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postgraduate thesis: "Clearing the decks" : the evacuation of British women and children from Hong Kong to Australia in 1940

Title"Clearing the decks" : the evacuation of British women and children from Hong Kong to Australia in 1940
Authors
Issue Date2015
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Kong, W. V. [江偉欣]. (2015). "Clearing the decks" : the evacuation of British women and children from Hong Kong to Australia in 1940. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5760966
AbstractOn 29 June 1940, the Hong Kong government issued an evacuation edict to its British population. All British women and children under 18 years old were to be evacuated compulsorily. In the following days, approximately 3500 British women and children boarded ships arranged by the government for Manila to escape from a possible Japanese invasion. The evacuees stayed for only one month in Manila before the Hong Kong government sent them to Australia in late July. Unaware that a war was looming, many wished to return but the Hong Kong government barred them from doing so. Their wishes to return disappeared when the Japanese invaded Hong Kong on 8 December 1941. Husbands became prisoners-of-war, leaving their women and children stranded and struggling to find their footing in Australia. It was years later when they found out the fate of their men in Hong Kong and, in some fortunate cases, were reunited with them. Analysing these Britons’ evacuation experiences, this thesis examines how colonialism affected the lives of these evacuees in a daily and often highly individualized way at moments of crisis. Using archival sources, newspapers, and oral interviews, this is mainly a story of the British community in pre-war Hong Kong. Through studying the execution of the evacuation, the thesis shows how the colonial administration perceived and protected these imperial subjects. The public response to the evacuation suggests that a sense of belonging to Hong Kong had emerged amongst some Britons in pre-war Hong Kong. The evacuees’ lives in Australia also manifest how war and migration reshaped and reconfigured identities and gender roles. Although it involved only a tiny portion of the population of pre-war Hong Kong, the evacuation is as relevant for the history of the British Empire as it is for the history of Hong Kong.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
Dept/ProgramHistory
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/226747

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorKong, Wai-yan, Vivian-
dc.contributor.author江偉欣-
dc.date.accessioned2016-06-30T04:24:02Z-
dc.date.available2016-06-30T04:24:02Z-
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.identifier.citationKong, W. V. [江偉欣]. (2015). "Clearing the decks" : the evacuation of British women and children from Hong Kong to Australia in 1940. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5760966-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/226747-
dc.description.abstractOn 29 June 1940, the Hong Kong government issued an evacuation edict to its British population. All British women and children under 18 years old were to be evacuated compulsorily. In the following days, approximately 3500 British women and children boarded ships arranged by the government for Manila to escape from a possible Japanese invasion. The evacuees stayed for only one month in Manila before the Hong Kong government sent them to Australia in late July. Unaware that a war was looming, many wished to return but the Hong Kong government barred them from doing so. Their wishes to return disappeared when the Japanese invaded Hong Kong on 8 December 1941. Husbands became prisoners-of-war, leaving their women and children stranded and struggling to find their footing in Australia. It was years later when they found out the fate of their men in Hong Kong and, in some fortunate cases, were reunited with them. Analysing these Britons’ evacuation experiences, this thesis examines how colonialism affected the lives of these evacuees in a daily and often highly individualized way at moments of crisis. Using archival sources, newspapers, and oral interviews, this is mainly a story of the British community in pre-war Hong Kong. Through studying the execution of the evacuation, the thesis shows how the colonial administration perceived and protected these imperial subjects. The public response to the evacuation suggests that a sense of belonging to Hong Kong had emerged amongst some Britons in pre-war Hong Kong. The evacuees’ lives in Australia also manifest how war and migration reshaped and reconfigured identities and gender roles. Although it involved only a tiny portion of the population of pre-war Hong Kong, the evacuation is as relevant for the history of the British Empire as it is for the history of Hong Kong.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.title"Clearing the decks" : the evacuation of British women and children from Hong Kong to Australia in 1940-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5760966-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineHistory-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-

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