George Gordon STOPANI-THOMSON (aka Stops) [c.1903-1945] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

George Gordon STOPANI-THOMSON (aka Stops) [c.1903-1945]

George Gordon
Alias / nickname: 
c.1903-06-03 (Year, Month, Day are approximate)
Cause of death: 
Killed in Bungalow C by mis-directed American bomb


George had two children born in the 30's , Shirley and Malcolm. I am Malcolm's second child Marita. I have 3 of my own children. I welcome any contact from family or friends.

Hi Marita, thanks for writing. I've made you the owner of this page, so you can click the 'edit' tab above to add any more details about George.

Where did George's wife and children spend the wartime years?

Any other background on his time in Hong Kong will be very welcome!

Regards, David

Hi Marita: 

I have a little information on George Gordon Stopani-Thonson aka "Stops" . You may well know all this but just in case there is anything new. He was a Lt in the HKRNVR - one of a small number who ended up in Stanley Camp rather than POW Camp. He was first mobilised in October 1939 and then from May to August 1940 he was required to spend i/2 his time with his civilian employment at HK Electric Co. He was given indefinate leave from 31 Aug 1940 to focus on essential services with HKE. On the outbreak of war on 8th December 1941 he reported for active service to HMS Cornflower  but Cdr Vernall of HKRNVR received instructions  that he (George S-T) must return to his civilian duties at the main power station. This is why he ended up in Stanley Camp rather than SSP or North Point POW Camps. He was actually on leave in Sydney with his wife Elsie Mary (married 28/10/33) in late 1941. Elsie Mary and children were evacuated to Sydney in June/Juy 1940. He was required to return to HK by the Navy and he took passage to HK arriving 29th November 1941 (one of the last ships to reach HK from Australia) arriving a week before war broke out. I believe Mrs EM  and her two children returned to HK after the war and worked with Peat, Marwick, Mitchell Co. His was such a tragic death so close to the end of the war on 16th Jan 1945.

Philip Cracknell

Thank you so much for this information. My father was not quite clear on the circumstances by which his father returned to HK. I am still trying to locate more information to add to this. Always, Marita DeVries My father Malcolm is now in a nursing home with advanced Alzheimer's at the age of 76 in London, Ontario Canada. He was born 22 May 1937 in Hong Kong China. He married Helga Anna-Gerda Friedrich in Germany on November 29th 1961. He has an adopted older son of Helga, Christian and three daughters: Gina (1962), Marita(1964) and Patricia (1966).

Thank you for allowing me to honour a Grandfather by tracing and recording his history so that others may be able to find it. Always Marita DeVries London, On, Canada

Hi Marita,

You are very welcome. The idea of these pages is to slowly gather information about the people who lived here, and I'm always pleased when a family member gets in touch. We'll be interested to hear any more that you find out, so I hope you'll keep us updated.

Regards, David

My father Raymond Smith worked with your grandfather George at the Honk Kong electric station pre-war. I have some group photos which may include your grandfather but I am not sure. May I send them to you by email for you to look at and possibly identify your grandfather ?

My grandmother, Grace Smith, has a memorial stone in Stanley Cemetry, near that of your grandfather's.

I look forward to hearing from you.

John Anton-Smith

Dear John, I've made a page for your father at in case you can add any more information about his time in Hong Kong. We'd love to see those photos too - here's how to upload a photo to Gwulo:

Regards, David

Hello Marita, My father is in possession of a book belonging to your grandfather while in the Stanley Camp. This book contains pages and pages of trigonometry and calculus equations, diagrams, etc., this all makes sense now seeing that your grandfather was an electrician. Assuming he was the one who wrote in it, he was quite the mathematician. There is a hole through the book where it was hit by shrapnel, perhaps when he was killed.  I have photos, but I don’t see how to share them in this post. My father would like to see this book go back to the family. As it’s been six years since anyone has posted on this page, I hope you or someone who knows you sees this message.


Hi, My father is in possession of a book hit by shrapnel belonging to G.G.Stopani Thompson during his time at Staley Camp. He would like to see this book go back to your grandfather’s family. Links to photos of book below.






Many years ago I took a chap by the name of Bill Bethell back to Stanley Camp. He had been interned there at the age of about 13 with his mother and sister, together with his step-father who was a Sgt in the HK Police who went by the nickname of "Traffic" Bethell - for obvious reasons.

I took him to the mass grave of the victims of the bombing of Bungalow C, and whilst looking at it he smiled. Bill told me that his (I presume) step-father had been a friend of Mr. Stopani-Thomson in the Camp, who went by the nickname of "Stop Me And Buy One."

And if you don't know what is meant by that espression, write to me on & I will tell you!

Thank for for posting the photos of the damaged book.

I am working with John Anton-Smith, whose late father Raymond Smith worked with George Stopani-Thomson at Hong Kong Electric Company before the war. 

John has a number of photos in which he can identify Shirley Stopani-Thomson, George's daughter, who was a childhood friend in Hong Kong. A couple who appear to be Shirley's parents figure in a couple of shots, but we have no definite proof.

We too are keen to make contact with the family. Sadly, Marita De Vries who was active on Gwulo a few years ago has passed away.

David Young

I am saddened to hear of Marita's passing, I hope there are others in her family who are as interested in her family's history as was she. 

This site is interesting. I have never been to Hong Kong, but wanted to see it while still a colony. My father is of Russian ancestory and grew up in Shanghai, spent the war years there. In 1949 they were forced to leave and he and his family spent a year in the camp at Tubabao in the Phillipines. We have it so easy these days...


Hi Kathy,

I have been working with John Anton-Smith, whose father Raymond was a work colleague of George Stopani-Thomson in Hong Kong. It turns out, many decades on, that we have misidentified George in a couple of photos - a correction we need to make on Gwulo. However, your images of the shrapnel-damaged book are incrediibly compelling and it would be great if they helped to make a connection with the Stopani-Thomson family. However, if no family connection turns up, you might want to donate the book to a museum in Hong Kong.

You say you haven't been to Hong Kong. It is just amazing. As a Scot who has visited a couple of times [Lots of Scottish connections there], I have been fascinated by the place from the start. Of course it is in an inevitable state of flux following the UK's hand-back to China in 1997, not to mention the unrest in the last several months, but still seems to retain the wonderful vibrancy of a place where people just want to "get on" - let's hope they can!

You mention your father's terrible experience in the 1940s, saying we have it so easy these days... We have so many lessons from history to learn to keep it that way!

[Sorry, to explain, I am David Young - working with John Anton-Smith to help him record his family's experiences in Hong Kong and their relationship with the Chinese people around them}