During the period of the war I had lost contact with my wife and son but had heard that they were probably evacuated to May Road together with other wives and children (of HKVDC members). On 4 January I asked the Sister at the hospital if I could visit my wife and son. I left the hospital and on the way met a car driven by a Chinese and asked the driver if he could take me to May Road. 1
One of the Japanese soldiers saw me in uniform and began to speak to me in Japanese. I did not understand him, he became angry and slapped my face several times. He took me to the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank building where I was taken in front of a Japanese officer and through his interpreter I explained who I was and my reason for driving in the car. I was placed under arrest and detained in the Guard Room until the following morning, 5 January, when the Japanese interpreter told me to go with a Chinese detective and collect my family and report at the Murray Parade Ground. 1Murray Parade Ground, on Garden Road, was where British, American and Dutch (enemy) civilians had been ordered to report for internment.
When I returned to Murray Parade Ground with my family, I again saw the same Japanese interpreter. 1Koodiaroff explained that he was a Hong Kong Volunteer and should be interned with the troops.
He (the interpreter) said it makes no difference which camp you go to so long as you are interned. With a crowd of about 400 people, we were then taken to the Tai Koon Hotel. 1The Tai Koon Hotel was one of a series of third-rate, cheap hotels and brothels on the waterfront where European internees were held until 21 January 1942 when they were transferred to Stanley Camp. Koodiaroff and his family remained in Stanley until liberation in August 1945.
I travelled with my family on the SS Empress of Australia as far as Colombo and then we embarked on the SS Madura for Australia, arriving in Sydney on 10 November 1945.
|SS Empress of Australia|
1 Quotes are taken from a memo written by Michael Koodiaroff in the above files