Monday, 19 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.

6.30 pm same day.  I have just returned from the Flag hoisting ceremony.  Admiral Harcourt came out here himself, although he landing at 12 the Japs asked 24 hours to decide, he gave them ½ hour to get out of the Dockyard, he then landed troops with tanks and after firing a few shots took command, I believe the Chinks waiting outside the Yard Gate with bamboos and knocking lumps off them.  Anyway he got here by 5.15 pm, and believe me Peg it was heartbreaking.  The bugle call - hoisting all Allied flags - lowering to half mast for the dead - the hoisting again - yes tears rolled down my cheeks - as it did to hundreds of others.  Later in the evening a Naval Shadwell of HMS Maidstone i/c of submarines gave us a thrilling talk of the doings of his submarines saying the Navy had often watched us through their periscopes.  The Admiral said he was here at record speed - knowing of the incidents that had happened to internees in Borneo and Burma so again we can thank the Lord we are alive, by them arriving in good time.  I understand there was lots of firing in Town last night, so we are just as well out here.  There seems to be some trouble with the Japs in handing over the gaol - marines are coming out to take it by force if necessary - we are standing by.  Still no news of your whereabouts - so I'll send this home - Sweethearts - all my love is yours - just waiting our reunion.  It won't be long Dear.

Ever and always, your Bill
JW Hudson.

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