Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Man in the Wooden Hat

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The Man in the Wooden Hat

By Jane Gardam

The Man in the Wooden Hat
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  • Hardcover: Oct 2009,
    240 pages.
    Paperback: Oct 2009,
    240 pages.

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The Stanley Internment Camp
Although Elizabeth does not talk about her experience in a Japanese internment camp during World War II except to mention that her parents died there, its memory definitely colors her feelings about Hong Kong. While we do not know for sure, it seems likely that the camp she was interned in was the Stanley Civilian Camp - a non-segregated camp in the grounds of Stanley Prison and the neighboring secondary school, St Stephen's College, on the southern end of Hong Kong's main island. The camp was home to about 2500-2800 civilian men, women and children from January 1942 to August 1945 when the Japanese surrendered.

According to Kevin Blackburn in his book Forgotten Captives in Japanese Occupied Asia, within the first six months of the beginning of the war in the Pacific the Japanese captured over 132,000 enemy nationals, of whom some 50,000 were British. Over the duration of the war (1941-1945) they experienced a 25% death rate ...

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