This page lists the current research projects being conducted under the Hong Kong War Diary umbrella. As always, all questions, comments, and information pertaining to these areas would be extremely welcome!
Current projects include:
One In A Thousand (working title): A study of the 1940 evacuation of British civilians from Hong Kong. So far this includes a listing of approximately 3,000 individuals and the ships they were on, plus details and photographs from some 30 of those involved. It attempts to describe the entire experience from the first warning that evacuation would be necessary, to the piecing together of families again after August 1945. While the fighting in Hong Kong is best seen in the context of the 3 years and 8 months of imprisonment that followed for those who survived, the latter is best understood in the context of the men's families and the uncertainties that they endured.
Hong Kong Irregulars (working title): A study of all irregular units (BAAG, SOE, Z Force, MI6, the Hong Kong Column of the Chindits, Military Mission 204, Force 136, etc.) in which ex-HK Garrison personnel were enisted. The main focus is on the escapees and invaders from Hong Kong, and their contribution to these units in action. As BAAG (the largest and most important of these units by far) has never been seriously studied previously (Edwin Ride's work acknowledged), this project is expected to take at least four years.
Chan Chak's Chums (working title): A study of the Christmas Day 1941 escape, via MTB, of Admiral Chan Chak, Henry Hsu, 62 of His Majesty's forces, and three SOE agents from Hong Kong to Mumbai and home. This is a good 'three act' structure, and a story well worth telling. However, I may not be the person to tell it.
The Repulse Bay (working title): A study, researched in great depth though presented in novel form, of the siege of the Repulse Bay Hotel. Currently 50,000 words. This is based on tracking down all publshed and unpublished accounts of the siege, plus interviews with six of those who were present. In the vehicle of an Agatha Christie-like tale of a blighted country-house gathering, it has a rather different 'feel' to the more formal histories I have so far completed.
Hong Kong's Gold (working title): A study, based on the memoirs of Edith Badger placed into the context of my studies of the non-Chinese residents of the time, of the hiding of Hong Kong's gold from the Japanese in 1941. Currently 50,000 words. This is a challenging work as it depends almost entirely on a single account of the events - an account that I largely discredited before finding (by pure chance) a single poorly-filed 'Top Secret' document that went a great deal towards confirming it.
Meanwhile this site continues to act as a clearing house for all material relating to Hong Kong's garrison of 1941-45 (and their families), and all and every piece of information that can aid our understanding of these people is always welcome.