James Smith Hart
1916/01/26 - Born Glasgow
Son of George and Mary Hart
Royal Army Service Corps
Battle for Hong Kong
I was taken to Eucliff House and tied up and made to sit down.
1942/12/19 - 1941/12/35
I was Lt-Col. Frederick’s driver during the whole campaign.
The 6th to 19th I was taking the Colonel to Fort Stanley Fort via Pokfulam, Aberdeen and Repulse Bay. there was an ambush between Deep. Water Bay and R.B..
The Colonel was instructed to go to the Ridge near Wong Ni Jone Gap where we stayed until Sunday evening. On the Sunday just after it got dark, we left the Ridge, our object was to try to recapture the road junction between the two bays but it proved unsuccessful, the group, 60 - 100 scattering in all directions. Myself and quite a few others got over a wire fence past some houses and down to the waters edge. I made my way towards R.N. in the company of another soldier. Half way towards R.B. we climbed up towards the road, crossed it, and went into some dense undergrowth for the rest of the day, Monday. After it got dark there was quite a bit of noise, people rushing past us in the direction of Repulse Bay Hotel. We heard English being spoken as we joined the group. As we joined them word got back to us of another ambush. I take it that everyone was for himself and were all hiding in the undergrowth. All day, on Tuesday, everything was very quiet, then just as it was beginning to get dark, I became aware of some activity behind us, a Jap soldier was standing over me with his rifle prodding me to get up.
I was taken to Eucliff House and tied up and made to kneel down. After a while a Jap came towards us and started to bayonet him, he then started on me and his first thrust was towards my abdomen, but as I had a leather belt on as well as my web belt this did not do any real damage but his second thrust did, it penetrated my side near my armpit and I thought my lung, and with this thrust it knocked me down a slope onto a ledge, looking up I could see the Jap having another go at the officer who eventually rolled down the slope and stopped on top of me. Our barbaric friend had not finished with us yet, as we lay on the ledge he came down to make sure we were dead. He started on the officer once more, then I got two bayonet thrusts on my back and two on my head, I rolled to the bottom of the lawn. When it got dark I found I could use my arms and legs I was somehow able to rub my arms and severe the ropes on the rocks, then got over the barbed wire and down to the waters edge. After a struggle and almost naked, I swam across R.B. in the direction of Stanley. When I was leaving the water I was guided up the sands by a captain of the Middlesex Regiment who was hiding in a drain nearby. After giving the officer the best way to Stanley Fort I made my way via the waters edge to Chung un Kock where I met up with the Canadian Regiment who were in that area. Whilst we were hiding in the rocks near Stanley Village on Christmas Day we were eye witness to hundreds of Japs trying to reach Stanley Fort. We witnessed three assaults but the defenders held firm. Around 4 p.m. we saw three or four cars, headlights ablaze, going up to the fort. We did not know it was a party going into the fort to let them know that the governor of Hong Kong had surrendered.
James Smith Hart
1941/12/25 - Captured Hong Kong
Japanese Index Card - Side one
Japanese Index card - Side Two
Hong Kong 3rd Draft
Japanese show draft. This draft was made up of 664 Canadians, 430 British and 82 HKVDC. PoWs in draft segregated and made to undergo various medical checks including the rectal rod. Five days before departure the PoWs were vaccinated, examined and then an enforced isolation from the rest of the camp.
1943/01/15 - Another medical inspection took place.
1943/01/16 - Further vaccinations which caused fever symptoms.
1943/01/19 - Transport Draft - XD3A/XD3B. Left Shamsuipo Camp, 0500 hrs; left Hong Kong 1300hrs. in the Tatsuta Maru, 1176 PoWs.
In command Surgeon Commander Page, RN
This was also the first draft that included Canadians, with one officer only accompanying them.
1943/01/22 - Arrived Nagasaki, Japan.
1943/01/23 - The voyage to Japan was on the Asama Maru not much to say quite a lot of us had cabins but not much freedom to walk about.
You could say we were separated
Don’t know who was in charge.
Of the 200 of us who went to Amagasaki we were made up of Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, Royal Scots, R.A.S.C., R.A.O.C, R.C.O.S and Surgeon.
Commander J.A. Page Royal Navy was in charge of our group, WO1 Grace R.A.O.C was the senior other rank.
We docked at Nagasaki. All the PoWs as far as I know left in trains to various destinations, our party left the day we docked at night time getting to Amagasaki the next evening. We had two stops on the journey where we collected food rations. Our last stop before Amagasaki was Kobe.
Our party all worked in the Otana Factory doing various jobs, unloading barges that had coal, iron ore and other items for the furnaces, some on the lathe machines and other type of machinery. We had our midday meal in the factory. Amahasaki, what we could see of it, was not too large, but one building, about three or four storeys high, was made of timber.
1945 April, May and June - There was quite a lot of aerial activity taking place in this part of Japan, especially Kobe, Osaka and Amagasaki, which was mid way between these two cities. Other places on the coast were also taking a pounding.
I know for sure that from 1st June 1st onwards, 1st Kobe and 2nd Osaka were being bombed every other day closing the gap between these two cities. We vacated our camp, went to Osaka and got a train to Toyama.
Our camp in Amagasaki had 200 PoWs from Singapore drafted in and when our camp split up on 9th/10th June 1945, we were now three different groups. I never met any of them again either in Okinawa or the camp in Manila.
Nagoya 9B - Toyama
1945/06/18 - 100 British arrived
I would expect it was a fishing village but in war time was used as a fort. The two months we were there we were unloading ships which carried raw materials and food stuffs. Until the PoWs came to this part of Japan I don’t think they had any idea about the war.
When the war was ended we learned that there were about five or six other camps in that dock area, nearly all Americans.
James Smith Hart
1945/09/05 - Liberated
8th March 2017
KEW:- WO 345/23, WO 361/1985