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"Escape from Hong Kong: The Road to Waichow"

Escape from Hong Kong: The Road to Waichow

25 December 2009 - Until 31 March 2013
Thematic Exhibition Gallery, Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence


Presented by the Leisure & Cultural Services Department
Hong Kong Escape Re-enactment Organisation

Organised by Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence

On Christmas Day 1941, within hours of Hong Kong's surrender to the Japanese, a group of 68 British and Chinese officers and men made a daring night-time escape by sea, breaking through the enemy's encirclement and landing on the coast of mainland China.

Guided by Chinese guerrillas and fed by villagers, they walked for four days and nights through Japanese-held territory, before reaching the relative safety of Waichow (Huizhou), where they were welcomed as heroes. The main party of almost 50 Royal Navy sailors continued their 3,000-mile journey by river, road and rail across China to Burma(Myanmar) and India, finally reaching Britain five months later.

Descendents of the original escapees founded the Hong Kong Escape Re-enactment Organisation (HERO) in early 2009 planning to re-trace the escape route of their fore-fathers after Christmas Day the same year. This exhibition brings together for the first time written records, photographs and mementoes of this remarkable episode. Diaries, letters, uniforms and other artefacts have been loaned by the descendants of those who took part. The exhibition explains who the escapers were, why they refused to surrender like others and how they came to be assembled together at Aberdeen on Christmas afternoon. It goes on to show where the escape took them to and how they travelled; who helped them on their way; and how they eventually reached safety.