John Douglas CLAGUE (aka Duggie) [1917-1981]

Submitted by David on Thu, 01/17/2013 - 16:22
John Douglas
Alias / nickname


Photos that show this Person



Movement Orders.

To: Major J D Clague                                                                                                                                                              From: Lt Col L T Ride                                                                                                                                                             Date: 15th July 1942.


1.   You are hereby instructed to set up and command an Advanced Headquarters of the British Army Aid Group in China aat Waichow, Kwangtung, from today, 15th July 1942.

2.   You will be responsible for:                                                                                                                                                             (a) the transport of Prisoners-of-War escapees pf whatever race from forward rendezvous points to Kukong                                                                                                                                                                                            (b) the collection and forwarding to these Headquarters of all Intelligence and information you can collect which may be of value to this organisation and to any of our armed services.  You are to pay particular attention to information of enemy disposition, movements and strength, of conditions in Hongkong of civilians as well as our Prisoners-of-War, and any other specific intelligence you may be instructed from time to time to report upon.

3.   You are in direct command of all BAAG personnel operating between Kukong and the New Territories, and it is a part of your duties to supervise the carrying out of all orders issued by Headquarters to these personnel.

4.   You will be responsible for the payment of all salaries and allowances of your personnel and for this purpose you are to operate an account in the Kwangtung Provincial Bank in Waichow to which monies will be sent.

5.   The field Intelligence Group in the Waichow area will come directly under your command, and 65 will submit his reports directly to you.  For the sake of security and in view of the possibility of later transfer of FIGS to an alternative position, it is advised that as far as possible the separate identity of FIGS should be maintained.

6.   Operation Orders for FIGS and FOG will be issued from HQs, BAAG, but as the representative of CO, BAAG in the advanced areas  details may be altered at your discretion in the light of information you may receive.  CO BAAG should be immediately notified of all such actions taken by you.

7.   In setting up your AHQ you should remember that you are essentially mobile.  You have full powers to move AHQ and FIGS, either independently or together as you may consider the local situation may demand.  All such moves will be notifies to BAAG HQ together with the arrangements you have made for maintaining efficient communication.

8.   You are specifically instructed to do everything in your power to raise British prestige in your area and to foster Sino-British relations.   In all operations the Chinese are to be given the maximum credit.  An Officer will be attached to you for the special purpose of reporting on the official and unofficial guerilla situation;  this information will be of utmost value in the present operation of FOG as well as in deciding the nature of their future work.  This information is to be collected under the cover of making arrangements with the guerillas and Chinese Forces for the safe conduct of escapees.

9.   You are instructed to take the Chinese Military Authorities in Waichow into your complete confidence with regard to all  your activities and to allow them to make use of any items of your intelligence that may be of use to them.

10.   You are authorised to instruct all Chinese members of our Services to report to me at HQ and to advance $400 NC per head for their expenses.

11.   Owing to the nature of our work and the area in which you will be operating, all the principles regarding security will be observed strictly and to the limits.  In the event of enemy action demanding a sudden evacuation of your AHQ, all secret documents that cannot be removed to safety must be burned.

Clague, Sir John Douglas, MC (1942), Military OBE (1943), Military CBE (1946), Knight (1971) b. 13 June 1917, Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia; d. 11 March 1981, Berkshire, England. Businessman and community leader.

Marriage  14 October 1947 Chapel of King William's College Isle of Man to Margaret Isolin Cowley (1921 - 2011)

Birth 22 August 1948 of a son in Hong Kong and 3 August 1950 a daughter and 28 September 1953 daughter in Hong Kong

Clague was the visionary behind Hong Kong’s first Cross-Harbour Tunnel, which opened in 1972: in the face of considerable public scepticism, he lobbied the British and Hong Kong governments and his efforts were instrumental in taking the project to completion. Almost single-handedly he secured the necessary financial guarantees.



No. 65 mentioned in the instruction to Clague was Paul Ka-cheung Tsui who had initially the nom de plume as Tsui On-shing, thus identified as TOSKA in early BAAG telegrams. 

Tsui had went ahead to set up the Field Intelligence Group (FIGS) at St. Joseph's Church at Sui Tung Street, Wai Chow.  Until the Officers' Mess was set up at the nearby Wai On Hospital Compound, Clague and associates were also based at the rectory of the church.  FIGS remained there subsequently.

It was Clague who recommended the award of an MBE to Paul Tsui in 1943.  He also sent Rose Tsui her veil from Ceylon her wedding at St. Joseph's in January 1944.  The friendly trusted relationship lasted after the War.


This article originally appeared in The Standard on 3 Sep 2005:

Thailand's true Brit

Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Clague, a Briton who later became a leading Hong Kong taipan, led an audacious mission which saved thousands of Allied POWs, writes Vaudine England.

Tens of thousands of sick and desperate prisoners of war held in Thailand 60 years ago, feared Allied victory in the East at the end of World War II. Huddled in the festering death camps of the Thai-Burma railway they expected war's end to herald a massacre at the hands of defeated Japanese soldiers.

Instead, on August 27, 1945, Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Clague, a 28-year old British officer who later became a leading Hong Kong taipan, demanded and won the surrender of the Japanese in Bangkok with little further loss of life.

In a little-known tale of bravery, Clague walked into a humiliated Japanese headquarters in Bangkok before Japan's official surrender and browbeat army commanders into cooperating, while his colleagues in the shadowy "E Group" parachuted down near prisoner-of-war camps.

Soon after, continue reading ...