Charles Richard Trick - Life and Times

October to December 1941 Diary


25 Left Wpg 1PM CPR. Helen at train with Mrs Gyselman. Also Uncle Ed and Bill. Very quiet. Boys not very happy. Route march in Brandon at 10PM. Got Bill?? In 1 seat. Lots to eat. Joe had beer.

26 Sunday not much doing. Arrived Banff 3PM route march. Harry and I agree it would be a swell place for a honeymoon. Nicest scenery I've seen yet.

27 Arrived Vancouver 2PM. Mail letter to Helen. Go aboard Awatea (wellington?) a real troop ship. Very crowded. Trouble among men. Sail for ?? at 9:30PM. Have our 1st sleep in a hammock.

28 Food really terrible, mutton and tripe. We kick like blazes. Eat chocolate bars instead.

29 Start training aboard ship. Am in the carrier platoon.

30 Food better. No more mutton or tripe. Boy what terrible stuff.

31 Nothing exciting happened lately. One of the rifles died last nite appendicitis. (illegible)

November 1941

1 Still busy training and I sure need it. Spending a lot of money in Canteen. ?? or ale is all the drinks they have. Anxious to see what Honolulu looks like.

2 arrived Honolulu 0900. I wrote Helen. Very beautiful here. Left 1730. Dancers entertained us from dock.

3 Nothing happens. Still training.

4 Same as yesterday. Getting terribly hot.

5 Today is Wed and tomorrow is Fri due to time change. We are 18 1/2 hrs ahead of "peg" time when this happens.

6 There is no 6 of Nov in these parts.

7 We are 18 1/2 hrs ahead of C.S.T. now.

11 Today is armistice day. Nothing new. Harry and I have a couple of beers in evening. Very hot. illegible)

13 Sighted Phillipines and will land at Manilla in morning. One of crew died last nite. Funeral today.

14 Landed in Manilla at 0930. Left 1630. It's sure a lovely spot. Our last call before getting to Hong Kong.

16 Hong Kong in sight at daylight. I'm on table fatigue. Land at 0930. March to barracks down main street. Like the looks of the place OK. Can't go out tonite.

17 Can't go out tonite either. Anyway its raining. G?? and I spend evening sizing up situation and eating in canteen.

18 our first nite out. Keith, Joe, Dave and I go across to Hong Kong island on ferry. We look things over. It's very interesting. Started heavy training today.

19 Stayed in tonite again. I wrote some more to Helen and ate steak sandwiches in canteen. On parade square all day.

20 Went out with Goose and made a nite of it. Had supper at China Fleet Club. After Bowles (?) our first sight of mothers selling their daughters.

21 Mailed air letter home to Helen. They leave here Sun. Still raining. Hear rumours our transport ??. Spent evening writing to Helen.

22 Supper at China F.C. with Goose. Ed Draha??, ??, ?? and I went to a show. Like the town better than Kingston.

23 Today is Sun and we went to church. Afternoon packed up ready to go to island in morning.

24 Up at 06:00. Tomatoes and bread for breakfast and left for Hong Kong. Our first sign of Wong chi Gap. Dave and I were put on a Bren post. Very wet and damp. Nothing to eat till supper time.

25 Still on Bren Post. Supposed to go back to Kowloon tomorrow. Thank goodness. Grub not bad. Real hungry all the time.

26 Marched back to Sham-shi-po this afternoon. Took a shower and cleaned up. Sure great to sleep on the hard beds again. Started another letter to Helen.

27 Nothing to report. Wrote some more to Helen. Meals pretty good. All Chinese cooks. Pay day drew 20 ??

29 Total black out tonite. Goose ?? ?? Dan and I went out. Swam at Y. Had supper and went to a show. Got payed today.

30 Went to church and packed up again to go over to Hong Kong. Didn't go yet and its lights out.

December 1941

1 Dec Monday. Drew our packs and unpacked again. This is getting passed being funny. Got a carrier today from Limeys.

2 Went across to H.K. and went through ivory factory. Went to Kings and saw Sun Valley Serenade. No carrier driving yet. They seem to think it's just to look at.

3. Drove the carrier today and got grounded for going fast.

5 Back driving again. Pulled Rifles carrier out of hole. Spent evening as usual in canteen writing to Helen and talking to Goose.

6 Sat. Dam (?) and I spend afternoon looking over Kowloon. Intend buying chest. Had supper and went to show. Bought this purse.

7 Evacuated Hong Kong after dinner. Thought it was just another scare. Put on Bren post. Spent quiet nite our last for quite a while.

8 Japanese declare war and start bombing at daylight over camp. They bomb airport and Jeav?? Bldg. A few Chinks killed. Taken off post and on truck all nite. Hauling stores from dock. Another air raid at noon.

9 Air raids all day. Busy hauling stores. Stores all over road. Very wet in morning. Find a box of Xmas puddings so fill truck seat up. Lots of cig scattered around.

10 Artillery opens up at 02:00 hrs. "D" Coy reported missing. Are fighting on border. Put on ration truck so ?? good. Always have Xmas pudding on truck manifold. Boy are they good. Had shave and bath at ladies' house.

11 "D" Coy gets across 1 man lost. Sneered (?) at going for them. Take them to Mr Austin Bks. Bergen and I find 10,000 cigs. Take 5000. Cash rest

12 Troops withdraw from border. Seige begins. Bergen and I find bottle of rum and have a few mugs. Take sports officer to Polk. I ?? and get machine gunned on way back. Also bombed.

13 Still on ration truck. Had trouble with Ration officer over rums. Fill kit bags full of cigs and more clothes

14 Hear chinks are at border. Taken off ration truck. Hauling stores from ?? at nite. Sure is ticklish. Took Jack Fordyce down to RE. Stores. My first sight of dead Chinks. It's terrible.

15 Layed around all day. Aberdeen heavily bombed ?? flying all over. Did a bit of digging in. Direct hit on oil ?? at Vanschoi Gap. Hauled ammunition till 3 AM

16 Standing by at Won-ni-Shong tonite. Heavy overhead artillery fire can hardly sleep for noise.

17 Stand by at Wanchai Gap with Smelts very quiet nite compared with ?? Lay around all day. Finish Xmas puddings

(start of transcription from loose pages. These contain events copied from the small wire-bound diary)

18 Thurs. Japs land on island. Bombing and shelling very heavy. Oil tanks on fire make it very smokey. Standing by at Wanchai  Gap with Ed Smelts.

19 Ed and I called out at 2 AM take platoon to Stanley Gap. At day light we have to burn trucks. Heavy fighting all day and we can't get out. No rations or water. A few more join us at noon. Ed gets piece of shrapnel in nose. 5PM. We are captured and some killed. Later put in an old shed (about 75 men). Lots wounded and plenty died. Terrible nite. Jack Williams and Harold Paterson killed today.

20 At daybreak mortar bomb hits shack we are in and killed about 10. Ed is killed. Many mortally wounded. The 2 Mitchell Bros (Lieutenants) wounded badly. I got a small piece of shrapnel in back. About 10AM the Japs marched us about 6 miles to north Point Camp. Some men die on road. Got 1/2 cup water and rice. We lay on floor. Rains all night. Wounded in bad shape. Tommy Marsh shot through head. I wrap my under wear around the wound after washing (the wound).

21 Still dressing wounds with old rags. Poison has started in a lot of them. Lt McKillop in bad shape. Leave about noon to go across to Kowloon. Japs very mean and dirty. Paraded around Kowloon to a University carrying many wounded on old doors boards etc. Chinese think it’s a big joke.

22 Given a pkg of hard tack, sugar and water. Japs take pictures. A German civilian wearing a Swastika on his lapel was there. Moved To Argyle internment camp. Very dirty. Got rice and seaweed. Nothing to smoke. Jap artillery battery right beside camp. Firing heavily

23 Got rice and seaweed twice today and clean camp. Very weak. We bail some grass and leaves and eat them. A few more boys arrive in PM. Can't get any news. We believe we are the only ones left. Feel pretty blue. Took my boots off tonite and washed my feet. First time since Dec 6.

24 All thinking of home and wishing an awful lot we were there Xmas eve. Can't believe it. Wish I could get word home. Quiet day.

25 Xmas day. Hong Kong surrenders. Nothing happens. Still rice and seaweed twice. Firing has ceased. Bum a smoke from Jap sentry. Can't believe it's Xmas.

26 Japs move guns etc and prepare to move. Cigarette bumming good. Get our first taste of dried octopus. They gave us 2 cigarettes.

27 Very quiet a little pork in rice. Hear we are moving tomorrow. Sure are weak for a move.

28 200 men move to Sham-shi-po to Jubilee building. A few more arrive at Argyle. No news. Get rice and octopus about 10PM. Fairly warm in room.

29 Getting so weak we can hardly stand up. Sgt Watson very weak. Doing nothing. Get black sports in front of our eyes if we stand up. Getting serious.

30 The gang arrives at Sham-shi-po. They have rations. We eat till 3AM. Everybody much happier and feel a lot better. We were nearly done.

(end of transcription from loose pages. Following events copied from the small wire-bound diary)

31 Big day for cigs. Joe trades slacks for boots and I got 7 pkg for boots from navy. Joe gets 16 pks and 2 bars for his money.. Turk gets 6 pks for pen and pencil. Everybody happy. Bully patties for supper. ???