21 Dec 1941, Sheridan's diary of the hostilities | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

21 Dec 1941, Sheridan's diary of the hostilities

Date(s) of events described: 
Sun, 21 Dec 1941

From daylight to darkness I have been driving a lorry carting cases of tea, milk, jams, veg, sacks of sugar and flour and many other tinned commodities from the food store at Chung-Am-Kok to Stanley Fort. The married quarters and barrack block verandahs are stacked up with tons of supplies. We have several air raids but the AA guns have kept them up high and very little damage has been done. One plane strafed the road in front of the lorry I was driving towards the fort, I thought it best to keep going at a good pace and so escaped being hit.

The 9.2 guns at Stanley have been firing out to sea. The shock waves rattle the doors and windows of the Quarters and Barrack block. In the afternoon the Japs got the range of the 9.2 guns and began dropping anti-personnel shells right on target. I saw the ambulance go to the gunsite and pick up some casualties.

I have six Indian troops at the food store helping to load the lorry. They are Sikhs and wear a turban. One speaks good English so I warn him to keep a good look out for any Japs.

We discover that the Japs have now cut the road leading to the Tytam Reservoir about a mile from the Tytam Villas. No traffic can move down towards Repulse Bay further than the food store where I am loading especially during the daylight hours. Several vehicles attempting it have been machine gunned by the Japs.

The Canadians are fighting a losing battle against the Japs on Stanley Mound, and the neighbouring peaks. The Japs have superiority in numbers. I find this out when I come across a party of wounded Canadians on the road. I give them a lift into Stanley Fort, they are all walking wounded. Further on we meet an ambulance which is collecting stretcher cases being brought down the hillside, a very difficult job in such rough terrain. I talk to one of the wounded who travels in the cab with me. He tells me the Japs’ mortar fire is most devastating and that it is very difficult to see the Japs in the green foliage as their camouflage is so good. The Japs are also using pack animals to transport their heavy mortars up the steep hillsides, leaving them fresh to move about in their soft soled cloven hoof shoes. These young inexperienced Canadian troops have had to carry equipment, ammunition, as well as food and water, up the steep hillsides through thick scrub bushes and then fight against a fanatical type of soldier. A lot of servicemen and civilians are trapped in the Repulse Bay Hotel. ((For the siege of the Repulse Bay Hotel see http://gwulo.com/node/13017)) Volunteers attempt to transport food and water at night but are ambushed on the way back.