RAISING THE FLAG AGAIN

This first appeared in issue #1 of 'History Notes', compiled by the late Phillip Bruce. It is reproduced here on Gwulo by kind permission of Mr Bruce's family.

From Norman Leath, via Peter Starling comes a stirring account of the re-occupation of Hong Kong which appeared in the South China Morning Post of August 31, 1945.

"Hong Kong, lost to the British for almost four years, was recovered in August 1945. On the thirtieth of that month the raising of the Union Jack at Stanley Internment Camp officially signalised the restoration of British control.'

"Thus may some historians record yesterday's ceremony, but, as usual, the history books will offer a dry-as-dust record of one of the most stirring ceremonies in the Colony's history - certainly the most stirring experience in the memories of Stanley's relieved internees, numbering over two thousand who were its witnesses.

"Attended by a bodyguard, whose sturdiness was the admiration of the recently famished internees, Rear-Admiral Cecil Harcourt, Senior British Naval Officer, China Coast, drove into Camp just before 5 p.m. With him came Mr F.C. Gimson, His Britannic Majesty's Representative in Hongkong, and other Government officials. Together Rear-Admiral Harcourt and Mr Gimson took their place in an enclosure distinguished by a tall flag pole and nine attendant flag poles against the lines of which crowded excited internees.

"Quiet followed a call by the Bugler, J.D. Pester, and the Union Jack was immediately raised to the head of the main flag pole. After the singing of the National Anthem the flags of the United States, China, Russia, Norway, Holland, Belgium, France, Greece and Poland were broken from the remaining flag poles.

"For a few impressive moments the flags were then lowered to half-mast while the Revd. W.L. Martin and the Revd. A.P. Rose commemorated the war dead in a short prayer.

"The flags were then raised and Rear-Admiral Harcourt, stepping forward called for three cheers for His Majesty. These were given exuberantly and Rear-Admiral Harcourt found himself the subject of three further spontaneous cheers. Three cheers were also accorded the Air Force before the gathering subsided into a decorous chorus of 'Oh God Our Help,' led by the Choir of the United Churches in Camp. The National Anthem was then repeated..."

Mr Leath also provided a cutting from the occupation English language newspaper The Hong Kong News, of Thursday, October 5, 1944, which must be true - otherwise it wouldn't have been in the newspaper would it?

"A sensation was caused in a certain local hospital a few nights ago when a woman, wife of a coolie employed by the Hongkong Red Capt Transportation Bureau, gave birth to a dozen small snakes which are of red and green colour.

"The woman concerned, it was learned has had an abnormal pregnancy of over 12 months and entered the hospital complaining of 'labour pains' a few nights ago. She is progressing well after her confinement and here 'children' are also alive."

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