photo of Glen Skewes enlargedHome Page
IntroductionIntroduction April 1943April 1943 May 1943May 1943 June 1943June 1943 July 1943July 1943 August 1943August 1943
September 1943Sept 1943 October 1943October 1943 November 1943Nov 1943 December 1943Dec 1943 1944 Entries1944 Entries ReflectionsReflections


Private GBW (Glen) Skewes

 Glen Skewes Changi Diary

A U G U S T    1 9 4 3

'Courage' and 'God' symbols

Back | Home | Print

August 1943

Luxuries from Neichki
Sunday, 1st August, 1943
Men toiling again in teeming rain, drenched through well before midday, remain wet all day. Few men and Lieut. McGinn, with 2 Jap Guards, went to canteen at Neichki Camp today. They walked there, but will be coming back by truck tomorrow.

Monday, 2nd
Teeming wet again, pouring all night long. Some patients got very wet. It's cruel to see the sick folk just lying on the cane floor - and then some of them have to sit up all night because of bad leaking roof, which is composed of rotten well-decayed leaves. Chaps arrived back from Neichki today. Got Gaulla Malacca and some sugar and coffee, with the money or wages the men received from their work. [Small - about 6d. or 9d. per day. Sick do get paid.] They are a great luxury, though the prices men had to pay for such goods is enormous: about 10/6d. for a small tin of condensed milk. Goodness knows when we shall get paid again. This is the only pay received from work done since April last. There are many sick in Neichki and Major Hunt's Camp - or rather, the Camp where he was. At the next Camp up nearer to us, the English Camp, men are dying at an awful rate. More sick men will be arriving tomorrow sometime . . . over 200, including some who are well. A.I.F. .

Mr. C's Speech - Many sick arrive
Rumours of Mr. C's speech brighten Christmas and Happier than for some years; but I say there will be many sad hearts at homes, Australia's and England's, when they here the truth of dear ones who have passed away. Already over 750 men have died out of our F Force since we left Singapore 3 months ago. Exhaustion and malnutrition and diseases - lives thrown away - young men of Australia and England and Holland. The enemy does not count our lives as anything at all. It matters not to them how many die of disease and malnutrition.

Tuesday, 3rd
Wet, wet, wet today. The sick arrived last night, carried for miles on rough bamboo stretchers, my men also weak and almost done. On account of 200 English P-O-Ws arriving here last night, we have to put the very sick under the leaking roof . . . its just blue murder! What men are suffering at the hands of the Captors - they care not for Prisoners lives. 17 of the seriously are like little skeletons and weigh only 5 or 6 stone - dysentery, malaria, etc.. They are too sick to be transported to the hospital in Burma jungle. The Japs could not even let one-man die in peace - he was off with the rest and the unfortunate soul passed away just as they got out onto the road. Bad news again today. My friend Leslie Coles, died back at one of the Camps, a rough camp of wet trees where I went through . . .[the next Camp on from where I saw the dead Thai lying on the road.] Poor Les died of pneumonia. A fine character was Les and a well-built man. I think he was married.

Low Standard of Hygiene among English.
This afternoon, in the teeming rain, came another contingent of men, about 200 more Pommies, along with about 10 A.I.F. - A.M.C. Personnel, Major Stevens, W.O. Deans, Vickers-Bush, and a few others - I think some from 2/9th and 2/10th. They will be staying here with us, I am told. We are packed like sheep in a rail truck now when we sleep, 10 and 11 to a bay the sizes of which vary but are on average 8ft. by 12ft.. It's no wonder that skin diseases such as dermatitis, scabies, crabs, etc. are conveyed to one another. There only needs to be a few dirty ones to infect many clean people - especially now that the English. They are, many of them, so careless about personal hygiene [some Very Dirty] the Poms. It's terrible to see men have to go to toil each day for the Captors in teeming rain - and worse still for the seriously ill and ailing to have to lie on a wooden floor of rough bamboo while the monsoon rain come through the leaf roof onto them. We are helpless to aid them regarding protection from the weather; and there are scarcely any medical; supplies. I hope to God our Father that we shall soon be relieved and be free before Christmas, before many more men die in this disease - and mosquito - and midge ridden jungle. It rains and rains, and all creatures bite and sting. Each night the midges would drive the most sane insane if they lost their way and had to spend the night in this jungle. If living next day, others and I think it impossible for a human being to be still sane. Even the bullocks which the natives own have fires lit in their midst to keep these terrible creatures from biting them. Only those who have to go out at midnight to the latrines, or have had to march in their midst at night, know just what torture the Hell Devils of Jungle Midges can be, though they can scarcely be seen - they are too small.

Difficult Conditions in Cook-house - Bad Guards.
I forgot to mention that my friend, Staff Sergeant Norman McKenzie is here with me, and works in the cook-house. He was through a bad time of slavery on the road at Major Hunt's Camp; also bad time with dysentery and malaria. Norm is very thin, but cheerful. The cooks have a job cooking for over 1,000 in small bark shed a few yards in length. They have about 8 tin hats to cook the rice in - yes, it's some job indeed! They have to work shifts to get the job done. Also, the food is less now there are so many more to feed . . . but what's the use of asking the Japs . . .

Wednesday, 4th
Wet, wet mud, slip, slide . . . it's terrible! Men toiling on line working in water and mud, lame with sore feet, tinea etc., scores of them with no boots, leaving at 7.50a.m. and arriving back for tea at 9p.m. - sometimes 8p.m New guards have taken over - one a bash artist, welted Cpt. Juttner last night. We stood for an hour or more in the mud whilst they counted the whole Camp - Poms and all. The M.O. was not in the Hospital so the canine of a guard hit him about the face. [Today in the Anniversary of the 1914-18 war.]

Thursday, 5th
More and more check parades. We have to leave Hospital with skeleton staff whilst all men in Camp stand for long counts. Head Korean guard is throwing his weight about and making things hard for the P-O-Ws. Some men very low, suffering from dysentery. English back at the lower Camp are dying at the rate of about 5 per day. The sun has come out and we may, I hope, have a few days of fine weather. New W.O.- very small and thin, you could carry him away under one arm easily - has been clashing with Barney Murphy; nasty argument this afternoon.

Friday 6th
Wet still, mud everywhere. To go to the creek for a wash you are almost bogged and marooned in the mud and slush - even in the huts you slip and slide. The Nips are pressing our men. Cut, bruised, or tinea feet do not matter to them. Chaps arrive back between 9 and 10p.m. and after their tea and rice hash it's too dark to do anything for themselves. Warrant Officer McHugh took a heart turn - effected by lack of vitamins B1 and B2, berri berri heart. 3 small capsules injected into his arm prolonged his life. Injection was vitamin B, about 3cc's all told. Today, we shifted the Hospital into the working men's hut and the working men will take the Hospital building. It was a long complicated job, sorting and carting gear, etc. Shifted malaria's, berri-berri, I.A.T. and ulcers.

Japanese Guards demand Sick go out on roadwork
Saturday, 7th
Began to sort out patients and write their names and treatments on the bamboo slats used for this purpose. Doctors came and we began rounds. I did not know that this morning I was to witness scenes of terrible inhumanity by our Captors the Enemy. The Japs came into the Hospital and said they wanted a number of men. The M.O. had to discharge as many of the patients as possible, and so quickly. Those who had been in Hospital for 8 to 10 days - malaria fever, I.A.T, and others, - and a few berri-berri. While the Doctor's back was turned, they put a number of men out to be taken away for work who were suffering severe dysentery. The wretched . . . well, no words are bad enough to express what the enemy is! Oh, it is terrible. And it took a lot of persuasion by the M.O. to have these dysentery and diarrhoea patients exchanged for others with other complaints not so severe. Oh, how Australia and our loved ones have been blessed by the forces which kept the enemy out of our country! I hate to think what may have happened to our people under their domination. Firstly, the war here in Malaya stopped or broke down their swift advance, giving Australia and America 3 months to prepare their war stations and ship supplies = ships and planes. I thank God Australia is safe. These men were taken out to work in their weak state of health. Also 'light duties' and 'no duties' marked by the M.O. were ignored and taken out at daybreak to toil in slush and mud . . . Stone-breaking, stone-carting, pick and shovel work.

Sunday, 8th
Harsh treatment continues. More 'light duties' and 'no duties' men put out on road work. Sick men are taken out of the hospital by the Japs each day to do other work: this morning they had to do hard bush work, lifting logs and sawing trees. Will the prisoners ever be relieved while the majority are still living - or rather existing.

Monday 9th
Much the same as the last two days; but weather finer and cursed mud drying up, thank goodness! Now getting some moonlight nights. Everybody working longer hours - dawn to dark. Sickness is rife

Cholera Breaks Out Again.
Tuesday 10th
More sick hauled out of Hospital by the Japs. Work, work, work. Scores and scores of malaria and dysentery, and now to top it off - cholera has broken out in this Camp again. Padre Dean, elderly Reverend of the Presbyterian Church died at one of the Jungle Camps.

Wednesday, 11th
Two sudden deaths last night. One lad, about 24 years, died of cerebral malaria benign tertian splus, so suddenly. I gave him his quinine tablets and he ate his tea OK and was talking to other patients, seemingly pretty good, when all of a sudden he took desperately ill and died within 4 or 5 minutes. Then, 5 minutes later, another chap died of cardiac berri-berri, collapsed and passed away as 2 chaps were carrying him out to the latrines. With the changing of about 36 patients to isolation because of the fresh outbreak of cholera, it was very late when Barney Murphy and I eventually got to bed. This morning, 3 more cholera patients - 2 Australian and 1 English. The cholera patient admitted last night died at 1.30a.m this morning. He was out at work yesterday. It takes some off into Eternity as sudden as a flash. Altogether, we lost 4 men last night - 3 Australians and 1 English - 1 from cholera. I believe we will get another anti cholera injection - perhaps tomorrow. Let's hope and pray that this deadly disease can be checked in time. I burnt my hands, knee and foot with Cres-Sol or Lysol the other day. A chap threw a bottle to me, enquiring what it was, without making sure the stopper was in properly. Should not have been thrown, anyway. Result, I received severe burns. They hurt still and are blistering in some places.

Sickness Rife - Many Deaths
Thursday, 12th
TIME SLOWLY MARCHES ON. I hope and pray this war will be over by Christmas. Another Englishman died of cholera. We have many men suffering from acute diarrhoea, also dysentery, and have not the drugs to give to them . . . can do little for such cases. Hospital admissions still very high - crammed in like sardines. Funeral this morning of the ashes of those who died yesterday. Leslie Moora played the Last Post. Rumours of we who are well enough marching back to Malaya in 10 days time; but the cholera outbreak may put that off. Barney Murphy spent his birthday here in the Jungle today - 43 years of age. May he, and all of us, be well out of this Hell before another birthday.

Friday 13th
Eighteen months ago today, Colonel Pigden addressed us, saying that we would at any hour now become Prisoners of War. I had an uncanny, creepy shock come over my body as I thought what may happen for the duration of the War. Another chap died today. Dave Martin from Elsternwick, Melb., Victoria. Aged only 33. Died of malnutrition indirectly - berri-berri and dysentery - would have lived with proper food. I saw the photo he had of his family - young wife and little daughter of 2 or 3 years. What a tragedy! I think many hearts will ache when they learn the truth of loved ones gone - of the many who have perished in this Starvation and Disease-ridden Jungle under the Cursed Enemy. We are flat out in the wards now sickness is rife, and those looking after the sick are also unfit for hard work. We are now working on third-grade rice and old, grub eaten, musty beans almost black. Hundreds have the diarrhoea from this diet.

Saturday 14th
Yesterday certainly was a Black Friday the 13th, as altogether in this Camp 5 men died before lights out. And now this morning so suddenly, Fred Gory died as he was at the latrine. He was out at work yesterday and sent home about 5p.m. because of diarrhoea. He has had berri-berri in the feet, therefore along with exhaustion of the roadwork - I suppose the oedma has banked to the heart, causing cardiac berri-berri. It was a terrible shock for his brother, who has pulled through cholera and is now convalescent. Fred Gory was aged about 26 years. Rumours are very persistent that we shall soon be sent back to Malaya, by the barge on the river from Neichki to Tarso, and from there by rail to Banpong and on by rail to Malaya. I do hope and pray it's true; yet I know not how the hundreds of sick will be carried. The Jap glass rods revealed 17 cholera carriers as a result of Thursday's tests. Sgt. Ted Burry has to go out and swing a chuckle or pick tomorrow.

Sunday, 15th
. . . Not at all: Ted, instead, went to isolation last night as a cholera carrier - along with 23 others including Chandler, Cpt. Juttner the M.O., and Barney Woodbury his batman. Results of tests on Friday. Today Sunday, 15/8/1943, is exactly the Anniversary of our Surrender - by date and day - 18 months ago on 15/2/42.

Eclipse of Moon - I Contract Dysentery
Monday 16th
I have a nasty cold in the head and colic pains in the stomach, and diarrhoea. Had a rough night with it. Whilst in the latrines, I saw a very pretty sight on the close of this particular Anniversary: a full moon, then, suddenly, a three-quarter eclipse for about 1-hour. Then later, a total blackout for a while. Rumour of shift for us still very strong. Another cholera test late afternoon yesterday. Little bird say Italy surrendered . . . but not confirmed yet. Later: Today at about 12.30 midday, I just had to give in and lie down. The pains in the lower stomach were terrible, and before dinner I was passing blood per rec . . . I suppose I have had the deadly dysentery, as blood is not passed with diarrhoea. I have been nursing very ill dysentery patients for a while now. However, I hope to nip it in the bud if possible. Cpt. Wilson has ordered me some doses of Mag. Sulph.

Tuesday, 17th
3 patients died of cholera yesterday - only a few hours ill. Then 3 more died last night - making 6 in the past 24 hours. The last cholera tests, which took place 2 days ago, revealed 50-odd more cholera carriers. Douglas Scott, another of our staff were among them. I am still suffering the dysentery and passing blood every time. Terrific pains in lower abdomen night and day, no let-up. I am trusting that, with the continual doses of mag.sulp., it may take up tomorrow. It's a struggle to eat anything at all. The food the enemy is giving us is damnable. I would not give such muck to fowls of the air, let alone pigs. I don't know how sick people - or fit! - exist at all on it. It's a long long time now since we saw any meat, yak or any other. Just rice rubbishen stuff, sometimes clean - and beans full of wormholes, etc . . . This is what very sick people are faced with. If free, they would be on nothing but the best. Therefore, it's only a Great Spirit of fighting power to live, on the part of each individual, which makes us try to eat this stuff in the Great Endeavour to get Home to get Home to loved ones.

Wednesday, 18th
I am still sick and passing blood, but not nearly as frequently. Sick parade last night and again tonight. Mjr. Stevens - instead of giving me a few M & Bs - just put me on to 3 Cresasols and charcoal. Pains have been on throughout the night and day but have eased up a little this evening. Lower abdomen is as sore as sore can be, it almost doubles me up. I hope tomorrow will bring a big improvement. Bert Meikle died of cholera at 2.20p.m.this afternoon, poor lad - only sick about 24 hours. Another Englishman taken over to isolation with cholera this afternoon. About 400 Natives are about to march in. There has been much shifting about in our lines today.

One Thousand Natives Now at Camp - Total 2,500
Thursday, 19th
I am much the same today, though I would think slightly improved. Oh for a new stomach and bowels - or proper food that these can take! Much improved; yet too sore to straighten properly in fits of abdomen pain. Went on sick parade again. Mjr. Stevens ordered more charcoal and 2 dover tablets, and another day 'no duty'. Sick in A Company lines while Jap check parade was on. During the above check parade, Cpl. Thompson told me quite a few interesting features about Yallourn. Natives are living in next hut a few yards away, a slight bamboo fence between. Young women and men are sleeping in one long shed as thick as they can lie . . . one and two decks of frail bamboo. I cannot see a latrine at all, what they use one just has to guess. I hope we are not kept too near them for any length of time, for they have no idea of hygiene or sanitation. There must be the best part of 1,000 of them here, making this Camp near 2,500.

Friday, 20th
I feel a good deal better today, though had a bad night and nausea. Food for tea, which the weak stomach, was evidently repulsed at - gluey or Soddy rice. I slept after 1 or 2a.m.; but could not eat my rice gruel breakfast until almost dinner time. The severe cold in the head also makes me feel awful. The day is damp. Another chap went from here to isolation with cholera last night.

Condi Crystals for Charcoal! - Badly burnt mouth.
Saturday, 21st
I was feeling much better, and went on sick parade at 7.45p.m. last night and suggested to Mjr. Stevens that I go back to work today; but he said 'no, better give it another day', and it seems that I was doomed to have this extra day all right - along with a few other days and a very big thanks to God that I am living at all! Mjr. Stevens ordered me Creso tablets and charcoal last night, so I came up to the R.A.P. to get pills and charcoal to take. I was given both. It was in the dusk of evening but that's no excuse - a medicine should be looked at 3 times before being given to a patient. This fellow evidently did not bother, dished me out a dessertspoonful of what he thought was charcoal. I took the 3 pills, then put the spoon of black stuff into my mouth; but - thanks be to God - for some reason I kept them on my tongue for a few seconds before swallowing any. Then, it struck me something was wrong - taste peculiar. Then, without further warning, my poor tongue and mouth began to burn like the very fires of Hell. Shock came over me. I called for water, at the same time saying, "Quick, help, he's given me a spoonful of Condi Crystals instead of charcoal." For some seconds no water came. Someone said, "Don't give water - give salt", which would have made it worse. I knew what was needed to neutralise the poison. However, as I danced about in shocking pain, Barney Murphy rushed to my assistance. He threw cup after cup of water into my mouth and face, which caused the black fluid to run from my tongue and mouth. After most of the crystals were removed in this many, Barney got Tanifax from a tube and plastered my flaming mouth and tongue which was a great relief and formed a coating. Then, Frank Doyle [from Queensland-10th A.G.H.] chemist in civil life found a bottle of some other acid, which I rinsed my mouth with. This was another neutraliser and helped form another coating. Capt. Dr. Wilson was soon on the scene and was a great help. He ordered me an injection of morphia to keep down the pain and help me get some sleep. But sleep was scarce that night - about 3 hours, I would say.

Sick and Suffering with Badly Burnt Mouth.
Mjr. Stevens came up after I was in bed and said sorry to have to inform me that I would have a nasty mouth for some days. Swelling would start that night [and it did]. He also said how lucky I was to discover before swallowing any . . . I hate, and do not wish to think, of the agony and shock following had it been in the throat, stomach, and intestines. So, I spent a fairly miserable day, 21st of August. A few teeth are aching because of the furnace that had been in my mouth, cheeks swollen up, lips swollen out and curled around to a great extent . . . I received a start when I looked in a mirror and saw lips bigger and thicker than any Blackfellow's ever were, teeth and lips coated black as pitch by the pot. Permag. I could not speak a word to anyone, could not move great swollen blistered tongue, and could not open mouth at all. I could hardly swallow spittle --by the way, I could not control the saliva, it just ran in streams from my lips and I could only catch most of it with my towel. This very soon became soaked, then I would try another piece of cloth [having no such thing as a handkerchief!]

Sunday 22nd
At about 5.30a.m. Norm McKenzie came to wake me and give me some rice water he had made in the cookhouse on the quite. It was a Godsend, as I could not open my mouth to admit food. Such a thing was impossible and right out of the question, yet my stomach was hungry. This soup, I managed to suck down . . . lovely soup made of split peas and a taste of onion. Then I sucked down some thin gruel and some rice water at lunchtime and a little watery stew at teatime. Barney gave me another ¼ -injection of morphia at night. Although it did not send me to sleep, it surely gave great relief from pain and soreness and made my mouth almost comfortable. Today, Sunday 22nd I feel much better. Some of the swelling has gone down and I can part my lips and open my mouth a little, but I cannot speak yet for the soreness of the tongue, gums, and membrane of lips. Swelling must fall a great deal yet before I can speak, or eat whole grain rice. There is a blister on one side of my tongue and pieces of membrane hanging loose inside my lip. I still have this horrible cold, and Barney sneezed all night long with his cold. The weather is damp and showery - every second man has a cold.

More Deaths from Cholera and Dysentery
The Japs are giving the 3rd test for cholera this morning. More young men have died in the past 48 hours - cholera mainly, and 1 or 2 dysentery. 3 cholera patients were taken from this ward after tea last night . . . it's terrible the way they suffer. If they were only fed, they would have resistance to fight these diseases. But no, the callous enemy cares not a toss for Prisoners lives. For centuries, this jungle has been known to Britons and others as The White Man's Grave . . . I hope to God we will soon be out of it. Another young man, named Beresford, aged 23, died this morning from exhaustion of Hellish road work all day and half the night. This lad was tall and when he lost his flesh, was just like a skeleton or a spider, with practically no body and all limbs. It's just tragic to see the flower of Australian mankind dying here in this forsaken part of the globe.

Monday, 23rd
I feel a little better today. I can eat my rice, but am miserable with cold on chest and head. Barney Murphy is down with diarrhoea and exhaustion. He is lying down in the same bay as I am. He has run himself off his legs, but will soon pick up with the rest. We lost another lad today, a very quite and uncomplaining patient named Cook, about 23 years of age. He died of exhaustion and malnutrition - no strength to fight the dysentery. Men are coming back to camp at 10p.m. now, in the blackness of night. They leave here at daybreak and are forced to work hard on blasted rice - is it any wonder they are going down like flies with sickness and exhaustion. I do hope our God of Heaven sees all these criminal acts by our Captors. They are callous and far from human and only partly civilized. I wonder if the presence of all these hordes of Natives arriving here that we are likely to be shifted back to Malaya again, soon or later. But I don't know how the hundreds of sick would be shifted; to shift some of them would hasten their death rapidly - perhaps die on the way.

Our Leaders send Red Cross men out to roadwork
Tuesday, 24th
I am not better yet - mouth still ulcerated but swelling has gone down. My cold still makes me feel crook, also chest and head. We are now fairly short of staff on account of many being off sick; therefore, Mjr. Stevens has discharged me back to work today. I feel pretty weak in the back - carrying ulcer patients this morning, chest very sore. Sixty patients - berri-berri and bad ulcers - have been picked out to go to Burma. Some Red Cross Cardholders were sent out on the road today to work for the Japs - sent by our own administrators . . .

Wednesday 25th
Shifted patients across to where Japs were. I feel crook with the cold on my chest - this afternoon it feels like bronchitis. Funerals this afternoon were 6 Australians, about 6 different Battalions being represented, all young men. Sig. R. Williams was one of those who died yesterday, aged about 24 yrs . . . Starvation and overwork to all hours, work in pouring rain, sore and broken feet, day after day slaving in mud and water on 3 feeds of rice. The small cemetery is growing at an alarming and unnatural rate.

Thursday, 26th
Another nice sunny day - a real beauty. Heavy thunderstorms last night with tons of rain. Much suffering among tropical ulcer patients this morning as Mjr. Stevens scraped the muck away with a scalpel. One chap bore terrific pain - it was terrible to have to support him while he suffered such agony-as did many others. One ulcer was as large as a saucer and Mjr. Stevens scraped it away from tibia bone. These ulcers are plain terrible! I am working in Ward 2 again. Barney is not yet better - in fact, he caught a fresh chill last night.

1,000 Deaths in F Force in Three Months
Friday, 27th
Fine day. More painful operations on the big tropical ulcers. Mjr Stevens scraped out the matter of the bone in some cases and the tissue in others. I held some of the men and assisted them from collapsing as they writhed in agony. Oh, it was terrible. I don't really know how they are able to endure during these agonizing moments. About 80 more patients came in to Hospital today and they simply had to be squeezed in tight - 13 and 14 per bay. We have 6 pneumonia cases, including Cpl. Len Russell. The suffering of the sick, and also of those working, increases daily, dozens going down sick each hour almost. There have been over 500 deaths at the next Camp - all young Englishmen. There must be 1,000 of our F Force passed away in 3 months.

Saturday, 28th
The night before last a whole hut collapsed - roof beams and rafters falling on the Burmese occupants. 6 were killed and, I believe, over 20 injured. I suppose there would be about a 100 of them living in the hut. Chaps could hear their cries for about 2 hours after. Rumours last night that this section of the line will be finished within a fortnight. Let's hope it's true, so that those remaining alive may be sent to a better part where, perhaps, there is more food - and out of this blasted confounded place. Mjr. Stevens told the Japanese Colonel that, if he would supply a few bags of beans or vegetables and 1 bag of sugar every few days, he [Mjr. S.] would be able to clear up all the patients suffering from berri-berri in a short time. The Jap Colonel ignored Mjr. Stevens. Instead of replying to the Major he turned and said "More stumps will have to be grubbed out here to allow trucks in". Dampish today. Cold in chest and head still annoying me.

Sunday, 29th
We lost another patient this morning at 7a.m. - Pte. Staples died of cardiac berri-berri. He was one of our Burma party waiting, like the rest, for the long-awaited day to be taken to the Hospital in the Jungle at Tambasai where Major Hunt and some other Doctors are. Also, Pte. Worth died in cholera isolation the night before last. I am now specialling 10 patients - 9 with Pneumonia and 1 Black Water Fever case. My cold is still crook. I wonder just what Mr. Churchill really said to the world in his speech last night.

Big Jap Search . . . I Manage To Hide This Diary
Monday 30th
Big Jap search last night just before dark. We had to undergo a thorough search of all belongings. We had to get outside, patients included, and sit by our gear whilst the Japs went through it. Many Knives taken; I managed to hide this diary. It was a pathetic scene - patients and all sitting on the ground with their few worldly possessions scattered around them. I had a heavy day today. As well as nursing 9 pneumonia cases, I had to look after Sgt. Appleby. Just as I would try to do something for my pneumonia patients, I would have to rush to him and clean him up - as well as his bed - for he would just let the diarrhoea go in his bed of groundsheet, also some on patients next to him. He is now delirious again. What messes I have to clean up today! And with no conveniences but a few leaves and some water. He is now transferred to the dysentery hut. Sgt. Appleby has had typhus, malaria, cholera, and malaria again. Now I believe he has berri-berri and acute diarrhoea - all these diseases in about 2½ months. He will be a marvel if he should pull through . . . fought all the way. As well, he has a large sore on his back near the spine, as big as a saucer. It's gradually improving, but slowly, and is still about 4"x4" in area and has a large shell dressing on it.

Many Deaths - Pneumonia - Tropical Ulcers
Many chaps suffered terrific pain again today as Mjr. Stevens scooped out their huge ulcers with a spoon - no anaesthetic because we have so little of it. Scotty Godley is very low tonight - a great battler indeed, but the dysentery is now getting a big hold on him.

Tuesday 31st
Last day of terrible August in Jungle. Poor Scotty Godley passed away at 10.15p.m. last night . . . a great scout gone to a higher life. Pte Luckie - pneumonia - very sick and very obstinate - delirious and fighting against us. Today much as usual. Len Russell much better. Sgt. Appleby going fast.


Introduction | April 1943 | May 1943 | June 1943 | July 1943 | August 1943 | September 1943
October 1943 | November 1943 | December 1943 | 1944 | Reflections | Image Gallery


© 2004 - 2010 The Family of Pte GBW Skewes