Wright, Alec Richard John (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 22924
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 90, Number Of Items 3
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


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Object description

British officer served with Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Force in Hong Kong, 1938-1941; POW in Hong Kong, 1941-1945

Content description

REEL 1 Background in Hong Kong and GB, 1912-1938: lifestyle in Hong Kong, 1920s; attitude of Chinese to British presence; size of population, 1937-1938. Aspects of period as officer with Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Force, 1938-1941: enlistment, 1938; ethnic composition of unit; duties and training with unit; contrast with service with Honourable Artillery Company in GB prior to 1938; attitude of Chinese to police force; effects of outbreak of Second World War; evacuation of families to Australia after 9/1939; character of British troops in Hong Kong; question of defences of Hong Kong and Singapore. Recollections of operations as officer with Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Force during Battle of Hong Kong, 12/1941: Japanese attack on colony; reaction to attack; narrow escape from shell fire on ferry, 10/12/1941. REEL 2 Continues: opening fire on junks believed to be carrying Japanese troops at Lama Island; question of conversion of gunners to infantry; receiving news of surrender, 25/12/1941. Recollections of period as POW in Hong Kong, 1941- 1945: initial encounter with Japanese officer, 26/12/1941; orders to march to Murray Barracks; conditions in Shamshuipo Camp; initial optimism about outcome of war in Far East; trading with Chinese hawkers; imposition of Japanese control; coping with winters; his state of health; POW diet; access to private parcels; pay entitlement and what money was used for; move to Argyle Street Camp; question of escape; relationship with guards including bartering. REEL 3 Continues: variation in behaviour of guards; punishment of Ken Barnett for speaking to Red Cross representative about conditions; communication with British Army Aid Group in China; Japanese demand for POWs to give parole and its results; degree of bombing Allied bombing; receiving information about progress of war; contact with Japanese interpreter; news of VJ Day; POW discipline after VJ Day; discipline of Japanese after liberation; state of Hong Kong, 8/1945. Question of change in attitude towards Japanese. Effect of period as POW in Hong Kong.

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