14 Aug 1945, Chronology of Events Related to Stanley Civilian Internment Camp | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

14 Aug 1945, Chronology of Events Related to Stanley Civilian Internment Camp

Date(s) of events described: 
Tue, 14 Aug 1945

Jean Gittins:

We had finished our last meal of the day on Tuesday, 14 August when someone started a rumour: a strange story of a terrible bomb, its flash 'brighter than a thousand suns', which had devastated Japan. Frank Fisher brought it to St. Stephen's. Frank was full of stories, and always insisted they were true, so we listened politely to what he had to say. It was told to us in confidence and we promised not to repeat it. But the rumour, darting here and there like a glow-worm, soon spread through the camp.


Back in London the Daily Mirror leads off a page eight story with a touch of humour:

Several hundred fully-trained uniformed Civil Servants - prepared for any emergency - are standing by in India awaiting the Jap surrender.

They are to move into the British territories under occupation and restore administration. But then a more serious note:

A special unit will be flown to Hong Kong where the plight of thousands of civilians is known to be desperate.


But the really significant developments are taking place in Tokyo against the background of continuing Russian advance through Manchuria and the war's biggest American air raid on Japan. On August 12 Emperor Hirohito had told other members of the Imperial family of his decision to surrender - with the proviso that the war would continue if the Allies refused to accept his own continued rule. Meetings of the War Cabinet yesterday and today eventually agree to accept the Emperor's decision. At about 11 p.m. today an Imperial Rescript announcing that Japan will accept the Potsdam Declaration of July 26 - in which the Allies set out their terms for bringing hostilities to a close - is transmitted to Berne and Stockholm to be sent on to Allied governments - in fact, most of the Japanese codes have been broken and Washington will learn about the surrender at about 3 a.m. tomorrow (August 15). Late this evening a recording is made of the Emperor reading the Rescript - it is to be broadcast on the radio tomorrow in order to bring the war irrevocably to an end. Up to 1000 military hardliners, who refuse to accept the surrender, enter the Imperial palace and spend much of the night trying to locate and destroy the recording. They fail to find it, and the attempted coup will be brought to an end tomorrow morning.


Stanley: Jean Gittins, Stanley: Behind Barbed Wire, 1982, 150

Events in Tokyo: Max Hastings, 2008, Nemesis, 554ff.