Excerpts from internees’ recollections of liberation from Stanley Camp, Hong Kong 1945
Composed by Dr Bernice Archer
Naomi Walton Smith – Young single woman in Stanley Camp. H.K.
(Interview with Dr. Bernice Archer)
On August 14th the Japanese told us to assemble. The commandant of the camp then came down from his headquarters and announced that the Japanese had surrendered.
Delight was an understatement.
We were allowed to move freely around the camp for the next few weeks and rations increased enormously. There was a general display of Chinese colours and even a Union Jack and the American Flag. The Japanese took exception to this premature display as the British Navy still had not arrived to release us. Those few weeks were the longest of my life. We were told not to go to town because there was a lot of rioting and looting. We could not believe it would take the British so long to reach H.K.
When the British did finally come into camp the National Anthem was played.
On 30th August the British Navy anchored in H.K. Harbour.
I remember being told that it was my turn next to be taken back to H.K. I was billeted at the Gloucestershire Hotel and was allotted a room which I shared with someone who had also been interned in Stanley.
“I have no bitter feelings towards the Japanese and I have been back since to visit. I lived in such terrible uncertainty that I just never knew what was going to happen to me. We all had such an uncertain life. One lived from day to day… All I want to do now is to forget everything to do with it”.