HKS Annual Lecture

Annual Lecture with Barbara Anslow

‘Tin Hats & Rice: A Diary of Life as a Hong Kong Prisoner of War, 1941-1945′

Date: Monday 19th November 2018
Venue: The Oriental Club, Stratford House, 11 Stratford Place, Marylebone, London W1C 1ES
Time: 6.30pm Cash bar, 7.00pm Lecture, 8.00pm Supper
Costs: Lecture only: £10 (members) / £15 (non-members) OR  Lecture and Supper: £40 (members) / £50 (non-members)


Tin-Hats-and-Rice-800px-1Barbara Anslow was born in Scotland in 1918. In 1938 her family moved to Hong Kong where Barbara and her elder sister joined the Hong Kong Government as shorthand typists.

Her father died in 1940. Despite the risk of a Japanese attack, and expatriate women and children being evacuated to Australia, Barbara and her mother and sisters decided to stay in Hong Kong; the alternative was to return to the UK which the Germans were continuously bombing. So the Redwoods were caught in Hong Kong in 1941 when Japan attacked, and after the surrender they were interned for three-and-a-half years in Stanley Camp. There, Barbara worked in the hospital office, kept her diary, taught shorthand and wrote plays for the children to enact.

After the war ended, she resumed her job with the Hong Kong Government and also became Hansard reporter for the Legislative Council until her marriage to Frank, whom she had first met in Stanley. They had five children in Hong Kong.

About ten years ago, Barbara read that war diaries were becoming popular: until then, no one but herself had seen her diaries. So she sent them to a Stanley group on the internet which posted them online. This reunited her with old friends from the camp, and their descendants asked her questions about the experience. This publicity had some incredible results: an invitation to the Queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace; a television interview on the 70th anniversary of VJ Day, after which she recited a war poem before Prince Charles and hundreds of Pacific War veterans; and a parade through London streets lined with cheering and waving crowds.

‘Tin Hats & Rice’ will be available for purchase at the lecture and Barbara will be happy to sign these for you on the night. If you cannot attend the lecture and would like to purchase the book it will be available from all good bookshops or online.

A cash bar will be available from 6.30 pm and for a short time after the lecture.

A two course supper with Barbara Anslow and other participants will be organised in a private room in the club after the lecture, finishing no later than 9.30pm.

THIS EVENT IS NOW FULLY BOOKED. If you would like to join the waiting list please contact or by telephone on 020 7963 9447

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