Cyril Munro FAURE [1897-1968] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Cyril Munro FAURE [1897-1968]

Names
Given: 
Cyril Munro
Family: 
Faure
Sex: 
Male
Status: 
Deceased
Birth
Date: 
1897-01-10
Death
Date: 
1968-11-27

[3 Oct 2016 Update: I previously wrote that C M Faure was the editor of 'The Hong Kong News' but in the comments below Henry Ching says that isn't the case.]

C M Faure worked for the English-language newspaper 'The Hong Kong News' that was published during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong.

There are several comments about him at this time in the Stanley Camp Discussion Group.

Later sources show him working at the South China Morning Post in 1961, and as a translator based in in Wanchai in 1967.

He died in 1968, and is buried in the Hong Kong Cemetery in Happy Valley.

Comments

The question has been raised as to how Cyril Faure was able to avoid internment alongside the rest of the British community in early 1942.

The history of the South China Morning Post makes it clear that he was one of those asked by the company to carry on working to try to safeguard its interests - but the others in this position were Indian or Eurasian so wouldn't have been interned anyway. I think the answer as to how Faure stayed out is in Franklin Gimson's diary (p. 19 recto and verso).

While working on the Japanese paper The Hong Kong News, Faure was arrested on a charge of spying in February 1943. After the usual interrogations, beatings and threats he was released into Stanley Camp in early July 1943. Gimson went to see him with SCMP editor Ben Wylie - and he noted that somewhat to his surprise Wylie resented his questions as to whether Faure was a British national. He made enquiries and came to believe that there was some doubt as to the question. He discovered that on the Murray Parade Ground - where the British gathered before being sent to hotels and then to Stanley - Faure had asked Wylie to make a statement about his nationality. Gimson rightly suspected that Wylie had planned for Faure to safeguard the SCMP's interests, but there are a number of pieces of evidence that make me think Faure was actually British (he'd been an officer in the Royal Navy, for example). However, I think Wylie probably told the Japanese he was French - his name and family orgins would have made this plausible, and he was a highly educated man who likely spoke the language. (His father was Paul-Jules and his aunts Suzanne-Louise and Jeanne Lucy, which I take as prima facie evidence of French provenance.)

Henry Ching's diary records that Faure's 'family' were moved out of their accommodation in May 1942. In October 1945 the SCMP announced his forthcoming marriage to a Chinese lady - if in 1942 he was living with her as husband and wife, perhaps with a child,  this would have been an extra reason for the Japanese not interning him, as they were always impressed by this proof of lack of racial 'pride'.

Henry Ching writes:

Cyril Munro Faure worked for the Hong Kong News, but I don’t think he was editor. The editor was a Jap. Suspect the incorrect reference to his being editor comes from Wright-Nooth’s book “Prisoner of the Turnip Heads”.

Here's Wright-Nooth's description of Faure in his book "Prisoner of the Turnip Heads":

[The Hongkong News] was a two or three page sheet produced by the Japanese for propaganda purposes which circulated around Stanley [interment camp]. For some time it was edited in town by a former Royal Navy Commander called C. M. Faure, who many considered a flagrant collaborator. His was a sad story. He had been in command of a gunboat on the river at Canton in the 1930s when Chinese mobs attacked the European settlement, the Shameen. He opened up on the crowds with his machine gun, for which he was dismissed from the service. He came to Hong Kong and "went native" as we used to say, in a low-class Chinese slum. Nevertheless, his editing of the news sheet was not treachery as he was able to put across the rumours, half-truths, and exaggerated Japanese war victories in such a way that it was obvious to an English reader what was fact and what was fiction.

Henry says that Faure's dismissal from the Royal Navy would have been a point in his favour with the Japanese.