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.
  • 25 Jul 1945, Barbara Anslow's diary

    Book / Document: 
    Date(s) of events described: 
    Wed, 25 Jul 1945

    No one came for shorthand – feel like throwing them both over.

    About noon, a plane sounded very near and made a most peculiar noise, as if it had dropped something, then it zoomed over our heads and went slowly out to sea.   A few moments later the air raid alarm went.  Some say it was a  sea-plane - can't be identified in camp.  Mr R Mottram said it had a jagged white marking under wings.   It appeared to be in difficulties and jettisoned about 6 of its cargo, which are either bombs, depth charges, or mines: about the size of Mimi Lau blocks, and marked '100 lbs. 1943'.

    One fell near St Stephen's white cross, 3 or 4 in Bungalow A area - 2 actually on it - and one went through the roof of St Stephens and landed on a Mr King's bed, but no serious injuries there.  But at Bungalow A, the Rev. F.R. Myhill aged 33 was seriously injured, with superficial (multiple) wounds and especially on chest - and shock.

    Leilah Lois Wood, aged 16, also badly hurt, she has multiple abrasions and wounds, one in her chest. Worrying because she vomited up a little fresh blood, she is also badly shocked.

    Mavis Hamson, aged 8, also much bruised.  Mavis' mother and Leilah are sisters.

    All clear about 1.20pm, when I went to work.

    Olive not at work because of legs (septic).

    Raid alarm again between 1.45 and 2.15.

    About 4.30 a party of about 7 Japs and Formosans (including interpreter) came to hospital to see the victims.  Then another 2 or 3 came, including Captain Saito(?).

    It's ten to 7pm and all clear hasn't gone yet.

    Rumour that Churchill has made speech saying that the Japanese war will be over by April 1946!!! Which distresses us except we won't allow ourselves to take it seriously, like all the other rumours we dislike.

    Bungalow A and St Stephen evacuated pro tem.

  • 25 Jul 1945, Chronology of Events Related to Stanley Civilian Internment Camp

    Date(s) of events described: 
    Wed, 25 Jul 1945

    Bombs fall on the camp again. There are injuries but no deaths.

    Many decades later May (aka Mavis) Hamson, 8 years old in 1945, described the scene in Bungalow A:

    The bomb exploded on impact. The bath was positioned against our adjoining wall, and the blast blew straight through the brickwork, showering debris everywhere. The shockwave tore Richard from Grannie's arms, picked him up in its wake and threw him straight out the door onto the ground outside. He just disappeared. I was stunned and disorientated, and apart from a high-pitched ringing in my ears, I could not hear anything. I was still clinging tightly to Leilah, but her body was limp. I looked up at her face and her eyes were open, but she looked like the dead people I had seen. I was crying hysterically and looked across to Grannie, who was covered in blood. The light faded and the ringing in my ears stopped. And that's the last I remembered.

    Later I was told that Richard had found himself sitting on his behind in the garden some distance from the bungalow.


    Another bomb falls through the roof of St Stephen's College. Noel Croucher was digesting lunch:

    On July 25, 1945, a few minutes before noon, I was in my room with Professor Robertson, T. Ramsay, and Hampden Ross, resting after our midday meal of four ounces of rice and soya beans. I was reading a novel when I heard the sound of an approaching plane. Judging from the noise the plane was making, I would suggest that it had engine trouble. Ramsay stretched out to see the plane as it flew overhead. At the same time, I turned over in my bunk to catch a sight of the plane from the hut window. As I did so, the whole world seemed to split in two, and fragments of the roof crashed into the room which became a tangle of plaster work and dust.

    The building was quickly evacuated. Croucher was left with an inured shoulder from the flying debris.


    Hamson: Allana Corbin, Prisoners of the East, 2002, 263

    Croucher: Vaudine England, The Quest of Noel Croucher, 1998, 149


  • 25 Jul 1945, Eric MacNider's wartime diary

    Date(s) of events described: 
    Wed, 25 Jul 1945

    Strange “bomb” incident Bung. A.B. & other S.S. are hit by seaplane (jettison)

    Hurt – Myhill, Leida Wood, Harrison, etc, (J. visited T.B. Hospital)

  • 25 Jul 1945, R. E. Jones Wartime diary

    Book / Document: 
    Date(s) of events described: 
    Wed, 25 Jul 1945

    Bright, hot.

    Window panes in Ward 7.

    Saw Dr. Smalley & he put me on Digitalis & strychnine with orders to ease up on heavy labour. B.P.125.

    Jap flying boat dropped practice bombs on St. Stephens & A. Bungalow area. 4 persons injured 12.15pm. The effort would appear to be deliberate, flying & bombing weather being perfect  & the plane flew slowly & low. The Camp Japs blew the A/r alarm and quickly dived into their A/r shelters. St. Stephens area placed out of bounds until the undamaged missiles were salvaged. Many theories by Camp “experts” re type of bomb, depth charge, identity & type of plane & reasons for the event. ∴

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