70 years ago: Hong Kong's wartime diaries | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

70 years ago: Hong Kong's wartime diaries

Shows diary entries from seventy-one 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.
  • 2 Dec 1941. R. E. Jones Wartime diary

    Book / Document: 
    Date(s) of events described: 
    Tue, 2 Dec 1941

    Rec. Nov 3rd from Marj

  • 2 Dec 1941, Barbara Anslow's diary

    Book / Document: 
    Date(s) of events described: 
    Tue, 2 Dec 1941

    Lbyan news isn't so good.   Germans 36 miles from Moscow.

    HMAS 'Sydney' presumed lost, having sunk an armed raider merchantman, then no news.  700 men, apparently no survivors.

    Japs now want to resume talks with USA 'until the last moment.'

    Suggestions are that Japs must continue talks for 2 weeks, by which time their war preparations will be completed.

  • 2 Dec 1941, Chronology of Events Related to Stanley Civilian Internment Camp

    Date(s) of events described: 
    Tue, 2 Dec 1941

    Readers of The Yorkshire Post might spot this Reuter's report on the first page:

    Hong Kong. A Government communiqué urges that persons not required for duty in the colony in event of an outbreak of hostilities, should take any existing opportunity of leaving now. Reuter.


    But in Hong Kong itself most people don't seem worried. Jardine, Matheson & Co. make the following announcement:

    Owing to insufficient response, the special steamer which was to have been allocated for the purpose of evacuating residents who desired to leave Hong Kong has been withdrawn.

    In the evening Chief Justice Sir Atholl MacGregor and Lady MaGregor attend a celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of Sir Robert and Lady Ho Tung held at the Gripps (Hong Kong Hotel). Also present are Major-General C. M. Maltby, Governor Sir Mark Young and a host of other dignitaries. It was the largest private function ever held at the Hotel.


    Nevertheless, things are going on behind the scenes. Today the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation approves plans to move the Head Office from Hong Kong to Singapore, considered an impregnable fortress. But nothing will happen before the attack, perhaps partly because Governor Mark Young asks Sir Vandeleur Grayburn not to leave the Colony for fears that this would start a panic. Grayburn, who had planned to step down from the chief position, had agreed in 1940 to remain because of the serious position in the Far East; he allows himself to be convinced that the situation in Hong Kong is under control.


    Jardine, MacGregor: John Luff, The Hidden Years, 1967, 12-13

    Grayburn: Frank King, The History of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation,  1988, Volume 3, 205, 568

  • 2 Dec 1941, Laura B Ziegler's wartime memories

    Date(s) of events described: 
    Tue, 2 Dec 1941

    ((In November 1941, Mrs Ziegler was living in House #29 on Cheung Chau Island. Her husband, (Rev. Albert H. Ziegler) was a Missionary in the China interior. Two of the older boys were in the USA, while the six younger children were with Mrs Ziegler at house #29.))

    On Tuesday morning, December 2, 1941, Mrs. Buuck and I went to Hong Kong to get the American Council’s advice about staying on Cheung Chau Island. He advised us to move off the island at once because he felt, as did also the British, that if the Japanese did anything at all they would blockade the colony and try to starve the people into surrender. If so, our island would be cut off from the rest of the colony and we would be without supplies or connections with the rest of the world. He also advised me to make the bookings for the U.S.A. and take the children home. I did make bookings for December 15, if the company would put up cots, otherwise the first I could get was the end of March. He said I might be able to take a plane to Chungking so that we could go and live with Rev. Ziegler in Wanhsien but because of the children, he wasn’t sure if this would be possible.

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