Hedley's Diary

My Grandfather - Hedley  - was 11 when the family went to HongKong.  He started writing a diary on 5 March 1913.   He only wrote brief entries up until just after his 18th Birthday on 18.2.1917,  many are quite illuminating (especially if read in conjunction with his father Tom's corresponding entries), some of which would make parents today shudder!

Hedley went on to win a Whitworth Scholarship to Sheffield University where he read Engineering, he worked on the propellers for the Spitfire and/or Hurricane as his contribution to WW2.  Family rumour has it that he was offered the MBE for this work, but declined the honour.  To date we have not been able to establish the truth of this part of his tale......


Wed.  5 March 1913
Go to school.  Play football & catchings.  Have dinner at school,  after dinner football; come home and do sums.  Weather fine; Temp 70 degrees.

Thurs. 6 March 1913
We went to school in the morning and no teachers came, owing to maneouvering, so the master taught us, had some tuity-fruity stuck to my head, and Dad had to cut it off.   Weather fine, Temp 71 degrees.

7 March 1913
Went to school, play catchings & football.  Dinner at school.  After dinner play under verandah.  School dinner boy had the "Battle of Garden Road".  We took coal from the coolies baskets, and threw at the Chinese boys.  We won the fight.   After dinner play football & Savage burst ball.  come home & go down Hearles.  Weather fine.  Temp 72 degrees.

8 March 1913, Saturday.
No school.  Went up to William Christmas.  Played cowboys.  Dad had a shooting match against "Hampshire" - HMS Hampshire, won by 14 pointsGarrison v. Victoria football.  Victoria won by 2 goals.  Weather fine Temp 72 degrees.

9 March 1913, Sunday.
No school.  Did sums all morning.  Freddie went to Sunday School, I stated at home to do more sums for RN Dockyard.  Weather fine.  Temp 70 degrees.

10 March 1913, Monday.
Went to school.  Savage brought back football bladder for Pilsbury.  Dad said Exam would take place on 13th.  Weather fine.  Temp 71 degrees.

11 March 1913.  Tuesday.
Went to school, all played cockfighting.  In afternoon dada had official notice that examination would take place on the 14th.

12 March 1913.  Wednesday.
Did sums.  Went to school.  Amah went to Canton.  Had a very tough game of cockfighting.  I had Ponsford for my jockey.  Clemo & Wall were the champions.  Headmaster set me an examination paper, got all right except one.  Weather fine, Temp 70 degrees.

13 March 1913.  Thursday.
Dada said I had better rest, so no school.  Stayed home all morning.  Afternoon Mama went to town with Mrs Foster.  Two small ones stayed with me.  Small one eat all the salt.  Other one the mustard.  Weather rain.  Temp 71 degrees.

14 March 1913.
Got up had a bath.  Called for Foster.  Met Dada in Dockyard and went in Chaplians room.  Started examination.  I did all the sums and everything.  Sat by fire and read.  Tiko gone out note come back.  Fine, 70 degrees.

15 March 1913.
In the morning went to Willie Christmases house in Kennedy.  As we were going along it becan to rain so we went in a little matchshed took out some comiccuts and began to read.  We had a look around inside and discovered gunpowder, fuse etc.  We lit the fuse to see how it would burn then we stuck a fuse in some gunpowder and were going to light it when in came a Chinaman, so we all bunked.  Went to dog show to see if we could find Tiko.

Sunday 16 March 1913
Stayed in bed and read.  Fred and I tried to push each other out of bed.  Got up and had breakfast.  Fred did sums.  Had a fine goose for dinner.  Went to Sunday school.  Went to chapel.  Weather Rain.  Temp 70 degrees.

Monday 17 March 1913
Went to school, there was a lot of water in the gutter and the boys tried to push each other in the gutter.  I was pushed in and got all my feed wet.  Playtime placed team race.  Weather Rain 70 degrees.

7 April 1913
Started in the dockyard.


Friday 9 October 1914 
Doris and Mrs Foster slept in our house.  I went to work, had to skim 2 brasses, work very slack.  Dad packed Mrs Foster's boxes.   Temp: 80 degrees.  Weather:  no rain, very cool.

Saturday 10 October 1914
Got leave from work.  Saw Doris, Phyllis and Wilfred and Gladys Foster off on the SS Namur.   Came back to work.  Afternoon went to see "Jansen"  (conjurer).  Willie stopped at our house.

Sunday 11 October 1914
Morning walked along Kennedy Rd with Willie and Fred.  In afternoon reading.  Evening felt sick did not go to chapel.

Monday 12 October 1914
Quite well. Went to work.  Cast iron flange to make.evening:  Went to night school.  Weather very showery: Temp 79 degrees.

Tuesday 13 October 1914
Went to work.  Making scribing block.  No school.  Temp 79 degrees.

Wednesday 14 October 1914
Went to work.  Refit steam valve.  Dinner time Jack Tooker came in to work.  Emberley left dockyard to work on ship.  Went to night school only three attending owing to war.  Temp 80 degrees.

Thursday 15 October 1914
Went to work.  Heated the bush but got no bigger.  Evening night school.

Friday 16 October 1914
Went to work.  fitted bush.  Work very slack.  Got pay.  Golding thinks about going to England.

Saturday 17 October 1914
Went to work.  Afternoon went to Victoria on bicycle, Freddie walked.  Saw pictures, and man sung patriotic songs.  Me and Freddie went to "American Candy Store" and had a feed.  Temp 80 degrees

Sunday 18 October 1914
Rained in the morning, so I did not go to chapel.  All stayed home.  Evening went to chapel.  After chapel went for walk with Mr, Mrs and Willie Mace.  Talking about war.  Temp 89 degrees.

Monday 19 October 1914
Went to work.  Finished job.  Making scribing block.  Evening went to night school.  Cam home in evening with Mr Lea.  Talking about war.  Temp 79 degrees.

Tuesday 20 October 1914
Been in HongKong four years today.  No school.  Temp 78 degrees.

Wednesday 21 October 1914
Went to work.  Weather much cooler, winter just starting.  Golding (apprentice) thinks about going to England.  Dockyard bell cannot be heard all over yard.  One to stay and gate and one half way down yard.  Evening went to school.  Temp 78 degrees.

Thursday 22 October 1914
Went to work, little cold going to work in morning.  Evening went to night school.  Mail came in.  We had a paper.  In paper all about war.  Emden sinks five ships.  Temp 78 degrees.

Friday 23 October 1914
Went work.  Job:  three lubricators which AH Jack said, "Wanchee finishee on Monday".  Evening no school, did some sums home. Temp 78 degrees, 99 degrees, 80 degrees.  Had a letter from Mrs Foster.

Monday 2 November 1914
All Germans had to leave Hong Kong.  My mother bought a blackwood stool from a German.  Freddie had his uniform.  Went to school.

Tuesday 3 November 1914
Last Saturday went to see Duncan's company.  Predicted war would finish in February, also told Dad we would go home in April.

Wednesday 4 November 1914
Plenty of work in shop, working till ten o'clock.

Thursday 5 November 1914
Boy went to Canton and left a substitute.  Weather just started to be cold.  Temp 76 degrees.

Friday 6 November 1914
Went to work, made two pins.  Got pay.  Mr Swiggs might come to live here.

Saturday 1 December 1914
Mr Hill came here to lodge with us.

Had a party to celebrate the New Year.  Mr Swiggs, Mr Brock, Mr Elson came.  Watched old year out and new year in.


Friday 22 January 1915
Saw German ship name changed from Tannenfells to Basilan.  Governor and his wife, also Commodore and wife.

Saturday 23 January 1915
Went on Basilan in morning with Collins.  Ship went out of dock into basin.  I being on board at he time.  Launch 151 nearly got jammed between ship and wall.

Wednesday 27 January 1915
Orders to go abroad Basilan.  Went home and got my dinner.  Went in launch to ship.  Saw Blake (apprentice) on board, he being the fourth engineer.  Went down engine room and started half past ten in morning.  When coming back was stopped by inspection launch.  Trial successful.  Came back 7.15 pm.

Sunday 14 February 1915
Chinese New Year

Monday 15 February 1915
Holiday.  Went to Fanling. Collins, Fred and I went in a handwork trolley.

Wednesday 17 February 1915
Went back to work.  Work very slack, discharging hands.

Thursday 18 February 1915
My 16th birthday.  Chief Engineer gone to England.

Saturday 27 February 1915
Saturday night Mr Black (Mr Lea's successor) arrived in Hong Kong

Monday 13 (?) March 1915
Freddie, Wall, Sears, Hamilton & White sat for examination for entering the Dockyard.

Saturday ? March 1915
Officially announced that Hamilton was first, Freddy second and Wall third.  Passed Doctor.

Monday 18 March 1915
Freddy went to work.

Friday 12 March 1915
Saw Empress of Russia come in dock.  Afternoon tested water in boilers.

Hedley stops here and does not write anything else until 1916, well after the family's return to England.