SS Conte Biencamano entering Harbour

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 22:39

Seen from Signal Hill.

There's a history of the SS Conte Biencamano on Wikipedia.

Date picture taken


For reference, on 9 January 1938, the boat left Hong Kong and transported refugees from Shanghai who had been evacuated here previously and wished to return to the port. Source: HKGRO

A search for 'Biancamano' in the old HK newspapers turns up several more results. Unfortunately they're all from 1939-41, so no use to help tie down the date of Jim's time on Signal Hill in 1936-7.

It had an important role:

  • China Mail, 28 Jan 1939: 'One thousand Jews, mostly from Germany, sailed on board the Lloyd Triestino "Conte Biancamano" for Shanghai yesterday. They will make their new home in China.'
  • HK telegraph, 29 Aug 1939: 'Conte Biancamano "Disappears"'. The ship failed to arrive at Bombay, where it was due to berth.
  • HK Daily Press, 11 Sep 1939: The newspaper reported the Biancamano had arrived in Hong Kong the day before, clearing up the mystery mentioned above. It had taken an unusual route, because war had been declared while it was on route. 'It was also known that the ship was carrying the last batch of Jewish refugees from Germany to Shanghai'.
  • HK Telegraph, 11 Sep 1939: 'A strong police guard was placed on the ship to prevent any German nationals alighting; could they have done so they would have been subject to internment. Before the ship sailed they were joined by 15 German Jewish refugees who were released from the la Salle College internment camp.'