10 Aug 1945, Barbara Anslow's diary | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

10 Aug 1945, Barbara Anslow's diary

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Date(s) of events described: 
Fri, 10 Aug 1945

Strong rumour (which Clifton swears true) that Russia declared war on Japan and we have landed on Japan proper!

Outside roll call, then news that technicians (previously interviewed) were to go off today - no one knows where,they had to be ready to leave by 2pm.

Technicians' families allowed to go with them. But the Seraphinas and Wards were not allowed because too many children. About 199 went, including (people I knew):

T. Pritchard, C. Fuller, W. Mezger, C. Harloe,
Mr and Mrs de Broekert and 3 children, 
Mr & Mrs I. Heath + 2 children,
Mr & Mrs E. Blackmore and Yvonne,
Mr & Mrs R. Lederhofer and Patricia,
Mr and Mrs Mackintyres and daughters Muriel and Ailsa
J. J. Cameron and daughter Moira,
S Marvin and wife, Mr & Mrs A. Black,
E. Greenwood and wife, Mr & Mrs R. Cryan,
George and May Halligan, the Langstons,
Mr & Mrs S. Chubb and Christopher.

Even Mr. A. Glanville (a patient in the TB sanitorium) was sent.

There were two instant marriages:- Sheila Bruce and Eric Humphreys, and Tamara Jex and Clifford Crofton, but the new wives weren't allowed to accompany their husbands - one Jap told Tamara she may be able to follow in 10 days' time ((he was nearly right!!)); she and Clifford had been due to have a slap-up wedding the next day. 

G. Padgett and Rose Hobbs (nurse) wanted to marry then and there but couldn't as their banns hadn't been called.

The embarkees had to line up four deep on the road outside the Gaol, crowds of us left behind stood leaning over the Married Q. railings, some kids sitting outside the railings with legs dangling over the edge.

They were allowed to take camp beds, luggage etc. Some with knapsacks, baskets, basins; suitcases; little baskets hooked on bamboo poles. Macintyre girls in brief sunsuits, Moira Cameron in blue serge coat 3 years too short for her, and all the little de Broekerts in white topees, Anne carrying her doll.

Japs counted them, and as names were called, they trailed off towards the Prep. School ((on way to jetty)). Conjectures as to why they were removed were many: Japs handing over to Wang Ching Wei, and our technicians required; or needed for exchange of other prisoners, etc. etc.

The people who went to help them with the luggage got back at 10pm and reported that they went off in a coastal boat, and apparently the only place to be was in the hold.

Every one diving in dustbins for anything useful discarded by the absentees!

Sheila Haynes came over in evening and asked me to her wedding to Pat Cullinan!

Burnett was reasonably pleased with 'Come and Get It!' which was title of my account of the food queue.

((More about the technicians' departure - Yvonne de Jong (nee Blackmore) was a schoolgirl in Stanley, we are still in touch; recently she published a small paper back called 'An Extraordinary Youth' with a chapter about Stanley.

Her father being an Engineer, he with his wife and Yvonne were in the technicians' group.  Here are extracts of what she writes:-

  • 'No explanation was given and we never found out why we were removed from Stanley...
  • Our quartermasters issued some dry rations in case of an emergency...
  • There were 177 of us... we boarded a large motorized Chinese junk and were guided into the reeking, fishy hold where we were battened down...
  • Our destination turned out to be a former, small refugee compound on Argyle Street, Kowloon. There were 8 huts surrounded by high fences and barbed wire. Guards were posted at each corner...
  • We were quite relieved finding ourselves to be still alive and not drowned in the deep blue sea....
  • Our emergency rations proved invaluable as no food was supplied for 2 days.
  • It was a time of great suspense... on the tenth morning we looked out we found there were no guards at their posts, they had disappeared overnight. Our men held a conference and decided to wait a day and see what happened next.  Nothing!
  • On August 12th U.S. air planes dropped pamphlets signed by Admiral Nimitz advising us to stay where we were and await the arrival of the Navy...))


Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke, Footprints, 1975, page 98:

We {at Ma Tau-wai Camp} had to take in three hundred civilian engineers from the Stanley camp whom the Japanese were intending to transfer to Canton. We were seriously overcrowded, and I announced that any of the internees who could be given food and shelter by Chinese friends outside were free to leave. {This seems to be on August 18 or thereabouts.}