Behind every headstone in a CWGC cemetery is a personal story waiting to be told:-

 
 
 

Captain Douglas Ford GC & Colonel Lanceray Newnham GC Mc

These men buried in Stanley Military Cemetery were awarded the George Cross for their bravery while prisoners of war.

The following details are given in the London Gazette of April 18th, 1946: Capt. Douglas Ford (left), together with Lt. Col. Lanceray Newnham, M.C. (right), Middlesex Regiment, were executed by the Japanese whilst prisoners of war for their parts in successfully contacting secret agents and organising escapes and other disruptions. They were arrested along with others and subjected to torture and starvation and sentenced to death in the hope of making them talk. They remained silent and were eventually executed. Both were posthumously awarded the George Cross for their bravery.


SERGEANT MAJOR JOHN ROBERT OSBORN

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Company Sergeant Major John Robert Osborn VC is commemorated on Column 25 of the CWGC Sai Wan Memorial at the entrance to the cemetery. He was awarded the Victoria Cross – the highest Commonwealth award for bravery – during the defence of Hong Kong.

Brigadier John K. Lawson

Brigadier John K. Lawson is the highest ranking officer to be killed during the defence of Hong Kong. He served in the First World War, where he was awarded a medal for bravery.


Captain Mateen Ahmed Ansari GC

He was awarded the George Cross for his bravery while a prisoner of war. The following details are given in the London Gazette of 18 March, 1946: "Awarded the George Cross for most conspicuous gallantry in carrying out hazardous work in a very brave manner." Capt. Ansari, serving in Hong Kong, became a prisoner of the Japanese when they invaded the Island in December 1941. The whole weight of the Japanese attack fell on the Rajputs who suffered severely, losing most of their officers. For a time Capt. Ansari was treated reasonably well until it became know he was related to the ruler of a great Indian State, whereupon they tried to persuade him to renounce his allegiance to the British and assist them in their efforts to spread subversion amongst the Indian ranks in their prison camps. When he refused they resorted to force, and in May 1942 he was thrown into Stanley Jail where he remained until September of that year. Owing to starvation, brutality, including alleged mutilation, he became unable to walk. When Capt. Ansari was eventually returned to the Indian Other Ranks camp he not only continued to proclaim his allegiance to the British but even started an organisation to assist prisoners to escape. In May 1943 he was again thrown into Stanley Jail where he was starved and tortured for a further five months. He was then sentenced to death with over thirty other British, Indian and Chinese, and they were all executed by beheading on 20th October 1943.


Heading to CWGC Hong Kong cemeteries?