/, Memoir/It Won’t Be Long Now: The Diary of a Hong Kong Prisoner of War

It Won’t Be Long Now: The Diary of a Hong Kong Prisoner of War

$17.95

by Graham Heywood

Japan marched into Hong Kong at the outbreak of the Pacific War on December 8, 1941. On the same day, Graham Heywood was captured by the invading Japanese near the border while carrying out duties for the Royal Observatory. He was held at various places in the New Territories before being transported to the military Prisoner-of-War camp in Sham Shui Po, Kowloon. The Japanese refused to allow Heywood and his colleague Leonard Starbuck to join the civilians at the Stanley internment camp.

Heywood’s illustrated diary records his three-and-a-half years of internment, telling a story of hardship, adversity, and survival of malnutrition and disease; as well as repeated hopes of liberation and disappointment. As he awaits the end of the war, his reflections upon freedom and imprisonment bring realisations about life and how to live it.

Accounts of life in the internment camp differed widely. One friend, an enthusiastic biologist, was full of his doings; he had grown champion vegetables, had seen all sort of rare birds (including vultures, after the corpses) and had run a successful yeast brewery. Altogether, he said, it had been a great experience … a bit too long, perhaps, but not bad fun at all. Another ended up her account by saying ‘Oh, Mr. Heywood, it was hell on earth’. It all depended on their point of view.”

Heywood’s highly positive attitude to life is food for thought for all of us today, in the midst of increasing consumerism but decreasing spiritual satisfaction. We have enjoyed freedom and an abundance of material wealth in the 70 years since the end of the Pacific War, but we may not always recognise our true good fortune.

Look inside this book
Click on the following links to view sample pages from It Won’t Be Long Now. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.   Foreword   Chapter 1 – Capture

ISBN: 978-988-13765-1-0 Categories: , Tags: , ,

Description

Japan marched into Hong Kong at the outbreak of the Pacific War on December 8, 1941. On the same day, Graham Heywood was captured by the invading Japanese near the border while carrying out duties for the Royal Observatory. He was held at various places in the New Territories before being transported to the military Prisoner-of-War camp in Sham Shui Po, Kowloon. The Japanese refused to allow Heywood and his colleague Leonard Starbuck to join the civilians at the Stanley internment camp. Heywood’s illustrated diary records his three-and-a-half years of internment, telling a story of hardship, adversity, and survival of malnutrition and disease; as well as repeated hopes of liberation and disappointment. As he awaits the end of the war, his reflections upon freedom and imprisonment bring realisations about life and how to live it.

Media attention

“Graham Heywood’s diary paints rich picture of life in a Hong Kong POW camp: In his diary, written on prison-camp paper, Heywood describes how he came out of the magnetic station to see his friend being captured by two Japanese soldiers. After briefly contemplating fleeing, he raised his hands. The just published It Won’t Be Long Now is Heywood’s account of those years of incarceration. It’s not a day-by-day account; the book tackles the internment thematically, talking of the slave labourers used to expand Kai Tak airport – the men would set off at 4am; the malnutrition and illnesses; how they tried to entertain themselves; and the former British Army barracks in which they were housed.” — Sunday Morning Post

Listen to Graham Heywood’s daughter Veronica talking about the book on RTHK Radio 3

A story in Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper includes a short film (in Chinese and English)

Additional information

Dimensions140 x 216 mm
Pages

188

Binding

Paperback

Illustrations

40 b/w photographs

About the author

Graham Heywood was born in England in 1903 and was sent to Hong Kong in 1932 to join the Royal Observatory. He became its director in 1946 after Hong Kong’s liberation from Japanese occupation, and served until 1955. He died peacefully at home in England in 1985.

Heywood was also the author of Rambles in Hong Kong which was first published in 1938 and reissued in 1992.

Publication of his diary has come about through the efforts of Heywood’s family in the UK and Ireland; Hong Kong-based editor G. C. Emerson; and current director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Shun Chi Ming.