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Peter Bazire's DIARY,

All these pages have been kindly typewritten for us by Peter Bazire !

Wednesday, August 15th -- [click here]

During the afternoon and evening rumours were going around camp that war had finished. In the evening, Mr. Mc Laren read out in front of the discipline office that the Japanese emperor had ordered that no more firing should be.

The Japs neither confirmed nor denied this statement.

In the evening there was a game of softball Chefoo v Weihsien [click here] ... in which Chefoo won. ― good celebration for supposed to be victory.

I played A.F.

Thursday, August 16th

Around midday rumours went around that war was over. There were crowds near the front gate all talking away.

Soon the crowd dispersed and the people discussed the end of the war and what they would do.

About 8:20 p.m. a car arrived at the front gate. People came from all directions to see who was in it. It turned out to be a couple Japs. It was about the first car we had seen for a long time.

Friday, August 17th

Everybody was exited and couldn't settle down. We, of course dug into our stores more than usual. After morning roll-call, about 9:30 we heard a plane. Everybody rushed out and we found out that it was American. Occasionly foriegn (sic) planes had flown over but this was the first to fly low. It came from S-W. It flew E. of the camp and we could see the star. It had 4 engines and was a B-24. We all waved and cheered although they told us after that they didn't see us. It came over again and flew from S-N over the camp very low, about 40 feet. It almost touched the trees. Then it circled around and flew N-S, but what thrilled us all was that it dropped parachute troops. 7 in all.

Major Staiger
Lieut. J. Moore (Chefusian)
Lieut. Hannen
Sgt. Ray Hanchulack
Cpl. Tad Nagaki (naturalised Jap-American)
Cpl. Peter Orlick
Edward Wong. (Chinese)

We all rushed out of camp to help them in. They dropped in dull white silk parachutes. All they had to do was to turn a thing and ...

... press it and they were released from the parachute. They hid behind grave mounds because when they had started out war hadn't finished. It was a mistake what we had heard on Thursday. We yelled in English to them and they realised that they were safe then showed themselves. I was one of the first to come across. E. Wong. They had .45 colts by their hips and .32 up near their left shoulders. We were half a mile from camp amongst kao-liang and millet. The plane was 600 ft. up when they dropped. The plane zoomed over again and in its bomb racks it had big metal containers about 4' high and over a foot wide slightly rounded at each end. We carried them to a general dump by a grave. They were dropped with parachutes. The plane came again and dropped a few more and after that circled once more and flew W very close to the kao-liang and went for ever that day. The plane also ... (?)

We then went in search for the supply containers. Some were'nt found for quite a time. We had 4 men to a container and another carried the parachute. They brought out the reserve gang cart out and dumped a good deal of the stuff on that. I thought the whole thing was over when Hoyte III asked me to come with him. A feeble minded police tried to stop us but we told him that we were doing good work so he let us go on. We carried a big basket affair which contained radio parts. We ran all the way.

The band was playing and they had brought my trumpet. Since we children were not allowed out again I played in the band. The Chungking troops were outside our front gate when the P. troops landed to protect them and us.

The major was about the last to come of everybody, and was carried by a couple of men.

Everybody cheered ...

The Americans went to the Administration building in Moon Gate ...

... and talked with the big-shots of the camp. E. Wong talked to us through the window. He was in Peking 7 years ago but escaped from school and went to high school and then joined up. It was the first time he had jumped from an airplane. He is called "Shorty" because of his height (about 5')

When the soldiers came out children flocked towards them, especially Nagaki. He is always seen walking around with children.

These parachute troops were picked men. When they landed they didn't know, whether Japs or communists, who were numerous, would attack them for the war isn't over yet. They were brave men. The Japs were feeling funked and couldn't stop us so the Americans came in safe.

Some invalids were told to prepare 1 suit-case --- no more than 50 lbs. in case they would go that day.

They didn't.

Saturday, August 18th,

People young and old were asking that Americans to write their names in their autograph albums or suchlike books.

I forgot to say that on Friday evening the sewing room made letters out of the parachute "O.K. TO LAND" for the air-drome which is about 5 miles South of us at (?) ...

Also the U.V. and L.V. had to be messengers for the camp police who wore red armbands with C.P. in black. We wore green scarves on our left arms. First of all we did from 2-6 p.m.. There weren’t many messages to carry.

- Saturday (continued)

There were 3 messangers (sic) at H.Q. (S.W. room of 25) & 2 at the gate. The hours were permanent ― 9.30 to 11.30; 11.30 to 1.00; 1.00 to 3.00; 3.00 to 5.00 from then on. I was on from 1 to 3 at the gate. I was told in the morning that A. Hummel & Tipton were expected that day. I saw horses the other side of the river coming down the path. I guessed that they were T + H. . The horses' tails were different colour from the ...

... main body. A Chinese told us that they were. When they came in sight again they were walking with a Chinese officer between them. Tipton was in canary khaki & Hummel in blue trousers & white shirt. The camp came down to the front gate to see them especially D. Candlin who is H's girl friend. They went to H.Q. & the Adm. Building & talked there.

A wretched Jap plane was on the airfield so when the B-24 came that afternoon, it couldn't land. As well the Japs had some men with rifles on the base. The major was very heated with the Japs.

I was up the Hospital tower when the B-24 came. Tad, a nervy little chap stood on the top railing of the parapet & held on the roof. Immediately he saw the plane in the distance, he said that it was a B-24. The plane flew low over the camp a few times & the last time it flew very close to the tower ― we had a good view. In the evening I played ...

... a violin duet with Pat. Evenden. ― Youth concert.

Sunday, August 19th

Nothing much.

There was a church parade in the morning, all scouts, guides, rangers, rovers (not cubs & brownies) taking part. Also all ex-soldiers & volunteers etc. had seats reserved. They marched down main road while the band played. I came late 'cause of band but had a seat reserved. It was an Anglican service in which all clergy (6) & the bishop took part. Mr. Mc. Douall led the sermon. He read the whole thing. All the ex-service men wore their medals ― some had at least 10. At the end we lined up outside the church & were dismissed. J. Moore & a couple of other soldiers came at the end & the people gathered around them & talked.

In the afternoon about 4.30. a plane came over & looked dark & also didn't ...

... look like the B-24 so people thought it was a Jap. People thought it funny for the Americans to go down to the field the other side of the river where there was a white cross, but the Americans knew it to be a C-47. It had its wheels down ― 2 engines & an ordinary tail.

― Nothing much for the rest of the day. When on duty a Jap found a hand grenade & threw it into the river.

Monday, August 20th

The rumour was that about 20 Americans were in Weihsien & that 7 planes were to arrive that day. The last rumour didn't happen. The 20 odd Americans came about 11.00 in a truck ― a mission for release work in Korea but were turned back. The story was they were sent to Korea & landed on an airdrome near a camp on Saturday. The Japs were very pleasant in the afternoon but on Sunday morning broke some of their previous promises & the L. Col. got heated with them & the Japs got heated back. The Japs trained two tank's guns on the house of the Americans but the American's walked ...

... to their plane as if they were allowed to ― all were dead funked as they walked. The plane was only a transport they went about 180 m.p.h. They were funked because of (a) suicide Jap planes (b) they had no life belts for the sea. Luckily they got away safely & landed at 6.00 p.m. on Sunab.

They had a photographing outfit & took several pictures. Each man had a crowd around him & signed their names for people. The car on the main road went backwards & forwards with people inside (children) & outside up main road. The highest man was Lieut. Colonel Bird

May I say that all this time since the first batch came & had fixed up the wireless set, bulletins were posted up on the walls outside kitchens for the public to read. It was called 'The Zoom'. Also Mr.Egger has been in & out.

Marketing is going over the wall all the time. We gave tins & old clothing mainly & they mainly ...

... gave eggs, water melons, sugar, tomatoes, apples & sometimes cigarettes, corncobs, chickens, soap.

We sometimes gave money. Roughly 4 apples = 100 dollars P.R.B. One big water melon 500. Eggs 20-50$.

A Jap at the front gate lost his head & fired, after long manuvering (sic) with his pistol, at the Chinese selling. He purposely fired above their heads. About 4 p.m. the C of Police ran after the Chinese & fired above their heads & he came to the fence where there was a Chinese just the other side. It looked funny to see him purposely fire above his head with his small pistol.

At 4.00 there was chocolate for 1 – 16 or sweets. I drew chocolate.

In the evening there was a "Gala Supper" on the ball field. At 7.00 the band played a couple of marches & finished up with the victory march which contained the national anthem of :- England, America, China, Russia, Norway, Holland, France & finished up ...

... with the English one in 4/4 time instead of 3/4.

Then the orchestra played which was too soft for outside.

There were two big flags E + A on the catcher's net with a "V" of bulbs. Also a few Swiss e.t.c. here & then Ada Foxlee & Gillian Hall danced a Hungarian dance which the A's photographed. The photo is about "X". Then there was a ball-room dancing alternated with a 'hula' dance by Betty Lambert, 'tap' dance by Sheila Black, by Mrs. Baliante, Russian folk song; song by Mrs. Prior; Mr. Gleed sang.

Once after a dance Mr. Adams played his clarinet in & out of the dancers very beautifully. The dance ended at 11.00 p.m. when the room lights went out. The street lights stayed on for ages. Some of the band including Mr. Adams played on until 3.00 a.m.

At the supper there was a terrific stink of bigar.

P.S. In the afternoon about 4.30 theC-47 flew low over the camp a few times just for thrill. Some people were funked because it flew so low. It dipped its wings.

Tuesday 21st

In the evening, the B-24 flew low over the camp.

Wednesday 22nd

About 7.00 the C-47 flew over the camp low once & then flew away to SIAN. We were told that the men might come back in a few days. About 10 were left in Weihsien.

The marketing was stopped during the morning. When on duty we sat on the turret & talked all the time. Only about 4 messages were run in the whole time. When a garbage box was carried out we had to drive the Chinese urchins away.

During the afternoon I would go to the moongate & talk with the Americans.

The jump on Friday was Sgt Ray N Hanchulak's 23rd jump. The major's 10th. E Wong's 1st. You sit down & get shoved out. The order of the paratroops is as follows:-

1) Major Staiger
2) Tad Nagaki,
3) Sgt. Ray Hanchulak,
5) E. Wong,

Sgt. Ray told us that he had 5 weeks training. He has jumped in enemy territory many times. In the evening M. Staiger came out and sang a few ...

... songs. He always forgot the words ½ way through. It was about the first time he has ever talked with the children ― too buisy (sic). About 8.15 the radio was placed on the veranda for the public to listen to.

At 8.40 we held a court of honour about the 10 knives we were given. The Weihsien troops were given 8 & a compass & mouth organ. We had a good wrist compass. The knives were beauties. U.S.A.

Thursday 23rd

The 3 schools ― Chefoo ― Weihsien ― American school were photographed with a small Kodak camera ― 2 photos each.

In the evening there was a softball England v America. After the first innings 3 Ams. came, J. Moore (R.F.), P. Orlick (S.S.) & Tad Nagaki (C.). Tad is in my mind the best catcher in camp. I was told he couldn't peg fast 'cause he strained a muscle but he was as quick as anything, getting ...

... some which meant a quick spring. He was very springy although he played in boots. He did some good hard hits. P. Orlick made a very good S.S. He had a hardball peg, a flick of the rist (sic). He made about the most hits ― a very well placed bunt down 1st. He also squirmed bases. J Moore has hardly ever played before ― being brought up in an English school. He made a good hard hit at the pitcher ― a cricket drive. The ball went over 2nd base & he got 1 base. He also did some good work at R.F. Am-Radio in moongate. A bulletin is posted up every morning.

The market was opened from 10.30 - 11.30 & 3- 4. Only for adults. It was by the fence near the river. Also private marketing was going on N.E. of the hos. + at 23. (not allowed)

There were about 15 Chinese soldiers & an officer doing something outside the gate. We brought food and tea to them. Their job was to look after the market. They had 1945 rifles but they looked local ― some were cracked.

Friday 24th

Nothing except some odd rumours which didn't happen.

Saturday 25th

In the morning a radio message came to say that Tad ...

... Nagaki was to be sergeant instead of corporal.

When we went on duty as on previous days, we saw a Jap talking to the Chinese soldiers. This time a fuhny (sic) tall Chinese was teaching the J. bayoneting. Chinese go in for a lot of funny style. We got their food for them as usual.

We heard a rumour when on duty that a plane had left SIAN at noon &was expected between 4.30 & 5.30. I was about the first to see it coming in the West. I told the other people on the ball field tower & we yelled & in a few minutes the whole camp was gathering on the field. The plane flew from N to S over the field N of our camp & landed parachutes of supplies.

It came over about 5 times & dropped some in packages ― ...

... sections tied together & some containers.

The last time it flew over & dropped no parachutes & we knew it had finished ― it circled there as usual but before reaching the field ― it turned W & dipped its wings twice & went forever.

May I say that when the plane first was seen the major who was on the field with the other men, fired first a green then a yellow 'Very' light. Also he made some green then yellow thick smoke.

There were 14 drops in all. Some of the usual long pakages & some boxes containing chocolate & cigarettes. The long containers had tin goods such as sliced bacon ― roast beef ― steamed fruit cake (3¾ ozs net) ― all these tins are different from the parcels we had months ago. The tins were of green khaki colour.

The plane is called the "Armoured Angel" [sic]

Sunday, August 26th,

Chocolate was given to everybody in camp ― ration D greased on the outside. For the regular drawers of cigarettes 6½ packets each. Nothing much the rest of the day. A note was type written to Major Staiger in thanks for the knives.

All 10 of us signed below.

Monday, August 27th

The time is changed to Big Ben time. At 7.00 (which used to be 8.00) we heard and saw a plane coming towards us. It looked longer and more sleek than the usual B-24. It was a B-29. When it flew low & close it looked very slick. It had an ordinary tail not like the B-24 which had a double one. In a few minutes a second one arrived. The first to arrive had an "A" on the top fin of the tail. The second didn't. After about 10 minutes a third appeared like the first. They circled around & eventually held a wireless conversation with our Ams in camp here. I forget to say that the first one dropped pamphlets at about 7.30 & again at about 7.40. They landed at the ball field.

At about 9.15 the plane dropped some white parachutes. I noticed that some didn't have parachutes. My father said that he would do my 9.30-10.00 pumping so I went out of the camp with a lot of other men & boys & helped roll the stuff along. It was terribly damaged – tins of fruit salad just half empty so we helped ourselves. On the pamphlets it ...

... said that supplies would be dropped in an hour or two. I saw a few planes appearing over the East horizon.

I had to go back & get some buckets for broken tins. In the meantime the B-24s came over.

When I went out again I found that it was very dangerous. They would land big drums about 2'x4' & some larger ones about 2 times the length - also clothing & medical supplies.

The stuff might land within 10 yards of you – nearly get killed.

The B-29s couldn't go slower than 200 m.p.h. so the stuff came down at a great angle.

"Heads up" was what people would say when a plane came from E-W low.

The planes (which had 1°.W.SUPPLIES under their wings) made circles E-W-S-E-N-W-west always over us.

It was really dangerous.

We were told afterwards that there were 12 planes in all but it seemed like only 7. A plane would circle around a few times & drop its stuff & then go & another would come.

They came from OKONAWA (sic) except the 'Armoured Angel'.

Some of the planes were supposed to be Flying or Super Fortresses.

If you saw a plane coming you would have to make up your mind which way to go – N or S. The plane always seemed to follow you. It would face your way but go slightly side ways. I once had to go either N or S so I went N to find the plane doing as above & the stuff landed within 10 yards earth & juice hitting my face.

I expected to find a number of Chinese & us killed but there were evidently none. One Italian was grazed on the shoulder but was alright & went on working. Some people missed being killed by 3 foot or less.

All the time we were out there, we hogged away at tinned fruit salad & at tinned peach & milk.

There was also tinned grape fruit juice which was the most wanted for thirst. Also people helped themselves to packages of chocolate & chewing gum. They swiped enough to keep them going for the rest of the day. The men took cigarettes.

Around 10.30 I was on guard at the house where there was a temporary dump. There was a drum with only about 6" of cocoa in the bottom.

Then I went & helped roll the drums to the dump. When a plane came over we would say 'all clear' because the flaps were shut. But when it got over us the flaps would open & the stuff would crash down the other side of the river. It wasn't a very pleasant to see the huge drums crash amongst the Chinese although I found out after ...

... that one or two were slightly hurt.

When the planes went at about 11, I went the other side of the field on the N side where the stream bends. There I took off my shoes & waded across (the water only came up just above my knees) the river (about 15 ft wide) & helped chuck bust tins into a drum.

I had a good fillup of grape fruit juice which was wanted by my body. The Chinese were given the empty tins, but some that I kicked, I found full so I took them away.

Then everything was carried to the main dump.

From there Luxon & I carried stuff on a crate without sides. It was awkward crossing the river because there was hardly enough room for two couples to cross at a time. We stopped at 12.45 for dinner but before that the last load we carried was a whole lot of soap & a bag of caps on top. We had a half time rest. People passing by helped themselves to the caps so we did.

At 1.30 I went to the front gate but found that they didn't need any more work. But I wanted to go out for the thrill so I managed to squirm with ...

... a cart & we carried in about 5 small drums. The work was finished by about 2.30.

Then we had to move the stuff from outside the church to inside.

About 4.00 I was going to get a shower when I was asked to haul the reserve gang cart to the church for carrying medical supplies. They stank abominably. We finished at about 4.30. Then I had a long wanted shower.

Late in the afternoon a couple of C-47s landed at the airport & about 7.00 p.m. supplies were brought in by truck. Sugar & C-Ration.

Tuesday August 28th

Some chocolate was given out.

A C-47 landed in the afternoon & landed a bit of supplies.

In the morning from 8.30 – 9.00, 12 people were taken away by car to the airport & the planes zoomed over about 9.30.

Wednesday August 29th

Tins were given out - our family (four, 4) 4 tins breakfast, 4 tins Campbell's Asparagus soup (2), Campbell's Chicken soup (2), 1 Big tin fruit salad, 1 Big tin Apricot, 2 Big tins fruit juice (Grape fruit).

We opened a Supper & a juice.

Thursday August 30th

Theo's birthday.

A plane, which Tad said was a Jap, flew over about 12.00.

Boots were tried on at KI for your size; 7, 7½, 8, 9, 9½, 10,10½, 11, 11½. Then you went in a queue & registered your size. I first took 8 then decided to take 9.

In the afternoon they were given out from 3 – 4.30. Soon after they began giving out, 9 and over were allowed to go to the head of the long queue & get theirs first.

I found after that mine were slightly narrow so (I had 9D) I changed for 9E.

... I found in my boots a tin of Dubbing (sic) which I rubbed in. You can't polish after D unless you get a smooth surface & rub all over. I only want mine for rough use so I'm not going to. I polished my black ones & wore them in the evening. Most people are wearing their boots. I'm not wearing them till the colder weather.

Friday August 31st

In the morning some 20 GI's came by truck. They had come from the airport where they had landed in two C-47s.

There were amongst them Col. Weinburg – Cpt. Ashwood for entertainment. There were some very dark ones amongst them. One gave me a bullet .42. I was talking to them outside 35 where they had dumped their equipment. A lorry went to the airport for the supplies which mainly consisted of coffee.

There were games etc. & a cinema & films. Also magazines & a small library of books.

Some of the sick or next to go went in the morning e.g. Mrs. Legaspe, Hopegills etc.

Saturday September 1st

At 5.00 p.m. Col. Weinburg gave a short talk on the ball field to 15 & upward on what their purpose of coming here. Evacuation within 60 days – entertainment. He said that the very sick would go by air to SIAN & further & the rest of us would go to some port probably Shanghai or Tsingtao. Then Cpt. Ashwood read out a list of the stuff he had bought for entertainment.

In the evening was a sing song for youth in the church led by Cpt. Ashwood.

Sunday September 2nd

About 8.50 a.m. when playing in the band, we heard a drone & saw a plane coming. It was a B-29 with the engines & tail tip painted red. The wings looked very far back. The plane had a very clear drone & flew with grace.

When the band quit I got my father to do my 9 – 9.30 pumping.

By this time a second & a third appeared. I ran upstairs & found no school prayers. I put on my stockings & boots & went to the towers S-E of the hospital. While in the hospital putting on my boots I heard a crash & I thought ...

... that the plane had hit a chimney but it turned out only to be one of the things it dropped without parachute landed on the wire (telegraph). One loose tin went through the hospital screen window of the ladies ward. I was up the tower when a plane (there were about 5 by this time) coming low for us. One plane had already dropped a bit of stuff in camp so we took shelter under the tower & as I jumped from the wall I banged my teeth & nose against S. Houghton. My teeth bled for a while but I soon got over it.

Then I jumped over the wall & went through the wire & helped out in the fields. There was a lot of broken chocolate & fruit to eat as last time. It was very dangerous when the plane came because of the broken ones or ones which have no parachute. They had a very pretty colour scheme. Yellow crome (sic) , blue, green (light & dark), red.

It wasn't so dangerous as last time; they had no drums, just the cardboard boxes strapped together. There were no medical ...

... or clothing. Just food.

I was sent back for tea which was taken over by the girls. I went to the front gate but they said no boys were wanted yet until the planes had gone so I walked back & went out through the tower S-E of the Hospital.

I went about ½ mile S.E. of the camp & then crossed the river & went to the field which had PW on it in white silk & black edges. There was as much chocolate as you wanted (broken). I went for a long walk by the river. A mile or more. I saw no white man around so I turned back in case of Balu (communists) who were thick in this part. I never realised in what danger I was in until I got amongst my own people again because these Balu would quite likely take people as hostages.

I then helped carry the stuff to the general dump. There were a lot of Chinese boys & men helping. They, having lived a coolie life, could carry much more than us. The stuff was assembled on the S side of the ...

... field by about 12.15. One man I had an argument said it would take at least 2 days to get the stuff in although I didn't think so. It was scattered in the same place as before & even on the E & S.E. side of our camp.

We carried the stuff from the main dump to the church & the parachutes to the moongate.

Mr. Waters gave chocolate to the children who happened to be near the church. I got a good lot.

The ladies opened the broken fruit tins & we had it for supper.

The services had to be in 35 because the church was full of stuff.

September 3rd Monday,

Nothing much.

September 4th Tuesday,

Parachute suvenires (sic) were given out after the words, 'DROP HERE' had been made.

September 5th Wednesday,
September 6th Thursday,

We are now allowed to walk around camp in market hours (10.00 – 11.30 a.m. + 3.00 – 4.00 p.m.) a few hundred yards from the outer boundaries all ...

... the way round.

Friday September 7th

In the afternoon Trickey and I went for a walk. We went North then went to a village and then followed the stream home.

Saturday September 8th

The second day the planes came was 6 days after the first so people think that today, being 6 days from the first, the planes might come. Trickey, I and Candlin went for a walk around camp keeping about 400 yards off. When we had almost completed our circle, about 11.20, we heard and saw a B-29 coming over the camp. We were told before we left that if they came we would have to come in so we did.

I hung around the gate until a good deal of the stuff was dropped. There were a lot of American soldiers guarding the stuff. When the planes had finished, we went out & brought the stuff in. There was very little bust but people opened fruit tins.

In the afternoon another B-29 came over and dropped some stuff & then another one came about 20 mins. after the first one left.

... It was darkly painted underneath.

It also dropped & I helped bring in the stuff.

We got some chocolate & ½ tin of grapefruit for it.

A small 1-engine Jap plane flew over ― very small compared with the B-29's. These B-29's were from the Marians.

Sunday September 9th

In the afternoon 1 B-29 came over & dropped its parachutes about 2 ½ miles from camp to the N.E.

People ran out there & came back by cart to the S of the camp & then West & then came down the main road. Only 2 didn't have parachutes.

I was sent, before the plane dropped the second lot, to get a red & a yellow parachute. But the plane dropped the second lot before we had finished spreading the yellow parachute out in the field.

A C-47 came in the afternoon.

Monday September 10th

J. Taylor left in the morning at about 8.30. Also 2 preps, D. Allan & P. Grant. 6 in all --- . I watched the plane from the tower go away.

Tuesday September 11th

In the morning at about 10.00 G. Andrews & I went down stream but at about 10.45 ...

... we heard a plane & decided t go to the airport. We went by the main road & came back through the fields. We came to the beginning of the runaway but there was no plane so we came back. We jumped the ditch W. of 24 & jumped over the wall by the carpenters house. Then we went to the Voyce's for a drink of cold water. I missed a practice. In the ...

[end of page]

A note from Peter:
The installments of my post-war Weihsien diary are coming to an end. There is an unaccountable gap from Wed Sept 12th to Sun, Sept 23rd when there are no entries. I suppose it must have been during these 12 days that Ronnie Masters and I walked south to a little "secret" airstrip a few miles from camp.

It took a bit of finding.

There were 2 or 3 small Japanese
fighter planes and a few pretty tough looking Japanese pilots.

We had the nerve to climb up in turns and look into a cockpit.Ronnie, who could speak Japanese, said to me,"Peter, they are discussing whether to shoot us. Come down and we must walk calmly to the woods." (More or less those words.) When out of sight, we ran some way to distance ourselves from them.

I vividly remember the sense of relief when our camp came into view.

September 24th Monday

We were told that we wouldn't go because the trucks couldn't take us on account of the roads being extremely muddy from yesterday's dust kicked up. Had to rest to make up for lost sleep (we had to get up at 5.00 am to be in time for breakfast).

September 25th 1945

Got up at 4.45. Prayers at 5.00. Went down to watch the trucks being loaded with group 1. Collected my luggage & after breakfast went down to the front gate to wait my turn. Said good-bye to odd friends including S.A. officers. Got on truck & being Group 3 we only had to wait about 20 mins before train started. Train started about 9.15. Saw Jessie Andrew & a few others in the fields by the train. Saw the hidden airfield on the South. Stopped at ( ? ) for water. Passed through Fangtze. We went about 25 m.p.h. at first & then about 30 – 35 m.p.h. We stopped at about 2 other stations. At each station the Chinese cheered. For dinner we had a 'K' ration. At 2.40 we saw the sea for the first time in 2 yrs. We arrived in Tsingtao at 3.00. We had to go slowly over some bridges which ...

... had previously been blown up by the communists. We passed over about 3 rivers. When we arrived British sailors stood on guard and a marine band played. (There were also Yanks on guard).

Because we were the last to get on we were the last to get off which meant that we didn't get off until after dark.

We went in a jeep, the first we had seen. We went at about 45 m.p.h. When we arrived at Edgewater Mansions we were told which room we were in & what sitting. We had a very good supper after which was a dance. My room with 9 others was on the top floor 420. Each room has a small verandah (sic).

September 26th 1945,

Swam in the morning. First time for 3 yrs. Capt. Bethel of the Bermuda came & gave the British a short talk. Went to the movie in the evening.

September 27th 1945,

An American battle cruiser + 2 destroyers came into the bay. Had a swim & rowed in a small boat which leaked. At 6.00 the Mayor of Tsingtao gave us a talk in the hotel. He hoped that we would get on O.K. etc. a gave us a million dollars + a handkerchief with his name ...

... on it. He also promised entertainments. He first read this from a piece of paper in Chinese & then another Chinese interpreted it into English.

September 28th 1945,

In the afternoon went to the Bermuda & a sailor took Tramp & I over & looked over all the guns after which we had tea & then left. It was good fun. Saw movie in the evening, a Mexican murder yarn.

September 29th 1945,

We had a car lent to us, a modern Dodge in which we went to Iltis huk in. It was a very nice peninsular, well wooded. Dr Itel gave us petrol. We visited Dr. Itel who had 2 very nice dogs & a few cats. The Alaska's band (B.C.) played for a dance (played very well but too loud). P.S. In the morning from 6 – 7 about 90 Yank fighters buzzed over, some very low & again at midday.

September 30th 1945,

Went to church in our car. A German church with a pipe organ. Hymns too slow. Raining most of the day.

October 1st 1945,

Went to Kokusal opera most of which was uninteresting. There was one part in which a small Chinese acrobat ...

... did things such as standing on his hands then feet etc. very quickly. The British sailors & a marine band came & some Yank sailors most of which thought it very funny. I was in a bus & a Chinese got out to crank up & the bus in front backed & hurt him badly on the hand & stomach.

October 2nd 1945,

Went to Iltis huk in our car. Good day; Enjoyed ourselves at the wood on the huk & on the rocks. The water made a deep boom as it went up a cave. In the evening, band from the U.S.S. Alaska played for dance.

October 3rd 1945,

Went in car.

October 4th 1945,

Went to Iltis huk & played a game in which we had to get to the enemy's den. Our side won. We sit at a table & get extra's. Movies in the evening. Listened to music at Itel's.

October 5th 1945,

Col. Weinburg told us that transport were expected on the 7th . Pup went to Hospital with Typhoid. Went to movies.

October 6th 1945,

Went in car to Iltis huk. Met Yim. G. B. & D. S. riding on wrong side of road on bicycles. Planes flying around. Swam as usual. Got in a boat & rowed around with some pieces of wood.

Sunday, October 7th 1945,

Transports came.

... 1345 lined up & we waited for our turn in the busses. Had Nos. given to us.

Said good-bye to Mrs. Itel & her two dogs. British band played at dock. Went to our ship at 16.00. Waited for an hour & then went to our hold. 4 tiers of bunks. Me 3rd . Good grub – too rich. Saw 'Babes of Swing street' for the second time.

October 8th 1945,

Went all over the ship & got used to the ins & outs. Watched an obstacle race between a couple of sailors on the dock. Left at 16.00 with a D.E. in front of us and the 'Bermuda' behind which went to Shanghai. At 15.00 the N.A. transport left. Our landing craft helped pull us out & turn us. They were left behind for the division that was coming. Bermuda wished us good-bye.


Peter was 14 years old in 1945.
Just click here or on the original link to hide it!

We, from Chefoo, who arrived in camp after others, referred to our opponents on the sports fiels as 'Weihsien', i.e. those who came from Peking, Tientsin, etc.)

... spelling as in Peter's Diary ...

... the word 'funked' was used widely by some of us then.
Meaning: 'afraid', 'scared'. ...

... Lower and Upper 5th forms (aged 14 & 15). ...

... Tipton and Hummel ...

... Tad Nagaki ...

... Ktchen #1 ...

... I should have written 'Dubbin' ...

... I should have written 'Chrome' ...

... ...Many may remember that 'Balu' was Chinese for the 8th Route Army or the Chinese guerrillas who were a thorn in the side of the Japs. ('Insurgents' of today.)

Peter.....you were 'spot on' calling them communists back in 1945...... "Balu (communists)" ! It's interesting though that you considered them 'real' comminists back then, when many saw them as nothing more than just a bunch of 'rag-tag' 'guerrillas', in those days!. ...

... Block-35 ...

Five sections of a red parachute received by our family of 5 from our American hosts -- as a souvenir -- before our departure from Weihsien on October 19, 1945. © L. Pander.

... 'Tramp' was the nickname of a Chefoo boy ! ...

... "Yim, G.B. & D.S." were Chefoo boys in my class ! ...

... = Destroyer Escort ! ...

... = North America ! ...