The Pearl River (Chu Kong - (珠江) of Kwangtung Province had three Tributaries; namely the West River, (西江) originating from Kwang Si Province, (广西) flowing eastward on to the Pearl River near Canton (广州). The East River (东江) originating from Kiang Si Province (江西), flowing south-westwards on to the Pearl River at Shek Lung (石龙). The North River, (北江) drawing water from two principal Tributaries, (one from the north east, the Ching Shui (清水),the other from north west, the "Mo Shui" (武水) originating at the foot of the Tai Yu Ling (大庾岭), which formed the natural boundary between Kwangtung Province (广东省) on its south, and the Kiang Si Province (江西省) on its N.E., the Hun Na Province (湖南) on its N.W. The two Tributaries joined at Kukong (曲江), to form the southwards flowing River called the "Pak Kong" (北江) or the North River, which flowed southwards to join the Pearl River at Sam Shui (三水), near Canton. Because the position was where two fairly sizable rivers met, a Check Point had long been established some centuries ago, bearing the name, Shiu Kwan (or Shaoguan) (韶关). Because of the existence of a Check Point, a township gradually grew. In time, the township of Shiu Kwan was given a more poetic name, Kukong, (曲江) in honour of a one of its sons, the historically well known scholar, who distinguished himself not only in Civil Administration and also in Letters. Hence the name Kukong, named after the legendary Fairy god, who was the patron saint for men of letters and of Literature; Man Kuk Sing.(文曲星).
The township of Kukong, stood on a triangular shape land, lying between two rivers, meeting to make a larger One. The "Mo Shui" (武水) from the north-west side, was larger than the "Ching Shui" (清水) from the north-east. The land on the west bank, "Ho Sai" (河西), was flatter than the land on the east. On the East bank, there passed a railway, from Canton to Hankow (汉口), via Heng Yang (衡阳)in Hu Nan Province (湖南省), where it branched out westwards to Kweilin (桂林). More people chose to live on the West Bank, because the land was flat. As more and more people came to live, work or trade in this war time Provincial Capital of rich Kwangtung Province, more temporary structures were congregratedly built to become a sort of "shanty town" on the West Bank. The inhabitants drew water from the river to drink, cook, wash and bathe; the river also served as drains and sewers. In early summer that year, there was an outbreak of Enteritis or Cholera, funerals could be seen by the river several times a day, almost everyday. At the southern end of this shanty town, there were two Christian Mission stations; one was Catholic, operating a school by the Salesian Fathers; the other was Protestant, operating a sizable hospital by the Methodist. The latter, the "Ho Sai" Hospital (河西医院), literally meant the Hospital on the West Bank, was well staff and well run. The medical superintendent of the hospital was a New Zealander of Irish origin. He was Dr. S.H. Moore. Assisting him, was a team of good Chinese doctors, backed up by a nursing school. It was perhaps the one and only really decent and dependable hospital in the whole of war time South China. Along with Dr.Moore, were a few European Missionaries, doing their evangelical work. To reach the "Ho Sai" Hospital from downtown Kukong, one had to cross the Western River, by one of the two pontoon bridges, and then walk southwards for about 15 minutes. Inside the hospital campus, there were built, apart from the main hospital buildings for wards and for nurses quarters, three blocks of two storeyed European style buildings; one was the Medical Superintendent's Living quarters; one was for the Chinese Assistant Medical Officers; and the other for the expatriate Missionaries. In between the blocks, were well tended gardens. In the Medical Superintendent's Quarters, there was a spare guest room. It was in that spare guest room, in Dr. Moore's quarters, where the British Army Aid Group grew from an embryo, to became a fetus, and eventually to take the shape of a Baby to be born. On might well say, it was Dr. Moore, who delivered the baby.
At the outbreak of the Pacific War, Doc Ride (eventually, Brigadier Sir Lindsay Ride, CBE,LL.D, etc., Vice Chancellor of the University of Hongkong and Commandant of the Royal Hongkong Defence Force) was Professor of Physiology at the Hongkong University. He was an Australian and In his younger days, he a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. He used to take pride in saying, jokingly to me, that "Napoleon was a petite Corporal; In World War I, Hitler was a Lance Corporal, so was Lindsay Ride, but I was only an Acting Lance Corporal Unpaid. He emphasized the words: "Acting" and "Unpaid" In this war, it was Francis Lee's turn to be a Corporal. I don't think he had yet been paid for that !" (Other than myself, I don't think Doc Ride had ever said the same thing to anybody else). At the University, apart from teaching Physiology, he was a keen cricketer, a keen singer, - he took a leading part (barbitone solo) in every Christmas Carol, held annually at the University, sponsored by the Christian Association. But above all, he was the Lt.Col., commanding the Field Ambulance Units of the Hongkong Volunteer Defence Corps. He was very keen that university undergraduates, particular the medical students, should join his Field Ambulance, or alternatively, the St.John's Ambulance Brigade, which came under his command during the hostilities, for the Defence of Hongkong. I knew of him in my undergraduate days, but I could not say I knew him personally. For I was not a medical student, nor was I a member of the HKVDC. I was no cricketer nor a Carol singer. I only came to know him for the first time in my life, when i was in Kukong. Wearing my blazer with a HKU Coat of Arm sewn on my upper left pocket, and armed with my recently acquired Temporary Certificate for my War Time Degree, and also a Letter of Introduction bearing the signature of Prof.L. Forster, plus a few group photographs taken in my undergraduate days, I called on Him at Ho Sai Hospital, requesting an interview. My request was granted. It was, of course, refreshing to him, when he saw the signatures of individuals, such as D.J. Sloss, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. L.Forster., Dean of Faculty of Arts, and Mr.Boxer. the Registrar, all so familiar to him. He gazed for a while, at the University's Coat of Arm, sewn on the pocket of my Blazer. He then took a good look at the signatures on my Temporary Certificate, as if to make sure, it was not phoney. It was, of course, news to him that the Authority of the University, had seen fit to award War Time Degrees to the Final year students. It applied to his pupils in the Medical Faculty as well as to us, arts students. He asked if I had actually seen the signatories, and how were they? I hastened to say that I actually saw all three of them and several others, including Prof. Brown, (Mathematics), Prof. Faid, (Physics) and Prof. Readman, (Engineering) when I obtained my Certificate at May Hall. They all appeared to me fine and well. He then asked me, which route I took when I left Hongkong? Was the journey difficult? Did the Japanese interrogate me? Were there many troops guarding the routes, etc? To all these, I gave plain and straight forward answers. When the questions and answers session was over, I boldly asked if he could help me to find a job. He hesitated a while and then said: "Come back to see him in two days time". Then I left. It was through the Information Centre at the downtown YMCA in Kukong, that I learnt to know about the presence of a Professor from Hongkong University at Ho Sai Hospital.
Also roaming about in Kukong shortly after I have seen Doc Ride, but functioning quite separately and independently from Doc Ride, was another Professor from the Medical Faculty of the Hongkong University. He was Gordon King Professor of Gynaecology. Prior to his appointment to the Gynaecological Chair at HKU, Gordon King had been teaching in one of the Universities in China. (I vaguely recalled, it might have been the Chee Lu University in Shan Tung Province, the place where Confucius was born - but I am not sure). Gordon King spoke fluent Mandarin, and played the Piano quite well. He was apparently quite well known within the circles of university educationalists in China. At the time when I saw Doc Ride, Prof. King was just about to return from Chungking, where he was given a sort of mandate from by a certain authority, which enabled or empowered him to help and to look after the refugee students from Hongkong University. He was in a unique position to effectively place the HKU students at the various universities of their choice, for "borrowed studies" so as to complete their respective courses of studies in Free China. He was also able to assist in placing a few HKU graduates for certain jobs in certain Institutions. He too was frequently seen, both at the Ho Sai Hospital campus as well as at the downtown Y.M.C.A. Had I first met Gordon King instead of meeting Doc Ride, my subsequent life long career might have been entirely different. It just happened that Gordon King came my way, a few days after my encounter with Doc.Ride.
Cigarettes and Sweetened Drinks at Kukong
Over two weeks boredom of "War" in Hongkong, followed by some 10 anxious days awaiting an opportunity for "home coming", hesitated for another month before accepting the role of a refugee, which led to a three weeks pilgrimage on my way to Kukong, all added up to increase my addiction to cigarette smoking. By the time I reached Kukong, I was smoking at least two packets of 20 cigarettes a day, and sometimes more. Outside the main gate of Ho Sai Hospital, there were two tobacconist hawker stalls, displaying their respective tempting paraphernalia on the hospital's external wall. As I came out from my interview with Doc Ride, I dashed to buy my packet of cigarettes. Most of those displayed were local made varieties, which had a strong taste of burning papers, because the tobacco in them were apparently neither appropriately cured nor wrapped with the right quality paper. The only brand which tasted anywhere resembling the taste I had acquired in Hongkong, was the "Pirate" brand, which was one of the cheapest brands sold to the coolies in the streets in Hongkong. However, it was indeed a treat, for smoking refugees from Hongkong, to indulge in smoking a "Pirate" cigarette in Kukong. The next best would have been, to roll your own cigarette, with traditionally cured Chinese tobacco, (熟烟) on local Chinese grass paper. The burning coal-tar like taste would be less than smoking a locally made cigarette. I opted for a packet of "Pirate", on that occasion. Along the West Bank upstream to the pontoon bridge, which led to downtown Kukong, were rows of "squatter like" structures, built on stilts resting on the river bed down below for support. In practically all these structures, were shops of one kind or another. Many sold shoes or garments, but by far more were selling sweetened drinks. The most popular of the sweetened drinks then selling, were of two main varieties; namely, the "Double Skin Milk" (Sheung Pei Nai) (双皮奶) (a sort of custard of buffalo milk, steamed with white of eggs, added to sugar and water), and the "Lotus Seeds Tea", (Lin Tze Cha) (莲子茶) (a sweetened soup of Lotus Seeds simple). Could it be that the change of life style, requiring much walking, thus using up considerably more energy, needing replenishment to increase sugar intake, which made the sale of sweetened drinks so popular? The sweetened drinks, as described above, were certainly a more palatable way of taking in a big doses of sugar in the raw.
More than half of the people living in Kukong in those days were in uniforms. Generally speaking, the military personnels wore a greenish-yellow shade of Khaki; whereas the Civilian personnels wore the dark blue variety. The uniforms were all one single style, - buttoned-up to the neck, with a row of five metal buttons running straight down to the waist. The ranking military officers might wear a set of leather belts, with one narrow strip from over the right shoulder running down diagonally to the left side, to join with a broader strip of horizontal leather belt around the waist. The other ranks were not entitled to wear the diagonal strip from shoulder down. The military ranks of the individuals were indicated by the collar pieces near the throats, or the colour of the edges of the cloth lapel stitched at a position just above the left upper pocket. Brigadier Generals, Major Generals, Lt Generals and Full Generals wore gold colour metallic collar pieces, or red edged lapels over their pockets, to indicate their Field Ranks, The Brigadiers had no pip -, the Major Generals had one pip, the Lt.Gens. had two pips and the Full General, I was told (I had never seen one), had three pips - on their Metallic collar pieces or cloth lapels to indicate their personal ranks. Likewise, the Majors, Lt. Colonels and Full Colonels had "Double Bar" collar pieces or Yellow edged Lapels; and the 2nd/Lieutenant, the Lieutenant and Captains had "Single Bar" Collar pieces or Blue edged Lapels, with the appropriate number of pips, to indicate their respective personal ranks. The Civil officials also used Red, Yellow or Blue colour to edge the small metallic discs, worn over the left side upper pockets, to indicate their respective ranks. The Red edged discs indicated the Staff Grade Ranks; the Yellow edged discs, the Senior Executive and the Blue edged discs the Junior Executive. Many women also wore similar uniforms, but the majority of the womenfolks chose to wear the plain Blue Cheung Sam to indicate their middle class stations. The refugees from Hongkong, men as well as women, wore a variety of bright coloured clothings, which instantly betrayed their personal status. The working class, the boat people, the shop keepers and the hawkers etc., generally speaking, stuck to the traditional "Sam and Fu", i.e., jackets and trousers. For the cold wintry days, every body seemed to be wearing the thick padded, - usually outsize - over-coats to keep warm and to break the winds. The young kids in school, wore a white shirt or browse on top, with a blue pair of shorts or a short skirt. While some Generals might indulge in wearing a pair of "wellington boots", by far the most popular form of shoes were the "leather top shoes on old motor car tyre soles" which would stand the wear and tear of a lot of long distance walking, which every one had to do. All these came about more as a social convention, rather than by anything else; there was nothing to bar you from or to force you to conform.
The Two Bing Restaurants on the West Bank
Wherever the Cantonese, that is people originating from the three counties surrounding Canton; namely, Nam Hoi (南海), Pun Yu(番禺), Shun Tak (顺德), they must have their "Yum Cha". Kukong being the war time capital of Kwangtung Province, was no exception. It was therefore, only natural that two Giant Size Tea Houses, namely, the "Sai Sin" (西线) (The Western Front) and the "Sai Kau",(西郊) (The Western Suburb), were soon flourishing on the West Bank of Kukong. Each of the two Tea Houses were spacious enough to accommodate some 300 tables, each of which was capable of seating 6 or more persons. From dawn onwards up till mid morning, Cantonese would have their breakfasts with or without their friends, relatives or acquaintances, at the Tea houses to make the over half full. But from 11.00 am onwards, the 2nd shift would come for their "Yum Cha and Dim Sum" luncheons. Soon the two Tea Houses would each have a "Full House". If you were a stranger to Kukong, and wished to meet someone you knew who were already there, the surest way of getting a chance to meeting him or her, would be to try your luck at one of these 2 Tea Houses. Here they served a continuous supply of a good variety of dim sum, freshly fried, steamed, stewed, baked or otherwise cooked, which would satisfy even the most critical of connoisseurs. Here you could see a gold-collar pieced general with his high blow admirers, sitting on a table, right next to another one, with a humble Lieutenant surrounded by his wife and relatives or children, tasting the same variety of "Dim Sum", pushed up to their seats on the same cart. It was customary then and there, to pay in advance, for whatever you had taken from the carts, so that if an Air Raid Alarm were to be sounded half way, most of the dishes ordered, irrespective as to whether they had been consumed, would have been paid. When eating in such a "flimsily" built Tea Houses, one had to eat hastily, and at the same time to pray hard, that an incendiary bombs falling from an enemy aircraft would not score a direct hit. If one did, it would surely start a blazing inferno, which nothing could have stopped it. Be that as it may, the sight was a grand sight indeed, when seeing, up to a thousand people happily enjoying their Dim Sum with their endless cups of Tea.
Keeping my appointment, I reported back to Doc Ride two days after. To my surprise, Doc Ride was not alone on the 2nd day. With him was a middle age Chinese Gentleman, who spoke fluent English when he was talking to Doc Ride. Soon I was asked to have a chat with the Chinese gentleman, who then told me that his name was Lee Ming Chak (利铭泽), but he would not mind my addressing him Dick Lee. The interview was conducted informally in open air on the verandah. From our exchanges, I soon discovered that he was one of the sons of the well known late Lee Hysan‚ the sole owner and proprietor of the Lee Theatre and the Lee Garden Recreational Park at Causeway Bay in Hongkong, a very wealthy man; in fact a Legend in his own time. I also learnt that Dick Lee was a graduate of Oxford University, and had been working as an Adviser to a State owned and operated China Tea Corporation. He questioned me in great details about the routes I had taken to come out from the Japanese occupied Hongkong. He was particularly interested in the parts close to the "Sino British Border", otherwise referred to as "No Man's Land". He showed great interests in the "Red Army" or the "Communist Guerrilla" which I mentioned in connection with my short stay at Li Long. He asked if I had met, in particular, Tsang Sang and Wong Chok Yiu, the almost legendary Top Men reputed to be in charge of the Communist Guerrillas in that area. The fact was, I did not, and I never had. In fact I had not even heard of their existence until then. Hearing that my home was in Fanling, he asked if I knew his friends, Mr.Li Hon Kam and Li Hon Chee, two brothers of the well known wealthy Li family in Fanling. I answered, quite truthfully, that I knew of them, and occasionally greeted them, but I knew better their younger brothers, who were my class mates in the same school I attended in Kowloon. Dick Lee went on further to ask me what I had in mind regarding my own future, what aspirations in life I might have, etc. I told him frankly and quite sincerely and innocently, that I wished to have an opportunity to serve my fatherland, in whatever capacity the State might dictate. The interview lasted for about half an hour. After a break of about ten minutes, Doc Ride came out to see me on the verandah. He started off by summing his position as follows; "I escaped recently from the Prisoner of War Camp in Shamshuipo. I owed my success through the undaunted loyalty of my friend, Francis Lee. (Francis, at that time, had returned to Hongkong on a secret mission, and was expected to be back soon), and the most helpful assistance, readily given to me, by the Guerrilla Unites operating in N.T. not far from the Prisoners of war camps. From my own personal experience, I have no doubt that there are a lot of good will around and about. I am quite convinced that other prisoners of war, who care and dare to escape, could easily make a success of it. What was needed was an effective means of communication, between those prisoners of war who are locked up in camps, and we people who are out side, through which they could be encouraged to take the initiative and with confidence, to plan and make good their escapes. The prisoners of war would need reassuring that a lot of goodwill is around and about, and that there was nothing to fear. This is what I have in my mind, and I had submitted my proposals to the competent authority in Chungking. Right now, I am waiting for an approval by a higher authority, for me to go ahead with my scheme. I cannot at this stage, disclose to you, the details regarding my proposals. It might be exciting, it might be very boring, it might succeed, it might not. I cannot, of course, foretell at this stage. However, if you think I stand a chance of success, and you are willing to go along with me, you would be welcome." My immediate response to Doc Ride was: "It sounds to me, something like the French Revolution Story of "Scarlet Pimpernel", about which I had recently seen a film, and also heard the story from my sister when I was a boy. It sounds romantic indeed. if nothing else. I like it. I am with you." That settled it. The next thing he did was to work out an arrangement, whereby I could have a place to live while we were all waiting. Soon Doc Ride was able to negotiate a bed space for me, at the Field Hospital of the Kwangtung Branch of the Intentional Red Cross, right next door to the Ho Sai Hospital. There I was to have a cubicle in the hostel, at which a number of Interns from the Lingnan University, were being placed for their ward round training in preparation for the qualifying Final Examinations to become full fetched doctors. The Head of Kwangtung Branch of the International Red Cross, which operated a Field Hospital, was none other than Dr. Wong Man (黄雯), the incumbent Director of the Provincial Health Service, a Returned British trained Medical practitioner, from a widely known and well respected Hongkong family. In addition, Doc Ride offered me a temporary salary of CNC$400-.a month, plus a monthly food and living allowance of another CNC$400.-, which amounts, he made it clear, would be subject to review at a later date. I was pleasantly surprised, the offer was so generous. It was a salary higher than the salary of a General in the Chinese Army. It may be recalled, when I left my family at Lo Lung, my father gave me no more than CNC$300.- as my life line capital. Hadn't I more reasons to be thankful for?
Telegrams and Other Visitors(p) Solidly we waited three months at Kukong for official approval from higher levels. I knew nothing about the politics or other related problems regarding Doc Ride's proposals. Apart from myself, there was also on Chan Hon Kei (), who was a L/Cpl. with the Hongkong Chinese Regiment - a newly formed unit, under the command of Major Hector Chauvin, designed to train Local Enlisted Personnels to become N.C.Os.- who hanged around and did odd jobs of Doc Ride. Chan, who had with him, papers proving he was born in America, subsequently joined the American Air Force in Kweilin. While we were waiting, many things happened. First we received many telegraphic enquiries, via Chungking, about the "survival or otherwise" of individuals, known to have been "stranded" in Hongkong. Apparently, Doc Ride was the only venue of communication, capable to answering some of such enquires. From memories and from hearsays, Doc. Ride did his best to try to answer them in the best way he could, by telegrams. Chan and I took turns to deliver the telegrams for despatch at the Telegraph Office in downtown Kukong. Then we came across a Mr.Thompson, who was a Police Officer, who had escaped from Hongkong on his own. He called on Doc Ride, but after some discussions which I did not participate, he appeared to have held the view that he, being a civilian and member of the Colonial Police Service, was not obliged to take "orders" from Doc Ride. They did not seem to have parted with a very friendly relationship. Any how, I had the more pleasant assignment of taking Thompson out to lunch at the Sai Sin Tea House, where he obviously enjoyed every single dish I ordered for him. Then came an American woman, Mrs G. Priestwood, who also escaped on her own, and successfully made her way to Kukong. She too called on Doc Ride, and had a discussion, which ended in way not unsimilar to that which Mr. Thompson had had. However, Mrs. Priestwood did leave behind for Doc Ride, a list of names of people she knew, who were known to be alive in Hongkong, which was quite useful for Doc Ride, who had been sending many telegrams abroad to Britain, Australia, Canada and U.S.A., answering enquiries about individuals left in Hongkong. Because Mrs. Priestwood was the only European Women who made good her escape from Hongkong through War Time Free China, she was "Received", by Madam Ng Kuk Fong (吴菊芳), wife of Gen. Li Hon Wan, (李汉云) the Provincial Civil Governor of Kwangtung. Madam Ng received Mrs. Priestwood in her capacity as the Head of a Women Organization in Kwangtung I was asked to act as their interpreter. As mentioned earlier, it was Doc Ride who received and answered the many enquiring telegrams; but it was I who took them all the way up to the downtown Telegraph Office, - walking about a mile each way -sending on the average half a dozen at a time. Before long, the counter staff at the Telegraph Office, got to know me quite well for being one of their most regular customers who sent so many telegrams overseas. There was another European working in Kukong at the time, he was Mr. Balthurst, the Commission of The Chinese Maritime Customs, stationed at Kukong. Socially and otherwise, he had been very helpful to Doc Ride and other British personnels.
The VII War Zone Headquarters
Another place I frequently visited during that three months waiting period, was the private office of the Major Gen.Chu Lai Chuen (朱丽泉) the Adjutant General to Gen. Yu Hon Mou (余汉谋). Gen. Chu was formerly an Engineering graduate of HKU, and he, apparently, was the only senior officer in the entire VII War Zone Headquarters who could speak English. Thus, it was one of his assigned tasks to attend to and to deal with any matter arising from contacts "Foreigners". It was from his office, where "Safe Conduct Passes" or other Papers facilitating our activities in war time VII War Zone of China could be obtained. Further more, when Doc Ride arrived, he had no sources of funds from which he could draw for his needs, including his living expenses. He had to rely mainly on a personal and oral recommendation of Admiral Chan Chak,(陈策), ( who was Chiang Kai Shek's Liaison Man in Hongkong, who himself had escaped from H.K.), which was recorded, only in the form of a note, in a file in the Pay Master's Office of the VII War Zone H.Q. ( I was shown the note once, by one of the officers on Gen. Chu's Staff, to illustrate his difficult position in obliging our request for an advance or loan). Admiral Chan Chak's note amounted to personal guarantee, that repayment of any Advanced made to Doc Ride, would be honoured by the British Embassy. On more than one occasion, Doc Ride and I had to call on Gen. Chu for further advances. I recalled on another occasion, when Doc Ride and I called on the Manager of the Bank of China in Kukong to negotiate an advance or a loan, it ended with a polite luncheon, given to both of us; but no loan or overdraft in any form.
Others in Kukong at the time
Doc Ride was not the only British "military presence" in Kukong at the time. Up north, a mile away near Ng Li Ting, (五里亭), tied by the East Bank of the Western River, was a pair of house-boats. Here over half a dozen of British service personnels were "camping". They had earlier on escaped from Hongkong. They were headed by Mike Kendall, a Canadian, who the commanding officer of a unit known as S.O.E. (What S.O.E. stood for, I was not clear. Apparently, the unit was a Special Duty Unit of the Hongkong Defence Force. One of its tasks was to harass the enemy from behind the lines by a system, of sabotage, espionage and intelligence; they were to blow up bridges or other forms of communications behind the enemy line, when Hongkong was attacked. In the group were some outstanding young individuals; including (a) R.G.K. (Bobby) Thompson, (later Sir Robert) who eventually became a World Authority on Communist and Communist Tactics, (b) Colin McEwan, to whom I was introduced by Hector MacKenzie, at the University of Hongkong, Maxwell Holroyd, formerly of the Chinese Maritime Customs and a few others. Their aims were similar to those of Doc Ride, but their methods were apparently different. The S.O.E.'s method was apparently that of the commando, by blowing up any obstacles with light machine guns or explosives as may be necessary, to achieve an objective. The method itself is dependent upon the availability of the necessary logistics. The political climate at the time, for the intended areas of operation, simply made the S.O.E. method a non starter. Amongst others who were also members of the S.O.E., was one Mr. E.B.Teedale, of the Colonial Administrative Service, who eventually rose to become the Colonial Secretary of Hongkong. For a time, he was seconded to be a training instructor in a "Commando Training Camp" in a place called "Ki Yang" (祁阳) in Hu Nam Province, to train Chinese Commandos. I recalled his dropping in, unannounced, one evening on a short vacation, wearing a brand new uniform of his own design, to see his pals in the House Boats at Kukong. Another member of the S.O.E. was Ronald Holmes, (afterwards, Sir Ronald) also of the Colonial Administrative Service, who rose to become the Secretary for Chinese Affairs, Acting Colonial Secretary, and subsequently, Chairman of the Public Service Commission for Hongkong. Serving as a chauffeur, Holmes drove John Keswick (subsequently, Sir John), The First Secretary, and Brig, Grimsdale (subsequently Maj. General) the Military Attache', both of the British Embassy in Chungking, all the way to Kukong from Chungking in May, to settle the future of the S.O.E. In June the S.O.E disbanded itself, when some of its members voluntarily transferred themselves to Doc Ride's unit. Earlier on in April, we learnt that 4 escaped prisoners of war were reportedly seen being looked after by the Communist Guerrillas in Sai Kung Peninsula. Eventually, they made their ways to Kukong, where they were identified as Duggie Clague (afterwards, The Honourable, Sir Douglas, an Executive Council Member in Hongkong), John Pearce (afterwards, a Steward of the Royal Hongkong Jockey Club). Lynton White a regular officer of the Royal Artillery, David Bosanquet(on the staff in the Private Office of Jardine Matheson in HK)®‚ They reported to Doc Ride, where they were debriefed. Duggie Clague was down with malaria, and was obvious unfit to travel further. He was therefore retained at Kukong, where he received successful treatment by Dr. S.H. Moore, and subsequently joined Doc Rides's unit as 2nd in Command. The other three proceeded Chungking and flown to India for other assignments. In June, Pat Sedgewick a H.K. Govt. Cadet Officer, came to Kukong to attend to the plights and needs of the Hongkong Civil Servants, who had made their ways as refugees to Kukong.
House Boat on the River
One special feature peculiar to the life style of Kukong was the number of House boats, floating on the river. They were widely used as hotels or Inns. Basically, there were two types, the smaller ones would accommodate a couple (two persons) quite comfortably with privacy; and the larger ones which could house at least 4, and more if necessary. There were hundreds of them, mostly tied up near the pontoon bridges or near the jetties, easily available for hire, at any hour of the day, especially at night. The larger one had a double bed in the main "cabin", with two single beds in the partitioned parts at the forepart of the boat. If needed, extra sets of beddings could be spread out on the "main deck" to accommodate extras. Towards the latter part of my stay in Kukong, from May onwards, we had one or two, sometimes 3 house boats, hired on monthly basis, tied up near Ho Sai Hospital. It was quite handy, as we could use them to house new arrivals. When Duggie Clague and party arrived, John Pearce, Lynton White, and David Bosanquet were all house in one of them. It also served, for a while, as temporary office cum living accommodation, for Pat Sedgewick, who started an office, to pay out "back pays" or "severance pays" to ex Hongkong civil servants as well as to ex War Service Personnels (e.g.,ARP, AFS, AMS, ANS, ESC, St. John's Amb., as well as ex.HKVDC), reporting to Kukong asking for loans or relief. In point of fact, when top brass from Chungking, like John Keswick and Brig.Grimsdale, came to Kukong on business, they too were accommodated in two of such large house boats, which were cleaner and more comfortable than the hotel accommodations that could be rented at Kukong. Mike Kendall and his team, "camped" in two such boats for months.
Formation of the British Army Aid Group
As Duggie Clague's malaria was brought under control, he was persuaded to joint Doc Ride's organization. Duggie agreed, and was soon appointed the O.C. designate, for the Advanced Headquarters to be established in Waichow. He was given three pips then, on promotion to the rank of a Captain. On assuming his duties as O,C.,AHQ, he was to be granted the temporary rank of a Major. When he arrived in Kukong a few weeks ago, he had only two pips, indicating he was a full Lieutenant. In point of fact, he told me that he was only a 2nd/Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery, when he arrived in Hongkong some 6 months ago. Along with him, joining Doc Ride's organization at that stage, were Ronald Holmes, Colin McEwen both of whom were granted the temporary rank of a Captain; while Maxwell Holroyd, who was with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, was granted the temporary rank of a Naval Lieutenant. By this time, Francis Lee had just returned from Hongkong, after having been caught by the Japanese Gendarmerie, locked up for several weeks, and was tortured, for being suspected to have got mixed up with certain unknown and unidentifiable unit of Chinese secret agents, operating in Hongkong. At a later stage, after I left Kukong on 15 June 1942, Dr.Raymond Lee of Hongkong University, was also recruited to the R.A.M.C, and was granted the rank of Captain. As official approval from higher authority was forthcoming, Doc Ride began to recruit more civilian staff, including confidential clerks (Hui Man Kai)(许文楷) and also an experienced draftsmen, (Leung Chung Yue) (梁宗宇) for increasing intelligence work, and Accounting staff, (Ng Po Sum 伍宝森 & Lau Tak Sun 刘德新). Also recruited were several wireless operators and a number of dressers (medical male nurses).
On the very day when I arrived, I wasted no time in sending my two separate Field Intelligence Teams to enemy occupied Hongkong. The two teams were in fact formed at Kukong, in full consultation with the then Captain Clague, who was then the 2nd in command. One was Grpup B‚ composed of the Tsang Brothers, plus a William Wong, a Chan Yeung and a Chan Kwok Kwong. The Tsang brothers were formerly gunners in the Chinese A.A. Guns Detachment in Hongkong. They both claimed to recognize Duggie Clague as 2/Lt in the H.K.S.R.A. in H.K. Duggie Clague was taken to like the Tsang Brothers, (曾氏兄弟), who claimed to have a shop in Shaukiwan, and knew many people in and around Shaukiwan, Lyemun, Hanghau, and the Sai Kung Peninsula, of whom some were their relatives. They also claimed to know someone holding certain positions in one of the guerrillas units. Clague staked high hopes in them to be of real use in paving the way for the event of escapees (particularly those from North Point Camp) taking the route, via Saikung, which Duggie himself had come through. The Tsang brothers needed a runners to bring messages back to Waichow, and for that we pick a William Wong, who claimed to have been a student at the St Paul"s College for Boys. We picked another youngster, Chan Yeung, (陈养) who claimed to have been a cook at the Queen Mary Hospital, whom we hoped that he might work his way to become a hospital cook or similar capacity at the British Military Hospital at Bowen Road, thus hopefully to establish a line of communication with the M.O. i/c. of the Military Hospital at Bowen Road. For communication with Chan Yeung, we picked a Chan Kwok Kwong (陈国光) who claimed to have been a Police Reserve in Hongkong. Group B was given as one of its assignments, to try and contact Col. Simpson, the ADMS of the British Military Hospital at Bowen Road for nominal rolls, and other lists if possible, and also to contact certain European Doctors working in the French Hospital (St. Paul's). The other team was Group J, nominally headed jointly by Mak Lam (麦林) and Au Fai (欧辉). Mak Lam was formerly the chauffeur of Government House, (for which reason, he picked No.1 to be his personal number ), and a Á‚õ‚ Æ‚á‚é‚, who was to assist Mak and was given No.2 as personal number, claimed to have been a fitter in a garage in Hongkong. Au Fai. Thus, the main assignment for Group J, was to report on the activities the several ship yards in Hongkong, and such other information on shipping in the best way they could. Mak Lam, the former G.H. driver, was given a specific assignment to try a contact any European V.I.Ps. if the chance came his way. Others recruited by Duggie Clague and me for Intelligence work, while we all were still in Kukong, included one Yip Fu ( ) who claimed to have worked for Sam Gittins (?M.I.6) before, but had lost contact, because of the war, offered to switched over to serve through the B.A.A.G., the same British Master. Yet another B.C.Tan ( ) whom I suspected to be a personal assistant to Dick Lee, who was supposed to operate from a shop near Sham Chun. As and when the B.A.A.G. was taking shape, ( ) who had by then completed his (3 months) temporary assignment to set up a reception station at Waichow, had apparently gone to rejoin his original organization, the China Tea Corp. B.C. Tan resigned not long thereafter. Michael T.O.Wong, an ex Police Reserve, who was an Interpretor to a solicitor, was also recruited. There were a few others too, whose names had since slipped my mind. As we began to organize our Field Intelligence work, I was given 65 as my personal number. Further more, I was asked to assume a Nom de Plume, so that I might not be easily identified, for which I chose a not very fashionable or unscholarly name of Tsui On Shing ( ). For the "Cable Address" I had to use when starting work in Waichow, I chose TOSKA, which were the initials of my name, "T" for Tsui, "O" for On, "S" for Shing and "K" for Ka- cheung. This was as recorded in the first few telegrams exchanged between Duggie Clague and Doc Ride, when Clague and party returned to Waichow.
The true position was, neither Duggie Clague nor myself had any real experience in the game. Doc Ride was too preoccupied with his "obsession" in sending some one effective as soon as possible, to contact the prisoners of war in the prison camps. Clague and myself were given a free hand to do what we saw fit. In fact, I recalled at once stage, when Clague and I did not see eye to eye on one particular point, I suggested that we should seek Doc Ride's personal view about the matter. Duggie then said: "Never mind about Doc Ride, he would not have the time for any of these. Let the two of us settle the question as we saw fit". Since both Clague and myself were new to the game, we made a lot of mistakes; particularly in our judgement of characters. He was a "Gunner" and I was a "student, with only 15 months working experience as a primary school teacher in a far away place called Rabaul". We were both amateurs. Our policy was to spread our net wide and high, hoping that by so doing, we would catch one or two good ones, even though we would certainly catch quite a few duds on the way. As we shall see in the next chapter, events proved that we were not far wrong. We have successes as well as failures.
The F.I.G. - (Field Intelligence Groups)
I was sent back to Waichow, to start my Field Intelligent work, weeks ahead of the Main party. I arrived at Waichow towards the end of June, 1942, when the twin township was flooded. Being a town by the river side, Waichow had its fair share of flooding; a few times a year. I called on Fr. Ma at the St.Joseph's Mission Station, and negotiate to rent one of his cubicles in the building, intended for his Priests, as my bed room and office. My original orders were, I should not allow myself to be openly identified with British Army. But I was given a "Letter of Introduction" by Gen. Chu of the VII War Zone Headquarters, which I were to present as my credential to the Garrison Commander at Waichow, ( Maj. Gen. Cheung Kwong King,( ) Divisional Commander of the 187 Division of the Chinese Army. I was also given another Letter of Introduction to the District Commissioner who was the head of the Civil Administration in the County. I did not have to call on the Garrison HQ, because the General came to Fr. Ma's place one afternoon to negotiate for a temporary shelter at St. Joseph, for one of his platoons of guards, because of the flood. There in Fr. Ma's Parlour, I was introduced to the Garrison Commander and his Chief of Staff; and there and then, I presented to him my credentials. About four weeks after my arrival in Waichow, on 23rd July, 1942, when the twin township was once again flooded, Duggie Clague, leading the entire complement of some 30 people, came and joined me in Waichow. This time he openly and officially established, what was subsequently known as the Advanced Headquarters, British Army Aid Group in Waichow. The name British Army Aid Group was agreed upon when Keswick and Grimsdale visited Kukong a month before. It was Gen. Chu Lai Chuen who recommended the adoption of theChinese name, "Ying Kwan Fuk Mu Tuen" ( ). It took some time to have the name official approved and accepted, by both the British Authority as well as by the Chinese Authority. To me, I have always taken the establishment of ( ) in Waichow, on 23 July, 1942, as the true birth day of the British Army Aid Group. Paul Tsu Revised 21 Oct 89 All Rights Reserved nlisted Personnels to become N.C.Os.- who hanged around and did odd jobs of Doc Ride. Chan, who had with him, papers proving he was b