‘Guaranteeing Out’ 3: The Evidence of Greg Leck’s Captives of Empire

For ‘guaranteeing out’ see https://brianedgar.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/guaranteeing-out-the-evidence-of-the-maryknoll-diary/

There are a number of people on Greg Leck’s Stanley Camp Roll (in Captives of Empire, 2006) who are described as having left camp for Victoria or for Hong Kong but whose names do not appear on any of the BAAG lists of uninterned Britishers in my possession. It seems probable that most of these left under the ‘guaranteeing out’ system.

Here are the names I’ve found on the list so far. Ages are for 1945. All nationalities are given as British. I’ve left out the American Maryknoll Order who all eventually left camp or were repatriated – they’re discussed in the post mentioned baove.

1) Ezra Abraham, a broker with Tester and Abraham Exchange brokers

Ezra Abraham was one of the signatories of the articles of incorporation of the Kowloon Cricket Club in 1930.[1] He was Vice President of the Kowloon Cricket Club Lawn Bowls section in 1940,[2] and there’s was a shield and dining room named after him at the KCC in the 1950s.[3] He’s probably the Ezra Abraham who died on December 7, 1946 and is buried in the Happy Valley Jewish Cemetery.[4]

2) Janet Broadbridge, 26, a stenographer with Gilman and Co. Ltd.

Janet Broadbridge was Eurasian, so might not have needed to be guaranteed out: she would undoubtedly have had to fill in paperwork, but I don’t know if she and other Eurasians had to find third nationals to ‘guarantee’ their expenses and good behaviour.  She went to work for[5] and eventually married the jockey and broker Victor Needa:

Veronica Needa:

My mother was Janet Broadbridge. A fleshy soft-featured Hong Kong Eurasian beauty – 15 years younger than my father.[6]

3) William Russell Crichton, 54 a foreman with W.S. Bailey and C. Ltd.

This was a shipbuilding company.

4) Doris Mabel Cuthbertson, 45 a secretary with Jardine Matheson, released in September 1942.

She was guaranteed out by a French national and lived with a Portuguese. Her pass was a neutral’s one with the strange description ‘semi enemy’ written on it in Japanese! The purpose of getting her out of Stanley was to organise relief for Jardine Matheson staff in the various camps. One of the people who helped her by allowing parcels to be sent in his name was Ezra Abraham (see above). I have a BAAG document relating to her work, so will post separately about her in the future. Some information at: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/12153271

5) James Ferguson, 64, an accountant

6) Bishop Cuthbert Martin O’ Gara, 59, released 12 September 1942

Bishop O’ Gara needs a post to himself.

7) George Michael Gillard, 64, a hotel manager

8) George Gosling 64, retired

9) Rev. William Haughey, 37, missionary – on June 1, 1942 he and his fellow Salesian signed their papers and left camp (Maryknoll Diary).

10) Joseph Edgar Joseph, 63, retired

11) Phyllis Irene Owen, 57

12) Mrs.Florence A. Proulx, 41 (at time of the taking of Hong Kong – see ‘comment’  below)

Michael Proulx 14

Roger  Proulx, 9

Mrs. Proulx’s husband Benjamin made an early escape from Hong Kong. She and her two sons are recorded as having arrived safely at Macao at some time before July, 1944.[8] A report in a post-war Canadian newspaper seems to suggest that they were interned on Macao,[9] but as this source states wrongly that the Japanese had taken over the Portuguese Colony, perhaps it should be taken to indicate that the Proulx family went there with Japanese permission. After the war she explained clearly the main reason for the whole ‘guaranteeing out’ system:

Some time after the fall of the city, the Proulx family were allowed to leave Stanley Camp and report to the authorities regularly, ‘because that meant so many fewer mouths to feed’. China Mail, September 24, 1945, page 6.

13)Eileen Jeanette Stevens, 37, secretary

14)  Mrs. Clotilde Celeste Thirlwell, 26, wife of J. W. Thirlwell, a POW in the HKVDC

Margaret May Monica Thirlwell, 14

James ‘Sonny’ Thirwell was in Shamshuipo, after fighting in the No. 3 Machine Gun Company, and later drafted to Japan (15/12/43).
In Stanley were:
Mrs. Thirwell;
her son, who was in the Harbour Office and after the war became lighthouse keeper at Waglan Island;
Veronica (Ronny)
This information comes from Vic Russell, reporting the death (28 December 2000)of his brother’s wife, Millie Russell (formerly Thirwell), who does not seem to be one of this listed as in Stanley.
Source: Arthur Gomes Newsletter, 1 October 2001, 3
One Mrs. Thirwell was formerly Ivy Denton; sadly the information I have about this family is rather unclear.

15) Brother Bernard Tohill, 26, staff of the Aberdeen Industrial School. He left camp with Father Haughey on June 1, 1942.

16) Miss So Yu, 34 nursing sister

See comments on Janet Broadbridge.

The names on this list and those given in do not equal the number of people mentioned as having been guaranteed out by Geoffrey Emerson and the Maryknoll Diary. A number of people seem to have ‘disappeared’ into Hong Kong. However, I know of no evidence to support Emily Hahn’s claim that most of those guaranteed out were arrested by the Kempeitai some of them long term. The only two who were definitely arrested were Chester Bennett and A. E. Murphy, who ended up a patient in the French Hospital, from where he was taken to die in custody. There may of course have been arrests of which I am currently unaware.



Filed under Hong Kong WW11

3 responses to “‘Guaranteeing Out’ 3: The Evidence of Greg Leck’s Captives of Empire

  1. Pingback: The Free French in Hong Kong (2): Raoul de Sercey | The Dark World's Fire: Tom and Lena Edgar in War

  2. Corrections to item 12 above: Florence Proulx was 41 when the Japs took Hong Kong. Michael Proulx was 14. Roger Proulx was 9. I know this because I am that Roger Proulx.

    • Thanks, Roger – that seems rather authoritative!
      I’ve now got your father’s book, which I didn’t have when I wrote that note, so I’ll also update from that.
      If you could comment on any of the other details I’d be grateful – the ‘interned’ in Macao claim for example.
      All the best,

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