December 18, 1952


On Thursday, 18th December, a group of us were sent to British Commonwealth Base Hospital at Kure. The Japanese workers at the hospital had gone on strike - most unusual over there. We were given some rooms to sleep in and the next morning we started our assigned task - shovelling coal into the furnaces at the boiler house. We used wheelbarrows to transfer the coal from the mounds over on the side to the furnace. We did this job over the next five days, I was on day shift. It was hard yakka. While I was there with my mates, the gauges registered very low. Every now and then a message would come to us - "More steam! More steam! " We shovelled faster, but the steam gauges hardly went up. It was incredibly frustrating.

For relaxation at night we sometimes went to the recreation hut to play cards or listen to records. Sometime I would have a cup of tea with the kitchen hands and just chat. At one time we were in our rooms bored stiff when someone got a bright idea and got about one dozen "French letters" (Condoms). We blew them up and threw them into the overhead slow turning fan. They bounced everywhere. It was fun and we were all laughing our heads off. One of the nurses coming past noticed our amusement and complained to the Matron. The Matron came around an asked us to stop this game as it was upsetting the nurses. Oh well, back to boredom.

On the Tuesday the Japanese were finishing their strike at 12 noon. They came around at 11 a.m., about six of them, watching us work at trying to get the steam gauges up. They were amused at the amount of effort we were putting in for such a poor result. At 12 noon a hooter at the hospital went and we stood back and watched them instead. They had a special knack, within ten minutes they had the steam gauges up to high. Shaking our heads we went back to our rooms ready to go back to the Hiro camp the next day, Wednesday the 24th December.

Walking the Plank

Ernie R. Holden.

                 SEARCH SITE                  
     Principal Infantry Weapons     
                   Guest Book                   

     The Korean War, 1950-1953        
  Map and Battles of the MLR   
        Korean War Time Line        


© Australian Album ©