Leonard STARBUCK [1911-1953]
Starbuck and Heywood are believed to be the first Prisoners of War captured by the Japanese.
Henry Ching is interested to hear more about Starbuck, writing:
G.S.P. Heywood and L. Starbuck, both of the Royal Observatory, were probably the first two prisoners taken by the Japanese on 8th December, 1941. Heywood was a private in the HKVDC and eventually became a POW in Sham Shui Po Camp. He was later sent to Japan. But Starbuck remains a mystery. Both were moved from the Combatant Group to the Key-posts Group in the Defence Reserve as recently as September, 1941. Apparently, Heywood remained in the HKVDC notwithstanding this, and was presumably in uniform when he was captured. But I have been unable to find out anything about Starbuck, who seems to have been neither a POW nor an internee.
Starbuck’s name does not seem to appear on any list as a Volunteer, as a POW or as an internee. So I am wondering what happened to him after his capture? There are “passing” references to his being in Sham Shui Po Camp, eg:
- C M Shun's blog entry, and
- Norman Mackenzie’s article in “Dispersal and Renewal” (Hong Kong University Press, 1998) – there Starbuck is referred to as “Lieut.L.Starbuck” in Sham Shui Po Camp in April, 1942.
I am unable to ascertain if he was there as a member of the HKVDC or of some other unit, or indeed if he was actually there at all. Whatever happened to him must have been acceptable as he continued to work for the Observatory after the war. I wonder, for example, if at an early stage he was released from Sham Shui Po to keep the Observatory in operation.