This photo of Maria Rita (da Silva) Reed, Vera (de Carvalho) Reed, Marie (Diniz) Reed and her daughter Mary was taken in Macau in July 1943. Vera married Francis Reed in October 1941. Marie married Arthur Reed in May 1938. Both wives lost their husbands to the war, Francis killed on December 18, 1941, and Arthur killed on December 19, 1941. Arthur died alongside his older brother Edgar. His younger brother Stephen sustained injuries on the 19th and succumbed to his wounds on January 15, 1942 at the Military hospital. Robert and Reggie were captured on December 25, 1941 and released on September 2, 1945.
Maria Rita addressed this photo to her sons Bobby and Reggie who were interned at Shamshuipo Camp. She wrote, "May God bless and protect you. Will all my love, Mother", and dated it July, 1943.
Released POWs reuniting with loved ones in Macau
I was informed by a friend that soon after the liberation of Hong Kong in August, 1945, the British Royal Navy supplied a warship to transport the recently released POWs, consisting mostly of the Portuguese Volunteers, to Macau to visit their family members and loved ones who had taken refuge there. The Macau Government gave them a warm and grand welcome.
I am wondering if there is more information about this occurrence and if there was a list of the Volunteers who were included on that warship. To my knowledge, I am not aware that my two uncles, Robert and Reggie Reed might have been a part of that contingent of ex POWs to Macau.
Portuguese ex-POWS visiting Macau
This was HMS Parret, a River class frigate of the Royal Navy.
Attached is an article written in 2010 for the magazine of the Casa de Macau in Sydney. It describes what the Volunteers did during their brief visit to Macau before they had to return to barracks in Hong Kong. Demobilization was still some days away.
‘All the players gave of their best’
A hockey game to remember
The privations of prisoners of war in the Shamshuipo camp in Hong Kong are well known. Many people have seen Alexander Skvorzov’s drawings of prisoners of war, skin and bone, barely existing from day-to-day. Some did not survive. When Hong Kong fell to the Japanese on Christmas Day 1941, the victors quickly rounded up all the members of the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps they could find and interned them in a military barracks built at Shamshuipo in Kowloon to accommodate far fewer men. They were there for close to four years, until September 1945. Of the seven Infantry Companies of the Hong Kong Volunteers two were Portuguese: No. 5 and No. 6 Companies, whose members were swept up too, along with British personnel.
Only a month after their liberation at the end of August 1945, a large group of Portuguese members of the Hong Kong Volunteers went over to Macau where a scratch team was formed to play a game of hockey against Macau Hockey Club. The Hong Kong Volunteers had spent several years on the verge of starvation. They were worked as forced labour, beaten and brutally mistreated throughout their captivity. The fact that, within a month of their release, they were able to field a team is quite amazing. The Hong Kong boys had not held a hockey stick since the last games were played on Sunday 7 December 1941. Seven of the eleven players belonged to the Club de Recreio First Division team, who had been Hong Kong Champions of 1940-1941.
The Macau boys, whose team was known as the Valentes (the Brave Ones) had also been through very hard times, but nothing to compare with the privations of the POWs. If ‘Valentes’ was the name of the Macau team, what name should we apply to the real heroes whose lives had been in great peril, first in the brief, bloody Battle of Hong Kong, and then in nearly four years of brutal captivity? It says much for their morale that they wanted to play this remarkable game at the first possible opportunity.
In the last few months of World War II, the Macau paper Renascimento published an English edition for the several thousand English-speaking refugees in Macau. On 30 September 1945 it printed an account of this remarkable game, including the names of the players. Both teams included some of the best known names in the Portuguese community in both Macau and Hong Kong, names frequently found in the membership lists of Casas de Macau around the world today.
There is no known photograph of the game played between the Volunteers and the ‘Valentes’. However, a photograph of the Club de Recreio First Division League Champions 1940-41 includes seven of those who played for the Volunteers. It was only four years later, but so much had happened!
A. V. Gosano J. A. Soares G. N. Gosano B. T. Gosano Dr. H. L. Ozorio J. C. Fonseca M. Mendonça, P. A. Yvanovich R. A. Marques W. A. Reed A. M. Alves L. G. Gosano, Dr. A. M. Rodrigues J. M. Gosano H. F. Gonsalves J. B. Gonsalves Dr. E. L. Gosano
The newspaper report read:
Macau Hockey Club Fully Extended in Exhibition Hockey
Gosano, Alves Prominent for the Volunteers
"The Volunteers gave a very creditable performance in the exhibition hockey game on Thursday [27 September] when they met Macau Hockey Club, Macau Champions, and lost by 4 goals to 3 after leading at one stage by 3 goals to 1.
J. Gosano, at inside right, was the outstanding player in the attack and scored all three goals for his side. He was well supported by Capt. Rodrigues at centre forward and Yvanovich on the right wing.
In the defence, Tony Alves was very prominent and had the better of a number of interesting tussles with L. Costa and Airosa.
The Defence Corps had the assistance of Gonsalves, of the Valentes, at full-back, but were without the services of Reggie and Bobby Reed. M Gonsalves, in goal, brought off some good saves but was weak with his clearances.
Macau did not start with a full team and even after their side was complete were on the defensive for some time. Gosano opened the scoring with a good shot, but Marques equalised shortly after. J. Gosano placed his side again in the lead before the interval.
The Volunteers were playing good hockey and went further ahead when Gosano again scored from a short corner.
Macau improved in the closing stages and A. Airosa (2) and Marques scored for Macau before the final whistle.
The game was played in the best spirit and all the players gave of their best.
The following were the teams:
Volunteers – M. Gonsalves, J. Gonsalves and B. Alves, M. Remedios, Tony Alves, and H. Soares, P. Yvanovich, J. Gosano, Capt. A.M. Rodrigues, L.G. Gosano and F. Soares.
Macau Hockey Club – R. Leio, R. Lobo and A. Basto, J. Nolasco, Alex Airosa and A. Santos Ferreira, G. Silva, L. Costa, Alberto Airosa, L. Ritchie and F. Marques.
Naturally, the ex-POW team had no gear, and had to borrow boots and hockey sticks. Living in Canberra is Philippe Yvanovich, an esteemed member of the Casa de Macau, Australia. Philippe recalls that he could not find boots to fit him, so he played the whole game in his socks. The press report mentions that the Valentes started one man short, so the Hong Kong boys lent them one of their star players, Johnny Gonsalves, the full back.
A wise concession to the straitened circumstances of the players was that the game was shortened to 20 minutes halves. Another of the Volunteers who played that day is Luigi Gosano, now living in Washington State, USA. Of the Valentes, there is perhaps only one survivor in 2010: R. Lobo, now Sir Roger Lobo of Hong Kong. Sadly, João Nolasco passed away recently in Sydney. Another illustrious player was Captain Alberto Rodrigues, later knighted as Sir Albert Rodrigues, who had a most distinguished career in medicine and public affairs in Hong Kong.
The volunteers had been given a week’s furlough after their liberation from Shamshuipo camp. They were brought to Macau in H.M.S. Parret, a River class frigate of the Royal Navy. This trip for the Portuguese Volunteers to Macau was especially for the liberated POWs to visit their loved ones who had found refuge in Macau. Parret was one of the smallest ships in the huge fleet that entered Hong Kong harbour on 30 August under the command of Rear-Admiral Cecil Harcourt. No-one who saw that great fleet riding at anchor in Hong Kong harbour ever forgot the sight. The late Dr Osler Thomas, MBE, was a distinguished member of the British Army Aid Group, which operated behind enemy lines, based at Waichow, north-east of Hong Kong. Dr Thomas told the writer last year that, returning from Macau to Hong Kong early in September, he first saw Harcourt’s ships as his boat came around Sheungwan. ‘It was a tremendous thrill’, he said. It is a sentiment warmly echoed by Bosco Correa, who was on the waterfront at Tsimshatsui with his brother Frank and three friends as the great fleet steamed slowly in through Lyemun Pass in the East. ‘What a glorious sight it was!’ he writes.
In Macau for a week, the Volunteers made a powerful impression. Apart from official dignitaries such as Admiral Harcourt, who had paid a courtesy call on the Governor of Macau, they were the first people from Hong Kong, other than refugees, to come for more than three years. The senior N.C.O.s of the Macau garrison entertained their Hong Kong Volunteer counterparts at a dinner on the Wednesday evening. There must also have been many joyful family reunions.
At least one of the Volunteers did more than play hockey. Private Charles Guterres married Gladys Maxwell at Sto Antόnio church on Wednesday 26 September. However, the bridegroom had to leave his bride behind two days later when the Volunteers returned to barracks in Hong Kong. Demobilisation and normal civilian life had to wait a little longer. Other marriages followed. Newspapers often get names slightly wrong. In this case, ‘B.
Alves’ of the Volunteers is in fact José Luis ‘Dick’ Alves. He later married Philippe Yvanovich’s sister Lolita (‘Lolly’) and Dick’s sister Margie married Philippe Yvanovich.
With the return of H.M.S. Parret, the long-awaited exodus to Hong Kong began in a small way The British Military Administration was getting into its stride, and needed clerical staff. There was a list at the British consulate in Macau, and twelve young women went back to Hong Kong to work for the Admiralty, as Renascimento reported it. They included Lolly Yvanovich, who was to marry Dick Alves in 1950. Both were on H.M.S. Parret returning to Hong Kong, but there was hardly time for a shipboard romance!
The paper printed the names of all the girls. Once again several are people fondly remembered as grandmothers and even great-grandmothers of today’s generations.
Those who left by the warship were Mrs D. Jex, Miss Olga Carvalho, Miss Elsa Carvalho, Miss Mercedes Roza, Miss Marie Roza, Miss Argentina Gonsalves, Miss Lolita Yvanovich, Miss Avelina Gosano, Miss Betty Clarke, Miss Philomena Gonsalves, Miss Irene Alonso and Miss Hilda May.
Yesterday morning [29 September], four others, Miss Geraldine Jorge, Mrs Edna Pinna, Miss Marie Pereira and Miss Elsa da Silva left for Hongkong to join the same service."
Sadly, although British members of the Volunteers were well treated after the war by the British Government, the Portuguese boys did not receive the same benefits, despite a long campaign that went on for years and led to much bitterness. In the short, bloody battle for Hong Kong in December 1941, they had fought for King and Empire alongside the British boys, but after the war they were not regarded as being of equal status.
Stuart Braga 24 January 2010
Portuguese ex-Pows Visiting Macau
Stuart, thank you for responding to my queries about the Hong Kong Volunteers visiting Macau after the war on the HMS Parrat. I enjoyed the article you shared, as well as the Macau newspaper's account of the hockey match between the Volunteers and the Macau team.
I appreciate knowing that Bobby and Reggie Reed, unfortunately, were not a part of this visit for some reason. It would have been a lovely reunion for them with their mother and family members, as well as meeting up with their brother Willie. My father accompanied the family to Macau when the war broke out. I am sure he was there to watch this exciting match and the opportunity to catch up with his hockey mates.