Roland H J Brooks' War Diary - Stanley Internment Camp WWII | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Roland H J Brooks' War Diary - Stanley Internment Camp WWII

Book type: 
Dates of events covered by this document: 
Thu, 1941-12-25 to Mon, 1945-07-02

The War Diary of Roland Henry John Brooks:

Foreword:  On Christmas Day, 25th December 1941, the Japanese landed. They swept through the island, soon over-running it. Ron, by now an officer in the HK Fire Brigade, was in the front line putting out numerous fires.  He was caught by the Japanese and interned in Stanley Prison.  His bride of a few months, Helene, had been evacuated to Sydney shortly after they returned from their honeymoon to Australia, but his sister Doris and mother Emily were also interned in Stanley Prison Camp along with other captured Europeans. However, Ron did not see much of them as he was often locked in a cell. He was very good at playing the guitar and singing, so was keen to take part in any stage production, and though it seems he was often restricted by the guards he did manage to do so on the odd occasion.

Ron wrote the following in his little pocket diary:

      War commenced in Hong Kong 8/12/41 – Fall of Kowloon 11/12/41

 – explosions near CFS [Central Fire Station] 11/12/41.

Fall of Hong Kong 3pm on 25th

 26th December 7.30am

Sat on street for about one hour. Marched to Jarolen Road.

Found house robbed by firemen on return.


Today put out of CFS [Central Fire Station].

Given filthy room in Gloucester Bldg.


Today moved to Nam King Hotel. Not allowed on or out or out of the Hotel.

Very dark, dirty and stinking.


Today moved to St Stevens College Stanley.


Today black out restrictions imposed. Black out restrictions lifted ?/3/42.


Up to date two escapes made from camp – doubtful if last attempt was successful. Numerous guards posted around the camp.

Participated in four concerts up to date.

Should have made debut as Antonio in a comic opera but permission for concert refused.


Concert with ‘Antonio’, about to commence, but refused by gendarmes again.


Cinema show given by Japanese in St Stevens Hotel. Cartoons, travelogue, news prop!


Eventually gave the big concert as a farewell to the Americans who hope to be repatriated soon. It was held in the open air to a large audience of about 4000.  And was a great success.


Have been very depressed today.  Je suis trés triste sans ma petite bonne femme a dorée. Mon Dieu! How much longer are we to be separated!

 30th June – 6pm.

Repatriation ship left with the Americans. Wonder how much longer we’re to be left to rot here.


 Went to Stanley Prison 6.30pm to 7am.


Received first IRC parcel


Gilbert & Sullivan Show. Excused jail for the night.


Cashed a £400 cheque for Mrs Meredith, HK&S Bank at a good rate of 33 to 1.


Cashed a £100 cheque for Mrs Meredith HK&S Bank at the highest camp rate of 35 to 1.




Hi Suziepie,

Thank you for sharing your father's diary with us.

In your foreword you write "On Christmas Day, 25th December 1941, the Japanese landed." The 25th was the day of the surrender. Ron would have been busy fire-fighting during the previous two weeks or so, when Japanese artillery and aerial bombardment set buildings on fire.

If you'd like to add the diary as individual pages, they'll also appear in the daily emails sent to the "Wartime diaries" subscribers. I've set up pages for the first three entries as examples (see the "Pages" box at the top right of the screen). Here's how to add more pages:

Eric MacNider's diary is in the process of being added, and already has one mention of Ron in a show:

Regards, David