'having suborned his wife to put forward a put up case of opposition to the Government's evacuation of women and children policy.' (1)
|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 - |
|Grandiose houses in Middle Gap Road today - the site of No. 563 The Peak then known as 'Cranbrook' (Writers Collection)|
|Found on Mt Cameron (Courtesy: David Willott )|
|Passenger List SS Pyrrhus December 1921 (Source: Ancestry.com)|
'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'.
'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 an 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)
'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)
'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 to 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)
The others making up this group
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
Ann Lynn (6) American
Prof. Henry Chase Brownell (54) American (Professor at
Mrs Jane Menut Brownell (53)
Betty Jane Brownell (14)
Henry Barron Refo (43) American (Teacher)
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 6 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 25 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)
'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)
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 18 October 1943 after he had been repatriated with other US nationals - he explains how Carroll got involved with their group.
'He knew our landlord, Mr Carroll, who had been suspected by the British and interned with the Japanese on December 8. 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)
'Recently I received a second letter from Mr Kennedy-Skipton written in Calcutta. In it he states that during an interview with a (British) official it was intimated that during the period of hostilities in HK he had visited some of those interned by the HK authorities in Stanley Prison. Since I was with him practically every hour of the day and spent the nights at his home………such a charge is not only untrue but in some ways extraordinary. Prof. Brownell and myself were with Mr Kennedy-Skipton in the Billeting Service and were in the office and up and down and around the Peak together daily right up until Christmas afternoon. Neither of us have any recollection of any sort which would lead us to believe he made such a trip. It would seem extraordinary that he could have made such a trip without the knowledge of the Superintendent of Prisons.
It was apparently intimated also at the same interview that Mr Kennedy-Skipton knew Mr Carroll (one of those interned) before the outbreak of hostilities. If so he concealed that fact very well. However, it was really through the fact that at the outbreak of war my family and I were renting a house on Bowen Road that belonged to Carroll Brothers, that the contacts with the Japanese were made. I was living with my family at No 7 Stubbs Road when I received notice of an increase in rent beginning 1 Sept 1941. Carroll Brothers advertised No. 14 Bowen Road (an old government house) at a very reasonable rate. Arrangements were made and we moved on 4 Sept. I saw Mr Carroll once when I went to his office to sign the contract and pay my first rent. Thereafter I sent him a cheque monthly through the post. Perhaps two or three times he stopped by the house to see if we were in need of any repair work.
On the fourth day of the war we had notice to evacuate our house but without instructions as to where to go (the house being requisitioned by the authorities. It was after this that Helen K-S made the offer for the Refo family to come and join them at their home on Mt. Cameron). After the surrender Japanese of all descriptions wandered into the Kennedy-Skipton house. One day a group came and I approached one of them (Capt. Ikeda) that spoke English and seemed friendly about a pass for me to go down to my house on Bowen Road. Immediately he said he was living on Bowen Road and asked which house was mine. I informed him it was No. 14. He then said he was in No 13. Then he asked if I knew Mr Carroll (Nos 13, 14, and 15 were owned by Carroll Brothers). I replied that I did and that he was my landlord. Before he left he asked about our food supply and intimated that he would be back in a few days. A week later three cars drove up laden with food and accompanying the Japanese officers was Mr Carroll. Before they departed it was suggested that Kennedy-Skipton and I as representatives for the group should go down the next day to the Japanese Office and make arrangements for remaining at the house, obtaining passes, food etc. While there we were required to sign statements to the effect that we would be responsible for the entire groups behavior. That Mr Kennedy-Skipton had bitter enemies in the Hong Kong Govt long before the outbreak of hostilities needs no argument. It follows that they would use every possible means to besmear his name. It was finally decided that we should all be interned (Feb 7) . However Mr Kennedy-Skipton had sufficient grounds for claiming Irish citizenship and like a number of others took advantage of it. The rest of us were interned. However the Japanese allowed us two trucks for transportation and were thus able to take with the assistance of Mr and Mrs Kennedy-Skipton into camp some one hundred Canadian Army bed cushions (known as biscuits) and blankets, clothing, books, coal, food, medicine and other useful articles some of which were turned over to the British Camp.' (6)
'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)
'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.
I had first to go to Waichow and sound the English BAAG there. On 10 January 1943, I left Hong Kong arriving in Waichow on 15 January. Outside the city I met a British officer, Captain Hooper and asked him if he knew Mr Skipton. He said he did and asked me to go to his office the following day. The next day I went there and met Major Clague. I at one presented to him Mr Skipton’s letter.
I asked for a token of proof to take back to Mr Skipton so that he would trust me. Captain Hooper then took a piece of blank paper and wrote some words on it telling me to give this paper to Mr Skiptom. In fact they were from the same school and the words were from the school song.It was Sunday 24 January 1943 when we escaped. Afterwards I returned to Hong Kong. Mr Skipton asked me to take a letter back to his wife. He told me that if his wife was willing to leave Hong Kong and escape to Waichow he wished me to find the means to help her and her two daughters escape. Mrs Skipton however did not want to escape.' (8)
A telegram from the British Ambassador in Chungking to the Colonial Office in London dated 26 March 1943 states:
'Kennedy-Skipton who is now in Kweilin has forwarded a diary and detailed reports regarding his activities after the surrender of Hong Kong. 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.He resigned Dec 11 and escaped on 24 Jan. He states that he had arranged for Mrs Kennedy-Skipton and her two daughters to follow him but that instead Mrs Kennedy-Skipton reported his departure to the Gendarmerie and is still in HK with the children.
He appears to have cooperated with the Japanese further than was necessary but the work he did had little if any result. I propose to send him to India.' (9)
'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 work he and George K-S were involved with at the Investigation Bureau.
'As it turned out we did little more than sit around the Japanese office and in the end it became apparent that they had no intention of letting us do anything useful to anyone. Personally I believe they had several motives in being lenient to us. First of all I really think that they actually felt sorry for our group of women and children and elderly folk and when we offered them tea that first day when they came, it overcame them. Then undoubtedly they thought that a high government official such as Mr Kennedy-Skipton might prove not only directly useful but also his apparent cooperation with the Japanese authorities might be used as excellent propaganda among the Chinese.' (11)
'I beg to report that subsequent to the surrender I have taken service under the Japanese authorities in a civil administrative capacity in order to save my home and family and dependents, the latter from internment and the danger of starvation and my home which I own from looting and possible destruction. A guarantee was given me when taking up the post that I would not be asked to do anything against British interests. On January 5 an order was issued that all enemy aliens of European race were to be interned and that no third national was to go abroad without a pass. The following day two Japanese officers and a civilian official called and said our group need not report for internment until further notice but must not leave the premises. On Jan 9 they called again with a present of food. I had decided in the interval that if my agricultural qualifications could be the means of saving my group from hardship I ought to place them at the service of the new government without delay. This I did and handed them a copy of my report as Special Commissioner for Agricultural Extension adding that I was willing to help in any other useful civic work. A week later I was sent for by car, brought to their bureau and my offer finally accepted. For about a month I was taken up and down by car
Meanwhile the Colonial Secretary Mr Gimson had me informed through Mr Arthur May a PWD Engineer working in the same bureau with me that he wished to see me. At some risk in my opinion I visited him in his office. He demanded to know why I had taken service under the Japanese without his permission. I drew his attention to the fact that the surrender had divested him of his authority. On a second visit he refused to hear the witness I offered Mr Kobza-Nagy a pro-British Hungarian.
He suspended me for failing to apply for his permission beforehand. I had told him there was a Japanese sentry at Wanchai Gap but he did not appear to understand where Wanchai Gap or Mount Cameron was. As regards the propriety of my work I pointed out that Mr May of the PWD was working in the same office as I without his objecting he replied quite simply that Mr May was not a cadet. Mr May is not a cadet but like me he has his family to consider a mother and a blind father in his case. When I persisted in my opinion that I could not have visited him beforehand the Attorney General who was present at the interview called me a liar to my face. I made a record of this and the whole proceedings shortly afterwards and deposited it a few days later with a high government official.' (12)
'Sixteen to eighteen hours prior to the arrival of the Japanese forces in Kowloon the police were withdrawn. As a result there was widespread looting and bloodshed by Chinese robbers. I attach a statement on the subject by Mr D C Silva a British resident of Kowloon twenty years in the colony during all of which he had been a salesman for Sun Life Assurance Co. The resentment of all sections of the population of Kowloon over this withdrawal of protection is deep and likely to endure. The same thing in a worse degree occurred in Cheung Chau.
Early in March I was sent under escort to the Colonal Secretariat then vacant to look for copies of the annual volumes of Administrative Reports, the Financial Secretary’s Annual Reports and the estimates of revenue and expenditure. I was astonished to observe the Secret Files Strong Room and its contents apparently intact except for the forcing of the steel door. Apparently the Japanese soldiers being unable to read English had left the files alone in spite of their red colour.' (12)
'Mr Kennedy-Skipton came all the way up from Hove to see me at the House of Commons this afternoon and put his case again very fully before me.' (13)
'Apart from yourself he has invoked the assistance of no few than six Members of Parliament since his return to this country. It is of course my intention that a full enquiry should be held as soon as this becomes possible but it clearly cannot take place while the principal witnesses are still in Japanese hands.' (14)
'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)
'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.
Mr Refo an American asked me if I would undertake relief work as it might encourage the Japanese to allow us freedom if we offered to do this. I agreed to this provided it was genuine relief under civilian and not military direction but I heard no more of it Mr Kennedy-Skipton and Mr Refo undertook some work which I understood to be in connection with the use of night-soil as fertilizer.
It was rather a surprise when we got into the internment camp at Stanley to hear that Mr Kennedy-Skipton was criticized as disloyal. Although I personally disagreed with his action in remaining out of Stanley Camp, chiefly as I considered it imposed an undue strain upon his wife and daughters, yet there was no solid reason, in my oinion for suspecting his loyalty. He was sincere in his endeavor to help the Chinese people and also in his hope that in this way he might also assist his family and safeguard his property.' (16)
'During the period of the Japanese occupation I kept a pocket diary of events. I attach these from my diary which have relation to Mr Kennedy-Skipton.
Mr Gimson the Colonial Secretary, Mr H. R. Butters, the Financial Secretary, Mr R.A.C. North the Secretary for Chinese Affairs and I were all interned at Princes Building.
On the 5 January 1942 Mr Kennedy-Skipton came to Princes Building to see Mr Gimson. He asked Mr Gimson if he could work with Mr Carroll. Mr Gimson told him that he would not be required for that purpose and that he should register for internment.On the 7 February Mr K-S left a note saying that he had claimed neutral nationality and had entered the Japanese service as Agricultural Adviser. This was done without permission and contrary to the instructions given him on 5 January.On 9 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)
'10 February: Kennedy-Skipton did not turn up to hear the decision which I suspect he must have guessed.
11 February: Kennedy-Skipton came and refused to recognize Gimson or the rest of us as representing the Hong Kong Government. He made a pathetic exhibition of lying and twisting the truth and said he was in the same position as May and Selwyn Clarke. Butters accused him of having suborned his wife to put forward a put up case of opposition to the Government's evacuation of women and children policy. He was told that his service with HK Govt was regarded as suspended as he had offered his services to the Japanese. He said he would appeal to the Governor when he could.
15 February: Arthur May came in and reported that Kennedy-Skipton was in his Mount Cameron home with his family but the others in his party had been interned in Stanley. He (May) had not declared himself a neutral nor offered his services to the Japanese and herein he differed from Kennedy-Skipton.3 March: In the afternoon Gregory the Armenian manager of the Dairy Farm called to ask who built Govt House and when? He said K-S had been dismissed from his agricultural job and had been put out into the street but had crept back to Windsor House next day bowing and scraping and had been allowed to stay running messages and visiting homes and offices looking for maps and taking his meals with the chauffeurs. ' (18)
'The object of this meeting was to deal with the fact that Mr Kennedy-Skipton had taken service with the Japanese. I have no doubt whatsoever that it was fully understood by everyone concerned that Mr Kennedy-Skipton was being required to cease his service with the Japanese and go into internment.
Mr Kennedy-Skipton refused to obey and he vehemently disputed the authority of the Colonial Secretary to give him orders in this matter. The question of suspension was raised at the meeting but Mr Kennedy-Skipton remained recalcitrant.
After the meeting the Colonial Secretary and the rest of us being all members of the Executive Council decided in view of Mr Kennedy-Skipton's refusal to obey the order to cease his service with the Japanese, his service with the British Government in Hong Kong should be suspended pending the decision of the Secretary of State.' (19)
'On or about 30 December 1941, I attended a meeting of members of the Executive Council held in Princes Building at which the question of collaboration with Japanese was discussed. It was then agreed that government officers might properly continue their ordinary functions under Japanese control, provided they did nothing to facilitate the Japanese war effort. In that case they should keep the Colonial Secretary informed of their activities and obtain his concurrence. The officers chiefly concerned were those of Police and Medical Depts and the staff of GPO and Wireless.
I was standing in the corridor outside the offices on the top floor of Princes Building, I overheard part of a conversation between the Colonial Secretary and Mr Kennedy-Skipton. The latter was explaining that he had been offered work by the Japanese and that he did not therefore propose to report himself for internment. The Colonial Secretary answered "I think you should go with the rest” or words to that effect.
Questioned about his activities Mr Kennedy-Skipton said that he had explained to the Japanese the work he had been doing before the outbreak of hostilities in organizing the distribution of night soil to cultivators in the new territories and the Japanese had allowed him to continue this work. He regarded this as a proper contribution to the welfare of the Chinese population who were without external supplies and therefore starving. He added that being at liberty he had been able to visit Stanley and to take with him bedding which was badly needed in CampThe Colonial Secretary told Mr Kennedy-Skipton that he did not approve of his employment by the Japanese and that his proper course was to join his colleagues at Stanley.Mr Kennedy-Skipton asked on what authority he was being ordered into internment. He was told that these were instructions by his superior officer and that if he chose to disobey them, disciplinary action might be taken against him. The three officials present were all members of the Executive Council.In reply Mr Kennedy-Skipton said that in his view the Hong Kong Government had ceased to exist on the Japanese occupation and that its former officers had no authority to issue instructions of any kind. It was for the individual to act according to his conscience. His conscience told him that the Chinese population were starving and that it was his duty to do what he could to help them. He had put all that he had into his house on Mt Cameron and if he were interned it would be lost. He declined to give up his work or to take steps to procure his internment.' (20)
'Mr Gimson gave me no instructions to cease service with the Japanese. He only asked me why I had not got his permission beforehand and refused to answer me when I asked him whether he approved or not. This was brought out in the contemporary record I made of the interview and deposited at the time with Dr Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke; it was then lost when he was arrested.
When I first joined the Investigation Bureau Mr Kobza informed me that I would not be asked to do anything dishonourable or harmful to British interests
As a Southern Irish National I was not liable to internment being therefore free and my services having been requested, it appeared to me at a time of public need to be my duty if I could to continue my official work of organizing the distribution of nightsoil for fertilizer to the farmers. That this undertaking was likely to help the numerous refugees at my house was a second but subsidiary consideration. As the Colonial Secretary refused to express an opinion as to the desirability of the work and was himself new to Hong Kong conditions, I saw no good reason for withdrawing from my undertaking to do this work.' (21)
'That on February 11 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 24 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 21 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)
'Among the passengers who left this morning by BOAC was Mr Kimmy S. Kennedy-Skipton a pupil of the Diocesan Boys School who is proceeding to Trinity College, Dublin to study Geodesy. He will also represent Hong Kong in the Empire Games at Cardiff by competing in the 100 and 200 yards sprint race.' (23)
'A branch of applied mathematics and earth sciences, is the scientific discipline that deals with the measurement and representation of the Earth, including its gravitational field, in a three-dimensional time-varying space.' (24)
Addendum - Information gleaned from readers or discovered after publication of posting
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. (Source: Mike Hennessy)
It was while working as a District Officer that he met his Chinese 'wife'. (Source: Philip Cracknell)
(1) Statement by Sir Grenville Alabaster Attorney General (1947) (HK PRO)
(2) Letter dated 22April 1941 from Sir Geoffrey Northcote to Mr G.E.J. Gent of the Colonial
Office (National Archives, 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
written on board SS Gripsholm. (HK PRO files)
(11) Letter from Henry Refo dated 7 Aug 1943 to Under Secretary of
(12) Letter from George Kennedy-Skipton to Colonial Office dated 11 June 1942 (smuggled out by
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
(19) Statement by Mr H R Butters formerly Financial Secretary dated 24 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 28 May 1951
(23) China Mail 9 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.