Harry Ching's wartime diary: View pages | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Harry Ching's wartime diary: View pages

Tired, so quiet day at home. Europeans in street reserved as though cautious or hating.

To town. Crowds still going to Stanley but trucks break down often. Hear Franklin visited Wylie from Sham Shui Po, told if out first go office produce paper.

Typhoon rain. To town alone. Rumour fleet entering Sunday. Everyone now polite, want to talk and amiable. Battered by kindness and courtesy and hard to keep up hate.

Typhoon. Can't get out.

Giffen in town, phones. Says Wylie thinks local change will be slow. China expects Double Ten, probably here middle September. Gloomy outlook.

Still rainy. Phone not working.

To Causeway Bay to see storm damage. Foot of sand and mud on road.

To town.

Rumour British fleet to take Hongkong under Admiral Harcourt, but no date.

To town and then Stanley. Two loaves bread which Giffen says all they want. Japanese at office agree let fitter in to overhaul machinery. Allow me to take old Hongkong files. Two left out of six.

Truck to Stanley. Bumpy ride. No one meets us. Wylie can't come out. Doctor's orders. Going home on first ship. Giffen power of attorney as Franklin may not be demobbed. People less cordial.

Government servants been in town some days at French Mission building.

Telegraph and Post to merge.

At office Lum says Japs will be moving in few days. Arrange meeting Shum, Chan Kai, Lum, Giffen and self for tomorrow.

((Henry Ching:

Shum, Chan Kai and Lum were employed by the SCMP, but I am not sure what their jobs were precisely.   I think Shum was Shum Wai-yau - he left the SCMP in 1933 to work for the Wah Kiu Yat Po of which he eventually became managing director.  He is, I think, mentioned in my father’s diary after the war because the SCMP had to rely on the Wah Kiu Yat Po’s help in printing the newspaper.  Chan Kai was, at one time, Chief Cashier of the SCMP, Ltd. – not sure when he left.  Lam was, I think, Lam Yung-fai  - not sure of his job, but I think it had something to do with the printing department. His father was employed by the company from its very beginning.  Lam Yung-fai was one of the group of SCMP employees that remained and worked for the Hong Kong News during the occupation, to keep an eye on SCMP property and the files.))

Can't find Third National pass. Sad. My bosom friend many months and wanted it for souvenir.

To town alone. Met Franklin at Pasco's. Thanked me for Christmas Eve phone. Neighbours told him when he returned wounded. With him to inspect office. Japs there very subdued.

News suddenly received that British fleet is, at long last, about to enter the Harbour. Ignored Japanese still occupying office, Morning Post staff present produced leaflet in a limited edition which distributed in streets free of charge.

((Thanks to Brian Edgar for this copy of the leaflet:

SCMP and HKT August 30 1945

The text reads:



The first communique from the Hongkong Government to the people of Hongkong since December 1941 was issued this morning at 11 o’clock as follows:

“Rear Admiral Harcourt is lying outside Hongkong with a very strong fleet. The Naval Dockyard is to be ready for his arrival by noon to-day.

“Admiral Harcourt will enter the harbour having transferred his flag to the cruiser Swiftsure which will be accompanied by destroyers and submarines.

“The capital ships will follow as soon as a passage has been swept.

“The fleet includes two aircraft carriers Indomitable of 23.000 tons, and the Venerable; the battleship Anson of 35,000 tons and carrying 10 14-inch guns, the Euryalus and the Swiftsure carrying 10 5.2 inch guns; the merchant ship Maidstone of 8,500 tons, the merchant cruiser Prince Rupert, Canadian registry, and the Hospital ship Oxfordshire.

“A considerable number of other ships will follow in a day or two.

“The formal surrender is likely to follow the proceedings at Tokyo.”

(South China Morning Post and The Hongkong Telegraph) AUGUST 30, 1945.


This marks the end of Harry Ching's wartime diary. Thanks to his son Henry for compiling and sharing this valuable document with us.