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

    Book / Document: 
    Date(s) of events described: 
    Fri, 4 Aug 1944

    Showery, overcast, muggy.

    4 Pkts cigs issued. Welfare soap, Palmolive, Carbolic & ordinary washing soap. My luck was as usual in the Block draw, I got washing soap. The people who sit on their sterns all day got the Palmolive. The Dutch & Norwegians who have stacks of soap rec. Welfare soap too. Such is the cock-eyed world.

    Papers arrived. Turkey severed Dip. relations with Reich August 1st. Rommel injured by bombs 17th July. Timor, Guam & Biak in our hand 31st. Mitau (Lat) evac. 2nd Aug. Premier Koisho tells Jap of possibility of US landings etc. Russians S & NE of Warsaw. Florence shelled. St.Malo captured. US forces fighting in defence of Hengyang.

    With Steve pm.  

    Did a bit of digging & planted sweet potatoes.

  • 4 Aug 1944, Eric MacNider's wartime diary

    Date(s) of events described: 
    Fri, 4 Aug 1944

    H.K. News allowed to send in


  • 04 Aug 1944, Escape from the Japanese

    Book / Document: 
    Date(s) of events described: 
    Fri, 4 Aug 1944

    When we left Goodwin, he was on his way to the British Army Aid Group, the BAAG. Elizabeth Ride has kindly looked through her collection of BAAG material and sent copies of the documents that mention him.

    • 4 Aug 44: 4. HONGKONG
      A British P.W., Liut. GOODWIN, H.K.R.N.V.R. has escaped from SHAMSHUIPO Camp and has been brought out to WAICHOW by the Reds - This is terrific news, and may open up complete new vista on MI9 in HONGKONG. He should be up here in about a fortnight. I am longing to interrogate him - it will be completeley up to date news. Since he is an offr, he was obviously in ARGYLE St. Camp and was then transferres to SHAMSHUIPO. BAAG ref 18/416/E. (119.PDF)
    • 3 Sep 44: "Lt. GOODWIN arrives today 3 SEP 44 from WAICHOW. We gather he is in poor physical state. What arrangements are you making for him in INDIA? Please signal reply to this. BAAG ref: 18/441/E (48.PDF) The author is Major Minshull-Ford, BAAG Intelligence officer at the time (even though it is nominally from the Commandant).
    • 22 Sep 44: "Lt. R.B. GOODWIN, N.Z.R.N.V.R., who escaped from SHAMSHUIPO Camp on 17 JUL 44, is now recuperating at KUNMING. A detailed report will be made upon completion of interrogation. BAAG ref: KWIZ No.67. (8.PDF)
    • 16 Aug 44: The escape of LIUT CHOR GOODWIN from SHAMSHUIPO has acted as a great tonic to MI9 work in the HONG KONG area and his arrival here is awaited wth great interest, for on the information he brings out will defend entirely the whole trend of our work, e.g., if we can be definitely sure that P.O.W. are sent from HONG KONG to JAPAN or FORMOSA in small junks, the possibility of running pirate junks along the coast becomes of great interest and value. BAAG ref: B/127/44 (56.PDF) A report written by Col. Ride.
    • ?? ??? ??:  10 FUTURE P.W. ESCAPE OPERATIONS.
      (b) Escape.
      The reason for initiating escape operations is no longer to gain valuable bodies for the war effort but purely and simply to save lives, hence individulal escapes again become advisable. Neither does the reprisal argument against individual escapes any longer hold good because it would appear that there is a big chance of many of the P.W.'s ultimately being lost whether or not there is any attempt to escape. The repercussion after Lt. GOODWIN's escape (R.M. 387 et seq; J.G. 285 and 548 et seq) were not as drastic as one might have expected and it would appear that escape morale is again in existence, among certain P.Ws at any rate.
      The mass escape plan as suggested by the FORMOSANS is definitely NOT worth considering in its present form.
      BAAG ref: ??? (78.PDF)
    • 23 Sep 1944: Following from 76 dated 19th Sep grade B2.
      (a) Many British, some Americans Latin Americans Russians and Persians interned in S'PO as possible repercussion of GOODWIN's escape as these people were parcel senders.
      (b) Lieut HAZELL and NISSIM H.K.R.N.V.R. were detained for 3 days and tortured after G's escape.
      BAAG ref: ??? (101.PDF) The source of 101.pdf is Advanced Headquarters, Waichow, with intelligence supplied by Agent 76 (probably a new agent, not the original 76 who brought the POW lists). 
    • 20 Oct 1944: The BAAG write a report of Goodwin's comments about the conditions in the POW camps. Here is the first section which gives his background:
      [Goodwin] was 1st Lieutenant of M.T.B.10 2nd M.T.B. Flotilla HONGKONG from 8 Oct. 41 until he was wounded in the thigh on board on 21 Dec. 41. At the time of the surrender of the Colony, he was in hospital in the University buildings. The Japanese put the hospital under Japanese guards, but in most cases the patients were not interfered with in any way. He was moved around from the University hospital to QUEEN MARYS Hospital, thence to R.N. Hospital, and finally to STALBERTS Convent where ho was discharged and sent to NORTH Point P.W. Camp on 25 Feb. 42. Ha remained there until 18 Apr. 42 when all naval personnel were moved to other P.W. camps, the officers to ARGYLE St., and the men to SHAMSHUIPO Camp. On 11 May 44 he was moved to the offrs camp in SHAMSHUIPO where he remained until the date of his escape.
      You can read the full report at: http://gwulo.com/node/34315
  • 04 Aug 1944, WW2 Air Raids over Hong Kong & South China

    Date(s) of events described: 
    Fri, 4 Aug 1944

    OBJECTIVE: Fly nocturnal sea sweep mission to detect and sink Japanese ships in the South China Sea.

    RESULTS: Due in part to bad weather, no enemy ships are detected during the sea sweep from Hainan to southern Formosa (Taiwan).  The aircraft commander, Lt. Tilton, opts to bomb the Kowloon docks (the designated secondary target) on the return flight.  Rain and darkness hamper accuracy of the bomb run, and some bombs are thought to fall in vicinity of the Tai Koo dockyard.  Results of the bombing are unknown.

    TIME OVER TARGET: ~1:00 a.m. on August 04



    ORDNANCE EXPENDED: 12 x 500-pound bombs



    SOURCES: Original mission reports and other documents in the Air Force Historical Research Agency archives at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama.

    Information compiled by Steven K. Bailey, author of Bold Venture: The American Bombing of Japanese-Occupied Hong Kong, 1942-1945 (Potomac Books/University of Nebraska Press, 2019).

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