Shihwarg, Alexander 'Shura' (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 23438
Department
Sound
Production date
2002-07-24
Subject period
Dimensions
  • whole: Duration 98, Number Of Items 4
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview
Creator
Category
sound

© IWM

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Object description

Russian volunteer with Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps in Hong Kong, 1941; POW in Hong Kong, 1941-1945

Content description

REEL 1 Background in Harbin, Tientsin and Peking, 1923- 1940: family; education; life in Tientsin, 1920s-1930s; conditions in Peking, 1939-1940; reasons for family taking Russian passports; formation of political opinions. Period as volunteer with Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps in Hong Kong, 1941: start of university studies; enlistment in unit; sex scandals and corruption. Aspects of operations as volunteer with Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps in Hong Kong, 12/1941: start of Japanese attack; billeting at Sheko. REEL 2 Continues: collapse of quartermaster system; fighting at Repulse Bay and Stanley; reaction to surrender of Hong Kong. Recollections of period as POW at Shamshuipo in Hong Kong, 1941-1945: arrival at camp; trading cigarettes for hot water; Japanese issue of cod liver oil caramels; prisoners medical condition; recites sonnet; work regime; methods of slowing down work; attitude towards Japanese captors; importance of understanding psychology; occasions when he was beaten; mitigating factors for prisoners in Hong Kong; news of war's progress. REEL 3 Continues: reaction to US Air Force bombing; prisoner morale; advantage of having Taiwanese guards; hearing of end of war; casualty caused by air supply drop; narrow escape from angry Japanese soldier; visit into Hong Kong prior to arrival of Allied forces; chit system; impact of Frank Sinatra; his status as Russian citizen in Japanese hands. Aspects of period as civilian in China, GB and Hong Kong, 1945-1961: visit to parents in Tientsin, 11/1945; realisation of Communist influence in China; status of Russian civilians in China; treatment by British authorities, 1945-1961. REEL 4 Continues: treatment by MI5 after application for British nationality including interrogation of his daughter; obtaining British nationality.

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