Ralph James HARDY [1917-1971] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Ralph James HARDY [1917-1971]

Ralph James
Birthplace (town, state): 
East Riding, Yorkshire
Birthplace (country): 
c.1971-12-31 (Month, Day are approximate)

R. J. Hardy was a Sergeant in the R.A.F.

He was senetnced to 15 years in jail for his participation in the resistance in Shamshuipo POW Camp.

He served his time in Stanley Prison and in Canton, survving a serious illness to return to Hong Kong and marry his pre-war fiancee in early September 1945. 

He later gave evidence at a War Crimes Trial.


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"For devotion to duty and conspicuous bravery whilst on special service during his period of captivity as a prisoner of war in Hongkong in the hands of the Japanese.

About the middle of October 1942, contact was established between officers at Shamshuipo Camp and BAAG officers at Waichow through the medium of Chinese overseers at the Kai Tak Airport .  This NCO very bravely volunteered to accompany the working party each day to act  as both receiver and sender of these important messages.  He displayed great initiative  and daring in carrying this out under the eyes of the Japanese guard with the certain knowledge that the slighest mistake would involve him in the most severe form of punishment if not the loss of his life.  These activities were successfully carried out by him until the end of the year when working parties ceased and a new type of contact established through the Chinese drivers of the ration lorries in which he also played an important part.  The value of this work for the Camp cannot be over-emphasised, involving as it did the supply of vital necessities as well as the transmitting of constant information regarding Camp conditions to the outside.

On July 1st 1943, this NCO was taken out of Camp and conducted to the Headquarters of the Japanese Gendarmerie, where he was charged with communication with the enemy.  He was subjected to the most brutal for of torture including the Japanese "Water Torture" to compel his to disclose the names of officers associated with these activities and this he resolutely refused to do.  After several hours of torture, he was removed to Stanley Prison "On Remand" to await a Court Martial on a charge of espionage.  The Court sat on 1st December and after the statements were read the Prosecutor demanded the death penalty, but the Court awarded a sentence of 15 years imprisonment,.

He served his imprisonment under very unfavourable conditions in Stanley Prison until 22nd June 1945 when he was sent to the Japanese Military Prison in Canton, where he remained until 21t August, when he was returned to Hongkong and freed. 

The resolute courage of this NCO  in spite of indescribable suffering and his devotion to duty provide an example in the highest tradition of the Service." 

Passenger List arriving in Liverpool from Hong Kong November 1959

Ralph James Hardy born 26 August 1917 civil servant

Hazel Frances Hardy born 18 December 1918

UK address The Bungalow Buckden

WWII POW Records

Ralph James Hardy born 26 August 1917 in Goole [East Riding Yorkshire] Sergeant RAF Service Number 538807

UK Death Index

Ralph James Hardy born 26 August 1917 died 1971 in Worth Valley West Riding Yorkshire


An RAFP member Brendan O'Neill   of  RAFP world history group found this

Flight Sgt Ralph James Hardy RAF







Air Ministry, 1st October, 1946.

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following award in recognition of gallant and distinguished service rendered whilst a prisoner of war in Japanese hands: —

Distinguished  Conduct Medal.  Sergeant. 538807 Ralph James HARDY, R.A.F. Air Ministry, 1st October, 1946.

The KING has been graciously pleased to give 'orders for the publication of the names of the following personnel who have been mentioned in despatches, in recognition of gallant and distinguished service whilst prisoners of war in Japanese