Stanley Civilian Internment Camp

As I prepare “The Orchid Tree” for publication, here’s a post I wrote about the setting of the start of the novel. My grandparents were interned in the camp, and went through some of the harrowing experiences of my characters.

Young woman in Stanley

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Siobhan Daiko

My heroine, Kate, falls in love with Charles when she is fifteen and has been interned with her parents by the Japanese in the Stanley Internment Camp. About 2,800 men, women, and children were held at the non-segregated camp for 44 months from early January 1942 to August 1945 when Japanese forces surrendered. My own grandparents were interned in the same camp.

On 8 December 1941, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong, marking the start of the Battle of Hong Kong. Seventeen days later, on Christmas Day of 1941, which came to be known as “Black Christmas”, the Hong Kong government surrendered, and Hong Kong came under Japanese occupation.

The Stanley site was chosen by the Japanese through consultation with two Hong Kong government officials, the Director of Medical Services, and the Colonial Secretary. Located on Stanley Peninsula, which was about nine kilometres from the city at the time, the camp consisted of St. Stephen’s College…

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