Born in captivity, raised in freedom
Updated: 2015-08-27 07:36
By Chitralekha Basu(China Daily)
Sharing and caring
George Cautherley (left) and Dennis Clarke, the only two people born in the Stanley Internment Camp now living in Hong Kong, revisiting the site of the camp earlier this month. Edmond Tang / China Daily
One of young Cautherley's minders was 19-year-old Mabel Redwood, who would sometimes push him around the cemetery in a pram. Mabel's older sister Barbara, who married Frank Anslow, a fellow internee, recorded the birth of "Baby Cautherley" in her diary. Today, Barbara Anslow is the point person for anyone looking for information on the history of the Stanley Internment Camp.
It's a theme she is ever ready to talk about. On the phone from her home in Essex, England, the spirited 96-year-old said internement was the first time many British people had met expats from outside their own communities - US nationals, Dutch and Eurasians. "Internment with different nationalities gave me a much wider view of human society than I had before," Anslow said.
She doesn't remember the Japanese warders as particularly barbaric, soulless monsters, as they appear in most war narratives. "We didn't see much of Japanese brutality at the camp, only heard about it," Anslow said. "Personally, I didn't have any dreadful experiences with the Japanese. I guess it is harder for people who did to forget. After the war we found that our camp wasn't as difficult as many others in the Far East, so we had reason to be grateful for that."
Clarke would probably agree. He remembers being told by his mother, who was ill during most of her stay at the camp, that she was "very well-treated by one of the Japanese soldiers. The man would smuggle rations for her."
Cautherley, too, has a curious about Japanese soldiers, was told to him by fellow internee Bill Macaulay, who was drawing a pension from the British Army at age 12 for supplying information. One day Cautherley noticed a couple of Japanese officers marching up the slope. Following in their footsteps was a pint-sized human, imitating their gait. Macaulay was terrified of the consequences, in case the soldiers noticed the little mimic. When they did turn around, the officers, far from seeing the act as an insult, seemed greatly amused. Macaulay grabbed the impetuous young Cautherley, for it had been he who was having a go at playing "army guy", and rushed him to his mother before the officers could change their minds.
- Hungary scrambles to confront migrant influx
- Turkey to hold snap parliamentary election
- Caroline Kennedy used personal email for official business
- Czech appeals for closing Schengen external border
- DPRK says inter-Korean contact gives lesson to South Korea
- Trial starts for Chinese scholar expelled from Norway