28 Jun 1943, Chronology of Events Related to Stanley Civilian Internment Camp

Date(s) of events described: 
Mon, 28 Jun 1943

The Kempeitai (Gendarmes) come to Stanley Camp. Their aim is to arrest two groups of people: firstly, those involved with a system of message exchange with uninterned British nationals in town and with Chinese agents of the resistance organisation, the British Army Aid Group, and secondly those operating forbidden radio sets in Stanley.

The first group are the Stanley end of a communication and smuggling system based on the ration truck that goes to and from camp every day. The 'town end' of this system was Alexander Sinton, arrested on May 2. It seems that 'Chinese spies' have been watching the ration truck since March (at the latest) and some time in June some of the Kowloon Bus Company drivers were also arrested.

As to the second group, Canon Martin explains:

Of course our captors gave every encouragement to informers. So the betrayer - perhaps I ought to say betrayers, I'm sure there was more than one - the betrayers passed on to the enemy the details of our radio set. The Japanese bided their time, until they felt they had obtained all the information they required, then they pounced....

Canon Martin seems to have been right when he says the Japanese 'bided their time': two arrests certainly are not directly connected with the radio, it seems the Kempeitai waited until they had enough evidence about both issues before coming into camp. And Camp Secretary John Stericker points out that the fact that in some cases (e.g. James Anderson) they knew the surname but the initials of the man they wanted suggests that their information came from informers.

At about noon the Chinese Supervisor Mr. Yip tells Deputy Police Commissioner Walter Scott he's wanted in Camp HQ 'up the hill'. He's taken to the Chinese Camp Supervisor's building ('House No. 2) and his torture starts almost at once.

At 2.30 Inspector Louis Whant is summoned by Yip.

Scott seems to have been charged with offences relating to both matters: he was accused of receiving messages from William White, a Portuguese member of the BAAG and also of having been given a message emanating from David Loie (the leading Chinese agent of the BAAG in Hong Kong) relating to establishing a coded radio link with BAAG Field Headquarters at Waichow.  The reason for Whant's arrest is unknown, but it's more likely to have concerned receiving messages than operating radios.

At about 6 p.m. radio technician Stanley Rees is taken away by the Gendarmes. Camp Quartermaster William Anderson also receives a 6 p.m. visit, but a rather perfunctory search fails to find the radio hidden in his room, and through a confusion between him and James Anderson (who will be arrested on July 7) he's given a brief respite during which he manages to get rid of the wireless receiver by taking it in a gunny bag to  a small store room at the other end of the building (American Block No.1). The Gendarmes return and a brutal interrogation begins in his room, as a result of which he decides to take the Japanese to the set. He's left in his room to await developments, but sneaks out to warn Franklin Gimson - seeing him presiding over a meeting he realises this is a mistake as, if he was seen, it would incriminate the Colonial Secretary. He returns to his room, where he receives a chance visit from Sybil Swift of the Hong Kong Education Department, who takes a message to Gimson warning him that the Japanese have Anderson's 'toy' and that he expects to be taken out of camp at any moment.

Meanwhile, the Gendarmes are continuing to round up the recipients of the ration truck messages, and Frederick Bradley, a public health inspector, and Frederick Ivan Hall, a butchery salesman for Lane, Crawford, are taken. They're both accused of regular receipt of messages, including the important one relating to BAAG radio reception.

Anderson is finally taken by car to the Gendarmerie, as are Scott, Rees, Whant, Bradley and Hall. Maejima is also there - he's come into camp today to take charge, as Nakazawa has been called up for military training.

At 11 p.m. Stanley Commandant Yamashita brings food and clothing for those who left camp without any.

A dreadful day ends on a surprising note: at midnight the prisoners are given a meal of well-cooked whole rice and fried fresh fish - a much better meal than they've been used to in camp.

 

Sources:

Canon Martin: Alan Birch and Martin Cole, Captive Years, 1982, 132

Stericker: John Streicker,  Captive Colony, 1945, Chapter IX, page 16

Alexander Sinton: http://brianedgar.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/alexander-christie-sinton/

Reasons for arrest of Scott, Bradley and Hall: Ride Papers, captured Japanese Trial Document (kindly sent to me by Elizabeth Ride)

Yip and Scott, times of arrest, confusion between Andersons, hiding the radio, trying to warn Gimson, Swift's message, car to the Gendarme Station, Yamashita, good meal: Statement of W. J. Anderson in Hong Kong Public Records Office, HKRS 163-1-104, page 5, point 47 to page 7, point 61; see also: George Wright-Nooth, Prisoner of the Turnip Heads, 1994, 155-156, 159-160