Shihwarg, Alexander 'Shura' (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 23438
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 98, Number Of Items 4
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


Purchase & License
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.

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