December 11-13, 1941

About the 11th, the raid was over for a matter of two or three hours, when we heard some explosions taking place and we thought that the Japs had been using delayed action bombs, but we found out later that the spinners on the bombs had not primed them because they had come in at a low altitude due to cloud conditions, then had released their bombs which had failed to explode. Our demolition organizations were setting them off some distance away to dispose of them.

As day succeeded day, there was always a prelude to the actual bombings. The machine guns would start chattering off in a distance, and the ack-ack fire would pick up from there with a rising crescendo of sound until we knew they were right on top of us. As some of them came reasonably close to the hospital wards, debris would come flying through the windows, and the water in the glasses and our cigarettes on the tables alongside the beds would spill off. Outside of that, and being still more or less scared, we were getting used to the daily bombing.

I had a pin through my knee and was in traction with weights hanging off the end of a frame on the end of the bed, and by this time the pain was beginning to get quite acute. During all these daily raids, the nurses were supposed to go out and protect themselves in the slit trenches, but as far as I can remember, none of them ever left us. They’d come in and sit down alongside our beds, have a smoke with us and carry on as if nothing were happening.

We were moved from this ward we occupied into the basement of the main hospital building which had concrete walls and had previously been used as a storeroom for empty bottles. The idea was that the walls would at least keep out the fragments, although in case of a direct hit it wouldn’t have made much difference whether we were there or in our own wards.

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