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Diary of Kenneth Albert Watson

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/RCMS 406

Content Description

Diary written in the Argyle Street Camp, a Japanese internment camp for officers in Kowloon, Hong Kong, during the Second World War, covering the period 1942-1945. Comprises diary pages written in pencil; section 1 covering 1 Jan. 1942 - 31 Mar. 1942; section 2 covering 1 Apr. 1942 - 31 Jul. 1942; section 3 covering 1 Aug. 1942 - 9 July 1943; section 4 covering 25 Nov. 1943 - end of Feb. 1944; section 5 covering Mar. 1944 - Sept. 1945. Together with a typed transcription of the diary, annotated with corrections by Watson, a list of place names and a newspaper cutting on the experience of Private Thomas Edwards, Middlesex Regiment (from the Hong Kong Standard, 9 Feb. 1989). The page edges had previously suffered fire or burn damage, and have now been removed from their original housing and placed in archival-standard packaging.


  • Creation: 1942 - 1945

Biographical / Historical

Kenneth Albert Watson was born in Singapore in July 1912. Before the Second World War, he worked in banking in Hong Kong and was a member of the Hong Kong Naval Volunteer Force as a cadet and later lieutenant in the build up to war. He married Florence Isabel ‘Isa’ Lammert (1917-2007) in May 1941 at St John’s Cathedral, Hong Kong. Following the Japanese invasion in December 1941, Watson was interred at the Argyle Street Camp in Kowloon; the Lammert family were interred at Stanley Camp. After the war, Watson opened a photography studio in Wyndham Street and later joined his father-in-law’s auctioneering firm, Lammert Bros. He was increasingly active in the civic life of the colony, serving on the Urban Council, the Traffic Advisory Committee, and as an unofficial Justice of the Peace and an Unofficial Member of the Legislative Council [i.e. an individual who is a member of the Legislative Council or Executive Council of Hong Kong but is not a member of the Hong Kong Government]. The Watsons had three daughters: Elizabeth, Carolyn and Linda. He was awarded an OBE for public services in Hong Kong in the 1964 New Year Honours. Watson died aged 86 in Shaftesbury, Dorset, in May 1999.


0.03 cubic metre(s) (2 archive boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by the daughters of Kenneth Watson in Jan. 2022, viz. Carolyn Luff, on behalf of her sisters, Linda Kirkhope and Elizabeth Sharp.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom