Hong Kong Across the Harbour from Kowloon
Hong Kong Across the Harbour from Kowloon

Crewmen, in tropics uniform, observe Hong Kong from Kowloon side. As ship’s Blacksmith I worked at welding jobs pretty well non-stop. Tons of material were thrown aboard just before the ship took off, and this all had to be assembled, i.e. shoring up timbers and the brackets for holding them all had to be welded on. The ship’s main mission was to release all prisoners held by the Japanese. The hospitals were full of Canadian men (mostly Winnipeg Grenadiers) who were captured by the Japs.
Canadian POW's just after being liberated.
Canadian POW's just after being liberated.
When we got in there we had to get up to the high part of the shore to the hospital to let the Canadian POWs out. I had to take a cutting torch and cut through the steel fences while our guys were coming behind me. I cut a way through to let our guys in to release these fellows. Many of the prisoners were in very bad shape – many had lost legs. It was especially interesting to talk to them about their experiences as many of them were from our local area. Some of the released POWs were taken back on the Robert as well as quite a few Catholic priests.  The priests were dropped off at Manila. (August 1945)

Prince Robert Docked at Kowloon: Sentry Norm Rattray
No. PR429
Prince Robert Docked at Kowloon
Norman Rattray on Sentry Duty
A view of Hong Kong, a sentry and the stern of the docked Prince Robert from a jetty on the Kowloon side We were to first ship to dock at Hong Kong. It didn’t seem particularly dangerous as many of the Portuguese there had slaughtered the Japanese by the hundreds. We were tied up beside the railway yards which were overgrown with high grass. This grassy area was filled with dead Japanese that the Portuguese had killed. We had to go and bring out the bodies as because it was getting to stink pretty bad. There was still the odd sniper around but most had just given up. The round discs are to prevent rats from boarding the ship.

Hong Kong Mary
No. PR571
Hong Kong Mary
Sampan-type boats came around each day to pick up the ship’s garbage Hong Kong Mary who had the garbage concession was originally from San Francisco. She had a café in Hong Kong and used these pickups for provisions. She had just been presented with a flag made by the ship's sailmaker. The flag is dated August 30, 1945.

Disarming a Japanese in Hong Kong
No. PR421
James (Judd) Whittall, one of the Canadian Raleighites,
Disarming a Japanese in Hong Kong

Here a PR crewman is disarming and accepting a surrender from a Japanese soldier. Our main job was to keep the Chinese from killing them. They obtained different clothing so that they wouldn’t be recognized as soldiers.

Rounding Up Japanese Soldiers
No. PR420
Rounding Up Japanese Soldiers
Ship's company rounding up and disarming Japanese. Prince Robert was the first ship to dock because it had been the ship which had originally escorted the troops into Hong Kong back in 1941.

PR Shore Party Facilitating Japanese Surrender
No. PR510 or PR540
PR Shore Party Facilitating Japanese Surrender

The shore party from the Robert were busy rounding up Japanese in Kowloon. Here they are disarming japs in the car and telling them where to go to surrender at the airfield. The large structure in the background is an Ammo dump. Later, marines arrived with the hospital ship and took over the role of policing POW camps and keeping order in the area. This car was taken aboard the Robert and dropped off somewhere on the way home. (August 1945)

The names of the Royal Canadian Naval landing party from HMCS Prince Robert painted on a Japanese flag. This is the party that went ashore in Hong Kong (Kowloon side) on August 30, 1945, to recover Canadian POWs, survivors of "C" Force, captured December 25, 1941.

Steam ahead to Pt. 5: Hong Kong
Port - Directory

Webmaster: William G. Hillman
Copyright 2000/2005/2010