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17-8-'45

[excerpt] from Mrs. Ida Talbot's personal Diary:

Well my dear, our most thrilling day materialised today. As I was taking Christine to her nursery school, the plane zoomed very low overhead, crowds who were awaiting the return of passports cheered & cheered. Presently it came back, and again, then on my way home I saw the parachutists. At first I thought they were dropping supplies, but presently when the ‘chutes unfurled and the forms took the shape of men. What a glorious sight. Then Sid dashed for the gate and so did many others after him.

The Guards at first wouldn’t let us pass, but we swarmed past and into the fields. We went through the melon fields, cornfields, Kaoling fields, on and on towards the chutists. Meanwhile the plane returned twice or three times more and dropped what we thought were supplies. The Chinese peasants etc lined the route & paths showing thumbs up. How Caesar would have enjoyed the sight of even the poorest peasant understanding “thumbs up”. Eventually after trudging miles & miles (as it seemed) came up to Taffy with a red ‘chute. He asked me to look after it as “if it is not wanted I want it as all my life I have wanted one”. However Mrs. Oates came & took it up and I followed her, however I stumbled and into a pitfall I tripped, was just dropping into a watery grave when Frederici and another Italian grabbed hold of my arms and saved me. Then suddenly a ‘chutist appeared followed by a horde who grabbed me by the arms and all I could say was “thank you for coming”. Then the major got on a mound saying “as there is much to do would all the women & children return to the camp.” So we did. On my way back saw Mrs. Marshall prone on the ground calling for Dickie “he’s all I have you know”. I stayed a while holding Mrs. Marsh’s apron over her. Eventually I trudged home. Saw Sid & Christine on the wall, so I joined them. Presently the parcels followed by the ‘chutists, came in and did we clap & cheer. 5 American, 1 American born Japanese & 1 Chinese. Marie patted them all, but Mrs. Gerfer & Mrs. Klamer gave them kisses. Eventually we landed up in Robbie’s room where Louis installed with a bottle. Stan, Sid, Louis, Marie Mrs. Cole, Johnny Hilburn, Percy Jones were all in there having snorts. J. Hilburn gave us girls a kiss before settling to a drink.

Dennis Carter was outside the Police Office when McLaren walked up with 2 Americans. When they walked up to the door of the office, they drew out their pistols, when the Chief saw them he drew out his pistol & laid it on the desk. Then the Americans put their pistols back & saluted. The Japanese bowed after the Japanese fashion. Then followed by handshaking.

We understand following upon the 2 atomic bombs, which destroyed everything within a 5 mile radius, the Japanese sued for peace. Apparently that territory is so vile that no living being can ever approach it even after several months have lapsed.

Alec Broome was much perturbed by ‘chutists in No 2 kitchen not only refused seconds but even firsts at lunch. I myself have had anything to eat since breakfast only cups of coffee galore with heaps of sugar.

A Chinese Mission Delegation is already in, Hugh Hubbard & Father de Jaegher acting as hosts. The Chief of P. sent for McLaren last night & asked him was it true Watanabe’s life was threatened by internees. McLaren replied ‘not threatened but he’ll be sure to be manhandled. So this morning early he was smuggled out.

Mr Egger is in. So far we don’t know the object of his visit.

Mr Kojo came up to the gate. When the door was opened by our Police, he wanted to know what had happened. “ Don’t you know?” – “No” – “Well, the Americans are here!!!!” I hear that the three Americans have gone to Suih Shih Li Pu to take over the airfield.

Apparently when they landed, they were quite expecting to have to fight their way to the camp.

So they laid doggo until they heard our voices.

Mrs Thomson says, after conversation with Sgt Harmond(?) that they were anxious about our safety as our camp is the worst situated owing to the Chungking & Yennan troops warring. So they dropped on us to see how we were and to report. The wireless transmitter is being set up now. He asked her what did the camp need most – sugar, she replied. That was coming in quantity. – Cigarettes – That too, we’d be getting plenty. – Beer – “No, lady, we haven’t had any ourselves for months – Lang Gilkey tells us they are coming with our kitchen for supper. Our bill of fare will be boiled potatoes and a cinnamon bun.

Coralie Ross had an amusing set to with Denise Winslow. I was returning from my shower and unashamedly eavesdropped on Coralie & Rusty. “Yes”, she said, there is no truth in this evacuation stay”. – No truth in what, says Denise popping her head over her fence. Coralie repeated. Well, says Denise, Jimmy has just been speaking to one of the ‘chutists and he says there will be an evacuation”. –

No, says Coralie, the men dining in our Kitchen said no.” “Do you mean to tell me Jimmy is lying?” retorts Denise flushing angrily - I don’t know whether Jimmy is lying or not but I believe the marines.”

Answered Coralie and walked away. - That is the temper of the Camp but the amazing thing is the way the Japanese & American ‘chutists ignore each other. The J.Guards are taking it well. Good Scouts! We have a 100% cockney in Camp and his job is to tend the boiling water boiler for drinking in our Kitchen. This a.m. he relates that: ‘Alton came in a flush and ‘urry and said ‘ere quick I want tea for the Americans. ‘Alton is a fool thank goodness I ain’t a bleeding committee member. When do you think I’m going to get tea from, do you think I am a bloody Lipton’s tea plantation!!

A Chinese official came in the afternoon to ask if the Camp Committee would mind Hummell & Tipton returning to the Camp! We thought they were home! as it was their object when they left here.

My sleeping draught is working now as I’ll say good night. The ‘chutists are still trying to make contact with G.H.Q.

Love Ida Deo Gratias

18.8.'45

My dear:

With what joy and pleasure we welcomed Tipton and Hummell. Diana Candles stood at the gate to welcome Hummell. What clapping. The Japanese Guards only looked on. Do you know that our local political situation is unique the like of which never has existed before & never will, namely the vanquished are still in charge and protecting us, the conquerors. Understand Tipton & Hummell never got beyond 25 miles from here with the Chungking forces. One day fighting Japanese, next day 8th route & perhaps the next guerillas. They had been dropped from an American plane a receiver & broadcasting set with which they used to broadcast to the States etc.. However they had had a surprise attack from the Japanese and were compelled to lose their set.

Today we witnesses the first departure Tom Cameron, old man Taylor, Robert Hall & Delagespi, Peyton & Mrs Miller are being shipped off by plane to Chungking & then home.

We are all agog. All day long we stand around Main Street Way waiting for something to see.

We did see Watanabe walk in steadfastly. Brave he was some atarted to boo but were rapidly shut up.

It is on the notice board that a – daily expectation of 5000 lbs of foodstuffs brought. The Prefect has sent us eggs – sugar, potatoes etc... But I understand the quantity is insufficient to go round, we don’t mind.

Later: The American plane was several hours late, and when it arrived at about 5.30 it circled over and over, and the all clear signal shown on the playing field outside the camp was quickly changed to “no”- It finally flew away. The ‘chutist major and party dashed off to the field. The Japanese plane which had been on the runway flew after the US plane, no apparent sign of anyone else but suddenly groups of Japanese with drawn bayonets and helmets. The major approached the colonel for explanation but they were non-committal, and the situation ugly so they returned to camp. Apparently the Liberator B.25 although in possession of 16 guns had no gunner but 30,000 lbs foodstuffs, and in a scrap with the Japanese fighter she would not have had a ghost of a chance.

The sick party when arriving at the airport was met by the Jap fighter which dove almost into her, everybody but the 3 seriously ill jumped off and took shelter in the kaoling.

We feel that Kogo, Idgu & Watanabe are responsible for the Jap plane being here, namely that if the Japanese are still in control what right have the internees etc to send away the sick? A meeting was called for 8.30 p.m.

Love Ida