Some notes on the BAAG ‘Uninterned Lists’ (1)

The Hong Kong resistance organisation the British Army Aid Group compiled lists of those British civilians who, like Thomas, were not interned in Stanley during 1942 and early 1943. Information on these lists was provided by Dr. Court and Dr. Selwyn-Clarke (Agent 13) at the French Hospital, the bankers Hyde and Fenwick, and the Chinese agent Raymond Wong (Agent 99, who also worked for the communist resistance movement, the East River Guerrillas).[1]

 Thomas’s name is on two of these lists: he appears on one headed Free Europeans (Contd.), under the sub-heading Medical Department:

 Tommy Edgar (he has a bakery in Wantsai[2])

He’s one of those described explicitly as living at the French Hospital. Evelina isn’t on this list, although other wives are mentioned. 

 I don’t think that this list came directly from Dr. Selwyn-Clarke. It gives us these names:

 J. G. Hooper

E. C. Kerrison

F. W. Warburton

L. W. R. Macey

J. Fox and wife

 Someone (presumably the list compiler) has bracketed these names and typed Thought to be S. D (=Sanitation Department). Leslie Macey’s daughter Ruth Sale has kindly made available to me a letter he sent home soon after the Japanese surrender which makes it clear he was in the Sanitation Department and that he was almost certainly living at the French Hospital; I think it’s safe to assume the others were too (just beneath these names but not included in the bracket comes that of A. C. Sinton, another public health worker – he was executed on October 29, 1943 for smuggling messages in and out of Stanley[3]). If this list had originated with Selwyn-Clarke he would have known for certain these men were in the Sanitation Department as he was organising their work and living alongside them. I think that Dr. Court would have known this too, so my guess is that the information comes from one of the bankers Hyde and Fenwick, or from Raymond Wong.

The second list includes the two other bakers and Thomas’s name is repeated for completeness:

 Baker’s at St. Pauls (French Hospital).

 Edgar (Name given in previous list).

Hammond.

Peacock.

 Sgt. J. Hammond was an RASC baker.[4] I know nothing about Peacock except the details provided by Staff Sergeant P. Sheridan after his escape from Hong Kong: Mr. Peacock (no initial given) was a confectioner and pastry cook working for Lane, Crawford. I suspect this means he provided delicacies for the Café Wiseman, the restaurant in the Lane Crawford headquarters, the Exchange Building. Before the opening of the Stubbs Rd.premises in 1938 the Cafe had its own bakery – I’ve not yet been able to find out if this continued once the new and much more modern facility was opened. In his September 1946 article for the British Baker Thomas mentions Hammond, Sheridan and the three delivery drivers, but not Peacock. It’s possible that like so many others forced into close proximity by the conditions of the occupation they ended the war preferring to ignore each other’s existence! In any case, Leck’s book (see below) gives his Christian name as Serge and his age in 1945 as 39.

Just above the list of the three bakers is one headed Britishers in Town (Not Interned)

 The list begins:

 Dorothy Brazier, 53

Harold Fethirstonhaugh Collier, 52

Mrs. Francis Dorothy Collier, 55

Miss Alice Nora Dillon, 36

Miss Margaret Aileen Jennings, 58

Doris Grace Lemon, 36

Miss Ruth Little, 28

Miss Iris K. Critchell, 29,

Miss Mildred Dibden, 37

 As far as I know, these were all missionaries, and I’ll write about them in due course. None of them are in the Stanley Camp List given by Greg Leck in his excellent study of civilian internment in China,[5] and my guess is that most of them remained ‘out’ throughout the war – although the Colliers were part of the Canadian repatriation of September 1943.[6] Their presence on this list makes me fairly certain the information this time came from Selwyn-Clarke: the Colliers were confined to their flat in Kowloon from June to October 1942 after missing being interned due to a mix-up. In June they were told by a Kempeitai Colonel they’d be shot if they left home, but in October a fellow missionary alerted Selwyn-Clarke to their existence, and he arranged for them to be given passes which allowed them some freedom.[7] I doubt that any of the other possible sources of information knew about this pair.

The next three names on the list are those of people in a different category:

 George Halligan, 30

Ivy May Halligan, 32

Eric Gordon Humphrey, 26

 George Halligan and Eric Humphery (Leck’s spelling is Humpherey) were engineers. The BAAG list has a separate category detailing, for example, Gas Company employees, but these two are put in the ‘miscellaneous’ category of ‘Britishers in town’, so it’s not clear why they were kept out of Stanley. It’s possible that the Japanese were making use of their professional knowledge, or that they were ‘guaranteed out’, a process I shall describe in a future post. Halligan is an Irish name (and the Halligans were Catholics) but this couple ended up in Stanley, which suggests they probably didn’t claim Irish nationality to avoid internment. George Halligan is described by Leck as an engineer with Far East Motors.[9] He was one of the ‘technicians’ who, in what must have been an unnerving late development, were sent out of Camp on August 10, 1945, heading for an unknown destination but ending up in Kowloon. No-one really knows why this group was taken out of Stanley, but one popular theory was that it was done to deny the Allies their expertise in the event of an assault on Hong Kong – if this theory is correct, then it suggests that the Japanese did not plan to massacre the internees rather than see them freed.[11]

 Once in Stanley, the Halligans adopted a very young girl, Jean Clark, because the birth mother seemed unable to look after her under Camp conditions, but were compelled to return her a few weeks later after a change of heart.[12] They were witnesses at a wedding just after the end of the war, one for which Thomas baked the cake.[13]

 Leck gives Humphrey’s Christian names as Eric Gordon Knowles and his job as Electrical Engineer for the Hong Kong and Whampoa Dock Company.[14] He too ended up in Stanley. When the departure of the technicians was announced, he quickly married Sheila Bruce; however, although the more established wives like Ivy May Halligan were allowed to accompany their husbands, the new Mrs. Humphreys wasn’t.[15]

 The list continues:

 G. K. Hall-Brutton, 75

Mrs. A. G. Jefford, 57

A. Morris (in Un Long), 68

R. Tatz, 10,

W. O. Nodes, 53

C. W. L. Shearer, 64

 I’ll provide notes on these people in a future post.


[1] Information kindly supplied by Elizabeth Ride. I thank Elizabeth and Tony Banham for sending me scans of the lists themselves.

[2] Sic. Thomas’s bakery was the Qing Loong in Wanchai; Wantsai is the name of a completely different part of Hong Kong. I’m not sure of the significance of this mistake.

[5] Greg Leck, Captives of Empire, Shandy Press, 2006.

[6] Their book Covered Up In Kowloon (1947) although grimly pietistic is a fascinating source for life in Kowloon during the first half of the occupation.

[7] Colliers, 67-70.

[9] Leck, 629.

[14] Leck, 632.

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2 Comments

Filed under British Army Aid Group, Hong Kong WW11, Selwyn-Selwyn Clarke

2 responses to “Some notes on the BAAG ‘Uninterned Lists’ (1)

  1. Pingback: The Baag Lists (2): ‘Guaranteed Out’ | The Dark World's Fire: Tom and Lena Edgar in War

  2. Pingback: Mildred Dibden | The Dark World's Fire: Tom and Lena Edgar in War

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