Internment camp numbers | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Internment camp numbers

One of my mother's cousins (then aged between 13 and 17, and now deceased) was interned in Hong Kong during the war, but she (and her own mother, who was also interned with her) are not mentioned in the lists of internees on this web site, nor in a couple of other lists that I've managed to find in archives in the U.K.

She was repatriated at the end of 1945, but in later life told her own children little about her experiences. They have no recollection of her mentioning the name or location of the camp, only that it was #13.

Does anyone know the numbers by which the camps were officially known?



I haven't heard the HK camp referred to by numbers before. Is there any chance they were interned somewhere else in Asia? 

You might try looking up your family's names in Greg Leck's book if you can find a copy in your library, or contact him: He covers all of Asia, so might have their details.

If your relatives were held in Stanley Internment camp then the records of the accommodation officer, C C Roberts, are held in the John Swire & Sons archives at the School of Oriental and African Studies. If you give me their names we can have a look for you.

Thanks for the offer.

They were Mrs. Maria E. Histed and her daughter Helen Barbara Histed.

Perhaps you could also look for Mrs. Barbara R. (Rosa) Arnold,  her daughter Mabel Arnold, and any others with the surname Arnold, who were probably related to them. The Arnold family were living in HK before the war, but seem to have disappeared from any records I've managed to trace, including those in the UK and Australia.

I'll ask our archivist at SOAS to look for those names.

The name 'Histed' rang a bell with me. Maria's husband was, I believe, Ernest Harold Histed and he sailed with the China Navigation Company (A Swire subsidiary) for 42 years. You can find a brief description of his time with us using this link

We have his record cards as a pdf and if you wish to see them then please do email me using   Ernest Histed spent the war years as Master of the "Kweiyang". The "Kweiyang" and her crew were requisitioned by the Ministry of War Tranport (MOWT) and Captain Histed was in Bombay whilst his wife and daughter were interned by the Japanese in HK. 



I had found Captain Histed's record online in WikiSwire. He was re-united with his wife and daughter in December 1945, when they were repatriated on a ship from Hong Kong.

I'll be interested to see what the SOAS archivist turns up.

imsij - May not be the same family as Barbara Rosa Arnold, but I know there were twenty-something brothers George and Geoff Arnold in HK pre-WW II. George was an artist and smalltime author. After the war he wrote and illustrated a book on HK life, and lived in Melbourne, Aust.  He was close to a well-known Melbourne artist, Margaret Gunnerson, which may give you a lead

Thanks. I'm not sure if they were related. Barbara Arnold was a distant relative, a Scot I believe, and I have not explored her genealogy in great detail.

By email from Henry Ching:

I see that Mrs Histed was a member of the local Portuguese community.  Perhaps she and her daughter were in Rosary  Hill., the Red Cross home of refuge, rather than an internment camp.

There's no record of Mrs Histed in the accommodation officer's Stanley camp records.

We do have some records on an A E Arnold who was a Captain and then a Major in the Royal Artillery during the war. If you've any interest I will need to email them.

Thank your colleague for checking.

I don't think the A E Arnold was any relative.

I have been through the lists of internees in the civilian camps in China as shown in Greg Leck's book, but found no mention of the name Histed.

Thanks for checking.

Capt Ernie Histed was a friend of my parents - my Father & Ernie both having sailed with CN Co. We had many Sunday lunches with them before afternoon tea on board his ship, the Szechuen, before it sailed at 5pm on the dot for Keelung. Ernie was a skilled shipmaster who my Father held in highest regard.  Ernie & Esther retired to Shoreham, England in about 1961 where I visited him in the late 1970's which was after Esther died. I recall Esther recounting that she & their daughter Barbara spent the war years in Portugese Macau. I believe Barbara married & moved to the USA.  

Thanks for that.

That is useful information, and seems likely to be correct. Esther's parents were Macau Portuguese, as you may know. 

Barbara, an adopted child (the natural daughter of one of one of my great uncles), was taken to the USA to stay with her maternal grandmother in 1946, and did indeed marry there.  She died in 2007.

I'm in touch with her children in the USA who have been trying to discover her ancestry, etc as she didn't talk much about her past. Do you have any photos of her or her parents/grandparents? If so, I'll give you my direct contact details in the UK.

It was interesting to read further about Barbara Histed and I did know Esther was able to claim Portugese nationality through her parents; with Portugal being neutral in WW2, she was thus able to move to Macau after the Japanese occupied HK. Ernie I recall remained at sea with CN Co helping the war effort. I am afraid I have no photos of the Histed's - my parents possibly did but they died many years in Australia after retiring from Hong Kong in the mid 70's where I also now live. One other piece of information: Ernie had nephew, Clive Histed, living in HK; he was a solicitor then became a Magistrate in the mid 1960's. Clive married an Australian, neither of whom I know whether they are still alive and they had a daughter born in HK who I believe came to live in Australia with her Mother. I hope this is of interest to Barbara's children.