Monday, 15 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.
I don’t know how to start this letter, I have so much to say – and I want to say it all at once. Well my Sweethearts – thank the Lord we have pulled through successfully. I never for one moment thought we would lose the War, but I had a horrid feeling they would do something to us.
First I must start from the beginning in 1941. When War came I was in HK at the V.R.P., returning here on the 9th December – just in time to enjoy 9 Jap bombs being dropped over our Qrs, one hit the Doctors house up the Hill, two others fell behind the Hill side, 6 others fell from K Block to the Indian Qrs, luckily nobody was killed, only one coolie hurt. I returned to HK at 12 M.Night of the 11th Dec, staying there until Sat 13th Dec. By that time Kowloon had been captured, and the Machine and rifle fire was terrific at times. Every day we had Jap planes over bombing, our only 4 planes had been put out of action when they bombed Kai Tak on Monday the 8th Dec, so the Japs had the sky to themselves, doing as they liked. On the evening of the 18th Dec, they landed at Taikoo Docks, no opposition, not a shot fired and by the morning of the 19th they had landed guns – mules and waggons – with thousands of men. It was then we were called up in the Volunteers, although Begley, Ryan, Spoors *, LeTissier *, Harrop, Taffenden, Jamieson, Perry, not fat Perry, Bond *, Drewsey *, Doxford *, McCursach *, went to Battle HQrs on Monday 8th December. (* In Japan as prisoners of War).
The letter continues here.