" Recently I rang
the Scout Information Centre to ask about the "1st Class Journey" that
I undertook in Weihsien with my class-mate Jamie Taylor. I was told that it was
part of the "1st Class Badge" which no longer exists as such.
My “1st Class Journey”
account was in June, but 1944 or 1945 - I don’t know. In the hymn “New
every morning is the love…” there is a line: “The trivial round,
the common task.” These pages are a bit like this last line: nothing dramatic;
just 27hours of observations of Camp life.
1st Class Journey.
June 8th 6 o’clock pm to June 9th 9pm
In the afternoon at 2.30-3.30 we chopped wood. We had a good deal of surplus wood
which was very dry. We borrowed Birch’s axe , but during the journey we
didn’t use it. Having packed the big haversack (J.
Clark’s) with 2 blankets and the axe handle which was loose, and the
small one (Ru Hoyte’s)
with billy-cans, towel etc. and matches, salt, tooth brushes, a miniture (sic)
book of psalms, peanut oil, raw food, spoon etc. mugs, we left the building at
about 6.00. We emptied the kit out of the haversacks on to the mattresses which
we had brought at about 3.30. We had forgotten the watch so
J. Taylor went & fetched
J. Graham’s while I lit the fire 6.05. I put a billy can of water on
which, when almost boiling, I put in another billy can. J. Taylor returned with
the watch at 6.10 and we fried leeks in a billy can. J.T’s food was cooked
already so we ate that with some fried bread which was fried after the leeks.
The weather was uncertain – a haze all over. There was a pleasant breeze
blowing which came from W.S.W. We did not have to carry our kit with us in the
evening 5 rounds. At about 7.00 we were ready to leave Mr.
Warren’s block & he informed us that he had decided with Mr.
Houghton that at 9.00, if the weather was threatening we would move over to
the Hospital under the outside steps.
The round was from 23 to church – down
Italian lane – to power house – to S. Field – to L. Showers
& back to 23.
5 rounds between 7.00 & 9.00 p.m.
The sun was a white haze. C.
Trickey was at Mr.
Hubbard’s who was banging some tins together. Trickey
had probably seen something interesting. The Kitchen I boiler room stokers were
at the showers & the kitchen workers were packing up. Mr.
Dallimore was stoking at boiler I. D.
Clark was pumping. The guage was 2’6”. The Houghtons’ aluminium
drinking water jug was at the pump. Swifts and Azure winged Magpies were about
the only birds around. Occaisionly (sic) a shrike would call harshly.
The church door was locked.
The sky S.W. was comparatively heavy. In the N.E. it was slightly blue. There
was a game of soft-ball on – Sadler v Sonny. Sadler was leading by 6-0.
Mr Avery was pumping.
There were little children playing on Italian lane. An azure was trying to peck
at another while flying. Charlie
Hope-Gill was watering Mr.
Marshall’s garden. Stedeford
(Roland David Stedford)
was pumping 7 – 7.30 at the Hospital pump. The gauge was 4’11”.
Miss Craggs was
teaching Mr. Beasly (Mr.
Oliver J. Beesley) the violin in the barber’s room. There were
a few little black insects plaguing my leg. The S. Field was empty. There was
the usual evening gossiping in block 50 yard. At the ladies showers, Mr.
Girling was stoking and Mr.
David pumping very slowly. There was a small queue for distilled water which
was flowing very slowly. I noticed the walls were still very warm from the day’s
At 7.30 when we were leaving, Mr.
Girling told Mr.
David that he was going to fill the boiler. The gauge was 6” from overflow.
Mr. Churchill was smoking a long
Chinese pipe. We noticed an azure’s nest in a silver poplar N.E. of 24.
We also heard & saw an oriole. There were lots of sparrows by the sisters’
P.S. There was a man sketching in pencil the K2 Boiler room & that arch way.
Clark was still pumping. The softball game was still going on. Mr
Lawless was going to the church being a ticket seller at the back. Chalkey
(Donovan) pumping at the Hospital tower weather-vein (sic) said S.E.
wind. Hoyte 4 &
Welch were hitting
a tennis ball back & forth on the S. Field. Miss
Talati was walking around the S. Field.
6.45 Mr. David was still pumping
at the Ladies showers. The sketches had finished just as we came around 35.
K.2 stokers had just finished. There was second oriole with the first.
Clark still pumping.
7.46. A man came for distilled water at Boiler I. The next day’s bakers
were coming to set yeast. The softball game finished 16-0 Sadler-Sonny. Jesu
playing chess in Italian room. The wind as we came down Italian lane was due E.,
but it was always changing. On a whole it kept to S.E.
7.55. There was a service in the Iso. Ward. I was informed by George
Andrews that there were two tennis leagues for over 18 & under. Miss
Craggs had just finished from the violin lesson. J.
Hoyte was climbing over the Jap-S.E. wall having hit a tennis ball over but
he hadn’t found it.
Mr David was still
pumping 8.00. The board with ‘no hot water’ was still up. The guage
(sic) was 4” from overflow, but by the time we finished at that place,
there were only 2” to go. There was very little water in the well. Mr.
Girling had just finished drawing the fire. One person came for drinking water.
Mr. David told
her by mistake that it was not drinkable, but that it was the steam from the boiler
condensing : so she asked Mr. Girling
who said it was perfectly drinkable. The baby rooks came out of their nests &
cawed slightly more shrilly than their parents. We saw the rovers going to their
meeting in uniform. People were playing tennîcoît (sic) behind
23. A pied woodpecker flew from W-E behind 23.
At 8.10 an oriole was answering another in a tree 20 or 30 yds off. The sky was
very yellow around the setting region. There were doves cooing but very few birds
The sun set at about 8.12. The K.I. workers
had finished and were coming back from their showers.
At 8.15 there were people gambling in K.I. Bazire
I pumping 8 – 8.30. The guage (sic) was 2’ 8”.
Dr. Hoch’s shift were well
into their work.
8.20. The lights came on at 8.22. The Jap guard in the corner of the softball
field was sitting on a stump leaning on his rifle. ‘Death takes a holiday’
began at 8.25. Ru Hoyte
was running to pump at the Bakery. D.
Parry was talking to the Italians. There were a few slightly reddish clouds
low down N.E. Cool breeze blowing. R.
Candlin was running up to fetch Mr.
Mihailoff. When we were at the bottom of the road Candlin
was running back and told us that he was too buisy (sic) to come since
he was in the show.
P.S. (I forgot to mention that the lights were off at the school).
Mr. Stoker & Mr.
Faers were talking to Mr. &
Mrs. Allan. Amos was pumping 8.30 – 9.00 at the Hospital. The guage
(sic) was 5’ 0”.
At 8.35 the wind was S.S.E. Mr.
Girling who had been stoking at Boiler II had had a shower because he was
clean & was going to Mr. Houghton.
The Jap guard was sitting on the turret wall. The 57 residents were gossiping
S. of 57. There were no people on the S. Field.
8.38. A cat was running around the Zimmermans
back yard. The rovers were in S.E. room of 35.
At 8.42 the Boiler II was closed up & the guage (sic) was 3”
from overflow. The bats were beginning to fly around. I hoped that they would
kill off some of the insects that were plaguing my leg. Miss.
Ragiere (Miss Marie
Joanna Reiger) was sketching Miss
Melo (Miss. L. Meebold)
& Mrs. Cox
who were sitting on the 8 steps of 23. There were gamblers in K2. The kitchen
was empty. The better ‘Death - Holiday’ was on K.2 notice board. People
were watering their gardens.
8.50, people were still gambling in K1. Father
Ghyselinck was reading in K1.
8.52 the bakers were still mixing dough—some had finished & were having
showers. Mr Huebener was fetching
hot water for the bakery. Stoker banking fire at Boiler 1.
9.00, Mr Harle emptying yeast dregs.
Wind died down.
9.58 Amos finished pumping. Guides singing songs in 61. Jap guard still sitting
in old position on turret. The Rovers were singing as if they were board(sic).
Insects-moths were flying around the lights.
We then went back to Mr Warren
& since it looked like rain, we moved our mattresses under the hospital SW
steps & our kit. We were careful with the peanut oil. The lights went out
at 10.15. These are the constellations and stars that were up at 10.15 from camp-site.
There was only the SW section of the sky visible.: Straight above, Bootes, a star
Arcturus. Hydra in the south, a star Alphard. Leo in the SW fairly high up a star
Regulus. Castor & Pollux just setting in W. Virgo in the S, a star Spica.
Since we were where the two wings of the hospital met, there was very little sky
We woke up in the night & it was absolutly (sic) clear but by the
morning it had clouded over again. We woke up at 5.00 but went to sleep &
woke up at 5.30. Mr Warren came
to see how we were getting on. We then set out for 23.
5 rounds between 5.30 & 7.30.
5.55 shreddy clouds. E. one haze. Heard orioles & doves. Irwin & Marques
5.59. Irwin stiring (sic) sweetened porridge.
2 or 3 people in hot water queue. Clearing up on the N sky - clouds yellow - sun
still at Boiler I. Lester pumping
6.00. Mr. Calvert
sieving (sic) cinders. Guage (sic) 1’5”. Weighing out dough
into pans for baking – Hoch’s
shift. Field empty. No guard to be seen. Pat
Beatty practicing in the church.
6.08. Oriole heard in church yard. Gentle breeze E.S.E. Red legged falcon whistling
in big Italian poplar. Bird pumping
at the Hos. Pump.
6.10. Lots of sparrows in hedges by sewing room. Bell 3 asking John
Mann about his exercises which are very funny to watch.
6.12. I. Chan
& Father Hanquet
playing tennis. Oriole made a noise like a person whistling high to low ‘tu.
Baby rook flew over Garland
Smith lighting brick stove fire. People going for tea.
6.15. Orioles in 23 trees. Red-foot gliding over. Girling
stoking & Boiler 2. Sun rising.
P.S. Bongo Jones
(Bonzo) Jones) & Rich
(Richard A. Jones)
sleeping out. Rich’s bed collapsed.
rooks on perch in KI.
6.20. 2 men sweeping KI with tea leaves. Some vegetable workers at work. Heard
6.25., Steele doing
exercises on the field. Jimmy doing exercises in the Hos. Pump area
6.27. Jap guard walking around. Wind changed to S.S.E. getting stronger.
6.29. 2 orioles on top of poplar ½ way up cow lane. We rested on the W.35
6.35. Torjesen I & Candlin
going to pump. Torjesen
getting hot & drinking water. Manning
Railton doing exercises on mat.
6.39. Bakers eating perks. L.
Attree’s team having practice
6.40. J. Pyke hitting out to them.
Heard female cuckoo. Overhead no clouds
6.46. Quiet morning. Hos. Tank, 5’ 1”. No pumper. R.
Masters & G. Bell carring
(sic) out mattresses
6.48. thourough clean out of their room. Sun just appeard over Hos. onto S. Field.
- We rest at 35. Drongo on cowlane wall. S. David carring (sic) water
to K2. Ladies doing vegetables at 6.52.
Boiler 2 queue just started 6.54.
3 or 4 swifts flying around. Baby sparrows in 35 eaves.
Wheat ripening. Clouds standing out against blue sky very clearly.
7.00. A Burmese red turtle dove flew over from West fields with a twig in mouth.
K.I. vegetable workers picking wor….
out of baskets. There was a small queue for hot water. The magpie in K.I. yard
was cocking its head as if looking at some object up in the air. The softball
practice finished at 7.05. D.
Carter pumping at Bakery. There was a long queue 20 odd. S.E. wind 7.10. At
the Hospital pump Mr. David pumping
extremely slowly. The guards at the tennis court changed at 7.17. We rested at
35 as usual. We changed the watch. Mr.
Foxlee practicing at 35. S. David
still getting water. Usual happenings at K.2. Mr.
Lane & Jonesy chopping wood.
Bakers cleaning bin at 7.26 - making buns.
Guage (sic) 2’ 2”. There were groups of flies here &
there. A red-foot was whistling in a tree by guard house. Hos. Weather vein
(sic) swinging from S.E. to S.S.E & back. Mr.
David loafing. Guage (sic) 4’ 10 ½ “. Jap sitting
on turret. Mr. Foxlee
finished & Mr.
Gleed practicing (sic). Stedeford
(Roland David Stedford)
pumping at Boiler 2 from 7.30. – 8.00. Huebener finished his early morning
(The watch stopped & was moved forwards so we ended a bit late.)
From there we went & got our jug & cooked our breakfast by the bushes
N.E. of the hospital. Taylor lit the fire while I got my breakfast. Then he got
his. We boiled the potatoes (four) for 15 mins. We then fried them + some bread.
We had a little fried bread + potatoes but kept most of it for afterwards. We
fried some crusts broken up. Mr. Warren visited us twice. We had another billy
can on the fire for hot water. When we had finished frying we had nearly a full
milk tin of fried stuff. We washed up our plates etc. & the billy cans with
ash & water. The roll call bell went so we took our kit upstairs & after
roll call divided out the fried potatoes & bread. We brought up the two mattresses
which we had borrowed from Sadler II. Then we got down to this account.
Finished Sunday 6 o’clock p.m.