Slice of Life

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2007, 12:00am

From the South China Morning Post this week in: 1965

A New Zealander who escaped from the Sham Shui Po camp during the Japanese occupation by climbing over the electrified wires and swimming cross Lai Chi Kok bay to the hills returned to Hong Kong.

Lieutenant Commander Ralph Goodwin RN came in the British ship Taiyuan to join other POWs returning for a remembrance visit.

At the outbreak of the war Mr Goodwin was a first lieutenant on board a Royal Navy motor torpedo boat, MTB 10.

'I was wounded just before the surrender and spent two months in Queen Mary Hospital and Naval Hospital,' he said. Mr Goodwin was taken prisoner while at the university which was then being used as a temporary hospital. He was sent to North Point camp at the end of 1942, later transferred to the Argyle Street camp and then moved to the Sham Shui Po camp in 1944.

Six weeks later he made the escape, which he had had on his mind ever since being captured.

After the camp's lights went out at midnight, he said, he climbed over the wires by stepping on the isolators at the wire posts and made for the bay. It took him about half an hour to swim across.

Hiding during the day, Mr Goodwin walked for 12 nights along the coast of Mirs Bay until he was too sick to go any further. 'I had no food. I had only two spoons of soyabean powder each in the morning and the evening.'

There was plenty of water because it was raining all 12 days of his escape.

He passed the Japanese guards near Sha Tau Kok by walking in the water 'up to my neck', he said.

Finally he made contact with three men near a hillside path and was guided to a village.

Mr Goodwin made his way out of China through Guilin and Kunming to Calcutta.

Mr Goodwin rejoined the navy and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Later he was awarded an OBE for his escape and other work.

The Police Department administered blood-alcohol tests to the pilot and co-pilot of the United Airlines jetliner that crashed and burned while landing in Hong Kong, killing at least 42 people.

An official at University Hospital said the tests were given because of 'rumours that intoxicants might be involved'.

A police officer said that 8cc of blood were taken from the captain and co-pilot. A nurse at the hospital said the tests were given to squelch the foul, nasty rumour that the men had been drinking.

The plane, a Boeing 727, was on a flight from New York with 90 passengers on board. Its nose wheel collapsed when it hit the runway just after nightfall. Survivors climbed from the burning airliner and wandered about in a state of shock until ambulances took them to hospital. At least 45 were treated.

The UN General Assembly closed the door once again on the seating of Peking in the United Nations, but by a much closer margin than before. The vote was tied at 47 to 47 with 20 countries abstaining.

Even if the Peking government had received a simple majority, it would not have gained a seat. The 117-nation assembly had voted moments earlier that a two-thirds majority was needed. A buzz of excitement went through delegates to the assembly when the result was announced by the President, Signor Amintore Fanfani of Italy.

China and India exchanged protests over what they described as 'troop provocations' at Tungchu Pass on the Sikkim border.

Radio Peking said China had sent a protest to India, claiming that more than 100 Indian troops had opened fire on Chinese troops patrolling the border area.

India said the troops had crossed the border and that its troops had stuck to their posts.