In June 1940 there had been increased concern that war with Japan was imminent, a compulsory evacuation order was issued and British women and children were somewhat hurriedly evacuated firstly to Manila and then on to Australia. This was unpopular with many wives who wanted to stay with their husbands many citing the fact that the women of London had stayed with their husbands during the blitz. Many of the "bachelor husbands" formed protest groups and there were well attended protest meetings that were held right up to the start of war.
Many women had avoided the compulsory evacuation by joining either the Auxiliary Nursing Service (ANS) or the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) of the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps (HKVDC). Some occupations were exempted for example Government stenographers. Certainly the compulsory evacuation order was unpopular with many and created much protest but once war started those same husbands must have been very glad their wives and families were safe in Australia and not having to suffer the dangers and terror of the period of hostilities and the privations of subsequent internment.
Helen had not reported for, or otherwise avoided the evacuation process. Although born in America she had a British passport and accordingly should have been evacuated in June 1940. The Hong Kong Telegraph for 26th October 1940 reports an 'impassioned appeal' by Helen K-S to the Evacuation Advisory Committee against the compulsory evacuation order.
I wonder why she was so determined to stay on especially given the fact that she had her two young daughters to think of. It is true that a number of people felt that compulsory evacuation was an over-reaction and that Japan was blustering. On the other hand it may be that she was concerned that her marriage to George was already breaking down and perhaps she was aware of her husband's distractions with another woman and felt by staying on she may be able to save their marriage.
In her appeal against evacuation she cited the fact that she was American by birth although she admitted that she travelled on a British passport, she cited racial discrimination in that the order did not apply to Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and others nationalities but I think her main objection is found in her comment that "it is a serious matter to break up families….".
Her case was dismissed but she managed to remain in Hong Kong probably because from about this time there were no further compulsory evacuations. She could have applied to become a volunteer nurse, if she had joined either the ANS (civil) or VAD (military) nursing service she could have legitimately avoided compulsory evacuation. It must have irked senior members of the Government that the wife of a senior Government official was making such a public protest to the Government's evacuation policy.
Indeed Sir Grenville Alabaster the Attorney General in his diary recalls that in a heated exchange between George K-S and the Colonial Secretary and members of the Executive Council at Princes Building on 11th February 1942 (i.e. after the British surrender but before these senior officials had been interned) the Hon. Mr Henry Robert Butters Financial Secretary rather harshly accused Kennedy-Skipton of :
"having suborned his wife to put forward a put up case of opposition to the Government's evacuation of women and children policy." (1)
After the war ended Helen returned to UK with her two daughters on the SS Highland Monarch arriving in Southampton 9th November 1945, whereas George K-S returned to Hong Kong and as far as I can see they lived apart ever after. She never remarried, I suspect she always loved her husband, I am not even sure they actually ever divorced. As far as I can tell he looked after both his Chinese 'wife' and his son from that relationship and Helen and her two children who lived in London after the war.
At the time George K-S bought this property he was Senior Assistant Treasurer at the Colonial Treasury. He applied for a mortgage and papers relating to this application which are held at the Hong Kong Public Record Office (HKPRO) indicate that he also owned a holiday bungalow on Sunset Peak, Lantau.
|No 565 The Peak (Middle Gap Road) the home of the Kennedy-Skipton family (Source: HK Govt. Maps Office - 1938 Road Map of Peak District)|
|The cluster of five houses at the end of Middle Gap Road - Centre right (Source: HK Govt. Maps Office)|
|Grandiose Houses in Middle Gap Road today - the site of No. 563 The Peak then known as 'Cranbrook' (Writers Collection)|
|Impressive entrance of No 19 today but the site of No. 565 The Peak where the Kennedy-Skiptons had their family home (Writers Collection)|
|Found on Mt Cameron (Courtesy: David Willott )|
It is true that some others like Dr. Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke the Director of Medical Services also remained out of camp during 1942 and part of 1943 until he was arrested and imprisoned by the Japanese but he had the support of Government officials and was undertaking medical and relief work. In January 1943 George K-S escaped to Free China leaving his wife Helen and two children in occupied Hong Kong until they were repatriated to the United Kingdom following liberation in 1945. His Chinese 'wife' and son also managed to flee Hong Kong for the relative safety of China and survived the war although they must have endured much hardship.
Was he a victim unjustly treated or did he bring this down on himself by disloyalty and disobedience to his new boss Franklin Gimson who only arrived in Hong Kong on Sunday 7th December the day before war began to take up the role of Colonial Secretary. I think actually it's a bit of both but let us go back to the beginning.
To "begin at the beginning" as Lewis Carroll put it - is always a very good place to start. Records show George K-S was born in Gloucestershire in 1898 and in the 1901 census he is listed aged 2 as the youngest of several siblings living with his parents in Cheltenham. He and is siblings are listed under the surname of Skipton but his father is listed as Henry S Kennedy Skipton. On passenger lists and newspaper reports he is shown by the double barreled name of Kennedy-Skipton.
|Passenger List SS Pyrrhus December 1921 (Source: Ancestry.com)|
In a letter dated 3rd August 1943 from Miss Ruth Mulliken an American missionary teacher who was repatriated from Hong Kong in June 1942 and who was one of the refugees staying at the K-S family home, she writes:
"I have known Mr Kennedy-Skipton for a long time. He married a friend and co-worker. Their home was my second home in China".
In a letter dated April 1941 from the Governor at that time, Sir Geoffrey Northcote to Mr G.E.J. Gent of the Colonial Office - there are references to George K-S having done a very poor job whilst responsible for Food & Food Control and being under investigation as a result of "mismanagement".
"General Norton did splendid work in getting the food control business on to a sounder basis. I had left it in the hands of a very capable business man Mr J.H. Taggart but unfortunately he went sick and had to leave the Colony. It was then put in the hands of the unfortunate Kennedy-Skipton, who, of course has had no business training and was in any case a bad choice. Some months later it was discovered that the stocks were far below what was required and for the most part were in a bad condition. The result is enquiry by Committee.
I do not know how the enquiry into Kennedy-Skipton's mismanagement of the food stocks is progressing. Happily that is only by a committee which is sitting in private." (2)
So I think reading between the lines he had perhaps already "blotted his copy-book" before war began and before his dismissal by the Colonial Secretary in February 1942.
We learn a lot about the Kennedy-Skipton family's experience during the fighting from a letter written by Sarah Alice Refo whose husband Henry Refo was a Chemistry teacher at True Light School. The True Light School was a Presbyterian school established in 1935 in Caine Road. Sarah Refo's letter was written from onboard the Swedish repatriation ship SS Gripsholm in August 1942 following the release and exchange of US civilian internees for Japanese internees held in America.
The Refo family lived at No. 14 Bowen Road in the mid levels facing the harbour. Their house was near the Bowen Road Military Hospital in an exposed area that was heavily shelled. One of their four daughters was good friends with Laetitia Kennedy-Skipton and had told her about the severe shelling they had experienced during the night of Wednesday 10th December. Sarah writes how as a result of this, Helen Kennedy-Skipton suggested they come up to her house which was more sheltered from the bombing and shelling and bring with them their house guests Gladys Lynn and her daughter Ann.
"Helen Skipton, Laetitia's mother, phoned me and suggested that we come up and sleep in their living room that night. The Brownells and Ruth Mulliken were already refugees in Helen's home. I told her that Gladys and Ann were with us but she promptly said to bring them with us. Then I remembered that I could not leave the servants and she generously included them. Later Peggy got permission to take the dog.
Helen offered to come for us in her car but we decided it was safer to go by the pedestrian road. We had never carried so much up the steep hill before but the shells gave us great strength and we went up in record time." (3)
From this description they may have made their way up Peak Road to Magazine Gap and then down Stubbs Road or Coombe Road to Wanchai Gap and thence to the K-S family home in what is today called Middle Gap Road. This route would have involved going through both these gaps which were being heavily shelled. The other alternative and the better route would have been for the family to walk along Bowen Road until they reached the intersection with Wanchai Gap Road then a steep climb up to Wanchai Gap and Middle Gap Road. Sarah refers to the family in her missive as the Skiptons rather than their correct name of Kennedy-Skiptons.
"Helen and her servant met us and helped us up the last half of the way before dark. Henry had agreed to go to the Skiptons for one night but the situation was so bad and the Skiptons so cordial that we decided to move in for the duration.
Counting the four Skiptons, three Brownells, two Lynns, one Mulliken, six Refos, their two servants, the Skipton's servants and their dependents, we were now twenty-six. Then our numbers began to increase. Dr Kirk phoned Helen and asked if she would come to the hospital for Mrs Laird (who was recovering from a serious operation ) and take her to his house, quite near Helen's house, and help her and her husband get food. Helen agreed. That afternoon Dr Kirk phoned again and asked her to go down town and get the Sewell family of five and Mrs Raymond to add to the Lairds in his house. She came back with one extra, an orphan child who had been in the Diocesan School and really had nobody to take care of him (this being ten year old Bob Tatz). We were now thirty-five. Then Marion Dudley our YWCA friend from South Carolina, called me and asked if we could help her find a safer place. She had spent a bad night in an air raid tunnel. I consulted Helen and we decided we could manage some way, so we phoned Mr Skipton to bring her up. With them came Miss Shin, the YWCA General Secretary and her adopted child of eight and Marion's servant and the servant's little sister. We now had forty bodies and all food had to be brought up from town by car." (3)
Dr Kirk was a hospital doctor working at the War Memorial Hospital at Mount Kellett. He lived at 564 The Peak almost next door to the Kennedy-Skipton family. The description of people at his house fits a description of a list of persons residing at 564, The Peak held at Public Records Office (PRO HK) as follows:
The others making up this group centered around the Kennedy-Skipton home included:
Mr. George Kennedy-Skipton (43)
Mrs. Helen Kennedy-Skipton (49)
Anne Laetitia Kennedy-Skipton (11)
Enid Conolly Kennedy-Skipton (7)
Miss Marion Dudley (46) American (National Secretary South China YWCA)
Miss Ruth Ethel Mulliken (66) American
Mrs. Gladys Lynn (30) American
Ann Lynn (6) American
Prof. Henry Chase Brownell (54) American family (Professor at Lingnam University)
Mrs Jane Menut Brownell (53)
Betty Jane Brownell (14)
Henry Barron Refo (43) American family (Teacher)
Mrs. Sarah Alice Refo
Alice Anne Refo (14)
Sarah Margaret Refo (11)
Harriett Refo (9)
Burney Refo (7)
Sarah Refo writes of Helen K-S:
"Helen is a good Quaker and has more courage, physical strength and resourcefulness than any other woman I know. We made out huge orders for food and Helen (K-S) and Henry (Refo) drove down amid shot and shell and brought back load after load. Mr Skipton daringly drove out to a food depot near the Naval Dockyard, probably the hottest spot in Hong Kong and got 200 pound sacks of rice." (3)
George and Henry were involved in war work, they were working in the billeting office in town. In a letter dated 6th February 1948 the former Commandant of the Auxiliary Quartering Corp (responsible for billeting) Mr Julius Ring praises the work done by George K-S:
"Mr Kennedy-Skipton joined the Corps a few days after the outbreak of hostilities and remained with it up to the surrender. He was one of my Peak Quartering Inspectors with all of whom I was in touch right up to the fall of Hong Kong on 25th December 1941. All the Quartering Inspectors had to report regularly at my Headquarters in Marina House as required in accordance with the work assigned to them. In Mr Kennedy-Skipton's case this was nearly every day. Mr Kennedy-Skipton's work was entirely satisfactory to the end, moreover he displayed considerable bravery." (4)
Interestingly Henry and Sarah Refo's landlord of their home at No 14 Bowen Road was W. J. Carroll who had been suspected of espionage before the war and when hostilities began was interned at Stanley Prison with other enemy aliens. After the war ended he was tried for collaboration. In a report by Staff Sgt. Sheridan RASC who escaped from Hong Kong on 4th June 1942 he wrote about Carroll :
"he was in possession of an Irish pass, said to be Eurasian. Now working for theJapanese, nature of work is not known. Entertains Japanese officers a lot in his house. His son is a POW in Sham Shui Po. He tried to get him released. No success in this line." (5)
With regard to George Kennedy-Skipton, Staff Sgt. Sheridan wrote:
"Irish Pass - actually Irish descent. Former Food Controller but made a mess of it, was kicked out on the advice of Brigadier Peffers (in charge of Administration). Nature of work with Japanese is not known." (5)
"He knew our landlord, Mr Carroll, who had been suspected by the British and interned with the Japanese on December 8th. We waited for another week before he came back with Mr Carroll and lots of food, including waffles for the children. The Japs asked Mr Skipton and Henry to go down to their office with them. They asked us each to make a statement of what we were willing to do. We agreed that we were willing to do any constructive work for the Chinese in Hong Kong, and Mr Skipton specified that he would like to help with agricultural work or disposal of night soil, work which he had done for the Hong Kong government before. They gave us all passes and Henry and Mr Skipton went down to the Japanese office every day as guarantors for the group." (3)
I think the involvement of Carroll who was a suspected traitor led many to be suspicious of George Kennedy-Skipton's loyalties. In a letter from Henry Refo to the Colonial Office written on 18th October 1943 after he had been repatriated with other US nationals - he explains how Carroll got involved with their group.
Some time after the surrender the group at the Kennedy-Skipton house began to disperse but eventually all of them ended up in Stanley Internment Camp with the exception of the Kennedy-Skipton family who were allowed to remain out of camp on the basis of their being third nationals (Irish) and the fact that George K-S was helping the Japanese.
Some of the large group that took refuge in the Kennedy-Skipton home in Middle Gap Road at least avoided the initial internment in January 1942 when civilian internees (British, American and Dutch) were herded into overcrowded and squalid hotels, boarding houses and brothels in the western district of town. The Refo family finally went into Stanley Camp on 7th February 1942 a couple of weeks after most others enemy civilians had been interned there.
The Kennedy-Skiptons remained in their house throughout 1942. On February 11th Franklin Gimson the newly appointed Colonial Secretary suspended George K-S for disobeying orders to cease working with the Japanese and to intern himself with his family in Stanley Camp with other government officials and their families.
He escaped from Hong Kong into Free China on 26th January 1943. Helen was then left alone with her two daughters living in the family home on Mount Cameron.
Emily Hahn the writer was an American who had also contrived to remain out of Camp claiming to be Chinese by her marriage to a Chinese man with whom she had lived with before coming to Hong Kong although the Japanese knew full well that she had had an affair with Major Charles Boxer the Head of British Military Intelligence and that her child (Carola) was from her relationship with Boxer who at that time was still married. It makes modern society look quite tame !
Emily Hahn writing to a friend of Helen's following her repatriation in September 1943 writes:
"Helen Kennedy-Skipton has been my best friend since the surrender, as we were both left "outside" when the other Europeans were interned. She lives with the girls alone in their own house on Mount Cameron, not too much alone as there is a Swiss family in a nearby building and in case of emergency she could always call on them. They walk down to town at least three times a week to collect their rations and to go over to Kowloon where the girls have piano and other lessons. Enid and Laetitia are beautiful girls and, of course, perfectly enormous ! One old woman stays with them as servant.
Helen is a brave woman, and is doing what she is convinced is the right thing. I think she was a little disapproving that I decided in the end not to stick it out. I felt guilty, though, because we are all lonely in Hong Kong and my departure left her with fewer friends than ever. It is a strenuous and monotonous life, but they are not in actual want. Somehow she has found a place to borrow money and when I suggested leaving some with her she assured me she did not need it. They came just before I embarked, to get such of my books as they wanted and to say goodbye, and I think we both cried. But she has never wanted to leave the house and has refused any chance of coming away. They are much better as they are than they would be in camp, and you need not worry about them. I am sure they will be alright." (7)
George K-S went to great risk in escaping from Hong Kong in January 1943. His escape was arranged by a smuggler by the name of Miss Cheung Yin Hang. I assume this to mean a 'smuggler of people' across the border. The escape party consisted of five people. The following are extracts taken from Miss Cheung's statement about the escape.
"In Nov 1942 a certain Wong Kwong introduced me to Mr Skipton. Wong Kwong was in the same business of smuggling goods as I. One day Wong Kwong asked me if I had the courage to take a Westerner out of HK.
A telegram from the British Ambassador in Chungking to the Colonial Office in London dated 26 March 1943 states:
He offered his services to the Japanese and was taken on to the staff of the Investigation Bureau of Civil Administration of the Japanese Army. His work consisted of finding a suitable house for the Japanese Governor, collecting books from various libraries for universities, piecing together large scale maps of the colony and trying to persuade the Japanese to adopt his scheme for use of night soil and for local production of fuel spirit from molasses.
Before escaping George K-S had written a letter to the Colonial Office dated 11th June 1942 which Henry Refo had smuggled out when he was repatriated with other American nationals in late June 1942. In his covering letter Henry mentions that he had recently seen George K-S at Hongkong Shanghai Bank. Perhaps this was when the letter was passed to Henry.
"I saw Mr Kennedy-Skipton a few days before we left Hong Kong during a wait at the Hongkong Shanghai Bank when those among us who had safe deposit boxes were taken into the city. He said he and his family were well though he looked under nourished and I fear that his family are too." (10)
In a letter to the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies Henry Refo elaborates on the the work he and George K-S were involved with at the Investigation Bureau.
"At the surrender in 1941, Mr G.S. Kennedy-Skipton at the time one of the Colony's senior local cadet officers was not interned because he was Irish. He was then living at his home on the Peak with a number of refugee families, mostly American. The Japanese officials appeared to be impressed by the number of women and children, including two invalids, in the party and told them they could stay where they were if members of the party would volunteer for civic work. In response to this offer, he and another man, an America missionary from Canton (Henry Refo) stated they were willing to do 'educational or social or any other constructive work'.
No objection has ever been raised to the action of Mr Kennedy-Skipton's American colleague in so doing.
It is to be noted that there was no question of Mr Kennedy-Skipton being guided by outside advice as his party was marooned on the peak, being forbidden to go on the roads and he himself, like most civil servants, had received no prior orders as to what to do in the event of surrender.
Just before the war, Mr Kennedy-Skipton was officially engaged in endeavoring to increase the food supply by organizing the use of the city's night soil for fertilizer in the New Territories and these preparations were already far advanced when the war came.
For that reason, according to his own story, when offering to do civic work, he drew the attention of the Japanese to the food shortage and stated he was willing and able to carry on his fertilizer work. They approved and gave him facilities and an office for working on his plans and putting them up to the authorities.
After a time their interest cooled and the control of agriculture and the sale of night-soil were handed over to concessionaires who were not interested in constructive schemes involving capital outlay.
Mr Kennedy-Skipton then organized his his escape, in January 1943.
A year later the Japanese changed their attitude about agriculture and arranged for the transport of night-soil and the construction of storage tanks at Castle Peak exactly as Mr Kennedy-Skipton had proposed. These tanks supplied manure for vegetable growing through the worst years of the occupation and today they are still in use.
Mr Kennedy-Skipton is now being accused by the Government of disloyalty. The hearing of his case is to start on Thursday next, and Mr Kennedy-Skipton has requested that the hearing shall be public. His request has been refused.
A curious feature of the case is that the charges are based, even to the extent of quoting his own letter, on Mr Kennedy-Skipton's action in reporting to the Secretary of State under the noses of the Japanese, "a local scandal" which involved the former Government of Hong Kong. Using his liberty Mr Kennedy-Skipton says he discovered in March 1942, that many of the secret files of the Hong Kong Government, had been left intact in the strongroom of the Colonial Secretariat.
He reported this to the Secretary of State in July 1942 by a signed letter hidden in a tin of powdered milk and carried out by an American friend (Henry Refo) who was being repatriated.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of the case it is obvious that questions of great interest to the public are involved in this enquiry. Such being the case the refusal of a public hearing can only be described as sinister and deserving of the strongest possible public protest." (15)
Prior to the enquiry all the European refugees who had stayed at No. 565 and No. 564 The Peak wrote testimonials for him recounting their memories of events in particular as to how George K-S and Henry Refo had ended up working for the Japanese. They were extremely grateful to the Kennedy-Skipton family for welcoming them into their home, supplying food, protection and at least for awhile keeping them out of internment. Professor Sewell writes:
"Dr Kirk offered us hospitality in his house on Mount Cameron. Mrs Helen Kennedy-Skipton was a near neighbor and helped my wife with catering arrangements and eventually after the British surrender we moved into a garage attached to the Kennedy-Skipton house.
On 9th February Mr Kennedy-Skipton came to Princes Building to explain why he had offered himself for and taken service under the Japanese Government. A long interview took place. I cannot remember exactly what was said but I am quite clear that Mr Kennedy-Skipton was required to give up his service with the Japanese and go into internment. This he declined to do. He disputed the authority of the Colonial Secretary to give him any instructions whatsoever. He appeared to take it for granted that British rule in Hong Kong was over for ever." (17)
"That on February 11th 1942 one Franklin Gimson formerly holding the appointment of Colonial Secretary but on that date a captive under detention by the enemy purported to suspend him.
That on April 24th 1943 at Chungking by letter signed by one P.C.M. Sedgwick and purporting to be under the discretion of HM Ambassador at Chungking - he was informed that the Secretary of State for the Colonies purported to confirm the act of Franklin Gimson in suspending him from his appointment as a cadet officer of the Hong Kong Government.
He denies the authority of Franklin Gimson to suspend him and he denies the validity of the purported confirmation by the Secretary of State.
He alleges that on 21st January 1948 a committee of enquiry sat to consider charges of improper behavior against him and that the committee found him guilty of improper behavior and in particular disloyalty not to the Crown but to the Service of which he was a member and this finding was conveyed to him on 2 April 1949." (22)
Interestingly in 1950 during the judicial hearing government papers held at the Public Records Office in Hong Kong reveal that the Executive Council were willing to make a settlement with George K-S involving the payment of GBP4,000 and continuation of alimentary alliance being paid to Mrs K-S and if possible the settlement would be conditional on George K-S leaving the Colony. I'm not sure whether this was ever relayed to George K-S or the lawyers representing him, I assume not as he went on to the Court of Appeal which dismissed his case in 1951.
He had spent ten years of his life lobbying, taking legal action and fighting to clear his name but to no avail. Taking on the establishment is never easy and in 1951 having lost his efforts through the courts , George K-S remained in Hong Kong where he worked teaching English. He continued to own one of the small holiday huts on Sunset Peak in Lantau. Here he was most happy, enjoying the mountain air, the somewhat spartan existence and the hill walking. Here at least he could forget his trials and travails. What happened to his house on Mount Cameron I am not sure but I assume he sold it after the war.
In July 1958 an article in the China Mail makes reference to his son.
Now allow me to sum up my thoughts on the strange case of Mr Kennedy-Skipton. BAAG reports that he had "gone over to the Japanese" or that he was in the pay of the Gendarmerie are in my opinion without foundation. There is absolutely no evidence that he was a traitor. The Enquiry also opined that he had not been disloyal to the Crown only to the Civil Service to which he belonged. I can see how working with Carroll who was considered a traitor and perhaps the fact that Kennedy-Skipton appeared to be working too enthusiastically for the Japanese may have caused such perceptions. As a result he became a victim of innuendo. Mud flies and some of it sticks.
I think he made a bad judgement for understandable reasons. He wanted to protect his family from internment, even from starvation and certainly from privation. He wanted to help the refugees he had staying at his home as best he could. He had sunk a lot of his life savings into buying his home on Mount Cameron. He wanted to protect his home from looting and destruction. He saw the opportunity to claim Irish citizenship and to work for the Japanese in a civic capacity as a means to avoid internment and to safeguard his home and family.
He tried to get the Colonial Secretary and Government to approve this course of action which by then I think he had already committed to. He was deeply frustrated by their demand he should cease the work and report for internment. The meetings at Princes Building with the Colonial Secretary and senior members of Government was by the sounds of it heated and vitriolic with Kennedy-Skipton questioning their authority now that they were in the hands of the Japanese.
Clearly he should have obeyed the Colonial Secretary and the Executive Council Members rather than challenging their authority. He made a bad judgement and I'm sure during his 12 months of so called liberty and after his escape to Free China he must have been deeply hurt by the innuendos regarding his disloyalty and suggestions that he was collaborating with the Japanese and even accusations that he was a traitor. He spent ten years fighting his case to no avail.
I can't help feeling sorry for him and at the end of the day it still remains as the "the strange case of Mr Kenned-Skipton.
Addendum - Information gleaned from readers or discovered after publication of posting
Helen and George's first child (Elizabeth Carlton Phyllis K-S) died sadly as a baby in 1926 whilst Helen was on passage from Hong Kong to Vancouver in July 1926 on board SS Empress of Canada. The passenger manifest simply has a line struck through her name. (Mike Hennessy)
G K-S married Helen Tow on 23rd Aug. 1924 (thought to be in Hong Kong) (Mike Hennessy)
There were two Enquiries before the Court Cases. One was in 1946 (G K-S not present) and the main one in 1948. GK-S returned to HK in 1947 (Mike Hennessy)
After WW2 he taught at Diocesan Boys School (DBS). After he retired from DBS he became English teacher at St. Joan of Arc School (c. 1963-66). He was well known as a race walker participating in the Island Walkathon in the 1950s (Alexander Wong)
Charles "Ginger" Hyde working for Hongkong Bank (out of camp with other bankers initially assisting in the liquidation of the banks) was also working for BAAG compiling reports to BAAG and helping to organize escapes. He was eventually discovered and executed in October 1943. He reports somewhat disparagingly about G K-S saying "he willingly cooperated with the enemy when there was no necessity to do so and put into their minds many ways of getting a great deal of money, which they did in the form of back crown rents and such like taxes which they might not have thought of. "Night" (Sir Vandeleur Grayburn) and all of us here think alike on this subject" . (BAAG Reports and Weekly Intelligence Summaries)
George K-S sold his house in 1947 to American Express - no doubt using some of the proceeds to cover his legal costs for the long and expensive litigation process. (Mike Hennessy)
Don Ady who was in Stanley Camp as a 10 year old recalls George K-S at the Lantau Mountain Camp after the war. He writes that he was "tall, quiet, sandy haired and with distinctive wild eyebrows." GK-S owned one of the shacks or spartan huts on Sunset Peak known as the Lantau Mountain Club. Don writes that before the war "as a cadet officer he (GK-S) was at one time a District Officer. It seemed to me that a agree of altruism was almost a sine qua non for that post. These officers did many things. They were like social workers, county agents, census takers, historians, welfare officers soliciting what limited help was possible for roads, trails, schools, clinics and even served as magistrates. (Don Ady)
It was while working as a District Officer that he met his Chinese 'wife" (Philip Cracknell)
Among GKS motivations for continuing the night soil project there was a stronger motivation - the welfare of the Chinese community. When he reported the intelligence breach of un-destroyed classified documents, he was ignored possibly due to scurrilous false gossip of his loyalties. (Don Ady)
(1) Statement by Sir Grenville Alabaster Attorney General (1947) (HK PRO)
(2) Letter dated 22nd April 1941 from Sir Geoffrey Northcote to Mr G.E.J. Gent of the Colonial
Office (National Archives, UK)
families experiences in Hong Kong following the Japanese invasion. (IWM, UK)
(4) Letter written to Committee of Enquiry by Mr Julius Ring formerly Commandant of Auxiliary
Quartering Corp and dated 6th February 1948. (HK PRO)
( HK PRO - CO980/53)
(6) Letter from Mr H.B. Refo to Colonial Office dated 18 Sept 1943 (HK PRO)
(7) Letter from Emily Hahn to a Miss Jameyson (a friend of Helen K-S) ( Courtesy of Bob Tatz)
(10) Letter from Henry Refo to Secretary of State fir the Colonies, Colonial Office of 15 Aug 1942
written on board SS Gripsholm. (HK PRO files)
(11) Letter from Henry Refo dated 7th Aug 1943 to Under Secretary of State , Colonial Office (HK
(12) Letter from George Kennedy-Skipton to Colonial Office dated 11 June 1942 (smuggled out with
Henry Refo on US Civilian repatriation). (HK PRO files)
(13) Letter from Professor D. L. Savory MP to Secretary of State for the Colonies dated March 1945
(HK PRO files)
(14) Letter from Secretary of State for the Colonies (Col. Oliver Stanley) to Prof. D.L. Savory dated
March 1945 (HK PRO files)
(15) The China Mail 21 Jan 1948
(16) Statement by Prof. WG Sewell dated 2nd May 1947 (HK PRO files)
(17) Statement by Sir Grenville Alabaster formerly Attorney General in Hong Kong (1947)
(HK PRO files)
(18) Extracts from Diary attached to above statement (HK PRO files)
(19) Statement by Mr H R Butters formerly Financial Secretary dated 24th Sept. 1947
(HK PRO files)
(20) Statement by Mr R.A.C. North dated 2nd Nov. 1947 (HK PRO files)
(21) Rebuttal of Charges by George Kennedy-Skipton (HK PRO files)
(22) China Mail 28th May 1951
(23) China Mail 9th July 1958
I would like to acknowledge information and help received from Bob Tatz, Brian Edgar, Don Ady and Mike Hennessy and information on local history website WWW.Gwulo.com which was of great assistance in framing this story.