Peter A GILCHRIST [1925-2018] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Peter A GILCHRIST [1925-2018]

Peter A
Birthplace (town, state): 
Birthplace (country): 

John Black's list notes Peter's occupation in 1941 was "student".




I had the pleasure of corresponding with Peter A. Gilchrist, an internee of Stanley, Hong Kong and later Lunghua, Shanghai who sadly passed away recently. I passed through Kelowna, BC before but did not know he resided there at the time so missed meeting him. He was a wonderful sparky chap with a sharp memory and had the kind heart and endurance in replying to my relentless correspondence asking about his time in Hong Kong. 

Peter A. Gilchrist was born in Shanghai, China 15th November 1925. He attended the Thomas Hanbury School for Boys in Shanghai from 1934-1938 when he then went to Canada before returning to Shanghai in 1940 and then leaving for Egypt in early 1941. He was on the way to British Columbia, Canada and ended up as far as Hong Kong in December 1941 when he and his parents got caught up in the Japanese invasion of HK and was interned in Stanley. He and his family (along with a number of Stanley internees) were transferred to Shanghai in December 1942 where he ended up in Lunghua camp.

In August 1945 he was released in Shanghai and miraculously reunited with his parents. He was sent to the USS Refuge a hospital ship where he met up with his mother and father, who did not know that he and his brother also ended up on that ship. They sailed to Okinawa where they were transferred to the USS Sanctury, another hospital ship which took them to San Francisco by way of Guam and Pearl Harbour. He then made his way to Victoria, British Columbia via Seattle. He started his working career in 1946 and was with a number of companies which all eventually ended up being bought by Acklands. He went from B.C. to Alberta in 1977 as General Manager for Southern Alberta with Western Warehouse Distributors. In 1983, a consolidation with Acklands took place where he became automotive sales co-ordinator until he retired in 1989. At that time Peter moved to Kelowna, B.C. where he resided until he died recently. 

The Steven Speilberg film Empire of the Sun was the same camp Peter was interned in. When he saw the movie Peter had the usual cheek to contact Spielberg to tell him what facts he got wrong. He was also invited to appear on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Front Page Challenge with Pierre Burton.


Peter and his parents (along with 30+ Stanley internees - Tony Banham has the full list) were trasferred by a Japanese troop ship from Stanley departing Hong Kong in the late afternoon on 24th December 1942. The journey took about 4 days and the ship docked in Shanghai on 28th December 1942 arriving approximately 7pm (NB the same route taken by the tragic Lisbon Maru a couple of months earlier). The ship transfer has been mentioned in the diaries posted here in Gwulo

As a side issue, Peter and I have tried our best to locate the name of the ship but to no avail. Tony Banham, Des Power etc does not know the name. If anyone can find out, I would be extremely grateful. The old ship, a decrepit old coastal freighter, had one funnel and the hull was worn black. The ship had moved Japanese troops prior to the Stanley internees using the hold. 



1933 arrived in London from Shanghai 

James Gilchrist 52 dock superintendent address in UK 15 Brown Street Greenock Scotland permanent residence China

May Gilchrist 34 domestic duties and  children  Jeanne Gilchrist 16 student, James  Gilchrist  14 student and Peter Gilchrist 7 student