Jennie Carey

A reader of the blog is looking for information about the Carey family who went to Australia with the official evacuation scheme in 1940.

Jennie Carey, the wife of Mr. Albert Edward Carey, a police inspector in HK, arrived in Australia (very likely Melbourne) with her two daughters Beryl and Sheila. Any information on what happened to them during and after the war would be greatly appreciated.

 

5th July 1940, Friday

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It has been a very long day. Finally got the time to write the diary after Joan eventually fell asleep. Let’s hope the baby next to our bed won’t cry again in the middle of the night and wake us all up.

Today we all got up really early to get ready for our departure. I woke up at 5 in the morning, finding Ah-ho crying at the children’s bedside. My eyes got watery as they matched Ah-ho’s. She has worked for us since Joan was born and saw Joan and Lily as her own daughters. I assured her that we will be back very soon and told her not to worry about us and also her job. The farewell was very emotional – Joan and Lily cried and wouldn’t let go Ah-ho’s arms and insisted us to bring Ah-ho with us. Will and I had to forcibly take the two of them to the car and endured their cry for the next ten minutes on the ride.

We got to the Assembly Point at Hong Kong Club before noon. After a long wait which involved tedious checks of our passports and vaccination certifications, we were finally taken to the boat The North Star in the early afternoon. Joan was delighted to find that her classmate was also in the boat as we crossed over to the docks. The two of them sang cheerfully as the boat sailed towards the Empress of Japan, the liner that is currently carrying us across the Pacific. All the adults on the boat found it rather ironic that we are actually escaping from a Japanese attack by taking the Empress of Japan! We were horrified as we stepped into the public room of the ship. It was SO packed with camp beds, in one of which I am now writing this diary. The beds are so closely placed that I can easily touch the baby on my left without even reaching my arm.

At around 3pm, when the whole embarkation process was done, the men were allowed to get on the ships to say goodbye. It was very hard; I was trying very hard to hold back my tears every single second, and had to avoid looking into Will’s eyes or else I would have a meltdown. It got worse, when all the men were ordered ashore. I could not hold it back anymore, and all my fortitude just broke suddenly. It hurt so much as he disappeared out of sight. We were allowed to stand on the deck as the liner pulled out of the harbour. I tried really hard to lift both Joan and Lily up so that they could wave goodbye to Will, who I could tell tried very hard to smile encouragingly as he waved back to us.

Not long after we walked back to the public room, and calmed ourselves down, supper was served. We were all very shocked to learn that no milk or any other kind of baby food was prepared by the government. One of the staff blamed us for not preparing anything for our own child. How could we do that, when we are only allowed to take a suitcase with us? Poor Lily ended up eating gravy for supper. Let’s hope she won’t be hungry and wake up in the middle of the night…

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七月五號 星期五

今天真的過得很累! 終於等到Joan睡著了我才有時間寫這本日記。拜託隔壁床的小baby千萬不要睡到半夜又再哭了,她一哭我們全部人又會不得安寧了…

 

今天我一大早五點鐘就起床準備起行。起床後我到小孩的房間,卻看見阿好哭紅雙眼在床邊看著Joan跟Lily。我看到這場景也忍不住哭了,阿好在我們家工作了好多年,從Joan一出生她就在這了,一直也是把她們兩個當成自己的小孩一樣。我只好安慰她叫她不要再哭,而且絕對不要擔心我們跟這份工作,我們很快就會回家了。

 

離開家裡的時候,兩個小孩跟阿好都哭到不行,Joan跟Lily完全不願意放開阿好,Joan堅持說我們一定要帶阿好走。我跟Will兩個只好用力把他們強放到車子裡面,車子開走後她們兩個哭了整整十分鐘才願意靜下來。

 

我們不到中午就到了香港會報到了,檢查完我們的護照跟疫苗紀錄後又等了好久才有人把我們一組一組的帶去坐小輪去上大船。我們上到大船以後都嚇一大跳,天哪!整個大廳都塞滿了床,我們每人就要在這床上渡過接下來的三十六小時…在這當下我就坐在了我自己的床上,我真的是不用伸手就完全可以碰到我左邊床上的小嬰兒耶!

 

等到大約三時,終於全部人都登船了。他們就讓男性家屬登船跟我們最後道別。Will來到以後,我每分每秒都在用力把我的眼淚吞回去,完全不敢看Will的眼睛,擔心會忍不住大崩潰。終於,他們宣佈男性親屬要下船,船要開了。眼看著Will的身影離我愈來愈遠,我終於忍不住眼淚潰堤…

 

船要開的時候,我們全都沖去甲板跟在岸上的老公揮手道別。我用盡力氣才能把Joan跟Lily都抱起,讓她們跟爸爸好好道別…

 

船開了後我們就全部都回去了大廳。晚飯時才發現政府完全沒有幫小孩準備任何食物,連牛奶都沒有!!有一個職員竟然怪責我們自己沒有幫小孩帶食物!我們每人只準帶一個行李箱,又要帶衣服又要帶隨身物品,我哪能帶食物?可憐Lily整晚都只吃了肉汁,現在我只暗自祈求她不會半夜餓醒…


 

1st July, 1940. (Monday)

This weekend has been a disaster.

On Sunday morning we rushed to the Hong Kong Club to report for evacuation. There were so many people and so many lines – lines for the British, British-Chinese and British-Indians. In front of us in the line for “British” were some Eurasians. Poor them. The officers said they don’t know what to do with them and stopped them from registering. They seemed really angry, and asked the officers why they do not deserve to be evacuated. I guess I partly understand their anger, but really, I am slightly jealous that they get to stay and don’t have to go through this muddle.

The ahmas and I have also been having a hard time try to put as many things as possible in the suitcase. The singles had a suitcase and a trunk allowed, whereas the three of us only had two suitcases allowed. We have been really creative in making the most out of it. As rumours had it that we might go to Australia, we are also putting winter clothes in. Joan cried about having to leave her favourite doll behind; she clearly doesn’t get this is not a vacation trip but a flee from HK.

The idea of leaving Will behind saddens us. I keep worrying and asked myself what if the rumours that the Japanese will invade soon are real? What’s going to happen to Will? It’s his birthday in only a few days, and the little ones are really upset that they can’t celebrate it with Daddy. They were really excited about blowing out the candle. But Will says we can celebrate it in advance the night before we leave. I guess that’s the only thing we can do….


July 1 Kung Sheung

這個週末真是個大災難!

星期天一大早我們就聽政府呼籲衝去香港會報到。那天人頭湧湧,每個人都等著要登記。出乎意料的那邊有三條給英國人、英籍中國人跟英籍印度人排的隊。當然我們一家人就排給英國人那條隊。在我們前面的幾個歐亞混血兒跟我們一起排了好久,最後卻被攔下來了,那官說他不知道應該如何處置這些歐亞混血兒。那幾個混血兒就很生氣,跟他們理論為什麼他們不能被疏散。我看著覺得他們怪可憐的,可是同時又覺得他們沒能疏散也滿好的啊!畢竟不用跟我們一樣走這一趟……

現在我跟家裡的僕人想盡辦法把必需品全塞進去行李箱裡面。該死的政府只准我們三個人帶兩個行李箱…你說說這兩個行李箱能帶多少東西?這兩天大家都在傳說我們最後可能要去澳洲,那邊現在又是冬天,可是馬尼拉現在是大熱天,於是現在要帶的東西又更多了… Joan竟然一直在大吵大鬧,哭著說要帶她最喜歡的玩具一起去菲律賓..我想這小孩是真的不明白我們現在是在逃難,不是去度假啦!

這幾天一想到will要一個人留下來就很不開心。一直忍不住在擔心萬一日軍真的進攻的話他會不會怎麼樣…本來一家人還很積極地計畫要怎麼樣跟他慶祝生日的,兩個小孩還很興奮,一直在搶著說要幫爸爸吹蠟燭…現在沒辦法只好提早幫will慶祝啦。will說我們啟程前一晚就去外面吃飯慶祝…


29th June, 1940. (Saturday)

"Leaving the Colony," South China Morning Post, 1 July 1940, p. 8.

I woke up like a walking dead this morning. I could not sleep at all. All my mind was just too occupied by the news of the possible evacuation of British women and children in Hong Kong that came in last night.

At the dinner party last night, the only thing people could talk about about was the evacuation. Many are scared. Scared by the thought that the Japanese may come in any minute. Some, on the other hand, seemed to have no anxieties at all. They think that the Japanese would not be capable to invade Hong Kong, a Crown Colony of the British Empire. They think the government is just being cautious and they would not really evacuate us. Not sure which side should we believe, we came home early for we still have to take the kids to vaccination centres today.

Finally the news came in during the day. Except for those registered for nurse services or holding essential posts, all women and children will be evacuated to Manila within a week. Service families will go first on Monday, and we, the civilians, were to leave no later than July 5. Men cannot go – they have to stay and fight.

But this is just insane! How are we supposed to pack everything? Everything is in here! They only allow us to bring along one suitcase.. That’s not gonna be enough for me and the kids!? And where on earth is Manila? I heard it’s tropical and it’s the typhoon season right now. How long do we have to be there? I hope there’s going to be enough food and housing for that many of us… Can we come back as soon as the threat is off? And what about my hubby? What kind of threat is he facing? I hope he’s gonna be alright..

Poor military families! How are they supposed to get cash from the bank when this is Saturday and they’re going to leave on Monday morning..

Mary, who took an auxiliary nurse course, called in today. She was furious because she had to go even though they said they’re going to exempt nurses. She has no idea what she should do. She kept complaining about the government for giving such a short notice and also confusing information. I guess she’s right. The government ought to provide clearer answers in this time of crisis.


一九四零年六月二十九日 週六

感覺昨夜好像整夜沒睡一樣。沒辦法,滿腦子都想著可能要被疏散。

昨晚的派對上,大家一直都在講著疏散的事。很多人非常擔心疏散代表著日本可能會隨時對香港展開攻撃,但亦有人認為日本人沒膽進攻香港,因為對香港宣戰代表向強大的大英帝國宣戰。所以他們猜測政府只是防範於未然,會真的實施疏散的可能少之又少。

我們實在不知道該聽誰的,而今早仍要帶小孩到政府健康中心注射防疫疫苗,所以只好早早離場。

然後今日終於還是傳來了強制疏散的消息。政府宣佈,除了護士和對防衛有必然關係者,所有英籍婦人和小童將會於一星期內被強制送到馬尼拉。軍眷家庭會於兩日後的星期一先行出發,平民家庭則會於一星期內起行,最遲於七月五日前要上船。成年男性不能隨行,因為他們要留下保衛香港。

但這也太瘋狂了吧?我們怎麼可能於短短幾天之內預備好所有東西?怎麼可能把家當全放進一個手提箱裡?一個手提箱怎麼裝得下我和兩個孩子的行李?還有,政府為什麼會安排我們到馬尼拉啊?我知道它是個熱帶城市,但它究竟是個什麼樣的地方?我們要在那邊住多久?只能暗自祈禱當地有充足的房屋和食物予我等數千英籍僑民。

不過,我們怎麼樣也被軍眷家庭幸運了。他們要在短短兩天內準備好出發。我光想想就替他們頭痛了。今天是星期六,星期一一早就要出發,他們該怎麼才能在銀行拿足夠的金錢啊?真慘!

剛剛瑪利打電話來。雖然政府稱將轄免疏散已登記作助理護士者,但已登記的瑪利仍然收到通知將被私制疏散。她在電話中一直投訴政府,指責政府應提供更清淅的指示。我認同她的說法,我也認為政府應當在危機發生時提供清淅的指示及資訊予市民……

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28th June, 1940. (Friday)

Imagine you are a British woman in 1940 Hong Kong.

Today is 28th June, Friday.

You just came back from Repulse Bay, where you always spend your afternoon with your children. Thanks to the amahs you can get here at an affordable rate, you don’t have to worry about making dinner for your kids and the first thing you need to do when you get home is to get ready for your friend’s dinner party…

But all your good mood is ruined by the shocking news that you got on Z.B.W, the government radio station.

“We are informed by the Government that instructions have been received from the Secretary of State for the Colonies which indicate that the evacuation of women and children from Hongkong may be ordered in the near future,” says the voice announcing the Government’s advice to us, British women, and our children. “In the view of the Government this need not be taken as in any way a cause for alarm, but, as the destination of such evacuation would probably be Manila in the first place, all persons who are likely to be affected by such an order are advised to be vaccinated forthwith.”

So what does that mean? Does that mean the Japanese across the Shenzhen River are coming soon? Are you going to leave very soon? And what about your husband? What is he going to face in the colony? And when can we come back after they defeat the Japanese?

These are the questions that many British women probably asked when they first heard of the notice. Not long after that, they received another notice that left them no time to think much….


想像一下你是生活在戰前英屬香港的英國婦人。

今天是六月二十八日,星期五。

就像平常一般,你剛剛從淺水灣回到家。

你在香港的生活一直很悠閒。跟英國不同,香港家傭薪金頗低,你的丈夫每月的收入可以讓你們很輕鬆地聘請媽姐照顧你的兩個孩子、為一家四口煮飯及打掃家居。這也是為什麼你今天回家以後可以放心讓媽姐看顧你的孩子,然後輕鬆準備出席你朋友今晚辦的晚宴派對……

然而,一切計劃都被電台聽到的消息給打亂了。

政府突然宣佈殖民地部表示短期將有疏散英籍婦孺至馬尼拉之可能,於是呼籲相關人士需盡早接受疫苗注射。

這代表甚麼?代表深圳河對岸的日軍已經要開始入侵這殖民地了嗎?你的老公呢?他們會有危險嗎?如果日軍不來,我們很快就可以回家了嗎?

大部份英籍婦人當時可能都有這些疑問。然而,隔天她們收到政府另一個通知,讓她們忙於準備,難以再多想了……