Feb. 19, 1942 (Thursday)

Tjilatjap, Netherlands East Indies

When ashore this morning and got rid of my Dutch guilders — had them change to good old U.S. dollars and Australian pounds. If, and when, Java falls to the Japs. The Dutch guilder won’t be worth a plugged nickel, as this is Holland’s last outpost.

Heard that a convoy was seen headed for Bali day before yesterday — they expect that the landing was made by the Japs yesterday morning. These damn islands are riddled with spies. A hundred guilders will buy almost any native, so the Japs know everything. Our only chance to stop them, I believe, is in Australia, where everyone is white.

Ran into Stewart ashore and found that the U.S. Navy has evacuated Surabaya, except for a small skeleton force (Patwing 10). Stew was busy as a bird-dog unloading a string of freight cars filled with everything from radio gear to the Admiral’s mattress. Walked through town — steaming heat — gangs of singing coolies — silversmith hammering out bracelets — turban maker arranging intricate folds of this Javanese headress.

Noticed that the RAF pilot in the bunk above me is from Torquay, Devonshire. Asked him if he knew of Felicity Watt — my ex-ballet dancer, now a nurse at the RAF hospital there — said yes — she, like the rest of the nurses there, had a very bad rep — butterfly to burnt moth — what the hell!

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