Charles Gesner van der Voort had started his career in Rotterdam, at Holland-China Trading Company (HCHC). In 1938, he went to Shanghai for the firm. The Japanese interned him, and most other Dutch nationals, from 1943-45. In camp, he met his wife Nancy and they married after the war. After a leave in The Netherlands, they returned to the Orient, where Charles continued to work for HCHC in Hong Kong.
Charles' colleague Frans de Jongh started much earlier at Holland-China Trading Company, in 1919, twenty years before Charles did. In 1930 he worked for the HCHC Hong Kong office. With his wife Willy he lived at 2 Chatham Road, where their daughter Anneke was born, in the same year.
During a walk at Wong Nai Chung, Frans de Jongh took this photo, looking down on Wan Chai, where HCHC would build a godown in 1950. One can recogise the outline of the Happy Valley Race Course in the distance. In 1930, this was still an idyllic place. During WWII, 19 December 1941, it was the location of a dramatic battle between Hong Kong and Japanese forces. When the Japanese conquered the Wong Nai Chung Gap, they gained control over Hong Kong Island, the Gap having a strategic position between the northern and southern part of the island.
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One of Charles' friends, Dick Cazius, who was taking part in the Battle of Hong Kong as a Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps member, was captured and spent the remainder of the war in Japanese Prisoner of War camps, including Sham Shui Po. His ca. 1947 interview with the Netherlands Institute for War, Genocide and Holocaust Studies (NIOD) is part of my book to be published.
Courtesy De Jongh family archives (c) Anneke Knüppe-de Jongh <a href="https://gwulo.com/%3Ca%20href%3D"https://hierinhetoostenalleswel.nl/">https://hierinhetoostenalleswel.nl/" rel="noreferrer nofollow">hierinhetoostenalleswel.nl/</a>