13 Dec 1941, Harry Ching's wartime diary | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

13 Dec 1941, Harry Ching's wartime diary

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Date(s) of events described: 
Sat, 13 Dec 1941

Uneventful. The reason became clear; the enemy are in full control of the mainland and hope to have no further trouble. They sent a peace mission over, to demand unconditional surrender - or else. The party of three Japanese officers came in a Yaumati ferry launch bearing at its bows a white sheet with the words "Peace Mission". One of the aides carried a small white flag on a stick. These signals were not immediately seen, and as the launch pulled out from Holt's Wharf at Kowloon it was fired upon but not hit.

The Governor replied that he was not prepared to enter into any conference or parley on the subject. Their demand having been rejected with formal contempt, the callers left after handshakes and salutes. There had been some muttering that in the hopeless circumstances Hongkong should never have been defended; but we are proud of our defiance. Resumption of shelling in the afternoon caused temporary suspension of the tram and bus services. The night deadly quiet.