Click on one of the units in the pop-up list you see when your cursor is on 'Search Garrison' to the left. (If your interest is in photos of war graves, please follow this link.)
These pages help you find and trace the fates of some 14,000 members of the Hong Kong Garrison of 1941, and over 4,000 non-Chinese civilians.
The in-page HTML navigation allows you to jump to individual units and personal footnotes. If you are not sure which unit someone was in, please just scroll or use your browser's 'find in page' facility (to be honest, most people these days just Google straight to the records they're looking for, and then - having by-passed this page altogether - email me asking for the key!)
Some Indian garrison data, and some Civilian, is still missing from these pages. These will be added over time.
Instructions for Decoding Entries
Burial Records K - Known grave. (At Stanley or Sai Wan military cemeteries unless otherwise stated). U - Unknown grave. (Commemorated in Hong Kong unless otherwise stated). UP - Unknown grave. Commemorated in Plymouth UPO - Unknown grave. Commemorated in Portsmouth UC - Unknown grave. Commemorated in Chatham UT - Unknown grave. Commemorated at Tower Hill UCWD - Unknown grave. Commemorated in the list of Civilian War Dead UX - Unknown grave. Not in CWGC records. HKJ - Hong Kong Jewish Cemetery CCC - Cape Collinson Roman Catholic Cemetery HKM - Hong Kong Muslim Cemetery HKC - Hong Kong Cemetery HKR - Hong Kong Roman Catholic Cemetery Y - Yokohama Cemetery Died 9999 - Died post-war, with year
Note: Those entries followed by a date in bold indicate that the date ascribed to the death in this book is derived from my researches, and contradicts the records of the CWGC. The date ascribed by the CWGC is that in bold. Occasionally, if the date of death is uncertain, the CWGC may have originally ascribed a range of possibilities, such as 19/25 Dec; unfortunately, in the online system at least, these have now been converted to the earliest date in the range (i.e. the 19th, in this example). Date conflicts of those who died in the fighting are provided in the text, but conflicts for those who died in captivity are in the garrison section.
Hospital Records SSH - St. Stephen’s College Relief Hospital BRH - Bowen Road Hospital STH - St. Teresa’s Hospital SAH - St. Albert’s Convent Relief Hospital HKH - Hong Kong Hotel Relief Hospital IGH - Indian General Hospital RNH - Royal Naval Hospital WMH - War Memorial Hospital UH - University Hospital CSUC - Chinese School University Compound
H - Hospitalised, cause not known S - Hospitalised, Sick W - Hospitalised, Wounded 12.23 (e.g.) - Date of Entry to Hospital
Occurrences where a hospital abbrieviation (usually BRH or STH) appears in the transportation column indicate that the individual concerned died in that hospital.
Initial Place of Internment These details are taken from the January 1942 ‘census’ of prisoners. Generally those recorded as being at North Point at this time were captured at Stanley, and those at Sham Shui Po were captured in Victoria.
Military: NP - North Point Camp SSP - Shamshuipo Camp Argyle - Argyle Street Camp LHT - Luk Hoi Tong hotel NKH - Namking Hotel TKH - Tai Koon Hotel NAH - New Asia Hotel
Civilian: LOGHACSS (List of Government House and Colonial Secretariat Staff) GPOSAPB (GPO Staff at Prince’s Building) LN2CRCM List of persons who have registered and are residing at No. 2 Chater Road, Caldbeck, Macgregor’s. (List handed in by Mr. Meredith). LBSRHKH List of British Subjects residing at the Hong Kong Hotel 17.1.42 LRTP List of Residents on The Peak (with house numbers) PRVAP (Persons Residing at Various Addresses on the Peak) HKUSCR Hong Kong University Staff and Civilian Refugees of British and US Nationality HKTC Hong Kong Telephone Coy. British European Staff interned in Exchange Building NSRKH Nursing Staff and Refugees removed from the Chinese YMCA to the Kowloon Hotel IAKH Internees at Kowloon Hotel At 18.1.1942 LHT List of those at the Luk Hoi Tong Boarding House MCH Internees at Mee Chow Hotel NKH Internees at Nam King Hotel NPH Internees at Nam Ping Hotel NAH Internees at New Asia Hotel ISH Internees at Stag Hotel SWH Internees at Sun Wah Hotel TKH Internees at Tai Koon Hotel TFH Internees at Tung Fong Hotel LSH Internees at La Salle Relief Hospital MFP Internees at Maryknoll First Aid Post SPH Internees at St. Paul’s Hospital SPH2 Internees at St. Paul’s Hospital (arrived from NP Camp) SPH3 Internees at St. Paul’s Hospital (arrived from Tai Hang) WMH Internees at War Memorial Hospital MRH Internees at Matilda Relief Hospital MHI Members of the Health Inspectorate MHS Mental Hospital Staff PHS Prison Hospital Staff BIS Bacteriological Institute Staff URH British Staff at University Relief Hospital MRH2 Patients Admitted to the Matilda Relief Hospital
Transportations to Japanese POW Camps (XD1) First transportation LM - Lisbon Maru – died (LM) - Lisbon Maru (survived) (XD3) Third transportation (XD4) Fourth transportation (XD5) Fifth transportation (XD6) Sixth transportation
Awards CGM - Conspicuous Gallantry Medal DSO - Distinguished Service Order GC - George Cross KCfBC - King’s Commendation for Brave Conduct MC - Military Cross MBE - Member of the British Empire MiD - Mentioned in Dispatches MM - Military Medal OBE - Order of the British Empire RCI - Red Cross I RCII - Red Cross II VC - Victoria Cross
Mentions in the Body of Literature (99) - Book(s) mentioning the individual indicated. See Bibliography for key.
Other (argyle) - This indicates an Other Rank imprisoned in Argyle Street as a Batman or Cook. (china) - This indicates an escapee/evader, recorded as passing through China by BAAG.
Headquarters, China Command G Admin A Q Command Royal Artillery Command Engineers Command Signals Command RASC Command Ordnance Medical Service Branch Command Barrack Officer Financial Advisor & Army Audit Staff Provost Marshall – Corps of Military Police 2nd Echelon
Royal Engineers HQ Fortress Engineers 22 Fortress Company, RE 40 Fortress Company, RE RE Services D.O.R.E.
Other Support Units Royal Corps of Signals, Hong Kong Signals Company Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) Royal Army Service Corps (RASC), 12 Hong Kong Company Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC) Army Educational Corps Corps of Military Police Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), 27 Company Royal Army Dental Corps (RADC) Royal Army Pay Corps (RAPC) Queen Alexander’s Imperial Nursing Service (QAIMNS) Royal Army Chaplain’s Department
Supply & Transport Field Company Engineers Corps Signals ASC Unit Pay Detachment Reconnaissance Unit Air Unit Field Ambulance Special Guard Company Hughes Group Fortress Signal Company Stanley Platoon Nursing Detachment
Infantry Companies Infantry Officers Armoured Car Platoon No. 1 Company No. 2 (Scottish) Company No. 3 (Eurasian) Company No. 4 (Chinese) Company No. 5 (Portuguese) Company No. 6 (Portuguese) LAA Company No. 7 Company
Headquarters & Supporting Units Canadian Staff Corps of Military Staff Clerks Canadian Provost Corps Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps (RCAMC) Canadian Army Dental Corps Canadian Service Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (RCCS) Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (RCASC) Royal Canadian Army Pay Corps (RCAPC) Canadian Postal Corps Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps (RCOC) Canadian Chaplains Service Canadian Auxiliary Services Unallocated Canadian Forces
Other Nationalities: Australia Belgium Canada Denmark France Germany Holland Hungary India Iran Ireland Italy New Zealand Norway Philippines Poland Portugal Russia Switzerland Thailand Turkey
Complete Annotated Bibliography
17 Days Until Christmas Leo Paul Berard. 1997 Berard’s useful book covers the period from his joining the Winnipeg Grenadiers in 1933, to leaving the Canadian army in 1965, though the vast majority of the book covers his experiences in Hong Kong and Japan with his original unit. It should be noted that the 12 Platoon member listed here are those serving prior to the formation of ‘C Force’; by the time of their arrival in Hong Kong nine of these men were no longer with them. CSM ‘T’ is of course Tugby. (91)*
A Borrowed Place Frank Welsh.
A Colonial Boy Terry Lockhart. Devenport, Tasmania: Taswegia 1989.
A History of the Hong Kong Cricket Club 1851-1989 Spencer Robinson, (ed).
A Matter of Honour - An Account of the Indian Army Philip Mason.
A Regiment at War – The Royal Scots Stuart McBain. Edinburgh, Pentland Press 1988
A Mountain of Light A. Coates, Heinemann, 1977 Chapter Sixteen of this history of Hong Kong Electric covers the December 19th battle for the North Point power station. There are also some interesting photographs. (96)*
A Record of the Actions of the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps Major Evan Stewart DSO, Ye Olde Printerie, Ltd. Hong Kong 1953 This is the original book on the subject, written by the wartime commander of 3 Coy HKVDC. Most histories written since have largely relied on a timeline based on this book plus Maltby’s despatch. A short book, it is unbeatable for anyone wishing to get a basic understanding of the December actions, though it is naturally somewhat biased towards those involving the HKVDC. This was republished in hard back recently, after Stewart’s son approved his father’s name being quoted as the author, and is available again. (24)*
A Tear for the Dragon John Stericker, Arthur Barker 1958 Approximately half of Stericker’s autobiographical account covers his internment at Stanley. There is little specific information, but good general coverage of diet and camp life. (61)*
A Yen For My Thoughts G.A. Leiper 1982 Leiper’s book deserves to be better known. A member of 2 Coy but also an ‘Essential Person’, he spent the 18 days working in Chartered Bank during the day, and attached to 4 Coy at night. He therefore witnessed the goings-on in Central twenty-four hours per day. His obscene (and probably very accurate) depictions of the effects of shells and bombs hit home with this author as all were within a short walk of where this book was written; the bloody execution of two Chinese ‘looters’ post-surrender was almost on the doorstep. The remainder of the book describes life under the occupation. (78)*
Account of the part played by the 1st Battalion the Middlesex Regiment in the defence of Hong Kong, December 1941, Journal of Middlesex Regt, Vol. VIII, No.3 (Sept 1947), and No. 4 (Dec 1947) S.F. Hedgecoe
After The Battle Number 83 Winston G. Ramsey 1994 A twenty-six page article in a more general magazine, this consists of a quick summary of events brought to life by photographs in the familiar ‘then and now’ model. The publisher once told me that this edition of their regular magazine had sold less than any other! (4)*
After The Violent Storm Okada
An End to Tears Russell Clark, Peter Huston 1946 Arriving with Harcourt’s fleet to relieve Hong Kong in August 1945, Clark writes of his impressions – as a journalist – of the colony’s reactions to the removal of the Japanese overseers. The coverage of the last days of Stanley and Sham Shui Po are particularly useful. (94)*
An Impossible Dream: Hong Kong University from foundation to Re-establishment, 1910–1950 Chan Lau Kit-ching and Peter Cunich (ed.), Hong Kong, Oxford University Press, 2002.
The Army Medical Services, Vol II F.A.E. Crew 1957
Asian Conquest Richard Summerlee 1958
At The Going Down of the Sun Oliver Lindsay, Hamish Hamilton 1981 A good overall account of the post-1941 experiences of Hong Kong and the POWs in general. Chapter One contains a summary of The Lasting Honour, and Two is the full story of the MTB escape of Dec 25th 1941. The remainder covers the camps, the Lisbon Maru, and the war crimes trials. (19)+
Australian Prisoners of War with Hong Kong & Malaya Forces 1939-45 Mostly Unsung Military History research and Publications As its name suggests, this is simply a list of repatriated Australian POWs, fifty-nine of whom were captured in Hong Kong as members of the HKVDC.
BAAG Edwin Ride, OUP 1981 The son of the British Army Aid Group’s founder, Lt.-Col. Ride of the HKVDC Field Ambulance, describes the BAAG’s role from the point when Ride escaped Sham Shui Po, till the end of hostilities. Initially formed to facilitate POW escapes from Hong Kong, BAAG’s mission was expanded to cover aiding USAAF evaders and gathering intelligence from within both occupied territories and the camps. It was remarkably successful until undermined by Anglo/Sino/US politics. I have promised Edwin’s sister that I will write an in-depth sequel to this work within the next four years. (90)*
The Banknote That Never Was Francis Braun, 1980 The theme of Braun’s book is the British Government’s first attempt to provide Hong Kong with new currency post-war. However, Braun arrived in Hong Kong before hostilities and being Hungarian was imprisoned with other enemy nationals at Stanley Prison after Hungary declared war on the UK on December 5th 1941. His account of this experience, which included being in the prison during the fighting, is the only one I know of. (66)*
The Battle for Hong Kong1941-1945 Oliver Lindsay with John Harris, HKUP
Battlefields Review Number 16, November 2001 Battlefields Review featured Hong Kong in its sixteenth issue. This contained five short articles on the conflict, two provided by the current author. The five covered the fighting, a shortened version of ‘In Oriente Fidelis’, an abridged study of memorials, the story of the writing of Hong Kong War Diary, and a brief look at the battlefields as they are today. (113)+
Beneath the Shadow James Bertram. This is in fact ‘The Shadow Of A War’ under a different title.
Bethanie and Nazareth: French Secrets from a British Colony Alain Le Pichon, Hong Kong Academy for Peforming Arts
The Bitter End in Hong Kong Benjamin A. Proulx This sixteen-page story appeared in the anthology ‘The 100 Best True Stories of World War II’ in 1945. It is simply a reprint from ‘Underground From Hong Kong’. (77)*
Bloody Shambles, Vol I Shores & Cull & Izawa, Grub Street 1992 This is a superbly researched work on air fighting in the Far Eastern theatre. Volume 1 covers the period from December 1941 to April 1942, and gives arguably the most detailed account of the December 8th attack on Kai Tak. I have been in touch with Brian for a few years, and very helpful he is. (12)*
Bondservant of the Japanese Robert B. Hammond, 1942 A slim volume of little practical use to the serious historian. (31)*
Brick Hill and Beyond Gordon Fairclough. Vancouver: Privately printed, 2004. This very welcome book describes Fairclough’s experiences in Hong Kong (with the Royal Artillery), on Brick Hill where he was based – and which today is part of Ocean Park. After capture and a short time as a POW he escaped with colleagues into China. There they met up with other escapees and continued their journey. It was my great pleasure to – at the request of the author – present copies of this book to both the Hong Kong Club and Crown Wine Cellars.
Bridge with Three Men Anthony Hewitt, London: Jonathan Cape 1986 Hewitt’s is a very readable account of the adventures of three ‘likeable rogues’ (himself, Crossley, and Scrivens) escaping from Sham Shui Po and crossing China. Scrivens was a well-known name in post-war Hong Kong, and this gives an interesting sidelight on his personality. However, the 18 days of fighting are covered by just a few brief sentences. (64)*
British and Indian Armies on the China Coast Farnham, 1990
The British War Crimes Trials in the Far East, R. John Pritchard
The Buccaneers, Brian Cooper, Purnell's History of the Second World War, Weapons Book, No. 13 MTBs
"C" Force to Hong Kong – A Canadian Catastrophe Brereton Greenhous, Dundurn 1997 While containing many useful facts on the Canadian contribution, this volume has too many basic mistakes (such as constantly referring to HKVDC as HKVDF), and – for this author – too many attempts to second-guess Maltby. An alternative title to this book might have been ‘Maltby’s Great Mistakes’, but the author’s selectiveness in presenting material damages, in part, the work’s credibility. (55)*
Campaigns in South-East Asia 1941-42 (Official history of the Indian Armed Forces in the Second World War)
Canadian Prisoners of War and Missing Personnel in the Far East Canadian Government
Capes of China Slide Away James Bertram. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1993.
Captive Christmas Alan Birch & Martin Cole, Hong Kong Heinemann Education Books 1979 This simple work was originally broadcast on radio, and consists very largely of verbatim quotations from published and unpublished works listed in this biography. (6)*
Captive Surgeon in Hong Kong Donald Bowie Bowie’s book is the central reference on the nutritional and medical histories of POWs in Hong Kong, and the experience of one hospital (the Bowen Road British Military Hospital) in particular. I was lucky enough to purchase the original manuscript a few years back. (39)*
Captive Years Alan Birch & Martin Cole, Heinemann Asia, 1982 In the same vein as ‘Captive Christmas’, this book describes the years from 42-45 in a series of interviews originally broadcast on radio. The early chapters include some useful extra information on the 1941 fighting itself.
Charles R. Boxer, An Uncommon Life, Dauril Alden One look at this huge volume shows that it was written by a ‘real’ historian, and the content doesn’t disappoint. The war years are covered in chapters 6 to 9. The depth of Alden’s reading on this period is astonishing – though it is a shame to see him use Hahn’s version of Boxer’s wounding almost verbatim; the reality, as once told to me by his companion at the time - Alf Bennet, was rather different. The late Professor Jimmy Cummins, Boxer’s executor, gave me a great deal of assistance in contacting the other officers of the period.
Children of the Empire Anthony Hewitt
China, Britain and Hong Kong 1895-1945 K.C. Chan Lau, Chinese University Press 1990
China To Me: A Partial Autobiography Emily Hahn, Blakiston 1944 By definition a very personal story, but essential reading for anyone interested in the Boxer/Hahn affair. The coverage of the fighting is from the point of view of a privileged civilian, but the post-surrender experiences make fascinating reading – not least because of the author’s relationship with the Japanese. By no means can this be taken to depict the experiences of the broader civilian population, or those interned in Stanley. (56)*
Clutch of Circumstance Lewis Bush.
The Code of Love Andro Linklater, Squadron Leader Donald Hill, kept a diary of events during the battle for Hong Kong and for a while during his captivity. In order to keep it secret, he wrote it in a numerical code that, according to the cover of the book in which he wrote, was supposedly: “Russels Mathematical Tables”. Donald survived the camp and brought the diary out with him. However, his experiences were so traumatic that he did not like to talk about them. He died in 1985, and the diary was finally decrypted by Dr P. J. Aston of the Dept of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Surrey in 1996. I am now in touch with Hills son. (33)*
Colonial Hong Kong, A Guide Stephen Vines, FormAsia 2002 An interesting little book that details many of the building mentioned in this account. However, not all ‘facts’ should be taken at face value. The photograph of Canadians arriving in Hong Kong in ‘1940’ is in fact of RAF personnel arriving in 1945; there is no ‘Anzac’ cemetery in Sai Wan; those killed at Eucliffe were not captured there. Minor points. Vines’ late father – prosecutor at the post-war trial of the Lisbon Maru’s master – was a neighbour of mine.
Colonial Sunset. Stephenson, Ralph. London: Pen Press Publishers, 2004. I had been in touch with Ralph for several years before he published this work.
Corporate Crisis. NCR and the Computer Revolution, Anderson, William S. (with Charles Truax).. Dayton, Ohio: Landfall Press 1991. Not the first book that a historian of World War 2 Hong Kong would naturally reach for, but Anderson was in the HKVDC and the book includes some useful details – particularly of his POW experiences in Japan.
Vol IX: History: The Corps of Royal Engineers, Pakenham-Walsh, Maj General R P
Dai Toa Sensoshi Tenshi, Tokyo, Hara Shobo, 1967
Dark Side of the Sun Michael Palmer, Lulu
Darlings I’ve Had a Ball. Andrea (Dorothy Jenner) and Sheppard, Trish. Sydney: Ure Smith, 1975. My first ‘contact’ with Andrea was via the diaries (hopefully soon to be published) of BQMS Barman of the HKSRA. Clearly she was something of a character!
Deadly December Ron Parker, Lulu
Death on the Hellships Gregory Michno, Pen & Sword 2001 An important book covering a subject – the Japanese transportations and the approximately 21,000 deaths that resulted – that has long been overlooked. Unfortunately the scale of the work means that some errors have crept into the Hong Kong coverage, such as that of the Lisbon Maru on pages 43-47.
The Defence of Hong Kong Lt.-Colonel R. J. L. Penfold, R.A. (The Gunner, Dec 1946) This five-page article covers each of the Artillery Regiments present, with a brief summary of their actions during the battle. (11)*
Despatch Major-General C. M. Maltby: Supplement to London Gazette, 29-Jan-1948 The earliest, and generally most accurate (though far from comprehensive), timeline of the December 1941 fighting to be published. It portrays a view of the situation as perceived by Maltby from his Battle Box from invasion to surrender. (49)*
Despatch Sir Mark Young Events in Hong Kong on 25 December 1941, Special xxxx
Desperate Siege: The Battle of Hong Kong Ted Ferguson, Doubleday 1980 A decent general summary of the action. Published in 1980, before the big backlash sparked by ‘No Reason Why’ and the release of the unabridged version of Maltby’s report. This is one of the best-balanced books to come from Canadian sources. (28)*
Diary of a Prisoner of War in Japan Georges Verrault George ‘Blacky’ Verrault was a signaller in the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (RCCS).
Discovering Hong Kong’s Cultural Heritage, Hong Kong and Kowloon Patricia Lim This is a very useful book outlining 19 Guided walks across the southern part of the SAR. The last four walks cover ‘The Defence of Hong Kong’. They are all worth doing, but while this is a useful guide it should probably be read in conjunction with ‘Ruins of War” or another standard work, as some of the details (the ‘Royal Scots Guards’, Hewitt ‘commanding the Middlesex’, etc.) are a little off key.
Dispersal and Renewal Edited by Clifford Matthews and Oswald Cheung, HKUP 1998 An unusual book, for which Matthews ‘bullied’ many wartime members of Hong Kong University into each writing a chapter on their wartime experiences. The result does not constitute so much a book as a set of unrelated episodes, some of which however make very interesting reading. Matthews himself, of course, was ex 3-Coy. (22)*
Eastern Epic, Volume I Compton Mackenzie, Chatto and Windus 1951 This is the story, commissioned by the Government of India in 1945, of the Indian effort in the Second World War. Volume I, ‘Defence’, was to the best of my knowledge the only volume completed. Pages 183-216 (chapters 16 and 17) cover Hong Kong and appear largely based on Maltby’s Despatch. (116)*
Eastern Waters Eastern Winds Gillian Chambers, Chambers was commissioned to write this record of the history of the (Royal) Hong Kong Yacht Club, and did a fine job. The Yacht Club, which adopted Kellet Island as its base in 1940 and is still there today, was the foundation of the HKRNVR - and yet the sailor most quoted for the wartime period is Bunny Browne, a lieutenant of Maltby’s HQCC. Recommended reading.
Eastern Windows Western Skies Jean Gittins In this biographical work, Gittins, the Ho Tung daughter, is clearly writing for the benefit of her descendants. However, there is much of interest here about Hong Kong life in general – though clearly at the top of the social scale. The author, who lost her husband in the 4th Battery HKVDC during the conflict, covers the war years in the second half of book two. (87)*
Eighteen Days Colonel D. R. Bennett RAPC, The Command Pay Office Hong Kong 1976 The body of this book is a general summary of the fighting culled from other sources, and adds little to the body of knowledge. The appendices however, are interesting – particularly that pertaining to the Pay Corps. (14)*
Escape from the Bloodied Sun Freddie Guest, London 1956 As a Middlesex officer in Maltby’s headquarters, Guest saw the battle from the inside. However, the focus of the book – some 75% - is on the MTB escape of December 25th. Having met Admiral Chan Chak during the fighting, Guest and his colleagues escorted him to the south side of the Island and – under Chan Chak’s leadership – they successfully escaped through China. (18)*
Escape through China David Bosanquet, Robert Hale 1983 Bosanquet, a young man fresh from England starting a career at Jardine, was a sergeant of the ill fated 5AA Battery, HKVDC. Lucky enough to get out of the gun site before the massacre, he then escaped with two colleagues from Sham Shui Po, reached England about a year later, and was recruited into MI9. In this book he writes about his experiences during the battle and the voyage back to the UK. (102)*
Escape to Fight On Whitehead & Bennett, Robert Hale 1990 Whitehead’s book primarily covers his time with Military Mission 204 in China. However, the first few chapters give interesting coverage of a gunner’s life in the pre-war Hong Kong garrison, his experiences during the fighting, and the escape from Sham Shui Po. (21)+
The Fall of Hong Kong Tim Carew, Pan Books 1960 Such a British book, with all the pros and cons that this entails. Carew clearly focuses on the British troops – especially the Middlesex Regiment – and covers others with a slightly patronising air. His comments on the Royal Rifles (page 207), while based on records, provoked some outrage amongst later Canadian historians – especially as D Coy was still to make its Christmas Day attack. Other comments (see pages 171, 189, 191, and 200) are more controversial. (3)+
The Fall of Hong Kong: Britain, China and the Japanese Occupation Philip Snow, Yale 2003 This is an interesting work, but confusingly titled. It does not cover the Fall of Hong Kong, but instead focuses on the period of Japanese Occupation. On this topic, it is the best I have read. However, the POW experience is not covered as this is primarily a political work.
Farewell Hong Kong (1941) Christopher Briggs MBE, Hesperian Press 2001 Of interest as this appears to be the only book covering the departure from Hong Kong on the evening of December 8th 1941 of the destroyers Thanet and Scout. The author was Scout’s First Lieutenant. The majority of the book covers his post Hong Kong experience, and eventual settling in Australia. See his wife’s book, ‘From Peking to Perth’ below. (124)*
The First of Foot, The History of The Royal Scots A. Muir, Edinburgh 1961 Muir covers the inter-war period before beginning his account with the BEF in France in 1940. “The Hong Kong Tragedy” unfolds in Chapter IV, and contains 51 useful pages. The descriptions of the fighting at the Shing Mun Redoubt, and later actions at Mount Nicholson and Mount Cameron, are concise and accurate. (20)+
Footprints, the Memoirs of Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke, Sino-American 1975 One of those strong-willed people who returned from the Western Front of 14-18 determined to put the rest of his life to doing good for others whether they liked it or not, Selwyn-Clarke’s biography shows he was not necessarily a likeable person (he was too austere and authoritarian for that) but was certainly sincere. He did his best for the ordinary people of Hong Kong, and clearly the number of deaths among civilian internees would have been much higher without him. (9)*
Four George Crosses Won In Hong Kong 1943-1946 John Harris, 1985 This short paper is based on a talk given by Harris in Hong Kong on December 5th 1985 to the officers of the British Forces and retired members of the Canadian Forces visiting. It covers the basic details of the BAAG information-smuggling ring, and its eventual breaking by the Japanese. While short, it has the advantage of being written by one of the participants in the events described. (63)*
Fourteenth Punjab Regiment: a short history, 1939-1945, London, Lund Humphries
Freedom Bridge: Maryknoll in Hong Kong Service, Bill and Jim Hart xxxx
From Jamaica to Japan Thomas S. Forsyth Tom Forsyth of the Winnipeg Grenadiers kept a diary of his experiences. Unfortunately it was not possible to trace a copy of this book. Since then I have been in touch with his son, and it was a very strange experience for me a few years ago, when taking some Winnipeg veterans around the battlefields, when one of them said; “Who was it who came running down this road, shot in the face?” “Tom Forsyth”, I answered. “Fancy you remembering that!” was the reply. I took this as a sign that at least I had done enough of my homework to have a sensible conversation with these people!
From Peking to Perth Sis Briggs Sis Briggs’ book makes a fascinating comparison with that of her husband. Her focus is very much on the pre-war years, and yet her coverage of the events of 1941 is a useful addition to our knowledge.
General of Fortune. The fabulous story of one-arm Sutton Charles Drage, Heinemann 1963 Sutton, the General of the title, was the sort of man who just had to wash up in Hong Kong on the eve of war. The limb in question being lost at Gallipoli, Sutton rose to be one of only three Englishmen to have taken the rank of Generals in Chinese armies. Winding up in Hong Kong at the end of his career, he died in Stanley Camp of beri-beri, avitaminosis and bacillary dysentery. (140)+
Green Jade Dorothy Neale
Grey Touched with Scarlet Jean Bowden, Robert Hale 1959 This volume on the World War II experiences of the army nursing sisters covers Hong Kong on pages 56-78, and again on pages 175-184. However, the coverage is far from comprehensive and focuses mainly on St. Albert’s Hospital, with just a few references to Bowen Road Hospital. St. Stephens, Queen Mary, the Royal Naval Hospital, etc. are not covered. (114)*
Guest of Hirohito Ken Cambon, PW Press 1990 The war autobiography of one of the youngest soldiers to serve in Hong Kong. Cambon was 17 when he joined the Royal Rifles. A recommended read, this volume covers both the fighting and the POW years, and has an appendix taken from the War Crimes transcripts in the PRO. ‘Bill M.’, for those who need to know, was almost certainly Rifleman William S. McAra. (89)*
Guest of an Emperor Martin Weedon, Arthur Barker 1948 Captain Martin Weedon commanded B Company of the Middlesex and survived the Lisbon Maru. Unfortunately the earlier part of his diary, from Christmas day 1941 to September 1942, was lost in the sinking. This is a shame, as the remaining part of the diary (published here in full and unedited) is one of the most detailed available. For a few years now I have been in touch with Martin’s son (who is also the stepson of Anthony Hewitt), who has helped me with details many times.
The Guns and Gunners of Hong Kong Denis Rollo, Gunners’ Roll of Hong Kong 1992 An excellent general history in which Chapter Seven covers the 1941 fighting, and Appendices Four & Five provide useful details of Orders of Battle and wartime movements of artillery. The detailed maps of some gun emplacements are also of interest as the majority were still in use during the war. Recommended reading. (8)+
Gweilo Martin Booth, London, Doubleday, 2004. Although this is an account of post-war HK, it mentions some war-time topics – perhaps the most interesting being the sad suicide of a Lisbon Maru survivor who was presumably the model for Hiroshima Joe. Unfortunately Booth passed away before I could ask him who this gentleman was.
Hell On Earth Dave McIntosh, McGraw-Hill 1997 McIntosh’s six-word summation of Hong Kong: ‘A British waste of Canadian manpower’ gives a fair idea of the subjectiveness of the book as a whole. While correctly allocating responsibility for Canadian involvement to Grasett, he mistakenly labels him ‘British’. He also believes that – in 1941 – an attack on Hong Kong was expected to be made from the open sea, and calls Osler Thomas ‘Canadian’ – which I am sure would give Osler a good chuckle from his Australian home. The remainder of the Hong Kong battle section is the usual quotations from Leath, Banfill, and Barnett and does nothing to further our understanding. The coverage of the Canadian experience in camp is far more useful.
The Hidden Years John Luff, SCMP 1967 Luff’s book was the first attempt to tell the story, and as such has been re-hashed many times since. A good starting point for anyone interested, it is however far from comprehensive. Having said that, without it we may never have had Oliver Lindsay’s later works or many others. We owe him a debt. (52)*
High Endeavours Mile Clark. A biography of Charles Boxer’s sister, Beryl Smeeton.
The History of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Frank H.H. King, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1988. Volume III covers the war years, and is extremely useful. I was sent a copy (at a ridiculously low price) by the HSBC archivist. My wife and I had the pleasure of dinner with Mr King a few years ago at HKU.
History of the IMS (xxxx) (127)
History of RAF Kai Tak G. L. D Alderson, 1972 This thin volume is all there is, apart from one unpublished diary, for the RAF side of the story to be based on. As it covers the years 1927 – 1971, there are only two chapters covering the war years. (38)*
History of World War Two, Liddell Hart The coverage of Hong Kong here is useful, as it documents that as late as 1937 the British Chiefs of Staff had stated that: “Hong Kong should be regarded as an important though not vital outpost to be defended for as long as possible”, and that the defence of Singapore had priority over interests in the Mediterranean. By 1939, the latter point had been reversed. Hart goes on to say that in 1940 the war cabinet accepted the new Joint Chiefs of Staff’s recommendation that the (then) four Hong Kong battalions be evacuated.
Hong Kong Frederick Franklin. Brisbane: Boolarong Press, 2004.
Hong Kong Aftermath Wenzell Brown, Smith & Durrell 1943 Brown was arguably the worst observer of the Second World War, and yet this book does more to capture the atmosphere of wartime Hong Kong than any other. Well worth reading to understand what the experience must have been like, but don’t take any ‘facts’ (especially people and place names, or dates) literally. (29)*
Hong Kong: Before, During and After the War M.F. Key. 1945
Hong Kong Boy Clive & Dorothy Himsworth, Pentland Press 1999 The Himsworth’s book is the story of Clive’s parents at Stanley and before. Told through the medium of reconstructed conversations, it has little value to the historian but would still be useful background reading for any student of the internment. It has an interesting sidelight on one of the fatalities of the 1945 bombing of Bungalow C, though ‘Prosser’ is of course a pseudonym. (69)*
Hong Kong, December 1941 – July 1942 A.D. Blackburn, Journal HKBRAS Vol. 29, 1989
Hong Kong Eclipse G. B. Endacott , Oxford University Press 1978 This is the nearest thing to a ‘History Book’ in the literature. The result of considerable research, it provides the broadest coverage of the Hong Kong wartime experience of servicemen and civilians alike. Essential reading for the serious student. (1)*
Hong Kong Escape R. B. Goodwin OBE, Arthur Barker Ltd. 1953 Goodwin of the HKRNVR made the last (1944) escape of a non-Indian POW from Hong Kong, and this volume predominantly covers his experiences of crossing China while suffering from all the deficiency diseases typically associated with being a prisoner of the Japanese. (34)
Hong Kong Farewell Eddie Gosano, 1997 This short, privately printed biography, is useful primarily as an insight into the inequalities of the Macanese/Eurasian community in pre-war and war-time Hong Kong. Gosano, although a trained doctor, was considered by the British as a ‘junior’ as far as his salary went, but as senior enough to be the BAAG representative in Macau as soon as he had escaped there. Like many such disillusioned people, post-war he chose to live abroad – in his case, in the US. (125)*
The Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club Anthony Spaeth
Hong Kong Full Circle Alexander Kennedy Hong Kong Full Circle was privately printed, with only 500 copies being produced. This is a shame as it is the only published first-hand account of the great MTB escape of Christmas Day 1941 (but having said that, I have two copies so far!) (71)*
Hong Kong Holiday Emily Hahn, Doubleday 1946 This book is a collection of stories, originally written for the New Yorker, of Hahn’s experiences in wartime Hong Kong. By itself, although the style is enjoyable, it is not particularly informative. However, read in conjunction with ‘China to Me’ it amplifies many of the characters and incidents in the latter. (35)*
Hong Kong Incident Phyllis Harrop, Eyre & Spottiswoode 1943 Harrop’s biography makes interesting reading as it covers many years experience in China in the thirties. The second half of the book relates her wartime period in Hong Kong, and her eventual safe evasion. Her eyewitness description of the bombing of Central police station is useful, as is the fact that she meets the infamous Mimi Lau on her travels. Purists should note that dates in her wartime diary are not necessarily accurate. (65)*
Hong Kong Internment, 1942-1945 Geoffrey Charles Emerson, HKUP, 2008 This is a reprint of Emerson’s 1973 MA thesis, with some new illustrations and bibliographical entries. What makes this book useful is that a the time the primary research was done – which included interviewing more than twenty internees – memories were still very fresh. Also, many of the photographs are from the same date, and are now part of the historical record in themselves.
Hong Kong Invaded! A ’97 Nightmare Gillian Bickley, HKUP 2001 The basis of this book is a publication from an anonymous author in 1897, entitled ‘The Back Door’. It covers an imaginary Franco-Russian attack on Hong Kong and is reprinted here in full, together with materials intended to put it into context. There is an interesting attempt to find parallels with the actual fighting of 1941, but as the author’s reading on this period is rooted in Captive Christmas, The Ruins of War, and Campaigns in South-East Asia 1941-42, the parallels discovered are naturally limited. (132)+
Hong Kong Prisoner of War Camp Life A.V. Skvorsov This book of sketches of life in the Hong Kong POW camps was recently republished by SCMP. It is well worth having in your collection, but perhaps a little disappointing in that no research work was done to bring the illustrations to life. Many well-known characters are illustrated here, but unfortunately most modern readers would know little about them.
Hong Kong: Recollections of a British POW Bill Wiseman, Veterans’ Publications 2001 This very readable book covers Wiseman’s experiences (as an RASC officer) during the fighting and after. The most useful section for the historian is the set of detailed descriptions of no less than thirty-three of his fellow officers. His sons were kind enough to send me a copy.
Hong Kong Surgeon Li Shu-Fan, Victor Gollancz Ltd. 1964 As the founder of a hospital (the Hong Kong Sanatorium) and a big game hunter, with friends ranging from Ernest Hemingway to Sun Yat Sen, the author was surely one of the more interesting people in the colony. The book is a full autobiography; Chapter six covers the fighting, and Chapters seven to eleven the remainder of the war. (32)*
Hostages to Fortune Tim Carew, Hamish Hamilton 1971 In this follow on to ‘The Fall of Hong Kong’, Carew examines the fate of those captured, paying particular attention to the Lisbon Maru and the early days in camp when diseases were at their most prevalent. There is also a fifty-page re-cap of the battle for Hong Kong. He occasionally refers to people (see 2nd Lt. Holloway, page 48) who may possibly be illustrative rather than actual. (93)*
Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch, Vol 45, 2005 Of interest as it includes a reprint of Colin McEwan’s wartime diary by Dan Waters – which runs to nearly 80 pages – and a short (10,000 word) history of 3 Coy HKVDC from me.
I Escaped From Hong Kong Jan Marsman, Reynall & Hitchcock 1942 A propaganda piece from a Dutch/American business man who would have been on the PanAm Clipper back to Manila on December 8th 1941 had not the Japanese intervened. He describes the siege of the Repulse Bay Hotel, and his escape from the Colony, but as an outsider he can offer little insight into Hong Kong of those times. I traced a grandson of his to the Philippines, but was unable to establish a dialogue. (95)*
I Was a Hell Camp Prisoner Robert Wright As the Clerk of B Company, Middlesex, Wright was an educated man. His writings work well when read in conjunction with Martin Weedon’s (both, of course, having been on the Lisbon Maru). Wright’s description of the B24 crashes at war’s end are particularly evocative. (In the sixties, he also wrote an article about the Lisbon Maru that was published in the News of the World). (115)
I Was at Stanley Jean Gittins. Recently I have been in touch with Gittins’s daughter who was evacuated to Australia I 1941 – rather later than most.
I WiIl Remember Les Fisher, Privately published, 1996.
In Enemy Hands: Canadian Prisoners of War 1939-45 Daniel G. Danocks, Hurtig 1983 Danocks’ work covers Canadian POWS from Hong Kong and elsewhere. Ex-POWs are quoted verbatim, with no attempt to calibrate memories. Although use of the POWs’ own words is a powerful vehicle, the lack of even the most basic of checks into the accuracy of statements made more than fifty years after the events reduces the value. (88)*
In Oriente Fidelis Peter H. Starling, 1985 Starling’s short history of the medical services’ contribution to the Hong Kong fighting derives largely from Bowie’s earlier work, with some input from Norman Leath and a short summary of the battle. I met Norman in Hong Kong in 1991, and was amazed by the scale of the scare on his neck. (41)+
Indian Cavalryman Freddie Guest, Jarrolds 1959 Guest’s biography includes two chapters on his work at China Command and his escape with the MTB flotilla on December 25th. There is little to be found here not covered in ‘Escape from the Bloodied Sun’. (97)*
The Internment of Western Civilians under the Japanese 1941-1945 Bernice Archer, HKUP, 2008 This thorough account covers the entire experience, of which Hong Kong was just a small part. Although the book is structured around the experiences of men, women, and children in general, in fact there is quite a lot of coverage of Stanley. There is also a useful bibliography.
It Was Like This . . . Redwood, Mabel Winifred. Essex: Anslow, 2001. I received my copy through the kindness of Mabel’s daughter Barbara.
Japan and the Indian National Army T. R. Sareen Indian soldiers captured in Hong Kong were put under great pressure to join the INA. In the vast majority of cases, they refused. Captain Ansari was a case in point; although vocally pro-independence, he was also anti-Japanese. Unfortunately Sareen’s work does not investigate the split loyalties that made the Indian lot so hard to bear, but instead focuses on the high-level relationships between the Japanese and the INA. He appears to believe that the Japanese were sincere in offering help to India to rid themselves of the British yoke, and that coercion was not used to persuade captured Indian troops to join them. In both cases he flies in the face of the understanding of British historians. All in all, a thought provoking work. (108)
Japan’s Imperial Conspiracy David Bergamini Bergamini’s coverage of Hong Kong is misleading in some ways (for example, stating that a quarter of the ’14,500’ defenders were Canadian, or treating the battle around the reservoirs as strategic rather than incidental). The coverage of the attack on North Point power station is also flawed in date, and to state that ‘many of [the defenders] had learned to handle guns only in the week before’ rather misses the point that the majority of the Hughseliers were first world war veterans with far more experience than almost all the regular troops.
Jesuits under Fire in the Siege of Hong Kong Fr. T. Ryan, London 1944 Although by no means as silly and egotistical as the other missionary accounts, this work has little to offer the general historian of the military aspects of the fighting. Having said that, the scale of the shelling and bombing experienced by the civilian population in December 1941 is better expressed here than anywhere else. (59)*
Kai Tak: A History of Aviation in Hong Kong Peter Pigott, Government Printer Chapter Four devotes seven pages to the period from the beginning of the Sino-Japanese war to the surrender in 1945. (16)*
The Knights of Bushido Lord Russell of Liverpool, 1958 Chapter six of this well-known work covers the St Stephen’s College massacre, mainly quoting from Barrett’s war crimes testimonial.
The Lasting Honour Oliver Lindsay, London, Hamish Hamilton 1978 Lindsay’s first book, although appearing to owe much to Luff, is still the best basic text on the subject. It is as readable as a good novel, and covers all the more important engagements of the fighting. This is the first work that I recommend to people who show interest in the matter. Literally recommended reading. (2)*
Letters to Harvelyn Major Kenneth G. Baird, Harper Collins, Toronto, 2002.
Living With Japanese Terence Kelly, Kellan 1997 The connection between Terence Kelly – best known for his writings on flying Hawker Hurricane fighters in the defence of Indonesia – and the Battle of Hong Kong may not be well known, but is very strong. After capture and a particularly unpleasant transportation, Kelly ended up at Innoshima camp near Hiroshima, which was also the home of some one hundred HKVDC prisoners. Kelly gives a clear and interesting portrait of these prisoners and how they were perceived by regular servicemen. (106)*
Long Night’s Journey into Day Charles G. Roland, WLU 2001 Roland’s book is a tour de force. Covering all medical aspects of the fighting and the POW experience, he has interviewed hundreds of survivors to build the most comprehensive coverage in existence. Admittedly the focus is on Canadian veterans, but the lessons learned are applicable to all. Recommended reading. I have been in touch with Chuck for quite a few years now, and he couldn’t be more helpful. He interviewed several hundred Canadian veterans and has shared many of the more useful transcripts with me. (141)+
Looking at the stars: Memoirs of Catherine Joyce Symons Catherine was Donald Anderson’s sister.
Lyemun Barracks, 140 Years of Military History Philip Bruce, 1987
The Maryknoll Mission, Hong Kong 1941–46, Journal Vol. 19, 1979 The Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch.
Matilda: Her Life and Legacy Smith, Joyce Stevens with Joyce Savidge
Medical Officers in the British Army 1660–1960, Sir Robert Drew, London, The Wellcome Historical Medical Library, 1968. This general work has useful biographical information on most of the RAMC officers of the Hong Kong garrison at the time.
The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own) 1919-52 P. K. Kemp, Aldershot 1956 The story of The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own) from 1919 to 1952 covers the 1st Battalion in Hong Kong on pages 28 to 56, and the HKVDC (as an allied regiment) in a short summary of the battled in Appendix Two. There is also a full role of honour for the regiment. (17)+
Minutes of the Annual Conference of the Methodist Church held in Manchester July 1942 Of interest purely for explaining the circumstances of the death of Methodist Minister Eric Moreton. (54)*
Miracle of Deliverance Stephen Harper This has some coverage of the final days of Hong Kong under Japanese rule, and the politics behind the struggle to maintain Hong Kong as a British colony at the time.
No Reason Why: The Canadian Hong Kong Tragedy – An Examination Carl Vincent, Ontario, Canada’s Wing 1981 A well laid-out book is damaged by a blatant nationalism that is painful to the non-Canadian (and, hopefully, for most Canadians too). The first part of the book examines the reason for Canadians being sent to Hong Kong at all – which could be summarised as: Grasett, Maltby’s Canadian predecessor, fought tooth and nail for London and Ottawa to agree to this. The second part, covering the fighting, assumes that all Canadians were heroes, and all other nationalities were fools and cowards. Quoting exclusively from post-fighting Canadian sources, this does little to advance our knowledge of the subject. (107)*
Nobody Said NOT to Go Ken Cuthbertson, Faber and Faber 1998 Cuthbertson’s biography of Emily Hahn perhaps relies a little too much on her own writing, but remains a useful work (despite inaccuracies on the Hong Kong aspects, such as claiming that Maltby’s six infantry battalions had 13,000 men, or that there were no air raid shelters in Hong Kong). (36)
Not The Slightest Chance Tony Banham Detailed elsewhere on this site.
Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War: Six Years of War Ottawa, Cloutier, 1955. Ch XIV, pp 437-91, notes, pp. 590-4
Official History of the Indian Armed Forces in the Second World War 1939-45: Medical Services - Campaigns in The Eastern Theatre (combined InterServices Historical Section, India and Pakistan, Orient Longman, 1964) A very disappointing book from the point of view of this research. Far from covering the Indian Medical Services – which this work desperately needed – the Hong Kong section (admittedly only 17 pages from 519) consisted of a general summary of the fighting and a few quotes from Bowie. No facts about the IMS in Hong Kong are presented.
One Soldier’s Story George S. MacDonell This fine book, by a sergeant in D Coy RRoC, was one that I was unable to find before publication of NtSC (and to my shame called “This Soldier’s Story” in its bibliography). This was one Canadian who used his time in HK before the start of hostilities, in making contacts in the established British garrison. His description of witnessing a Rajput parade says a great deal about the old British Indian Army, and his coverage of life in the camps is excellent. My wife and I were fortunate to have dinner with George and friends one night a few years ago at the Repulse Bay Hotel ‘Spices’ restaurant.
The Orders and Medals Research Society, Autumn 1999, ‘Missing on War Service’ Chris Bilham This very nicely researched article examines the death of Porrett, RN, and shows that he lost his life in the Wong Nai Chong attack of Dec 19th rather than on the 25th as the CWGC (and NtSC) claim.
Oriental Odyssey Sid Varcoe Privately printed by Sid Varcoe of the Winnipeg Grenadiers, this is a volume of his verses covering the period from the arrival of the Canadians through to liberation.
Out of the Shadows W.A.B. Douglas, B. Greenhous 1977
The Overseas-Indian Community in Hong Kong K.N.Vaid
The Pacific: Then and Now Bruce Bahrenburg,
Passage to Hong Kong Norman Gunning, Bicester, Oxford Bound Biographies, 2005.
Passport to Eternity Ralph Goodwin, Arthur Barker 1956 Goodwin’s second book (with a forward by Maltby) is a study of the heroic resistance movement within the Hong Kong POW camps, with especial reference to the four George Cross winners and their assistants. (109)
Personal Experiences During the Siege of Hong Kong George E. Baxter, Printed for East Asian Residents’ Association, Sydney. No date.
The Port of Hong Kong T.N. Chiu
Prisoner of the Japs Gwen Dew, Heinemann 1943 Dew’s reporter’s eye captures many details missed by others. An American desperate to cover the war, she managed to be at both the first Japanese call for surrender (at which she was politely arrested by Wright-Nooth – see next entry) and at the Repulse Bay Hotel for the siege. Her coverage of the latter, in particular, is worth reading. Tantalisingly she took many photos and even cine-films during the fighting. However, apart from one picture that was used to illustrate the South China Morning Post before the surrender, none seem to have survived. (48)*
Prisoner of the Turnip Heads George Wright-Nooth, Pen & Sword 1994 Worth noting as the only coverage of the subject from the point of view of a policeman (with the exception of an unpublished diary in the Hong Kong PRO). The fighting is covered, but the majority of the book is based on the experiences in Stanley internment camp in which the police – despite their militia status – were imprisoned. (51)*
Prisoners of the East Allana Corbin
The Quest of Noel Croucher Vaudine England, HKUP 1998 Croucher, one of Hong Kong’s best-known philanthropists, was born in 1891 in England, and arrived in Hong Kong in 1911. This well-researched biography charts his rise to the position of Chairman of the Stock Exchange, casting many interesting sidelights on the Colony in the middle years of the twentieth century. Chapter Ten covers the war years, and while it is primarily about Stanley Camp, the story of why Croucher was not on the Jeanette is relevant to this work. (58)
Quiet Heroines: Nurses of the Second World War Brenda McBryde, 1985 Chapters ten and eleven of McBrydes useful work cover Hong Kong. (45)*
Recollections of My Life Cicely Winifred Zimmern Carol Murray was kind enough to give me a copy of this privately printed book. After the war (during which Cicely’s father Robert Kotewall followed the instructions of North and worked with the Japanese in order to help the local Hong Kong people – a selfless act that was repaid by unfounded charges of collaboration) Cicely married Archie Zimmern, a member of the Zimmern family who lost three brothers to the war.
Road to Inamura Lewis Bush, Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1972 Bush had a Japanese wife and was the Sub Lieutenant of MTB 08. Fluent in the language, and later transferred to a POW camp in Japan, Bush also wrote ‘Clutch of Circumstance’ and many other works on that country and its people. This is a fascinating book about a fascinating man. (Should be read in conjunction with his wife’s report on her treatment by the Japanese during the war years). (117)
Rollcall at Oeyama Frank Evans. Llandysul, Dyfed: J. D. Lewis and Sons, Ltd., Gomer Press, 1985.
The Royal Artillery Commemoration Book Anon
The Royal Corps of Signals Nadler
The Royal Hong Kong Police (1941-1945) Crisswel, Colin and Watson, Hong Kong Macmillan 1982 Chapter ten of this comprehensive history gives the best coverage of any book of the HKPF during the war years, and Appendix One consists of a useful gazetteer of Hong Kong’s Police Stations. There are also some useful photographs of personnel and equipment. (103)*
The Royal Navy in Hong Kong since 1841 Kathleen Harland, Maritime Books Harland’s book is the best on the subject, but shows how little research has yet been done on the Naval presence in 1941. The coverage of the 1941 period is largely based on Crowther’s diary. (15)
Royal Rifles of Canada Arthur Penney 1962 Written in 1962 as a history of the unit, this book was indirectly responsible for much of the ‘Canadianisation’ of the battle. Penney sticks to his subject with dogged determination (for example, although the book largely focuses on the battle of Hong Kong, he doesn’t mention the HKVDC once). More recent Canadian historians, using Penney as a starting point, have also followed his single-mindedness with far less excuse in works that portray themselves as broad – rather than unit - histories. (101)*
The Royal Rifles of Canada in Hong Kong Grant Garneau, Garneau’s good and scholarly work is a must for anyone seriously studying East Brigade or the battle as a whole. Like the vast majority of Canadian works, it needs to be read in the light of a wider understanding of the event to prevent undervaluing the achievements of the other units involved. If I have one complaint it is that the author continually refers to single sources (instead of cross-checking all facts with multiple sources). This is a dangerous tactic bearing in mind the unique uncertainties and inaccuracies of all source material relating to the battle of Hong Kong. (100)*
Ruins of War Ko Tim-keung & Jason Wordie, Joint Publishing (H.K.) Co. Ltd. 1996 The only one of its kind, this guide takes the reader around all the major wartime sites that still exist in Hong Kong, with photos, maps and suggestions for how to reach them. It is invaluable for any serious researcher or enthusiast. (7)*
Seared in My Memory Bernie Jesse / Norm Park Being recorded by an author who had studied neither the battle nor the location largely wasted Berne Jesse’s story, which – as a survivor of D Company Winnipeg Grenadiers – should have been a useful addition to our understanding of events. (99)*
Season of Storms Robert L. Gandt Gandt’s story is a rehash of the basic Stewart/Maltby timeline, brought to life by useful interviews of around thirty participants in the fighting. (42)*
Second to None Phillip Bruce, Hong Kong, Oxford University Press 1991 Bruce’s book is a scholarly examination of the history of the Hong Kong Volunteers from inception until a few years before their pre-1997 disbandment. The wartime coverage is largely derived from Stewart’s earlier work, but is well handled here. (5)
Serving Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Volunteers Ko Tim-Keung (ed.). Produced by the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence, 2004 I was invited to write the chapter on the war years, and Michael Wright added his memoirs.
Shadow Lights of Sham Shui Po Staff Sergeant H. P. McNaughton McNaughton fought in Hong Kong with the Winnipeg Grenadiers. And compiled this book of verses.
The Shadow of a War James Bertram, John Day 1947 Bertram’s book has the enormous advantage of having been written while memories were still fresh. An Internationalist, Bertram joined 2 Bty HKVDC at the last minute thus his wartime coverage is quite limited in scope (though descriptions of the Stanley Battle are excellent). The later coverage of the POW experience in Japan would have a broader audience. (37)*
The Sinking of the Lisbon Maru, Tony Banham Detailed elsewhere on this site.
The Sinking of the Lisbon Maru G. C. Hamilton, Green Pagoda Press 1966 2nd Lieutenant Hamilton, brought from the HKVDC into the Royal Scots to replace one of the officer casualties, was himself a survivor of the sinking of the Lisbon Maru. While I was very grateful to finally receive a copy (via the kindness of Geoff Coxon) of this work, I was disappointed by its brevity (20 pages). Hamilton did a good job in bringing the details together, but he has been quoted so many times that I found there was nothing here that I hadn’t already read elsewhere.
Six Years of War, Vol. 1 Stacey, Dept. of National Defence 1955 This official history of the Canadian army covers the Hong Kong operation on pages 437-491. The account of how the Canadians became involved is one of the best. The summary of the fighting is also very good; the only minor quibble being an exaggeration of Maltby’s constant consideration of the possibility – however small – of a Japanese sea borne invasion of the southern beaches of Hong Kong Island.
Small Man of Nanataki Liam Nolan Kiyoshi Watanabe was not the only Japanese to try and help the Hong Kong POWs and internees, but he certainly took more risks than any other. ‘Small Man of Nanataki’ is a biography focusing mainly on his years in Hong Kong and his personal tragedies. This book should be on the ‘essential reading’ list, if only to prove that – however few – there were exceptions to the brutalities that characterised wartime Japanese in allied eyes. (83)*
Soldiers All Shirley McNair
Some Historical Notes on Lyemun Barracks Major A.J.B. Rogers This covers the period of the fighting, in the context of the period 1847-1982.
Stanley: Behind Barbed Wire Jean Gittins, HKUP 1982 Gittins’ book focuses primarily, as the title would suggest, on her experiences in Stanley Camp; descriptions of the battle are relegated to just pages 21-24. However, Gittins’ husband Billy was a member of 4th Battery, and the fact that Jean (born Ho Tung) and Billy came from well-established families leads this to being very much a Hong Kong ‘insider’ account. Jean Gittins’ experiences as a member of the Eurasian intellectual elite in pre-war Hong Kong make a fascinating sociological document in their own right. (110)*
The Story of Government House Katherine Mattock, Government Printer 1978 Covering the history of the Governors’ residences from 1841 to the time of publication, three chapters detail the period from the Japanese invasion to the British recovery. The story of the rebuilding of Government House by the Japanese, and the mystery of the buried Chinnerys, are well worth reading. (70)*
Story of the 2/14th Punjab Regiment (D.C.O.) (Brownlow’s) In Hong Kong Capt. Macmillan Unfortunately this seven-page article adds little to our understanding of this sadly under-represented Indian Regiment. (10)*
The Story of the Royal Army Service Corps 1939-45 G. Bell & Sons 1955 This huge and professional volume (over 700 well-illustrated pages) examines in detail the many services performed by the RASC in each theatre. Pages 298 to 304 cover Hong Kong, and all fatalities in all theatres are listed in the Roll of Honour on pages 657-712. (85)*
Strange Harmony William Sewell, 1946 ‘Strange Harmony’ is a rather apt title for this atmospheric account. It begins by describing the civilian experience of wartime Mount Cameron (probably Middle Gap Road, in fact), and then moves on to a lengthy description of life in Stanley. However, the author states up front that apart from his family, all other characters are ‘synthetic’. This limits the value to a historian, but it is still worth reading and occasionally a historic figure (Sir Vandaleur Grayburn, and the Reverend Watanabe being examples) slip through. (80)*
Sui Geng – The Hong Kong Marine Police 1841-1950 Iain Ward, HKUP 1991 A useful account, though without many details on the war years. However, it includes photographs of several of the wartime establishment of the unit. (67)*
Surviving the Slaughter Jean Margaret Crowe, “Legion Magazine”, Vol 55, No. 7 Dec 1980
Taken in Hong Kong Norman Briggs. Publish America, 2006. Briggs’ memoirs were compiled by his daughter Carol Waite. She was kind enough to send me a copy of the original before printing.
The Thistle and the Jade: 150 Years of Jardine Mathieson, Keswick, M. 1982
Through Japanese Barbed Wire Gwen Priestwood, Harrap 1944 Priestwood’s book is dominated by her experiences in Stanley and in one of the first two (simultaneous) escapes from internment – together with policeman ‘Anthony Bathurst’ (W.P. Thompson). Posted initially to the Jockey Club as a nurse, she was lucky to escape the atrocities there by volunteering for the seemingly more dangerous job of driving a delivery lorry. (30)*
Told in The Dark G.P. De Martin, SCMP This unique book, which is undated but was printed soon after the war, is simply a collection of six stories that were told in Stanley Camp to pass the time. As supplies of peanut oil were limited, and darkness aids the imagination, they were literally ‘told in the dark’.
Too hot for Comfort Bill Ream, London: Epworth Press 1988.
Turbans and Traders Barbara-Sue White, OUP 1994 Disappointingly, this interesting book covering the history of the Indian community in Hong Kong devotes only one poorly researched chapter to the war period. The Indian effort in the defence of Hong Kong is by far the least researched, and is worthy of a dedicated study. (86)*
Twilight in Hong Kong Ellen Field, 1960 Field’s book is, apart from Hahn’s work, the only coverage of life in Hong Kong (from the European point of view) during the occupation. The insights into the work of Selwyn-Clark and ‘the small man from Nantaki’ are interesting, and so is the description of the activities of an unidentified BAAG agent spiriting British servicemen from the Colony. (57)*
Twisting the Tail of the Dragon Jean Mathers, 1994 Mathers was the wife of a serving officer of the Punjabis, and spent the entire war in Stanley internment camp. Unfortunately it was not possible to trace a copy of this book.
Two-Gun Cohen Daniel Levy, St. Martin’s Press 1997 The life story of Cohen, a tough London Jew who moved (via Canada) to become Sun Yat Sen’s bodyguard, is utterly unique. By poor luck, he happened to be in Hong Kong as the Japanese attacked, and pages 200-233 cover the period of the fighting and his internment in Stanley. (126)*
Underground from Hong Kong Benjamin Proulx, 1943 As one of the early escapees, Proulx wrote his book before the end of hostilities. It covers the Repulse Bay Hotel siege in detail, but naturally from a very personal point of view. The majority of the story covers the 18 days of fighting, with the escape being simply the last chapter. Like most books written during the war (while key players were still in Japanese captivity), it is short on names. (60)*
Unfading Honour: The Story Of The Indian Army Major-General J. G. Elliott, Barnes 1964 The neophyte wishing to learn something of the Old Indian Army would do well to start with this study. However, with less than four hundred pages to tell the whole story, Elliott could only spare five for Hong Kong before moving on to the larger conflict in Singapore. (81)*
University of Hong Kong: The First 50 Years Brian Harrison, (ed.), 1962
The Valour and the Horror Weisbord, Merrily and Merilyn Simonds Mohr. The Hong Kong episode of the TV program on which this book was partly based described the Gin Drinker’s Line as a ‘white ribbon of concrete’. Enough said. This is for those with a short attention span and little if any interest in the facts. (79)
Victoria Barracks 1842-1979 D. H. Oxley, Hong Kong, British Forces Hong Kong 1979
Voices of a War Remembered Bill McNeil. Doubleday Canada 1991. Kay Christie’s essay is between page 96 to 104.
The Volunteer: Journal of the Royal Hong Kong Defence Corps
The War Against Japan: Official History of the Second World War (HMSO London 1957-61) Vol. I, Chapters V11-IX, pages 107-56 cover Hong Kong. Appendix 6 gives the Japanese Order of Battle. A short but accurate account in the impersonal style one would expect from an Official History. (62)*
Wayfoong: The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation M. Collis, 1965
We Flee From Hong Kong Alice Y. Lan & Betty M. Hu , Zondervan 1944 The one redeeming feature of this otherwise dull missionary book is that it describes – briefly – life in Kowloon between the Japanese occupation and the fall of Hong Kong. Living in Grampian Road, Kowloon (near the old Kai Tak airport) the authors were in the middle of the action. The majority of the book however, covers their escape to America via China. (111)+
We Shall Suffer There Tony Banham Detailed elsewhere on this site.
Where Life and Death Hold Hands William Allister, Stoddart 1989 Whether this is a ‘classic’ of world war two literature is debatable, but it is without doubt the nearest thing to it to have emerged from the Hong Kong campaign (Bertram’s book is the only other that would come close). Written by an artist who should never have been near a war, it is at times painfully honest. A Canadian signalman who ended up as a POW in Japan, Allister went on to an interesting career in film and media. (50)*
Whereon the Wild Thyme Blows J.F. Marshall
White Ensign - Red Dragon Commodore P. J. Melson, Edinburgh Financial 1997 Melson’s book relies heavily on Kathleen Harland’s earlier work for the coverage of the war years. This list of HM Ships in the appendix is useful, though it neglects to mention HMS Scout. (68)*
Winged Dragon Valerie Penlington, Odyssey Productions 1996 Penlington’s history of the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force covers the entire period from the first suggestion of forming a Flying Section of the HKVDC (in June 1930), through to the RHKAAF’s disbandment in March 1993. The wartime period, during which neither unit was operating, is covered in just two pages. However, there is an interesting list of personnel as an appendix. (72)*
Wings for an Embattled China W. Langhorne Bond, Lehigh University Press, 2001 This book tells how Bond set up CNAC (China National Aviation Corporation). An interesting book in its own right, chapter 8 (pages 282 to 299) tells the story of Bond’s – and CNAC’s – involvement in the air evacuation of Hong Kong from December 8th to 10th.
Wings Over Hong Kong Cliff Dunnaway (108), Odyssey 1998 This coffee-table history of aviation in Hong Kong covers the period of the Second War on pages 129 to 134, though there are also useful articles on the China Clipper, inter-war aviation, and the Far East Flying Training School. The most useful part of the wartime coverage is a short series of photos, taken from the air, of the Japanese attack on Kai Tak. (112)+
The Women of Stanley Bernice Archer Published in Women’s History Review, Volume 5, Number 3, 1996, Archer’s paper analyses the roles and contributions to camp life made by the female internees. (53)*
WWII History, Jan 2003, Vol 2, No. 1 This magazine carries an article “Heroic Defense of Hong Kong” from page 48 to 63, continued on 85. Like many such articles, the general feel is very accurate, but a number of errors have crept in. Lieutenant ‘Potato’ Thompson is a prime example, as is the idea that the Middlesex pillboxes came under Fortress Command, and that troops were at the Repulse Bay Hotel 'for a rest'. (However, I would certainly recommend the magazine).