The Baag Lists (2): ‘Guaranteed Out’

I ended my previous post with a question:

But what of the non-religious of other nationalities –  is it possible to identify any people ‘guaranteed out’? I’ll take up this issue in future posts. (See this post for an explanation of the system whereby some people were ‘guaranteed out’ of internment at Stanley.)

First of all, it’s worth noting that there seem to have been a number of different sets of conditions for those allowed to leave camp, and the Japanese might not have thought in terms of one single process of ‘guaranteeing out’#. Raoul de Sercey notes that Doris Cuthbertson was not required to promise not to act against Japanese interests – this implies that such a promise was usual. The terms of Chester Bennett’s release required home to engage in no business and generally stay close to home. (,2037668)

Some of the names on the BAAG list of Britishers In Town might be of people who had been ‘guaranteed out’. Such people should also appear on the list given by Greg Leck (in his fine book Captives of Empire) as ‘released’, usually to ‘Hong Kong Victoria’. However, some people known to have been ‘in town’ are not marked in any way on Leck’s list. Three people I discussed in a previous post[1] are in this category: the Halligans and Eric Humphrey; as I pointed out there, they might have been guaranteed out or sent/kept out so that the occupiers could make use of the engineering skills of the two men.

Here are more names on the ‘Britishers’ list and some brief notes about them:

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

George Kingston Hall Brutton was born on 7 Nov 1866 in Yeovil, Somerset.[2] This is the entry for him in a Far Eastern ‘Who’s Who’ published in 1906-1907:

BRUTTON, George Kingston Hall  (HONGKONG), Solicitor ; b. 1866 ;  2nd s. of Joseph Brutton, of Yeovil,
Somersetshire, and Parkholme,  Eastbourne ; iti. Marie Louise, e. d. of Thomas Hart, F.S.A., Polbrean,  The Lizard, Cornwall ; one child,  Margaretta (Meta) Hall. Educ. : Sherburne School ; 1st XI. and 1st  XV. Admitted to Bar, 1891. Clubs :  Hongkong, Shanghai Country.  Address: The Castle, Hongkong;  Parkholme, Eastbourne, England

According to another source, he and Marie Louise had a son Neve in about 1897.[4] Margaretta is reported married in 1912 or 1916 by different sources.

As a young man he became an officer in a West Country rifle regiment:

1st (Exeter and South Devon) Volunteer Battalion,

I fie Devonshire Rtgiment, George Kingston Hall Brutton, Gent., to be Second Lieutenant. Dated 9th July, 1887.

He seems to have been an adjutant in the Hong Kong Volunteers during WW1.[5] He’s recorded by Leck as having been released to the French Hospital,[6] so if the BAAG got their facts right he probably went there first for treatment and wwas then allowed to live somewhere in town because of old age and continuing weakness, perhaps after being guaranteed out by a neutral friend. He survived the war but diedo n 14 Sep 1947.

Mrs. Alice Gertrude Jefford is described by Leck (633) as British and 61 in 1945. He notes that she was released toVictoria, and she seems a likely candidate for having been ‘guaranteed out’.

Alfred Morris, a retired Schoolmaster, is recorded by Leck as having died in July 1945 after release to Hong Kong, so he’s another person who was most likely ‘guaranteed out’

Robert Tatz had a remarkable wartime experience: he was really in the situation that James Ballard only pretended to be in for fictional purposes – a child alone in the Japanese occupation. Tatz was 10 years old in 1942 and both his parents were dead. During the fighting he was looked after for a time by Quaker Missionary William Sewell and his family. He was in Stanleyfor a time but was released to the Canossian Convent.[7] There’s ample evidence that the Japanese treated children well, and my guess is that they would have accepted whatever arrangement promised him the best care, so he might not have needed to be ‘guaranteed out’ in the formal sense.

William Oliver Nodes, British and an undertaker working for Brown, Jones and Co. Funeral Undertakers is described by Leck (640) as ‘released’ to Victoria so he’s another good candidate for having been ‘guaranteed out’.

Captain Charles William Linklater Shearer, a retired Master mariner, was released to Victoria on September 5, 1942 (647), so he’s my third candidate for ‘guaranteeing out’ from the ‘Britishers’ list  (with the two Halligans and Eric Humphreys as also possible).

There are also some names of people who might have been guaranteed out on the BAAG list of patients, which is on the same page as Britishers In Town and is headed In St. Paul’s French Hospital. It seems that the Japanese allowed patients who needed serious medical treatment to enter the French Hospital at all stages: Paul Oscar Peuster is recorded as dying there on June 5, 1942 and the Reverend George Charles May in December 1944.[8] Such releases are not to be confused with the permission given for less serious cases to leave Stanley for X-Ray, which was withheld after the escape of R. E. Stott in August 1942[9] and presumably came to an end after the arrest of Dr. Talbot for money smuggling in February 1943.[10]

Leck records release direct to the Hospital for a number of patients on this list. Three examples all called White and as far as I know unrelated:

Geoffrey Charles Patrick White, 72 in 1945, a marine engineer for the Hong Kong and Kowloon Wharf and Godown Co. Ltd.

Thomas White, 59 in 1945, on the office staff of the Sino-Foreign trading Corp.

Francis William White, 76 in 1945, estate and finance broker.[11]

It seems that these people and  a few others on thi list went straight from Stanley to the French Hospital, but there are two people on the list of patients who might have been guaranteed out before becoming sick and moving into the Hospital.

Alfred Edward Murphy, an overseer, is recorded as having moved to Victoria. Leck gives his age in 1945 as 53,[12] but in fact he died in late 1944 or early 1945 after having been arrested by the Kempeitai. I’ll post about him in the future.

Joseph Edgar Joseph, 63 in 1945, is described as a retiree and released into Hong Kong. I think that like Murphy he was probably guaranteed out.[13]

Everyone else on the patients list is either not on Leck’s list or is recorded as having moved to the French Hospital, which I assume involved a different process to being guaranteed out.

In a final post on this subject I’ll discuss those people who are recorded by Leck as having left Camp for Hong Kong but aren’t on any of the BAAG lists of the uninterned in my possession.

[6] Greg Leck, Captives of Empire, 2006, 619.

[8] Leck, 642, 638.

[10] For a discussion of the date see

[11] All three Whites are listed on page 652 of Captives of Empire and described as moved to the French Hospital.

[12] Leck, 640.

[13] Leck, 633.


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