— Russians in the HK Police & the HKDVC

Russians in the HK Police & the HKDVC

There were a number of White Russians who came to Hong Kong before the war from Shanghai, some as early at the 1920s and joined the HK Police as members of the Anti-Piracy Guard.

Unfortunately a few of these people died, either in the line of duty or due to accidents.

A Facebook friend – Richard Morgan, who’s a retired HK Police officer – contacted me and gave me a list of the Russians who were in the Police and also listed names of Russians who were either killed or put into Shamshuipo PoW camp by the Japanese during the war.

I’ve highlighted the names of the people or their relatives and/or children whom I knew in red. I’m sure there were many others on this list whom my parents knew well but I’ve certainly forgotten them, even if I knew their names initially 🙁

Hong Kong Police

Lance SGT R443 L Budagian*
Lance SGT R402 M M Affanasieff 
PC R413 G Tavastjerna
PC R450 A J Savitsky 
PC R483 B Agafuroff 
PC V Rodionoff
PC R485 M M Kranseperoff
PC M Tinkavkin

Luba Estes had this memory of Leonya Budagian :  «He lived in our cul de sac on Kadoorie Avenue. My mother and his wife Anya were good friends. On the morning of December 8, 1941, I was in my school uniform all ready to go to school, when the telephone rang. It was for Budagian (his telephone was out of order). I was to tell him that he must come to the Station immediately. I left the house to go to their house across the street, kitty corner to us, and give him this message. As I was returning home, I heard the unfamiliar sound of bombs falling in the distance. I ran home and from a balcony we were stunned to see a cloud of small Japanese planes flying towards us and carpet bombing. My father was away with the Hong Kong volunteers, HKVDC, in Fanling on exercises. And so the nightmare began.»

HK Police E Contingent

Sgt George Feodorovich Robinson (previous surname: Shevkopliass)
PC R B Levkovich
F Zadorin
Vitaly (Vic) L Veriga

Hong Kong Police – Russian Officers – Buried in Hong Kong

Constable E12 Dmitry Vsevolodovitch Mikailovsky
Sergeant E36 Vassily Georgevitch Shiskin
Sergeant George Constantinovitch Onatsevitch
Sergeant Vladimir B Illin
Sub-Inspector Nicholas Alexander Elberg
Sub-Inspector Alexander Paul Zaremba
[Source: Richard Morgan]

At the funeral of Vassily Shiskin at the RO Cemetery, Happy Valley

Pall bearers for Vassily Georgevitch Shiskin. Robert Basil Levkovich 4th from left.

Pall bearers for Vassily Georgevitch Shiskin — Robert Basil Levkovich is 4th from left.

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Richard Morgan said:

I scanned through the Commonwealth War Grave Commission database and the hard copy 1942 list of Prisoners of War and came up with the list below for probable Russian/Eastern European members of the HKDVC killed and captured during the invasion of Hong Kong. It is unlikely that it is 100% accurate, but gives an idea of the numbers involved in the HKVDC. I know there were others in various other compulsory/voluntary services, including medical, nursing, police reserve and civilian capacities.

Killed

Hoselitz Rudolf
21st December 1941
Private 5169 HKDVC
Memorial – Column 34 Sai Wan Memorial
Husband of Rachil Hoselitz of Tsing Tao China, Medical Practitioner

Zaharoff Victor Isidor
22nd December 1941
Private HDVDC
Memorial – Column 34 Sai Wan Memorial
Husband of L Zaharoff of Kowloon, Hong Kong

Rudrof Wladyslaw Pawel
25th December 1941
Gunner 4413, HKVDC 1st Battery
Grave – Stanley Military Cemetery Section 1.B Coll Grave 2-9
Husband of Mrs W P Rudrof of Hong Kong

Lipkovsky Boris
25th December 1941
Gunner 3403, HKVDC 1st Battery
Memorial – Column 33 Sai Wan Memorial
Son of A J Lipkovsky of Shanghai, China

Kossakowski Z A
25th December 1941
Gunner 4301, HKVDC 1st Battery
Grave – Sai Wan War Cemetery Grave III M.3
Son of Mikolaj and Helena Kossakowski of Earl’s Court, London

Prisoners of War

Bard S M, Lieut
Berendeef E N A. Private 4621
Berendeef G  A, Private
Biriukoff Alexei, Corporal 3658
Bogoslovsky J A, Sapper 4764
Bluestone R, Private 4099
Brezny L, Private 4371
Gavriloff G J, Corporal 3857
Jelihovsky G N, Sapper 3414
Jolendovsky T A, Gunner 4229
Kaluzhny K A, Private DR115
Karpusheff G M, Corporal 3186
Komorsky A, Private 3632
Lebedeff Alexander, Cadet Med/Officer
Napoloff A I, Sapper 2482
Nesteroff M J, Sapper
Novikoff V A, Private 4325
Ostroumoff A, Private 4706
Pavloff A V, Sapper
Persypkin O P, Gunner 4344
Petrove E M, Private 3630
Rootstein Anatol, Private 3193
Schiwarg A, Private 5003
Skvorzov A V, 2nd Lieutenant
Tonoff A N, Corporal 4698
Tsenin E A, Gunner 3182
Vargassoff N, Sergeant 2889
Vorokin D, Private ATS 2070
Voronoff C V, Gunner 3280
Yatskin M C, Corporal 3359
Yoholkovsky G A, Gunner 5227
Yourieff E G, Lce/Bombadier 4192.
Yvanovich Jnr P A, Lce/Corp 3625
Zaitzeff Anatole, Lce/Bombadier 2870
[Source: Richard Morgan]

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I recognised a few names in the list …

Victor Rodionoff  ended up changing his name to Rodney and was training horses for the Jockey Club.  I guess he must have been in the cavalry when in the Imperial Army?! The Rodneys had two children, Nata who was Lindy’s age and a close friend of hers, and Vova, who was a few years younger.  Nata married a jockey and they moved to Australia in the late 1960s. Vova was working as a journalist in HK but I don’t know if he stayed there or went elsewhere.

There were several trainers who came to HK from Shanghai in the 1930s – among them were Mr Kransoperoff (who is on Richard Morgan’s HK Police list), George Sofronoff, N Tiukavkim, T Tokmakoff, D Belov & Nick Metrevilli. Nina Metrevilli was at KGV but she was a couple of years younger than me so I didn’t really mix with her.

Mr Agafuroff and his wife were good friends of my parents and had a daughter, Sandra, who was a couple of years younger than me.

Victor Isidor Zaharoff was killed just 3 days before the Japanese took HK. His daughter, Helen, studied piano with Balia but I only knew her vaguely as she was about 8-10 years older than me.

Solomon Bard ended up being a doctor in HK, as was his wife, Sophie, and they too were friends with my parents. They had a daughter, Monica, who was a year or two younger than me.

My mother’s cousin was Sasha Novikoff, so I wonder if he was the V A Novikoff who was interned in the PoW camp. Sasha ended up going to Australia but I don’t know what year that was or from where. He was at the Cherikoffs’ wedding but I also don’t know what year he would have arrived in HK from Shanghai.

Andrew Ostroumoff stayed in HK working at the Repulse Bay Hotel and his daughter, Linka, was in my form at KGV.

Alexander Skvorzov‘s wife and two daughters were in Shanghai during the war. They returned when HK was liberated and his daughter, Luba, was a model in one of mom’s fashion shows. Her sister, Lula (Helene), married a Frenchman – Henri Ballerand – and was in HK during the time I was there.  Their daughter, Renee, was younger than me but friends with other kids I knew.

Nicholas Vargassoff was the brother of our neighbours in Morrison Hill Road – Syeva (Vsevolod) and Tanya, his wife.  Nicholas was an electrical engineer and was due to marry one of Andrei Tkachenko’s daughter, Valentina, but I don’t know if they actually managed to get married before the war or not.

Michael Yatskin ended up marrying my aunt so was my uncle.

Gene Yourieff is only the name of someone I remember from the Yacht Club during the 1960s when I did a lot of sailing at weekends 🙁

The other names in red are people that my parents knew but I only vaguely remember their names being mentioned so can’t put a face to their names 🙁