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.
  • 1 Oct 1945, Barbara Anslow's diary

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    Mon, 1 Oct 1945

    Out on deck early to see hazy coastline of Ceylon, lots of small catamarans bobbing up and down. The harbour choc-a-block with ships.  We're anchored rather far out.

    Clifton got one of officers to signal Block House re 'Empress of Australia', to find it is due here tonight or tomorrow - but whether or not the original passengers from HK (including Mum and Mabel) have been dumped elsewhere we don't know.

    At 2pm we were standing by. Fyffe ((believed to be David Robert Fyffe Canadian, repatriated from Stanley in 1943 though wife Dorothy (British) and baby daughter stayed in camp)), turned up on board.

    We went ashore in landing barge, thence into Red Cross buses, taken to Echelon Barracks, to a sort of marquee and sat down in comfortable chairs drinking tea or lemonade and eating biscuits.  Red Cross workers, very smart in uniform, were buzzing round doing all they could.  There were magazines, books etc.  Red, white and blue bunting draped the ceilings.  There was a corner roped off, made like a toyshop for the kids, and they had a wonderful time. ((This was probably the creche mentioned in link with IWM))

    At different venues in Echelon, we received toilet things, underclothes, shoes, secondhand summer dress and skirt and blouse.   We had HOT BATHS (with bath salts) and some folk had hairsets and face massage!  Everything was taken care of.  ((Heaps of released pow's around, looking pale and ill, hair in tufts.  We found we people had a name, RAPWI, I think it stands for Returned Allied Prisoners of War and Internees.))
    ((There were no billets for us at Echelon, we were siphoned off to various places to sleep.)) Olive and I learned that a Mr & Mrs Best had invited us to stay with them.  ((We had met the Bests in 1938 as they travelled on the 'Kaisar-I-Hind' to Ceylon when we were aboard on our way to Hong Kong.)) She and I were put in a bus driven by an Indian, with among others the Mills family, the Buddens, Mr Megarry, Mr. J. Pennefather-Evans (Commissioner of Police, HK), and a Wren who was in charge of us.

    Some were dropped at Kent House, we were taken to the Bests' house, Mrs. B came out to receive us. ((Although the Bests are asked just for Olive and I, we airily took with us our best friend Nan Grady, who was happily welcomed too.)) They gave us a lovely bedroom, they are so very very kind, and have 3 other lodgers. We want to stay here for a while – it's all so grand – and I hope we never forget to thank God for it.

  • 1 Oct 1945, Chronology of Events Related to Stanley Civilian Internment Camp

    Date(s) of events described: 
    Mon, 1 Oct 1945

    The clock on the Kowloon-Canton Railway Tower, the only public timepiece on the Peninsula, starts to tell the time again after almost 4 years.


    The China Mail reports that Mr E. D. Robbins of the Health Department has returned to Hong Kong. He left on the repatriation ship Tei-a Maru on September 23, 1943 and found conditions worse than Stanley, with the Japanese trying to make as much money out of the passengers as possible. There was not enough to eat, and he had to buy supplementary food. People being repatriated from Shanghai were given 5,000 yen, but those from Hong Kong only had a monthly allowance of 29 yen. He found the Canadians very helpful, but nobody knew the truth about life in Stanley.


    A commission is set up to examine cases of civilians suspected of collaboration with the Japanese - an Associated Press report to this effect will be cited in tomorrow's Daily Mirror (page 8) which will also note that a British Major is being held on suspicion of the same charge. This is Major Cecil Boon, who spent the war in Shamshuipo. Some of his associates have also been arrested by the incoming troops. Boon's case will come to trial in London and acquitted of all charges.


    In a speech of farewell before leaving for recuperation, former Secretary for Chinese Affairs R. A.C. North, takes the opportunity of naming two prominent Chinese citizens who should NOT be considered guilty of collaboration. He pays tribute to Hong Kong's Chinese population and says he understands that they suffered far worse than he did (in Stanley) because they were exposed to the full brutality of the Gendarmes. He tells his audience that he had hoped to stay uninterned to intercede for them, but had instead gone with Grenville Alabaster and (the late) John Fraser to the China Building to ask Sir Robert Kotewall, Sir Shouson Chow and their colleagues to take on 'what should have been my duty'. He hopes that his speech will put an end to the 'misunderstandings' that had arisen - Kotewall in particular had been unjustly accused of collaboration for obeying North's injunction to work with the Japanese for the sake of the Chinese masses.


    The (London) Times publishes this notice in its page 1 Personal columns:

    Mrs. L. A. NEWNHAM, civilian internee, Stanley Camp, Hong-kong: two letters received: safe and well.

    Colonel Lanceray Arthur Newnham was executed on December 18, 1943 for his resistance activities in Argyle Street Camp. In January 1918 he had married Phyliss Edith Henderson at St. Mary's in Finchley .


    Clock: China Mail, October 3, 1945,1

    Robbins: China Mail, October 1, 1945,1

    North: China Mail, October 2, 1945, 4.

  • 01 Oct 1945, R. E. Jones Wartime diary

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    Date(s) of events described: 
    Mon, 1 Oct 1945

    As for yesterday. Nil sighted. Noon distance 321 mls. 3 Pkts Camel issued & some odds & ends of clothing.

  • 01 Oct 1945, INTERNED - DECEMBER 1941

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    Mon, 1 Oct 1945

    ((Following text dated from other accounts of arriving at Colombo:))

    On reaching Colombo we were billeted with such a lovely young couple in their beautiful home, which we almost felt afraid to enter!  Our bedroom was so pretty, and I couldn't get over the fact that we would be sleeping in beds that night.  On the dressing table were all the cosmetics we could wish for, and in the wardrobe two dainty dresses that fitted perfectly.  (I had not worn a dress since before camp days.)  I cried over such kindness.  We spent about a week in Colombo before being put on the P&O Chitral bound for London.

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