I Remember eating gao liang and lu dou for breakfast in Kitchen #1?


I remember using slates and chalk for some subjects and activities such as maths, but we also had a few notebooks which we used until we got to the end of the book, then we turned the book upside down and wrote between the lines. There was a pot belly stove in the middle of the room, but fuel was difficult to get. We were able to scrounge coal dust and, learning from others in the camp, we mixed the dust with dirt and water, then formed them into briquettes. They didn’t burn very well, but had to do.


It was basically 'social gardening'. I can't remember who else was involved, apart from the teenage White Russian girl from N.E.China. We enjoyed messing around with seeds and plants, trying to get things to grow.
There was some sort of thatched enclosure nearby, in which we took breaks from gardening if the sun was too hot, as it was quite often. Jim Taylor has informed me that some of our school staff, keeping an eagle eye, it seems, on our activities, were concerned lest there was some sort of hanky-panky going on in there at these times!
Can anyone else better describe the 'thatched enclosure'?

I remember the garden patches out that way, as I often visited my Dad who did the book binding. Don't tell me you never got a wiff of that horrible fish glue he used? Just before you came to 58 and 59, there was the women's sewing room, if memory serves correctly, and Dad's stinky little workshop was either attached to it, or very close by. Incidentally, I thought the vegetable gardens looked great. Of course, it could have been because anything green and edible looked great to me in those days!


I Remember  when we lived on gao liang (broom corn) and lu dou for breakfast?   (Can you believe I've found lu dou here in a health food store?)   Lunch in KITCHEN #1 was always stew, stew, stew. "S.O.S" we called it: Same Old Stew. I remember one day when the menu board listed T.T. Soup for lunch. TT Soup turned out to be turnip top soup.

I remember the endless pursuit of bed bugs. These were pandemic and their total destruction was a constant fantasy. They seemed to hide in the cracks in the wall plaster during the day, and then when these warm bodies were comfortably settled in their beds on the floor, over would trot this army of bed bugs and proceed to graze all night on the ready supply of blood that was available. If you squashed them in the night, they left streaks of blood on your sheets and a strong and distinctive smell behind them. During the day we would use boiling water and pour it into any available crack, and use other means to block up cracks, but if we were at all successful it was hard to see the results of our efforts.


I remember our dormitory in Block 23.   That's where our teachers made us stand while they spooned powdered egg shells onto our tongues. I remember gagging and coughing and trying to wheeze the grit out. Remember? Oh, horrors!   Prisoner doctors made everyone save egg shells (from eggs bartered through the black market) and grind the shells up for us children to eat as pure

I remember ―― the Menu Board on which the cooks used their creative writing skills to describe the coming meal in the most exotic terms. You would think that you were in the grandest hotel in the land. What was actually served was bread porridge for breakfast, watery stew in the middle of the day, and whatever was left over for the evening meal.


I remember getting up before daylight and going to the ash piles to look for clinkers, coal that had not burnt completely?


I remember mainly the things that broke the monotony. A couple of times we got Red Cross parcels and the main item of interest to me was the powdered milk that we could have. It was only a tablespoonful, but I still remember the beautiful taste of that powder mixed with a little water and eaten a lick at a time from the spoon. I also remember when we actually got pieces of meat you could recognize as meat. It was – I was told later – horse or donkey or some such animal. My fellow Prepites were not very impressed and so I was able to enjoy some extra pieces on that occasion. I think we may have had peanut butter sometime in those three years, because I remember walking around to the little yard behind Kitchen One and finding a man with a meat grinder, carefully grinding peanuts into peanut butter. I talked to him for a while, hoping that I might be lucky enough to get a lick, but it wasn’t to be my lucky day.


I remember  that we were all in groups of six or eight and we collected can labels from the cans that came in packages or from the trash the  Japanese soldiers threw out, which could still be the cans from packages  to the internees. The group I was in had collected 650 labels by the time we were liberated. Perhaps, after the drops if we had continued to collect them we would have made 5000, huh?


I remember walking up one of the main streets of the camp and seeing the very spot where a young man had fallen from a tree and been killed just the day before.


I remember the accident that killed one of the boys in our Chefoo Boys’ School. He had been with the others for the morning roll call near the hospital where they lived, and had jumped up to touch a low electric wire that had been loosened in the wind – possibly as a dare. Unfortunately it was very much alive and he was electrocuted.


I remember helping the cooks of Kitchen 2 --- it was hard work, but fun. Cooking in the Diet Kitchen taught me to cook without a recipe. Laundry duty at the hospital was horrible - bloody sheets etc., and not enough soap. My hands were red and rough for the duration of my laundry duty. I believe that the most unpleasant duty was to wash out and to disinfect the latrine. I smoked my first cigarette up at the bell tower. I enjoyed school, but am amazed that our teachers were able to hold classes and teach us.

I remember using soap to brush my teeth.



I remember once being fed horse meat and later told it came from a horse that had died of illness.  'She said they closed their eyes and ate what they were given,' Rachel Anthony said.  'They needed their nourishment, no matter how it tasted.'


I remember the first night in Weihsien. Some slept on tatamies (?) some on the floor. I know that I was not with my father that night, and cried myself to sleep.


I remember scrounging for partially broken furniture that had been piled up somewhere in the compound. The early spring was very cold, and I kept my head under the blanket. For a very short time, my father and I supplemented our camp diet with tinned food that we had brought. Unfortunately, our supply soon ran out.


I remember the outdoor dances. I did not go to many of the ones held indoors.


I remember joining the long line-up for slack coal and carrying the heavy coal scuttle back to my dorm during the viciously cold winter months.


I remember playing a version of basketball outside the hospital (Block 61) with my good friend Torje Torjeson.


I remember learning how to play baseball (softball) in which we boys were coached by our well-loved master, S. Gordon Martin!  The day that I caught a high flyball and heard Goopy shout Attaboy

David is forever etched in my memory! 



I remember - that Mr Hubbard was a well-known authority on birds.  When I was twelve or thirteen, I attended an evening lecture given in Kitchen One on birds of China. I think that Mr Hubbard was the man who gave us this intensely interesting talk.  If he was indeed the man whom I heard that evening, probably in 1944, he told us of his experiences in observing (up close) some fascinating breeds of birdlife!  One that really caught my attention was the story of how he approached a very large bird which was most dangerous to come close to. He said this bird would attack if it felt threatened and that its sharp beak could penetrate right into a human being's lung.  The bird may somehow have been held in a trap. I think Mr Hubbard had to throw a dark blanket or tarpaulin over the bird so that he could rescue it.



I remember the boy (me) who raised a brood of 4 Peregrine falcon chicks, in camp, to full fledged adulthood? Yes, by begging for definite discards of meat to feed them from K1, no less.



I remember killing 21 flies at one swat back of kitchen 1 and counting them into my bottle.  Maybe your brother John might remember some of these details.


I remember the Saturday night dances


I remember, there was also ――― The Two Pineapples: George Kalani and George Alowa (darned if I can remember how they spelled their last names) who were guitar players. Kalani played conventional guitar, and Alowa Hawaiian guitar. There is a kinda cute story here, that never got into "The Mushroom Years." One evening, George Kalani, who had a very short fuse, smashed his guitar over George Alowa's head. I mean, it was totally wrecked and beyond repair. I forget who remembered that I came into camp with a huge concert guitar, which I played sometimes in the quiet of my cell. Anyhow, they told Kalani about it, and he came to me, all contrite, and asked if he could buy it off me. What could I say? Without his guitar playing, Saturday nights dances would never have been the same ... so I sold it to him for 5 dollars American! After that, every time he got mad and started to swing at Alowa, someone would grab the guitar and shout, "HOLD IT!"

As to where we danced : In  the winter months, and in rainy weather, the dances were held mostly in #2 Kitchen, steamy and stinking of leeks, but in good weather we danced wherever the ground was smooth and the band could set up. As the music was mostly loud and rambuctuous, we always tried to steer clear of the classical concerts and lectures that were also being held in the different compounds.


I remember, "Pineapple," the musician I recall very clearly, was a renowned softball umpire!  He was quite a loveable fellow, and in spite of semi starvation at Weihsien quite a rollypoly lad!  I remember him mercilessly calling the batter "OUT" in many a softball game in Camp!  He'd roll around behind the catcher and holler:

O - U - T  !  !  ! 

--- And chuck his hand back with the thumb extended over his shoulder!

I remember while my father was stirring our watery "stew" in kitchen No. 1 a pigeon flew in through the window and dropped in to the large gwoh whereupon it was immediately fished out, plucked and brought to our room for my brother Eddie was very ill at the time. Dad always said that pigeon saved his life.


I remember my father was blackmarketeering with Mr de Zutter keeping watch but when the Japs came he forgot to say the warning phrase, "Well good night" and he left. Dad (Pop) heard the guards and ran back into the room with two bottles of bygar, plonked them on to our table and jumped into bed fully clothed.  Mum gave him hell the next morning because had the Japs entered they would have found it. I remember my 10th birthway wristlet watch was used for barter.


I remember one lady brought tinned foods into the camp with which she paid my mother to do her share of the peeling etc but when the tins ran out my mother refused to do her share so she had to do it herself.


I remember a very well-muscled young man, probably about ten years older than I (so he'd have been in his mid-twenties) named Aubrey Grandon. He was an amazing softball player and I can remember him batting some remarkable home runs by sending the ball right over the camp wall. I sort of hero-worshipped Aubrey G. To me he was "larger than life!" 


I remember going to classes in a room facing south in Block 24 with Mrs.

Moore of the Peking American School and Sister Hiltrudis of St. Joseph

School in Tsingtao.


I remember that room as the one where we boys met evening and morning for Prayers (Chapel) led by the "Master On Duty."


I remember the table also held a large bowl where Mr Bruce kept a quantity of pieces of stale bread which we could help ourselves to in order to fill our bellies when we were hungry between the skimpy camp meals. I remember that I regularly availed myself of the snacks of stale, dry bread.


I remember Sister Donatilla and Father Keymolen who taught us French.Some of our classess were in the dining room and others under a tree where we sat on a bench and on the ground in the Summer.


I remember FrAloysius Scanlan who was put in the guard house for smuggling (for the benefits of the children etc) by the Japs and released after driving the commandant mad with his chanting of prayers.


I remember my first job. When I turned 14 years. I was given a bucket and told to get hot water from the boiler room, and also given a brush and a bottle of Lysol. My uncle Bob Cooke had to teach me how to clean the toilets. I became very good at it. I am sure you will all remember the toilets.


The only night I can remember that Auld Lang Syne was sung, was at the last dance in camp, in October of  '45 -- and we didn't have a curfew anymore!

Lord, it's funny how often I think of that last dance, and that old favorite, when New Year's Eve comes around...


I remember the camp well. I did not see any beauty in the surroundings, nor can I forget the scorpions, bed bugs and a few rats. Freezing in Winter and terribly hot in Summer.


I remember having to borrow a decent white dress and shoes for my graduation ceremony from Mrs. Wolfson and then having to give it back.


I remember hearing the clanking of the Japanese swords and the ever present fear particularly during the incessant roll calls that we were about to be annihilated.


I remember thinking "I am too young to die. I don’t want to die yet there are some many things I want to see and do"   Was I alone in my thoughts?.


I remember the ladle used to dish out our watery stew being very small. Was it the size of a small baked bean can?


I, too, remember being hungry.


I remember two slices of bread per meal.


I remember the lovely mimosa trees.  There were also many plane trees and of course locust (or acacia) trees with their beautiful fragrant blossoms.

In the same area were delightful flower gardens thanks to a diligent Englishwoman, Mrs Jowett who probably had one of the greenest thumbs I have ever known.


I remember tennis being played at Temple Hill in Chefoo.  As an eleven-year-old I watched games being played their in front of the Prep School house.
At Temple Hill, a far smaller camp than Weihsien, we had a remarkably intimate relationship with our Japanese guards.  I distinctly recall Japanese guards playing against some of the older boys and staff members.



I remember "yellow" jaundice. I'm another Weihsien student who was  alleged to have had "yellow" jaundice in the camp. That's one of my memories  of the Chefoo Lower School Dormitory (LSD) in Block 23. And because of it I,  too, have never been allowed to give blood.


I remember the makeshift stoves prisoners built inside these rooms? Our teachers -- Miss Carr, Miss Stark, Miss Lucia --  constructed a stove for cooking right in the middle of the LSD dormitory.

I remember that eggs also supplied egg shells -- for calcium. As decent food diminished and threatened our health, I remember the Chefoo teachers lining us up at the  door of the dormitory and spooning powdered eggshells onto our tongues -- a  primitive calcium supplement. Horrible! Horrible! It felt like chewing sand.

I Remember how hot Weihsien got in the summer?

I remember that we heard that one of the parachutists had been slightly injured, and wondered if he had known that the kao liang was 12 feet tall when he made a landing.   I remember hearing that one the guys had his 45 out as he listened to the noises converging on him and only put it away when a crowd of jubilant kids burst through the kao liang."

 I remember giving Douglas's mother one of my chocolate bars from the Red Cross.


I remember that August 17 was a windy day.


I remember standing at the top of the outside staircase leading up to the room where our family of four had spent the last 2-1/2 years in that Japanese prison camp in China, and seeing the sun sparkle off the aluminium body of this unknown airplane as it turned in the distance and started back toward us, dropping altitude. It grew larger and larger and the roar of its engines grew stronger and stronger, until finally it was almost directly overhead and we saw the insignia on its wings.

I remember our sitting on heaps of used parachutes all the way from Weihsien to Sian? I had carried on board with me that day a small bundle of treasures which I intended to drop out of the airplane window to my Chefoo dorm mates below. Wrong!

I remember the concerts and plays such as Androcles and the Lion which had been put on. With all the executive talent in camp, it was no wonder that the place was so well managed by the internees.


I remember the many meetings that went on for hours, but I couldn't understand a word of it.


I remember Sgt Bu Shing!

I Remember King Kong! Not complimentary nicknames ― but certainly nicknames that helped us to see our imprisonment with some humour.


I remember the team of heroes who risked their lives to rescue us in 1945.


I Remember the dizzy euphoria you felt on August 17, 1945, when these angels dropped out of the sky into the fields beyond those barrier walls?


I remember that boat trip to Weihsien as I put my foot out through the railings of the boat and one of my shoes dropped off, good leather shoes, imagine!


I remember picking alfalfa with some girl and as we were laughing facing the setting sun, a Japanese guard went by and was so angry with us for laughing, rattled his sword and came to slap us on our faces.


I remember the smell of bedbugs sizzling in candle flames?


I remember with pleasure your Dad's cornet playing - as I'm sure does everyone who was in Weihsien CAC - wherever there was music, there was Capt. Buist. I confess that I was especially fascinated by the way he drew air in at the side of his mouth while playing!

I remember Mrs. Eileen Bazire, one of our Chefoo teachers. Mrs. Bazire was a musician and artist. Among her duties, she made magnificent drawings and watercolor posters announcing cultural events in the camp concerts, lectures.


I remember the one egg a week ration each had the shell crushed between two spoons and fed to children ― I was one.

I remember vividly the pantomimes that were put on and I remember the electrician’s daughter was the fairy and she was all lit up with lights. I also remember when the American plans flew over to liberate us. I was very scared as they seem to touch the roofs of our little huts ― and there was so much confusion (at least in my eyes) as everyone was running around. I remember running out of the camp the guards just standing there as everyone ran out of the compound.


I remember the roll-call in the middle of the night after some of the internees escaped and we all had to stand outside our hut and be counted!

I remember the Girl of the Limberlost because there was a scene where there were pink and gold water lilies in a bedroom with pink and gold counterpane and someone said Very French! and when-ever I see pink and gold together I mutter under my breath Very French.


I remember the azaleas in bloom along the contour paths.


I remember our teachers reading Les Miserable to us.

I remember joining a line-up outside Kitchen #1 (I think it was), and receiving an informal welcome to Weihsien from friendly camp 'veterans.'

I too, still remember the words of "God Bless America" and remember how we were saved in Wei-Hsien.


I remember Dr Robinson who looked after inmates in the camp.


I remember almost nothing other that what I have been told. Unfortunately my parents didn't talk a lot about the camp so I have been left with a thirsty appetite for information.


I remember the wall and the ditch outside.


I remember the tower that the Japs lived in and their dogs, which I imagine to be Alsatians


I remember him taking me into the tower and showing me his sword and also letting me play with his dog. One day he gave me two eggs.


I remember that I had never seen an egg before and I was probably not yet three years old. I took the eggs back to out room and when my mum saw me she was so excited that I threw them onto the floor and ran over for a cuddle. My mum told me that she scraped them off the ground, complete with the earth and dust and cooked them anyway.


I remember the Dutch woman who hoarded loads of goodies in her room.


I remember when our Chefoo teachers stopped us from calling one of the Japanese guards "Cherry Beak"


I remember eating dandelion greens. I had broken out in hives, and the doctor told me to eat as many greens as possible. The greens were not particularly tasty, but it was better than the rash. I do remember not being full, and eating a lot of bread, but I do not remember near starving. I was one of the servers, dishwashers, and special help to the cooks. Many did not want the greens, and we had much left over.


I remember having warts on my hands in our Weihsien days


I remember Roy and George used to make a potent brew from sweet potatoes


I remember the cess pit kid! I only have a small section of parachutes but I do have one signed by the original seven that landed.


I remember the tunnels at Weihsien. I remember playing in them.


I remember my mother massaging me with hot blankets


I remember being in the Hospital under quarantine because I had the Chicken Pox and all the kids sending me a get well card.


I remember vividly walking around for hours with this horrible mass in my mouth which would not go down as egg shells are just soluble in water and just sit there waiting for little bite to go down slowly through their own initiative. It was truly terrible.


I remember that I sat next to Frennie Dhunjishah (block 42), and that classes were held at the first floor south end. Every morning all activity stopped by the screams of a pupil being dragged along by his mother to attend school. He screamed very loudly and we could hear him coming from a long way away.


I remember having a pretend sword fight with Alec Lane, one of us with the sword and the other with the scabbard ! This guard also let one boy over the wall to retrieve any ball that would mysteriously land on the other side of the wall.


I fondly remember the outdoor dances.


I remember sleeping with China's millions -- bedbugs.


I remember my grandmother talking about grinding up eggshells for calcium, but I believe she said (or else I imagined) that they were mixed with food, or baked in bread.


I well remember enjoying dried-out bread (a bit like Melba toast or rusks) that Mr. Bruce kept in a bowl for us boys who lived in the attic of Block 61 (the fine old Presbyterian hospital overlooking the Wei River valley.



I remember the acrid smell and sizzle as they (the bedbugs) dropped into the flame of the match)


I guess we all remember the egg shells. Our family ground them up and put them in our "porridge" along with orange peels, I think. The egg shells were a little gritty but with the mixture, not too bad.



I remember standing and facing the wall, when I heard the sound of the Aeroplanes that dropped our saviours. Being so close to the window to look out, I had this wonderful view of the parachutes coming down.


I remember the great baseball players - Haazi Rumfph (sp) Aubrey Grandon and others.


I remember our chief of police. His name ― he was known a little disrespectfully as "King Kong" by some.


I remember the washboards.


I remember getting periodic news briefings in the camp


I remember Mary Scott? When men in the softball league fizzled, too weak to finish a game (the Priests Padres,  Peking Fathers and the Tientsin Tigers), they would let Mary Scott come in  to play ― the only woman ever allowed as a softball substitute, as I recall.


I remember that although we were hungry at times, we never starved as so many others did in Japanese and German camps.


I remember the food that we had been given before the war.


I remember that we were served leek soup, corn flour and waster custard  (didn't we call that blanc mange?), dry bread and tea that day.



I remember coming down in the corn field and all the people running out there.


I remember the air drops of supplies and trying to keep the people out of the way from getting hit."



"I remember my amazement. We didn't know what was in the camp. I expected (P.O.W.) soldiers. What we found in the camp civilians and children."



I remember some women running onto the fields and wrapping themselves around the men who were landing.


I remember that the toilets were the only place visited by the Chinese coolies with their wooden buckets.


I don't remember anything of Weihsien (or so little).


I remember that a very kind gentleman came to our room and built a small stove from bricks, with an empty kerosene tin as an oven.


I remember how the Japanese counted and counted and counted us over and over again at roll call when they discovered that two men had escaped.


I remember you as a dark-haired shy little boy.


I remember the peanut oil lamps but I only recall using them after lights out at 10pm.


I remember studying by that dim light after 10.pm cramming for my final school exam late 1944.


I remember well   lighting the Chefoo School Lower School Dormitory  (LSD) in hospital with the  peanut oil lamps 



I remember an old gramophone playing Harry Lauder Roamin' in the Gloamin.


"Do you remember where you were on December 7, 1941?"


I remember after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese bringing a Shinto priest onto the ball field of the Chefoo School and doing a ceremony that said that our school now belonged to the great Emperor of Japan. 


I remember their pasting paper seals with Japanese writing on the desks, chairs, equipment, saying that all of it now belonged to the Emperor of  Japan.


I remember the arm bands they made us wear ― with "A" for American  and "B" for British.


I remember what we children called "YAH" practice, when they suited up with padded body armor and face masks and practiced bayonet attacks.


I remember a quotation from Hitler ""What good fortune for governments that the people do not think.””


I remember my mother used to make bread pudding pancakes with the bread and water pudding from breakfast.


I remember how good those pancakes tasted in comparison to the regular fare of camp food.


I remember our school classes were under the trees in the church yard.


I remember the last Christmas [1944, I guess].  There were no Red Cross  packages, no money and nothing to buy, so we all decided to get into our  trunks, yes, the same ones we had put our clothes, books and treasures into the night before we walked to concentration camp.


I remember the snow on the trees as icycles which tingled in the breeze. I also remember it was very cold despite the coal balls. I had no blankets because they were left at home and slept under overcoats and anything else we could find.




More to come ….