William James CARRIE [1891-1969]

Submitted by Admin on Sun, 06/10/2012 - 20:53
William James
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William James Carrie was born in Edinburgh in 1891, probably in March - the 1891 Census was taken on April 5, and 'infant Carrie' was under a month old, so April is just possible.

There were a number of reports that Carrie was out of Stanley as an Irish neutral, but these seems to be wrong on all counts: he was uninterned for a short time in January-February 1942 to organise the work of the public health officials who the Japanese were allowing to carry on their work, but he's hardly mentioned in the sources and it seems that Dr. Selwyn-Clarke soon had sole responsibility. Thereafter he stayed in Stanley - his parents were both Scottish (his father a headmaster) and he came to Hong Kong from Edinburgh to start his career in the Civil Service in 1917. I can't find any Irish connection in either set of grandparents.

Sources: relevant documents on Ancestry and the HKGRO 

was born in Edinburgh, 04/04/1891 . He sat his Civil Service examination in 1914 and was sent out to Hong Kong the following year as a Cadet. His next two years were spent in learning Cantonese. Passing his law examinations in 1920, he became Assistant Colonial Secretary and Clerk of Councils. He then served in a multitude of capacities, including that of Postmaster General, 1933. He served two terms as Head of the Sanitary Department. At one stage he was also in charge of popularising Hong Kong as a tourist resort.

He was interned in Stanley Internment Camp throughout the occupation where he kept a daily diary which our family still has.

He retired back to Dumfries in Scotland and died 24th February 1969. 

Hello David

I do hope you won’t think me impertinent for asking, as obviously by definition a diary is a personal item, but would there be any possibility of you or your family either: -

(a) publishing your grandfather’s diary; or

(b) making a copy available to people interested in that period of Hong Kong’s history, e.g. by depositing a copy in the HK Public Records Office or the Imperial War Museum?

A number of diaries and memoirs of former internees have been published over the years, and they make fascinating reading to those interested in this period of HK’s history.

Best regards


I am in the process of scanning and digitalizing the diary to safeguard it. I intend sending a copy  for use to Gwulo: Old Hong Kong. 

I haven't yet decided how it should be disseminated further and intend to contact the Imperial War Museum and HK Public Records Office once I have finished making copies.

I agree with you that they are fascinating and valuable record of the time.

The Gwulo site has made reading of the diary all the more fascinating as I can cross reference individual people and events mentioned with those listed on the site.

Kind regards