Lee Lam

Note: This is one of a series of posts on the people executed on October 29, 1943. I have only two sources for Mr. Lee, and one of them doesn’t use his name, so I can’t be certain they both refer to the same man. The incident described does seem the same though. Corrections and additions are very welcome.
Note 2: For more information from a new source see https://brianedgar.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/lee-hung-hoi/

 In September 1942 the British Army Aid Group was passing messages to POWs from Shamshuipo when they were sent out of camp to work on extending Kai Tak airport. This work stopped in December and for several weeks the link was broken until a ration truck driver passed a message to T. Farrell, who took it to Captain Douglas Ford.[1] The driver was thirty eight year old Lee Lam – known as ‘Sunny Jim’. He was employed before the war in the Government Finance Department. In 1942/43 he was working for the Kowloon Bus Company.

 The story of his first delivery is told in more detail by Ralph Goodwin, although he never gives the name of the agent:

 On four days a week a ‘ration party’ of prisoners was driven out on a truck to collect rice and vegetables from a market in Kowloon, and the driver of that truck was a Chinese….Agent 68 recruited him to the cause and it was still only January of 1943 when Driver T. Farrell, R. A. S. C., a regular member of the ration party, received a note from the truck driver.

Farrell had just finished unloading some sacks of rice, and as he waited for the next job the driver brushed close past him and slipped a piece of paper into his hand. At the same time he whispered, ‘For Captain Ford’.[2]

 This first message began a vigorous two-way message service:

 Requests were sent out for the urgently needed drugs which the Japanese had refused to supply, and small packages were soon being sent forward.[3]

 Farrell also took delivery of compasses set in collar studs, messages and maps of the surrounding territory – all vital to would-be escapers. [4] Lee Lam’s work expanded:

 The ration lorry which served Shamshuipo also delivered stores to Argyle Street, and the driver recruited by Agent 68 agreed to carry notes between the camps.[5]

 This brought Shamshuipo into contact with the senior officers at Argyle Street. Lee Lam’s work was highly professional:

 The Chinese truck driver was working with cool efficiency, passing most of his messages by hand.[6] [7]

 In mid-June the contacts in Argyle Street got a message from Lee Hung Hoi telling them Lee Lam had been arrested. They immediately ‘closed down the business; but it was too late.[8] Presumably they knew Lee Lam – by number only – because he was part of a system that linked the Camps.

Lee Lam was one of the 33 courageous people executed close to Stanley Beach on October 29, 1943.

[1] Oliver Lindsay, At The Going Down Of The Sun, 1981, 118.

[2] Ralph Goodwin, Passport to Eternity, 1956, 106.

[3] Goodwin, 107.

[4] Goodwin, 107.

[5] Goodwin, 108.

[6] Goodwin, 108.

[7] Some of the methods used by Lee Lam and the other ‘very courageous’ Chinese truck drivers are described by J. R. Harris in Oliver Lindsay and John R. Harris, The Battle For Hong Kong 1941-1945, 2005, 189-195.

[8] Lindsay, 122.


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Filed under British Army Aid Group, Hong Kong WW11

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