30 Nov 1943, Report on Stanley Camp from M S Gripsholm Repatriates
((The following were repatriated on the M S Gripsholm - this report was completed on November 30, 1943.))
From M S Gripsholm repatriates.
- Reverend Charles B Murphy, Francis Xavier Seminar, Scarboro Bluff, Ontario, Canada.
- Mr R D Gillespie, Disembarked at Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Address: c/o Imperial Chemicals Ltd, London, England
- Mr William Buchanan, 186 Beach Drive, Victoria, B.C.
- Mr E D Robbins, RR No 1, Sidney, B.C.
- Miss Nell E Elliott, 119 Erskine Avenue, Toronto, Canada.
- Dr A V Greaves, c/o Dr Tisdall, 14 Whitney Ave, Toronto, Canada.
- Dr H G Mullett, 299 Queens Street West, Toronto. Canada.
- Mr David Mann, c/o W C Marshall, BC Electric Co, Vancouver, BC.
- Mrs George L Andrew, 150 St George Street, Toronto, Ontario. ((sic. In the description below they write "Mr Andrew - with Bank of China". It's not clear whether "Mrs" is a typing mistake, or means that the wife of Mr Andrew contributed to the report.))
Father Murphy, 31 years of age, is a Canadian Catholic priest who was studying at the Maryknoll House in Hong Kong at the outbreak of the hostilities.
Mr Gillespie is a business man of long residence in the Far East.
Mr Buchanan is a Canadian connected with Butterfield & Swire & Co, in Hong Kong.
Mr Robbins is a Canadian who was a Health Inspector in the Hong Kong Colonial Government.
Miss Elliott is a Canadian who was with the YWCA in Hong Kong for many years.
Dr Greaves is a bacteriologist who served the Hong Kong Colonial Government for a number of years.
Dr Mullett is a Canadian dentist attached to a mission in the interior of China who was caught in Hong Kong at the outbreak of the war.
Mr Mann was a member of the Hong Kong police force.
Mr Andrew - with Bank of China
On January 15, 1942, The Japanese authorities issued a proclamation to all enemy nationals in Hong Kong City, below May Road level, to report at Murray Parade Grounds in the Centre of Hong Kong. They told enemy nationals to bring what they could carry - enough clothing to last a few days. Nobody thought what was ahead of them, for the proclamation did not specifically state that the purpose of registration was for internment. From the parade grounds the people were marched through Queens Road Central, thence to dirty Chinese hotels which were actually nothing more than brothels consisting of cubicles with no windows, air or light. Here internees remained until January 20 to 21, under the most trying and difficult circumstances. Five and six men were allotted to a cubicle; males and females were indiscriminately billeted haphazardly together, with the poorest facilities for cooking or living.
On January 21, 1942, internees were transported to Stanley, 12 miles distant, in crowded buses, on ferry boats and junks, and then began internment. Internees could bring in what food they had with the, which was of necessity most limited because they could only take what they, themselves, could carry. If they had money with them they could take it, but few had any money.
On January 25, 1942, the Peak residents (500) received notice to report to Station South, carrying sufficient baggage for a few days. They had to walk 4 1/2 miles, no buses being provided.
As far as enemy nationals were concerned, there were no exceptions; all had to report to the gendarmes and be interned. Third party nationals and those claiming to be such were allowed to stay out and given passes to go about with some degree of freedom.
The sick who were in the hospital, i.e. the Queen Mary Hospital, were transported to the improvised hospital in camp by ambulance, with not the most gentle care. Sick could not be domiciled outside camp. No exceptions were made for women, or because of age. One case of an aged lady, nearing her eighties, who was blind, made representations to have her Chinese girl, who was the lady's eyes for many years, to remain in camp with her, and the request was refused flatly. This lady is still in camp. No one resisted internment and even many third party nationals, after a few months under Japanese regime, applied for admission but were refused.
Mr Cheng, a Chinese, was camp commandant at first. He, being a Chinese, was hampered, even thought he spoke Japanese fluently. He was asked for a coffin for the dead and replied he could not obtain one from the Gendarmes. He was tikd where wood could be obtained, but still he was unable to get it or give permission to the internees to get it. Never since has a coffin been produced for burial.
He was replaced by Japanese commandants, a Mr Nakazawa, and his assistant, Mr Yamashita. The former is of the educated class of Japanese, is cultured and more efficient and more congenial in his dealing with the internees. Always courteous and prompt, he always tries to help if it is at all possible. The latter is more of the gendarme type, erratic and temperamental, given to fits of rage and tantrums. He has his favourites and on some days is quite congenial, while at other times is most nasty. He prods the Chinese superintendents to mix with the foreigners and bring back to him the feelings and expressions of feelings of the internees. All in all, both are not too bad, but of the two Mr Nakazawa is the more efficient and courteous towards the internees. They are responsible to the Foreign Office officials, Mr Maijima and Mr Hattori.
Name and exact location of camp with description of distinguishing features of surroundings (so as to be unverifiable from air).
Number of internees broken down by sexes, nationality, race, age groups.
This civilian internment camp is the only one on the island of Hong Kong. The prisoner of war camps are situated on the mainland, viz Kowloon. Stanley is on the southern end of the island, some seven miles from the centre of the city and the business section of the colony. The locality of the camp is on a peninsula known as the Stanley Peninsula, with an irregular coastline dotted with bays and inlets. There are several sandy beaches, one on the eastern shore of Tytam Bay called Stanley Beach; another still on the eastern shore behind the Hong Kong Prison called Tweed Bay Beach, which was formerly used by the governor of the colony. The third is on the western shores of Stanley Bay which is used by the fisherfolk of the village.
The peninsula begins at sea level by a narrow stretch of land and rises to a rather steep slope whereon are situated the Stanley Fort barracks, easily identified from the air.
The camp consists of some fifty acres of land entirely encircled by barbed-wire, with sentry posts placed at regular intervals manned by Indian guards. There is one main entrance into the camp which is guarded by Japanese gendarmes and Indian guards. As one enters the main entrance he proceeds along the highway directly to the Hong Kong prison which is at the termination of the road; the prison is not part of the internment camp; another branch of the road leads off to the buildings known as the "Married" quarters.
In all, there are twenty-seven buildings comprising the camp. All have red tile roofs. St Stephen's College buildings are comprised of three large buildings and six bungalows surrounding it, formerly used as masters' homes and servants quarters. The European prison officers' quarters numbering eight buildings are all of a cream or light buff colour with flat roofs of red tile. The Indian Officers' Quarters are constructed of red brick, and number seven in all. There is also the Tweed Bay Hospital built of the same material as the Indian quarters; the hospital is a little distance from the other buildings.
The most distinguishing feature which could be seen from the air is the Hong Kong Prison. As already stated, the prison is not part of the camp. This structure is about 1,000 feet square and is surrounded by a high white cement wall. Another feature is the cemetery on the western side of the peninsula, surrounded by a low red brick wall, with many tall pine trees. Still another feature is the cement pier or jetty jutting out into the bay to the west of the cemetery.
Numbers. There are still over 2,500 internees, men, women and children, in Stanley camp. The majority is naturally British. Approximately twenty United States citizens remain. These include:
- 2 Catholic fathers of the Maryknoll Society, Fathers Bayer and Hessler.
- Nance family - father, mother and three children.
- Mr Searle and his wife, who is British. He has lost his passport. ((Probably Mr E V Searle))
- Mrs Margaret Boulton and her British husband.
- Mr Jones - with him is a woman claiming American citizenship.
- Mr Edward Shanks.
- Mr Kiely and wife; the latter is British; with daughter and son also British.
- Captain Miller; has American papers but no passport.
- Mr Paul Gregory with Chinese wife and child. Wife and child not interned.
- Mrs Liu with three children.
In the camp there are approximately fifty-two Dutch nationals, forty-five Norwegians and some ten Belgians. Most of the men in camp, with the exception of those formerly in the Hong Kong Police Force, of whom there are 260, are in after middle age. Women and children number approximately 1,200.
A list of internees at Stanley is attached.
Kind of buildings (e.g. barracks, abandoned factories. school or college buildings): estimate of square and cubic feet per internee; lighting and heating facilities (hours when available); kind and amount of bedding provided. Beds and nets.
The buildings in the camp are described below:
Group 1. St Stephen's College. Two main buildings known as Blocks 8 and 9.
Block 8 - All men billeted. Since the last repatriation this block is not overcrowded, but it must be stressed that there is no space for storage of the limited supply of baggage. This baggage is put back on the bed during the day. Formerly the small rooms were used as students' rooms with 2 occupants; now 3 or 4 are billeted in these same rooms. The larger rooms were classrooms, and here we have 8 to 12 in rooms. Eight-people rooms as fairly adequate in space, whereas the rooms in which 12 are lodged are definitely overcrowded.
Block 9 - Somewhat similar to Block 8, but due to bombed-out rooms in this section, space is more limited, and one case existed wherein a family of 15 (mixed) members were billeted in a room of 8 or 10 person size. In this building men and women and children were using the same toilet and washing facilities. Two toilets for 50 or 60 people; 5 showers and 10 taps; another part, 14 people for 2 toilets and 1 shower.
- Lower - 8 rooms housed 64 of whom 5 were females. W.Cs - 3; Urinals - 3; Showers - 3 or 4; Taps - 4 or 5.
- Upper - 18 rooms housed 85 of whom 10 were females. W.Cs (14) - 2, (71) - 2;. Urinals (71) - 2; Showers (14) - 1, (71) - 5; Taps (14) - 2 (basins), (71) - 11 or 12.
- Tower - 4 rooms housed 15 of which one was a female.
Block 10 - Another college building, one large classroom accommodated 30 men - space was fairly reasonable , however. This room, however, had suffered from shell fire. Glass was given by the Japanese late in the spring of 1943 to replace broken windows. All upstairs rooms , with one ecseption, were small rooms and were formerly used as students' rooms - 2 to a room; these now house 3 adults each. There should really only be two persons in these rooms, because for extra space during day one bed always has to be put away.
Science Block or Block 11- More than fifty-two people were billeted here. This building originally had no living quarters, since it was the science building for the college. It consisted of four large rooms and four small rooms. The larger rooms were typical science classrooms. One with gradines, and people used sacks and bags for screening. The other rooms were not too crowded. One toilet served the entire population of this building. People used several of the laboratory taps for water. They improvised a shower for themselves with gunnysacks as a shower screen. Men and women, single and married, and families, were lodged here all together.
The Bungalows - They were probably the most convenient quarters, except for the fact that both sexes had to use the same bathing and toilet facilities. In peace time these bungalows were built to house families of five. Now they are utilized to accommodate 28 to 35 persons. Most of the bungalows house married people, but in one bungalow, "C", there were both men and women. Each bungalow contains two bathrooms; one toilet foreign style, one Chinese style.
Group 2. Former European Officers' Quarters.
Six buildings in number - These premises could be best described as consisting of apartments, each containing 4 rooms each, one about 12' X 12', the other three smaller, about 8' X 8'. Some had a bathroom and 2 toilets, others only a bathroom and 1 toilet; a kitchen about 5' square, a pantry about 5' square, one sink per apartment. In each of Blocks 2, 3 and 4 there are six apartments. Each apartment also had two servants' rooms approximately 5' X 8 1/2' wherein 2 persons, usually a married couple, were billeted. These apartments also had a Chinese toilet and a boiler room. Later many kitchens were converted into living quarters for married couples. Each apartment housed from 25 to 30 people. In some of the arger rooms there were as many as 9 people billeted. In one large room there was a family of ten. This room had been damaged by shell fire prior to the internment. Some of the kitchens were also utilized as clinics - food and medical. Two rooms, both large, were used as office for the B.C.C. (British Communal Council) and Colonial Secretary's office (C.S.O.).
Prison Officers' Club Quarters - Consisted of canteen, lecture hall, two large rooms, a kitchen, one toilet, outside on ground floor. Second floor had four toilets used by men and women. In this block there were over 50 persons - not overcrowded.
Group 3. Tweed Bay Hospital.
The ground floor consisted of an office about 15 feet square, a very small pantry and a small dispensary (each about 4 feet square), a men's surgical ward with 9 beds; an outpatients department 5' X 15'; a large medical ward with 14 beds; operating theater about 10' X 15', a linen room approximately 15' square; a rice boiling shed about 6' X 5' built by internees. For this entire floor there were three toilets.
First floor - One ward for women's medical ward - 9 beds, one large ward for medical (men) 14 beds; a women's surgical ward consisting of 13 beds, although at times as many as 16 had to be used; a maternity ward of 6 beds. These rooms approximately same size as those on ground floor. Toilet, men and women - 4; no bathrooms; 4 showers in use.
Second floor - (nurses floor) housing 52 nurses, consisting also of four rooms. The first room 20 feet square, contained 13 nurses' beds and baggage; there was no cupboard space whatever. The second room 40' X 20' housed 24 nurses and all their baggage, etc. The third room 20' X 20' housed 11 persons and baggage. Toilets - 6, bathrooms - none; showers - 6.
No laundry facilities whatever existed in the hospital. Washing was done outside in the yard by the nurses, and hung on improvised lines, or laid on the grass to dry.
The hospital has running cold water, but hot water for washing patents, for hot fomentations, for tea, for any kind of heat treatment and for boiling of instruments, etc. was provided by one electric boiler on the ground floor and one wood boiler outside. There is one sterilizer in the theater, and one in outpatients department, each about 20" in length. The sterilizer drums had to go to Hong Kong and were kept away sometimes a month before an operation could be performed. Sometimes operations had to be done without any sterile dressings.
Group 3. Indian Quarters.
All buildings in this group are identical. Each building has 6 flats, each flat of 2 rooms 10' X 12' and 8' X 12', occupied by 3 and 4 people respectively. Each double flat had 1 W.C. (native) and 1 small kitchen with a cold water tap. Placing person in one of these rooms meant overcrowding since there was no baggage space.
Group 4. Leprosarium.
Housed 19 doctors and assistants. Not overcrowded, but no extra space.
Group 5. Headquarters.
Used by Japanese camp superintendents and Chinese superintendent. Modern houses, one half of one bombed beyond use. Each had modern toilets and bath rooms with shower facilities. In one building there were 2 Japanese and servants and about five superintendents (Chinese). In the other, about 5 or 6 Chinese superintendents; 2 lady superintendents.
Space - On the average each internee had about 41 cubic feet of space, which is inadequate.
Lighting - Each person is allowed a quota of nine units of electricity per month. ; further restrictions are inevitable with the supply of coal steadily decreasing. Up to date tje cost of the current has not been collected from the internees.
Heating - There is no ration of electric heating as such. The Japanese authorities ration firewood for cooking purposes only; this ration is one catty or one and on third pounds per head per day. "Lights out" at 10 p.m., after which hour nobody is permitted to turn on the lights for any reason whatever. Usually when an air raid occurs a blackout occurs.
Bedding - At the beginning the Japanese provided no beds to the internees. There were a few beds already in the buildings when the internees arrived and Dr Selwyn-Clarke, a local physician, managed to send internees a number of camp cots. There are still a number of people who sleep on the floor. Once, the Japanese supplied 600 "mintois" which is in the nature of a comforter. Only one out of every four persons or a quarter of the camp's population obtained one of these comforters.
Mosquito nets - These were never supplied by the Japanese authorities, although requests were frequently submitted to the.
The one and only issue of camp beds and blankets was made by the authorities just one year after internment; this issue consisted of 500 of each. Many persons are still sleeping on floors, boards, and other makeshift articles.
(Prepared by E.L. Robins, Health Inspector, Hong Kong Medical Department). ((Probably E D Robbins, mentioned above.))
Facilities for washing, bathing, laundry, sewage and garbage disposal, etc. Number and kind of toilets. Supply of toilet paper.
The general sanitation of the Stanley Camp was under the direct supervision of Dr N Macleod, Medical Officer of Health and Deputy Director of Health Services of the Hong Kong Colonial Government. The actual work was undertaken by his staff, consisting of 26 qualified health inspectors, while one veterinary surgeon and food inspector inspected all fresh foodstuffs coming into the camp.
The inspector handled the cleaning of drains, sewers, pavements, weekly inspections of the insdies of buildings, daily cleaning of communal water closets, disposal of refuse, chlorination of drinking water , eradication of smoke, fly breeding and other nuisances, daily inspection of all communal kitchens, and a strict anti-malarial campaign.
Due to the fact that this area had been under heavy shell fire, many buildings were badly damaged, and with the refusal of the Japanese authorities to supply building materials, such as cement, wood, etc for repairing purposes, many persons were housed in untenable quarters, exposed to the elements. There was much overcrowding. The average floor space per person was slightly under 24 square feet, whereas the minimum requirements are 36 square feet per person under public Health Service standards. The sanitary task was accordingly a very onerous one.
Boiled drinking water for 450 internees was supplied from Blocks 2, 3, and 4, and 5 had two such boilers; in the Indian Quarters blocks there were 2 electric boilers and a grass boiler for 750 people.
In American Blocks A-1, 2 and 3, one electric boiler supplied water for 250 people.
In St Stephen's - One electric boiler served 350 people.
In the hospital there was one electric boiler and one wood and grass burner (built by internees); Bungalows obtained their boiling water from their electric stoves, but in September 1943, owing to electric curtailment, it appeared some other method would have to be found by internees for boiling water.
Washing and bathing.
In "Married" quarters and bungalows, each apartment had one bathtub and one shower over tub for every 25 to 30 people.
In Indian quarters there were no bathing facilities. There were no showers but each double flat improvised its own system of shower from its tap.
The hospital had 10 showers, but no baths, and about four sinks. St Stephen's had showers.
No part of camp had hot water facilities for bathing or washing.
Laundry - No facilities provided. Few people had their own electric irons: could use if quota was not exhausted.
Internees provided their own equipment and simply washed their clothes in such buckets and sinks as were available. Clothes, dishes and personal toilet were accomplished in a single basin by hundreds. The Japanese never supplied any soap (or toilet paper) and as time passed the problem of soap became a difficult one.
Sewage and Garbage disposal.
The drainage of the camp consisted of a three-way system. All sewage was disposed of by septic tanks, of which there were seven in number. Of these only three were accessible, the remainder being outside the barbed-wire fencing. Due to the serious overcharging of these tanks, it was found necessary to by-pass them directly to the sea. All sullage water drains were eventually joined to the storm water drains and flowed through one main drain into the open sea.
The disposal of refuse was the chief problem of the Sanitary Department in the camp. Incineration was first attempted, but because of the lack of adequate fuel, proved unsatisfactory, consequently disposal by burying was adopted but here again difficulties were encountered due to the shortage of lime necessary to cover the refuse. Because of the close proximity of the Stanley Village the fly nuisance became worse, as no sanitary work was being undertaken there, and the internees' staff was unable to obtain permission to go there and cope with the nuisance. When the camp was opened for the internees, many bodies of soldiers who had been killed were found in a badly decomposed state; some were partially covered, whole others were totally exposed. The job of the Sanitary Department was to bury properly all such corpses. The presence of these corpses coupled with a mild winter gave an impetus to the fly nuisance. In addition, there were many bodies outside the barbed-wire boundary with others which had been washed up on the beaches and which could not be attended to. These naturally made ideal breeding places for flies.
Fly and Mosquito eradication.
As a result of the fly nuisance the first summer in camp saw an epidemic of fly-borne diseases, chiefly dysentery. In the summer of 1942 there were reported 410 cases which were treated in the hospital, while there were only 4 cases of typhoid. In 1943, up to August 31st, these figures were reduced to 65 dysentery cases and to 1 typhoid case. No cholera cases were reported, although there was a cholera epidemic in Hong Kong at the time.
With the ever-increasing number of malaria cases, 143 for 1942, and 213 up to August 31, 1943, a strong anti-malarial campaign was inaugurated. After many attempts, permission was finally obtained from the authorities for a squad of men to go outside the boundary once weekly to fill in holes likely to hold water, to spray ponds and pools above high water level. These measures have to some extent retarded the disease and the breeding of anopheles mosquitoes.
Despite the fact that washing and bathing facilities were very meager, (approximately one tap per 15 persons) only three cases requiring delousing were repotted. On the other hand, due to the type of buildings, to the lack of disinfecting materials, and to the lack of adequate supplies of soap, there were few buildings that were free from bugs during the summer months. The only methods possible for eradication of bugs was the exposing of infected bedding etc to sunlight.
The buildings making up the camp were enclosed in an area of approximately 50 acres, and were originally built to house European, Chinese, and Indian jail wardens, as well as students and masters of St Stephen's College. The water closet accommodation for the entire camp averaged 1 w.c. per 12 persons. The population of the whole camp was in August 1943, 2572 persons. In the Indian quarters, housing 750 persons, there was 1 native type W.C. for every 22 persons, while in the "Married" quarters, one for every 6 persons; in the European "Married" quarters, housing 750, one European type w.c. served 22 persons, while in the Science Block, 1 European type w.c. served 56 adults. The only urinals were those in the buildings of St Stephen's College, originally a boy's school..These buildings were finally kept segregated, with a few exceptions, for men. Emergency dry-earth pits were constructed, but due to the sandy nature of the soil and the lack of wood for cribbing, these pits constantly caved in and were found unsatisfactory.
The lack of hot water, except that rationed for drinking purposes, plus the difficulty of obtaining adequate soap supplies made washing facilities very difficult. One issue of 500 pounds [words missing?], 6 dozen brooms, and 50 gallons of disinfectant was the only one ever made by the Japanese authorities. Soap, toilet paper, etc were only obtainable through the canteen or provided by the Camp Welfare Committee, which purchased such necessities from profits made in the canteen.
IV. FOOD AND CLOTHIING
Facilities for and method of preparing food. Sources and handling of food. Food and clothing provided by Japanese. Relief supplies from International Red Cross; gift packages. Purchase of food and clothing by internees with their own funds. Post exchanges and canteens. Influence of local food situation on diet provided by the Japanese.
Facilities for and method of preparing food.
The camp was sub-divided into sections for housing and cooking arrangements, and whilst one or two locations for cooking were already installed, others had to be built. The Japanese supplied nothing in the way of material. Fortunately, electric stoves and an odd cooking fireplace, the property of the Hong Kong Government or of the employees or of St Stephen's College, were well in condition to operate when the internees entered the camp. In the Indian Prison Guard quarters, no kitchen functioned and in this section of the camp the Japanese housed 750 Britishers, men, women and children. For a few days, these people were temporarily fed from another section of the camp. A kitchen was erected by the internees in the open garage for which all material had to be collected from around the hillside. Cement blocks from air-raid shelters, bricks from damaged buildings and red earth from the hillsides (used as cement) were collected by the internees and used by them in constructing the kitchen. The Japanese supplied nothing. Improvised tools were made and salvaged in the camp.
A number of large and of small rice fireplaces for the cooking of rice, meal and vegetables were built. Rice boilers and pots and pans were sent in from Hong Kong through the good offices of the Internees' Welfare Organisation and not by the Japanese.
After the last of the Indian guards had vacated the camp, the Indian quarters kitchen was moved from the open garage to the vacated building. Again materials were gathered together by the internees. Cement promised by the Japanese was never supplied.
Sources and handling of food.
All food was supplied by the Japanese authorities and brought into camp daily by motor-truck. The meat was examined by a former Hong Kong Government veterinary surgeon. All food was inspected and weighed and thereafter divide into a "per capita" basis among the different sections of the camp. Labor gangs carried the food from the delivery point to their own cookhouses. All labor was supplied by internees.
The inspection of fresh foodstuffs was carried out daily on their arrival from Hong Kong by one food inspector and one veterinary surgeon. Rejections of diseased meat or of any foodstuffs considered unfit for human consumption were made by the inspectors. Such rejected foods were never replaced by the authorities.
Food and clothing provided by the Japanese.
a) Clothing: Nothing was supplied by the Japanese. They simply were not interested and offered no facilities for anyone to acquire clothing. Clothing supplied later through non-Japanese organisations is dealt with elsewhere in this report.
b) Food: Rations were issued daily on a "per capita" basis. Weight in ounces, only sufficient to cover two very meagre meals daily: Rice, 8.4 ounces, flour 4.2 ounces, meat 3.3 ounces or fish 5.4 ounces, sugar 0.29 ounces, salt 0.32 ounces, firewood 21.3 ounces, vegetables 6.6 ounces (Meat and vegetables frequently short of content weight).
Meat, usually buffalo, was of very poor quality. The meat supply was half buttocks and half ribs. The per capita weight of 5.4 ounces included heads, bones and waste and was always of inferior quality.
Vegetables - the poorest quality of water spinach, watermelon, pumpkin, chives, etc were supplied. At odd times there were also supplied a few sweet potatoes. Two, sometimes three, different vegetable were served. There was a limited supply of milk for the children under three and for a few of the sick.
c) Meatless days: There was one meatless day per week but on such days the vegetable served were increased by 50 per cent over the usual supply. d) No condiments were supplied by the Japanese. Tea, coffee, milk, jam, etc were not supplied by the Japanese.
Relief supplies from the International Red Cross.
Fortunately, British Red Cross parcels reached the camp in November 1942, on the return of the first repatriation ship. Just when the supplies and health of the camp were at their lowest point. Each of these parcels had 15 or 16 different food items. Bulk supplies were also received, and over a period each person received 23 tins of bully beef or meat and vegetables, 11 pounds of sugar, 2 pounds of tea, 1 pound of cocoa, and dried fruits.
Clothing, consisting of khaki cloth cardigans, underwear, socks, khaki shirts, and men's hats were received at the same time. These supplies arrived just before the winter and saved the camp. without the least doubt. Shoes, it was stated, were sent by the International Red Cross but, if so, were never received. Tobacco and cigarettes were not received.
The International Red Cross and Informal Welfare Organization have been able to supplement the rations lately with beans (not many) for all internees and other items for the sick and for children.
The Informal Welfare Organization, as it was designed by the internees, was started by Dr Selwyn-Clarke in the early days following the internment. It was composed of Chinese friends and third party nationals in Hong Kong who desired to help their friends in the internment camp. Dr Selwyn-Clarke was not interned, probably because of his knowledge of Hong Kong public health problems. His freedom enabled him to do as much good for the internees as was at all possible. The Informal Welfare Organization would send into the camp through Dr Selwyn-Clarke food supplies, beds and comforters. through this organization the camp's internal welfare organization was supplied with funds for other needs.
Other sources of relief.
The Camp's Council arranged a loan of HK$300,000 in April/May 1942: the Japanese agreed but deducted 30 percent as exchange loss on "big money", i.e. $300,000 big money equalled $210,000 in spending power. Each internee was allowed to order food or clothing to the value of $52.50 (US$13.12), and received in cash $17.80 (US$4.45). The balance remaining in hand was disbursed on condiments for use in the kitchen. Parcels came in over a period of 10 weeks and during the period when the order for the $52.50 parcels were being filled, the prices of articles soared and the last to acquire such parcels suffered the most.
In addition the internees received:
From His Holiness the Pope: HK$5.80 per head (US $1.45)
From British Residents' Association, Shanghai: $15.00 ($3.75 US) per head during the second half of 1942.
The International Red Cross in the period between February and September 1943, has paid each internee three payments each of Military Yen 20, and three payments of Military Yen 25. The reason given by the Japanese for the difference in the accounts is that they could not agree to a definite monthly allowance, as the Japanese Government was responsible for the internees and would only sanction payment when they considered it advisable to do so. Each payment must be sanctioned every month. Apparently this was on the basis of an agreement between the British and Japanese Governments, with the International Red Cross as the medium of payment.
Irish Red Cross.
For some time, foodstuffs were sent to the camp and distributed to the Irish national, to those who were ill, and to those in the hospital regardless of nationality. This service from the Irish has been suspended by the Japanese.
Parcels of food started coming into the camp about March 1942, but reached only a small number of internees. Chinese friends and third party nationals sent in such parcels every week but it can safely be stated that only about 15 percent benefitted from such gifts. These were stopped after a few weeks as a punishment for some alleged infringement of camp rules. Of course, with soaring prices in Hong Kong and the scarcity of goods, fewer parcels now arrive. The Informal Welfare Organization sent one parcel of food to many of those (not all) who had never previously received such a parcel from any other source. A few internees never received a parcel from any source.
Purchase of food and clothing by internees with their own funds.
Very few internees were in a position to purchase food or clothing and very few had anything to dispose of. Nearly a year elapsed before secret means of obtaining money from Hong Kong were found. American dollar or Sterling cheques were given in exchange for military yen. The rate of exchange for such transactions:
One military yen equals one US dollar
One military yen equals 5/- sterling.
It was imperative for some people, especially for those in poor health, to take advantage of this channel. Purchase of foodstuffs in the canteen could then be made. This source of supply of cash does not now exist. Prices were high and kept on soaring, as the following will show:
Bullybeef 12 oz tin 8 1/2 yen or US$ 8.50
Lard 1 lb 7 " " 7.00
Eggs each 1 1/2 " " 1.50
Jam 12 oz 2.85 " " 2.85
Peanuts 1 lb 3.30 " " 3.30
Toilet soap, small cake each 2.80 " " 2.80
Sugar 1/4 lb 0.90 " " 0.90 (very little sugar was available)
Other prices similarly were high. Nothing whatever has been imported by the Japanese and pre-war stocks must be low. Eggs and bananas came in during the past year and were purchased through the canteen. The supplies are very irregular at present.
Post exchanges and canteen.
The canteen is operated by the camp with the Japanese 's permission. The capital of approximately HK$ 20,000.- was raised amongst the internees shortly after their arrival in camp. The staff are internees; goods are ordered from town but are not always available. Prices are rocketing and it can safely be said that as time goes on supplies will cease and the Japanese will not be interested. The canteen opens twice a week for the sale of very little tinned foodstuffs it is able to purchase and resell.
Influence of local food situation on diet provided by Japanese.
This can be summed up in two words, "Slow starvation'". The diet provided by the Japanese lacks protein, etc, and has had serious effects on many internees. Such ailments as beriberi, defective eyesight, pellagra, and skin trouble have resulted. In addition, there are internees who are suffering from tuberculosis, while others have hernia.
V. MEDICAL AND DENTAL CARE
Availability of physicians and specialists. If Japanese physicians assigned to the camp, their professional ability and training. Hospitalization outside camp, whether in occidental or oriental hospitals, quality of treatment and care. Who pays fees.
The internees are fortunate in having among themselves physicians and surgeons who are available in the camp. Specialists are available, but they do not have much equipment with which to practice. No Japanese physicians have been assigned to the camp. No effort whatsoever has been made by the Japanese to provide medical services for the camp. All medical services are provided by the effort of the internees. All equipment in use is that which has been provided by private effort of individual physicians and that which was brought in by Hong Kong Government medical officers despite the Japanese.
Anything in the way of medical supplies has been obtained by the internees through their organizations outside the camp. These supplies have been procured with difficulty and paid for by the internees. The camp hospital was improvised from an empty building, is crowded, inadequate, short of supplies and equipment. No outside hospitalization is provided or allowed.
Japanese authorities made no attempt to provide facilities for dental treatment to internees. They did allow some equipment to be brought into the camp, and also from time to time permitted inadequate amounts of dental materials fob emergency or temporary treatment to be brought in. All such supplies were secured through the efforts of the internees' own medical-dental departments, and had to be paid for by the internees. The dental treatment available was provided by the dentists interned in the camp.
VI. SUPERVISION OR INSPECTION BY:
Swiss Government Officials
International Red Cross
Local Relief Societies
The Japanese authorities stated categorically that they did not admit that the Swiss Government officials had any standing whatever in Hong Kong. A request to be allowed to communicate, through the Japanese, with the Swiss Minister in Tokyo was refused, as was also a request for a visit from th4 Swiss Consul in Canton.
The International Red Cross Delegate (Mr Zindel, a Swiss) was allowed to function to a limited extent. He was given no diplomatic privileges or annuity of any sort. He was obliged to obtain special permission every time he visited the camp; he visited the camp on an average of about once a month. During his visits he was not allowed to move freely about the camp, and a Japanese was always with him. His outgoing telegrams had to be approved by the Japanese and he also admitted that he had been obliged to send some which gave a misleading and false impression of conditions at Stanley.
Because he had his wife and family in Hong Kong his position was made very difficult.
No Vatican delegate was allowed to visit the camp. Bishop Valtorta of Hong Kong came in twice by special concession, but just before the present repatriation he asked to see Father Murphy and was refused.
An informal welfare committee was formed in town by Dr Selwyn-Clarke, former Director of Medical Services who was not interned but allowed to remain in Hong Kong. Funds were provided by Chinese, Indian and other well-wishers and the committee did invaluable work. Drugs and equipment were brought in to the hospital. Except for 50 iron beds and a few doses of anti-diphtheria serum, the Japanese provided the hospital with absolutely nothing.
Milk, eggs, fruit juices, etc were provided for children and for the sick, the Japanese making no provision for these articles. The Committee also sent to camp a quantity of clothing, footwear, beds, bedding, toilet articles, etc, as many people were completely destitute in respect to these things.
Dr Selwyn-Clarke was allowed to visit the camp at irregular intervals and in doing so availed himself of the opportunity to bring supplies with him in the ambulance. The Japanese made no objection thereto, but they were always suspicious as to the source of his funds and eventually, on May 2 1943, Dr Selwyn-Clarke was arrested. Since his arrest, the International Red Cross delegate has, as far as possible, continued his work with funds supplied through Geneva.
A group of Irish friends were able to send occasional parcels to Irish nationals in camp.
No local residents were permitted to visit internees.
VII. WELFARE AND RECREATION
Facilities for recreation
Personal funds (loans etc)
For what purpose issued and to what extent
Package lines - "Vacations".
Sports consisted of:
Very little badminton and tennis (One court for badminton, football, softball, darts).
The equipment and funds supplied by IRC were used chiefly for softball, football, and darts. Private subscriptions were taken up in camp for further supplies.
Two damaged tennis courts, one indoor badminton court, one miniature football field, one small field used for softball.
The camp had from the months of May 1942 to October 1943 the privilege of using the Tweed Bay beach. However, due to the meagre diet of the internees, the majority in 1943 found swimming too vigorous an exercise. The medical authorities were obliged to advise internees to stop such sports as football, due to the general debility of the internees as a whole.
Internees were the recipients of small irregular allowances from various sources, i.e. friends in Hong Kong (Money - Informal welfare - Checks).
Internees received HK$ 52.50 (US$ 13.12) as food and clothing allowance as well as a cash payment trough a loan arranged by the camp's council of HK$ 12.80 or US$ 4.45 during April and May 1942. In addition, they received HK$ 5.80 from His Holiness the Pope; HK$ 15(US$ 3.75) per head from the British Residents' Society of Shanghai during the second half of 1942. Between February and September 1932 the International Red Cross paid each internee three payments of Military Yen 20 and three payments of Military Yen 25.
After much negotiations, the Japanese authorities finally assented to the issuance of passes to enable patients requiring X-ray treatment to proceed to the city. Such passes were granted to a comparatively few patients, and the privilege was entirely withdrawn just prior to the present repatriation.
How often can letters and cards be sent by internees, restrictions on length and contents. Regularity of receipt of mail. Transit time. Particularly important are facts which may be quoted indicating where delays may have occurred.
In May 1943, 17 months after the cessation of hostilities, permission was given by the Japanese to write one letter of 200 words per month to families abroad. This was later amended to one letter of 200 words in one month, and one postcard of 75 words the following month. Internees were not allowed to criticize the camp in any way, nor to use slang, nor say anything which might have a double meaning, nor to quote the Bible, nor to discuss the prosecution of the war. Internees were allowed to write only on personal matters, and on their health. The internees were asked by their own governments to avoid anything which might be used by the Japanese as propaganda for them.
Letters from England took anywhere from eight to fifteen months to arrive, and it was evident that only a small percentage of letters written reached the camp. The first English mail arrived in Stanley on November 16, 1942. Canadian mail reached Stanley about fourteen months after dispatch, and no letters at all reached Stanley from the United States, except a few relayed through London. Very little Australian mail was received in camp. Mail came very irregularly, in small batches, with no correct sequence of dates, and with many letters missing.
Red Cross messages came through with varying success. Some arrived within six months of dispatch, but others, obviously the first inquiries instigated by relatives in England, Canada, etc, were not received until eighteen months later. Many instances are known where Red Cross messages which were dispatched were never received at all. Cables through the International Red Cross were sometimes six months in transit, although some have been delivered in Stanley within a fortnight or three weeks of dispatch. These were in a very marked minority, however.
Communications between prisoner of war camps and next of kin in Stanley Civilian Internment Camp were scandalously bad. No list of survivors of the war was ever published in Stanley camp, despite repeated requests from the British authorities. Women interned at Stanley were without news of husbands and brothers who were in the Hong Kong military forces from the cessation of hostilities until the first postcards were received from prisoners of war at Christmas 1942. Countless women were without knowledge of the survival of their next of kin until the year after the surrender of Hong Kong. On that occasion, Christmas cards of 10 words only were allowed between Stanley and prisoner of war camps. In January 1943, civilian internees were allowed to send one 10 word postcard per month to next of kin and close relatives in prisoner of war camps, but cards were not received in Stanley until February 1943; presumably, prisoners of war were allowed to write at the same time as internees at Stanley. Postcards from prisoners arrived in camp very irregularly and there was no confidence in the camp that all postcards dispatched reached their destination. This caused untold anxiety and heartache in the camp, for when mails were received from the prisoners of war camps many women who expected word from their husbands failed to get it. Wives whose husbands were sent to Japan in October 1942, and January 1943, have received no word at all from them, although the men who were sent to Japan in January 1943 were able to send the 10 word Christmas greetings . Approximately six post cards only have been received in Stanley from prisoners of war sent to Japan; thus, there is a large percentage of women in Stanley who have had no word at all from their husbands in nearly two years. The anxiety felt in the camp is particularly heartrending for those women who know that their husbands left Hong Kong in October 1942 aboard the Lisbon Maru, which was torpedoed between Hong Kong and Japan. An account of the torpedoing was published in the Hong Kong newspapers and, despite requests, no information from the Japanese military authorities or any casualty list has ever appeared in the newspapers. Specific inquiries received most unsatisfactory replies, e.g. "Your husband's name appears on no lists available in Hong Kong" or "So-and-so is not on any casualty list", etc. The result was that with each passing month, when no post cards from Japan were received, women internees became more and more uncertain about the fate of their husbands.
One year after the departure of the Lisbon Maru, when the Canadians left Stanley, there were women in Stanley Camp who did not know if their husbands were alive or dead. There was also no assurance from the Japanese in Hong Kong that this nerve-wracking state of affairs would be improved.
Next of kin in Stanley were never notified of the death of relatives in prisoner of war camps, unless specific inquiries were made through Mr Zindel, International Red Cross Delegate in Hong Kong. With the delivery of postcards so uncertain, women naturally waited some months before making these inquiries. Just prior to the repatriation of the Canadians, a batch of postcards was received in Stanley. Many of these cards had been six months in transit from Kowloon to Hong Kong, but some were dated the month before receipt in Stanley.
There is no question but that the delay in delivery of mail is due almost entirely to the difficulties of censorship. However, this does nothing to ease the anxiety and nervous strain of internees and prisoners of war in the Far East.
Where and what kind performed. Voluntary or paid for; mode of payment, that is, money or kind, food, etc. If wages paid with money, what could be purchased. What compensation to those who were injured during course of labor.
All manual and clerical work in camp was performed by internees, and was entirely voluntary. The Japanese made several requests that internees go to Hong Kong and work for them at a given salary, but in most cases these requests were not met with. Occasionally they asked for an internee professional to do a particular piece of work involving some technicality with regard to machinery, etc. Mr Gimson, the commandant of the British section, usually acceded to such requests, although at times he refused to allow internees to go. Usually such internees were taken from camp by automobile to their destination, did their work of repair, and were well treated, because it was usually at the request of the Foreign Affairs Section of the Military Administration that they went. During these excursions, the internees were usually allowed to make any purchases they wanted, if they had the necessary cash.
In Bungalow "B", a four-room bungalow which normally housed one family, 32 people were housed, made up as follows:
1) Able-bodied men 8
2) Sick or elderly men & women 10
3) Women 7
4) Children 7
The able-bodied men did all the work (except for cooking) connected with the bungalow and in turns performed the following fatigues:
Collecting and splitting firewood
Assisting the women cooks and cleaning utensils, kitchens, etc
Digging refuse pits
Collecting rations from distribution center
Cleaning latrines and drains etc
The women in turn cooked the rations. All work was entirely voluntary.
The question of compensation to those injured during the course of labor was never discussed. A few cases of hernia developed, in all probability as a result of labor, but the internees merely went on the sick list and compensation was not even thought of. Any cleaning away of debris or the construction of any new project of the internees was done by the internees themselves, after permission had been sought for and granted by the Japanese authorities.
Anti-malarial work was done by the internees' medical and sanitary department, as is stated under "Sanitation".
Cooking, chopping firewood, vegetable cleaning, and every phase of labor was conducted by the internees.
Penalties prescribed for Americans, particularly for attempts to escape. What proceedings for accused. What disciplinary measures rather than penalties prescribed by quasi-judicial proceedings.
Internees in Stanley were extremely fortunate in that the internal administration of the camp was left largely in the hands of internees themselves. Consequently, infringements of camp rules were met by punishment meted out by a special disciplinary tribunal appointed by the camp community council. As a result, internees in their daily routine of camp life were comparatively free from interference by Japanese gendarmes, except in cases of violations of regulations promulgated by the Japanese.
At the time of internment these latter regulations were few in number but as time passed, new additions thereto were constantly made, usually following incidents occurring in the camp. Constant warning were issued that failure to observe the regulations would result in adverse repercussions on the camp in general, while individual delinquents would be dealt with by the gendarmerie in accordance with Japanese military law, but no information was divulged as to the specific penalties to which offenders would be subjected. Offences, however, for which individual internees are known to have been arrested include attempted escapes, looting of go-downs, surreptitious communications with friends in town, and possession of a radio.
There have been two organised attempts at escape from Stanley, both taking place during the first few months of internment. The first one, involving a party of seven persons, proved successful. Repercussions in the camp include the adoption of a stricter rollcall procedure twice daily, barbed-wire fences around the camp, and also an increase in the number of Indian and Chinese guards. The second attempt, which occurred in April 1942, proved unsuccessful as the four men were recaptured while still on Hong Kong Island. They were subsequently seen being marched handcuffed through the streets of the town and presumably to gendarmerie headquarters where they were kept for two or three months prior to their transfer to Stanley Prison. All were then in a very emaciated physical condition. In fact, one of the prisoners was in such a serious state that for a while he was permitted the professional services of a camp doctor and government nursing sister. On several occasions the other three were seen exercising in the prison compound, but during the past year nothing further has either been seen or heard of them beyond Japanese assurances to the effect that "prisoners in the gaol are in good health and are being well treated".
Several successful escapes into unoccupied China have been effected from Hong Kong by "non-interned" allied nationals but these, with one exception, have not led to retaliation against internees in Stanley. The exception involved a former internee who, for medical reasons, had been permitted by the Japanese to enter the French Hospital in Hong Kong as a resident patient. From this hospital he made his escape on August 12, 1942. Until this time medical cases in camp requiring X-ray attention had been taken into the French Hospital, where the internees usually remained a day or two, during which time they were often visited by friends from town. After this escape the visits of X-ray patients to the French Hospital were immediately suspended. They were, however, resumed again several months later but were permanently stopped when one of the patients was discovered carrying a considerable amount of money while returning to Stanley. The money was confiscated by the gendarmerie who later also took the patient into custody.
During the first twenty-one months of internment approximately 25 arrests of internees have been carried out by the gendarmerie in Stanley while a further number of British, American and other nationals of European extraction resident in Hong Kong have also been taken into custody. Some have been released, but the majority remain imprisoned and despite numerous inquiries, no official information whatsoever has been vouchsafed to internees, friends or relatives regarding the charges against, or sentence imposed on the prisoners who, incidentally, are not permitted visitors.
In April 1942, eight internees are [sic] arrested for looting a go-down of food supplies which had been stored there by the former British administration. They were all taken to the gendarmerie station in Stanley Village where they were confined in one cell, measuring approximately 12' x 6' and 12' high, for a period of 11 days. Three blankets were provided for the eight men and as no bed boards were supplied, they had to take turns sleeping on the concrete floor. Food consisted of two meals daily; there was plenty of rice with a small portion of vegetables sometimes and only water for a beverage, but for one period of 36 hours no food or water was issued. The prisoners were only permitted out of their cell to visit a water closet, or when they were taken out separately for interrogation. During the interrogation they were usually knocked down and subjected to kicks by their Indian jailers.
In May 1943, five arrests were made in the camp in one day. It is believed that it was due to information obtained through third degree methods that four further arrests were made some three weeks later. Those arrested included the Defence Secretary and the Chief of Police under the British Administration, but the latter was released within a few weeks. Two of the other individuals were implicated in a case concerning the possession and use of a radio, as one of the arrested men was accompanied by the gendarmes to a certain location in the camp where he was provided with a spade and forced to dig. After nearly two hours work in the hot sun he finally uncovered a radio set which was generally believed to have been buried at the beginning of the year and consequently not in use since that time. After the set and location had been duly photographed , the unfortunate internee was taken with the radio to the gendarmerie station.
Punishment meted out to the camp in general included the suspension at various times of the receipt of all private parcels from friends and relatives in town and the banning of all public meetings, lectures and concerts over certain periods.
From the foregoing it will readily be seen that while it has been impossible to obtain information regarding the judicial processes of Japanese military law as practiced in Hong Kong or to set down the penalties prescribed for specific offences against tat law, the treatment accorded civilian internees and enemy nationals arrested by the gendarmerie includes subjection of those individuals to physical brutality, humiliation, slow starvation and long confinement under the worst possible conditions, in some cases even without trial by a judicial court.
In passing, it might be of interest to mention here some repercussions on the camp resulting from raids on Hong Kong conducted by the American Air Force in China. When Hong Kong experienced its first raids during the latter part of October 1942, 250 unattached men in Stanley between the ages of 18 and 45 were compelled at nights to sleep in cells in the Hong Kong Prison. They entered the gaol premises at 6.30 p.m. each evening and left again at 7 a.m. every morning. This lasted nearly until Christmas. The Japanese stated that it was a precautionary measure intended to prevent escapes during the hours of darkness when the camp was completely blacked out. When a bombing raid at the end of August 1943 destroyed Hong Kong's gasoline supplies stored at the Laichikok installation, the Japanese were forced to suspend all public bus and truck traffic in town. It was intimidated by them that as a result, the transportation of food rations to Stanley might also have to be suspended for a period of three days. Fortunately, this threat was never carried out and rations continued to arrive in ten camp on daily ration lorry.
XI. SUPPLIES FOR INTERNEES.
What supplied by Red Cross or other organisations reach camps, nature of supplies, date of arrival, method of distribution. What possessions were taken away from internees without receipt being given.
At the inception of the camp a certain amount of Hong Kong Government supplies were brought in and these supplies were issued as a very necessary supplement to the regular supplies granted by tea Japanese. Subsequently, in November 1942, a small quantity of British Red Cross food was distributed by the Japanese. This lasted until the early part of the presnet year (1943) when the general health of the camp swiftly began to deteriorate.
Private parcels from friends of the internees in town were permitted by the Japanese at irregular internals; these were few and far between in recent months. In spite of the assistance given the internees by the Informal Welfare Committee in town and later by the International Red Cross, the position during the whole period was one of scarcity of supplies. At no time were the quantities sent to the internees sufficient to satisfy their needs. For this reason, it was necessary to form an organization whereby the requests of the internees were carefully investigated and the goods distributed, both food an clothing being given only to those in most urgent need. This distribution was done by the International Welfare Committee in the camp, with the assistance of the Block Welfare officers and their helpers appointed by them, also assisted by the camp relief fund.
The Japanese have stated officially that they recognised no property rights on the part of Europeans in Hong Kong.
XII. PERSONAL TREATMENT OF INTERNEES.
In general, it is desired to know whether any internee has been exposed to violence, insult or public curiosity.
In describing the treatment accorded civilian internees in Stanley it is perhaps best to explain here that at the commencement of internment, language difficulties led to the appointment of numerous Chinese supervisors through whom Japanese orders and regulations were relayed to internees. Later, after the appointment of a camp administrative body these orders were relayed through the camp commandant and consequently internees in general had no contact with the Japanese other than the Gendarmerie. The Gendarmerie was responsible for the enforcement of regulations and maintenance or order amongst internees, also with the supervision over the Indian and Chinese guards. It was perhaps inevitable that, until the adoption of a regular routine, certain incidents should arise involving individual internees in a certain amount of unpleasantness with the gendarmes and also with some of the Indian guards.
One of the main causes of friction was the Nipponese assertion that all Japanese in uniform represented the Emperor and therefore in keeping with the usual etiquette practiced in all conquered or occupied territories, internees should remove their hats or bow in a dignified manner when meeting or passing uniformed Japanese in the camp. In several instances failure to observe this formality resulted in internees being slapped, but as time went on, while some internees adopted the policy of avoiding uniformed Japanese wherever possible, the Japanese employed in the camp appeared to relax their own insistence on the observation of this ritual.
Another cause for infliction of this form of punishment was the constant fear exhibited by the Japanese of unauthorized individuals observing the activities of their armed services, including those of the Gendarmerie. This led the Japanese to forbid internees to look into the gaol compound and on numerous occasions internees had their faces slapped whenever they were found in locations from where they could overlook the Prison.
On several occasions the camp commandant was forced to lodge protests with the Japanese civil authorities in charge of the camp over the behavior of both Japanese gendarmes and Indian guards. In view of the sympathetic reception and action accorded these complaints, it was evident that the Japanese were anxious to keep the number of incidents down to a minimum, while keeping internees as contented as possible under the circumstances.
One incident occurred during the early stages of camp life when the concentration of so large a number of European internees was still a novelty and the camp was consequently subjected to frequent sight-seeing visits from Japanese officials, troops and gendarmes. One night a Japanese gendarme attached to Stanley Prison visited the damp while in a very intoxicated condition and entered one woman's bedroom. Upon hearing her shouts for help, her Block Chainman rushed to her assistance only to have the Japanese threaten him with his revolver; fortunately, the Block Chairman was able to disarm the Japanese without much difficulty . The resultant protest over this incident had the effect of preventing any similar occurrences.
On another occasion, due to the visit of a high Japanese official to Stanley Prison, the Japanese authorities closed the main road running through the camp without any prior warning or notification being given to internees. One elderly British doctor while approaching the road was knocked down and brutally kicked by an Indian guard. A protest over this incident resulted in internees being instructed that in future occurrences of this nature a full report should be submitted through the camp commandant to the Japanese, together with the identification numbers of any guards concerned.
The only incident which comes to mind in which an internee has been exposed to public curiosity was when a camp doctor received permission from the Japanese authorities to carry out anti-malarial work beyond the barbed-wire fences in order to destroy the breeding grounds of mosquitoes just outside the fence. While busily engaged in this occupation he was discovered by a Japanese gendarme who took the internee to Stanley Village where he was forced to remain standing beside a post in the hot sun for over an hour while subjected to the gaze of curious Chinese passers-by.