Colebrook, Charles James Maurice (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 16357
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 150, Number Of Items 5
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


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Object description

British sapper served with 22 Fortress Coy, Royal Engineers in Hong Kong, 1935-1941; private served with Royal Army Ordnance Corps in Hong Kong, 1941; POW in Shamshuipo Camp, Hong Kong and Japan, 1941-1945

Content description

REEL 1 Background in GB, 1916-1930: family; education; enlistment in British Army, 1930. Aspects of period as sapper with 22 Fortress Coy, Royal Engineers in Hong Kong, 1935-1941: embarkation aboard HMT Somersetshire for Hong Kong, 19/1/1935; arrival at Wellington Barracks; his work installing searchlights; meeting future wife and marriage; the army and his mother in law’s attitude towards her daughter marrying a soldier; misbehaviour of troops in Hong Kong; attitude to Japanese presence in colony; transfer to Royal Army Ordnance Corps, 7/1941; evacuation of his wife to Australia, 7/1940; clash with Japanese troops in defence of refugees crossing from China, 1938. REEL 2 Continues: Recollections of operations as private with Royal Army Ordnance Corps in Hong Kong, 1941: reception on transfer to unit; how he received news of Japanese attack, 12/1941; orders to go to Kowloon to show Indian units to use searchlights, 12/1941; under Japanese shell fire at Kowloon and start of withdrawal; his escape to Hong Kong island, 12/1941; drive through shelling at Wong Ni Chong Gap, 12/1941; his capture by Japanese at roadblock and death of Chinese cooks, 12/1941; his escape during skirmish, 12/1941. REEL 3 Continues: his return to The Ridge, 12/1941; his work in observation post at The Ridge, 12/1941; use of heavy artillery based at Stanley against Japanese; his machine gunning of Japanese infantry attack, 12/1941; orders to surrender and Japanese refusal to accept it; decision to make for Repulse Bay, 22/12/1941; discovery that Repulse Bay Hotel was occupied by Japanese, 23/12/1941. Aspects of period as POW in Shampshuipo Camp in Hong Kong, 1941-1943: capture by Japanese; initial treatment by Japanese; move to Shampshuipo Camp, 12/1941. REEL 4 Continues: casualties amongst Royal Army Ordnance Corps personnel during Battle of Hong Kong; living conditions in camp and how diphtheria arrived in camp; acting as untrained nurse to diphtheria cases in Jubilee Barracks. Recollections of period as POW in Japan, 1943-1945: voyage from Hong Kong to Nagasaki, Japan aboard Tatsuta Maru, 1/1943; arrival in Nagasaki, Japan, 22/1/1943; move into camp at Amagasaki; work at Otani factory; earthquake and floods; opinion of rigidity of US Air Force bombing tactics; arrival for POWs from Burma-Thailand railway; punishment of POWs by Japanese; removal to smelting factory at Hiroshima and work he did. REEL 5 Continues: what he heard on day atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima; hearing news of Japanese surrender, 8/1945. Aspects of liberation by US troops, 1945: US Air Force dropping of supplies after VJ Day; arrival of American doctors; sight of flatterned Hiroshima; move to Philippines; return to GB via US, winter 1945-1946; condition he was in as result of his POW experiences; attitude towards Japanese. Aspects of period as POW in Japan, 1943-1945: opinion of Japanese industrial efficiency and POW sabotage; use of illicit radio; memories of dropping of atomic bomb on Hiroshima; sight of Japanese casualties from atomic bomb.

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