're moving to Shamshuipo on Saturday the 26th. Evidently the rest of the British are heading north to God only knows where. Major Crawford thinks we'll eventually end up on the other side too. Personally, think we're safe here for at least two months 'ere we have to shift. News to the effect that we've made another landing at Benghazi, Stalingrad, albeit in ruins, is still resisting stubbornly. Freidberg, a city in Ruhr, has been pulverized by the R.A.F. A rumor to the effect that the Yanks have landed in Luzon in the Philipines but class this as B.S. _ Johnny Hodgkinson lent me his pen. Sent a deck to him and had a note thanking me and in which he said they were sending out plenty of work parties. Holly was saying boys weren't too bad, aItho' Dan‘s feet are pretty sore. Ross is OK and Mac is feeling quite a bit better and is starting to get back his appetite once again. Rations are pretty slim right now - mostly rice and a little sauce, as there hasn't been much come in. September has come and gone and no signs of a second front. Am pretty well resigned to another winter of this but am hopeful that Fritzie won't last. Bert Beare is still pretty optimistic of a release this fall and still hasn't altogether given up hope of repatriation. Think myself we're going to be shiRed to the north - either Formosa, Manchuria or Japan — before Xmas. Should be better off, as that territory has been in Japan hands for some time and should be well—organized. Back home, it is one of the best times of the year and it sure is tough to have to spend it here. Raitz, another "B" Coy man, has just died of diphtheria, along with Cusson of the R.C.O.C. and Redhead of the Signals. it sure is a bugger and the sooner it's all over, the better. "Civvy" street is going to appear like heaven. .
4 - 10 -42
On the 30th of September we had an inspection by Colonel Takanaga, who is in command of the prison camps in the Hong Kong area. He is short, fat (pot—bellled) _ chap between 50 or 55 and he didn't waste much time on his rounds. Needless to say, it was a case of spit and polish so far as we were able and everything went off OK. However, I understood Sgt. Sano (’?) the medical sergeant i/c, got hell because he didn't meet the old gent in the right spot. News to the effect that British have been sending 1000 planes every 12 hours over Germany and bombing hell out of it. New Guinea is now held by us and the Japs lost heavily. A furious battle is still raging in and around Stalingrad. Altogether news is favorable but things are progressing slowly. Figure that they can finish Fritzie by bombing and will not have to open up a second front. Personally I can't see this and think we must open up sooner or later. Good news for us here is to the effect that an International Red Cross ship is in and by the announcement in the Nip paper that she carried 1000 tons comforts for British prisoners—of-war from Great Britain and other parts of the British Empire. Should imagine the big bulk of this will consist of medical supplies, clothes and food but we should get an individual parcel of 10 lbs. or so. Am not counting on anything, so that if I do get anything, it will be so much gravy. It'll be another week or more 'ere we get them by the time they finish playing around and examining same. Rations are meagre insofar as variety is concerned and rather sporadic in coming in. However, we've had a couple of buchshee eggs the last few days and on Friday. had a very good feed of fish - the best yet. Certainly the cooks here know how to do fish to the best advantage. Rained pretty hard the other day and to cap things they were short of wood. So for a couple of days we only got 4 oz of our bread for breakfast and the rest for supper. Good thing we had an issue of eggs and I happened to get one from Major Harrison or otherwise I'd have been real hungry as I do not mind a light supper but have to get a good breakfast. Will never miss another one in my lite when I get released if I could help it and it grieves me to think of the times inthe past I set off to work with none. Got an issue of 11 oz. of bread and a couple of spoonfuls of sugar. Save my bean curd from supper and spread this on it. lf we get an egg, make a couple of sandwiches and have my soya drink, which tastes a lot like beef tea. For dinner, a pretty good issue of rice plus a sauce, greens (similar in appearance to sowthistle back home) and fish when available, are the noon meal. For supper, a small issue of rice with sauce and _ lately, soya milk. We add some curry to the sauce for the greens and it really makes quite a difference. Fortunately, can eat greens anyway and as a matter of fact, really enjoy them - spinach, beet tops and curly coil will seem delicacies to me after this. The other day, Friday to be exact, had tea with Major Harrison and Lieutenant Campbell, the QM. and a very decent chap. Major had received a parcel and had some cookies, made of peanut oil. Had six or so of them and cream puffs never tasted half so good. U Must repay him in some way at a future date. In the hospital, a shaving centre has been opened complete with straight razors and soap - all you supply is your own brush. Have been down and had 4 shaves. The first time was very leary of the razor, nicked myself slightly and didn't get a very good shave. It is awkward getting around the different parts of your face - particularly around my chin and the left sideburns in my case. Altogether a different motion is used from a safety razor — a smooth, even stroke in place of the short, choppy ones. However, am progressing fairly well and a half decent shave is now procured. in any case, gives my blades a rest and it‘s something l have at learnt, which may come in handy later on. Wrote another letter home to Pop and as a matter of fact, am now over my quota but shall continue to write, until such time as I'm told l can't. You're only allowed 100 words, and with the Nip restrictions, cannot say an awful lot. The main thing, though, is if they go home, the folks will know you’re still alive and that will be some source of satisfaction. Would appreciate a letter far more than a parcel from this boat but no mention of mall has been made at all, so I'm afraid were out of luck in that respect.