The situation of the French nationals in Hong Kong after June 1940 was very peculiar: the whole community was behind De Gaulle, starting with the French consul. However, the Ambassador in Beijing and the Governor General in Hanoi were pro-Vichy.
As the Free French network started to grow in Europe, volunteers from all places in the Far East needed to find a safe place to train before being sent to the Western Front. Hong Kong was an ideal harbour, but the story that followed is epic and disastrous at the same time: infighting and battles of ego undermined all efforts.
In December 1941, when the Japanese attacked, some French took part into the battle of Hong Kong. Their individual stories are edifying, and worth being told, especially for their contemporary consequences!
Dr François Drémeaux is a Research Engineer at the University of Le Havre- Normandie (France) and Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong. He also teaches at Sciences-Po Paris (Le Havre campus). He studied the evolution of the French community in Hong Kong before extending his work on French nationals abroad outside the imperial process.
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