Monday, 29 August 2011

Amanuensis Monday - letter from Bill Hudson to Peggy August 30, 1945

My grandfather Bill Hudson worked as a prison officer in Hong Kong from 1921 to 1941. He was still in Hong Kong in December of 1941 when the Japanese invaded and occupied the colony. My grandmother Peg and my father Peter had been evacuated to Australia in July 1940. Peg kept the last couple of letters Bill wrote from Hong Kong prior to the Japanese invasion, along with the letters he wrote immediately after liberation.

Most of the letters are long, so I'm going to serialise them over the next few weeks.

This is the letter written by Bill on the day Stanley Internment Camp was liberated by the British Navy.

Page 1 is here

At 5 am, I found Pearce, Joyce, and Crofton, Fitz and the others had been sent down the Bank at the other side of the road.  Daybreak came, a Jap plane bombed us but I could not find Pearce, Joyce or Crofton.  I walked or climbed to the top of the hill, still no luck, it was then that Willie Stoker who married Moss daughter told me that Fitz had gone back to the Fort.  It was now 10am, and by the time I got to Fort, 11am.  There I found Fitz and the others, and on mustering found missing Gowland, Carr, McLeod, Cottrell, Forster, Stevens, Maltby and Crossan missing, Winterton was in Hosp, at the Fort.  We got on the back Verandah of the Fort Barracks – sleeping like dogs on the floor, tired out, all this time they were shelling the Fort, but as we had been in the thick of it, they put us as HD Qrs guard.  […] came in saying we had surrendered at 4pm that afternoon, yet we were fighting until 7.30 pm people being killed, as owing to no telephones - we did not know.  Afraid sleep that night was little – my thoughts of you and Peter, what our future was in the hands of the Japs – felt like suicide Peg.  Anyway, we stayed at the Fort until Dec 27th, there I saw Skinner, Dicks, Shearlaw and others all well, but now I am afraid all dead, having gone down on the Lisbon Maru in Sept 1942.  We were allowed to return to the Gaol, leaving our Khaki, and getting into Gaol uniforms.  We stayed until January 23rd, being allowed out to our Qrs from time to time, taking most of my things into the Gaol as they were all packed when I went to the V.R.P.  In the mean time they made the Gaol Qrs the Internment Camp, along with the College and all 6 bungalows.  By the time we got out the College and our Married Qrs were full, so we were dumped into the Indians Qrs, they had moved those Black swines to the Village. 

The next page is here.

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