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The wedding of Thomas Edgar and Evelina d'Oliveira, June 29, 1942.
Thomas Edgar was a baker, and not at that time interned in Stanley. Evelina was Portuguese, but voluntarily entered Stanley when Tom was interned in 1943.
The Japanese man in the photo is almost certainly Lieutenant Tanaka (not the Tanaka who was executed for war crimes), a man whose helpfulness to Allied prisoners was recorded by Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke.
The church I believe to be St. Joseph's.
What a remarkable photo - not just the unusual time & circumstances, but also the fact it has survived safely til today.
I can't find Thomas Edgar mentioned on the Hong Kong War Diary website - did he arrive in Hong Kong from somewhere else?
Thanks for posting,
He was a baker so was kept outside Stanley until 1943.
I've posted some scans on the Yahoo Stanley Group Website: this one has a letter from a repatriated American telling his parents of his marriage, and an article he wrote for The British Baker about some of his wartime experiences:
There are also scans of his letters/cards from Stanley in the 'Files' section of that Website.
Sorry - I should also have said he arrived in Hong Kong in 1936/7, having misrepresented his age to get a job with Lane Crawford!
Your Dad first appears in the 1939 Juror list. Occupation as baker with Lane Crawford. Address given: 82 Morrison Hill Road.
Thanks for that.
Does this mean he couldn't have arrived in Hong Kong before 1938? My date of 1936/7 is family tradition and might be wrong.
Cannot answer that question.
Your original dates may be correct. I would imagine a length of residency would be required before one would be called up for jury service.
I've put scans of some documents relating to my father and a short account of his life in Hong Kong on my blog:
[Admin: the direct link to the account is http://jonmarkgreville.wordpress.com/2011/08/06/thomas-edgar-a-baker-in-wartime-hong-kong/]
In 1938, Lane Crawford acquired larger premises on Stubbs Road for the transfer of their bakery operations from Burrows Street, Wanchai.
I can recognise the location of first (top) funeral photo posted on your blog. It was taken at the junction of Queen's Road East and Hennessy Road. Compare:
One of the advertisements on the side of the buidling, I think shows the screening of the film Green Light from 1937 starring Anita Louise.
Thanks so much. I'm very pleased to know both the location and the (probable) dating.
Do you know the exact Stubbs Rd. location? I want to visit it if possible when I'm in Hong Kong later this year.
Exact location not known at this stage.
Stubbs Road is the road to the Peak. If I were to guess, it would be at the bottom portion of the road near where the AIA building now stands.
Thanks for this, and sorry for the delayed reply - I've been away. I'll visit the location you suggest and let my imagination do the rest!
Edgar, Evelina (née Marques d Oliveira, aka Lena) [1913-2005]
Moddsey: I don't know if this bears on your hunch as to the location of Lane Crawford's Bakery, but I've just noticed that in my father's British Baker article he says that Captain Tanaka arranged film shows for him and his staff in the Cafe Wiseman. This must be the cafe at 14 Queen's Road, in the redeveloped Exchange Building (1926), which was run by Lane Crawford and had for a time been called the Lane Crawford Restaurant and then the Exchange Restaurant before reverting to its earlier name (information from Carl T. Smith, The German Speaking Community in HK 1846-1918- the address is too long to link to).
The building can be seen on this carefully annotated photograph, which shows that it was next to the Gloucester Hotel (take the cursor into the photo and wiggle it around and the names of the buildings come up):
That seems to be a reasonable walking distance from the part of Stubbs Rd. you think the bakery itself was located in.
Hi Brian, a search for Lane Crawford Bakery in the online newspapers collection confirms Moddsey's suspicions. An article on page 2 of the Hong Kong Daily Press, 30 May 1938, has the subtitle 'NEW BAKERY IN STUBBS ROAD', and includes text:
Commodious and eminently suitable premises have been acquired in Stubbs Road and the preparation of the building and installation of plant is progressing with despatch.
I've discovered I've actually got a photo of Exchange House in my father's archive. It's part of an 'advertorial' for Lane Crawford that went out in the HK Telegraph in November 1938 and takes the story a stage further:
I've made a Place for Exchange House - it's not here any more, but you can see where it was. I found that the address was 14 Des Voeux Rd, not the 14 Queen's Rd mentioned in the Carl T Smith document. Great to see the photo of it, thanks!
That's very useful, David, so thanks again.
I plan to walk from the Exchange House site to Stubbs Rd when I'm in Hong Kong and, although imagination does 90% of the work, some authenticity helps too!
Some more about the building:
Firstly, as a result of the information recently provided on Gwulo, I now realise I'd misunderstood my father's British Baker article: he was interned not in the Stubbs Rd Bakery but in the Exchange Building, and Lieutenant Tanaka's film shows were in the part of that building occupied by the Cafe Wiseman.
Secondly, I think the tall man standing behind my mother is Owen Evans. My father lists him as one of three bread delivery drivers working with him in early 1942 (their names are confirmed by Gwen Dew), and in notes complied by my uncle the best man at the wedding is given as 'Mr. Evans'. The other two helpers were US citizens, and the wedding took place on the afternoon of the day the Americans were repatriated.
Mr. Evans worked with the Friends Ambulance Unit and was one of those caught up in the Hong Kong fighting through accident:
On the Unit's arrival in Kweiyang, Llew and Owen Evans had been sent to Hong Kong on medical advice for a much needed holiday. Llew got away just before the Japanese arrived. Owen spent the rest of the war in internment. For about nine months he was allowed liberty and was engaged in relief and Red Cross work, including the organization of a home for destitute Chinese. Then he was interned in the Stanley Camp until, on the fall of Japan, he was released. He insisted on remaining in Hong Kong for relief work for many months.
Thomas Edgar notes in his British Baker article that the Lane Crawford bakery in Stubbs Rd (Happy Valley section) had been taken over by the Japanese, so that when he was given permission to resume baking for the hospitals (January 9, 1942) he opened the Green Dragon bakery in Wanchai.
The American Charles Winter, writing to Thomas’s family from the repatriation ship M.S. Gripsholm on August 18, 1942, notes that the Japanese had offered Thomas his old Lane Crawford job back – unlikely to have been a welcome offer under the circumstances, and one he obviously managed to sidestep.
But at some point in the war the Japanese decided to change the function of the Stubbs Rd premises. In a letter home a couple of months after liberation (October 17, 1945) he wrote:
We don’t know when we shall be going home yet as everything is still in a horrible mess. I am still trying to have the Lane Crawford bakery in production. I have four men from the repair ship H. M. S. Resource but the Japs were using our bakery as a button factory, rattan basket factory and for salt fish, so you can imagine the state of affairs. We hope to leave here about January or February.
If the biographical information at the top of the British Baker article is accurate (it may not be) he didn’t get home until summer 1946.
PS scans of all documents mentioned here can be inspected at
There’s also a detailed chronology of Thomas’s activities in the early part of the war, drawing partly on information acquired by the kind of help of some Gwulo posters.
For H.M.S Resource see e.g http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-28Depot-Resource.htm
She seems to have stopped briefly in Hong Kong on her way back to the U. K.
Thanks for sharing your research findings. I wonder if you have any photographs of the bakery building. Can it be confirmed that it stood at where the AIA building stands now (1 Stubbs Road)? Thank you.
The link in my previous comment will take you to a page that includes scans of a Lane Crawford 'advertorial' with some photos of the bakery interior. There are also three small photos of a bakery, which are almost certainly not the Stubbs Rd premises but which might just be the old Burrows St ones.
The exact location in Stubbs Rd is not yet known, although I think Moddsey's conjecture that it's close to (not necessarily on) the site of the AIA building is likley to be correct. The only clues are 1) my father always refers to it as in Happy Valley, which (subject to correction) I believe rules out some parts of Stubbs Rd. 2) he says that after the fall of Kowloon the bakery was 'in the direct line of fire' between invaders and defenders - I think this probably means mortar fire, and suggests a generally 'at risk' location rather than one in which rifle shots were exchanged around or over the bakery, but if there is any record of such a situation arising in the Happy Valley part of Stubbs Rd., then that might indicate the location.
In any case, thank you for your interest.
PS I think you probably meant exterior photos of the bakery - none exist as far as I know, but if anyone has one I'd love to see it!
Please note the blog links given in my posts above are no longer in use.
Been reading your blog about Thomas Edgar.
From the Windsor & Eton Express newpaper article containing the letter provided by Charles Winter aboard the repatriation ship in August 1942 and Thomas Edgar's personal life story updated by his parents, the following information is noted:
"Four years ago last April (1938?), he went to Hong Kong as bakery manager to Messrs. Lane Crawford......".
As I had mentioned previously that Thomas Edgar first appeared in the Jury List in 1939 (published in March), it would appear that 1938 would have been the year of his arrival in Hong Kong unless of course, he had been out in Hong Kong for a short period prior to that and left.
An aside: June 1942 American citizens held at Stanley Internment Camp
Yes, the paper's information can only have come from the family, so should be accurate.
1) my father's brother in some notes made in the mid 1980s dates his move to Hong Kong as 1936/37;
2) you kindly identified a placard in the background of one of his photos as an advert for the film Green Light, shown in Hong Kong in 1937. I've looked again at this and it IS a photo (sometime he sent home postcards) and the film identification looks very plausible. Of course, someone else could have given it to him.
So it seems that my father 'probably' arrived (or departed) in April 1938. When I'm next in Hong Kong I'll seek permission to investigate the Lane Crawford archive and hopefully find something conclusive (and also the exact address of the Stubbs Rd. Bakery).
Thanks ffor your continuing help.
PS Thanks for the link. I've never seen a photo of the adult US repatriates before.
Hi Brian - An identical postcard of the funeral procession appears on eBay for sale. See: http://www.ebay.com/itm/CHINESE-FUNERAL-PROCESSION-HONG-KONG-CHINA-1930s-HAS-A-BIT-OF-DAMAGE-ON-BACK-/281213082372?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item41799b1b04
The other photo may be a Dragon Procession relating to the coronation of King George Vi in 1937.
I think that explains the apparent discrepancy in the dating - the funeral is a 1937 postcard and my father sailed to Hong Kong 1938.
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