On the 9th. December 1941, I was appointed Commandant of the Taikoo Braemar Dispersal Area for Refugees. This consisted of ten camps with essential buildings about the Mt. Parker Road leading from Quarry Bay to Stanley. Headquarters were at the two houses, Woodside, half a mile up the road overlooking the China Sugar Refinery and Taikoo Dockyard. The main kitchen was clearly marked with the Red Cross observable to low flying enemy planes.
Charles Mycock's report of his wartime experiences: View pages
From the 10th. December 1941 onwards refugees living in huts and temporary quarters ((at the camp above Quarry Bay)) varying from 1,000 to 5,000 were fed two meals a day.
((Date is a guess - no starting date given in text))
Frequent journeys to town were made by car for essential supplies and equipment for the hospital, kitchens etc. but the dangers of this narrow road often deterred truck drivers from ever making a second journey. As the Parker and Kings roads came under enemy fire conditions became worse. Telephone communications were destroyed and the water supply affected. T. Tollan, Revenue Officer was the third driver I had and his skill and coolness under fire when our car was hit on the 17th. and 18th. December were beyond praise. Pawley, an American in charge of a lorry, also deserves mention as we loaded his lorry with rice at North Point Camp when it was the actual target.
Chan Pan Kwai, Chinese, Male, Age 26 years, fireman from SS. Ethel Moller, ((was killed at the refugee camp above Quarry Bay by Japanese shelling.))
Chan Shui, Chinese, Male, age about 50 years, Carpenter, Taikoo Dockyard, ((was killed at the refugee camp above Quarry Bay by Japanese shelling.))
After heavy preliminary shelling on the 18th. December Nipponese forces landed on the Island. Some at the Refinery Wharf and Dockyard quickly passed up the road through the camp en route to Stanley or Wong Nee Cheong. The staff at Woodside spent the night in the basement. At daybreak numerous bodies of troops were watched on the road. I saw one officer whose name I do not know fire deliberately five shots presumably at refugees.
At 9.30 am. a party halted outside Woodside and I led 19 members of my staff in a body on to the lawn. After the house was searched we were told to carry rice and other material, in company with 30 or 40 Chinese, many with halters around their necks and hands tied to ropes, who had also been commandeered. Doctor Winterstein, Dr.Choy, Tollan, Bell and I with our Chinese staff were added to the fatigue party. I protested but after being beaten on the head with a revolver was forced to submit. The women staff were permitted to re-enter the house. Choy and I with a bag of rice between us were in the van just behind the officer in command and near the junction with Cecil's Ride lay the body of William Seath, A.R.P., shot through the head. On the opposite side of the road were the bodies of two women, one a European with a cloth over the face, [Mrs. Baldwin], and an Amah.
Fifty yards further on was a Rajput Bren Gun Post with several Rajputs bayoneted lying around. Still further on was a European Officer, young, fair headed; of good physique, lying on his face with wrists bound behind his back. In passing the Nipponese Officer cut the rope binding the wrists. I thought this man was Captain Cole, Adj.of the Rajputs. He was without shirt or tunic. Near the top of the road was another body, a private in the H.K.V.D.C. Evidently killed on the way down the road he had been shot in the head. I thought this to be Arthur Job of the staff of St. Stephens college but positive identification of any of these is only possible in the case of Seath. We were halted soon after near the top and I again protested to the officer who spoke a litttle English. After showing my passport in support of my age I was given a safe conduct pass to return to Headquarters. This pass was needed to pass the numberless troops on the road including artillery which was plainly visible. We safely arrived back in Headquarters at about 2pm.
The boys of St. Louis Industrial School with some of the staff were occupying number 10 camp after leaving Aberdeen and North Point Camp. A little after we arrived one of them arrived to report that Father Percunas, Latvian Mission, had been wounded and that he required assistance to reach the surgery. Choy, Winterstein, Tollan, Bell, Morris ((possibly Alfred Morris)) and I crossed the road down into the valley and after great difficulty got Percunas onto the path leading to the surgery. I climbed the bank to go to the other house for female help and on hearing a shout turned around with hands up. On the path I saw Winterstein helping Percunas followed by Bell, Morris and Tollan. Just off the road a Japanese Officer with men had come around a bend. All turned with hands up but Bell. A shot followed and Bell dropped. Another followed and I dropped on my face unhurt but out of sight. After a little time Winterstein was left with Percunas and Bell and the others were marched up the road. I watched and when out of sight I went to the assistance of Bell. He was shot through the chest and died about 7pm. without regaining conciousness. He leaves a daughter of about 5 years whom I understand was later taken to the Italian Convent. She left with Dr.Choy when the Gendarmes sent our Chinese staff away. Tollan and party returned later.
The next day and onwards we recieved frequent visits but on each occasion we went out in a body out onto the lawn, The behaviour of the Japanese was insulting and threatening. On the 20th December we heard men on the path and on swiching on all lights went into the hall and were there threatened by Japanese with bayonets.
We were searched and robbed of all jewellery and money and then thrust into a small room off the hallway and the door was locked. The following morning we found that all food had been taken. Whenever I saw a Japanese Officer I asked for the protection of all non-combatants.
On the 21st. December 1941 a Gendarme Officer came and all Chinese were ordered to return to town and the party left under Dr.Choy. At about 5pm. the Europeans left Woodside by car and were taken to the Tsang Fook Piano companies office before being taken to the Duro Paint Factory on Marble Road. Our quarters there were on the concrete Mezzanine office entrance floor. We were joined by other refugees, Strive ((possibly R A Stride)), 2nd. Officer of the SS Marazion and the Beck family. There were 17 in all and the floor was fully covered when we lay down.
The night of the 22nd. December was wet and troops robbed us of all coats, sweaters and woollen clothing.
On the 24th. December, each carrying ones own baggage, we were marched to North Point Camp. The conditions there were very bad. Washing was done with sea water. Sanitation, nil, open air latrines only, water supply, 8 buckets daily for all purposes for 150 civilians and soldiers arriving. Food, rice and later soya beans. Medical supplies, nil. Wounded were constantly arriving.
I reported about the medical supplies at Woodside and on the 25th. December, under escort, we visited there but nothing had escaped looting. The houses were occupied by Nipponese troops. The wounded who had, under compulsion, been left behind were all gone with the exception of Father Perkunas and two Chinese watchmen. We carried Perkunas down and left the others behind. Bell had been buried in the garden.
I was transferred to Stanley Camp on the 21st. January.
((Mycock had arrived in Stanley Camp on 21st Jan, 1942, and)) remained there until transferred to the SS. Maunganui on 5th. September 1945.