News of Hong Kong in England (4); December 17, 1941

Hong Kong’s off the Mirror’s front page for Wednesday, December 17, but on page 2 that fine columnist William Connor (‘Cassandra’) finally comes up with a piece of uplift that’s totally realistic and, as you would expect from his nom de plume, prophetic:

 Page 2

Big Things

BIG things have happened since the first of the month. Big husky events as bold and as tough as the fall of France.

But whether the news is labelled Tokio. Borneo, Singapore, Guam, Oahu, Manila or Hong Kong—it is all secondary to what has taken place in Russia.

There, the greatest war machine of all time has stopped.

And Hitler didn’t put the brake on either.

 The reassurance provided by the war news article, continued on the back page from page 1, is much less convincing. The general headline is:

Chinese Aid Hong Kong

The sub-section begins with a gloomy report:

Kowloon Evacuated

HONG KONG.—All our forces in this hard-pressed colony have been withdrawn to the island from Kowloon across the narrow strait.

Berlin radio quoted Tokio reports last night that some of the Japanese had set foot on the island itself, but there is no suggestion of this from any other source.

It was also claimed that Japanese artillery had “silenced” the fortress.

‘Hong Kong is being continuously bombarded by Japanese planes,’ added this unconfirmed report.

Then follows the now familiar evocation of Chinese help:

 Yangtse Fighting

 The Chinese have intensified their attacks on the enemy in the area east of the

Pearl River near Canton, harassing the enemy’s movements along the Canton-

Kowloon railway being used for supplies in the attack on Hong Kong.

Fighting has flared up in the middle part of the Yangtse River, reported Moscow radio last night…

 The Express for December 17 had a report from a correspondent in Hong Kong Edgerton Gray

 HONGKONG, TUESDAY

 JAPANESE forces have occupied Macao, the Portuguese island at the mouth of the Canton river facing Hongkong from the west, it is learned tonight….

 So far Edgerton’s not covering himself in glory: Macao isn’t an island, and the Japanese never formally occupied it (although the Americans did bomb it late in the war, perhaps believing it was under enemy occupation).

 The Japanese shelled Hongkong last night and morning with air support, but the damage was negligible.

 All our troops are now on the island. Evacuation of the Kowloon leased territory on the mainland has been completed.

 Chungking despatches report that the Chinese armies are continuing their counter-attacks at Tamshui, 35 miles north-east of Kowloon and have gained new territory.

 The Express also provides a page 1 ‘War Front Round Up’, giving the news as of 3 a.m., and, as the reader is helpfully informed, taking 3 minutes to read. The section on Hong Kong begins:

 ALL the Allied troops have left the mainland. The investment of the island fortress is now complete.

The summary explains that what is needed is more aircraft and that the Chinese have few of them – although a much greater assault than their current ‘harassing attacks’ is in the pipeline.

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