North Point was originally a camp on the outskirts of the city, built to house 300 refugees from China. It was badly damaged during the battle, and several of the huts were burned to the ground. The others had been looted of anything that survived the shelling. To further sweeten the pot, the Japanese had quartered their horses and mules there. It was a mess! A stinking mess! To compound all this, one end of the camp had originally been a dump; the shelling had uncovered all the old garbage, which turned it into a paradise for flies. The other end was littered with dead bodies of Chinese civilians and Japanese pack animals who had been killed by the defenders.
The first month was tough as chaos reigned. There was no water in the camp. It had to be brought in by truck and the delivery of any food was unpredictable. We had nothing to eat for the first two days, and the situation looked grim.
Accommodation was no better, as at first we had all the British and Indian troops as well as the Canadians. We were packed about 200 men into a hut designed to hold perhaps 30 refugees. There was no glass in the windows and in some huts large holes in the roof. Most of us had no blankets and the concrete floor was no Beauty Rest Mattress. Hong Kong can be damp and surprisingly cold at that time of the year.
There were no facilities of any kind. In the absence of plumbing we squatted on the sea wall, holding on to a wire fence. I was one of the first to get dysentery and spent some of the worst hours of my life hanging on to that fence. Truly this was the lowest ebb. There were still many bodies floating in the bay. I was holding on to the fence, very weak with fever, nauseated and racked with the cramps that only bacillary dysentery can create, when I glanced down in the water to see a bloated face drift by. I shivered and shook, as the cold damp dawn heightened the chills and fever of the dysentery, and deepened the despair of the breaking day.