Fred WOODHEAD [1913-????] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Fred WOODHEAD [1913-????]

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

On 26 August 1939 Fred Woodhead set sail from Southampton to Hong Kong on the Viceroy of India together with a number of other "Crown Agents" who were members of the Hong Kong Police.  After the fall of Hong Kong in December 1941 he was imprisoned in Sham Shui Po POW Camp.  He was on the Lisbon Maru on 1 October 1942 when it was torpedoed and sunk by US submarine Grouper.  Fred survived and was then transferred to Osaka Camp #1, where he remained for the duration of the war.  He returned to the UK after his release and married his finacee, Miss Jeannie Smith, 3 weeks later.  Jeannie, a nurse in Hong Kong since 1938 (approx),  had also just returned to the UK following her release from the Stanley Civilian Camp.

Fred returned to Hong Kong after the war and Jeannie joined him there a few months after the birth of their son in 1947.  In February 1949 Fred was present at the party at Queen's Pier along with 12 other survivors of the Lisbon Maru on the occasion of the Governor of Hong Kong presenting Mr Woo Tung-ling and other Islanders with a boat and funds contributed by the survivors.

In late 1950, Fred, Jeannie and their son emigrated to New South Wales, Australia where they remained until at least 1963.  Dates of death unknown.



Hi Susan, thanks for the extra information.

Any idea why Fred ended up a POW in the Shamshuipo camp? Most of the policemen went to Stanley camp.

Regards, David

Hi David, 

I am not entirley sure.  According to Tony Banham's "Hong Kong War Diary", Fred was wounded at Jardine's Bazaar, Wanchai on Dec 23rd 1941 and is stated to have been in Queen Mary Hospital.  He may therefore have been captured during the short period that the HK Police were part of the militia?  Tony Banham states in"The Sinking Of The Lisbon Maru" that those police captured during their period in the militia ended up in Sham Shui Po with regular POWs.  Alternatively, there may just have been an error.  Fred's POW card from Osaka shows his Rank as Sergeant but that has been crossed out and replace with Civilian.

Regards, Susan