Internment camp numbers

Submitted by imsij on Mon, 02/12/2018 - 20:31

One of my mother's cousins (then aged between 13 and 17, and now deceased) was interned in Hong Kong during the war, but she (and her own mother, who was also interned with her) are not mentioned in the lists of internees on this web site, nor in a couple of other lists that I've managed to find in archives in the U.K.

She was repatriated at the end of 1945, but in later life told her own children little about her experiences. They have no recollection of her mentioning the name or location of the camp, only that it was #13.

Does anyone know the numbers by which the camps were officially known?


I haven't heard the HK camp referred to by numbers before. Is there any chance they were interned somewhere else in Asia? 

You might try looking up your family's names in Greg Leck's book if you can find a copy in your library, or contact him: He covers all of Asia, so might have their details.

Thanks for the offer.

They were Mrs. Maria E. Histed and her daughter Helen Barbara Histed.

Perhaps you could also look for Mrs. Barbara R. (Rosa) Arnold,  her daughter Mabel Arnold, and any others with the surname Arnold, who were probably related to them. The Arnold family were living in HK before the war, but seem to have disappeared from any records I've managed to trace, including those in the UK and Australia.

I'll ask our archivist at SOAS to look for those names.

The name 'Histed' rang a bell with me. Maria's husband was, I believe, Ernest Harold Histed and he sailed with the China Navigation Company (A Swire subsidiary) for 42 years. You can find a brief description of his time with us using this link

We have his record cards as a pdf and if you wish to see them then please do email me using   Ernest Histed spent the war years as Master of the "Kweiyang". The "Kweiyang" and her crew were requisitioned by the Ministry of War Tranport (MOWT) and Captain Histed was in Bombay whilst his wife and daughter were interned by the Japanese in HK. 



I had found Captain Histed's record online in WikiSwire. He was re-united with his wife and daughter in December 1945, when they were repatriated on a ship from Hong Kong.

I'll be interested to see what the SOAS archivist turns up.

imsij - May not be the same family as Barbara Rosa Arnold, but I know there were twenty-something brothers George and Geoff Arnold in HK pre-WW II. George was an artist and smalltime author. After the war he wrote and illustrated a book on HK life, and lived in Melbourne, Aust.  He was close to a well-known Melbourne artist, Margaret Gunnerson, which may give you a lead

By email from Henry Ching:

I see that Mrs Histed was a member of the local Portuguese community.  Perhaps she and her daughter were in Rosary  Hill., the Red Cross home of refuge, rather than an internment camp.

There's no record of Mrs Histed in the accommodation officer's Stanley camp records.

We do have some records on an A E Arnold who was a Captain and then a Major in the Royal Artillery during the war. If you've any interest I will need to email them.

Capt Ernie Histed was a friend of my parents - my Father & Ernie both having sailed with CN Co. We had many Sunday lunches with them before afternoon tea on board his ship, the Szechuen, before it sailed at 5pm on the dot for Keelung. Ernie was a skilled shipmaster who my Father held in highest regard.  Ernie & Esther retired to Shoreham, England in about 1961 where I visited him in the late 1970's which was after Esther died. I recall Esther recounting that she & their daughter Barbara spent the war years in Portugese Macau. I believe Barbara married & moved to the USA.  

Thanks for that.

That is useful information, and seems likely to be correct. Esther's parents were Macau Portuguese, as you may know. 

Barbara, an adopted child (the natural daughter of one of one of my great uncles), was taken to the USA to stay with her maternal grandmother in 1946, and did indeed marry there.  She died in 2007.

I'm in touch with her children in the USA who have been trying to discover her ancestry, etc as she didn't talk much about her past. Do you have any photos of her or her parents/grandparents? If so, I'll give you my direct contact details in the UK.

It was interesting to read further about Barbara Histed and I did know Esther was able to claim Portugese nationality through her parents; with Portugal being neutral in WW2, she was thus able to move to Macau after the Japanese occupied HK. Ernie I recall remained at sea with CN Co helping the war effort. I am afraid I have no photos of the Histed's - my parents possibly did but they died many years in Australia after retiring from Hong Kong in the mid 70's where I also now live. One other piece of information: Ernie had nephew, Clive Histed, living in HK; he was a solicitor then became a Magistrate in the mid 1960's. Clive married an Australian, neither of whom I know whether they are still alive and they had a daughter born in HK who I believe came to live in Australia with her Mother. I hope this is of interest to Barbara's children.

First I would like to introduce myself.  I am the Grand Daughter of Capt. and Mrs Ernest Histed.

My Mother was Helen B. Histed.  It is with great interest and excitement to learn that your parents knew my Grandparents and they frequently had tea aboard my Grandfathers ship.  I do have a few photographs of just such an event.  I am hopeful that you may be able to recognize your parents.  I will arrange to have it sent to you.

I do have a question in regards to the Stanley Camp as to wheather or not there was a railroad nearby?  My Mom (Helen), would frequent the tracks for firewood.

Awaiting your response.

Thank you


There wasn't any railroad near to Stanley Camp, so it doesn't sound as though she spent time there.

Did she say any more about why the tracks were a good source of firewood, that might give a clue as to where they were?

Regards, David

PS Here's how to upload a photo to this website if you have any to share:

I am very happy to have a look at the photos taken aboard your Grandfather's ship, obviously if my parents are in the photos I will recognise them (& your Grandparents) but unlikely I will recognise other people.

With regards Stanley Camp, there were no railways on Hong Kong Island at that time (there has been since the 1980's the MTR on the city side of the island). I had always understood your Mother & Grandmother were never interned at Stanley but went to Macau possibly sometime after the beginning Japanese Occupation. However, with regards memories of collecting firewood on the railway tracks, your Grandparents lived off Chatham Rd (at least they did after the war & quite possibly before - I cannot remember on what street or road but possibly Hart or Prat Av), the old Kowloon-Canton Railway at that time ran down to the old railway terminus along the other side of Chatham Rd. Therefore, in the immediate aftermath of the start of the occupation, when your Grandfather was at sea, your Mother needed to collect firewood as electricity & gas may have been cut off.


I cannot tell you how excited I was to learn that Barbara Anslow was doing a series of lectures in the month of  May.  I only wish I could attend.

My question is in regarding my Mother, HELEN BARBARA HISTED :

I  now have documentation of my  Mother’s return to HK from the PHILIPPINES during the time that women and children were being evacuated to the PHILIPPINES.  I believe she was initially interred with her mother ESTER HISTED in the STANLEY CAMP for an unknow period of time.

Papers were obtained declaring her a citizen of PORTUGAL and that they were then released.

I have documentation of her whereabouts living outside of the STANLEY CAMP.

In her memoir she states that her German lessons continued and she was taught by a women. Could this women have been BARBER ANSLOW?  Unfortunately my mother could not remember the women’s name.

I understand that those captured and did not reside within the STANLEY CAMP were called “OUTSIDERS”,  am I correct in my understanding?

THANK YOU AGAIN,