70 years ago: Hong Kong's wartime diaries

Shows diary entries from seventy years ago, using today's date in Hong Kong as the starting point. To see pages from earlier dates (they go back to 1 Dec 1941), choose the date below and click the 'Apply' button.
  • 29 Aug 1944, Barbara Anslow's diary

    Book / Document: 
    Barbara Anslow's diary
    Date of events described: 
    Tue, 1944-08-29

    D.C. Edmonston died.  A bank official, he was imprisoned in the gaol; his wife and daughter Mary (in camp) were notified that he was dying and were allowed to go and see him, but he didn't know them, and died.  ((Mrs. Edmonston had in January bought Olive's gold manicure set for Mary's birthday.  The Japanese allowed Mr Edmonston's body to be buried in the camp cemetry.))

  • 29 Aug 1944, Chronology of Events Related to Stanley Civilian Internment Camp

    Date of events described: 
    Tue, 1944-08-29

    David Charles Edmondston, Hong Kong manager of the HKSBC, dies in Stanley Prison of malnutrition, sepsis and medical neglect. He was 54.

    He was arrested on May 24 (or May 3), 1943 and interrogated under torture, probably about his role in raising money for the British community and smuggling it into Stanley. He was tried on October 19, 1943  and sentenced to ten years in prison.

    According to Japanese medical officer Sato (or Saito) Shunkichi he first entered the Prison hospital in May 1943 suffering from indigestion. He was eventually discharged but frequently returned for treatement for colitis, beri beri and dysentery.

    He was finally admitted with a carbuncle that covered the whole of the back of his neck.

    Dr. Harry Talbot examined him and later stated that his continual sepsis contributed to his death. Sato, defending himself at his post-war trial, claimed that he'd adminstered various appropriate treatments, but Dr. Talbot stated that Edmondston had received no help from the medical officer, and this is supported by the banker's own statement, two days before his death.

    Just before Edmondston died his wife Kathleen and his daughter Mary were called in from Stanley Camp to see him. He was so emaciated she didn't recognise him and his state was such that no meaningful communication was possible. The Japanese refused to allow a doctor to enter the Prison to inspect him, but did allow drugs to be sent in. The injections came too late.


    Date of trial: George Wright-Nooth, Prisoner of the Turnip Heads, 1994, 180

    Age: http://www.roll-of-honour.org.uk/Cemeteries/Stanley_Military_Cemetery/html/e.htm

    All other details: Reports of War Crimes trial in the China Mail:

    January 9, 1947, page 2

    April 3, 1947, page 2

    April 9, 1947, page 2

    April 12, 1947, page 2


    When Edmondston's body was taken into Stanley, Dr. K. H. Uttley carried out a post-mortem, finding that death was caused by beri-beri and nutritional anaemia. The camp doctors took such investigations very seriously - they refused to come to any conclusions about Vandeleur Grayburn because his body was tood ecomposed when they rceived it - so this is likely to be reliable.

    China Mail, April 4, 1947, 2

    I'm rather confused about the 'sepsis' at the moment as both Dr Talbot in his brief post-mortem report and Vincent Morrison in his war crimes evidence say the large carbuncle on the back of Edmondston's neck had healed (Morrison adds it had left a star-shaped scar. Perhaps there had been further carbuncles, More research necessary!

  • 29 Aug 1944, R. E. Jones Wartime diary

    Book / Document: 
    R. E. Jones Wartime diary
    Date of events described: 
    Tue, 1944-08-29

    Fine. Showers forenoon.  Wind E.

    Chopped wood.

    Lorry went in am with some of our fellows & armed guard for rations. They were fed on congee & condensed milk in town.

    Germans retire to their own borders on Eastern Front. Sweden stopped shipping to Germany. Street fighting in Paris. Churchill had 45 mins talk on important questions with Pope in Vatican.  

    With Steve pm.

    Parcels expected at any time now & a party detailed to deal with them right away. Some taken to Bowen Rd. Hosp. for the patients there.  

    Lorry arrived back 10pm with rice & veg.

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