Diary Part 2.May 1942 to 1942
Monday 1 June 1942
Slept like a log last night. Quite a good rice porridge & tea for breakfast – both sweet. Had a shave and we set to work to get our quarters in order. A decent little locker to every two men. Parade for Japs. at about 10. C.O. had to explain & issue Jap commands. Parade responded fairly well. Then Jap. officer took over – confusion. After some minutes asked if we could understand the commands. All except about 6 of us said no and we drilled for another 20 mins. We grew frightened we might have to prove that we could understand so we faded away patting ourselves on the back. Stew & rice for lunch – good – also tea again. Another parade at 3.30. Once again counting & recounting. One man missing – pandemonium. After 1 ½ hrs on the parade ground I was despatched in search – found the bastard alright. No Japs on the parade. Have come to the conclusion that I am suffering from Heat Exhaustion after the march. Still feeling very groggy and these parades absolute hell to stick. Some fruit from the canteen tonight. Bananas – marvellous also bread. Japs. came round about 11. Quite peaceful – very concerned about people without mosquito nets. Are to get nets and additional blankets tomorrow. Read for a while & so to bed. Many of the lads out playing soccer today – full size football field. Met the Dutch M.O.’s. Very nice chaps. Absolutely delighted to find a dentist with some equipment. Got all our stuff here safely.
Tuesday 2 June 1942
On piquet from 5 to 6. Mosquitoes terrible. Up early to clean up the place.
Parade for Japs about 9. On the ground for hours – counting again – two men missing. Found eventually. Horace Williams & Harrison Lucas. Were working on nominal rolls. Both hauled out and slapped. Many sighs of relief. Slept this afternoon. Went over and examined a few patients for the M.O.’s this morning. Very keen for me to help them. It will be a pleasure as the Dutch M.O.’s are a charming trio. One is a very old man. Their equipment is pitiably meagre. Slept most of the afternoon then played a few games of chess. Went over & lanced an abscess for a chap. Then down to the coffee shop. Dutch O.R.’s a bloody decent crowd. If you are seen smoking outside without carrying an ashtray – get slapped down. Comical really. In a strange position in this camp – Dutch officers adopt very strange atitude [sic]. Can’t quite fathom it. Jap guards came round about 10.30 and with much bayonet play made us go to bed.
Wednesday 3 June 1942
Married 3 years. (TJIMAHI)
Have just realised that today is my wedding anniversary. Have been too busy today to do much thinking. 3 years married & 18 months away from home. Wonder how Bon and David are now. It is 5 months since my last letter. How long yet? Squad drill in the Jap. style this morning. Much amusement. Men not worried but Jap words of command stick in our throat a bit. Still it is a small thing. Humouring them helps in many ways. Did quite a bit of dental work this morning and [sic] more tonight. Played some chess. Had a long talk with two of the Dutch M.O.’s. They entertained me to some coffee when I had finished work. Poor devils are very keen to have someone to talk to. Invited them over to-morrow night. Must have my shower now and turn in. Miss piquet again tonight thank God.
Thursday 4 June 1942
Same old breakfast. Rijsttaf & coffee. More parading round learning Jap. drill. Then did a sick parade until about lunch time. Susuki arrived and gave me permission to work so Dutch have given me a room. If I can scrounge a few odds and ends it will do me nicely. Did some more work this afternoon then a long walk and some “koffie drinken”. Coffee shop a damn good institution. Cleared off parade ground this morning for arrival of small party of discharged patients from the hospital.
Interpreter who was with us on the march transferred to this camp. Strangely enough his name is Fisse.
Some slapping down at the hospital – disapproved of a concert and deprived them of canteen. Hope they do nothing like that to us. 1 poor devil in the cage. Did not hand himself in at capitulation. To be in for 40 hrs.
Friday 5 June 1942
Dutch put over story that chap in cage recovering from malaria – let him out last night.
Let off parade this morning and started a sick parade at 9. Great difficulty sterilising. Japs won’t permit fires & electrician trying to fix me up a hot plate.
Finished about 11 and down to the coffee shop with Berkemeyer and De Jong. Decent chaps. Played chess most of afternoon then a walk & down to the coffee shop again. A bread issue from the canteen. No news much coming in but what there is seems to upset Fisse’s dinkum oil. Still can’t understand his being a bloody liar. Have to wait and see. Another chap in the cage this morning – same reason. Looks as though he will have to spend the night there.
Beginning to get used to the place now and settle down a bit. Leach convicted of theft and punished by his barrack mates. To bed early but read till late.
Saturday 6 June 1942
A fairly eventful day. No parade this morning – troops ordered to clean their barracks. We followed suit. I did a sick parade about 11. Then talked to Arthur and Berkemeyer about English. Susuki arrived and wandered round amongst the Dutch quarters but did not worry us much.
This afternoon more chess and a party of newcomers arrived. About 180 O.R.’s & 9 officers. Were at Suka Bani. Interesting tales to tell – included missing company of pioneers. They [sic] have noticed a vast change in treatment of P.O.W.’s in last few weeks. We have had same experience – strange. All seem fairly optimistic. Invited them in for a cup of tea to-night & had a good yarn. Two colonels & a Wing commander with them so Weary will probably hand over. Been here just a week now. Room piquet wiped off tonight. Hope we get away with it. Shall turn in now & read for a while.
Sunday 7 June 1942
Up to church at 7. Still dark. Breakfast as usual then a parade but did not have to attend. Put off a few patients till tomorrow. Hell of a lot of planes buzzing about this morning. Number of bombers took off. A couple of Navy O’s mucking about overhead. Examined the old moustache this morning – coming on. Horrible looking growth but I shall stick to it till I get home. I bet it annoys Bon. Feeling a bit cage-happy this morning. Wondering how long it will be before I see Bon again. It is 18 months now. Am room orderly today. Must dash off and get some hot water for morning tea. What a supreme piece of bad luck our coming to Java was.
Must set to work looking for some wood to resume work on chessmen – have gone very lazy in the last week.
Dutch say another 3000 troops are coming in to this camp. Will make it pretty crowded. Slept for a while this afternoon – played some chess and went to the P.T. class. The Dutch instructor certainly knows his stuff. I am stiff all over tonight.
Colonel Van der Post talking to John tonight – speaks German, French, Dutch, Russian, Malay, & Italian. May be able to start my Russian after all. Most interesting person. Shall have a crack at Russian I think and if we are here very long shall tackle German and French too. Should be fairly fluent in Dutch soon.
Monday 8 June 1942
Very stiff in the legs after P.T. yesterday. Parade at 9 but did not go on. Had a pretty large dental parade. A hell of a lot of them with frivolous complaints – I take a very poor view of it and have been telling them off very thoroughly.
At a loss what to do after lunch. Read a bit Tried unsuccessfully to sleep – played some chess. Had a look at a Dutch officer abt. 6.30. Put in a dressing. He is a keen chess player – may have a game with him tomorrow night. About 300 fresh Dutchmen came in this afternoon – brough some news but very little. Went for a walk with Arthur and Palin – ended up in the coffee shop l- very crowded. Another chap in the cage tonight – looks like a civilian – long hair & civvies clothes. Japs have certainly not been worrying us lately. Have decided not to buy any more cigarettes – must try to make the money spin out as long as possible. I have about 60 gulden left. Should last six months or so with care.
This camp is certainly an improvement on the last but somehow I don’t feel so optimistic now. Col. Van der Post tells us that several weeks ago we were all very close to massacre. We thought so at the time too. He thinks that the danger is past now and that our treatment will steadily improve. Hope so.
Bon often in my thoughts lately – God how I miss her. Feel very worried to think that she probably has no idea as to whether I am even alive. Had it been Germans & not Japs it would be much better.
Tuesday 9 June 1942
Some difficulty in getting up again. These bed boards damned hard but still better than the concrete. Put in command of a company this morning but had to deliver them up for a fatigue – thank God. Susuki arrived so I did not start work till he had gone. The Dutch tell us he was in a very bad mood. Flat out working till lunch time – then slept for a while. Feeling very dopey & homesick. Played some chess. Then down to P.T. Had a shower & felt 100% better. Ian scrounged some queer sausages – bloody marvellous. Hope he can repeat the trick. 20c each. Down to coffee shop later. Sat on the grass and talked. De Jong & Berkemeyer came along with some news. Grossly exaggerated but still things seem to be going pretty well. We would give anything for a chance to listen in just once! More Dutch prisoners came in today. Dutch command persist in saying that British officers are not allowed to do anything or have any authority. We feel there is a nigger in the woodpile somewhere. This business of our being hated so much more than the Dutch has never been shown to us by the Japs. I think we suffer through having no direct contact with the Japs. Fisse is in the hospital – we may get along better when he comes out. He tells us these planes we see so much of are not Navy O’s but Army 1’s. And the bombers a modified Junkers.
Wednesday 10 June 1942
C.O. decided that the duty M.O.’s and I should strike this morning. Did not last long – the Dutch soon came to heel so I started work about 10.30. Graham did not turn up at all. Finished at lunchtime. After lunch got busy moving into new quarters. I think the new room is much better but some of the others disagree. I think their opinion will change when they have settled in. We have all become horribly lazy. Put in some hard work settling everything & cleaning the place. Jap guards still in a pretty poisonous mood. Chap still in the cage. Been there 48 hours now. Called over late this afternoon to extract a tooth for a Dutch officer. Had a shower then a walk with Arthur. Best aspect of new quarters is our own shower and a W.C. with a pedestal. Have not sat on a pedestal for 2 months now.
About 500 of our men out on corvée today. Japs had them moving ammunition to the railway. Some were on a cookhouse fatigue at Jap. headquarters. Still cage happy – I shall have to snap out of it soon or go nutty. Home seems thousands of miles further away than it did in the middle east! By heavens I miss those gorgeous letters of Bon’s . Even if we are released very soon David will be waling & talking long before I get home. I have been homesick before now but never like this. Still I think I really plumbed the depths the day we arrived at Landsopvoedinggesticht. I did not think I should ever see Bon again.
Thursday 11 June 1942
Up at the usual bloody ridiculous hour – same old breakfast. Started to work about 9. Big parade – Graham came over and pottered about – more of a nuisance than a help. An awful bloody old woman. Finished just in time for lunch. Played chess in the sun for a while and then lazed about inside until dinner. Soon after dinner we heard that more Australians had arrived. Raced out and much to our surprise the whole of our hospital crowd. Kinmoyth, Connelly, Park, McSweeney, Rutherford, Simpson, Wilson – Ambrose, Jack Withers, Gibson, and the rest except Chatsfield, Reg
Friday 12 June 1942
Morning much as usual – always the same bloody routine. Very busy until after lunch time. Arranged to have a game of chess with Dr. Van de Post. Also was asked to sec. Maj. Doornbos this afternoon. He is camp commandant. Does some strange things. Arthur and I went through the medical kits taken off the chaps who came in yesterday. That was a strange business. They were made think that the Japs were taking them and then it was all taken straight over to the old Dutch colonels’ room. However they did not get away with it. I grabbed some morphia and a few other things including a thermometer and some Gentian Violet jelly. Still trying hard to decide about the languages! May continue conversational Dutch & do French & German. Just get a smattering of Japanese & Malay. All useful but I hope we are released before I get far with any of them. I think I shall make a hobby of languages when I get home. Damn sorry now I never kept up my French. Played chess with Van Der Post tonight. Certainly a master of the game. I learnt a lot from him. Shall have to try some of his tricks on Ewen tomorrow. Jap patrol came round tonight but I was out. They apparently do not visit the Dutch officers quarters!
Saturday 13 June 1942
435 Aus – 403 Brit.
De profundis: Paraded this morning and after being dismissed once were recalled and finally counted. Back to Barracks and then – we are to move to-morrow – back to Bandoeng – another 10 mile march. I suppose we can take it but oh God I wish they would leave us alone. Probably will be much the same type of move as last time. Knocks the old morale about a bit but the news it still good and we are buoyed up by the hope that it will not be for very long. I have sorted out all my gear once again – just wait for further details now. Must arrange something about the dental gear too. Just finished lunch. Have only discarded a pyjama coat this time. Feel a pang when I part with something I have had since leaving home – stupid feeling I suppose.
Later:- feel much brighter now. We are to move off at 8 in the morning. Have given us 20 handcarts for our baggage – will make things a lot easier. I was certainly depressed this afternoon. Am hoping now that it may be another change for the better. Interpreter thinks we are bound for 15 th Btn camp – quite a good reputation. I am O.C. baggage again. 5 men per cart. Reveille at 5.30. Won’t get much sleep again. We all hope sincerely that they don’t keep moving us too often. If we could settle down somewhere for a while life would be a lot better. Japs went to some trouble to get us our full quota of 20 handcarts. They all arrived before dark. Turned in about 12 amid great confusion and packing.
Sunday 14 June 1942
Up at 5.30. Dressed and packed by 10 to 6 and around to the carts. Terrific confusion caused by people tying to load all sorts of gear. Eventually got my breakfast – cold. All paraded and ready by 8. Moved out at 8.45 after a comparatively quick count – for the Japs. Set off with a big guard – the carts in rear. At last moment was short of men for the carts so 5 more officers came in – Skip, Tom, Camroun, Smedley & Vin as well as myself and Ian. Little Jap corporal at the head of our column. Amazed when we heard him humming “La Traviata” to himself. Whistled with him for a while and he opened up a bit. Could speak some English – a Christian – he sang a few hymns for us. Turned out a very decent little chap. After about 5 kilo’s we halted for 3 hours until the Dutch who were to replace us had got clear of the road. They eventually straggled past – about 5000 of them. Most of them seemed to be about all in. Their handcarts were terrifically overloaded. All through the halt the Nip. Corporal entertained us and bought us fruit. He gave Smedley a fully loaded rifle and bayonet to show him. British army drill. He was an engineering student at Rolnys university – called up for 5 years. Set off on our trek at 1. Marched without a break for 3 hours – a cracker pace too. One man fell out before we started with malaria – so we put him on our cart. Town of Bandoeng had been cleared thoroughly absolutely deserted. Arrived at 15 th Btn camp about 4. Most of the officers pretty depressed but I still feel it is a change for the better. It is an enormous camp including streets of houses. Were able to buy some milk & bread and so to bed tired out but not sore.
Monday 15 June 1942
Very cold & fresh this morning. Had a marvellous sleep last night. Piper, Corlette, Myself & McNamara in quite a good small room. Spent all day almost in cleaning our quarter and putting up wires for our nets etc. Parade at 11A.M. A very mutinous demonstration by a small section. Morris & Weary in contact with the Nips all day. Appointed C.O. & adj. issued with armbands and made responsible for everybody with all sorts of bloody threats of execution. It always gives me a bad taste in the mouth although we have heard the same rigmarole many times now. Went for a walk in the late afternoon – amazing how extensive the camp is. Visited Rutherford in the hospital – he is down with bacillary dysentery.
Camp is very dirty and discipline among the Dutch is obviously non existent. Will cause trouble among our troops but we shall have to keep them up to the mark. Most of them will play – just very small proportion of malcontents. Got an egg and more milk tonight. Meal, much the same except that the morning rijsttaf is thicker and the soup is definitely much better. All thinks being considered I think it is a change for the better & Arthur agrees with me. The slackness of the camp is a strange contrast with Tji Mahi where the Nips were so strict about cleanliness. It would be a good think if Susuki had this place for a while. A hell of a lot of little private coffee stalls about. Exorbitant prices.
Tuesday 16 June 1942
Woke up before dawn feeling damned cold. Kept some milk from last night and it went damned will on the rifsttaf. Parade again this morning but a much more orderly show than yesterday. Went to P.T. after parade succeeded in getting most of the exercises from the Dutchman at Tji Mahi.
Potatoes for lunch – a good change but they upset me a bit and when we got the same for dinner I could eat very little of it. Had a long sleep in the afternoon and then went round with Arthur and met the Dutch dentists. They have quite a bit of equipment and do a considerable amt. of work. One of them is allowed out to buy materials. He has been making he Jap. commandant a bridge. He takes him into town to his former surgery all evening in a car – and seems to treat him pretty well. I want to go over and work with them but the Japs threaten to shoot anyone of us they find over there so I think I shall wait a while. The fear that we may start plotting escapes if we get over with the Dutch amongst those houses although how we could beats me. Strange how frightened they are of our escaping when it is so obvious that we could not. A team of wogs are busy outside with little yankee tractors hauling enormous quantities of broken down M.T. on to a vacant piece of ground opposite the camp. They are frightful drivers – their tractors will not last long. Nips have consented to give Arthur a pass and told Morris he need not fear execution but that they will certainly kill anybody who escapes or attempts to escape and anyone who assists such an attempt. Otherwise they are comparatively easy – have given us a couple of typewriters – 2 bikes – and some stationery. Bought a bloody big liver sausage today – a beaut. Will have a go at it tomorrow.
Wednesday 17 June 1942
Several wonderful things happened, notably Bread – butter – & sausage. Beautifully fresh bread. Still talk of the Dutch moving out – seems fairly definite. We might be allowed into the cottages. Hope so. Washed the floor again this morning. Been feeling very uncomfortable in the innards lately – if it persists I must do something tomorrow. First time I have felt off for about 12 months. Told to expect a crowd about 15 strong tonight. Spent a lot of time wondering where they are from. Still a hell of a lot of buying and selling going on round the camp. We suspect that much of the material offered for sale by the Dutch is actually part of the Jap food issue. They ask fancy prices too! Had two huge slices of bread spread thickly with butter and worst [wurst?]. God it was marvellous. The crowd expected arrived about 7. A very mixed bag – very few Australians – survivors of the Perth – R.N. – R.A.F. – R.A.A.F. – 2 Indians – a Canadian etc. 25 officers. That brings the number of officers up to 72. We had difficulty quartering them. Our rooms just right with 4 but had to take an extra one each. We drew a little old chap called Lamb from N.Z. They are mainly Englishmen. Turned in feeling pretty crook – have decided it was the dried spuds the other day.
Thursday 18 June 1942
Woke up still feeling lousy. Rice porridge with milk and sugar for breakfast. Rutherford due back today. Apparently he has recovered all right. I went over to sick parade and treated a few aches. New officers wandering round like lost sheep. Most English officers are a singularly helpless crowd. Although they outnumber us – Australians run everything. It is just as well because things would be in an awful state otherwise. There is not an officer here who could run the kitchens as Ian does. Just before lunch feeling very lousy so sought advice & took some calomel – had a moderate amt. bloody crook this afternoon and had some Mg SO 4 about 6 – no dinner. Feeling a bit better now but bloody empty. Hope I am not up during the night. It is about 100 yards to the latrines. Dutch definitely to go tomorrow early. Place outside like Paddy’s market. Skip. and Smedley in their element. We have already acquired a small table and three cane chairs – a bridge school in here tonight. I think I shall turn in early. Shall borrow Rutherford’s chess book. He is back – a bit thinner but well.
Friday 19 June 1942
Feeling a good deal better today. Dutch started moving out in the very early hours. We collected a little furniture last night & this morning. Many of the other officers have overdone it a bit - the place is in a terrible mess. Could not get any definite direction about a cottage this morning. Eventually Morris advised us to hop in and start cleaning one up. Got to work with a will. Some doubt still as to whether we shall be allowed to increase our quarters but are hoping so desperately. Went down again to work after lunch for an hour or so then came back to help Skip to do some buying. Discovered I had lost my paybook and every cent I possess. About 60 gulden. A horrible blow under these circumstances. Feel much as I did when I lost the camera. Can do without the money but hate losing my paybook – it will mean all sorts of delays when I get home. However – I must try to take it. Hurrah!! After a couple of hours absolute misery I have got my paybook etc back intact. By God I’m lucky for once. W.O. Phillips picked it up. I went round and thanked him & made him accept 10 gulden. Took over orderly duties at 5.30. Big things going on at the Kapitei. They are going to separate Aust. & English troops. Means another move. I wonder when they will cease buggering us about. Had a bit of trouble with one of the English Barracks at lights out. All the Aust. ones were good.
Saw John Morris before I turned in. Jap. inspection to-morrow morning at 11, and they appear to be definite about their intention to split us up.
Saturday 20 June 1942
Up before dawn for the early breakfast for cleaning parties and a working party. Everybody flat out cleaning damp. Got officers and sergeants on tho their own quarters. The worst in the camp. Looks like a second-hand shop. Made Peach & Co. stow all their chess furniture in a room Jap. W.O. came round eventually and went round – seemed pleased and gave us the real news of their intentions. Exceeds our wildest dreams. Aus. & Eng. troops in separate areas but not segregated. Officers in a street of beautiful little furnished cottages – 6 rooms – 6 officers. Each with two bath rooms – 2 kitchens & 2 W.C.’s – marvellous. I have been flat out urging on the cleaning parties – we must be ready to move by 2 P.M. Allowed hand carts. Our street out of bounds to the troops but we have ready access to them. C.O. & Morris and Wing. Comm. Nichols & his adj. to live in cottages we originally hoped to get. C.O. got the one we had cleaned up. Nichols a bit of a shit. Our cottage filthy when we got into it. Allowed 2 batmen per cottage. In my cottage – Arthur Moon, Reg Piper, McNamara, Corlette, & Tom Elliott. Batmen – Dick Smith and Tom Herbert – both over 50. A very good thing for them too. We are wondering what this terrific change in our treatment lately means. There must be something behind it.
Sunday 21 June 1942
Up before dawn again. This time for mass. Got some milk last night so the rijsttaf went down fairly well. Spend all the morning cleaning the place up. Found some beeswax and was able to get our fas ring working. These conditions are almost unbelievable luxury compared with our treatment so far. Most of the Japs are strangely pleasant too. We are extremely suspicious about this change although there has been a steady improvement for some weeks now. Some of us have even started hoping that we may get some mail. A few letters and parcels would be marvellous although they are commonplace for the prisoners of other powers. We are just about settled now and if they leave us in peace can eke out some sort of existence. We have become very fatalistic. Hear no news at all here but have lost interest a bit after all the furphies we have been fed by the Dutch. Did a couple of dental jobs this morning. Saw Morris tonight. He & the C.O. command Australians & Wing Com. Nichols the English. The recent crowd from Chitachap a very poor crowd. Sq. Ldr. Harrison a pain in the neck. Allowed him to treat me as a subaltern for a couple of days & then had him informed of my rank – shut him up. Nichols turning out a very complete shit. Treating the P.O. very badly. His teeth chatter every time a Jap comes near him. Japs. asked for list of our electrical requirements – intend to fix the whole street.
Monday 22 June 1942
Up late for breakfast – ie. Just after dawn instead of before dawn. C.O.’s parade. Made a bit of balls of “falling out”. After parade Wearne called a meeting of Sergeants and officers. Told us why we must keep up discipline and fitness for doing a job if and when the occasion arose. Fair amt. of hot air but some constructive ideas. About 600 all yanks coming in from Garout tonight. Had a look at Ambrose’s office. Been put in charge of public works and seems to be enjoying himself immensely. Back to the cottage and did a couple of extractions. Jap inspection this afternoon so did a bit of tidying up. Got to work making a pair of slippers out of an old rubber tire. Should be just the thing for wandering round the yard. Spent some time trying to adjust our accomodation [sic] to fit in the expected officers. Finally decided that Skip, Vic, & Ian would move over to our house. Most of the houses are taking four more but ours are smaller so we get 3 extra. Hence we don’t have to put up any of the newcomers. Jap inspection duly took place but he did not visit our street. Pleased with cleanliness & orderliness of the camp. We are getting canteen supplies in ourselves without any difficulty. The Dutch talked about all sorts of risks but it is apparently quite O.K. with the Japs. Donaldson goes out to get it. About 6 the chaps from Garout turned up. Mostly 2/3 M.G. Btn with Col. Lyneham, but a few odds and sods including some more R.A.F. dopes. One Group Captain who is apparently as useless as one would expect. 42 officers all told came in. got the food situation organised – bread – eggs – butter – milk – tea & coffee. Be a bugger when the money runs out.
Tuesday 23 June 1942
A morning of parading. Ordinary parade then new chaps. Feeling very seedy today. One ear not too good – had some drops put in it. Saw a few patients and then spent a lot of time making an opening in the galvanized iron between us and Ewen’s side. Decided to split the mess and eat on our own side. We are going to clean & furnish our kitchen and eat in there. Old Arthur in great form. All the new chaps have long hair. Must be off by 11 today. Very little news coming in. However we do hear a little occasionally. Saw the dutch dentists from the Poly clinic and arranged to see them tomorrow. Nips still behaving very well. Still they can keep it up as long as they like it will not even up old scores.
Ian and co. moved over and we rearranged ourselves. Old Herberts turning out a very good old chap.
Getting very tired of rising at dawn. Seems so bloody silly when we are prisoners. Still getting a fair issue of dried potatoes. I can't eat them at all. Went down to see Jack Ross. He & Horace Williams & a couple of other sergeants are comfortably housed & happy. Jack is still very thin. A couple of Japs strolled in this morning. One of them Yoshio Saito an old aquaintance [sic] from the Landsopv. He was the guard whom Fred Smedley amused while we got the tools. Very pleased to see us here. Parked his rifle & bayonet and has a talk. Taught him a bit of English. His cobber sits very dumb.
Wednesday 24 June 1942
Still parading. Weary & Morris to remain in charge of camp but Lyneham to command Australians. Organised into a sort of Btn. with the M.G.’s as a nucleus and all unit groups kept intact. 7 companies. C.C.’s attached to H.Q. company. Had some more ear treatment and saw some dental cases. Feeling lousy for a while and as deaf as a butler. Saw the polyclinic crowd who entertained Graham and I to cocoa. Very talkative and hard to get away from them. Arranged treatment for our lads and promised to see more of the Dutchmen to tell them something of real war. Got back just in time to have lunch. Had to go and see Morris about the dental arrangements. Saw Weary too. He tells me the Japs have completely ceased to worry him – that senior R.A.F. officers are a bloody sight worse. He wants me to prepare a list of the men dentally unfit and then will try to get some materials out of the Dutch. I don’t like his chances but anything is possible at the moment. Came back and got to work with Tom changing the mess over. Got things going successfully by tea time. Spuds again. Tom & I fried ours up and made some toast – damn good. Bridge four hard at it in here to-night. Played several games of chess to-night and won them all – have been studying Hoppers book and am playing a much better game. Last night “lights out” was change [sic] to 9 for O.R.’s and 10 for officers. Damn nuisance as 10 is actually 8.30. Means we get up at 6AM. & go to bed at 8.30.
Thursday 25 June 1942
Breakfast on the same old rijstfaf. Taking my time about dressing when I hears sick parade altered to 9. Raced down & sent about 6 cases to the Polyclinic. Huge sick parade.
Parade about 9.50. Went back to my cottage then and stayed home until late this afternoon. Potatoes for tea. Fried them up – fried egg and made some toast. Quite a good meal. Found some wood and made a ****** for the bath room. The native splash bath quite good when you get used to it. Spent most of the afternoon carving a castle. After tea went for a walk with Arthur. Called on Binstead – Oalkie & co. and then went down to sick quarters where Arthur syringed out my ear for me. Removed large quantities of wax. Heavy shower delayed us. Then back again. Partial blackout in Bandoeng – reputed raid on Soerabaia. Listened to an Ambonise choir for a while. Remarkably good harmony. Vic out on corvée today. One of the Nips. did a hell of a lot of work tying to show the lads how strong he was. Wyllie was out on some other job. Organisation of Aus. into companies still going on. Should settle down soon. Really very necessary. Skip down with the squittery. One case of Amoebic dysentery from Garout all the rest bacillary. Still quite a few malarial relapses. Senior R.A.F. officers starting to worry the M.O.’s too.
I believe language classes are starting again soon. Probably do German and Malay and any others that might be useful. This early lights out restricts our activities quite a bit. Not much time to read or study at night. Shall play a bit of chess and turn in soon.
Friday 26 June 1942
As usual breakfast arrived just as I seemed to be soundest asleep. Owing to the compiling of Weary’s list the sick parade was unusually large. Many reporting lost dentures etc. Finished early and back home to a morning cup of coffee. Read and talked until lunch time. Got the list of Australians in need of urgent treatment. 127 of them. U.K. group messed theirs up. Should get it to-morrow. After lunch John Morris arrived and told us that a high Jap. officer would inspect the camp about 2.30. Arrived about an hour late and inspected our cottage only – had a glace at the main camp & was gone. Spotted my dental instruments and my homemade chess-men. Turned out to be a captain in charge of P.O.W.’s in Batavia. Remarked that we lived in greater comfort here. Capitei people told John that they intended to make us more comfortable. Newcomers still busy learning Jap drill. Vic Ryan out all day with working party. Got the camp pretty well organised now. Dutch dentists called round late in the evening. Asked them to smuggle in some curry powder for me. Still taking my chess very seriously.
Bridge school as usual. Reg Piper and company. Lot of aerial activity Air raid siren blown twice – got a great thrill. The Japs must have been testing it. I wonder what is happening – if only we could get some reliable news. In to bed at 10 again. Lay awake thinking of home for hours.
Saturday 27 June 1942
Same old routine this morning. After sick parade brought Jack Ross up for a cup of coffee. Had a long yarn. Revolting looking stew for lunch but tasted quite good. Pork instead of the usual aged buffalo. Most of the afternoon occupied myself carving again. 20 men came in from Tji Mahi hospital today. Brought some astounding news – some it sounds quite credible but still can’t believe these stories of an invasion of Europe. These chaps claim that Holland & Belgium have been occupied. Skip was told off by the group captain who struck unexpected opposition. Had a terrific game of chess with Ewen this afternoon.
We see very little of Weary and John these days. Must make some arrangement with them to-morrow. I hope they arranged some language classes soon. I have put my name down for a navigation class to start soon. I hate all this wasted time – easy enough to amuse oneself but would like to be doing it profitably. Brown has just made a cup of tea. The three batmen are turning out wonders. They scrubbed the whole house out today in great style. Have been very sorry that I have not got those two large photographs to hang up in the room. Still get bad attacks of homesickness but as I have mentioned before I have become much more philosophical about things and have a quiet confidence in the future that will be very difficult to shake. I have come through so much successfully.
Sunday 28 June 1942
Up well before dawn for mass. Very small dental parade although sick parade still very large. No parade so got back home early. Had a yarn with Weary and John Morris. John got hold of bad news form M.E. Shook my confidence a little but soon recovered. He is thoroughly depressed. Invited them up this afternoon for coffee. Had to start an antigloom campaign – everybody seems depressed by the news. Nips have asked for another nominal roll. This time Name, rank, age, former unit, occupation, living place, no of wives! & no of children. God knows what for. I wonder do they know themselves. Singularly childish crowd. Perpetually amazed by Weary’s size. Spent most of the afternoon doing nothing in particular. John & Weary came up during the afternoon had a yarn and a cup of coffee. Both still very depressed. John particularly so. I expressed firm faith that the Jerries would be pushed back. Put my slacks on and polished the old shoes tonight and went round to see Goeder & co. Talked for quite a while. Decent crowd. I must get their names and addresses. The gloomy faces about the place are due to attacks of barbed wire fever I think. The thought that we may be cooped up for years is certainly not cheering. They said I was a pessimist at the Landsop. when I said – next year sometime – now I still think the same and I am an optimist. However we shall see. I wonder whether we shall ever get the mail etc. that the P.O.W.’s in Germany get. Surely it is possible however roundabout the route.
Monday 29 June 1942
The Dutch last night had good news of enemy being repulsed in the desert. Feel very pleased that my confidence justified. C.O.’s parade this morning. Saw Ambrose down in his quarters. He is down with a five day fever – same as Reg Piper. A sort of Dengue probably. Very unpleasant while it lasts. Reg is much better today. Javanese electricians arrive this morning and started work on the Rectory. Very quiet day. Did some reading and played a bit of chess. Kinmouth, Connelly & co. came over and talked for a while. Young Clavell and Arthur had another wordy battle. Ewen & Mc. still very pessimistic in spite of Morris coming in with a repetition of the news I got last night. He handed in the roll tonight. He put himself down for 4 kids and Weary for 7. Sgt. Gibson gave his occupation as ice-cream vendor. Christmas brought back a Malay paper with all sorts of extravagant bulah in it. It is after lights out now but I have shut the room up and shaded the light. It is really a hell of a bloody life. Started erecting matting on the barbed wire today to prevent us seeing the outside world. Makes little difference to us. Strange sort of chanting accompanied by wild shouts coming from the Kapitei earlier tonight. Tried to do some Nasi Goreng tonight but not very successful. Soup at lunch particularly good. Hope it continues so.
Tuesday 30 June 1942
Up comparatively late this morning. Was late for sick parade and was still working when admin parade was on. Came back fairly early and brought Frank in for coffee. Went to a navigation class at 11. don’t think I will keep it up. Would rather do some languages. Seems a hell of a pity to drop Dutch after going so far – I have lost interest as I have become more disgusted with the Dutchmen. Must get stuck into some Japanese soon too. News today is still bad in Europe & North Africa. Incredible tale tonight of parachute landings in Iran & Iraq on the oil pipe lines. Find it bloody hard to swallow. Japs still very affable. Told Morris that they were very pleased with our camp, our behaviour, and our hair cuts. A bit peeved with the Ambonese. I am damned if I know what to think about the news. Beginning to feel very annoyed with England. She won’t attack. Has shown all along she is frightened of casualties. If she does not have a go soon it may be too late. Her problems have been great, but that enormous useless army in England is hardly justified. We were thrown to the wolves in Greece, Crete and the desert – for what? I never doubt that we shall win but God how long? It is alright for the people at home and the big schemers but for the men who fight and for such as we are! The effort is needed now not in the air or on the sea but in the field. However, as the Arabs say – malaish! We are stuck here for how long we have no idea – our news good or bad is unreliable and we must make the best of it or go mad. It is comforting to realise how much worse off we have been before now.
Six months of 1942 gone. Certainly an eventful 6 months. However, things have steadily improved since April and may continue to do so. I don’t think I have been affected much by prison life. My morale is really much better than it was this time last year. I have been amazingly fortunate in my companions. If I searched among thousands I would not find a better team than we have in this cottage. The biggest problem looming up is money. We should last about 6 months more at the present rate but when that time comes things will become pretty grim. I am hoping that before the six months are up we shall either be paid by the Nips or shall receive parcels from home. I shudder to think of life for a long period on the ration we get. It might ruin our health permanently.
Our treatment has improved enormously lately but we cannot forget what the original intentions were. Something has happened to alter that atitude [sic] but what it is we don’t know. Since they failed to carry their program to Australia the Pacific situation seems to have improved steadily. Earlier our worries about ourselves were aggravated by worries about home but now we feel fairly confident about that. It certainly makes things easier although we all feel very much the suffering of our people due to our disappearance..
Our rosiest dreams are of course of being liberated before this war is over and of having the opportunity to be in at the death – I wonder?
This camp formerly the barracks of 15 th Btn Dutch Army. Now:- No 4 Aust. camp & No 3. Brit.
Wednesday 1 July 1942
A very interesting day. The C.O. was summoned to the Kapitei about 10.30. Mauriki began a most complicated and cunning interrogation. Peculiar questions. Insistence on trying to get an admission that dissension between Australia and England. Typical questions were
Is it true that the Australian army is not satisfied with their treatment by the British and that Australia is dissatisfied with British war effort? What are your feelings? Do we still feel confident that Britain will win? What will we think if Japan takes Australia? Do we hope the war will not last long? Egypt has fallen, Alaska has fallen, reverse everywhere. Mr Churchill has lost face, Mr Roosevelt has lost face – what do you think of that? Don’t you think Australia should make peace with Japan? Are you satisfied with your treatment here? Would you be prepared to write and insert a few political points in your letter? Would you be prepared to say you are being well treated? What do you think of the Jap. army? How do they compare with the British army?
There were many other questions I can’t remember. Weary very very cleverly evaded every issue – agreed to say we were well treated and so gained permission for the Australians to write home. A single sheet of paper each. John Morris and Col. Lyneham we [sic] subjected to the same questions.
Got the impression that the questions came from a higher source. John says they admit they want a separate peace with Australia. Pacific news still god but Egypt bad. Still supposed to be fighting round Mersa [ Mecca?]. Don’t know what the bloody news is these days. The letter business is a break but we are not terribly confident about them. Australians only may write and to only one person. One sheet of paper each. Write on both sides – no envelopes. However we hope for the best. We got the whole story from Weary when Arthur and I went down to his cottage to-night.
The Jap cadet officer who has been so good since we came here is called Yamida – little chap with black moustache. Believe all civilian radio sets are to be confiscated.
Dutch Polyclinic a bit temperamental lately – did only extractions this morning. I can’t understand these damned Dutchmen. Ambrose was taken round to hospital today. The fever seems to have knocked him badly. His morale has been at a hell of a low ebb for some time now. No good to let yourself go like that. I have just noticed that I am developing a spot of tinea. Reg is much better but Ian is sickening now.