Charles Basil MURPHY [1912-1993] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Charles Basil MURPHY [1912-1993]

Charles Basil
Birthplace (town, state): 
Glace Bay, Nova Scotia
Birthplace (country): 

Barbara Anslow:

Father Murphy was a Canadian RC priest.

Brian Edgar:

I've just found an excellent source for Father Charles Murphy:

It's a really long 1993 interview that covers his whole life - although the emphasis in the war years is on his role getting food for Chinese refugees during the fighting rather than his time in camp. There's some archival material including a wartime comic book account of his exploits!

One thing that really comes across is how difficult he found it to talk about the war even 50 years later.

A brief summary of his life is given at

Rev. Charles Basil Murphy, SFM, Aug 18, 1912—Aug 30, 1993
Born — Glace Bay, Nova Scotia
Ordained—August 9, 1936
Buried—Glace Bay, Nova Scotia

After his ordination, due to the unsettled conditions in China, Fr. Murphy served as a curate at the Immaculate Conception Parish in Sydney Mines for two years. He departed for China in the late fall of 1938 and was stationed at Scarboro’s mission in Lishui.

In December, 1941, he was taken prisoner of war and repatriated from Hong Kong to Goa, India, on a Japanese ship. He returned to China in 1947 and was forced to flee, arriving back in Canada in late 1949.

After his return, a book was published based on his experiences and work during his imprisonment. The book was titled Hong Kong Hero. In 1952 he joined the Canadian Navy as chaplain and served the next 15 years until his retirement in 1967. Since his retirement he resided in Sydney, N.S.