BAAG Reports and Weekly Intelligence Summaries

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I will include extracts related to Stanley Camp, and other civilians at large in Hong Kong. The full documents can be accessed in the Elizabeth Ride Collection.

Comments

More about the BAAG intelligence summaries

Thanks to Elizabeth Ride for answering the following questions in such detail:

Q1. I've heard you call them "quiz" reports. Where did that name come from?

They were called 'KWIZ':  This was short for Kweillin Weekly Intelligence Summary, with a 'Z' substituted for an 'S'.  I have a letter from my father to the Military Attache explaining this but my papers are not to hand at the moment.

Q2. Who prepared these reports, and where did the information come from?

To answer these questions I quote a piece from my father's report to the War Office in 1946, (which is incidentally being printed as the next volume in  my BAAG series):

INTELLIGENCE.

(a)         Obviously the first problem in setting up a new E. & E. organization was to collect information concerning the enemy and the Ps/W Camps in HONG KONG.   Unfortunately the surrender of HONG KONG had temporarily dislocated the British secret intelligence organization in S.CHINA, and hence the B.A.A.G. was forced to devise ways and means of collecting its own information.   In addition to this our directive (see Appendix II) definitely required us to appoint an I.O. and “to collect, collate and disseminate all kinds of intelligence” and to forward periodically collated summaries to the Military Attaché.

(b)        Our intelligence was obtained in two main ways:  by the systematic and routine interrogations of the large numbers of Chinese refugees arriving in China from occupied territory, and by the employment of agents.

(c)         In the initial stages of our existence, most of the work was done at our  Advanced H.Q. at WAICHOW and the reports were embodied in the WAICHOW INTELLIGENCE SUMMARY (W.I.S.) which was published weekly and passed to the Military Attaché CHUNGKING and the D.M.I., G.H.Q. NEW DELHI.

          This was a very bad arrangement because reports were three weeks or more old by the time they reached CHUNGKING or NEW DELHI, but it was the best we could do at that time because we did not have permission to use either W/T or Ciphers.   Urgent intelligence was sent via Chinese telegraph in a clear code arranged between the O.C. A.H.Q. and the Commandant at H.Q., an obviously most unsatisfactory procedure.   Even then telegrams took 5-7 days to reach our H.Q.

(d)        With the establishment of a second forward post at SAMFAU (22/25N,  112/42E) south of CANTON, we began to tap the area stretching from MACAO in the East to KWANG CHOW WAN and HAINAN in the West, and our H.Q. at KWEILIN was able to interrogate refugees who had come out of FRENCH INDO-CHINA, from as far afield as SIAM and MALAYA, and also refugees from SHANGHAI.   KWEILIN was the common meeting ground of the routes from all these occupied areas leading to CHUNGKING.

(e)         To deal with this ever-increasing flow of intelligence from these additional  areas, an Intelligence Section had to be set up at H.Q.   It comprised:- translation personnel for dealing with Japanese, Chinese and French papers, documents, periodicals and books;  draftsmen for reproducing maps, sketches, diagrams, outlines of enemy ships etc.;   confidential clerks for the typing, and I.O.’s for the collating, grading and production of the reports in final form.   The reports were published in the KWEILIN WEEKLY INTELLIGENCE SUMMARY (K.W.I.Z.) which superseded the W.I.S. (Waichow Intelligence Summary)   The lay-out of K.W.I.Z. and the distribution of the various sections are given in Appendix IV. 

(f)         In 1943, permission was given by the Chinese for the use of W/T.   This meant that reports from HONG KONG could be at H.Q. in 3 – 4 days instead of two weeks as before.   Those of operational value were immediately passed to the U.S.A.A.F. 68th Composite Wing H.Q. at KWEILIN who came to depend on us more and more for information from the HONG KONG – CANTON AREA.

Q3. Who received the summaries, and how did they benefit from them?

This distribution list shows who received copies of the Summaries.  Please let me know if you want explanations of the initials.:

KWIZ DISTRIBUTION LIST – JANUARY 1945

(Showing number of copies of each Section distributed)

RECIPIENT IIIIIIIVVI
-abceabc--
M.A. Chungking2111122221
W.O. London6666666666
W.D. Washington1111111111
D.M.I. Melbourne1111111111
14 USAAF, Kunming-222------
US Naval Attache, Ckg.-111------
JICA/CBI, APO 627-111------
HQ, USAF/CBI, Chungking1111111111
68 C.W., 14 USAAF-222--1---
AGFRTS, Kunming-111------
AGAS, Kunming2---------
CW Offr, JICA/CBI Branch---1------
C.C.C. Kunming-111-111--
C.C.C. Kweiyang-111------
A.M.A. Kunming1111111111
B.L.O. China-333-111--
B.M.W.P. Kunming-1---1111-
AMA Sub-office Kunming|-111-111--
US Naval Unit, 14 USAAF 888      
GI(I), HQ, BMM, Chungking   1      
Thro’ E Group India:          
     ‘E’ Group3333333333
     GSI(e)---------1
     GSI(a)----111-1-
     GSI(a), (ii) Army GP----111-1-
     F.E.S Int Div, Adv HQ SAC SEAC ----11--11
     GSI(d)1------1-1
     Force 1361---111111
     GSI(q)1------1-1
     N.I.------11--
     I.S.T.S.------1---
     I.S.L.D.-633-22---
     E.I.S.1----131--
     C.S.D.I.C.1----11--1
     Comb. Sec.1--------1
     F.E.B.-----1111-
     D.I.B.2----22222
     I.T.B.-----11---
     ‘E’ Group2222222222
     JICA/CBI5555555555
Force 136, India-111      
BAAG Internal5555455544
TOTAL37555153294347393434

Here are some of the opinions of BAAG I have collected, demonstrating how valuable these Summaries were:

  • National Archives: WO 208/517.
    From MI2 (March 1944)
    “Intelligence of a high order”
    “Of the highest importance to our intelligence work in the China Theatre”
    “An indispensable intelligence link”
    “A source of very valuable intelligence”
    “One of our most valuable “I” links, keeping us informed on all manner of subjects about which we should otherwise know little”.
    “The excellent work being done”
    “A resumption of the full work of this intelligence organisation is of such importance to us that I consider the matter warrants representations being made to General Chiang Kai-shek”.
  • NA FO 371/46197
    From C in C India (9.2.45)
    “BAAG activities are definite contribution to Allied War effort against Japanese.   Figures of the rescued to date and future possibilities confirm this. … BAAG Medical role has proved of inestimable value to generally existing relations with Chinese … Diminution BAAG activity will curtail flow of intelligence which has so far proved most useful and been particularly appreciated by Americans … excellent results attained to date …”
  • NA HS 1/166 (SOE papers)
    To SACSEA (
    Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia, i.e. Lord Mountbatten) - author unknown (?13.11.44)
    “… As an escape organisation BAAG has fully justified its formation. Apart from the additional security commitments imposed on the Japanese by its activities in this respect, … it renders considerable service to the USAAF operating in China, in helping their crashed air crews.  GHQ India are of opinion that this assistance alone justifies a request for American help to meet the airlift required for maintenance.   Intelligence provided by BAAG is, according to GHQ India, of the greatest importance in connection with the protection of the Indian Army, and of India as a base, from Japanese subversive efforts and espionage.  BAAG also provides intelligence to the USAAF operating from China.   SOE operations in SE China have been carried out through an SOE wing of BAAG, and SOE … are anxious to continue to work through BAAG in this area, and attach considerable importance to the maintenance of BAAG.  If BAAG were withdrawn, SOE would have to start there from scratch.   The Colonial Office also attach great importance to the maintenance of BAAG.  It not only provides them with intelligence necessary for their planning, but through it they are organising the recruitment of former Chinese members of the Hongkong police and other departments whose services will be required when a British military administration is set up in Hongkong.  …  For the Chinese both BAAG and the Military Mission represent, in large measure, the British war effort in China.  As such they have considerable political importance and play their part in the maintenance of Anglo-Chinese relations …”
  • AWM PR82/068
    From Military Attaché (27.10.44)
    “… It is not too much to say that the BAAG has done more during the past three difficult years to raise British prestige in China than any other body or organisation … [you have kept] our various masters fed with a constant flow of valuable intelligence and maintained cordial relations with both our Chinese and American Allies. … you have been assisted by an amazingly good team … the good results which have been achieved are mainly due to the fact that they have worked as a team.  But that they are a team and not just a collection of individuals is due to your own personality …”
  • AWM PR82/068
    From DMI [Major General Cawthorn - Australian] GHQ India (17.2.44)
    “… As was probably inevitable, the very nature of its [BAAG] organisation, its contacts, and the intelligence it had to acquire in order to perform its original function has resulted in the Aid Group growing into an all round intelligence organisation.  Full recognition by the Chinese has afforded excellent facilities under cover of prisoner of war and internee rescue work to supply not only the American Air Force operating from bases in China, but also our own Naval intelligence with operational information of a highly valuable nature.  These, however, are not the only services benefiting.  Reports on commercial matters, enemy propaganda activities, and the suborning of Indian personnel for INA and IIL purposes are, additionally, all now flowing through the Headquarters of this Aid Group.  The organisation has with much truth been likened to a funnel extending right into Japanese-occupied territory …”
  • NA WO 208/3498
    Report on GSI(e) [BAAG] Work in China (author and date unknown)
    “Kweilin:  HQ is well situated here to despatch agents to Canton, Shanghai, Macao, and Kwangchowwan, and the increasingly good relations between the BAAG and the Chinese military and official authorities looks like producing profitable results.  The Chinese authorities no longer regard the BAAAG with suspicion and have “accepted” them.  This may be regarded as a triumph for Col Ride and his staff.  
    HQ have gone on the policy of working the Hongkong and Canton areas as the staff was familiar with these towns;  they were new to this kind of work but with the experience gained are now in a position to work other areas where there are PW. … 
    In general it may be said that GSI(e) which was started specifically in connection with PW, has developed into an organisation which covers practically every branch of intelligence - information about every side of the enemy’s activities (army, naval, air, and economic), deception, security, and censorship, besides providing information about the Chinese military activities and economic situation (and rackets) … 
    They have gradually become regarded in China as the right depository of all intelligence.  This organisation has resulted in Ride getting the information about “Rudolf Hess” and in getting a long report out of Balankura;  the latter was over a week in Chungking without any Britisher or American having been allowed to speak to or see him!  Mr. Fletcher of MEW has assured me that Ride’s economic information is far the best he has read, the DIB value the security reports on persons from and in Hongkong, Mr. Davis of the SIS greatly appreciates the naval intelligence and the Americans have thought it worth while to attach an officer to Ride’s HQ who lives with the officers. … 
    When eyes are turned eastward we shall be grateful to have the foundations of an intelligence organisation in being in China.  At the present moment, the Americans require it and General Chennault has expressed himself as most grateful for what is provided by the BAAG, and regards the BAAG as his only source of information in the Hongkong - Waichow areas. …”

BAAG Intelligence Summaries

The contents of the divisions I to VI in the Distribution List are as follows:

SECTION I  -  Ps W, Internees, Escapers, Evaders

(a)    Camps:      Information affecting conditions, food, health, morale, attempted and possible escapes, distribution and movement of Ps W and Internees etc.

(b)   Reports from Escapers, Evaders, Refugees; letters from occupied Territory.

SECTION II  -           General Intelligence

(a)    Shipping – Naval and Merchant.

(b)   Air Force – Targets.

(c)    Military.

SECTION III - Non-military Intelligence

(a)    Political – administration.

(b)   Economic data, transport, railways, roads, medical, scientific, Religion, education.

(c)    Japanese propaganda, atrocities, secret service activities, blacklist, personalities etc.

SECTION IV – Chinese Intelligence

(a)    Military.

(b)   Political.

SECTION V - Intelligence for Press Attaché

(a)    Translations of articles from newspapers, periodicals, pamphlets from enemy occupied areas.

SECTION VI - Indians

(a)    Military personnel – PsW, location, morale, etc.

(b)   Indian National Army – Traitors etc.

(c)    Civilians – personalities.

(d)   Indian Independence League, Indian Affairs Office.

(e)    Propaganda.

(f)    Escaper and Refugee reports.

 

More on WIS / KWIZ

I asked about the difference in numbering between WIS and KWIZ. Elizabeth Ride replied:

The discrepancy in numbering is because we are dealing with two different Intelligence Summaries - Waichow Intelligence Summary (WIS) and Kweilin Weekly Intelligence Summary (KWIZ).  

The first KWIZ (KWIZ #1) was produced on 17.5.1943, mainly, I suspect, on the recommendation of Lt Col Ridgway of GHQ India.  I quote from the last page of his report (WO 208/3498) in 1943: "In view of the fact the Intelligence comes to Ride's HQ from several directions besides Waichow it is suggested that the provision of  a trained I.O. at Kweilin  would enable them to produce a Kweilin Summary instead of a Waichow Summary, wireless being used to pass back information of immediate importance".  Section I of KWIZ contained "All information connected with prisoners-of-war, internees, third nationals, etc."

The last WIS (WIS #72) was produced in May 1944.

BAAG agents

Elizabeth Ride writes:

These agents all did unbelievable service, every one of them.  One day you might have use for what my father wrote about them:

"Hongkong's war did not cease with the surrender of her fighting forces in December 1941, but few realize to what extent we can be justificably proud of the daring deeds of her children, performed during the following period of sustained war effort of which the 18 days of battle was but the prologue.  It was Hongkong's own contribution to the final defeat of Japan.

"The aim of this band of men and women was to serve as best they could for the ultimate resoration of the homes and the communities which they and their forebears had built up and which they had grown to love and revere.

"They were resolved to carry on their fight agsinst the Japanese after the defeat of the Colony's regular defenders.  This new fight of theirs was not a fight of foxholes and mortars, of ack-ack guns and jungle defence:  it was a long, sustained fight of stoical courage an endurance, of intrigue and counter-intrigue, of matching their wits against a cunning foe and, last but not least, of gambling with high stakes for duty's reward alone."