Elizabeth A FIDOE [????-1950] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Elizabeth A FIDOE [????-1950]

Elizabeth A

Philip Cracknell writes:

I am trying to find out more about Mrs Elizabeth A Fidoe who was one of the nursing sisters who was abused at St Stephens Hospital on 25th Dec 1941. I know she returned to UK on the Hospital Ship Oxfordshire and I believe she died fairly soon after the war (in 1951). I can not see her listed under Stanley Camp Listings and was wondering where she was up to 1945 ? and who her husband was - whether he was in HK ? I believe she was also known as Emma.

Geoffrey Emerson:

On one of my Stanley lists I find "Fidoe, E A Mrs. British, F, Trained Sister (HKVDC, VAD) Neutral believed in HK".   If she was British, why a neutral?


That's interesting that she is described as a neutral (possibly Irish by marriage ? ).

Barbara Anslow:

Mrs Fidoe's name would not be in the 1942 Colonial List, as when it was compiled the VAD nurses were still at Bowen Road Hospital and didn't reach Stanley until the summer of that year.  For that reason my younger sister Mabel's name is not on that list.


Ms Fidoe survived the war, and was a prosecution witness at one of the war crime trials in Hong Kong in 1948:


Henry Ching writes:

Elizabeth Appleton Fidoe, also known as Emma Appleton Fidoe, died in the Queen Mary Hospital on 7th December, 1950.  She was apparently living, at the time, at 17 Bowen Road.  This information is on the probate application for her will.  I wonder if the newspapers at the time give any further information, including where she is buried? There seems to be nothing in the Carl Smith Collection.

A search for Fidoe in the newspapers only turned up one result, a wedding reported on page 9 of The China Mail, 1935-12-31:


Fidoe — Dudley


A wedding of great interest in military circles was solemnised at St. John’s Cathedral, yesterday afternoon, when Miss Betty Dudley became the bride of Staff Quarter Master Sergeant Joseph H. Fidoe of the R.A.O.C.

The bride, who arrived on Sunday from Home by H.M.T. Neuralia was formerly the- Matron of the London Jewish Hospital. Her father was connected with the Royal Fusiliers for over 33 years.

The bridegroom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. H. Fidoe of Malvern, Worcestshire, England. He was formerly of the Queen’s Own Wor cestshire Hussars (T.A.) and has been over 21 years with the R.A.O.C.He left England in 1931, following which he was in Egypt Tientsin and Peiping. He has been in Hong Kong for a little over a year.

The Bride

The bride who entered the Cathedral on the arm of S.Q.M.S. H. Sanderson, R.A.P.C., looked charming in a white Persian satin gown with monk-styled sleeves. She carried a bouquet of bronze shaded chrysanthemums.

The ceremony, which was choral, was conducted by the Rev. G. H. Bateman, Senior Chaplain to the Forces.

Attending the bride was Miss P. Colegrave who wore a sky blue satin gown with silver Elizabethan collar and a silver-head-dress. She carried white chrysanthemums.

The best man was Chief E.R.A. J. Todd, of H. M. Submarine Orpheus. Appropriate music was rendered on the organ by Mr. L. Lafford.

After signing the register, the newly-wed couple left the Cathedral under an archway of swords held by the bridegroom's brother warrant officers.

Reception At Gloucester

A reception was held at the Gloucester Hotel. Among those present were Colonel L C. Lewis, O.B.E., R.A.O.C., .and Mrs. Lewis, Colonel R. F. Johnson, R.A.O.C., and Mrs. Johnson, Lt-Colonel Kuhne, D.S.O., O.B.E., R.A.O.C., Cmdr. R. W. Moir, of H.M. Submarine Orpheus, Captain Temple-Morris, M.C., R.A.O.C., Captain O. P. Joce, R.A.O.C., and Mrs. Joce, Captain L.W. Biddle, R.A.O.C., and Mrs. Biddle, Lt M. R. Branwell of H.M. Submarine Orpheus, -Lt. F. J. Saunders, R.A.O.C., and Mrs. Saunders, Lt. D. J. Russel, 1st Bn. Lincolnshire Regiment, Wt/-Engnr. H. Kernick, of H.M Submarine Orpheus, Dr., and Mrs. F. Bunje, Dr. and  Mrs. P. Dovey, Mrs. H. Sanderson, Miss P. Weightman, Condr. T. Foley, R.A.O.C., and Mrs. Foley, Comdr. J. Jacobs, R.A.O.C., and Mrs. Jacobs, S/Condr. W. H. Andrews, R.A.O.C., and Mrs. Andrews, S. M.McConnell, R.A.O.C, and Mrs. McConnell,. S.M.  E. Howard, R.A.O.C., and Mrs. Howard, S.Q.M.S. R. Plowright, R.A.O.C, and Mrs. Plowright, S.Q.M.S. Groombridge, R.A.O.C., and Mrs. Groombridge, Garrison Sergeant Major and Mrs. H. Harrison.

Betty is a popular shortening of Elizabeth, so it might be the same lady but I'm not 100% sure. A read through the papers at the time of her funeral may turn up more.

Regards, David

I found an Emma Appleton Dudley on the 1911 Census in Aldershot Barracks with her mother and siblings. It says born Kilkenny, Ireland and there is a birth record that fits, though in other other documents the family have written Belfast. I also found the father's Army Pension records listing her with a DOB of 13 June 1898. He was born in Co Louth and had 30+ years in the Army mostly in the Royal Fusiliers. Seems to fit with a neutral status and the wedding announcement? Strangely there is a Joseph H Fidoe wedding in 1925 to a May E Dudley in Westminster, London. They seemed to be living in Married Qtrs at a Barracks in Hendon the same year. Then there is an Army/Consular Death listing for May E Fidoe in Tientsin, China in 1934. Emma had a sister 'Edith May', could she possibly have married her widowed brother in law?

Thanks Nicola, I think that's the same lady. Not sure if the she married her widowed brother-in-law, but given that Fidoe isn't a common surname, it seems likely.

Regards, David

Interesting - and well uncovered. This adds a lot more detail than we had before on her. This would explain why she was out of Camp  (as Irish). I wonder where she lived.  I also wonder where her husband was - had he predeceased her I wonder.

Philip Cracknell



I believe this sadly is the daughter of the Joseph H Fidoe who married in HK in 1935. A previously ignored Fidoe/Proudman marriage in 1912 in Kidderminster and Molly's birth in Brentford in 1914 suggests Joseph first married Nelly Proudman when he was only 20/21. There is then a death for Nelly Fidoe in 1925 in the same district as the marriage to May Dudley later in the year. Not unusual for a widower with a child to remarry quickly in those days. The reference I found in Hendon was for Nelly, I hadn't checked the order of events well enough and assumed Nelly might be just a nickname. This all seems confirmed when I found the actual marriage which is not available on Ancestry the site I mostly use.

27th July 1925 All Saints Church Knightsbridge

Joseph Henry Fidoe, Widower, Sgt  RAOC, father Harry Fidoe,  Bootmaker

May Edith Dudley, Spinster, 37 Clare Rd Hounslow, father Henry George Dudley, Tailor

Dudley was a Sgt/Master Tailor in the Army and this address appears on his Army pension papers along with the names of his children incl Emma Appleton and ‘Edith May’.  A witness was Patricia Dudley another name which appears with them on the records.

The poor man seems to have lost 2 wives and a daughter before he married Emma? Found a possible death for him in Ipswich in 1976 but index has Joseph Henry 'Fedoe' so not sure. Hope this makes sense. 

Thanks Nicola, more good detective work!

Regards, David

Henry Ching writes:

I have found the following reference in Nicola Tyrer’s “Sisters in Arms”, published 2009 by Phoenix, an imprint of Orion Books Ltd:

“The British nursing staff (in St Stephen’s College) consisted of two members of the Territorial Auxiliary Nursing Service, Amelia Gordon, known to everyone as Molly, Elizabeth Fidoe and five VADs......”

If this is correct – i.e Sister Fidoe was in the TANS and not the HKVDC Nursing Detachment - then a number of puzzles are solved. It may explain, for example, why she arrived in HK on a troopship H.M.T.Neuralia before her marriage to Fidoe. It may also explain why she was not evacuated in 1940 with other service families. 

She was a qualified nurse, but apparently not employed as such if she joined the part-time Nursing Detachment. This has puzzled me as, if she was not employed, what was she doing in HK, particularly as it seems likely Fidoe himself was transferred elsewhere before the war began (there is no evidence that he was in HK during the battle; as a Warrant Officer Class II he was fairly senior, but he is not mentioned in Ebbage’s book “The Hard Way” about the RAOC in HK). This question does not arise if she was serving in the TANS.

This still does not explain how and where she survived during the Japanese occupation – my bet is still on the French Convent/Hospital in Causeway Bay.

Philip Cracknell has also been doing further research, and has uncovered a variety of information including a letter written by Mrs Fidoe dated 19th October, 1946, which begins:

I joined the H.K.V.D.C. in 1936 as a Trained Nursing Sister to train and lecture the members. Remaining a member of the unit, I was mobilised on December 8th, 1941, and was demobilised in London on May 1st 1946. Returning to England in the Hospital ship "Oxfordshire" on October 29th 1945, I applied for a passage back to the Colony to res((unclear)) my occupation of Private Nursing, by which means I support myself.

Philip also quotes a statement by Sister Miss Amelia Fleming Gordon, Territorial Army Nursing Service, which begins:

On the evening of 23rd Dec Mrs Fidoe and I and all the VADs returned to Sisters Quarters (Dr Pope’s House) to find that it had been taken over as the HQ of the Canadian troops.

This gives the impression that Mrs Fidoe wasn't a VAD, but I guess Sister Gordon is making the distinction between trained nurses (herself and Mrs Fidoe), and those who hadn't had formal nusing training but had volunteered ("the VADs").

Philip has posted this information and lots more about Mrs Fidoe on his blog: http://battleforhongkong.blogspot.hk/2014/08/mrs-elizabeth-appleton-fidoe-and.html

As for Mr Fidoe, there's only one result for Fidoe in HKGRO. It's the Jurors List for 1938, which shows that by then he'd left the army and was working for Taikoo:

Fidoe, Joseph HenryTimekeeper, Taikoo Dockyard & Engineering Co. of H.K., Ld.On premises

Regards, David

Henry Ching writes:

The letter which Philip Cracknell has uncovered makes it clear that Elizabeth Fidoe was in the Nursing Detachment. I think you are right in saying that the distinction was being made between trained nurses and those who hadn’t had formal nurses training.  I think it was this that confused Nicola Tyrer; the term VAD was misused in Hong Kong to refer to all members of the Nursing Detachment, many of whom were trained nurses. In England, VADs were not fully trained nurses, and so presumably she incorrectly concluded that Elizabeth Fidoe could not have been a (Hong Kong) VAD.