Douglas FORD [1918-1943] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Douglas FORD [1918-1943]

Birthplace (town, state): 
Birthplace (country): 
Cause of death: 
Execution by Japanese firing squad.

Captain, 2nd Royal Scots.  BAAG Roll of Honour

Extract from a statement by Lt Col J H Price, Royal Rifles of Canada, 'Events leading up to the removal from Shamshuipo POW Camp  “S”, Hongkong, of Capt Ford 2/Royal Scots' :     .."On 28th February 1943 I was transferred from Argyle Street Officers POW Camp to Shamshuipo to rejoin other Canadian POW.  A week opr two prior to my transfer I had been asked by Col Newnham, MC, GSO1, China Command HQ, if I could undertake , should I be transferred, to deliver a packet to Capt Ford, 2nd Royal Scots at Shamshuipo.  ...I delivered the packet to Capt Ford . ...Shortly after rejoining my Regiment and having been settled in my quarters my Adjutant, Capt W P C Le Boutellier RRC, told me that Capt Ford would like to talk to me confidentially.  On my enquiring the probable subject of the conversation he said it related to the packet I had delivered and the nature of the message contained in it. He then told me that for some time communication had been established with British Intelligence Officers in Waichow through Chinese Agents in the Colony.  Some time during the Autumn of 1942 when working parties were going daily to Kai Tak Airport, Chinese overseers had passed messages to our people from contacts in Hongkong saying they had messages purporting to come from British Intelligence in Waichow.  Naturally a trap was suspected and many test were applied before authenticity was established to everyone’s satisfaction. This channel of communication was then opened and was finally extended to Argyle Street Camp when Lt Cmdr Boldero RN was transferred from Shamshuipo to Argyle Street in December.  Capt Ford took charge of the necessary organisation and was assisted by Flt Lt Gray, Capt Valentine and Lt Prophet HKVDC, as well as certain other ranks whose name I was not given at the time.  ...  I then interviewed Capt Ford who told me that he would like to put me in touch with what he and his group were doing as they had felt the need of advice and assistance from some senior officer to obviate the necessity of communicating with Argyle Street and the subsequent delay in decisions.  I realised the dangerous nature of these unertakings ... (he) told me the story of the development of the chain of communication, the instructions he had received  from Major Clague RA (an escapee from Hongkong), who was acting as Intelligence Officer  at Waichow, and showed me a large range of maps and other documents he had received.  I was also informed that he and Major Bishop had buried two prismatic compasses and four other maps.  The numbers of the Agents, as far as I remember, were 68 and 71.He showed me how arrangements had been made for medicines, some of which had come in through the above channel and some in containers in personal parcels.  A constant stream of information was kept up as to Camp requirements and, in return, periodic news of outside events was sent in, as well as the abovementioned medical supplies.  This ran smoothly for some time, and much useful work was done in the interests of health.

...Some time in May [1943], Capt Ford came to see me and told me that the Japanese appeared to be getting suspicious.  They  had decreed that no Chinese speaking POW be allowed out on the ration party and otherwise behaved as though they suspected something.  .. On 10th July Capt Ford was taken out. ... the gallantry of the brave men in refusing to give away their fellow workers in spite of brutal torture"


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Hi, nice article, his first name was Douglas, and he was my late father's platoon commander during the Battle of Hong Kong.


Iain Gow

Thank you, I've updated the given name from G. to Douglas, and added in the DoB from the Wikipedia article.

Many thanks!

To:         Lieut. Colonel S.R.H.E. White, MC.,
             Commanding 2nd Bn., The Royal Scots

From:    Major C.R. Boxer, The Lincolnshire Regiment.

I would like to bring to your notice the heroic behavior of the late Captain D. Ford, 2nd Bn. The Royal Scots during the period of his imprisonment by the Japanese Military Authorities from 10th July 1943 until his execution by a firing squad on the 18th December of the same year. I can vouch for the truth of the following statement on the basis of personal knowledge as regards the period from 21st October 1943 since I was myself imprisoned at Stanley from that date, and for the prior weeks from what I was told by the late Colonel L.A. Newnham, MC., and Flt. Lt. Gray, RAF., who were subsequently executed with him.

2.    Although subjected to severe physical torture an the date of his arrest (10.7.43) with the object of forcing him to reveal the names and particulars of the personnel involved in the secret liaison maintained between the P.O.W. Camps at Hong Kong and the British Military Intelligence Authorities at Waichow, he gave nothing and nobody away, but on the contrary took the responsibility and maintained that no senior officers were involved. In particular he denied the involvement of Major-Gen. Maltby and Lt.-Col. J.R. Price, Royal Rifles of Canada. He maintained this attitude during subsequent interrogations and at the Court-Martial on 1st December, although charged from the beginning with espionage and being under no illusions as to his fate if he persisted in adopting the chief responsibility.

3.    During the whole period of his incarceration, which amounted to rigorous solitary confinement on starvation rations, he gave an outstanding example of cheerful and courageous fortitude which was an inspiration to all those who were imprisoned with him and which aroused the respect and admiration of even the Japanese. This courage and fortitude he never lost, even when lying under sentence of death for 18 days with no hope of reprieve and the knowledge that he would not get even one square meal or five minutes exercise in the open air before his death. His soldierly bearing and conduct during this time might conceivably have been equaled but it certainly could not have been surpassed.

4.    Additional details can be supplied by the undersigned or by the survivors of the case (Sergt. Hardy, RAF. And Sergt. Routledge RCCS.) if and when required. Capt. Ford expressed the wish that his body might be re-interred in Scotland after the war.

                                                                                                           Sd/ - C.R. BOXER
                                                                                                     The Lincolnshire Regiment.

Hong Kong,
24th August 1945