AHQ,BAAG - Waichow
The credentials which I presented to (a) the G.O.C. of the Waichow and Tamshui Garrison Area, Major General ( ) ( ) who was concurrently the Commandant of the 187th Division of the Chinese National Army, and (b) the Civil Administrator of Wai Yeung County, Col. ( )( ), designated me as the Waichow Representative of the British Army Aid Group ( ). Upon the arrival of Major ( ) who was designated the Officer Commanding of the Advanced Headquarters of the British Army Aid Group, ( ) at Waichow, I could no longer claim to be B.A.A.G's Representative in Waichow. So within a matter of hours, I was re-designated ( ), AHQ, BAAG, Waichow. With these new Titles, Major Clague and myself made a Courtesy Call on the G.O.C., General Cheung. Clague presented his credential - a letter of introduction from Maj.Gen. ( ) ( ), the Adjutant General of the VII War Zone in Kukong. For the Courtesy Call, I acted as the Official Interpreter. Along with us, was Captain ( ), the 2nd in Command, AHQ, BAAG. Dick Hooper was formerly a Commissioner of the Chinese Maritime Customs. For which reason, he spoke fairly good Mandarin. Also in the party was Captain ( ), formerly a Cadet Officer of the Hongkong Government, a member of the Colonial Administrative Service, for which reason, he spoke very fluent Cantonese. Whether this was to ensure that I interpreted the exchanges properly, I never asked. The Courtesy Call ended up with the General's oral invitation to a dinner for all the British Officers plus me, at the Sam Yuen Restaurant ( ) that evening.
The oral invitation was soon confirmed by a bunch of Invitation Cards in Chinese, for which I was asked to supply the names of the individual. ( ) ( ), the Chinese Liaison Officer seconded to assist us in our tasks, and I did a rush job that afternoon, to choose appropriate Chinese Names for some of the British Officers who had yet not been given Chinese names. We settled, once and for all, ( ) ( ) "Kei" for Clague, "Tak" for Douglas, and "Chuen" for John, was an appropriate name for J.D. Clague, Both Hooper and Holmes had their Chinese names given by their respective services, but I recall we also settled Mak Ki Wan ( ) for ( ) but I do not now remember, whether we chose a name for ( )‚ who was with the Chinese Maritime Customs previously The dinner party was very similar to another one which Dr. ( )has in part described (see text on page 192 of Edwin Rides's Book, The BAAG.) as follows:- ".... It was at a very noisy supper party. There were present three Chinese Generals, the local British Army people and some interpreters. The whole thing was much more of a brawl than I like.....". Being the Interpreter, I hardly had any chance to taste the food; as I continuously had to listen, very carefully, to what the Chinese Generals had to say and to render it into English for the British Officers, and vice versa. It was a good thing that I never liked drinking alcoholic drinks, and I didn't have to drink. The Generals had a remarkable capacity for alcoholic drinks, they must have drunk gallons of "rice wine", and Clague, Hooper, and others had to respond in support. I recall, on the first night, Colin McEwan, despite his Scottish capacity, actually passed out at the main gate of Wai On Hospital campus. Following the G.O.C's dinner party, was another similar dinner party hosted by the Civil Administrator of Wai Yeung County on the next day. In return, B.A.A.G. could only afford to invite the General and his Chief of Staff to a "Bully Beef" dinner in the Officers' Mess within the Wai On Hospital Campus.
For the Officers' Mess, we negotiated with the management of the Seventh Day Adventist Mission to rent one of their 3 two-storey bungalows within the campus of the Wai On Hospital. Up till December,1941, the campus flew an American Flag, and had a large Stars and Stripes painted on top of the roofs of the 3 bungalows, to warn the Japanese aircraft not to bomb the properties. The painted flag had been over-painted with black since Pearl Harbour was bombed. It was a nice campus, with grass-lawns and open space on one side of the Chapel. The Hospital was on the other side of the Chapel. One of the bungalows was occupied by Ä‚ò‚®‚ Ó‚ï‚, the resident doctor of the hospital, another by a ( )‚ ( ), the "Senior Elder" of the Mission. The Wai On Hospital campus was located just at the eastern-most end of the twin township of Waichow.
A month earlier, when I first arrived, I negotiated with Fr. Ma for the use of one of the 4 cubicles which were intended for Priests, some of whom came to Waichow to learn the language, others as occasional visitors. I also arranged to feed with ( ) who had a cook. The cubicles were, in fact, partitioned parts of a long verandah. Opposite the cubicles, there were in all 4 fairly spacious rooms, of which one was Fr. Ma's Parlour and Common Room for the priests, one was used as a Dining Room, the remaining two were not fully used, but could be turned into a dormitory and a sort of office. When I was alone, my cubicle itself was sufficient for my purposes. However, upon the arrival of Clague and party, we needed much more space. So we arranged to rent both of the larger rooms as dormitories, of which one was used, during office hours, as an office. My own cubicle was utilized as the "Confidential Room" for Intelligence work, and kept "Out of Bounds" to "unauthorized", persons, but I continue to use it as my sleeping chamber. The Office was wide enough to lay 4 wooden beds along the walls, with sufficient space at the centre to place two writing desks; one for the O.C., the other for the 2nd in Command. The two writing desks would be used as beds at night. We placed two additional smaller desks against the walls between the beds, one for the Accountant and his petty cash, the other for "writers", whoever happened to need it. In my own cubicle, we had two small writing desks, but we also had to use our beds as working desks during office hours, when the agents delivered their reports. On one of the walls in my cubicle, there was just enough space to hang up a set of ( ) large scale Ordnance Maps of Hongkong and the New Territories. We used compressed-air kerosene lamps for lighting in the office, with oil lamps as subsidiaries. At a later stage, we bought two boats, of which one was used as a store, the other as an extra office which could be used for confidential work during the day time, when the office on land had the risk of possible air raids. By late 1943, we acquired an additional small house, which was used as a safe- house for our agents. Mark was posted there as the "in- charge"
Within two days after the arrival of Clague and party, half a dozen Japanese planes came and raided Waichow in the afternoon. Each of them dropped about 4 bombs, besides firing a few volleys of machine gun fire. A few people were killed, but many more were wounded, some quite badly. The casualties were quickly brought to the two hospitals for treatment, but neither of the two resident doctors of both the Seventh Days Adventist or the St. Joseph's hospital had the obligation to treat war casualties free of charge. We had a good surgeon, ( ) and a team of well trained and fully qualified dressers (male nurses) on our staff, who were recruited to meet the needs of any escaped prisoners of war, who might have made their wayas far as Waichow. On humanitarian grounds, Dr. Lee and his medical team could not fold their hands and do nothing to help. Nor would Clague permit them to take such an attitude. So, willing or otherwise, the B.A.A.G. medical team became the Life Savers and Florence Nightingales of the Air Raid victims. They were very good at it. In the St. Joseph's Operation Theatre, and in the ( ) O.T., but using supplies intended for escaped p.o.ws., Dr. Lee and the Dressers worked all day and all night. Every single one of the victims quickly recovered, some almost immediately after first aid treatment, some after post-operation hospitalization for one or two days; a few were detained slightly longer. Never before in the experience of the people of Waichow, had they seen so prompt, so efficient, so effective, and free of charge medical attention for so many air raid victims all at once. Thus, over night, in the eyes of Waichow people, B.A.A.G. became the "Guardian Angels" of the Twin Township. The G.O.C. and his Chief of Staff first called on us to thank Dr. Lee and the BAAG for the Excellent Service rendered. They were followed by the Civil Administrator of the County and his top aides doing the same. Then other community leaders did the same. Thereby, our presence in Waichow was unquestionably welcomed; The populace's goodwills towards us was assured; our reputation greatly enhanced. We could never have chosen or designed a more effective Public Relation Exercise than what we had done, in offering our medical service to the air raid victims, which included civilians as well as military personnel. As from that day onwards, wherever we went, whatever we did, whichever help or assistance we needed from the locals, be it civil or military, in fact even from the "bandits", all we needed was to mention that we were "The B.A.A.G.", and we would be given "Full Face" and granted every facility that might be necessary. Two days later, the Civic Leaders of the Wai Yeung County jointly invited us to a "Thanksgiving" dinner party, similar to the one given by the G.O.C. a few days ago. Major Clague was quick to have spotted the importance of "medical services" as well as the danger of our being over generous with our limited manpower and medical supplies. He quickly wrote to Doc Ride, to suggest alternative arrangements. A few months later, the Friends Ambulance, an organization of the Quakers, who were conscientious objectors to violence or combat, sent a Medical Team of their own, led by ( ) to relieve the pressure on the BAAG medical team.
Apart from the F.I.G. (Field Intelligence Groups), there was also the "F.O.G." (Field Operation Group), composed of ( )and ( ) under the command of Capt. ( ). As I took no part in their activities, I cannot claim sufficient knowledge of their work to qualify to tell their story. For those who are interested, I would recommend reading about them in ( ) Book :"The BAAG". Suffice if I just describe the personalities as briefly as I can. By European standard, ( ) was relatively slim and not that tall. When he wore a suit of Chinese "Sam Fu" (i.e., jacket and trousers) and darkened his face slightly, you could tell from a distance that he was an Anglo Saxon Englishman. He spoke such fluent Cantonese, that if you were to hear him talking aloud in Cantonese with some one next door, you would not have suspected that he was a European. He was a fast walker, and could easily cover over 30 miles on foot in one day without any sign of exhaustion. He was never talkative and he gave the impression that he would only make a statement after he had well thought over the points relevant to the topic. He was the Leader of the Group. In contrast, ( ) who was a School Inspector for Physical Education, had an apparently robust "figure". He could easily beat two of his equals in a game of wrestling, 3 ordinary Chinese men would certainly be no match for him. He handled a Thompson sub-machine gun as if it were his toy; and he was chosen to be one of the "bodyguards", when Admiral ( )‚ ( ), with David Mercer ( )‚ (afterwards, Hongkong's Colonial Secretary) and party, made good their escapes on a High speed torpedo boat on Boxing Day,1941 after Hongkong capitulated. Yet he loved poetry, and wrote poems to amuse us when we felt bored in Waichow. Colin, however had his Achilles heel, he was helpless when attacked by "mosquitoes". He kept on getting malaria. Another was ( ) he did not know and never learnt the meaning of the word "( )". He went in and out of Shamhuipo Prisoners of War camp three times in order to help Doc Ride to get out ! Within three months thereafter he returned to enemy occupied Hongkong, where he was soon arrested, locked up, beaten & tortured; but then came out hardly injured. Some two years later, with several others, he was "kidnapped" and locked up for the 3rd time, this time by a subsidiary unit of the Communist Guerrillas at Tai Pan Peninsula. Again, he came out unharmed. He was first decorated with a rarely awarded Military Medal, and subsequently with an M.B.E., before he was commissioned. Unfortunately, Cancer eventually caught him, of which he died in the year 1966. ( )‚ was a medical student, the son of Dr. Thomas, (who was for a time acting Director of Medical and Health Service in Hongkong). Osler himself survived the odeal, when a Japanese soldier thrust his bayonet through his pal lying next to him in a trench somewhere near ( ) Gap. The Japs thought he was already dead ! ( ) was an oversea Chinese, born in the States/Canada (?), but he spoke Cantonese with a very broad Toishan accent. By ordinary Chinese standards, he was "rough and tough". ( ) who claimed to be a native of Lung Kong, was in fact half Black and half Hakka. He came back from Jamaica, when his father brought him back as a small child. He joined the locally enlisted ranks, and was assigned to the 5th A.A. Regiment, where he was promoted a Sergeant. He was short, but stout, and his mind as well as movements were very fast. He was tri lingual, he was quite at home in English and Cantonese as well as Hakka.
While the F.O.G. made their way deep into the enemy occupied New Territories as far as the ridge of the Kowloon hills, close to Lion Rock, two of us, Captain EDG ( ) and myself, were on a separate tour round the so called ( ), the ( ) lying between the Japanese occupied parts of ( ) and the New Territories on the further side, and the territories which, theoretically at least, were still held by the Chinese Nationalist Garrison. We were furnished with letters of introduction to 5 Chiefs of guerrilla units, by the garrison headquarters in ( ). All the 5 chiefs were, previously, notoriously well known buccaneers or heads of local bandits or the like, but had been granted "recognition" and given the honorary rank of a Major so that they might help in the war effort against the Japanese. One such letter was addressed to ( ) ( ) ( ) stationed at ( ) ( ); one to ( ) ( ) stationed at ( ) ( ); one addressed to ( )( ), stationed at ( ) ( ); and the 4th addressed to ( ) ( ) stationed at ( ) ( ). The 5th letter was addressed to ( ) ( ) at ( ) ( ) on the Canton Kowloon Railway line. Hooper and I went off on bicycles. As we did not know our way, we took the wrong route, and soon found ourselves heading east towards Ó„÷„á„ô„ï„÷„®„ It was not until we felt thirsty, and in need of refreshing ourselves at a way side tea shop, when I spoke to the shop keeper, that we learnt we were on the wrong route. On his advice, we turned back, and spent the night at ( ) Market ( ), the nearest village where we could find somewhere to sleep that night.
At ( ) we were cordially received by the "Assistant District Officer" who had already heard of the good work of the B.A.A.G. in helping the injured and wounded during the recent air raid in ( ) We had to do a lot of talking to explain that our main task was to try and help any escaped prisoner of war who might found their way to their village; and that we would appreciate it if any assistance they needed might be given, and if they could be escorted or otherwise helped to make their way to us at ( ). That night, we felt quite exhausted, and fell asleep very early in the "guest room" of the "District Office". The next day, we were directed to take the right route leading to ( ) ( ). In peace time, ( ) was quite an important market town. It was the half way station between ( ) on the coast in the south and ( ) on the bank of the East River up north. It was also the first major station on route from ( ) ( ) to ( ) ( ) through ( ) ( ) in East ( ). For generations, it had been regarded as one of the several socio-cultural centres of a branch of the ethnic Hakka people. The linguistic characteristics of ( ) Hakka were easily distinguishable from those of Í( ) and in many respects, their customs and social usages were also different. ( ) unfortunate, also lay on the route which the Japanese Expeditionary Forces took, when they landed in Bias Bay (Daya Bay) to take Canton in 1938. By 1942, it had been occupied and abandoned by the Japanese Army twice. Thus all its glamour and glories had suffered - in fact it was almost in ruins. At ( ) we called on the District Officer, and repeated the same exercise as we did at Leung Tseng the night before. At Tamshui, we came across Au Fai (No.2) Head of Group J. We told him that we were on our way to Sha Yu Chung ( ), whereupon Au Fai advised us not to take our bicycles, as the roads would be to rough. So we left our bicycles behind in the care of our trusted agent, Au Fai.
We were glad to have taken his advice, as we soon found out that the route involved climbing up hills and going down dales, over deliberately "scorched earth" disused motor roads. Had we brought our bicycles along, we would have had to carry them on our shoulders more than we rode on them. En route we saw quite a few abandoned and dying children, obviously suffering from starvation. So pitiful was the sight that it has stayed in my mind ever since. Now over 47 years have passed by, but all I need to do is to shut my eyes, and I can still see the dying children, some sitting and some lying on the ground, waiting helplessly to die. From Tamshui, we walked southwards to Sha Yu Chung. Walking in the opposite direction, northwards from Sha Yu Chung towards Tamshui, there were sparse groups of "travelling traders" mixed with groups of "refugees", who had apparently come out from Hongkong. We greeted each other, as we passed by. They were obviously curious to find Capt. Hooper, a European in British Army Uniform, at such a place -near Sha Yu Chung. Before long, we passed by a village called Kwai Chung ( ), two miles there after, we were approaching the coastal village of Sha Yu Chung. We were challenged by a sentry, and we told him that we were on our way to call on Wong Chuk Ching; and that we had a letter of introduction to present to him. He looked us over for a while, asked to see our letter, and then directed one of his fellow "soldiers" to guide and escort us to their Headquarters. On the way, we were challenged by three more sentries before we reached a village, where there was a "Watch Tower" . In it, was the Headquarters of the infamous Wong Chuk Ching ( ), the "Guerrilla" Unit Chief. Quite a few rugged looking young men were seen resting on the ground floor of the "Watch Tower", with Semi-automatic Mausers , Revolvers, and Rifles as well as light machine guns lying handily around and near them. We were brought upstairs to call on Wong Chuk Ching. There he was, lying side way on the black wood bed, smoking his pipeful of opium. When he finished his pipeful of opium, he stood up and acknowledged our greetings. There and then, we repeated the same message as we had delivered at Leung Tseng and Tamshui the days before. Wong responded by saying, " I knew all that stuff. Of course we will help. In fact, your È‚ï‚ Ì‚á‚é‚ Í‚á‚î‚ (Holmes) and his gang have just passed through here a few days ago. They were on their way to the New Territories. We provided them with a boat to take them across the sea. It is time for dinner, you had better join us. We are rough people, we do not stand on ceremony ....come on, sit down.... we eat....not much of a feast !" (In fact, it was quite a sumptuous dinner, hot bowls of soup, big dishes of chicken, pork, vegetables,.... well prepared, well cooked and tasty and plenty of rice.) It reminded me of the story of Richard the Lion Heart eating with Robin Hood and his Merry Men in Sherwood Forest. At heart, I likened myself to Friar Tuck. In real life, Wong Chuk Ching and his men "garrisoned" a definitive district surrounding the coastal village of Sha Yu Chung. They levied a Toll on all "merchandise" passing through his "Territories", from the Coast moving in land, whether originating in Hongkong or otherwise. They charged a predetermined amount for a bag of salt, as well as for a "motor car tyre", or a piece of "other motor vehicle part", or a bale of "cotton yarn". If trade was good, they would let go the small traders carrying their bags of old clothing; but when trade was not so good, they would "tax" the "old clothing" just the same. They would also provide armed escorts for "V.I.Ps." or their "families" by "appointment" or by "special arrangement".
Our next stop was Ping Shan ( ). (In point of fact there were two Ping Shans, one to the south- west, nearer to the coast and to the border of the New Territories; the other to the North East of and further away from Tamshui, on a route leading to Swatow. (Since the Communist took over the Government, they had chosen the N.Eastern Pingshan to be the Administrative Centre for a re-aligned new county called Wai Tung ( )i.e., the Eastern Part of Wai Yeung County). The Ping Shan we visited was the South-western Ping Shan, located due north of Mirs Bay, to the N.W. of Sha Yu Chung. Wong Chuk Ching sent two of his men to escort us through a valley, by passing the village of Kwai hung ( ) as far as the ridge of the hill at the top of the valley, which marked the limit of Wong's influence. At that point, a sentry of Li Nai Ming ( ) Guerrillas Unit took over. Our guides, Wong's men, apparently knew Li's men on the other side. Li functioned similarly as Wong Chuk Ching, but his "Territories" were neighbouring Wong's to the latter's west. Li had a reputation as the leader of one of the notorious pirate gangs which robbed "sea faring" steam ships from Hongkong, and landed their spoils at Bias Bay. He did not have any kind of a "fierce" look as portrayed by the movies or story books. He was not big, and did not have a beard, nor could I see any whiskers on the sides of his pale face. Nor was one of his eyes covered by a "shade". However, I was told he was a crack shot, and never missed the bull's eye on the target with his revolver. We called on him as we did on Wong. We were similarly received, and were entertained for luncheon, because we had decided to continue our journey to try and make Lung Kong for the night. That night we reached Lung Kong. We repeated what we had done at Sha Yu Chung for Wong and at Ping Shan for Li, to Siu Tin Loy ( ). When I told him I came from Fanling, he was pleased, and responded that he came from Wong Pui Ling, near Ta Ku Ling, in the New Territories, which was not far from Fanling. So we could claim to be "neighbours" from the same District. Lung Kong had the reputation of producing the best chickens in the land. That evening we had a good meal and Siu produced a bottle of brandy, which Hooper shared with joy. I did not because I have never enjoyed drinking alcoholic drinks.
The next day, we made Wang Kong, which was even closer to the New Territories than Lung Kong. Here we called on Mok Kwing Yim ( ), who was better known as Mok Lin Cheung ( Company Commander). Mok was originally a Company Commander in the Regular Independent 9th Brigade, under Gen. Chan Kei ( ). When the Japanese Army took Waichow the 2nd time round, about the same time when they attacked Hongkong, Mok did not rejoin the Brigade, and was content to remain garrisoning his post at Wang Kong. He more or less declared his own "independence", and styled himself as Head of a Guerrilla Unit. He behaved in the same way as Siu, Li and Wong did, in the neighbourhood. He was, I believe treated as a "deserter" by the Brigade Command; and was put of a secret "Wanted List". (In point of fact, Mok was subsequently "AMBUSHED and EXECUTED" by a "Task Force" of the Independent 9th Brigade in the Town Centre of Waichow, when the Independent 9th Brigade was re posted to garrison Waichow in 1944). Mok was not a native of the District, he therefore did not speak Hakka, as the other 3 had done. He was a quiet man of few words, and appeared to be pre occupied with something on his mind all the time. At the time when we visited Mok, it happened that the G.1 of Gen. Cheung's Garrison Headquarters, a Col.Chan, was also there on a sort of mission. I had been introduced to Col.Chan before in Waichow, prior to the arrival of Clague and party. Only after Col. Chan had finished his session with Mok, was it our turn to make our Courtesy Call. Col. Chan asked to be present when we repeated our prepared speeches etc. before Mok. It appeared that Col. Chan was far more interested in what we had said than Mok was. After lunch (in fact, late breakfast at 10.30 am, Col. Chan came to me and asked to have a chat with me. He was quite serious when he asked: "Was what you said to Mok genuinely true ?" I said "Yes, of course". Col. Chan then said: "In that case, why wait ? why not mount a special military operation, and get the whole campful of prisoners of war out ? I'll help you with the troops needed !". I explained that as far as I was aware, not all the prisoners of war were healthy and fit; many might not even be fit enough to walk more than a mile; bringing them to safety as far as Waichow would not be the end of the story; there was still a long way to go from Waichow onwards to Kweilin/Chungking and then perhaps by air further on across the Himalayas to India and elswhere; some of the POW might not even be willing to take the risk; beside mounting a military operation was much easier said than done; it might involve other complications which I could not calculate perhaps he might wish to take the matter up, through General Cheung, with Clague when we returned to Waichow". Afterwards, when I told Capt. Hooper what had happened, he was very angry, holding the view that I had exceeded my brief; I was only an interpreter, I had no authority to engage myself in discussing privately subject matter such as that without prior clearance with him, certainly not doing it without bringing him fully into the picture. He was so angry, that he was on the point of "court marshalling" me. But I was only a civilian; I was not "in uniform", and had no military rank, I was not subject to military discipline. Besides, on my part, I could not understand why he was so angry. I could not see how or where I had done wrong. I was not a bit repentant. Hooper was so up set that he was on the point of cancelling the "tour" at that stage. I had to persuade him to change his mind, as we had only one more station to visit; namely Shek Ma, near Cheung Muk Tau along the railway line. I succeeded. However, when we reached Shek Ma that afternoon, Tsui Tung Loy ( ) was not in. We called on the Civil District Officer instead, and repeated our "routine" stuff. Hastily we took two taxi bicycles, and returned to Waichow late that evening. On returning to Waichow, Hooper took up the matter with Clague, and this was followed by an urgent call by Clague & Hooper on the Garrison Commander. I was not asked to be the interpreter on that occasion. I did not know what exactly was said. Whatever might have been said on that session, I was not thereafter ( ) nor was I reprimanded, or otherwise disciplined. After returning to Waichow, we carried on our respective duties as if nothing had happened. War time duties, I believed, were all alike; 90% routine, 98% boredom; rarely would there be much excitement, but when excitement did come, it could be very risky or possibly very dangerous. In my case, I was spared much of the boredom and routine, for my tasks included not only "Intelligence Work" which meant I had to deal with a constant flow of information, often received in unconnected pieces, needing translation, interpretation, de-puzzling as well as analysis, ......but also a substantial amount of administrative and liaison work.
Waichow was very close to enemy occupied Canton, where the Japanese had an air base, from which aircraft flew sorties over various places not too far away. Waichow, apparently, was one of their training targets. For the Japanese Air Force, for no apparent reasons, often sent a lone plane to drop a couple of bombs in Waichow, with or without a volley of "machine gun" fire. They were more a nuisance than a threat. We were so close to the Japanese air base that we never had adequate time for an advance warning of the approach of enemy aircraft. To cope with that, no one in Waichow worked during the day time. Everyone simply went out to the suburb to do what might be necessary, and they would only return to their place of work after 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The Government Offices did that, the shops did that, the transport workers did that, the hawkers did that, so did we, the B.A.A.G. In any case, our agents, who had to travel long distances from Tamshui or along other routes, could not have reached Waichow before dark. For security reasons too, it would make identification by outsiders more difficult if our agents were to come to the office after dusk in the evenings. Thus our office hours began at 4.00 pm in the afternoon and normally closed at 9.00 pm in the evening. We had plenty of time to amuse ourselves, through out the 3 long years.
With the arrival of Dr.Laycock and his Quaker medical team, the medical service previously provided by the B.A.A.G. was already well known far and wide. Soldiers, Civilians, Villagers as well as Refugees, far and near, came to B.A.A.G. for medical treatment. The Quaker Medical Team extended their service to include the inmates of the prisons as well as refugees in the so called "Relief Camps".According to statistics quoted in one of Dr.Laycock's Report in September, 1943, the number of patients treated daily was between 350 and 400. The figure was made up as follows:
1. In-patients in the local Protestant Mission Hospital 25
2. In-patients in the local Catholic Mission Hospital 35
3.Patients attending at the out-patent Department 100
4.Cases attended in prison 60
6.Cases attended in Refugee camp 45
7.Out-patients attending the same outpost 30
8 Out-patients attending a second medical outpost 70 ----------
Amongst these patients was one young "refugee" girl by the name of ( ). She was just about 11 years old going on to 12. She lived in a village known as ( ) ( ), some 30 miles from Waichow, which was not far from what is now the widely known Daya Bay. She had worms, which caused her severe abdomen pains. She tried the wise old men in the village as well as the several reputable herbalists in the nearby market towns, none of whom suspected it might be worms, and the pains continued. So her father arranged the service of two villagers to carry her, on a make shift sedan chair, all the way over a distance of some 30 miles, to seek treatment at the BAAG Medical Post in St.Joseph's Hospital at Waichow. When de-wormed, her pains were relieved and she was recovering. Her mother and her younger brother came with her, to accompany and to support her. They arrangerd a space in the basement of the St. Joseph's Hospital as a temporary place of abode. Then one of her elder sister Agnes came to visit her, and she too stayed for a holiday. The holidaying Agnes soon caught the eyes of my brother Mark. Mark noticed that the pretty girl was going to church attending Mass every morning, and so he also started going to church. Noticing that no one was serving Mass, Mark offered to do so, and his offer was welcomed and commended by Fr.Ma. Also waiting in Fr. Ma's Mission Station, was one Maryknoll father, Fr. Trube, from Ng Wah, who was trying hard to establish communication with other Maryknoll priests, interned or other wise held in house-detention in Hongkong. I was not made aware of Mark's new discovery for a while.
Then one day, when all of the BAAG boys were out in the suburb to avoid possible air raids, a formidable gentleman came to call on Fr. Ma. I happened to be in that morning, and had nothing much to do. So I too dropped in to have a chat with Fr. Ma. It happened that another Chinese Priest, Fr. Jochim Chan ( ), whom I already knew when I was in Hongkong, and who came from Yim Tin Tsai( ) near Saikung in the New Territories, was also there. I was there and then introduced to the formidable looking gentleman, a General Lin, a retired but very well known Divisional Commander, who had served as the Deputy Marshal in the late Chan Kwing Ming's ( ) time. It took me a bit of time to place him in my memories, as the famous garrison General, who had very effectively defended Waichow, and nearly succeeded in wiping out the entire "Expeditionary Force" led by Chiang Kai Shek, which attacked Waichow in the year 1925. It also brought back to my mind an uncle of mine, who used to serve under him as a junior assistant in his Command Secretary's Department, and also a cousin of mine who served as an Army Medical Officer in his Regiment. We conversed in Hakka, and soon we found we had a lot of interests in common. The next day, he invited Fr. Chan to go on an excursion with him to visit an old friend of his, who lived very quietly in retirement at the far end of the West Lake. I was asked, if I too might be interested to see this rarely visited part of the West Lake. As I had no commitments that day, I gladly accepted the oral invitation. Whereby, the three of us, Gen LIN, Fr. Chan and myself, hired a boat which took us to the far end of the West Lake - a part of Waichow which I never knew existed. A narrow water way, winding its way for some two miles, on the northern fringe of the West Lake, along the high Bank of the East River. It was a beautiful and a really peaceful spot - a spot I have since longed to revisit again if I ever had the chance. His old friend, living in so secluded a retirement, was another well known retired general, equally famous for bravery and masterly strategy. They talked happily about their good old days. I just listened but could not make much head or tail about the sequence of events. Any how, we were kept for a simple but tasty lunch, after which we returned to Waichow by the same boat. On arrival at the main entrance of St.Joseph's Hospital, where Gen Lin's wife and family had arranged for a basement as temporary lodging, we came across a very pretty young girl. She came forward and greeted Gen. Lin as Papa; and she also greeted Fr. Chan, whom she had previously met in the village. She greeted me by shaking hands on being introduced to me as the General's daughter by Fr.Chan. (My wife subsequently told me that she thought at the time, I might be one of her father's old friends -someone belonging to another generation. It had never occurred to her then that she would eventually marry me !) I remember that she was not only very pretty, but had a very intelligent and dignified look. She smiled, but said nothing. I noticed that she had sun burn on her face and on her arms. (She had travelled over 30 miles from the village to Waichow that day). She had long hair, for she had not had a hair cut, let alone a "perm" for over two years. I had met many young girls before, but never had any of them impressed me so deeply in my mind as young Miss Lin did. Later, when I mentioned my encounter to my brother Mark, he then told me that he had earlier that day, already met her, and she was the elder sister of yet another girl, for whom he had already developed an intense interest for quite a while. Mark suggested to me that if I were to go to Mass in church the next morning, I would certainly be able to see her, and her sister would be with her there too.
I accepted Mark's advice, and went to church with him the next morning. Sure enough, the Lin girls were there. Mark served Fr. Ma's Mass, and I served Fr. Chan's. The girls stayed and attended both Masses. After breakfast, I agreed to Mark's suggestion that we both should call on the Lin girls mother and, if he happened to be in, call on the girls" father as well. We dropped in at the basement of St Joseph's Hospital; the girls were there, so was their mother and their younger brother, but not their father. I was presented to their mother, and we exchanged a few words. We did not have much to say then. Then we came into their small sitting room, and we talked to the girls. We were both a bit shy. Then came the time, when a hawker woman, who came in every morning trying to sell cakes, candies and peanuts to the office staff of the BAAG, passed by the door of the small sitting room, and shouted "Mai Bang Lo"( ) (Cakes...cakes...!); it suddenly dawned on me that the girls might not have had their breakfast that morning. I offered to buy them cakes, biscuits or sweets such as they might prefer. At first they were a bit shy, and said no. I insisted, and shyly they then each took one, Mark and I each took one also to keep them company. I bought a few more, and left them on the table. We also bought about one catty of peanuts, of which we ate a few, but left the remainder on the table. We soon took our leave. From that day onwards, we repeated the same routine almost every day, until we got to know one another fairly well. Then one day, yet another of their sister, Philo, accompanied by a former class mate also came to join them for a holiday. We then had 5 girls against the two of us. So we enlisted two other colleagues of the BAAG to make the party and to support us; one was Francis Lee, the other was Pinky Lam. Gradually, we extended our gatherings by having chatting parties late in the evenings, sitting on the porch out side the Entrance of the St.Joseph's Hospital.
At the commencement, my whole intention was to lend my support to Mark, who had professed his love of the 3rd girl, Agnes. Soon I found that I myself had fallen in love with the eldest girl Rose. As time went on, we gained more confidence in ourselves. We gradually impressed upon their mother that we came from a very respectable family, with substantial ties in Hongkong. We also enlisted the personal testimonies of Fr. Ma, Fr Chan, Fr.Shak, Fr. Chow, Fr. Wong as well as Fr. Leo Chan, who all knew of my father and the Wah Yan College he had founded, in support of our claim that we had come from a very respectable Catholic family in Hongkong. We also extended our entertainment of the girls, by taking them out to row boats in the West Lake, by having Dim Sum and some time more sumptuous dinners in the Restaurants. One evening in August I summoned all my guts to propose marriage to Rose. She did not accept. I was disappointed. However, on the next day, I was encouraged by her sisters to try again, which I did. I got a Yes answer this time. It was in the evening of the 6th Day of the Seventh Moon. The next day, the( ). I invited the entire staff of the B.A.A.G, along with such Officers who could spare the time, to go for a Yum Cha in the newly opened Swimming Pavilion by the West Lake. In the presence of the new G.O.C., Maj. General Yip Man Yue ( ), who was for a time in his younger days a junior officer serving under Rose's father, and in the presence of my Superior Officers as well as my colleagues in the B.A.A.G., I formally announced my engagement to Rose. It was ( ) in peace time a draftsman working in an architect's firm in Hongkong, who was employed in the Intelligence Office waiting to be commissioned, who volunteered to design a beautiful engangement ring. It was a small but lovely and simple heart shaped gold ring, with the alphabets R & P in the "heart", which I had made, of 18-k gold by a local goldsmith overnight, Shortly thereafter, Rose and family returned to their village in Wong Mo Leng. There she made all the necessary preparations for the Wedding, which was to take place on 12 January, 1944. The news reached India, where Duggie Clague, who was by then promoted a Lt. Col., and was doing a refresher course at the Army Staff College in Quetta, bought and sent to us a white Veil and a pink Cashmere scarf as wedding present, Ronnie Holmes gave me his only decent suit, which he had worn only once before, as a wedding present to me. From sheer memory, Ronnie worked hard to devise a Marriage Certificate for us , which Mark drew up on a piece of Paper. Dick Hooper, who agreed to be my witness, insisted that he should sign officially as Lt. Col., and O.C.,A.H.Q., B.A.A.G., and that it should bear the Official Chinese Seal of AHQ,BAAB, Waichow, so as to make the Certificate as legally admissible as possible. When using the Certificate at a later date in Hongkong, I noticed that this document, devised from memory by Ronnie Holmes, an eminent Cadet Officer from Hongkong, did not provide signatory spaces for the Bride and the Groom. Up till this date, the Certificate does not bear my own signature, nor does it bear Rose's signature. We shall soon have been happily married for 45 years. Already we have 11 grown up children of our own, and we have 10 grand children, with the 11th on the way.
Photocopied hereunder are a Personal Letter from the Commander-In-Chief in India, personal Testimonials, by 4 consecutive Officers Commanding the Advanced Headquarters of The British Army Aid Group, under whom I served from May 1942 to February 1945, and a Royal Warrant testifying to the award of the honour of a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. They bear authentic witness to the service I rendered. However, it was not until the 20th of July, 1945, when the bureaucrats in the War Office saw fit to grant me my Commission in the Intelligence Corps. On that day, I was commissioned as a 2/Lt., and promoted to the temporary rank of a Captain. The appointment was to appear in the London Gazette on 9th November, 1945, and my personal number was 355367. ( ) a Guerrilla Unit. He behaved in the same way as Siu, Li and Wong did, in the neighbourhood. He was, I believe treated as a "deserter" by the Brigade Command; and was put of a secret "Wanted List". (In point of fact, Mok wassubsequently "AMBUSHED and EXECUTED" by