Sheridan's diary of the hostilities

Submitted by brian edgar on Sat, 10/13/2012 - 14:29

Staff-Sergeant Patrick John Sheridan was a Royal Army Service Corps Master Baker who was stationed in Hong Kong from 1937 (with a break when he volunteered for a period in Shanghai). He served during the December hostilities but was not sent to Shamshuipo after the surrender; instead he was allowed to carry on baking for the hospitals. A strange set of circumstances enabled him to make a courageous escape, for which he was awarded the Military Medal.

His daughters, Helen Dodd and her sisters, have very kindly made available his post-war Hong Kong Memoir to Gwulo. We shall be publishing 1) his diary of the hostilities in full, and 2) extracts from later sections of the Memoir that show how he stayed out of Shamshuipo and gradually devised and executed his escape plan.

Emphasis in bold is as in the original typescript, ((italicised notes in brackets)) have been added by Gwulo.

The section of the Memoir that deals with the lead- up to war describes the certain knowledge of the soldiers in Hong Kong that the Japanese were going to attack and ends with these words:

We also know that any attack on Hong Kong is a foregone conclusion. We can only hold out for a short time. There are no reliefs nor any reinforcements available.

Book type
Diary / Memoir
Dates of events covered by this document

Sample pages

However, we have just had two Regiments of Canadians arrive to help out in the defence of the Crown Colony. ((The Canadians came on November 16.)) Two Canadian Army Service Corps Sgts. are attached to the Supply Depot. I show them round the Bakery. ((The RASC Supply Depot and Bakery were on Queen’s Rd., the latter opposite the Naval Dockyard entrance.)) They are surprised to see 33 Chinese bakers working so hard. The Canadians arrival means…

((Note: Staff-Sergeant Sheridan's task if war breaks out will be to evacuate the Queen's Rd. Bakery and set up a Field Bakery on the Deepwater Bay Golf Course - hence his interest!))

Today is a beautiful sunny morning, we start off early on the same work as yesterday and keep going until darkness fell. All troops are ordered to standby. We see the Canadians marching to their positions on the Island defences. The…

((Note: Today’s entry describes the start of hostilities and the setting up of a Field Bakery on the golf course at Deepwater Bay.))

 My room mate is called at 4.30a.m. so I get up and dress and report to the Bakery. Pte. Campbell the clerk on duty tells me that a state of emergency exists and that we are to carry out the dispersal order as soon as the…