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Lance Ross (R.R.C.) Diary
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- Dark Side of the Sun -

George Palmer's Journey From Prince Edward Island to
Hong Kong and the Omine Camp in WWII

His Story
    Chronology     Capt. Wilson Interview     Dr. Gingras Interview
1941       1942       1943       1944       1945

The Story Behind Lance Ross's War Diary

During my research, I had come across some courageous and brave stories about a fellow by the name of Lance Ross.  Beginning in October 2003, I have had the pleasure of chatting with this gentleman on many occasions about the Hong Kong experience.  During our conversations, he has been nothing but kind, courteous, insightful, and patient.  I appreciate all of his efforts and help with my research. 

During a discussion on the telephone in November, 2003, he gave me permission to duplicate his war diary on my web site.  I am grateful for this because his diary will reveal many experiences that Lance, my grandfather, and the rest of the men went through during the war.  It's a difficult read at times, but, it's another important story that should be told.

Lance Ross was a 'Lance Sergeant' (he would be promoted to Sergeant during the battle of Hong Kong when his superior fell ill with Malaria) in D Company, Platoon 17, Royal Rifles.  He first met my grandfather during guard duty in Eastern Canada in 1940-41.  Over time they became friends and they would soon share a common bond - they would both be interned in the same camps during WWII: North Point camp on the island of Hong Kong, Sham Shui Po camp on the Hong Kong mainland, and Omine camp (near Kawasaki on the island of Kyushu) in Japan.

Lance kept a diary (three of them, in fact: each about 3" x 4" x 1" in size) of his experiences throughout the war.  During his incarceration at North Point and Shamshuipo camps, he managed to keep his diaries hidden from the Japanese by cutting out the back portion of his metal water bottle and inserting them inside.  His water bottle was clipped on to the front of his belt that was around his waist.  Despite the daily searches by the Japanese at these camps, his diaries were never found.  This was an incredible risk because the Japanese banned the prisoners from possessing paper and pencils.  This offence was punishable by death.

They left the camps in Hong Kong and travelled to Japan in early 1943.  When he arrived at Omine camp, he stashed away his diaries on a beam, behind a wall, in a ceiling corner of his sleeping quarters.  As well, he put his grandfather's name (Phillip Scott) on his diaries in case the Japanese ever found them.  They were safe there - until one fateful day. 

On this day, an American POW (Lance has forgotten his name now) was working on the two-tiered roof of the sleeping quarters.  As he was laying down camouflage, an air raid siren went off and the Japanese guards on the ground fervently motioned for him to get off the roof.  As the American jumped from the elevated tier to the lower tier, he came crashing through the roof until only his waist was above and his legs were dangling inside the sleeping quarters below.  As he pulled himself out of the hole in the roof, he saw the diaries which were now exposed.  He quickly realized what they were, and he snatched them up and tucked them away in his clothes before jumping off the roof.

Later on, the American found out who the diaries belonged to.  During a future encounter between the American and Lance by the corner of a building, he mentioned to Lance that he had 'something of interest' for him.  He handed the diaries back to Mr. Ross and he was able to keep them hidden until the liberation of Omine camp in late 1945.  He still has the original diaries at his home in Quebec. 

Here is his story...