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.
  • 30 Dec 1941. R. E. Jones Wartime diary

    Book / Document: 
    Date(s) of events described: 
    Tue, 30 Dec 1941

    Retrieved as much gear as possible from our Qts. & placed it all in D Block. The Japs are to occupy our flats. (I saved all I could sweetheart & said Goodbye for us both to our first little home, maybe we’ll get back there yet dear) (We are all worried now because none of you down there know what has happened to us. I hope you are bearing up Marj dear).

  • 30th Dec 1941. Barbara Anslow's diary

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    Date(s) of events described: 
    Tue, 30 Dec 1941

    Ah Ding ((our family amah)) appeared at the (guarded) front door of Tai Koon and asked for me. We were allowed to talk at the door. She was very upset because our flat had been entered by the Japs who had taken mattresses and blankets, and my new red coat material (bought 7th Dec.) as a blanket.  She had orders to leave our flat. She had found out that I was in Dina House by going to the ARP HQ in Happy Valley, and asking the Chinese ARP messengers who were still there.

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

    Date(s) of events described: 
    Tue, 30 Dec 1941


    The last Japanese soldiers leave Maryknoll House in the early hours of this morning. The Fathers report that the city water goes on again today - it was working in Victoria yesterday, but they're down in Stanley. They need plenty of it as they're cleaning up.


    George Wright-Nooth and the rest of his police station, acting under orders given yesterday, leave for the Gloucester Hotel. While there, an 'informal mess' system evolves between him and five other officers: everything but sentimental possessions is shared. There are changes of personnel - for example, one of the original half dozen, W. P. Thompson escapes -  but the principle is kept throughout internment - 'we became practical communists and in our case it worked'


    John Stericker, factory manager of the British Cigarette Company, is walking up to the Peak in the middle of the afternoon. Close to the Peak Tram Terminus in Garden Road he sees two groups of Chinese roped together to a tree. He'll see them again tomorrow at the same time, some of them having collapsed to the ground and dragged the others as far as the ropes would allow.


    About 7,000 prisoners of war from West Brigade (and the navy) assemble in Victoria in the early morning. They are taken by ferry to Kowloon and then to the former barracks at Shamshuipo, which is now their prison camp. Two thousand men from East Brigade are still at Stanley - they're told they'll be taken to their new camp tomorrow.


    Doctors Newton and Gosano are busy in Argyle Street Camp:


    Doctor Newton did great work among the wounded also Dr. Casano (sic). They scrounged some ether and did operations by the score, one after the other with practically no kit.



    Under the headline Hongkong British Fight Way Out In Launches page one of The Daily Express reports Chan Chak’s ‘great escape’:


    EIGHTY-TWO Britons and Chinese made a fighting escape from Hongkong on Christmas Eve, the day the island garrison gave in, Chungking radio disclosed last night.

    Led by one-legged Admiral Chang, ((sic)) Chinese liaison officer in Hongkong, the escaping party manned six launches. ((The escape and surrender were of course on Christmas Day.))

    As far as the coverage of Hong Kong in The Daily Mirror and The Daily Express goes, this report – a left-over from the fighting – is pretty much it for the next 9 weeks or so - understandably, as reliable news of any kind will be hard to come by. The next time Hong Kong makes the headlines will be March 10/11, and the news will be deeply upsetting to all those with loved ones there:






    Maryknoll: Maryknoll Diary, December 30, 1941

    Wright-Nooth: George Wright-Nooth, Prisoner Of The Turnip Heads, 2004, 76-77

    Stericker: China Mail, December 28, 1946, page 2

    Shamshuipo: Tony Banham, Not the Slightest Chance, 2003, 285

    Doctors: Diary of Staff-Segeant James O'Toole, R. A. O. C.:



  • 30 Dec 1941, Harry Ching's wartime diary

    Book / Document: 
    Date(s) of events described: 
    Tue, 30 Dec 1941

    A newspaper appeared, in English - The Hongkong News. Principal news item was a report of Sunday's victory parade. It declared, "Great Britain's century-old base of aggression at Hongkong has now fallen, and one piece of the glorious settlement of the Greater Asian war has been successfully completed."

    My sister and her daughter Florrie came home, escorted to the door by our Director of Medical Services, Dr Selwyn-Clarke. In the afternoon the smashed water meter at the gate began leaking, and with loud shouts we rushed with a rubber hose to siphon a bucketful. We were not disappointed; supply was being resumed.

  • 30 Dec 1941, W J Carrie's wartime diary

    Book / Document: 
    Date(s) of events described: 
    Tue, 30 Dec 1941

    I see I didn't write yesterday.  I was up at the house today - looters had been in but they couldn't get into the hot room - though there were marks on the door that they had tried to get in.  They got into my den however though I had one door locked - the other onto the verandah was blown in by the explosion - I had nailed it up but they soon burst it open.  They took a few things - very little - that I had left  in my dressing table drawers - then in my desk - the only thing I missed, and I'm sorry for, is my desk Ronson lighter that Win gave me - what was the [?pony] on that occasion - I forget.  Shipmaster I think.  Well we can just hope on.         Cheerio Darling.     B


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