Monday, 5 September 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.

After staying there 6 months, the Japs decided to move the Police Force from the College, and put them in the Indians Qrs, owing to them having raided the Godowns of all the food we had stored there for the siege.  Here we have been living ever since, 5 in a room, Fitz, Hodges, McCutcheon, and McTavish.  Food has been hellish - at the beginning Rice and fish water then they gave us meat - then a slice of bread a day, which was afterwards made to a 5 oz loaf, but since January 1944 we have had no bread 1943 - 44 - 45 very little meat - salt fish - then only Chinese vegetables and rice, at one period I was only 130 lbs, and nearly blind, they gave me glasses to read and walking out - a little extra food - peas and butter - eggs - soya bean milk.  It was terrible Peg, thousands of times I have thanked the Lord you were out of it - safe and sound.  This last week we have been living like fighting cocks - meat every day - good veg - tinned bully - beans, in fact we could not eat it all.  Bagley when last seen on Xmas night 1941 was tight and told people he was going to get back to Stanley, he was in the Dockyard then, his pockets filled with hand grenades, so he must have been killed by the Japs on the way.  Ryan died in Hosp - Bowen Road - Dick who has been over twice to see me already - says tumour on the brain.  Our Foster and Carey of the Police died of Scrub Typhus a kind of typhoid.  Apart from my eyes I have been ok.  Dick was over last Tuesday and again on Monday, they are allowing the troops to visit us.  Taffenden Jamieson Perry and Harrop have also been over.  Dick looked bad last week, but I saw a big improvement in him this week.  He has been in Hosp 6 months asthma again.

The next page is here.

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