Monday, 10 October 2011

Amanuensis Monday - letter from Bill Hudson to Peggy October 8th 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.

The last letter was mailed from Singapore, the second port of call after leaving Hong Kong. Following liberation it took several increasingly frustrating weeks to get the internees out of Hong Kong and on the way home. This letter was posted from Aden.

JW Hudson
Ex Internee, Stanley
Hong Kong
Passenger for SS Empress of Australia

At Sea, Oct 8th, Monday 1945


Aden is not far away, maybe tomorrow or maybe Wednesday, you never know what this damned old ship will do next, we actually  passed another ship this morning, and as Johnnie Purvis said at the time, "She must be nackered!" I believe she was. Weather is beautiful today, sea like glass, altho yesterday it was cold and miserable, fog and drizzle, but it cleared up during the afternoon, so I was glad to get on the boat deck, and get the sun. Last night Radio announced that the P & O S S Corfu was about to Dock in Southampton with the first P of W from the Far East, and to think she left Singapore about the same time as we left HK. 

Another ship left HK after us, a Glen Boat, and is well ahead of us, with little hopes of us ever catching up with her. Fitz and a crowd of others 250 in all, left HK 11 days after us, travelling on an Aircraft Carrier, they were in Colombo to greet us, all staying with private families, and having a wonderful. They will catch the next ship Home, so they may beat us. They wanted me to stay in Colombo to go thru an operation for Hernia, but the Home pull was too great, so I will have to have it seen to at Home. Was weighed yesterday, and only 143 lbs, I'm pitifully thin Peg, the fever I had at Singapore took it out of me, anyhow I am hoping to fill out a little by the time I see you. Hope you have received my letters to you, addressed to Australia, I had a cable from "PULLIN" saying you had left in April. How is Mother... and Peter, it won't be long now Dear, so cheer up.

Afraid I won't be able to get Home for Peter's birthday, and I don't think this ship is allowed to send any messages out, so please give him Daddy's fondest love with a big hug, I am and always have been thinking of you Dears, during hard times, they could not take my thoughts of you away.

I hear Barrett and Jillott are back in HK, Puggle refused to go, I also hear that Merriman is on his way back. Pig Harrison is on board, he has yet to speak to me, but that does not worry me, because I have seen the last of him as a Boss.

Willcocks is also on board, he often has a chat, asking after the others. Your piano was still in the Gaol, also some of your carpets, but all badly burnt with Cigarettes, the Nips have no respect for anything belonging to us, I am surprised at the Piano being in such good condition.  Believe we get winter clothing at Port Said - that's a help. Don't know yet which Port we will disembark at, but it looks like Southampton is Lena still there? Sharks swimming by, there fins being quite distinct. A fellow was killed at Tweed Bay Beach by one, after we left. Ship can't go fast enough Peg, 

Love to all

Bill xxxxx

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