Percy Davies CHENG (aka BAAG No. 12) [1916-????] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Percy Davies CHENG (aka BAAG No. 12) [1916-????]

Percy Davies
Alias / nickname: 
BAAG No. 12
c.1916-01-01 (Month, Day are approximate)
Birthplace (country): 

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CHAN Sui-jeung's "East River Column, HK Guerrillas in the Second WW & After" mentions the escape of Hewitt, Scriven & Crossley and states that they were assisted by a Jamaican Chinese named "Percy Davis CHANG". Hewitt describes the same incident in his book "Bridge with Three Men" and refers to Percy as "Percy Davis". I presume Percy CHENG, Percy CHANG and Percy DAVIS are the same person. 

The BAAG Ride Papers mentioned in some details the help given by Percy Cheng to Scriven during his escape in S.E. Guangdung while he was en route to Wai Chow.  Percy saved Scriven from harrassment by the local ruffians.  Paul Tsui decribed the group of Percy & his brother William Cheng (No.21) as being very well-armed and operated like guerrillas.  They were based near Lung Kong.  Hence, I think Percy Cheng may have another name called Davis.   

Extract from the entry for Percy Cheng in the BAAG Personnel Register, Ride Collection:

Nationality: Chinese British. Born: 1916 Jamaica. Occupation: trader. BAAG: July 42 to Oct 45.

“Immediately after the cessation of hostilities in Dec. 41, this man made his way to Free China and immediately began to assist refugees through the dangerous area.  In Feb 42 he picked up a party of British officers escaping from Hongkong P/W Camps and escorted them to safety.  When the BAAG began operating in the Waichow area he offered his services and became the leader of an important group which served right through till the end of hostilities.  His work was almost solely devoted to escapes and evasion duties and liaison with the Chinese guerillas and throughout he served with most commendable devotion to duty.”  (signed) L T Ride, Colonel.  1945.

Height: 5'7"; complexion: dark; weight. 120 lb; Hair:wavy, black; Eyes: black; Age: 30.  Dress: European.

Native of Po On, Kwangtung.  Date and Place of birth:  15.7.15.  St Elizabeth, Jamaica, BWI.

Nationality:  British subject.  Race: Chinese.

Educated: 1921 - 1924 Jamaican Government School.  1925 - 1927: Studied Chinese at Po On Primary School.

Occupation:  pre-war:  August 1932 to May 31 1935 - Electrical Workshop PWD. 1 June 1935 - 28 February 1941 - Wireless Dept GPO.  Then operated own business, Chrystate Radio Co, at 44 Lai Chi Kok Rd, Kowloon until 2 days after hostilities when firm was looted.

Juner/July 1942 worked for BAAG Waichow until now (11 September 1945).  Wife:  Tai On Lin.

 Statement by Percy Davies Cheng, recorded by Paul Tsui on 14th July 1942.
     "On meeting the 3 British officers [Scriven, Hewitt and Crossley] in Lau Fu Au (Tiger Pass) he found them in the trench with a  number of strangers (one having a dagger in his hand) standing nearby.  He suspected they might be rascals.  On getting near them, he asked the Europeans how they managed to get there.  The British officer jumped up with joy and asked him to ask the three strangers what they wanted from them.  The answer they got was that they only were afraid that these Europeans might get into the hands of the Japanese again.  He then brought the Europeans to a graveyard ... Percy then gave the Europeans some rice cakes which he had with him, and he himself went home to hunt for some Chinese medicine to aid the wounded officers' wounds. .He also brought one of his friends named Chang Hing Sang who knew the country better than himself.  Before they got back to the hideout they saw about twenty strangers (armed) hunting all over the hill to look for them.  The hunting party asked Percy what  they were there for, his friend told them they were bringing some stuff top help the Europeans.  The party requested them to show the way.  Percy at once made clear to them that these Europeans were penniless and without arms, yet they insisted on seeing the Europeans.  So the party joined Percy to the hide-out.  After meeting the Europeans, they went back to their boss to get instructions and left Percy behind with the Europeans waiting.  Percy advised the Europeans to hide the money they had, for he was afraid they might not be trustworthy fellows.  The Europeans then gave him $50, saying that was all they had. ...  When the party returned, the instruction was that Percy might bring them anywhere he liked, so Percy brought them to a village called Tai Kang, close by Sho Wan.  
     In the afternoon of the same day, the leader of the atrangers, Li Chung Kwong, sent some more cakes, cigarettes and tea along for the Europeans  as refreshments.  
     Percy told his friend Chang Hing Sang to call 3 more villagers to escort them further north for safety. ... Percy ordered to have a meal prepared for the Europeans.   After the meal, they came to pick up the Europeans -they started off at dusk, but before they left. Li Chung Kwong sent along $NC60 as travelling expenses.  
     By 2 a.m they got to a place called Park Nai Pong, just outside the Japanese line of blockade.  The stayed the night in the hills ... The following morning Percy, Hing sang and another man named Tai En went down into the village to buy food for breakfast.  ... After breakfast they continued their journey. ...
     When they got to the railway, they met the guerillas, who asked where they were going.  Percy told them he wished to bring them to the Chinese Military Authorities.  The guerillas said that they were the Chinese Army ... and that Waichow was then being attacked by the Japs, and that it was impossible to go there yet.  So the Europeans were given into the care of the guerillas." 


Unfortunately Percy Cheng, in spite of his long and meritorious service with the BAAG - especially during the BAAG Lungkong Operation led by Major Hooper to free nearly 40  Indian Prisoners of War in early 1943 - suffered from bad health.  He was treated by a BAAG medical officer in Waichow (Dr Van de Linde) for suspected Pulmonary Tuberculosis soon afterwards.  Col Ride wrote in 1947: "Cheng served in the forward areas the whole time under very difficult conditions, and I know from my personal observations that he was never very robust, and it is a matter of wonder that he was able to carry on as long as he did."
The last report I can find in the BAAG papers is October 1947, when he was being treated in the Felix Villas Sanatorium.