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

13 Nov 1941, Chronology of Events Related to Stanley Civilian Internment Camp

Date(s) of events described: 
Thu, 13 Nov 1941

The last meeting of the Legislative Council before the Japanese attack. Governor Sir Mark Young is presiding and also present is Major-General C. M. Maltby, overall commander of the Hong Kong garrison. Those attending include Director of Medical Services Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke, Attorney General C. G. Alabaster, Financial Secretary H. R. Butters, Director of Public Works A. B. Purves, Chairman of the Urban Council W. J. Carrie, the new Police Commissioner John Pennefather-Evans, and Secretary for Chinese Affairs R. A. C. North.

Soon all except Selwyn-Clarke will be in Stanley.

Leo d'Alamada e Castro Jr. will spend much of the war in Macao, acting as liason officer between the Portuguese and British Governments with respect to refugees. In the final year he will make the difficult journey to Britain to serve in the Hong Kong Planning Unit.

One other member J. J. Paterson, will take part in the heroic defence of North Point Power Station and spend the rest of the war in POW camp, while T. E. Pearce, who fights beside him at North Point will not survive the war. Two members are absent: A. L. Shields will be sent through the lines from the Repulse Bay Hotel to ask Maltby to surrender on Christmas Day, and will die in Stanley on July 24, 1944. Solicitor Edgar Davidson will also end up in camp.

Much of the business is concerned with war preparations - W. J. Anderson, another future internee is appointed Controller of Firewood, with effect from September 27, 1940 (sic) - but normal life goes on, and quarantine measures and the training of midwives are also on the agenda.  M. K. Lo, a Eurasian but seen as representing the Chinese majority, is doing his job well, engaging in his usual tough questioning, this time about the actions of F. W. Shaftain of the Hong Kong Police. During the war Mr. Lo was to do everything he could to resist being drawn into the Japanese system, and he became an early contact of the British Army Aid Group.

The meeting ends with discussion of a bill designed to ease the overcrowding in Stanley Prison, and the Governor adjourns the council, sine die.

 

In Sydney the evacuated wives hold a meeting and elect a committe which will co-operate with ones in Mlebourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. It's announced that a letter has been sent to Duff Cooper, a British Cabinet member on a 'special mission' to the Far East:

We are bitterly resentful of the unjust treatment meted out to us by the Government of Hong Kong.

We obeyed the evacuation order because we thought we were doing our duty. Actually we were duped by the Goverment.

Certain officials' wives knew beforehand of the impending order and found, and were given, 'urgent' jobs which would exempt them from the order. Some who did leave were permitted to return.

It's pointed out to the meeting that Sir Atholl MacGregor has deemed compulsory evacuation illegal and that there are now 1,080 British-born women and 563 British-born children still in Hong Kong. The wife of the Crown Solicitor who directed the evacuation is one of the women.

Sources:

Minutes, Hong Kong Legislative Council, November 13, 1941

Stanley Camp Roll

Leo d'Almada e Castro Jr.: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_d'Almada_e_Castro

Lo: Philip Snow, The Fall of Hong Kong, 2003, 197

Evacuated wives: Sydney Morning Herald, November 14, 1941, page 6