Douglas James Smyth CROZIER [????-????] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Douglas James Smyth CROZIER [????-????]

Douglas James Smyth

Briony Widdis (nee Crozier) writes:

I am in the process of researching the background to and typing up letters relating to my grandfather Douglas Crozier (he is one of the teachers on the photograph of the Central British School on the home page of your website at present).

He was a Captain in the 2nd Battery of the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps and was a Japanese Prisoner of War, I am not sure where yet. His wife and children were evacuated to Sydney and after the war he was became Director of Education.


Photos that show this person


Dear Briony,

I'm a part-time writer and I've been a History teacher at KGV since 2001, and I was Head of Crozier House for several years. KGV is in the process of sorting out its archives, and we have a new purpose-built archive room.

Please email me and we'll see if we can help each other:

Best wishes,


I have somewhere a picture of myself as a little boy presenting a bouquet to Mrs. Crozier, as wife of the Director of Education, when she opened the new classroom block at Tak Sun School, Austin Rd in the early 1950s.  I must find that photo.

I'd love to see that Lawrence! Best wishes


Briony Widdis (nee Crozier) 

Mrs Crozier


There's a brief mention of Mr Crozier and this battery in OCCASIONAL PAPER NUMBER 15 The Ronnie Ross Story:

[Ross's] assigned post was with 2nd Battery at Bluff Head, Stanley. At 6 am on 8th December Ross was told, “We are at war with Japan”. It would take another week or 10 days before he heard a shot fired in anger. Ross recalled that life at Stanley during that period was “pretty futile”. Their guns were pointing out to sea, expecting a Japanese sea-borne invasion, and could not be turned around to fire into advancing Japanese invaders who had crossed the Lyemun Channel [...]

[...] 2nd Battery, however, at Bluff Head suffered only one casualty. Following the surrender, Ross and his mates under the command of Capt. Douglas Crozier (later Director of Education in the HK Government) remained where they were until New Year’s Eve. They were then marched to North Point to a prewar refugee camp which had been used by the Japanese as a stable. 

Read the full document at:

Dear Lawrence, Thankyou so much for posting this. I haven't been on Gwulo for a long time so have only just seen it. Do you remember anything about when it was taken? Briony 

Dear David,

Thankyou very much for signalling this which I have only just seen. And thankyou - you are an invaluable resource. Briony 

Hi Briony, Apologies for missing your question, the photo was taken in the winter (mid-term) of 1955. Lawrence

A couple more mentions of Mr Crozier on the web:

1957 : Awarded the CMG (Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George) in the New Years Honours.

1961 : Made an honourary graduate of Hong Kong University:


The University most proudly and affectionately recalls its long connection with the Honourable Douglas James Smyth Crozier, a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. He arrived in Hong Kong almost thirty years ago to join the Government Education Department as a history teacher, and during his first tour was a foundation member of the Hong Kong Teacher's Association. Following the Second World War he undertook the exacting editorial task of resuscitating the Association's Journal, the Path of Learning.

Recognition of an outstanding capacity as educator and administrator came ten years ago with his appointment as Director of Education of this Colony. Very quickly in that year followed appointment to the Legislative Council and the University Court and Senate. In 1956 he was elected to the highest advisory body of Her Majesty's Government in Hong Executive Council. As Director of Education he has been responsible for phenomenal developments and changes. The establishment of the Evening School of Higher Chinese Studies; the Grantham Training College, and the New Technical College; an ambitious seven-year primary school expansion programme; the development of post-secondary colleges towards degree-granting status, grant-in-aid schemes to three Colleges; schemes that provide aid to a host of private schools in the Colony: these are the measure of his vision, energy, and drive. Simple and direct evidence of the responsibilities that he has shouldered lies in school enrolment figures, which have risen during his tenure of office from 149,000 to 572,000 children.

He has served this University well and long. Before the war he taught here, at various times, economic history, logic, and ethics. And today we still call upon his extensive experience and wise counsel in the Senate. His advice has always been of immense value, and always offered in a manner characteristically gentle but incisive.

Citation written and delivered by Dr the Hon. A. M. Rodrigues, Chairman of the Jubilee Committee.


Hello - thank you for noting this citation. I had come across it before. We have a lot of family photos of the kind shown - taken at school opening etc. If anyone would like to see them and can help identify them, let me know and I will share them privately. Briony 

Am I right in thinking that these are the parents of Corin Crozier?  She was a very good friend of my older sister, Eve Atkinson,  at KGV and Mrs. Crozier taught me for one term at the newly opened Peak School in, I think it was,1953.  Corin had a brother and she later lived in Rhodesia or maybe it was Kenya. And, I have just remembered, my sisters and I spent Christmas 1952 with the Crozier family because our mother had died and my father was away in the United States on business.

Dear Ngaire,

Sorry I didn't see your post before. This is really interesting. I have photos that may perhaps be of you and your sisters. Yes, Douglas and Ann were Corin's parents. Her brother, Julian, was my father. Yes, Corin lived in Northern Rhodesia, which became Zambia, and remained there until her death in 1983. I would love to hear more about your memories of our family. The Administrator of this site has my email address. 

Briony Widdis (Crozier)

Dear Briony,

I am sorry I have been so long getting back to you. I remember Corin well as Eve's friend at KGV.

Your grandparents were very kind to us, that is, to me and my two sisters.  Our mother had died a year or so previously and our father was in the USA on business and would not be returning for Christmas so your grandparents invited us to spend it with them.  I don't remember much about the specifics of the day, (this was Christmas 1953) but I remember having a very enjoyable time. I was eleven years old and we left Hong Kong the following February to return to New Zealand where my family is from.  It is the sort of kindness that you only really appreciate when you are an adult so it is nice to pass on my thanks to you as a member of the Crozier family.  I'm sure without that visit to your grandparents' home it would have been a much bleaker Christmas for us.

Warm regards,

Ngaire Garland

If you have any photos that might be of my sisters I would love to see them.


How interesting that Julian was your father.  I am not sure that I ever met him. I seem to remember he was away in England at boarding school though I may have misremembered that.  I don't remember him being with the family the time we spent Chjristmas with your grandparents but he could have been.  The story that I remember hearing was that if he was walking down the road and he saw Corin coming on the same side of the road he would cross to the other side.  He didn't want to be seen walking with his sister!  I am sure he grew out of this in time!