How it all began ...


The incident at Marco Polo Bridge, Beijing, in July 1937 led to the Sino-Japanese War, which was to last eight years.


By 1945 ten million Chinese had been killed and forty million rendered homeless.


The Japanese armies pushed from Beijing southwards. They entered Shandong province in October, 1937. On 3 February, 1938, they occupied Chefoo. Soon the coastal strip of China was in Japanese hands, and for four years the British and American communities were neutral in the bitter war.


But the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on 8 December, 1941, ended that neutrality. The Allied community were now considered enemy subjects. In June, 1942, some Americans were repatriated to the United States on the Gripsholm, and in August there was a British repatriation. Thousands in both communities were left behind to face the prospects of being prisoners "for the duration".


Within a year of "Pearl Harbor" all "enemy subjects" were put into internment camps throughout Japanese occupied China. In March 1943 groups of Allied personnel from Tianjin, Beijing, Qingdao and other parts of north China converged on Weihsien, leaving a large group in a camp at Temple Hill, Chefoo, who had gone into internment in November 1942.