23 Dec 1941, Chronology of Events Related to Stanley Civilian Internment Camp | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

23 Dec 1941, Chronology of Events Related to Stanley Civilian Internment Camp

Date(s) of events described: 
Tue, 23 Dec 1941

The suffering of the soldiers wounded or trapped in Kowloon is even greater than that of the civilians: four doctors  (Newton, UttleyHargreaves and Gosano) are taken by the Japanese from the Kowloon Hotel to the internment camp in Argyle Street where there are about 150 wounded troops (out of roughly 950 in total). There's no operating theatre, no instruments, few dressing materials, almost no drugs, and no nurses, but they do everything they can.


On Hong Kong Island it's obvious things are nearing the end, and some are having dark thoughts.

In her diary entry for today Phyllis Harrop describes a number of killings and rapes and concludes:

I fear the same thing will happen on a large scale if they get full control of the island. This is only the beginning.


People are eating what they can get hold of, as Mabel Redwood's diary - with her later comments - illustrates:

Breakfast - toast and jam. (This should read 'scorched bread and jam' - we had a lot to learn about the art of toasting on a chatty, but the bread was several days old and would have been inedible without some disguise).

Tiffin that day was 'meat paste from a tin'.


A Japanese party visit the French Hospital and take away the Irish Jesuit Father Fitzgerald and three English doctors. They're put in the refugee camp at North Point - the place where some of the survivors of the Power Station siege are being held:

There were about two hundred persons in the camp, most of them captured in the neighbourhood. Some had been there already for two days, and they had spent the time in putting the place into some appearance of order.

There are no cups, plates, bedclothes or other necessities, so the Japanese allow a party out to search the local houses. They find some useful items, but these houses have been thoroughly looted so many people have to hunt in garbage heaps to find empty tins in which to wash and hold their food.

Meals are served at eleven and five, each consisting of a large cupful of rice and a minute amount of butter or sugar. At the same time they're given tea without milk or sugar.


Under the headline CANADIAN TROOPS PLAY HEROIC ROLE AT HONG KONG the Winnipeg Free Press carries a number of front page stories about the fighting.

One of them is about 'two Canadian nursing sisters' Anna May Waters of Winnipeg and Kathleen (Kay) Christie of Toronto. They are described as the first (Canadian) nursing sisters to serve in 'actual battle areas' during the war.


The Daily Mirror - citing the British Embassy in Chungking -  reports on page 1 that Sir Mark Young will hold out until the end and be taken prisoner.


Doctors: Dr. Newton's Diary, cited in Alan Birch and Martin Cole, Captive Christmas, 1979, 149

Harrop: Phllis Harrop, Hong Kong Incident, 1943, 84

Redwood: Mabel Winifred Redwood, It Was Like This, 2001, 85

French Hospital To North Point: Thomas F. Ryan, Jesuits Under Fire In The Siege Of Hong Kong, 1944, 164-165