Cheng, Maximo Anthony (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 21133
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 110, Number Of Items 4
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


Purchase & License
Object description

Chinese private served with Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Force in Hong Kong, 1941; POW in Hong Kong, 1941-1942; escaped to India, 1942; NCO served with 142 Company, Hong Kong Volunteers attached to 4/9th Bn Gurkha Rifles, Morris Force during Second Chindit Expedition in Burma, 1944

Content description

REEL 1 Background in Panama and Hong Kong, 1921-1941: family; education. Aspects of period as volunteer with Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Force in Hong Kong, 1938-1941: enlistment in unit; training; character of Hong Kong's defences; opinion of Japanese forces; fifth column in Hong Kong. Recollections of operations with 4th Bty, Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Force during Battle of Hong Kong, 12/1941: outbreak of war; mobilisation and attack on Kai Tek airport; shelling of unit's emplacement and advantage Japanese had of high ground; role of battery in preventing Japanese attempt to cross to Hong Kong island, night 17/12/1941-18/12/1941; Japanese concentration on North Point and move towards their gun position; retreat towards Stanley fort; desertions from unit; surrender at Stanley, 25/12/1941. Aspects of period as POW in Hong Kong, 1941-1942: separation of civilians and military POWs; move to North Point; rations at Shamshuipo POW Camp. REEL 2 Continues: supplementing of rations; grouping together of non-British volunteers; obtaining winter fuel; learning chess; work at Kai Tek Airport; railway work at Taipo Kau; trading between POWs and civilians; background to release of Chinese POWs, 8/9/1942. Aspects of escape from Hong Kong to India via China, 1942: character of journey from Hong Kong into Chinese territory, 10/1942; arrival in Kweilin; meeting with British Army Aid Group at Kweilin; flight over The Hump to India. Period with British Army in India, from 1942: joining British Army in Calcutta; move to Deolali; physical training; invitation from Brigadier Mike Calvert to join Chindits; start of jungle training. REEL 3 Continues: Recollections of operations as corporal with 142 Company, Hong Kong Volunteers attached to 4/9th Bn Gurkha Rifles, Morris Force during Second Chindit Expedition in Burma, 1944: move into Burma, 8/3/1944; scarcity of water rations; capture of Katha and Bhamo; role it stopping Japanese forces advancing on Myitkyina; role attached to 4th/9th Bn Gurkha Rifles; march towards Myitkyina; flight out of Kwitu; problems of fleas and leeches; living conditions during expedition; relations with Kachins and Shans; air drops; Japanese defensive positions; character of fighting in monsoon; weight loss; evacuation with malaria; importance of Chindit operations. Aspects of military service in India and return to Hong Kong, 1944-1997: commissioning as officer, 8/1945; duties in India, 1945; attitude towards end of the war. REEL 4 Continues: return to Hong Kong, 1/1946; job as factory inspector; Hong Kong's economic recovery; refugees from Communist China, 1949; degree of concern about handover of Hong Kong to China, 1997.

Associated people and organisations
Associated places
Associated events
Associated themes

IWM Non Commercial Licence

The media for this item are free to reuse for non-commercial purposes under the IWM Non Commercial Licence. Video, sound and images can be embedded with the code we offer here, and images can also be downloaded.

By downloading any images or embedding any media, you agree to the terms and conditions of the IWM Non Commercial Licence, including your use of the attribution statement specified by IWM. For this item, that is: © IWM

  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML