2 Aug 1942, Chronology of Events Related to Stanley Civilian Internment Camp

Date(s) of events described: 
Sun, 2 Aug 1942

Death of  Mary Williamson, aged 75 (also given as 74). Mrs. Williamson's grandson, Douglas Harvey Collins-Taylor, was killed in action at Stanley Village while fighting with the HKVDC on December 25, 1941. They are memorialised on the same post-war grave stone in the Military Cemetery.

 

Even before they’ve arrived back home, the Americans are bringing news of events in Hong Kong to the outside world.

An article with today’s date by Vaughn Meissling (from Lourenco Marques where the Americans changed ships)  provides perhaps the first account ever published of the genesis of a scheme to provide every internee with a 'seventy five dollar parcel'.

 Meissling tells his readers that, due to the scarcity of medicines, food and clothing, the Red Cross representative (Arthur M.) Fifer, a Stanley internee, and some Americans outside camp devised a plan to get a loan to enable the internees to buy supplies. An informal committee of Americans, British and Japanese was set up to implement the plan, and, once the loan was secured, the purchasing was done entirely by Americans. The items were brought from Hong Kong stores and brought into camp on trucks by Dr. Selwyn-Clarke and members of his staff. Items provided included shoes, socks, medicines, dried fruits and many other kinds of foodstuff.

Sources:

Death: Geoffrey Emerson, Hong Kong Internment, 1973, 271

Panama City New Herald, August 2, 1942, page 10

Notes:

1) For the arrival of the ’75 dollar parcels’ in Stanley see, for example, http://gwulo.com/node/10378 and http://gwulo.com/node/10367

The Americans got theirs before the June 29/30 repatriation, while most of the British had to wait until August.

 2) From the MacNider Papers it seems that the main  purchaser was F. C. Barry (pre- and post-war Rice Controller).  Chester Bennett carried out a preliminary survey and some or all of the items were obtained from the Department Store Habade in the French Bank Building. Today's account seems well-sourced and probably establishes that the money from the parcels came from the American Red Cross, not, as some sources claim, the Japanese. American internee Norman Briggs claims that ‘a wealthy Iranian ship owner in Hong Kong by the name of Namazee’ was involved in completing the deal. Emily Hahn knew Nemazee (as she calls him) so might have been one of the uninterned Americans involved in the plan. Other likely candidates are some of the delivery drivers –  http://brianedgar.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/thomass-work-6-more-on-the-delivery-drivers/ - and, of course, the bankers.

Update: A document in the Red Cross Archives Geneva establishes that the loan did in fact come from the Japanese!

 

Comments

It might seem Nemazee had an important part in assisting the Norwegian Community during the occupation, by providing housing and financial assistance.