HONG KONG Before, During and After the Pacific War

Submitted by Suziepie on Sun, 03/25/2012 - 10:12


Cover Page of Booklet 'HONG KONG Before, During and After the Pacific War'

Mr Maurice Frederick Key (ref: 1925 Jurors List) published a small, 12 page, soft-cover BOOKLET, initially in Kaplee, Kapunda, Australia, in November 1945.  Because of heavy demand, he re-produced the booklet in Hong Kong in June 1946

A copy of this booklet is in my, R.H.J. BROOKS family's, possession.  Though, as indicated in the introduction, a substantial amount of copies were produced, I have not seen nor heard of anyone having a copy - so presumably many have been lost over the years.  I have therefore decided that it would be a shame for this important record, so earnestly put together by Mr Key, to disappear into oblivion.  I have therefore decided to reproduce here, on GWULO, the whole booklet in its entirety.

There is no mention of Copyright on the booklet and so I feel confident that it would be his wish that this work, which substantiates so many others,  is recorded for the greater benefit of all those interested in the events that transpired in this tragic period of Hong Kong's history.

Mr Key was an internee in Stanley Prison Camp during WWII. For some time he shared a room with the Vice-Chancellor of the University - (who was giving lectures at the camp on English literature for two years, twice a week).

The booklet cover is titled:




Before, During and After the Pacific War

  -- // --

  Being chiefly an account of the


 -- // --


 M.F. KEY,  O.B.E.

 Secretary to the

 Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce


Ye Olde Printerie Ltd



Book type
Dates of events covered by this document

Sample pages



 This account of the Stanley Civilian Internment Camp in Hong Kong, written for the information of relatives and friends, reaches them via the "Kapunda Herald." The proprietor and editor of that paper, Mr L.N. Tilbrook, saw the m.s.s. and considered that the story would be of interest to his readers. After serial publication, the type was kept standing, and this pamphlet was made up therefrom.…

Pre-World War II

HONG KONG, small but important outpost of the British Empire, and particularly of Australasia in the in the Pacific War, passed through a period of unusual difficulty and anxiety before the blow fell on the 8th December, 1941. Japan’s long-continued effort to ’make friends’ with China at the point of the bayonet had driven refugees, both rich and poor, into Hong Kong by hundreds of thousands, until population figures rose from 850,000 to an estimated…

Precautionary Measures

Public expenditure had also greatly increased. Air raid tunnels – thought incapable of sheltering more than a tithe of the teeming population – had been constructed at a cost of $8,000,000. Further large expenditure built up a food and fuel reserve, large enough to furnish a siege ration for 150 days for two million people. More than $1,000,000 was needed to build decentralised stores (58 in number) for this vast quantity of food. Government…



just to say last week I was at Imperial War Museum Research room and I found they had an original copy of this memoire by Maurice Key  in the Documents Collections. Best rgds,  Philip Cracknell

Barbara Anslow writes:

Very many thanks for Mr Key's account, which I found an  extremely interesting and concise record of the Hong Kong story.

I was surprised though that he didn't make more of the agonising 2 week gap in Stanley from the day we were told the war was over until the arrival of the British Fleet.   Those 2 weeks seemed to go on forever, and we couldn't help wondering if the war really was over, and what would happen to us if the 'surrender' was suddenly revoked...