20 Apr 1942, R. E. Jones Wartime diary | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

20 Apr 1942, R. E. Jones Wartime diary

Book / Document: 
Date(s) of events described: 
Mon, 20 Apr 1942

More rain.

No news.

Put in request for Club funds $3,500.

Quiet walk around camp boundary with Steve. ((We think this was E. J. Stevens - see notes below))


I proppose E. J. Stevens, prisoner officer, aged 37.

My reasoning is as follows:

Jones records on Feb 24, 1944 that 'M had daughter, named Christine'. The list of Camp births identifies her as Christine Stevens. The entry for March 3 1944 confirms that this baby was Steve's, and M. was his wife Mary.

The Camp list (probably drawn up in June/July 1942) has only one 'S. Stevens' and he's 7 years old.  I think that Stevens was known to his friends as 'Steve', just as both the telephone engineers William and James Anderson were known as 'Andy'. As a fellow prison officer, Stevens fits the bill well.

'Mary' is a problem. Next to E. J. Stevens we have 'M. A. Stevens, housewife', which is fine, but a little earlier we find 'Mrs. E. J. Stevens'. I'd plump for M. A. Stevens: her name is followed by 4 children from 'infant' to '9'. On September 29, 1944, Jones writes: 'With Steve pm. Kids learning to write their alphabet'.

Any other candidates?

Hi Brian, there's a chance that 'M. A. Stevens, housewife' and 'Mrs. E. J. Stevens' both refer to the same person.

In the 1940s, married women could be referred to by their own initials, eg 'M. A. Stevens', or as 'Mrs' followed by their husband's name. So 'Mrs. E. J. Stevens' could be read as 'The wife of E. J. Stevens'.

Regards, David

Hi, David.

That's plausible - but why then list her twice?

The HKWD has a 'Mrs. E. J. Steven' but no Mr. Steven(s) - there's a 48 year old Health Inspector called Stevens but I don't think it can be him.

Brian's 'guess' appears factual, I think he must be right because of his references to the Stevens' children.

Makes sense too that Steve's wife could be known as Mrs M.A. or Mrs. E.J.


Glad you agree, Barbara.

Previously I wrote:

there's a 48 year old Health Inspector called Stevens but I don't think it can be him.

I've just found a letter from this health inspector H. G. Stevens, and it confrims that his wife was 'Cita' not 'Mary'. (Gomes Newsletter, July 1, 1998, page 5.)

But interestingly he signs himself H. G. 'Steve' Stevens! I think this confirms that men with the surname Stevens were sometimes called 'Steve' by their friends and makes me more confident of the identification with E. J. Stevens.

Thanks for the detective work. I've updated the main post above to mention E. J. Stevens.

Regards, David