Resist to the End

Hong Kong, 1941–1945

(抗爭到底 :香港,1941–1945)

Charles Barman, edited by Ray Barman

ISBN : 978-962-209-976-0

History Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Studies Series (皇家亞洲學會香港研究叢書)

June 2009

348 pages, 6″ x 9″, 25 b&w illus.; 1 map

  • HK$250.00

Charles Barman was a Quartermaster Sergeant in the Royal Artillery during the battle for Hong Kong in December 1941. His job was to keep the artillery supplied and so he criss-crossed the mainland and Hong Kong Island during the fighting, getting a broader view of what was going on than most participants. Fortunately he kept a diary during those terrible days.

At the end of the battle, with his fellow soldiers he became a prisoner of war, but he continued somehow to maintain his diary. He spent most of the war in the Argyle Street camp and provided the most complete coverage of life there.

This is one of the fullest descriptions of the fighting in Hong Kong and subsequent imprisonment, but in addition it is exceptional in being the view of a mature professional soldier, one who had signed on in 1919 and in his long service had seen much including time on the North West Frontier in India. It is also unique for Hong Kong in being a record from the Royal Artillery.

Ray Barman was born at Fenham Barracks in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in 1935. His family moved to Hong Kong in 1936 residing at Gun Club Hill Barracks in Kowloon and stayed there until 1940, at which time the family was evacuated to Australia returning to England in 1946. He also served in the Royal Artillery as an Artillery surveyor and spent two years in Germany with the British Army of the Rhine. Ray returned to live in Australia in 1957, finally retiring to the south coast in New South Wales in 2000.

“Barman’s powerful observations—in arguably the most comprehensive of Hong Kong’s wartime diaries—expose for the first time the battle experience of a forgotten unit, the Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery, and add a singular perspective on the officers incarcerated in the Argyle Street POW Camp.” —Tony Banham, author of We Shall Suffer There: Hong Kong’s Defenders Imprisoned, 1942–45

“Unfortunately for history’s sake the larger tragedy of the fall of Singapore has overshadowed the brave and forlorn fight for another of Britain’s ‘Jewels of Asia’—Hong Kong. Resist to the End is more than one man’s story. It is the story of all those who fought against tremendous odds to save Hong Kong and then for another three and a half years to save themselves against an unrelenting enemy.” —Rod Beattie, founder of the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre, Kanchanaburi, Thailand