Saturday 7 February 2015

Stanley Internment Camp

On 21st January 1942 the bulk of enemy civilians - those of British, American and Dutch nationality, mostly European but including a number of Chinese and Eurasian wives of British nationals were herded into the grounds and buildings formerly occupied by St Stephens College and HM Prison Stanley.  St Stephens College was at that time a private school and known as the Eton of the East. 

The internees were crowded into rooms often with complete strangers and regardless of sex.  All the school buildings were used to house internees - the main school, the classroom block , the Science Laboratory, and the masters bungalows as well as the adjacent Prep School down near St Stephens Beach. In the Stanley Prison area the European married officers quarters and the Indian warders quarters were also used to accommodate internees. Here they languished for three and half years in over crowded conditions with inadequate food and nutrition and very limited medicine. Many never left and their graves remain in Stanley Military Cemetery with the original rough hewn granite tombstones. Many of the pre-war buildings still remain. This is a collection of photos that show scenes from the area today and a few oldies dating back to 1945. 

Maryknoll Monastery 

Maryknoll monastery existed pre-war, the fathers were ill treated by their Japanese captors.  British troops defending the hill top were by-passed and as they tried to extricate back to British lines many were killed or captured and then put to death. Some were bayoneted alongside the nearby red brick Carmelite monastery which still stands today. In the photograph in the distance you can see the playing fields of St Stephen's College  and the road rising up to Stanley Fort.

Stanley Peninsular Today
If you look closely you can see in lower right quadrant the green roof of the Maryknoll Monastery and in centre right the playing fields of St Stephens College. This view is from Stanley Mound taken from a much higher position than the post war shot.

Tweed Bay Beach
Internees were allowed to swim in the summer months at nearby Tweed Bay Beach. A sentry was always posted.
The prison walls behind the beach
It was here that three year old Brian Gill tragically drowned in May 1944 while playing in a fresh water pool just above the beach.  It was here just after liberation while many internees still remained in camp pending repatriation that Sgt H. W. Jackson of the Hong Kong Police was dragged ashore and died in September 1945 after having been attacked by a shark while swimming.

The rough hewn granite tombstones of internees who died in Camp
In this picture we can see the white walls of the Prison itself to the right of the open area.  The white buildings in the centre overlooking the Prison are the European Prison Wardens Quarters (known as the Married Quarters). The hill in the distance is Cape D'Aguilar. 

Same scene today

Married Quarters
Roosevelt Avenue (American Quarters on the left and garages on the right)

American Quarters

The Mosque 
The mosque was briefly used to accommodate internees after Bungalow F was closed.

The Indian Quarters

Prison Officers Club  (still showing battle scars)
Staff Bungalow
St Stephens College Main Building

Another view of Prison Officers Club (Dutch Quarters to the left) 
Prison Officers Club and American Quarters in background
Hoisting the flag on liberation


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