— Post-War Hong Kong ~ 1945-1947

I know that my parents would have been very happy for normality to resume once the Allies re-entered Hong Kong and put the Colony back under English control!

My father was not a warrior so I’m mystified why he had a receipt from the Arms Department for handing in a Waffenfabrik Mauser Oberndorf A Neckar pistol  😮

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A photo of a Waffenfabrik Mauser Oberndorf A Neckar

I wonder if daddy had that pistol to chase off looters and if he did have it, where on earth did he get it from  😮

One thing for sure, if the Japanese knew he had that, he, my mother and my sister would have been in HUGE trouble!!  I don’t want to think what they would have done to my family!!

Just recently I found a website which had information of one of my parents’ very good friends – Laurence Kilbee.

I knew that Laurence and his wife, Eva, and baby daughter were put into camp during the Occupation. However I foolishly assumed that they were put into Stanley Camp, as I knew mom used to go there to see Eva.

I’ve since discovered that Laurence was a lieutenant with the 2nd MTB Flotilla Coastal Forces Hong Kong and when the Japanese took the Colony, Laurence was put into Shamshuipo Camp while Eva and Dorothy were sent to Stanley 🙁

Hearing this makes me wonder if my parents were more than just “Third Nationals” during the Occupation.  Could they have been asked to spy on what the Japanese were doing?

I’m sure my mother would have passed messages from Laurence in Shamshuipo to Eva in Stanley, and back again.  It must have been awful not knowing how your wife and child or husband were doing 🙁

Not only did he continue with his orchestra, but he also joined the Civil Affairs Branch of the government and was a member of the Combined Services Officers Clubs.

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He was obviously determined to do as much as he could to help HK get back on its feet.  Mom would have gone back to work — I don’t know when she started with the Linen Chest but she was working for them in 1947 — however she also joined the HK Defence Force as a volunteer in the Army.

There was another chit I found which showed daddy as being an employee of the Civil Affairs Department.

I wonder what he did for them?!

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There was another chit which was given to him to get a battle dress, as well as two blankets.  I wonder why he got blankets?  Would it have been for his work or were they for his house?

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I don’t know if this group photo is of the Civil Affairs Department but I guess it could be?!?

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The social life in Hong Kong would have started up again and no doubt my parents enjoyed meeting up with old friends and even having a wedding to celebrate!

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Tkachenko’s Restaurant on 3 Hankow Road, Tsimshatsui in the ’50s (Click to enlarge)

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Nellie Tkachenko’s sister got married in 1946 and Lindy was a flower girl. Mom is also in the photo but I’m not sure what her role would have been. She’s standing right at the back, between Nellie’s other older sister and her mother, or maybe step-mother. 🙂

Could that have been the wedding for Nicholas Vargassoff and Valentina Tkachenko?  Unfortunately Nellie never told me 🙁

Nellie is the bridesmaid on the right and it’s great to see so happy after those dreadful three years and eight months of occupation 🙂

Mom used to give Nellie piano lessons during the war – I don’t know if she also taught the other two Tkachenko daughters.

My parents were friends of Nellie’s father, Andrei Petrovich, and his brother in Shanghai, as well as the Cherikoffs.

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It would seem that my father also enjoyed the company of a Military Cross holder. I scanned this very elegantly written menu for dinner at the Gloucester Hotel in honour of  Lieutenant B C Field when he left the Colony.

1946, September 9 - farewell dinner for Lt B C Field, MC

1946, September 9 – farewell dinner for Lt B C Field, MC (Click to enlarge)

 

Bevan Field commanded 9 Platoon of 3 Company of the HKVDC (HK Volunteer Defence Corps which was originally called the HK Defence Corps) and, as you can see from this document, the poor guy was wounded several times during fierce fighting against the Japanese 🙁

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I don’t know for sure but assume he was treated for his wounds in HK and then placed in a Prisoner of War camp, probably Shamshuipo which was for military personnel.  Stanley was used for civilians.

No doubt he would have been very relieved to have been leaving HK to go back to “Dear Old Blighty” but I believe he returned and worked for Hongkong Land.

Of course seeing the chit for the Mauser then finding out that daddy attended a farewell dinner for a war hero made me wonder if there was another facet of my father which I was never aware of!  Perhaps he was asked to report to someone about what he heard when he was playing at both the Hongkong Hotel and that restaurant during the war?!

I was sent a copy of an article about my father having to sit on a jury in relation to a Chinese hawker who collaborated with the Japanese during the war.  You can read more about it HERE.

Another mystery is this photo of mom standing with a group of ladies and Sir Lindsay Ride …

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Lindsay Ride was an Australian who was a professor at the University of Hong Kong who, in 1938, heard the faint drums of war and sent his wife and children back to his homeland. He was commissioned in the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps and in 1941 he commanded the HK Field Ambulance.

When the Japanese conquered the island, he was taken prisoner but in January 1942, Lindsay Ride escaped to China and there he organised the British Army Aid Group (BAAG).

BAAG helped people escaping from Hong Kong, provided medical and other assistance to PoWs, and gathered intelligence to pass onto the Allies.

Now, I have no proof that my parents were involved with BAAG but it really wouldn’t surprise me to find out that they were!

An article in The China Mail (page 2) pays tribute to the Hong Kong resistance. It mentions David Loie, who contacted the BAAG at Waichow ‘early’ but states that, in general, ‘Hong Komg’s Heroes of the Fifth Column are nameless’.

The article goes on to claim that most resistance agents were Chinese, but that the Indians were well represented, and that no community of ‘third nationals’ (neutrals) that was more than half a dozen in size failed to produce at least one operative.

You can read Lindsay Ride’s biography HERE.

 

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My father’s world returning to normal …

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1946 – November 20 … my father and his orchestra playing at the HK Hotel (Click to enlarge)

Mom and dad were very close friends with Sonia and Victor Cherikoff and they mixed a lot with each other after the war until the Cherikoffs headed off to Australia.

Mom, dad, Victor & Sonia Cherikoff

1947, May 15 — mom and dad and Victor & Sonia Cherikoff at the Kowloon Cricket Club (Click to enlarge)

 

My mother resumed her work as manageress of the Linen Chest and slowly began to reorganise the boutique from one which sold Swatow lace goods to a chic boutique for ladies’ apparel 🙂

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My grandfather died from tropical sprue in Shanghai in 1945 so mom and dad did everything in their power to get Balia and Jenny over to HK.

Balia was granted permission to come to HK in April 1947 and she arrived in the Colony a month later, on May 24.

Then, soon after Balia arrived, mom started work on getting Jenny out of Shanghai so that she could join the family.

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By September she arrived in HK and started work singing in dad’s orchestra at the HK Hotel using the stage name, Janet Node.

1947 Jenny in band

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August 27, 1947 was a momentous day as I was born at 8pm at St Teresa’s Hospital  😀

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I don’t know why my father decided he didn’t want to keep his surname … well, maybe I do! I never believed dad’s excuse that he got fed up with his surname being mangled by other people …I think he heard of his father’s exploits in Warsaw and was so disgusted that his father would give the Soviets as much as the time of day that he didn’t want to be associated with him.

You can see he began calling himself George Parks in 1946, even though my mother was still Mrs Pio-Ulski. Totally confusing 😮

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Anyway, the deed was done in December. He got his certificate of naturalisation on December 13 and on December 29 he was George Parks.

I had a notification on my birth certificate saying my surname was changed from Nona Pio-Ulski to Nona Parks so really, I had no impression of being a Pio-Ulski but my sister was different.

Poor thing had been Pio-Ulski for 8 years and then, all of a sudden, she’s now a Parks.

I can understand her frustration, as Parks meant nothing to her but I must say I never had that particular issue.

 

 

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1945-1947~ Post-War Hong Kong

Pictures and scans of documents of my family after Hong Kong was liberated and before dad changed his name from Pio-Ulski to Parks :o
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*NB – when you click on the album, the screen will show the top of this page. Please just scroll down to see the pictures.

 

 

 

Several YouTube videos showing HK during 1945-1947 …

 

 

 

 

 

 

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