About

This blog focuses on the experiences of my parents Thomas and Evelina Edgar in Hong Kong 1941-1945. It’s full title is:

In The Dark World’s Fire: Thomas and Evelina Edgar in Occupied Hong Kong.

When the blog is completed it will provide a full picture of their life at the time in the context of what is known about the general history of  war-time Hong Kong. Then I’ll go on to decribe my post-war experience of my parents’ experience. There’s no generally accepted methodology for approaching this subject, but interested readers might begin with Anne Karpf’s distinguished memoir, The War After.

Thomas Edgar’s fate was unusual in that he was not sent into Stanley Internment Camp in January 1942 like most of the British community, but kept in Hong Kong city in order to bake bread, primarily for the hospitals. He was interned first in his company Headquarters, Exchange House, and then in St. Paul’s Hospital (usually known as The French Hospital), until he was sent into Stanley in May 1943.

This blog will therefore also feature articles on other Allied nationals subjected to ‘in town’ interment. I shall also write articles on aspects of the general history of Stanley Camp that interest me, in particular the inhabitants of Bungalow D, where Thomas and Evelina lived for their two years or so in Camp.

 A lot of the best sources for Stanley are archival or in hard-to-get-hold-of personal accounts written by former internees. The best and most accessible include:

Tony Banham, We Shall Suffer There – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shall-Suffer-There-Defenders-Imprisoned/dp/9622099602

Geoffrey Emerson, Hong Kong Internment – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hong-Kong-Internment-1942-1945-Japanese/dp/9622098800/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322142692&sr=1-1

George Wright-Nooth Prisoner of the Turnip Heads – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Prisoner-Turnip-Heads-Horror-1941-45/dp/0850524156/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322142755&sr=1-2 (Amazon has second hand copies only available at the moment)

An essential online resource for Stanley Camp is Geoffrey Emerson’s original 1973 thesis. Emerson is responsible for much of our knowledge of the Camp:

http://hub.hku.hk/handle/10722/1057/browse?type=author&order=DESC&rpp=20&value=Emerson%2C+Geoffrey+Charles

Emerson, Banham and some former internees often post at the Yahoo Stanley Camp Discussion Group:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stanley_camp/messages

 Members have access to some additional material.

Tony Banham’s Hong Kong War Diary is essential reading for those interested in the broader subject of Hong Kong 1941-45 and often carries information about Stanley in its updates:

http://www.hongkongwardiary.com/

There is an excellent website devoted to Hong Kong history which sometimes carries discussions of Stanley Camp:

http://gwulo.com/

Finally, an account by a repatriated American internee is available online free :

http://www.archive.org/details/prisonerofthejap007029mbp

The phrase ‘the dark world’s fire’ is taken from the German ‘mystic’ Jakob Boehme, although I’m using the idea in my own sense that has nothing to do with religious ideology.

A little about me: my academic background is in English Literature and Psychology, and I taught English  for five years in the People’s Republic of China. I’ve also worked as a teacher of the Alexander Technique and as a craniosacral therapist. My hobbies are yoga, tai chi and walking.

I would be very glad to hear from anyone who has any information about my parents or the other people I write about. Please email me at:

brianedgar20@yahoo.com

11 responses to “About

  1. Pingback: Levkovich As Driver, Selwyn-Clarke As Boss | The Dark World's Fire: Tom and Lena Edgar in War

  2. Bill Owen

    Hi My father Edmund Owen was bakery manager for Lane Crawford Hong Kong between 1928 to 1933. I have photos of the Lane Crawford Home Staff Dinner and cricket team if it of any relevance to your story. My Uncle George Carr was part of the defense of Hong Kong and killed at Stanley 24/12/1941

  3. Pingback: The Lane Crawford Bakery, Stubbs Road, 1938-1948 » The Industrial History of Hong Kong

  4. Carol Honaker

    My name is carol Ann Bennett honaker. My father was Chester Bennett. I have little information on my father, but I am so grateful for these wonderful articles. I cannot thank you enough. I am incredibly proud of both my parents.

    June 28, 2015

    • Dear Carol Ann,
      Thank you very much for this comment. It means so much to me that you have read my article on your parents and that you responded in such a positive fashion.
      I’m sure you must be overflowing with justified pride in such wonderful parents. This was the first article I wrote on the Hong Kong resistance, and I have managed to find a little more since. The new material shows that your father was involved in more relief activities than I had evidence for at the time of writing – I’d guessed that this was the case but lacked proof.
      This is an extract from some notes I’ve made about his work getting messages to and from Stanley Camp:

      Chester Bennett was also involved in smuggling messages in and out of Stanley Camp. When the uninterned Norwegian national Ruth Gunderson (neé Baretto, then Ozorio – she was probably of Portuguese/Macanese origin) wanted to contact the underground to get news into camp and find out how her husband was faring, she decided to approach Mr. Bennett as she’d known Elsa Soares before the war. Meeting him at a market, she told him she wanted to get a message into the Dutch Block, where the Norwegians were billeted. The American hardly looked at her; he told her to leave a message at a local restaurant, Jimmy’s Kitchen, and it would be taken care of. Then he warned her that he was being watched and she shouldn’t acknowledge or greet him at their next encounter. Some days later a well-dressed Chinese woman delivered her husband’s reply and told her to use a Chinese tea house next time – Jimmy’s was no longer safe. Not long after came Mr. Bennett’s own arrest. Later she received a note from her husband asking for a blanket and medicine…

      Thanks again for your comment. If you have anything to share about your mother’s time in Hong Kong or her later life, I’d love to hear it. Or if I can be of any help to you with regard to sources in my possession, please let me know. If either is the case, please email me at the address on this page.

      Brian Edgar

      • Carol Honaker

        Brian, I am having difficulty emailing you. I don’t seem to have correct information. Hope you can help me. Thanks, Carol Ann Bennet Honaker

  5. Dear Carol Ann,
    I’m sorry but I don’t have your email. It seems that no address is provided when a comment is made. My email is at the bottom of the About page, where you’ll also find your original comment and my reply:
    https://brianedgar.wordpress.com/about/

    I’ll also leave this reply on that page and in the Comments on the article about your father. If you would be kind enough to email me I would be delighted to ask some questions about your mother.

    I appreciate your generous words greatly. I realise that there must be pain for you as well as immense pride in both your parents. Thank you for confronting the pain and the more I have learnt about them the more there seems to me to be proud of.
    Brian

  6. Pingback: The Irish During The Occupation: A Brief History | The Dark World's Fire: Tom and Lena Edgar in War

  7. Pingback: Walter Naef and the Chances of History | The Dark World's Fire: Tom and Lena Edgar in War

  8. Any historian of WW-II worth his salt will also have to study;

    4-star general (Vinegar-Joe) stilwell.
    Joseph Warren Stilwell.

    (March 19, 1883 – October 12, 1946)

    CBI-Theatre, Ledo, Burma Road.

    GC

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