Charles Henry BLAKE (aka Harry) [1900-1966]

Submitted by Admin on Fri, 04/20/2012 - 12:04
Charles Henry
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Henry Blake could be the husband of Mary Blake (nee Wagner) who was my great grandmother, Dolores Simmons', sister.  Henry Blake was interned at Stanley with Dolores Simmons, Florence Proulx (my grandmother), Michael Proulx (my Dad), Roger Proulx (my uncle), Alice Mary "Nellie"Hardwick (nee Lyons and sister of Mary Blake and Dolores Simmons), and Ronald "Ronnie" Claude Hardwick who was the son of Nellie Hardwick. 


It's possible, but I'm not 100% sure as there are several men surnamed Blake listed in the camp:

Blake C C, b.1895, Fire Dept

Blake C H, b.1901, Accountant

Blake D H, b.1890, Solicitor

Was Mary Blake in Stanley camp too? And please can I check her maiden name - you've mentioned Wagner as her maiden name, but Lyons as her sister's maiden name.

I've made pages for Nellie and Ronnie.

Regards, David

Hello David,

Many thanks for your comment and information!  I am trying hard to find information on that era of relatives!

Ronnie Hardwick (my Dad's cousin) wrote some time back that "there were 6 orphans in Hong Kong around 1880 - 5 girls and one boy.  The older ones were Wagner then, on death or re-marriage, became Lyons".  The thought was that Mary Blake (Wagner) was the eldest followed by my great grandmother, Mary Dolores Simmons (Wagner? then married to Ryder), Alice Mary "Nelly" Hardwick (Lyons), Eliza Johnson (Lyons) Agnes Murphy (Lyons) and the last, Henry Lyons.

Ronnie went on to say that Mary married Blake, an Englishman and they appear to have had a daughter, May Alice, who subsequently married a Dane. He referred to a "Harry Blake who was in Stanley with us".

On a ship's passenger list from the early 1900's, Mary Dolores and her second husband, Albert William James Simmons, declared their address in Hong Kong (for the manifest) as c/o Mary Blake, Wyndham Hotel, but I do not recall if it was Hong Kong or Kowloon. 

I am trying hard to find anything on the orphans,"5 girls and 1 boy", but have had no success in finding any records.  It was Dolores Simmons who built Erinville and I gather that questions were being raisedat the time as to where "Albert got the money" to build such a large house on his income from the PWD!!  My "understanding" is that Dolores' family had owned a hotel or hotels in Hong Kong, of which the Wyndham was one - maybe the only one?  I am also trying to confirm some or all of this and was recently delighted to find a reference to a Wyndham Hotel on Gwulo!

Dolores would have been born in about 1879, so I would put Mary Blake a few years earlier.  I have no dates for Henry Blake at all.

Hope this helps!


Allan (Proulx)

I have been looking for a J.J.Blake and wonder if you can shed some light on the man. He was my grandfather's partner in the building of matsheds at Happy Valley Racecourse and built one that caught fire in the 1918 tragedy.

He most have been a man of some means to have been involved in this enterprise. I mention him in at the end of the chapter Dreams Dissolve.

Does not appear anywhere I have looked.


Hello Sean,

I am at as much of a loss as you as records from back then seem hard to find - lol!

David provided a very useful link to… where it shows a John Johnston Blake married a Mary Magdelene Lyon who was born in in HKG in 1871 but no information on her parents.  This could fit with the Mary Blake (nee Lyon) who would have been one of six orphans which included my great grandmother Mary Dolores Lyons.  Your comments about possibly being well off could also fit with them owning hotels (Wyndham?) too - I really don't know.

Mary, I believe, was originally born Wagner but through death/remarriage became Lyons and then married Blake.

Would love to hear of anything you may discover!





Hi Allan,

I think this may be the right man. I did another search yesterdayof the Carl Smith Archive and found a J.J.Blake and also a Magdelene Lyon.

For what it is worth you might like to look at the chapter headed Dreams Dissolve on my website and then also look at the Useful Links section.

The end of the Dreams Dissolve chapter deals with the 1918 Derby Day fire and shows Blake as a partner of my grandfather John Olson. The full story of the fire is available in a link shown in Useful Links.

The only thing that may be new to you is that J.J.Blake was involved in a very properous enterprise at Happy Valley. Do you know if he had other business interests. He does not appear on Juror's Lists in HK as far as I can see,

David as usual seems to have found the right man and the fact that he is on Canadian passenger lists points to him gong back to the UK via Vancouver. This was the quickest and most expensive route and chimes with his business that I know of and also maybe hotel ownership. If he is of importance to you there is every chance he was born in the UK and traceable there.


Dublin, Ireland

Hello Allan 

I did some delving into the two John Blakes via the Carl Smith cards a while ago. (You may have already done the same by now). My interest is in John Johnston Blake (b. 1870) who went into partnership with my grandfather, Charles Warren (b. 1872) and Sean's grandfather, John Olson jnr. to buy the Unity Stand in 1905, also called the Blake Stand in the Race Course Fire Inquiry. 

John Albert Blake, who is listed as the Chief Engineer at the Taikoo Sugar Refinery in the Jurors Lists 1898-1900 and who is married to a Maria, is possibly a nearer relative to you than John Johnston Blake, who married Maria Lyons, an orphan from the Italian Convent in 1893 and who had a daughter, Maria Margarita. (Maria Lyons is given as aged 22 in 1893, so would probably have been born c. 1871.) I notice that you mention that Ronnie Hardwick was your father's cousin. Mr & Mrs Hardwick are recorded as the godparents to John A. Blake's son, Charles Henry, born 7 April 1900. Could this not be Harry Blake who was in Stanley? John Albert and Maria had a daughter, Alice Louise, born 12 September 1901. This is her Catholic baptismal name. I've noticed, in my own family, that Catholic baptismal names can be rather different to the names used in real life, so I think she could easily be the "May Alice" referred to by Ronnie Hardwick. 

To confuse matters, Maria Blake snr. (your great-grandmother's sister?) is recorded as godmother to Maria Margarita Blake, born to John Johnston and Maria Blake jnr. on 13 November 1896. It would seem that John Albert and John Johnston Blake may be related. Could they be cousins?

If Maria Lyons was in the Italian (Canossian) Convent, it is likely that the other girl orphans were as well. The convent has good records. If you write to them they may be able to help you. 

What an interesting family history you have! Do let Gwulo know if you find out anything else about the Blakes and Lyons and their Hong Kong story. I will keep my eyes open too.




I've updated the name for this person's page to Charles Henry.

He was first mentioned in Barbara Anslow's diary entry for the day Bunaglow C in Stanley was bombed:

She wrote:

Didn't get up from hospital till almost 6pm, when Clifton had come down with Mr Blake on a stretcher - who'd got shrapnel in leg while rice-grinding.

Bob Tatz added a comment:

I think his left ankle was shattered by a stray "bullet" or "cannon shell". That leg was permanently shortened by about 1.5 inches. After convalescing in the UK after the war he returned to HK and continued working for Alfred Holt in the godown in Kowloon. He eventually married Olga Robinson (who was also interned MQ Block 5). They retired to Australia in the 1950s.

Looking in the 1941 Juror's list there is an entry with the connection to Alfred Holt:

Blake, Charles Henry Clerk, Holt's Wharf 5 Cameron Road, Kowloon

Bob has just uploaded an interesting set of documents and photos about Harry from the collection of Harry's wife, Olga:

Harry Blake & Olga Robinson Marriage Certificate.jpg
Harry Blake & Olga Robinson Marriage Certificate.jpg, by Bob Tatz


Harry Blake Birth Certificate  1900.jpg
Harry Blake Birth Certificate 1900.jpg, by Bob Tatz


Harry Blake Parents Marriage Certificate.jpg
Harry Blake Parents Marriage Certificate.jpg, by Bob Tatz


Harry Blake in Uniform.jpg
Harry Blake in Uniform.jpg, by Bob Tatz


Harry Blake.jpg
Harry Blake.jpg, by Bob Tatz


Scan8.jpg, by Bob Tatz