WWII - Far East

World War II in the Far East spread over a vast area including the Pacific, China, Burma, Thailand, Indochina, Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong. Conflict began on 8 December 1941, including the invasion of Hong Kong, where my story starts. Hostilities officially ended on 9 September 1945. This was preceded by Emperor Hirohito giving a radio address to the Japanese nation on 15 August regarding their surrender. Just before this, the United States Air Force dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima on 6 August and on Nagasaki on 9 August 1945.

My fascination with Hong Kong and WWII in the Far East actually started when I was talking to my dad as a little boy and he opened his desk and showed me some items that he had from the prisoner of war camp: a pair of handmade glasses, a bamboo razor (see Albert Ient's biography) and a PoW name tag (see an example). I asked him about the Battle of Hong Kong and, being a little boy with a dad who was an ex-soldier, I saw him as a hero. To me, even from this early age, Hong Kong and that whole region of the world seem full of mystery. So when I had the opportunity of actually going to Hong Kong in 1999, I grabbed at the chance and it was there that I really started on my journey to try and piece together my family history.

When I started my research, I made lots of discoveries that directly related to my dad, but I also uncovered information associated with events that dominated this time in the Far East. For example, you will see links on this section of the Ient website to summaries of research I have made. These include:

Extracts from Chief Signal Officer Diary in Battle for Hong Kong
Battle for Hong Kong
Shamshuipo Camp
Sinking of the Lisbon Maru
Hiroshima PoW Camp
Camp Conditions
Japanese PoW Camps

My father's biography is here: Albert Ient

Also, the biographies of my father's fellow POWs may be of interest. Please click here to see them. All were POWs in Japan. The recollections of Terence Kelly and Maynard Skinner come from actual interviews I had with these ex-servicemen. The biography of Wilfred Batty is written by his son. Philip (Chick) Henderson's story is taken from a video recording of a talk he gave in 2004. I was privileged to meet him in 2014.