The Fall of Hong Kong 1941

These notes were made by Charles Toms Bailey, an employee of Cable and Wireless who was roped in for ARP work in the run up to war. The exercise book in which these notes were made remained in his possession after he was interned as a prisoner of the Japanese and his notes cover the first few months of imprisonment.

5th January 1942, Monday

All British, American + Dutch subjects ordered to register at Murray Parade Ground.

A.R.P. agreed to undertake this registration but owing to lack of organisation on the part of the Japanese, registration was called off as a complete failure. A,R,P. went back to Tai Koon, where we had to double up + sleep two in a bed, as about 200 more persons were sent there. All British, American + Dutch subjects , with the exception of those on medical work + some who would not register + remained on the Peak, were interned in five Chinese hotels in the town.

From this date we were not allowed out. Rations of rice, meat, fish + firewood were sent in by Japanese in very inadequate quantities + these were suplemented to a certain extent with tinned goods. The Medical Dept were able to send us small quantities of bread, which averaged at about one slice per person per day. many rumours of our being moved  to a permanent internment camp were current but did not materialise until 21/1/42.

28th December 1941, Sunday

Ordered to leave Dina House as Japs wanted to occupy.

Quarters found for us at Tai Koon Hotel. Left Dina House about 4.45pm on lorry with luggage. Several others on lorry + rest of the men walked, but women sent round in cars. Plenty of accommodation in hotel and supplied with rice flour and 2 1/2 tins of boneless ham by Japs. Allowed freedom to go out until the general internment.

< This is the final entry in the diary for 1941, the next entry will be posted on 5th January >

25th December 1941, Thursday

Attended service in the Cathedral in the morning with Cole. Cathedral had been slightly damaged and shells were coming over most of the time we were in there. Met [Videro] later + as I had not much to do, agreed to take him out to Pokfulum with rations. Whilst at Pokfulum visited the Weils, who had just heard that we had capitulated. Could not believe this, so rang up C.S.O. tunnel for confirmation.Capitulation confirmed so asked for instructions and was told to return to Dina House and stay put. This was about 5pm. Drove back to Dina House without incident + saw no Japanese en route.

24th December 1941, Wednesday

Went shopping in morning with Cole and bought Xmas presents for the women at Dina House + other things at Wing On. “Suicide Squad” again went to Happy Valley in the evening for further stores, but were unable to get through owing to heavy shelling of Gap Road. Had to spend about one hour in A.R.P. tunnel at Wang Chai. After visiting Supreme Court to tell Macgregor of negative result, returned the two lorries to transport depot and visited Upper Levels Report Centre on the way back. Found them all locked and barred inside and the floor covered with beds with women on them.

At the beginning of hostilities I slept mostly at the school, but after removal of A.R.P. Hq to the C.S.O. tunnel, resumed sleeping at home (Century Crescent, Kennedy Road). When shelling of Happy Valley and Gap Road became bad, I took Mrs Evans there also. This was about Dec 18th. On Dec 23rd was told by Puckle to move into Dina House, where those working in Hq (C.S.O. tunnel) were sleeping.

23rd December 1941, Tuesday

Ordered to evacuate A.R.P. school at 7am.

Japs in upper part of valley.

I was told in tunnel not to go out that morning. Eastern Report Centre removed back to No 2 Police station and in the evening evacuated from there to Northcote College.

Repulse Bay surrendered at 4pm (A. L. Shields spokesman). I conducted a “suicide squad” to A.R.P. school at dusk and rescued 10 drums chloride of lime, some camp beds and various other s<1> .

Squad consisted of Cole who drove lorry + myself, + Murphy who went in car to Gap Road school. We dumped the chloride at the Supreme Court on return and had drinks with Sir Atholl Macgregor + party.

<1 There is some damage to the outer margin of the page with this entry. Other words have been recovered with confidence but one word starting with “s” is mainly lost. It might have been “stuff”.>

16th December 1941, Tuesday

Enemy landed at North Point under smoke screen from burning A.P.C. oil tank.

Up till time of evacuation of A.R.P. school Happy Valley my work consisted of getting stores out to divisions, shifting stores from Khasal Diwan<1> to [Morrison] Hill Road school, shifting stores from A.R.P. school to Gap Road school, evacuating stores from Govt Store North Point, collecting Kerosene from [godowns] + distributing it to Report Centres etc.,  arranging lorries + coolies for distribution of sand for sand bagging etc., etc. [Chan] Tai Kwong + Fung Kai Lam both useless in dead [funk] but a lot of help received from Wong Sze Chuen + Chowla (Hq Indian telephonist).

<1 Presumably Khalsa Diwan>

11th December 1941, Thursday

Kowloon evacuated.

8th December 1941, Monday

War declared.