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

79 years ago: Hong Kong's wartime diaries

Shows diary entries from 79 years ago, using today's date in Hong Kong as the starting point. You can have these delivered to you by email each day, click here to subscribe. Or to see pages from earlier dates (they go back to 1 Dec 1941), please choose the date below and click the 'Apply' button.
  • 8 May 1943, Chronology of Events Related to Stanley Civilian Internment Camp

    Date(s) of events described: 
    Sat, 8 May 1943

    Death of Elizabeth Agnes Humphreys, aged 54.

    Before the war she'd lived in Chatham Path (May Road). Her husband was Alfred David Humphreys.


    Ronald Charles Fitzgerald, a Prison Officer, marries Irene Elizabeth Hicks, a stenographer.


    Humphreys: http://www.roll-of-honour.org.uk/civilians/html/h_database_64.htm

    Fitzgerald: Greg Leck, Captives of Empire, 2006, 626

  • 8 May 1943, R. E. Jones Wartime diary

    Book / Document: 
    Date(s) of events described: 
    Sat, 8 May 1943

    Fine & hot.


    Walk with Steve pm.

    Blackout ordered.

  • 08 May 1943, Eric MacNider's wartime diary

    Date(s) of events described: 
    Sat, 8 May 1943

    Death of Elizabeth Agnes, wife of A D Humphreys.

    St. G. concert

    Wedding - Ronald Charles Fitzgerald - Irene Elizabeth Hicks (Upsdell)


  • 08 May 1943, WW2 Air Raids over Hong Kong & South China

    Date(s) of events described: 
    Sat, 8 May 1943

    OBJECTIVE: Bomb Tien Ho airfield in Canton.  This is the first raid on a target in the Pearl River delta by the China-based 14th Air Force, the successor unit to the China Air Task Force (a unit of the India-based 10th Air Force).  This is also the first raid on a Pearl River delta target by the 308th Heavy Bomb Group, and only the unit’s second combat mission.

    TIME OVER TARGET: ~1:30 p.m.


    • Ten B-25s from the 11th Bomb Squadron (341st Medium Bomb Group)
    • Sixteen B-24s from the 373rd, 374th, 375th and 425th Bomb Squadrons (308th Heavy Bomb Group)
    • Twenty-four P-40s from the 16th and 75th Fighter Squadrons (23rd Fighter Group)

    All aircraft are from the 14th Air Force commanded by General Claire Chennault.


    • P-40s: Lt. Col. Clinton D. Vincent; Major John R. Alison; Major Harry M. Pike; 1st Lt. Lauren Barneby; 1st Lt. Joseph H. Griffin; 1st Lt. Melvin B. Kimball; 1st Lt. James W. Little; 2nd Lt. Robert L. Tempest
    • B-24s: Brigadier General Howard Davidson (traveling as an observer while on an inspection trip from Washington); Colonel Eugene H. Beebe; Captain Adler; Staff Sgt. Israel Blumenfeld; Tech Sgt. Edward J. McCon; Tech Sgt. Harold A. Mcquate
    • B-25s: Captain Douglas C. Weaver; 1st Lt. John B. Lyman; 2nd Lt. Frederick B. Lee; Staff Sgt. Eldon E. Shirley; Staff Sgt. George A. Kelly; Staff Sgt. Hubert F. Blades; Staff Sgt. Thomas H. Cave (all KIA)

     ORDNANCE EXPENDED: The B-24s drop 1,000-pound bombs and propaganda leaflets.  The B-25s drop a mix of 30-pound fragmentation bombs and 100-pound demolition bombs. 

    RESULTS: The bombing ignites a substantial fire among buildings near the runway that burns for at least two days and generates considerable smoke.  American bomb-damage assessments claim 25 buildings and a large aircraft hanger are destroyed.

    JAPANESE UNITS, AIRCRAFT, AND PILOTS: Ki-43-IIs from the 33rd Sentai


    • One B-25 is lost with its crew over Canton, possibly due to the premature explosion of its fragmentation bombs.  The crewmembers (listed above) are all presumed killed in action.
    • One P-40 belly-lands in friendly territory due to fuel exhaustion, but the pilot walks away.
    • B-24 gunners Blumenfeld, McCon, and Mcquate (see above) claim three enemy fighters shot down and American fighter pilots claim another thirteen.  However, Japanese records suggest that only Capt. Yuto Sakashita and 1st Lt. Ichiro Sakai of the 33rd Sentai are lost over Canton on this day. 


    • Original mission reports and other documents in the Air Force Historical Research Agency archives at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama
    • Japanese Army Fighter Aces, 1931-45, by Ikuhiko Hata, Yasuho Izawa, and Christopher Shores

    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).



  • 08 May 1943, Diary of George Gerrard in Stanley Internment Camp Hong Kong

    Date(s) of events described: 
    Sat, 8 May 1943

    Late last Saturday night the Chinese Supervisor came and handed me 50 Yen from Hoo Cheong Wo of which I gave 5 Yen to N.D.M., H.S., C.W.C. and T.M ((probably George William Craig and Thomas MacIntyre)) and 15 Yen to D.B.B. This gift of H.C.W. is very acceptable and most useful to us just now, as the Jap authorities have told us they are holding back our allowance because instructions have not yet been received from Tokyo and also because the Jap Government are not giving their own internees in other countries any allowance, which looks as if their exchange is not of a high standard, it of course is not.

    After a few days freedom from blackouts we are again in the throes of having no lights and bed at 10 o'clock. However the weather is very fair and warm, but fortunately on our side of the building there is a nice cool breeze and I still sleep with a blanket on me. We are also able to go about without a shirt on and just a pair of khaki shorts and so my legs and body are getting very tanned.

    The news continues to be very good and it is grand to know that the North Africa affair is nearing and end. Today's news indicates that it is really all over.

    Another batch of people have come into the camp on Friday. Mrs Selwyn-Clarke and sanitary inspectors, doctors and bankers, 18 in all and they have been accommodated in 'D' bungalow near to us and are feeding with our block. They are glad to be in here as conditions in town are pretty hopeless. Of course they are more lucky than us in being able to bring all their clothes and goods and chattels whereas we only had what we stood up in. However I am never jealous of these people as the corner we went in made it so that we were fortunate to get off with our lives.

    The bathing season has commenced but I don't go a shower does me. Hatton the head of the Foreign Officers and representative for the camp has said in a bulletin that all letters have been delivered. We know that this is nonsense, and it looks as if the residue of the letters have been burned or consigned to the wastepaper basket. However we'll see.

    I'm glad to say I'm still keeping fit and in good health and my weight is about 172lbs. D.B.B. and I were at J.Fs' tonight for our usual cup and yarn but in view of the early blackout we came away early. My letter to you was handed into the C.S.O. office on Tuesday 4th May and I hope you get some day.

  • 08 May 1943, John Charter's wartime journal

    Date(s) of events described: 
    Sat, 8 May 1943

    Vegetables (including the unfailing small supply of sweet potatoes) amount to just over 6 oz per day; meat and fish amount to about 2.5 oz per day, but from this the weight of the bones, heads, tails etc. have to be subtracted. The supply of salt and sugar is still the same i.e. 3 oz of each per week. Dr Deane-Smith, the dietetic expert, submitted to the Japanese charts showing the graph of necessary and normal food for Europeans against that of food supplied by the Japs. In his report he stated that for normal restful living, a diet producing 2,400 calories per day was a minimum requisite and that for manual labourers 3,000 calories were necessary; he showed that at no time during internment had the Japanese supplies brought anything like this minimum requirement and that had it not been for the food sent by the British Red Cross there would undoubtably, by now, have been many deaths from malnutrition and slow starvation. Now, he said, the Red Cross supplies had come to an end and unless something else was forthcoming to take their place the situation would again become critical. As it is there is cause for concern, especially amongst the children and old people, bad teeth and eyes and puny development amongst children. There are 5 cases of blindness in camp due entirely to vitamin deficiency. George Merriman, and Hyatt of the bank, are two cases that I know of personally. They are not completely blind; they can see people and objects at the edge of their field of vision, but the centre is a blank and they cannot therefore see anything they look at directly.

    Mr Hatori was asked if we could be supplied with Soya beans, but he replied that these came from the north of China and there was no available transport for the purpose. He was then presented by Mr Gimson with a petition, bearing nearly 2,000 signatures, stating that although internees here realised the difficulties of supplying this Colony with food in war time and were sure the Japanese had no intention of deliberately starving the internees here, yet the food situation was becoming acute and if they (the Japs) were unable to improve the situation, would they make it possible for the British Govt to send food and relief as it was known they were in a position to do so and were awaiting the opportunity. (It is known that further British Red Cross supplies are ready and waiting at Lourenco Marques). This petition was very well worded and was aimed at a Japanese weakness, (typical throughout all nations of the Far East) that of ‘losing face’. They are far more likely to do or not do a thing for the sake of gaining or fear of losing face than because they have been cajoled, threatened, entreated or reasoned with. Whether this petition will bear fruit we do not know.

    Mr Hatori has let Mr Zindel, the Swiss Red Cross representative here, have Dr Deane–Smith’s charts. These were forwarded to Geneva and Zindel has reported that they have been received and that Geneva has asked for further particulars. Poor Mr Hatori; his is a hard nut to crack. He has stated that the internees in Stanley are already better off than third nationals in town (Chinese and neutrals). It makes one feel very sorry for the poor Chinese coolie class who must be finding mere existence an extremely difficult affair.

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