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Reduced to a Symbolical ScaleThe Evacuation of British Women and Children from Hong Kong to Australia in 1940$
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Tony Banham

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9789888390878

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888390878.001.0001

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War: Australia, 1942–1944

War: Australia, 1942–1944

(p.106) 5 War: Australia, 1942–1944
Reduced to a Symbolical Scale

Tony Banham

Hong Kong University Press

Chapter Five marks the dramatic change caused by the Japanese attack on Hong Kong. Now there was a material difference between the experiences of those evacuated and those who had stayed, and discussion of reunion was instantly cut. With the deaths of so many husbands and fathers in action, and captivity for those who survived, for the majority of families (for their well-being and integrity then and later) it might have been better had they stayed in Hong Kong. On the other hand, those who had been forced out of the Colony at least had freedom, relative safety, privacy, access to good education for children, and sufficient food. While both sides were desperate to communicate, the Japanese occupation and the continuing mortality in the camps made shared decision making impossible. However, with repatriation to Hong Kong now impossible for the foreseeable future, the immediate choices for evacuees were binary: relocate to the UK, or finally (and individually) take the necessary steps with work, housing, and schools, to properly integrate in Australia for the long term. Forced into this situation by the evacuation, behind many such decisions lay the knowledge (or lack thereof) of the fate of the husband/father.

Keywords:   War, Invasion, Communication, Prisoners of War, Integration

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