De: "Donald Menzi" <

À: <

Objet: "Bringing the Wilders' China to Life"

Date: jeudi 1 juillet 2004 4:26



Hi, folks.


I recently was asked to give a speech to the closing banquet of the 10th

Sino-American Conference on Education, expressing my feelings about participating in the conference.  Since it deals largely with the Wilders, who were interned in Weihsien in 1943, I thought some of you might be interested in reading it.


I already tried to send this, and also a page of illustrations, but the text document got bounced back.  I've deleted a map, which I'll send separately, so I think this time it will get through.


Hope you enjoy it.


Donald Menzi


De: "Donald Menzi" <

À: <

Date: jeudi 1 juillet 2004 4:36



Here's the map of North China that goes with the text I just sent.



De: "Dwight W. Whipple" <

À: <

Objet: Re: "Bringing the Wilders' China to Life" (again)

Date: jeudi 1 juillet 2004 16:45


  Thanks for the documents.  It adds a great deal to our memories

Of Weihsien.

  ~Dwight W. Whipple


De: <

À: <

Objet: Re: Weihsien Inmates

Date: jeudi 8 juillet 2004 13:19




    What a remarkable contribution to history!  Bless you!

    Mary Previte


De: "leopold pander" <

À: <

Objet: Once in a Lifetime,

Date: mercredi 14 juillet 2004 15:19


Dear Norman,

    Thanks for sending the colour photograph taken in 1988: "Once in a Lifetime".

To see it, there is a new chapter in your chapter on (Click in the "Log-Book). The picture itself is subdivided in three horizontal pieces.

Now is the who is who ? ----- who can help? I'll be exploring your scrap-books ---

Best regards



De: <

À: <

Objet: Re: Once in a Lifetime,

Date: mercredi 14 juillet 2004 15:33



       The picture is magnificent.  Top left - Henry Lack, Bernard Welch,

Roland Stedeford - that should give you the right page of names.  Emmanuel was there, and he could help.   Please be encouraged.   Norman


De: "Donald" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Once in a Lifetime,

Date: mercredi 14 juillet 2004 16:39





I had not visited your site for a while,  I just did and it is magnificent!




De: <

À: <

Objet: Passing of a generation

Date: vendredi 23 juillet 2004 5:32


Hello, Everybody,

With August 17, the anniversary of our liberation, approaching, I’ve been feeling grateful once again for the remarkable men who liberated us.  Why not drop a note to the three surviving members of the rescue team:  Jim Moore, Jim Hannon, and Tad Nagaki?

        Mary Previte


Passing of a Generation

Won't Be Long And They Will Be  Gone

 From a Military Doctor


I am a doctor specializing in the Emergency Departments of the only two military Level One-trauma centers, both  in San Antonio, TX and they care for civilian Emergencies as well as military  personnel.


San Antonio has the largest military retiree population in the world living here As a military doctor,   I work long hours and the pay is less than glamorous.


One tends to become jaded by the long hours, lack of sleep, food, family contact and the endless parade of human suffering passing before you.  The arrival of another ambulance does not mean more pay, only more work.


Most often, it is a victim from a motor vehicle crash. Often it is a person of dubious character who has been shot or stabbed. With our large military retiree population, it is often a nursing home patient.


Even with my enlisted service and minimal combat experience in Panama, I have caught myself groaning when the ambulance brought in yet another sick, elderly person from one of the local retirement centres that cater to military retirees. I had not stopped to think of what citizens of this age group represented.


I saw "Saving Private Ryan." I was touched deeply. Not so much by the carnage, but by the sacrifices of so many.  I was touched most by the scene of the elderly survivor at the graveside, asking his wife if he'd been a good man. I realized that I had seen these same men and women coming through my Emergency

Dept. and had not realized what magnificent sacrifices they had made. The things they did for me and everyone else that has lived on this planet since the end of that conflict are priceless.


Situation permitting, I now try to ask my patients about their experiences.

They would never bring up the subject without the inquiry.  I have been privileged to an amazing array of experiences, recounted in the brief minutes allowed in an Emergency Dept. encounter. These experiences have revealed the incredible individuals I have had the honor of serving in a medical capacity, many on their last admission to the hospital.


There was a frail, elderly woman, who reassured my young enlisted medic, trying to start an IV line in her arm. She remained calm and poised, despite her illness and the multiple needle-sticks into her fragile veins. She was what we call a «hard stick." As the medic made another attempt, I noticed a number tattooed across her forearm.  I touched it with one finger and looked into her eyes.  She simply said, "Auschwitz."  Many of later generations would have loudly and openly berated the young medic in his many attempts.  How different was the response from this person who'd seen unspeakable suffering.


Also, there was this long retired Colonel, who as a young officer had parachuted from his burning plane over a Pacific Island held by the Japanese. Now an octogenarian, his head cut in a fall at home where he lived alone. His CT scan and suturing had been delayed until after midnight by the usual parade of high priority ambulance patients. Still spry for his age, he asked to use the phone to call a taxi, to take him home, and then he realized his ambulance had brought him without his wallet.


He asked if he could use the phone to make a long distance call to his daughter who lived 7 miles away. With great pride we told him that he could not, as he'd done enough for his country and the least we could do was get him a taxi home, even if we had to pay for it ourselves.  My only regret was that my shift wouldn't end for several hours, and I couldn't drive him myself.


I was there the night MSgt. Roy Benavidez came through the Emergency Dept. for the last time. He was very sick. I was not the doctor taking care of him, but I walked to his bedside and took his hand. I said nothing. He was so sick; he didn’t know I was there. I'd read his Congressional Medal of Honor citation and wanted to shake his hand. He died a few days later.


The gentleman who served with Merrill's Marauders, the survivor of the

Bataan Death March, the survivor of Omaha Beach, the 101 year old World War I veteran, the former POW  held in frozen North Korea, the former Special Forces medic - now with  non-operable liver cancer, the former Viet Nam Corps Commander.  I remember these citizens.


I may still groan when yet another ambulance comes in, but now I am much more aware of what an honor it is to serve these particular men and women.


I have seen a Congress who would turn their back on these individuals who've sacrificed so much to protect our liberty. I see later generations that seem to be totally engrossed in abusing these same liberties, won with such sacrifice.


It has become my personal endeavor to make the nurses and young enlisted medics aware of these amazing individuals when I encounter them in our Emergency Dept. Their response to these particular citizens has made Me think that perhaps all is not lost in the next generation.


Written By CPT. Stephen R. Ellison, M.D.


De: "Pamela Masters" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Passing of a generation

Date: samedi 24 juillet 2004 3:03


Thank you Mary. I forwarded this beautiful message quite a while back...guess I missed your name on my mailing list, I'm sorry.  I have to say, I cried again when I read it this time.  Let's never forget these» great and glorious givers" who put their love of people, God, and country, above all else.

Love - Pamela


De: "Laura Hope-Gill" <

À: <

Objet: A letter from 1945

Date: lundi 26 juillet 2004 22:10


Dear Weihsien people,


It has been a long time since I have posted--and it's great to see the discussions continue.  I left the list a year or so ago to focus on my new baby, a healthy daughter I've named Andaluna.  She's wonderful. 


My contribution is a transcribing of a letter my grandfather received after the war from a friend, Dr. Wang.  The letter shows the decisive moment when my grandparents' lives turned toward Weihsien.  I wonder what other stories you all may have. . . .


Dear Dr. Hope-Gill,


    In answer to your letter of the 20/8, I wish to tell you that I thought very carefully about the discussion re repatriation between you and your wife, at which I was present.  A few remarks, for which I remember the exact words, are quoted verbatim below.  I recall the attitude of both parties clearly.


Mrs. Hope-Gill had been talking for several days about repatriation to the States, but reserved her decision until she could be assured of your also being permitted to go.


At the discussion in question, the permission evidently had not yet been granted, because all the pros and cons of a possible separation were considered.  You pointed out to Mrs. Hope-Gill that no one knew how soon you might be sent to concentration camp, that it would be best for her to leave while she had yet the chance.  You mentioned about your plans, which could not be carried out if you had to look after a family.  (You had previously mentioned to my husband [Dr. S.K. Wang, M.D], that if your wife would go, you intended to join the 8th Route Army, rather than be sent to concentration camp, and inquired about how to make contact with their troops in the hills.)  You did wonder if Mrs. Hope-Gill could manage with two young children.  It clearly would have eased your mind if she had decided to go.  (Next page :)


Mrs. Hope-Gill was tearful: "It may be years before we meet again.  Just think of my sister.  Her baby is two years old and the father has not seen it yet."


You:  "---and whatever happens to me, you will be with your parents."


The question of baggage came up.  You asked me: "Do you think she could manage with the children and baggage?"


Mrs Hope-Gill:  "Oh, Don, I don't see how I could, you know what a bad sailor I am."


She was assured that there are always kind people to help, however she seemed most unwilling to consider the departure without you.


A few days later, Mrs. Hope-Gill mentioned at a tea: "I am glad I've decided to stay, a wife should stay with her husband."  She seemed pleased that the question was settled and subsequently voiced no regret over her decision.


I trust that this is the information you desire and will be glad to help you if further necessary.


With best wishes,


Most sincerely


(Mrs.) Dorothy Wang








Laura Hope-Gill

Grand-daughter of internees

Dr. Donald Hope-Gill

Grace Hope-Gill

(Their sons: Herbert and Charles)


De: "Gay Talbot Stratford" <

À: <

Objet: Re: A letter from 1945

Date: mardi 27 juillet 2004 16:00


Dear Laura,

As I was reading your letter, I could not help thinking of Mrs Wang, my first piano teacher to whom i owe my lifelong passion for music and the foundation was the best I could have received. She was Swiss. She met her husband while they were both studying in the United States. Their daughter Joy was a friend of mine. I believe they had two boys as well. Thanks for the memories. Good wishes, Gay Talbot Stratford

PS the piano lessons took place in Linsi near Tongshan


De: "Laura Hope-Gill" <

À: <

Objet: How You Got There

Date: mardi 27 juillet 2004 16:37


Hello, everyone--

I am wondering how everyone arrived?  For instance, my grandparents got there by walking first through Tianjin/Tientsin then train (I am unclear on what kind of train--passenger or other).  Did the train go right up to the camp? 

When I was there two summers ago it was a bit of a cab ride from the train station--






De: "Laura Hope-Gill" <

À: <

Objet: Re: A letter from 1945

Date: mardi 27 juillet 2004 16:37



Thank you for sharing such a lovely memory.  Laura


De: "Ron Bridge" <

À: "Weihsien Chatline" <

Objet: Re: How You Got There

Date: mardi 27 juillet 2004 22:20


The people from Tianjin went in Three separate groups on the 23rd, 28th and 30th March 1943.

They were passenger trains but third class coaches ie wooden slat seats. The journey was from Tiansjin to Tsinan where a change of train took place.

On arrival Weihsien it was open trucks to the camp.


Ron Bridge


De: "Joyce Cook" <

À: <

Objet: Re: How You Got There

Date: mercredi 28 juillet 2004 8:52


I clearly remember being taken with my family and others by open truck to Tsingtao Railway and then on the floor of carriages without seats but with tatami mats on the floor. On arrival at WeiHsien, as Ron says, on to open trucks to the camp.  Joyce Bradbury----


De: <

À: <

Objet: Re: How You Got There

Date: mercredi 28 juillet 2004 15:01


The concentration camp was a green dot amidst open fields.  The Chefoo contingent arrived at Weihsien in "lorries" -- open trucks.  I remember the crowd of prisoners inside the gates watching us as our large contingent arrived.  I can only guess their dismay at knowing this many new arrivals would be sharing their already crowded space.

Mary Previte



De: "Raymond Moore" <

À: <

Objet: Forgotten Christmas's

Date: lundi 2 août 2004 3:10


Hi everyone,


I was with the Chefoo School at Chefoo, Weihsien, Shanghai and Kuling. 

Recently I have been trying to remember how we celebrated Christmas in each place.


I remember Chefoo Christmas mainly because my parents arranged for my Auntie Jessie (Moore - soon to marry David Bentley-Taylor) to buy me a bicycle.  It was, as I remember it, a full size one and I used to ride it with some difficulty around the "quad" in the Prep School.   It was quickly commandeered by the Japanese at Christmas 1941.


Then my mind is a blank once we were interned.   I remember a lot about

Temple Hill, but cannot remember celebrating Christmas there.  And when I came to try and remember Chrsitmas's in Weihsien, my mind is a blank.   Can anyone who was at Weihsien jog my memory in any way?


After the War, I cannot remember Christmas in Shanghai, but I do remember going down to the Prayer Hall and sitting there on my own one day and "giving my heart to the Lord".  It was the same room in which my parents had been married in 1934.


I do however remember Christmas's in Kuling.  They were always white

Christmas's which may be part of the reason that I remember them.  They were magical times and the snow and the silence were awesome to me.   I remember that Santa used to come in late on Christmas Eve, after we were all asleep, and leave a stocking at the end of each bed, which we would discover the next morning - early!   I remember that I received gifts, apart from the stocking which was mainly edible, of lengths of rope, pen  knives etc.   I can remember singing carols on Christmas Eve around the area to other European families.  I can remember Christmas services - but not very clearly.


Can any of you Weihsien people who seem to have such amazingly clear memories of those days, fill me in on "Christmas in Weihsien", please.


I enjoy all the little snippets that appear on this site.


Ray (Raymond) Moore


De: "Donald" <

À: <

Objet: Fwd: Father Scanlon's Memoir

Date: mardi 10 août 2004 5:09



 Date: Mon, 09 Aug 2004 23:24:11 -0400


 From: Donald Menzi <

 Subject: Father Scanlon's Memoir



 I seem to remember that quite a while ago someone mentioned that Fr.

 Scanlon (the egg-smuggler) had written some kind of a memoir of his time

 in Weihsien.  Can anyone tell me more about it, especially if there is any

 way to get a copy?






De: "Raymond Moore" <

À: <

Objet: RE: Father Scanlon's Memoir

Date: mardi 10 août 2004 8:13


Hi Donald


I have just finished reading Father Scanlan's book "Stars in the Sky" which

I purchased second hand on 2 June 2004 through Abe Books on their website  It cost me $12.95 US dollars.   I enjoyed it and presume this is the book you are asking about.




Ray Moore


De: "Joyce Cook" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Father Scanlon's Memoir

Date: mardi 10 août 2004 8:14



Father Patrick Scanlan wrote "Stars In The Sky"in 1984,  Hong Kong Trappist Pubications. I have a photostat copy only. Consisting of some 347 pages..   Mary Previte may be abe to help as she suggested (In May 2002) trying Abbot Thomas Davis, Abbey of New Clairvaux, Vina, California. I do not know if this was successful.  Joyce Bradbury     


De: "Ron Bridge" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Father Scanlon's Memoir

Date: mardi 10 août 2004 13:32


If anyone does get a copy I suspect t hat there will not be enough second-hand copies for all I would appreciate sight of it. IN the meantime Ray if the book gives any proper names of priests interned and where they were in

Peking I would appreciate the details or Photostats for the pages concerned. My direct e-mail my mailing address RW Bridge

Chillies Oast, Chillies Lane, Crowborough, East Sussex TN6 3TB England

Many thanks




De: "leopold pander" <

À: <

Objet: Fw: Father Scanlon's Memoir

Date: mardi 10 août 2004 18:05


I could include it on the WeihsienPictureGallery, if it is OK for you :-))

Best Regards,



De: "Donald" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Fw: Father Scanlon's Memoir

Date: mardi 10 août 2004 20:31



When I checked this morning there were still several copies of Fr.

Scanlan's book listed at


De: "Ron Bridge" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Father Scanlon's Memoir

Date: mardi 10 août 2004 21:26



go ahead




De: "Léopold Pander" <

À: <

Objet: Notice Board

Date: samedi 21 août 2004 9:14




In Norman's scrap book No4 there were many « originals » of various notices pinned on the Weihsien's notice board. Fifty-nine years after --- they are now visible at  in Norman's chapter --- go to --- Notice board. 


Do these "notices" bring back memories to you? I'd like to add a text under each picture --- but I need your help for that.


Best regards,




De: "leopold pander" <

À: <

Cc: "Nicky & Léopold" <

Objet: Fw: RedCrossParcels

Date: samedi 21 août 2004 12:33





Sorry for the last message --- you got it 3 times !! My mistake!

I hope that the picture will be visible (in this message) --- it is the "étiquette" of the famous corned beef we had in the Red Cross Parcels (I guess) or was it in the enormous drums that came down from the B29s? In Norman's scrap book No4, there also was ---- what had contained "seedless raisins" --- I just included them in the Red Cross chapter for you to see.

Do those two "étiquettes" make you remember something ---??

Many thanks (in advance) for your help,

Best regards,



De: "Natasha Petersen" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Notice Board

Date: samedi 21 août 2004 13:53


Please help!

How do I get to the Notice Board? 

Natasha (Petersen)


De: "Emily Patterson Bryant" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Notice Board

Date: dimanche 22 août 2004 0:18


click on log book, after you click on the address (URL)


De: "David Birch" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Notice Board

Date: dimanche 22 août 2004 4:42



Thank you so much for all that you are doing to keep those years alive in our memories! I was a young pre-adolescent boy during WWII, and so Weihsien was a truly great adventure for me. Norman Cliff's contribution to all this history is of course seminal. But your contribution is particularly helpful in enabling us to remember Norman's work and also that of Father Hanquet in recording those precious memories so we can all appreciate them.

Thank you Leopold! Thank you Norman! And thank you Natasha! (And of course Mary!)

Sincerely and gratefully,

David Birch


De: "leopold pander" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Notice Board

Date: dimanche 22 août 2004 8:59


You are quite right --- Janette told me the same thing --- so --- I "improved" the pictogram in the left column of Norman's main-Page. Hope it is OK now ?

Help me write something under each of these Weihsien Notices. They MUST bring back memories to you!

Best regards,



De: "Natasha Petersen" <

À: "weihsien" <

Objet: info

Date: mardi 24 août 2004 18:51


Hello everyone,

I recently talked with Joan Walle Eglis.  I read Joyce Cook's recent email about her dolls etc.  Joan would like to have any information on Jimmy Basket.  She saw him once quite a few years ago after Lila, her sister, died.  There was a write-up in I believe the New York Times about Lila and Joan having been in Weihsien.  Jimmy saw the article and got in touch with Joan.  Since that time, Joan has been unable to reach him.

Please send me or to "weihsien"  Joan does not have email.


Natasha Petersen


De: "leopold pander" <

À: <

Objet: outward messages

Date: jeudi 26 août 2004 10:43



From Norman Cliff's scrap-book No.4 ---




Number 1 - March 1945

No copy of this communication was retained but in brief it read as follows:-

Have you been to the West and returned? Conditions in Camp little changed from time of your residence but wire increased although vigilance of guards less (stop). Although no indication of this at present could you, in the event of attempt being made to remove us from this Camp, cut communications?


Number 2 - March 1945 - Message en clear sent by O.D. Contents unknown


Number 2 - April 25th 1945

"Number 2 (stop) Acknowledge your number 3 - April 22nd (stop) Your Number 2 not yet received but understand it adjacent awaiting opportunity deliver (stop) Thanks news and efforts Chungking (stop) Medical supplies in camp adequate six months therefore do not contact Egger presently (stop) Your reference money deposits not understood - please elucidate - (stop) Agree communication difficult, in future act only on code messages with chop (stop)  Have been approached by local representative 8th Route who required report for Yenan on (a) camp conditions, (b) details your escape, (c) feasibility removing us all to Yenan (stop)   Have replied to (a) in detail, (b) nil, (c) have explained impossibility but thank for offer assistance (stop)   Use foregoing knowledge with utmost discretion (stop)  Camp conditions unchanged (stop)  Advise if any time you foresee prospects Allied action this neighbourhood likely affect us (stop) Our Number 2 - April 25th 1945".


Number 3

"Your Number 4 received (stop) Post Box system working satisfactorily with carpenter (stop) Impossible us establish reliable alternative messengers so suggest you contact Police Office boy Han or shoe-repairer or other persons through carpenter (stop) Pass word arranged with carpenter for use with unknown contacts (stop) We are investigating possibility building radio receiving set and later transmitter for communication with you (stop) Following parts required:- 4 Type 606 tubes; 3 - Six-prong sockets; 2 fixed condensers .00025MFD; 1 Audio Transformer ratio 1/3; 1 Rheostat 10 ohms; 1 Fixed resistance - 2 Megohms; 2 sets of headphones; 8 dry bell batteries; - 1.5 volts (large cells) (stop)  Can you send us these and do you consider project feasible.


Our No.3 - May 7th 1945


Number 4

"Your Number 3 received (stop)  Our idea use radio only if Chinese contact out (stop)  Recommend greatest caution using Egger; Japanese suspect him and we are not permitted near him; all parcels carefully examined and covered by permit Tsingtao Consulate (stop) Expect January/February comfort possibly May (stop) First Red enquiry (a) details nationality ages etc. internees (b) details defence (stop) Replied (a) only (stop) Second inquiry more detailed questionnaire said emanate from Yenan (a) treatment by guards living conditions etc. (b) details defences (c) details your escape (d) suggested possibility removing internees Yenan. Replied (a) Treatment reasonable conditions fair (b) (c) ignored (d) thanked for offer but demonstrated impossibility by figures of old young and sick (stop). We have hedged and not committed ourselves this policy apparently successful as messenger subsequently indicated our reply satisfactory. We gather local representative relieved not required undertake removal (stop) Instruct your contacts confine conversations messages to de Jaegher or Tchoo this business being handed exclusively by them plus Halton Howard McLaren.


Our No.4 - May 14th"


Number 5

"Your No.6 received (stop) Carpenter contact arranged verbally (stop) Deaths 15 (stop) Medical supplies received (stop) If we are left to fend for ourselves do you plan finance and/or feed us (stop) No Eastern news now coming in therefore request keep us posted (stop) Learn 8th know your whereabouts and showing excessive interest you (stop) Tubes (details) (stop)


Number 5 - May 19th 1945"


Number 6

"Your Number 7 - 8th received. Medicines delivered by Egger officially without query (stop) We confirm meat room contact Rations again reduced Joerg fully posted on recent visit (stop) Senior Japanese staff and guards now being changed (stop) Police nervy fear outside attack but generally friendly to internees.


Our 6  -  July 8th"


Number 7

"Your number 9 received Will act accordingly


Our seven July 15th"


Number 8

"As no contact Chinese internees selling gold silver personal effects to guards via Tchoo Goyas etc. for cash Surplus proceeds resold to other internees for cheques at FRB$250. to US$1.00 Camp price gold $210,000.00 Detail your proposition (stop) Indications new chief Police cooperative General treatment reasonable food inadequate breakfast bread water tiffin slim supper bread tea sometimes thin soup Heavy workers mothers feeling pinch Canteen supplies inadequate Can you finance or urge Red Cross Egger send in supplies which preferable to Comfort money (stop) No Chungking supplies required at present (stop) Your ten received.


Our eight July 24th"


Number 9.

Your 11 received Very sorry hear your misfortune Interested learn cause (stop) In your our interest strongly disapprove your proposition in view (1) question American relations - see your number four (2) Prefer non committal policy for Camp (3) No contact Reds last three months would have to try contact through your messenger by Chinese letter which very dangerous (stop) Verbal message difficult probably impossible (4) Reds must discover representative is one of you and not from Camp thus suspecting double cross. As food etcetera situation here not yet desperate your immediate assistance not essential therefore can you with safety stay around quietly passing messages to from Egger Joerg and be available for final act Alternatively if situation too tough suggest you both contact Reds direct.


Your 12 received do not wish meddle with medicines or involve Egger (stop) Finance fairly plentiful presently (stop) May require few ounces against future contingencies Suggest delivery via neutral or walls. No urgency unless you breaking our contact


Our 9 - 30th July"


De: "leopold pander" <

À: <

Cc: "Janette & Pierre @ home" <

Objet: Inward Messages

Date: jeudi 26 août 2004 12:10


From Norman Cliff's scrap book No.4


INWARD Messages


Number 1. - March 1945

No copy of the original message has been retained but it consisted merely of details of the code plus a statement that T. and H. had lost their chop.


Number 2

This message is referred to in their number 3 but had not been received up to 25th April 1945.


Number 3

"Have your code No.2 (stop) Your reply No.1 received. Carpenter's letter also received (stop) Can cut railway only temporarily but to prevent movement of Camp cooperation of Air Force necessary Matter referred to Chungking (stop) Philippines occupied now fighting Luchus. - Chinese advancing Honan Hupeh - Allies 50 East West of Berlin - Treatment civilians in Philippines  ensures all possible help from Chungking for you (stop) Air shipment from Chungking includes money mail medicines for you - radio for us (stop) Medicines needed, if on hand, will be sent through Egger (he knows nothing) - deposits to accounts being made (stop) Communication difficult essential restrict contacts with Carpenter to our business only (stop) With 15th Tsung Tui, Chang I Hsien, April 22nd. Date and number letters."




Number 4

"Your No.2 received (stop) Have interviewed Carpenter with object speeding up communications (stop) Suggest you arrange place where he can pick up and deliver notes without waiting for suitable opportunity for personal contact (stop) Do not use him for contact with 8th Route or any other business (stop) Investigate and advise us of other possible means of contact as precautionary measure; payments to carpenter arranged here (stop) American government recently expressed strong disapproval of 8th Route (stop) Berlin occupied (stop)


No.4 - April 30th"


Number 3

"Your number 3 received (stop) We will find out if parts obtainable but we do not consider this enterprise worth the danger involved (stop) Advise when you receive small trial medicine parcel through Egger; we are also supplying him with money for all your Tsingtao purchases (stop) Please confirm that Comfort money will be resumed this month (stop) Give full particulars all correspondence with Reds (stop) Germany surrenders on eight, Mussolini and Hitler dead; Polish question: very serious situation between England/Russia.


Number 5 - May 11th"


Number 6

"Your No.4 received (stop) Tubes required unobtainable suggest another type (stop) If carpenter fails contact will be made over North wall to vineyard signal whistle time noon dates ending 1 and 6 (stop) Give number deaths since June in future give names of deaths (stop) For your attention Tchoo buying saccharine and victrolas bring though carpenter.


Number 6 - May 15th 1945"


Number 7

"Your No.5 received (stop) How were medicines delivered (stop) Representative from Chungking now here discussing means of protecting and financing Camp We expect decision before end of June Your plans for radio strongly disapproved (stop) Rangoon Foochow recaptured Still fighting Luchu Islands Troops equipment moving from Europe to Pacific (stop) Suggest messages unless urgent be restricted to two or three times a month."


Number 7 - May 20th 1945"



"No reply received our Number 7. We are arranging contact in meat supply room Chinese with towel on left side of belt will give letter to foreigner with towel on head (stop) Please confirm through channel by which you receive this.


July 7th - No.8"



"Your six received. A contact will be made trough meat room but keep this open also do not tell either of the other


Our nine July 12th"



"Your seven received understand Tchoo selling gold Japs if we supply how much can you use Tsingtao price $170,000. an ounce (stop) Report on present conditions reduction rations etc. Meat Room contact not settled but keep watching (stop) Advise if anything from Chungking that can be brought by Egger (stop) Luchus finished landing anticipated either Japan or China


No.10 - July 20th"



"This area recently suffered heavy losses and possibilities of future help to you uncertain Our radio contact Chungking has been cut therefore one of us may go to Reds with object of going to Chungking (stop) Please contact Reds immediately and find out if they will send one of us as representative of Camp to Yenan (stop) Do not indicate yet that the proposed representative is not in Camp Under no circumstances tell anyone that we are concerned as our position here as regards Reds is delicate.


No.11 - July 24th"



"Your 12 received Meat room temporarily postponed (stop) Situation here slightly better but keep trying Red contact (stop) Our idea send in ointment through Egger Do you want (stop) Will see what can be done re food situation but since radio gone contact very slow.


Our 12 - July 27th"


De: "Christine Talbot Sancton" <

À: <

Objet: Lilla's Feast

Date: jeudi 26 août 2004 17:03


Dear Leopold: I have just received my copy of Lilla's Fest.


It looks as if it will be very interesting. Perhaps you received a complimentary copy too.


I will get a chance to read it once Rob leaves this weekend for Toronto and then Bruxelles.


Rob's apt address is: Rue aux Choux 47/14 1000 Bruxelles.


Is this quite a central location?


Hope that we can meet sometime.

Love Christine


De: "Christine Talbot Sancton" <

À: <

Objet: apologies

Date: jeudi 26 août 2004 17:17


Dear All: I didn't mean to send my last posting to everyone just to Leopold.


Since I am here though, I'd like to say thank you for this site as I was able to reunite with Kay Allan Canning.


Our families were friends in Tientsin before Weihsien as our parents worked for the KMA. Kay and I are the same age. It was always her name that I have remembered from childhood. So she is someone whom I have always wanted to reconnect with.


On our recent trip to Scotland we stayed with Kay and Mike near Glasgow as I had found her email on this Topica site. So after over 55 years we met again! It was quite a momentous occasion for me.


So thank you for making this reunion possible.


Incidentally we also saw Wendy Robinson Weaver on this trip whose father, Robbie Robinson was one of the Camp doctors. Luckily our families have always maintained contact with each other even with my mother's death in


What a benefit this site is to so many.

 Sincerely, Christine Talbot Sancton


De: "Gay Talbot Stratford" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Lilla's Feast

Date: jeudi 26 août 2004 18:57


Was on the point of asking you about "Lilla's Feast " which just came through the door. Very generous of Sheila Lee, to be sure. Seem to heard about it, probably from you.


When the dust settles in the fall, I am thinking of looking over my letters from New York. Can't quite decide where to turn next for inspiration. Fiction does not appeal.

love, g

Also, Graham wants to know if Richard is still receiving the Beaver.



De: "Christine Talbot Sancton" <

À: <

Objet: RE: Lilla's Feast

Date: jeudi 26 août 2004 20:03


Dear Gay: I was just going to call you. Glad you got your copy. It looks quite interesting doesn't it?


By the way, do you still have Gabba's latters to you when you were in the UK and we were still in China? I'd love to look at them sometime if you do.


It must be a very difficult time for Graemie.


Love and prayers, Chrissie


De: "David Birch" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Inward Messages//reference to Tipton and Hummel

Date: jeudi 26 août 2004 20:39


Re. Tipton and Hummel:

Did these fellows really accomplish anything worth while?

I seriously wonder if any good they may have done was not outweighed by the harm that came to us in the camp through their rather sensational  escapade!


They got a lot of "mileage" for themselves out of their adventure. And Laurie Tipton finally managed to get himself the post of US ambassador to China!


But what did they do for others that really amounted to anything?


There were sizeable inconveniences for the other prisoners. Many people had to be shifted to other quarters. I think relations with our captors were almost certainly put under a severe strain.


The civilian camp became more and more like a real 'concentration camp!'  A massive barbed-wire entanglement was added to the perimeter of our quarters, quite a bit of Chinese farmland being lost to the farmers. And I wonder what more vicious recriminations were taken out against some of the Chinese people when the Japanese started looking for scapegoats.  And I'm very sure the Japanese would not have been satisfied until they had made some unfortunate innocents suffer. After all 'face' is of high importance to the Japanese! And they were truly humiliated by this 'great escape' by these civilians in their charge!


We had until T&H's (to me) questionable accomplishment, only had one roll call per day, a rather laid-back, relaxed count that took place around 9:00 am. After the escape, the roll calls become truly 'business-like' with one at 8:00 am and another at 5:00 pm!  Sometimes we were re-counted.  They were not taking chances. This never varied until the war was over!


What some among us today don't seem to realize is this. We were all CIVILIAN internees, and in our particular camp we were guarded by CIVILIAN police. I certainly did not think of these police as "the enemy!"  Although of course I knew they were on the "other side!"


Major Staiger, according to Goopy (Mr. S.G. Martin) in his book giving the history of the Chefoo School, was a very wise man. He enabled the Japanese commandant and thus his staff to save face. Major Staiger, Goopy says, told the Commandant that the Commandant would still be in charge of security at the camp. The major required the Japanese to surrender their swords but not their honor! Goopy commends the major for acting "wisely!"


Goopy is not so benevolent toward Tipton and Hummel! And says that they returned to the camp "full of pride" because of their escape. He says that the American officer in charge of repatriation asked T&H, "Are you in the camp or not?"  If you are in the camp, I am responsible to return you to wherever you want to go. If you're not in the camp (in other words you want to come and go as you please), I have no responsibility for you. You can find your own way home!"  Goopy says they had to surrender their dignity (in Goopy's words) and come back to live in the camp and abide by camp rules.


At the time (I was thirteen) and I regarded Tipton and Hummel as heroes.  Today I don't really think so!


What do you think?


 De: <

À: <

Objet: Re: Inward Messages//reference to Tipton and Hummel

Date: jeudi 26 août 2004 21:42


To David Birth -

       You are wrong on several counts re. the Escape -

             1. After their escape Tipton obtained from Chongking a radio  set, which was dropped to him by air.  This enabled them to send war news to us through the sess pool coolies.

             2. I have produced a brochure entitled LOOKING BACK TO WEIHSIEN in which there are copies of the correspondence between T&H and the camp committee, and between Chinese army leaders and the camp committee, who were anxious to save us from the Japs doing anything drastic at the end.  This we also owe to T&H.

             3. The Jap guards were Consular Police.

             4.  Staiger did not treat the Japs in a way to save their face, but because he knew there was a civil war going on around us, and we needed the extra help of the Japs.

                         Do consider these points.    Norman Cliff.


De: "Albert Dezutter" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Inward Messages//reference to Tipton and Hummel

Date: jeudi 26 août 2004 23:30




I think you raise some good points. Personally, I have no clear opinion as to whether or not their escape did us any good, although from Tipton's book, it appears they kept in touch with American forces around Chungking by radio, and sent them information about our circumstances.


Just on a historical note, it was Arthur Hummel, not Laurence Tipton, who became ambassador to Beijing in the Reagan administration.


Albert de Zutter


De: <

À: <

Objet: Re: Inward Messages//reference to Tipton and Hummel

Date: vendredi 27 août 2004 0:59


When Arthur Hummell  spoke to a high power gathering of Philadelphia's elite

-- coordinated by the Philadelphia Inquirer's economics columnist --a few years ago, I  had the delight of giving this very proper group my child's-eye  -- and very exuberant -- view of the escape of Hummell and Tipton from Weihsien. 


Bless my soul!  Someone told me later that my mischievous account that night was more interesting than Hummel's speech on international economics.  Lesson learned -- even economists like a good story.


Mary Taylor Previte


De: "David Birch" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Inward Messages//reference to Tipton and Hummel

Date: vendredi 27 août 2004 4:41


Good for you, Mary!  I think my own Child's Eye View of Messrs Tipton and Hummel was probably much like yours! What they did was dashing, brave and very, very exciting! Perhaps there was an element of foolhardiness in it too!  But shucks! We were kids and to us these guys could do no wrong!

I'd love to be present and hear personally your account of almost anything that happened back in those dim and distant days, from your 'child's eye view!'


David Birch wrote:

When Arthur Hummell spoke to a high power gathering of Philadelphia's elite

-- coordinated by the Philadelphia Inquirer's economics columnist --a few years ago, I had the delight of giving this very proper group my child's-eye -- and very exuberant -- view of the escape of Hummell and Tipton from Weihsien.


Bless my soul! Someone told me later that my mischievous account that night was more interesting than Hummel's speech on international economics. Lesson learned -- even economists like a good story.


Mary Taylor Previte



De: "David Birch" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Inward Messages//reference to Tipton and Hummel

Date: vendredi 27 août 2004 4:59



You are wrong on at least one count:

My name is not David Birth but David Birch!


Second: I think it is a great mistake today to refer to our captors by the derogatory title "Japs!" As the sons of missionaries, we of all people ought to know this. David Michell served for a number of years as an OMF missionary in Japan. I feel sure that he did not refer to the people he grew to know and love as "Japs!"  Surely you did not think of Mr. Kosaka as a "Jap!" I personally consider that to be like calling Italians Wops or Chinese Chinks!


Remember that one of those courageous Cesspool coolies paid for his valor with his life. He was shot! What about his poor widow and children?

The enemy may have made life difficult for them!


Did I say the Japanese were NOT consular police? I said they were civilian police. You are splitting hairs if you call me on this! I understood very well that their role prior to the war had been to guard embassies (consulates).

Norman, please allow me to quote from Gordon Martin's Chefoo School 1881-1951  A History and Memoir   (1990. Braunton Devon. Merlin Books Ltd.) Mr Martin says on page 124, 125:

            Major Staiger (in command of the party) found that

            the Japanese had disarmed themselves. He went to

            the Japanese commandant and said, 'We are a

            humanitarian force. We are here to evacuate the

            aged and the sick. You are still in command. You

            and your troops will continue to guard the camp from

            attack and to maintain food supplies.'  This was an

            admirable approach. It gave the commandant his

            position; he did not lose face though he surrendered

            his sword     .     .     .

 On pages 126, 126, Mr. Martin says:

            In those days Hummel and Tipton, who had escaped,           

            turned up in camp, full of pride at their achievement. But

            the American officer in charge summoned them to his

            presence and asked, 'Are you in this camp or not? If you

            are in this camp, I am responsible to get you to Peking

            or USA or where you will. If you are not in this camp. I

            am not responsible.'  So they had to pocket their dignity

            and come back into camp.


I must respectfully disagree with you in your charge that I am "wrong" on the counts you cite.  I did NOT say that Tipton and Hummel did not do anything that you said they did. I did however question whether the "good" they did was sufficient to balance out the cost to those of us in the camp and to others. I still wonder. I don't absolutely know, but I do not think what they did was worth it! They were young and adventurous, and what they did, in my personal opinion largely gave them a heady experience and perhaps the illusion they were making a tremendous contribution to the effort of saving our lives. In retrospect, it did not have much if anything to do with that at all. It cost at least one poor innocent Chinese coolie his life, and could have caused a lot more trouble for a lot more of us!

Reading between the lines in Goopy's book, I think that T&H used their experience "fighting with the guerillas" (as if!), to raise their own personal profiles. A young tobacco company rep, in my opinion, managed to wangle a plum appointment later on as US ambassador to China! This is not a hard and fast statement by me. It is merely what I think. So do not tell me I am wrong!  How in the world would you know!  I do know that Goopy, whose word I trust implicitly (one of the best teachers and friends I ever had), spoke of Tipton and Hummel as being "filled with pride." I think (though I do not know) that Goopy was right.


Finally, why do you accuse me of being wrong when I am merely citing Mr Martin. Don't you have the courage to say that in your humble opinion, your old teacher SGM was wrong?


Please consider what I have written. You do not have to agree. I think we may always differ in our opinions here.



G David Birch


PS  I don't know whether you recall or not, but when I was thirteen years old, and a bit of a hero-worshiper I suppose, you had me running quite a few errands to the Camp noticeboards to take down some of the notices that had been up for a week or so. I think perhaps it may have looked a bit better for a grubby 13-yr-old youngster to be scrounging notices than for a dignified young man in his twenties. (Do I a belated acknowledgment for this invaluable service to posterity?  Asked with tongue in cheek and in all friendliness Norman!)




Very sincerely



De: "David Birch" <

À: <

Objet: Re: My emails re T&H

Date: vendredi 27 août 2004 8:54


Sorry for the repetitions of the same email transmission. I don't quite know how that happened!


De: "David Birch" <

À: <

Objet: Re: The Escape Escapade or "The Great Escape"

Date: vendredi 27 août 2004 9:22



Thanks for your gentle reply to my email! I appreciate your not rejecting my points out of hand! I know I may be "going against the grain," in my view of Tipton's and Hummel's usefulness (or otherwise) in the matter of their escape. And I was wrong, as you gently pointed out, in the matter of the identity of the US Ambassador to China. I did not even realize that he held that position in President Reagan's administration. Another point that I should bring up myself, to soften my own stance re these fellows, is that to become the US ambassador to another nation a person must have many considerable qualifications and talents and have demonstrated his or her ability by an impressive 'track record!' This does not change my opinion that the "Escape Escapade" was unnecessary at least in retrospect!

Again thank you, Albert, for your kindly reply to my email!



De: "leopold pander" <

À: <

Objet: Re: The Escape Escapade or "The Great Escape"

Date: samedi 28 août 2004 8:55




I would like to say ---


Dear David,


Whatever you may think about it, thank you for taking all those pieces of paper from the notice board.


Dear Norman,


Thank you for keeping all those precious documents for so long and also thank you for lending them to me. Slowly and surely, they are coming on my little web site  ---- Two thousand visitors so far and 30 Mega octets of information --- pictures and text.  --- And more to come.


Best regards,




De: "David Birch" <

À: <

Objet: Re: The Escape Escapade or "The Great Escape"Notice boards in Camp!

Date: dimanche 29 août 2004 13:50


Hey Leopold and Norman!

Thank you both for your outstanding contributions to our understanding of the history of Weihsien Camp and (Leopold) for using your great computer skills to make it possible for many more people to share in that understanding!

I'm so glad there are people like the two of you in this world (and in our world-wide web community)! We really do need you men!  Each of you has unique gifts as well as loads of initiative, and a truly caring attitude toward others in the Community!

Leopold, I am quite sure that I was not Norman's only errand boy, running around to the notice boards in the Camp! There were notice boards, incidentally, in several locations: one near the library (and the Discipline Committee offices of Mr McLaren and Mr Lawless), another by Kitchen One (where I took my meals).  I'm sure that there was another by Kitchen Two. Others probably by the Men's Showers and by the Ladies' Showers.

Another near the hospital (Block 61) where I lived in a young boys' dorm in the attic; etc, etc! Norman was very civic minded and was active in Cub Scouts leadership with Miss Evelyn Davie and others. I don't know if other boys felt as I did, but I felt "pretty important" fetching those week-old notices for "Cliff!"  He was to the mind of a 12 and 13-year-old boy, one of the big fellows, a good chap whom a younger kid admired. He still is one whom I continue to admire!

Thanks for your welcome email Leopold!

You too are a CHAMP!




PS It is amazing to learn of the thousands of visitors to the web site!!! Well done Leopold and Norman!!!


De: <

À: <

Objet: Liberation Day commentary on Tad Nagaki

Date: mardi 31 août 2004 3:56


Hello, Everyone,

Each August, I try to publish a tribute to one or more of the heroes who liberated Weihsien.  On August 17,  the Scottsbluff Star-Herald in Nebraska published this commentary on Tad Nagaki, who lives nearby in Alliance, Nebraska. 

They also wrote a front page story about Tad and pictured him on the front page.

 As you might guess, Tad says he's not a hero.




                 by  Mary T. Previte


    On August 17, I’ll say thank you to my own American hero -- from

Nebraska.  Let me shout my thank you to the world.


    Tad Nagaki saved my life in 1945 -- an American  hero who parachuted from a low-flying B-24 “Liberator” to rescue me and 1,400 Allied prisoners from the Weihsien Concentration Camp in Weihsien. We were  prisoners of the Japanese.


    When I tracked him down in 1997, Tad was a widower, 78 years old farming corn and beans and sugar beets in Alliance.  I had to pull.  Tad is comfortable with the solitude of his tractor and his fields.  He was trained to keep secrets during World War II.  I was not.  I was a woman from New Jersey -- full of questions.


     Let me tell his story.   Tad grew up near Alliance, a Japanese American farm boy who didn’t speak English until he went to school.  With war clouds gathering in 1941, he volunteered for the Army.  His Japanese born parents considered it Tad’s duty to go.  He was 21.   Men of the Scottsbluff Elks Lodge sent him off and the other 18 draftees from the valley with a buffet supper.  The Nagakis celebrated with a goodby get together. Tad would defend America.


    It was a simple equation: You love your country, you must be willing to fight for it, to face death, to suffer injuries.  His mother proudly put a blue star in their window to show that her son was serving his country.


    After Japan attacked America at Pearl Harbor, by Presidential order, America started  interning Japanese-Americans in the west.  Would a Japanese-American fight for a country that trampled his people like that?


    Tad Nagaki volunteered for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the first espionage unit the United States used behind Japanese lines in Burma. “I am American,” he says. 


    But he has a Japanese face. 


    Didn’t he know, I asked him when I tracked him down, that as an ethnic Japanese, if the Japanese caught him, he’d be the first they would have tortured and killed?   Didn’t he know their most ghastly interrogation techniques would come first?   Didn’t he know -- of course, he did -- the ritual executions of Americans, would follow -- oh, yes -- by the Japanese warriors’ code of

Bushido, which prescribed execution by beheading?   I shudder still to think of it.


    And in Burma or in China, what if American soldiers thought you were the Japanese enemy?  I ask.


    “I never gave it any thought,” he says.  “I am an American.” He makes it sound so simple.  “I am an American.”


    He is also a hero.


    “In war,” Tad said, “ if you’re going to think about that, you’re not going to make a very good soldier.”


    I will never, ever forget the day that Tad Nagaki and these liberators rescued me -- six -- imagine it!  Six Americans against how many Japaneseguards.


    Americans were spilling from the belly of this low-flying B-24 bomber, dangling from parachutes that looked like giant poppies. They were dropping into the fields outside the barrier walls.  I dashed to the barracks window in time to see the American star emblazoned on its belly.  God’s rescuing angels had come.  Six gorgeous American men, sunbronzed, with meat on their bones.  

It was August 17, 1945.


    Weihsien Civilian Assembly Center,” the Japanese called our concentration camp in China. I was twelve years old.  For three years my two brothers and sister and I had been captives of the Japanese.  For five and a half years, warring armies had separated us from our missionary parents.


    Weihsien went mad.  I raced for the entrance gate and was swept off my feet by the pandemonium.  Men ripped off their shirts and waved at the bomber circling above.  Prisoners ran in circles and pounded the skies with their fists.  They wept, hugged, cursed, danced.  Wave after wave of prisoners swept me past the guards into the fields beyond the camp.


    A mile away we found them -- six young Americans, all in their twenties -- standing with their weapons ready, surrounded by fields of ripening broom corn.  Advancing towards them, intoxicated with joy, came a tidal wave of prisoners.  We were free in the open fields.


    Back in the concentration camp, we trailed our angels everywhere. My heart flipped somersaults over every one of them. We children  wanted their insignias.  We wanted their signatures. We wanted their buttons. We wanted souvenir pieces of parachutes.  A girl snipped off a souvenir strand of Tad Nagaki’s hair. They gave us our first taste of Juicy Fruit gum.  We children chewed it and passed the sticky wads from mouth to mouth. 


    We made them sing to us the songs of America. They taught us “You Are My Sunshine, My Only Sunshine.” Fifty-nine years later, I can sing it still.


    As the decades passed, I could never understand why six Americans would risk their lives, parachuting in a mission to rescue 1,400 people they didn’t even know.  It was beyond my imagination. I wanted to know these men.  I wanted to know what makes an American hero.


    In a string of miracles I tracked them down in 1997. I found Tad Nagaki in Alliance, still farming as his parents had in 1941 when Tad volunteered for the Army.


    In my private  pilgrimage, I crisscrossed America to thank each one of them face-to-face:  Major Stanley A. Staiger;   Ensign James W. Moore;  1st Lt. James J Hannon;   T/5 Peter C. Orlich, radio operator; Sgt. Tadash Nagaki, interpreter; T/4 Raymond N. Hanchulak, medic.


    For me, August is liberation month so I celebrate my heroes.


    Some folks tell me America has no heroes.  I know they’re wrong. I know their names. I see the face of Tad Nagaki from Alliance, heroes with weathered faces like these six men and the thousands of American men and women who look like them. 


    Thank you, Tad and your team.  It was heroes like you who saved the world. #


De: "Pamela Masters" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Liberation Day commentary on Tad Nagaki

Date: mardi 31 août 2004 15:45


Thank you Mary!  What a lovely tribute to a very brave man.  I guess we can all share in your feelings, knowing that if they had not made that mission we might not be here today.  God bless them all.



De: "David Birch" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Liberation Day commentary on Tad Nagaki

Date: mardi 31 août 2004 16:42



A hearty "Hear, Here!" to what Pamel just said! While Mr Nagaki is an American, he is an American of Japanese descent! And it is men like him, and many other "Japanese" Americans in World War II, who helped us to learn to respect not only Americans but also Japanese.


And there were Japanese as well who were not Americans, and yet who earned our respect in those days. At Chefoo, before our School was transfered to Weihsien, Norman Cliff will tell you that we had a "Chief of Police" or Commandant at Temple Hill whose name was Mr Kosaka who was a truly decent man and who considered that Providence had placed him in his position so that he could protect us.


I recall our headmaster having Mr Kosaka and his deputy chief of police eating a Sunday dinner with us as Mr Bruce's guest. I had the privilege to be sitting at the same table!  A high honor I realize today!


Norman writes of Mr Kosaka with respect and affection in his memoirs of those days, The Courtyard of the Happy Way. I heard that Mr Kosaka had received his college education in the United States of America.


I also recall Mr Bruce's having invited the Japanese guards to play tennis with our older boys at the prep school tennis court at Temple Hill.


Those are truly happy memories for me. And another is my memory of the Japanese guard at Weihsien who insisted on digging my garden patch for me after we had been moved from Block 23 to Block 61. It was mid-summer I think. Anyway it was a blazing hot day and the ground seemed as hard as brick!  I was twelve or thirteen and slight of build and underweight. This kind Japanese guard beckoned for me to hand him my heavy Chinese hoe (or mattock) and dug that patch of hard-baked 'cement-like' clay until he had the soil dug deep and pulverized. I was really grateful And successfully grew vegetables there.


Tad Nagaki was a "great man" and there were others!


Thank God for them all!




De: "Natasha Petersen" <

À: "weihsien" <

Objet: Thank you

Date: mardi 31 août 2004 18:19


Dear Mary,

I "ditto" what has already been said.  You have written a wonderfully warm tribute.  All of us who were in Weihsien will be eternally grateful to the American rescuers.  Many of us will also remember at least one Japanese guard who went out of his way to be kind.  Bless you, Mary, for your deeds of kindness and thoughtfulness.



De: "Dwight W. Whipple" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Thank you

Date: mardi 31 août 2004 18:34


  Hi Weihsienites~

  I'll chime in about the Japanese guards.  As five to seven year olds, my cousin and I used to play with the guards.  We would play "war" and in Tsingtao while we were under house arrest (before we were interned with others) the guards would take the bayonets off their rifles, empty the shells out, and give us the rifle and we would shoot them.  They would fall down laughing and we would do it again.  In turn, we would go up to the house (from the gate) and get them some hot tea.  While in Weihsien I have similar memories.  One time my cousin and I sneaked up behind a guard who was sitting on a bench and we knocked off his hat, and then we ran as fast as we could.  Of course, he caught up with us but we had the impression that this kind of fun was enjoyed by them as well as us little kids!  Most of my memories of the guards are happy ones, but I still have some images of nasty things (our parents being caught in the middle of a black market transaction over the wall; and in Tsingtao (Iltis Hydro) of a Chinese boy being whipped unmercilessly by Japanese guards).  It's amazing how vivid these memories are, even after sixty years!

  ~Dwight W. Whipple


De: "David Birch" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Liberation Day commentary on Tad Nagaki

Date: mardi 31 août 2004 19:46



Sorry I inadvertently spelled your name "Pamel" instead of Pamela! Should have proofread my post before sending it.

Incidentally your post was excellent!



De: "David Birch" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Thank you/I recall "Good" and "Bad" on both sides

Date: mardi 31 août 2004 21:13


Unfortunately war seems inevitable (not desirable) and there is much suffering that results from it! I feel sure that many of our Japanese guards were conscientious, kindly people who were in fact quite homesick for their own families and villages back in Japan. Their government, based on a wrong notion of a god-emperor, was not a democracy as far as I know. The Japan had an empire with the emperor/deity at the top. The leadership seemed to believe that Japan had the right to expand their empire by taking over much of Asia. They temporarily succeeded! In fact Korea, Manchuria, Malaya, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan as well as the Chinese coast from north to south plus some of the interior of the country had fallen to this amazingly ambitious and powerful little island kingdom.


Japanese and German "atrocities" were given much play in the Western media both during the war and during its aftermath. In those days the Western media kept from us the wrongful deeds of some of our own fighting men.


Coming home on the USS LAVACA in Oct-Nov 1945, we sailed from Tsingtao to Shanghai then to Okinawa (where we took on eight hundred (800) United States Marines. These fellows were very likeable young men who had gone through the horrific Battle of Okinawa as well as other famous battles such as Iwo Jima, etc.  A number of these lads "adopted" my brother John and me and treated us like their own "little brothers."


But 13-year-old David Birch also learned more than he had ever known before of the "facts of life" from our adoptive big brothers. I remember blushing, my face actually felt hot and flushed, when one of them showed me a photo of his girlfriend back home. She was very pretty and attractive except that she was totally nude! I suppose that was fairly harmless for me to see. But another fellow told me that the marines sealed up a number of the caves on Okinawa where Japanese soldiers were hiding.


He said that on one occasion he and his fellow marines called in to a cave, "Come out immediately.  Take your clothes off first!" Several men and one woman came out naked. The marine told me that he and his buddies then shot the men to death and serial raped the woman!




A poem I learned in high school in Canada in 1946 went like this:                       


               Scene of War: the Happy Warrior                                     


 I saw him stab, and stab again 

A well-killed Bosch                

This is the happy warrior    

This is he!            


                          by Siegfried Sassoon


When we have been doing our best to qualify for war reparations from the Japanese, we have tended to major on the ugly memories of "the enemy" of those days!


Thank God we can know begin to major on the good that many, many Japanese have accomplished..  I served in the Royal Canadian Air Force with a young Japanes-Canadian who visited Japan with his mother following the war. There was terrible devastation. They were looking for their own loved ones.  Yet my friend signed up to fight with the Canadians alongside the Americans in Korea in the early fifties. It was a bloody experience, literally. At that time he was in the infantry. I know it always hurt him to hear of his people refered to as "Japs." He was a schoolboy during the War, and the Canadian government confiscated all his family's property, their fishing boat (that's how they earned their livelihood), their house and modest grounds! Everything! They spent the war years here in Canada in a CONCENTRATION CAMP having lost everything! But they kept their dignity! And today my friend is a proud Canadian citizen and has been for many, many years! Amazing!  Japanese-Canadians received not

 one cent in any sort of reparations. They sought for many years for a simple apology from the Canadian Government.


Our hands are hardly clean!!!!!!






De: "Pamela Masters" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Liberation Day commentary on Tad Nagaki

Date: jeudi 2 septembre 2004 2:12


Hi David -- If I had to apologize for every typo I made  in my e-mails, the world would come to a screeching halt for me. 

Isn't all this commentary great? -- Pamela


De: "David Birch" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Liberation Day commentary on Tad Nagaki

Date: jeudi 2 septembre 2004 3:04


Thank you for your gracious attitude Pamela! Wow I shouldn't have any problem with your name! The younger of my two grown-up daughters is a Pamela!


Yes all this commentary is indeed great!  Though I wondered after I posted it if I might incur a good deal of "wrath" for daring to differ with the accepted view that Messrs Tipton and Hummel really were "heroes!"


I've had some encouraging personal emails though either agreeing that the Japanese-Canadians were short shrifted by our national government during the war or agreeing with my firm belief that the expression "Jap" is offensive.


Thanks again for your gracious note! It's great that we still have this interactive commentary going on! It's healthy; isn't it?




----- Original Message -----

From: leopold pander


Sent: Monday, September 06, 2004 6:40 PM

Subject: Duck Mission


From Norman's Scrap Book No 4,




7 September 1945

SUBJECT: Chronological Report on Duck Mission.

TO     : Mr. Roland Dulin, Chief MO/OSS, China Theatre.




1.                               On August 17 the Duck Team proceeded by air to Weihsien, China and after reconnaissance from, their plane located the Civilian Assembly Camp and jumped to begin their mission.


2.                              They were greeted by the civilian internees who rushed out past the Japanese guards to welcome the parachuting men. Major Staiger immediately made contact with the governing authorities in the camp - the Committee of Nine administrating the local affairs of the internees and the Japanese Consular and Police authorities representing the Japanese Government.


3.                              At the conferences with these authorities Major Staiger arranged for the Duck team to take over control of the Civilian Assembly Camp on behalf of the Theatre Commander. Internal affairs were to be jointly controlled by Major Staiger's group and the Camp's Committee of Nine. The Japanese were to remain responsible for guarding the camp walls and for provisioning and supplying the camp.


4.                              From 17 August to 30 August Major Staiger and the Duck team consolidated their position in the camp and fulfilled other objectives of their mission - such as opening up the airfield for relief planes, caring for health and morale conditions in the camp and negotiating with the Japanese Authorities. On 30 August, Lt. Col. H. Weinberg arrived from the Theater with a processing team to take over command of the Civilian Assembly Camp, thus ending the first phase of the Duck team's


5.                              In subsequent paragraphs there follows a more detailed account of the Duck team's achievements from 17 August to 30 August.




         The Duck team in a B-24 arrived over the target of Weihsien at approximately 0930 hours. Owing to the very scanty photographic and other information with which they had been provided, they could not immediately locate the Civilian Assembly Camp where the 1500 Allied civilians were interned. A sweep was made over the area at approximately 2000 feet and, as no fire was drawn, subsequent flights were made around the area at lower altitudes. Major Staiger, commanding the Duck team, knew only that the internees were held in a compound some way outside of Weihsien, but from the air several locations would have answered to this description. Finally when the B-24 was down to around 500 feet, a compound was located in which hundreds of people were collected, waving up at the plane. It could therefore be presumed that this was the objective sought.

         In the course of the circling an air-strip had been noted below located not far from the internment camp. A conference now took place between Major Staiger and the pilot of the plans as to whether a landing should be attempted. Major Staiger finally decided against this course owing to the danger that the field might be mined. Also as the reception of the mission by the Japanese was far from sure, Major Staiger decided to go through with the original plan of jumping. Thus, if the worst came to the worst, the loss in men and equipment would be minimized. Accordingly the B-24 dropped down to about 450 feet and the Duck team bailed out.


         The names of the men composing the Duck team and their functions in the mission are given below in the order in which they jumped from the plane:


         1. Major Stanley A. Staiger, team leader.

         2. Sgt. Tadash T. Nagaki, Japanese interpreter.

         3. Ensign James W. Moore USNR, S.I.

         4. T/5 Peter C. Orlich, radio operator.

         5. Eddie Wang, Chinese interpreter from F.A.B.

         6. Lst Lt. James J. Hannon, AGAS.

         7. T/4 Raymond N. Hanchulak, medic.


         The men left the plane in good order. There was little opening shock, but a stiff ground wind and the low altitude of the jump made the landing difficult. There was no open or plowed ground near the objective so most of the men came down in high growing corn fields. Lt. Hannon, whose parachute was swinging, sustained a shoulder injury on landing which caused him considerable discomfort. Nevertheless in subsequent weeks he continued to perform his duties efficiently despite bandaging.


         The plan had been that major Staiger alone of the team should leave his parachute unfurled as a check point for subsequent drops the airplane was to make. However, by the time the men had recovered from their landings and had begun to roll up their chutes, the crowds of internees from the camp had rushed out to greet them. In the general rejoicing and confusion that followed there was the ever present danger that containers dropped from the plane would injure the people below. Fortunately this happened in only one case. A small Chinese boy (a local spectator, not a member of the camp) sustained a skull fracture from a falling container. He is now recovering satisfactorily in the Camp hospital. Otherwise the drops of supplies and equipment were effected without incident and the members of the internment camp assisted team members in collecting the containers and carrying them to the camp


         From the confused and often hysterical account of the internees, Major Staiger was able to form a picture of what had taken place when the B-24 began circling the internment compound. The people within had gone wild with joy, and when they saw the team parachuting, had burst out past the Japanese guards at the gate - the first time they had been outside the compound walls during two and  a half years of captivity.


         Major Staiger credits this spontaneous action on the part of the civilian internees with easing to a considerable extent his subsequent negotiations with the Japanese. This defiance of the guards apparently threw the authorities into such an uncertain state that all idea of resisting the Duck team by force seemed to disappear. It was possible subsequently for Major Staiger to take a firm line with the camp commandant who had lost face to such an extent that he had no alternative but to accept the terms dictated to him.


         Major Staiger's immediate concern after landing however was to determine who the governing bodies were at the camp. He was soon informed that Committee of Nine, composed of delegates from the interned population, administered the internal affairs of the camp, while Japanese control was represented by the dual authority of the Consular service and the Consular police. (For a full discussion of this control see Appendix 1). It happened that at the time the B-24 was circling the camp a meeting was under way between the Committee of Nine and the Japanese controlling authorities. Major Staiger asked to be taken directly to this meeting. As his party approached the walls of the compound the camp band had organized and was playing "Happy Days are Here Again”.


         On the way to, the meeting with the authorities Major Staiger had met several members of the Committee of Nine who had streamed out with the other members of the camp to greet him. Thus the first informal conference took place as the party walked to the interview with the Japanese authorities. Major Staiger asked the committee members for their recommendations in the situation. He explained that the purpose of his mission was humanitarian. Its objective was to contact the Japanese authorities and to take care of the health and welfare of the internees until more substantial aid could be forthcoming. He explained further first with only 7 men in his team the task of completely taking over all responsibilities for the camp was out of the question. In this situation it was decided between Major Staiger and the committee members that the Japanese should be asked to retain responsibility for provisioning the camp and guarding it against external forces while Major Staiger's group and the Committee of Nine would be charged with joint responsibility for administrating all internal affairs. At the Japanese headquarters building Major Staiger met the Chief of Consular Police, Koyanagi. Major Staiger showed Koyanagi his letter of authorization from General Wedemeyer for the Duck mission and was then taken to see Mr. Izu of the Japanese Consular Service, Commandant of the camp. A conference was immediately held between Major Staiger and his officers, the Committee of Nine from the camp, and Mr. Izu and Koyanagi and their staffs.


         At this meeting Major Staiger put forward the proposals already decided upon between himself and the Committee of Nine - namely, that the Japanese authorities be responsible for guarding and provisioning the camp, while the Duck team and the Committee of Nine be responsible for administrating its internal affairs. The Japanese authorities appeared confused by the situation and felt themselves unable to make a binding decision but agreed to accept the arrangement temporarily. Major Staiger then stated that he and his men proposed to take up residence at the camp and asked that suitable quarters be provided. As the only suitable quarters were those that the Japanese authorities were occupying, they agreed to move out. At Major Staiger's insistence, they moved out during the dinner hour, and by the afternoon OSS headquarters had been established.


         During the conference Mr. IZU, the consular commandant had obviously pried around to find out what courses of action were open to him. He had inquired repeatedly what would have happened if the Duck mission had failed. Major Staiger had informed him that in that case a second and larger expedition would have been sent which certainly would not have failed. Mr. Izu appeared convinced that the Americans were there to stay and subsequent conferences with the Japanese authorities, though often dilatory, were never openly hostile.


         During the afternoon of August 17, Lt. Hannon and Ensign Moore went out to the airfield to examine its safety for subsequent plane, landings. Sgt. Hanchulak examined the camp for a. report on the medical conditions. Corporal Orlich set up his radio equipment to be ready for his first scheduled contact in the evening. Major Staiger held conferences with the camp committee on the various problems brought about by the new situation.


         During the early afternoon a visit was made by Mr. Koga, vice-Consul at Tsingtao, who happened to be in Weihsien at the time the Duck team landed. Mr. Koga had higher authority than either the Commandant of the Camp or the camp Chief-of-Police, so the whole purpose of the Duck mission had to be explained again and the agreement reached that morning was renegotiated. Mr. Koga wished Major Staiger to take over full control of the camp, allowing the Japanese to withdraw altogether, but Major Staiger insisted on the original agreement standing.




         Major Staiger made a general inspection of the camp. It was decided that 12 patients in the hospital were in such a condition mentally or physically that their immediate transference to Hsian was advisable. It was decided to send them back on the B-24 that was expected to land at the airfield the same day. However, when the B-24 arrived over the airfield the actions of the 200 Japanese guards surrounding the field were so suspicious, (they had taken up combat positions surrounding the strip) that panels were put out warning the plane not to land. The plane flew back to Hsian and the patients intended for evacuation were taken back to the hospital.


         Major Staiger called a conference with the Japanese authorities to ask for an explanation of the happenings at the airfield. Izu, the Consular Commandant, stated that the airfield was the concern of the Japanese Army and that he couldn't be responsible for the Army's activities. Major Staiger then requested that a message be sent from him to the Japanese Army authorities, through the proper channels. His message was that he could have no respect for an army organization that could not enforce orders. This apparently touched the local commander's pride as he sent word that the incident at the airfield would not be repeated and that American planes could land freely in the future.




         For the first time the Japanese army entered the picture. Lt. Col. Jimbo and his staff came to call on the Duck mission. That their authority was on a different plane altogether from the Consular authority was attested to by the fact that both Mr. Koga and Mr. Izu were asked by Col. Jimbo to withdraw when be settled down to a conference with Major Staiger. Col. Jimbo was pained that the U.S. Government had not notified the Japanese Government of the intended descent on the Civilian Assembly Camp at Weihsien. He asked that Major Staiger now request General Wedemeyer to inform the Japanese Government that the Duck mission was at Weihsien. The protocol having been thus disposed of, the conference was able to get down to business. Major Staiger informed Col. Jimbo that it was necessary the proper execution of his mission that traffic of American planes at the air-strip be not interfered with. Col. Jimbo agreed that in future American planes would be given full permission to land.




         Major Staiger received word that the Eagle Mission had arrived in Weihsien the previous day and was staying in town under the protection of General Li Wen Li. Major Staiger established contact with Col. Byrd and the Eagle Mission (a party of 20) came out  to the Civilian Assembly Camp. They subsequently spent the day inspecting the work that had been done and taking photographs of the internees.


         In the afternoon a B-24 appeared over the camp and dropped OWI leaflets giving instructions to the internees on how to conduct themselves when the war ended. (See Appendix 2) Later still another B-24 appeared and dropped more leaflets, telling the people of the camp not to loose heart as a humanitarian mission was on the way to attend to their needs.




         The C-47 that had originally brought the Eagle Mission to Weihsien left for Chungking with Col. Byrd aboard. Other members or the mission remained behind in Weihsien temporarily.


22 - 26 AUGUST


         Snarls were straightened out in the administration of the camp. The first joy of the internees had evaporated somewhat by this time and most of them were eager to know when their evacuation for home would start. On this subject Major Staiger had no information, but the rumors that were flying about the camp provided difficult morale problems.


         Conference with the Japanese continued. Particularly hard to solve was the transportation situation. The Japanese have only 4 charcoal burning trucks in this area and two are always out of commission. There are also a couple of old model sedans in town. Negotiations were under way to obtain one, the Americans providing the fuel to run it.




         At 0730 hours an unannounced B-29 arrived (from Okinawa) and dropped leaflets announcing that in an hour more B-29s would arrive to drop supplies (see Appendix 3).


         An hour later a B-17 arrived overhead and effected a landing on the short run-way of the airfield. It was full of reporters and photographers from the 20th Bomber Group who wanted to come to the Civilian Assembly Centre for photographs and news-stories. Major Staiger did not permit them to come in, however, as “visiting firemen" were raising problems between himself and the Japanese and disquieting the Camp population. When later a group of 10 B-29s appeared overhead, the B-17 took off to photograph the drop mission that was about to take place.


         The ten B-29s dropped huge quantities of supplies (for full listing see Appendix 3) Unfortunately much of it was poorly packed in gasoline drums too heavy for their parachutes end a loss of about 25% was sustained. Major Staiger sent a message to Hsian requesting that the 20th Bomber Group be asked to send down lighter drops in the future. Actually while the B-29s were dropping a B-24 came in from Hsian and made a perfect demonstration of how a dropping operation should be effected. Many of its containers were dropped squarely on the marking panel. The civilian internees and members of the Duck mission spent the rest of the day carrying in the dropped supplies and sorting them out for issue.




         Two C-47 which had arrived the day before left for Hsian. One evacuated the 12 invalids from the Civilian Assembly Centre hospital. The other transported the members of the Eagle Mission who had been left behind when Col. Byrd departed for Chungking. One member of the Eagle Mission, however, stayed behind to become attached to the Duck mission. This was Tech. Rep. Willis S. Georgia, a communications man.




         At 0700 hours an SOS team of 7 officers and 12 enlisted men headed by Lt. Col. H. Weinberg, arrived at the Civilian Assembly Camp to take over administrative control on orders from the Theater.


Thus the first phase of the Duck Mission ended.



William G. Norwood

2nd Lt. AUS






         Because this was a civilian internment camp it was under the control of the Tsingtao Japanese Consulate. Administration was carried out by the consular service. Executive control was an the hands of the Consular Police


         Thus there were at the Camp two Japanese authorities - the Consular administrators and the Police executives. Commandant of the camp at the time of the Duck mission's, arrival was Mr. Izu of the Consular Service. Head of the policing and executive authority was chief of Police Koyanagi.



----- Original Message -----

From: Donald


Sent: Tuesday, September 07, 2004 1:41 AM

Subject: Re: Duck Mission


Fascinating, Leopold!  Reading contemporary original-source accounts of history is always especially interesting.

Many thanks.


----- Original Message -----

From: Gay Talbot Stratford


Sent: Wednesday, September 08, 2004 1:02 AM

Subject: Re: block-22


Pamela, just found an old autograph album with your name among others. Seems another world away. Thank you for your part in the past we share. Gay


De: "Pamela Masters" <

À: <

Objet: Re: block-22

Date: mercredi 8 septembre 2004 21:41


Dear Gay -- I too have your autograph in my little album! 

Darling Margo passed away before I could show her the picture of your Mom.  Guess she doesn't need it now as they're together again...

You didn't mention if you'd like me to send you a book as a gift for old times' sake.  If you do, please let me have your mailing address.

Kindest regards -- Pamela


De: "Gay Talbot Stratford" <

À: <

Objet: Re: block-22

Date: vendredi 10 septembre 2004 19:55


Thank you for your message. Amazing how deep memories are, buried away in the dust of years. I would love a copy of your book- if you would accept my memoirs. So please send me your address. Gay

Box 119, Grafton,Ont KOK2GO


De: "Donald" <

À: <

Cc: <

Objet: A New Enrollee (please)

Date: dimanche 12 septembre 2004 5:21



Please enroll Andy Rowe in the Weihsien group. His email address is: .


He'd also like to get access to the archive of messages going back to the beginning, so please include instructions on how to get them.

Andy is related to a Weihsien internee, and is eager to learn more about what went on there.  Sorry for the general email but I have forgotten exactly who is responsible for managing enrollments.




De: "leopold pander" <

À: <

Objet: Re: A New Enrollee (please)

Date: dimanche 12 septembre 2004 9:24



The easiest way is to click on this link:

On the left side of the screen, click once on "-Topica - archives" (second line) and you will reach a page full of different links and many, many pages of text. Click wherever you wish.

I just finished reading "Lilla's Feast". Liked it very much. The words in Frances Osborne's book smelt all sorts of aromas connected to excellent and abundant food and --- also the stinks of Weihsien's latrines.

Best Regards,


PS, You can also go on Google, enter "Weihsien" and see what you get. Quite a lot, in fact.


----- Original Message -----

From: leopold pander


Sent: Saturday, September 18, 2004 4:52 PM

Subject: a letter dated September 4, 1945


From Norman Cliff's ScrapBook No2;



            September 4th 1945


Major S. A. Staiger

U. S. Army

Weihsien Civil Assembly Centre


Dear Major Staiger,

            Now that your particular Mission is completed, we, the elected representatives of those interned in this Camp would like to express, however inadequately, the depth of admiration and gratitude which is felt towards you and your group by everyone in Weihsien.

            The memory of your arrival on August 17th is one that can never fade from the minds or hearts of any of us, and we hope that the memory of our joy and emotion at your coming is one that you, also, will be able long to cherish.

            But it is not only the heroic manner of your arrival that has exited our admiration, it is also and perhaps especially the tactful and efficient manner in which you have performed your duties, maintaining all the time the happiest and friendliest of personal relations with us all. If we, as a committee have worked with you to the best of our power and ability, this fact offers one more token of the respect in which you and your group have been held by us and all the internees of this Camp.

            To you, to Captain Gorgia, Lt. Hannon, Lt. Moore, Sgt. Hanchulak, Sgt. Nagaki,

Cpl. Orlich and Ens. Wang, we offer the heartfelt thanks of this community, and express the hope that somewhere and some when it may be possible for some of us to meet again.

            Yours very sincerely,

            The Committee of the Weihsien Camp


-          L. Allan

-          W. R. Chapman

-          J. H. W. Grice

-          M. C. Halton

-          W. J. Howard

-          E. McLaren

-          W. Pryor

-          E. J. Schmidt

-          P. A. Whitting


----- Original Message -----

From: leopold pander


Sent: Saturday, September 18, 2004 4:49 PM

Subject: letter September 4, 1945


From Norman Cliff's scrap book No-2

a letter dated


                                                              Civil Assembly Centre,


                                                              Shantung (China)


                                                                   September 4th 1945.



Commanding General,

20 Bomber Command





            No formal thanks can properly express or convey the tremendous pleasure and gratitude that all the members of this Camp feel for the supplies which Squadrons under your command dropped for us on two recent flights over this area.


            After 2½ years of internment on lean diet the thrill of seeing your aircraft can possibly be imagined, as can also the joy at receiving such an abundance of good food, clothing and medical supplies.


            There are many in this Camp who will be writing to those members of the aircraft crews whose addresses were given in some of the packages dropped, but we shall be most grateful if you would kindly convey to all who took part in those two flights the heartfelt thanks of our whole community.


                                                              We are, Sir,

                                                                 Your obedient Servants,


                                                              THE WEIHSIEN CAMP COMMITTEE


(sgd).    J. Allan

            W.R. Chapman

            Dr. J. W. H. Grice

            M. C. Halton

            W. J. Howard

            E. McLaren

            M. Pryor

            E. J. Schmidt

            P. A. Whitting


----- Original Message -----

From: leopold pander


Sent: Saturday, September 18, 2004 4:55 PM

Subject: a letter dated September 6, 1945


From Norman Cliff's Scrap Book No2




September 6, 1945


To: Internees, Weihsien Civil Assembly Centre.


         In anticipation of the departure from this area of the undersigned officers and enlisted men of the United States Armed Forces, it is our desire and wish that this letter be brought to the attention of all internees.

         The sincere manifestation of good will, appreciation of our work and in particular, the efforts of the Camp Committee and all concerned in the whole-hearted support of our team, facilitated our task immeasurably.

         We want each of you to know that any success achieved in the performance of our duties, from the moment of our arrival to the completion of our mission, is largely due to the excellent administration organisation already in existence and the complete cooperation so freely and cheerfully displayed by all on our behalf.

         We feel that the attitude of the internees is indicative of the true ideals that made possible the total victory of all Allied Forces during the titanic war now successfully concluded.

         Further, the conduct and adaptation of you towards the difficult and trying circumstances of the three unfortunate years now passed, permits our most sincere respect and profound admiration.



          Stanley A. Staiger           Major     U. S.  Army

          Willis S. Georgia             Captain   U. S. Army

          J. Walton Moore             Lt.          United States Navy

          James J. Hannon              Lt.          U. S. Army

          Tadashi T. Nagaki            Sgt.        U. S. Army

          Raymond N. Hanchulak     Sgt.        U. S. Army

          Peter P. Orlich                 Cpl.         U. S. Army

          Cheng Han Wong              Interpreter


De: <

À: <

Objet: Re: a letter dated September 6, 1945

Date: samedi 18 septembre 2004 19:28


Hello, Everybody:


    The names on this letter include Captain Willis Georgia, who was not a member of the DUCK MISSION.   Rescuer Jim Hannon has told me that letter was posted and when he saw the name of Willis Georgia included with  the liberators on this letter, Hannon was angry enough to cross the name out.  With great disdain, Hannon tells me that Willis Georgia was someone (possibly a publicist)  Major Staiger allowed to stay in Weihsien from one of the other American planes that stopped in -- possibly Lt. Colonel Bird's controversial EAGLE MISSION.


    Some of the publicity  ("Public information") efforts on these missions stirred huge controversy.  Colonel Bird was the deputy director of OSS/CHINA. 

According to THE OSS IN CHINA, Bird -- "ever publicity-conscious and eager to gain fame by 'liberating Korea single-handedly',"  violated very specific orders and took along a reporter and photographer when the EAGLE MISSION went to liberate a POW camp in Korea.  When Japanese turned  Bird and the EAGLE MISSION away from Korea,  EAGLE MISSON flew back to Weihsien.


    In listening to the stories from men on our team, I get a sense that  they believed Colonel Bird wanted to save face from his failure in Korea by taking over the operation at Weihsien.


    No way was Major Staiger going to let Bird take over the Weihsien operation -- especially after Bird had failed to liberate the POW camp in Korea.   In this little side bar  story to our rescue,  our DUCK MISSION team of rescuers have no good words for Colonel Bird.  Jim Hannon has told me he thinks Col. Bird should have been court martialed for failing to complete his rescue mission in Korea.


    Back in Chungking, while Bird was telling General Wedemeyer how dangerous the attempted rescue of prioners in Korea had been, the reporter's story was  broadcast worldwide  about the first encounter of the Americans with the Japanese in Korea -- including  photographs and  information  about the Japanese entertaining the Americans with beer and sake.  General Wedemeyer was embarrassed and outraged -- especially that Bird took a reporter and a photographer along on the failed rescue mission, but no medical supplies or food for the POWs.


OSS angrily moved Bird  out of the EAGLE team, but Bird was never disciplined.


On another subject,  have any of you had a recent round of inquiries -- again --  about Amelia Earhart-in-Weihsien?  I have.  I don't know what triggers these periodic waves of interest.  These Amelia Earhart enthusiasts are inspired by unquenchable interest.  They never give up.


Mary Previte


De: "David Birch" <

À: <

Objet: Re: a letter dated September 6, 1945

Date: dimanche 19 septembre 2004 1:14


Thank you Leopold for giving us the text of these important letters from Norman's scrapbook! And thank you Mary for your exposure of the "imposter!" Wow, what nerve that colonel and his "sidekick" journalist had!

David Birch


De: "Donald" <

À: <

Objet: Prisoner's Base

Date: dimanche 19 septembre 2004 3:01


Does anyone know the rules for playing a game called "Prisoner's Base?"  I know it was played by American kids in China because my mother mentions it in the diary she kept when she was a young teen ager.




De: "alison holmes" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Prisoner's Base

Date: dimanche 19 septembre 2004 3:24


As I remember playing it, it was group tag.  There were two teams that were trying to catch each other.  When caught, you had to go behing their base line as a prisoner.  But if someone from your team could tear down the field and touch the caught ones, they were released.  The aim was to get everyone as prisoners and so it was a pretty never ending game if you could release prisoners back into the general fray/.  I was known as the 'little steam engine' as I chugged down the side to rescue the desperate prisoners!  Ah me...the rescuing impulse is still strong!  Alison Holmes


De: "leopold pander" <

À: <

Objet: Re: a letter dated September 6, 1945

Date: dimanche 19 septembre 2004 10:46


Dear Mary,

Thanks for your message --- excellent!

Your very interesting historical "mise au point" (how do you say that in English?) has just been added, as a link,  to the copy of the hand-written letter found in Norman's scrap book (   click on "log-book").

As for the end of your message --- could this mystery-picture (see "log-book" September 10th) be of any help?

Best regards



De: <

À: <

Objet: Re: Prisoner's Base

Date: lundi 20 septembre 2004 14:19


Hello, Donald,


    We played prisoner's base in the Chefoo School quad every night after supper in the summer. It's a gloried game of tag.   Teams were anchored in bases on opposite sides of quad.  You captured (tagged) the enemy by running out from your base and tagging them.  You could capture a prisoner only of you were "fresher" than she was.  Fresher meant that you had left your base later than your opponent. Prisoners lined up in the opposite base, waiting to be rescued (tagged) by a "fresh" member of their home team.  The aim was to free your prisoners captured (tagged) by the opposing team.    When it came to capturing (tagging) an enemy, the big dispute, of course, was who proved who was "freshest."


 I don't recall playing prisoner's base after we were interned.


Our Chefoo boys will, I'm sure, give a much better description of the rules.\

Mary Previte


De: "Gladys Swift" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Prisoner's Base

Date: mardi 21 septembre 2004 4:27


Yes, all us mish kids played "Prisoner's Base"!!  Gladys Hubbard Swift


 Does anyone know the rules for playing a game called "Prisoner's  Base?"  I know it was played by American kids in China because my  mother mentions it in the diary she kept when she was a young teen  ager.




De: "David Birch" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Prisoner's Base AND other games played as a child

Date: mardi 21 septembre 2004 5:43


Well Mary,


You've refreshed my memory with the rules for Prisoners' Base. I do recall playing it when I was a boy in the Prep School at Chefoo. That was simply "ages" ago now, well over sixty years ago in fact. All I can recall is that I was one of many youngsters under the age of eleven, all tearing about with great excitement in an exhilarating display of agility - either tagging or being tagged. It was great fun. But the rules had completely evaporated from my memory until I read your email description of the game just now!


We had a number of other games involving many kids participating at once with great gusto and enthusiasm.  I can remember at the age of about 8 or 9 playing Robin Hood and his Merry Men. There was a great crowd of us in the playing field of the Prep School. And we were having a wonderful time - just racing around capturing the evil Sheriff of Nottingham and other scoundrels!  No special rules to the game or anything, just innocent childish make believe!  Another game I participated in, as I recall, was one in which we impersonated the ancient Greek gods of Mt. Olympus. I chose the role of Hercules I remember. I only recall playing "Greek gods" once however. Miss Carr had a friendly chat with me after the game.  She quietly and kindly reminded me that these Greek gods we were impersonating were heathen gods. I had not even thought of it that way but realized at once that she was right. There's only one true God. So I never played that particular game again - although it had been fun.


Soccer was a favourite game for me, although I was a very "average" player. I got lots of exercise running around after the ball, while true football "stars" like Kenneth Bell dominated the competition and scored most of the goals.


Cricket was only played a very little bit at the Prep School and I never did become a cricketer. With soccer, cricket was a compulsory sport in the Boys School but I only had a couple of months there from summer to November 5th, 1942 before we were all marched off to Temple Hill Internment Camp. After that no more cricket and very little soccer as I recall.


However, a major blessing - sportswise, for me at Camp was learning to play baseball (softball) at Weihsien. We played softball a lot, and even some basketball, at Weihsien.


For me those are among the happy memories of my boyhood.


David Birch


----- Original Message -----

From: leopold pander


Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 2004 6:10 PM

Subject: « Enemy Aliens » An Appreciation.


From Norman Cliff's ScrapBook No 2 ---


« Enemy Aliens » An Appreciation.

By G. W. Chilton.

September 1945


         During the early spring of ’43, after a too long period of inactivity in Tientsin I was asked to propose various schemes to cover the possible internment of Enemy Nationals residing in the port city. Internment was, at that time, only a possible alternative to repatriation and not a certainty, however in March we were informed that many “EAs” would be interned and to make arrangements to move to a destination which would be announced later.

         It fell to me to take charge of the first group of Tientsin residents to be interned in Weihsien and although the greater number of those destined for this centre were surrendering their businesses, their homes, their comforts and associations they did so in a manner which filled all, who were in contact with them, with admiration. They were sad but determined to live it through and always confidant that they would return to claim their property and other possessions and to live again as free citizens of a democratic country.

         Having issued instructions to those members of my group regarding their assembly point, and initial inspection of baggage, route to the station, entrainment, etc., there happily proved to be little else for me to do as all included in the move did everything possible to see that there was no hitch in the arrangements. The first group came down to this centre in four sections; the sections being in charge of Messrs. Appleboom, Bird, Cameron and Darling.          All credit for the detail of organisation of the sections and the carrying through of the move is due to these gentlemen. Details of the first assembly in Tientsin, baggage inspection etc. would fill pages but I will mention only our “hour of humiliation” when all the able bodied males marched under escort of Japanese Consular Police from the H. Q., Tientsin Volunteers, to the East Station and accompanied by the elder men, women and children of our group in rickshaws. The route to the station was lined with, chiefly, a friendly and sympathetic, but curious crowd.

         The entrainment at Tientsin, the journey to Weihsien, which took approximately 16 hours, in third class day coaches, our arrival here and transfer from station to camp was carried through without a hitch and the manner in which one and all settled down to their new life in cramped quarters, with poor food and generally unsanitary conditions prevailing at the time calls for the highest praise.

         Having in turn met and settled in the two remaining groups of Tientsin residents which followed the first group I was also struck by the goodwill and cheerfulness which was displayed by all arrivals. The way in which everyone accepted the position went far to ensure a good working team for an indefinite period of internment.

         As anticipated, all went well with the internal affairs of the camp and folk cheerfully accepted and carried out their respective camp assignments.

         With the departure of many able bodied men in September 1943 when the second American repatriation ship left Shanghai, the camp found it difficult to fill all vacancies existing in the labour market as we had shortly before the American repatriation lost a large group of Fathers, etc. from this centre. However the labour situation was more than compensated for it’s lost by the timely arrival of what proved to be the best organized and most efficient group of all i.e. the Chefoo School group.

         Coming from Chefoo as seasoned internees, this group made light of our many labour problems and under their most capable H.M. and his excellent staff. They quickly and cheerfully took over more than their share of the essential camp assignments.

         Looking on from the “side lines” I have, day after day, month after month, come to understand and appreciate the outstanding qualities of Mr. Bruce and all members of C.I.M. The responsibilities which they have shouldered so ably and cheerfully and with such tact are deserving of the highest praise it is possible to express.

         The camp ends with the same spirit in which it started for with the arrival on August 17th of Major Staiger and his airborne group every man, woman and child turned out to assist the party in and to afford a welcome which would warm the heart of any combat soldier fresh from a world at war.


G. W. Chilton


September 10th 1945



GrenWilliam(Bill) Brybon





Kailan Mining Admin



De: "Gladys Swift" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Prisoner's Base

Date: mercredi 22 septembre 2004 4:14


 Yes, all us mish kids played "Prisoner's Base".  You have already gotten the rules of the game so I won't repeat them!!  Gladys Hubbard Swift


De: <

À: <

Objet: Re: Prisoner's Base AND other games played as a child

Date: vendredi 24 septembre 2004 2:41


Hello, Everybody<


    Who can remember all the delightful diversions we used to fill the long waits at roll call time in Weihsien ?


    I remember leap frog and practicing semaphore.  I also recall building fires in tiny "stoves" we had devised from tin cans -- but I'm not sure if that was during roll call.   Perhaps that was part of a skill we needed to get a badge in Girl Guides.


    During internment in Chefoo's Temple Hill, I recall learning to tie and practicing all kinds of knots for our Brownie badges.  I can still hum the music and do some of the exercizes we practiced in THE DAILY DOZEN.


    Mary Previte


De: "Kathleen" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Prisoner's Base AND other games played as a child

Date: vendredi 24 septembre 2004 3:19




----- Original Message -----

From: "Kathleen" <

To: <

Sent: Friday, September 24, 2004 3:24 AM

Subject: Re: Prisoner's Base AND other games played as a child




De: "Nicky & Leopold" <

À: <

Objet: pictures of china

Date: vendredi 1 octobre 2004 10:15


click on this link ---

Best regards,



De: "David Birch" <

À: <

Objet: Re: pictures of china

Date: vendredi 1 octobre 2004 18:07


Thanks Leopold!


David Birch


De: "Gay Talbot Stratford" <

À: "Pamela Masters" <

Objet: memory lane

Date: mardi 9 novembre 2004 19:04


Dear Pamela,

Thank you for your kind words. I admired all your factual information; I just poked around in my memory, as if i was telling my children about the past.

Hope that you are feeling better. The good thing is that you have a head start on immunity for the winter.

We are busy putting the garden to bed, in golden autumnal sunshine.

Spoke to Marie Robinson in the spring for her birthday. She is hale and hearty at 92. She talks so fondly of China.

                         Warm regards to you and yours. Gay


De: "David Birch" <

À: "Weihsien" <

Objet: One small chapter in the story of my life

Date: mardi 9 novembre 2004 19:49


I hope that this little story will bring back some nostalgic memories for the rest of you.  Perhaps you recall exactly where you were and what you were doing when the great B24 "Liberator" brought those young paratroopers to us on that hot summer day in 1945!


Zandy Strangman expressed an interest in my story. I had intended to mail it to him but sending it out over   seems a simpler way.  If you enjoy this, I would enjoy hearing from you.


       A Game of Pingpong


                              By George David Birch


                Published in Good Old Days August 1996


                       Copyright George David Birch

Stanley and I were completely engrossed in our game in Kitchen Number One.  The little pingpong ball flew back and forth across the net in a white blur as two 13-year-old boys danced nimbly about the ends of the rough plank table slamming sizzling serves and returning furious drives.  Each of us worked relentlessly to stymie his friendly foe before he himself was thoroughly trounced.

     We were almost an even match, Stanley and I.  He was taller, but what I lacked in height and reach, I made up for in speed and agility.

     Although Stanley and I did not know it, World War II was fast drawing to an end.

     Sons of missionaries, far from home and interned by the Japanese with our boarding school in occupied North China, we were whiling away a blazing hot August afternoon playing pingpong in Kitchen One of Weihsien Concentration Camp.

     Breakfast in Kitchen One was really not all that bad when gowliang or millet was available.  But we often filled our bellies with bread and water.  And I don't recall that we felt particularly deprived.

     Occasionally we had eggs.  Our teachers saved the shells, put them through a hand grinder and fed the chalky powder to us by teaspoon as a calcium supplement.

     Milk was a pre-war memory.  Powdered eggshell--ugh!  It was needed, no doubt, for the proper development of our bones, but it was horribly distasteful to us kids.

     Winters were viciously cold at Weihsien. They seemed to last forever. The Japanese supplied us with slack coal which we rationed carefully. It had to last us till spring.

     We learned how to make sun-dried coal bricks by mixing coal dust and dirt with water. Employing a small tin can which might once have held sardines or salmon in one of the rare Red Cross packages that reached us during the war, we deftly molded briquettes to keep the black pot-bellied stove in our little attic room glowing with welcome warmth.

     But winter was still three months away when Stanley and I battled each other from opposite ends of the pingpong table on what may well have been the hottest day of that blazing summer of 1945.

     The doors and windows of the old dining hall were wide open. Outside, the spreading branches of tall acacia trees lining the roadway past the big galley of Kitchen One provided only slight relief from the sun's broiling rays.  The hard clay walkway blistered bare feet and heat waves shimmered above the dirt path. The thermometer read 120 degrees in the shade. I think you could have fried an egg right there on the ground outside Kitchen One.

   Bats in hand and locked in furious combat, Stanley and I stubbornly refused to yield to each other.  Zing!  The little white celluloid ball sailed back to my side of the table and hit the edge of one of the rough planks.  Wham!  I scooped it up and sent it burning back across the net!

    Whack, zoom, smack, zing, whooooosh!

    It's almost surprising we even heard the sound of the approaching aircraft--so totally intent were we on our game, so complete our concentration.  Our well-tanned bare skin gleamed as hot sweat streamed from us profusely.

    A dull, thunderous roar began to drown out the sounds of pinpong in Kitchen One. Steadily growing in volume, the turbulence was soon deafening.

    Dropping our wooden paddles, Stanley and I rushed outside. A huge airplane was passing directly over us. On its fuselage we recognized the emblem of the United States of America.

    The great plane was so low that it seemed to me the green tops of the acacia trees were actually bending and dancing in the wind from its propellers.  As we gazed up, our hearts pounding with exhilaration, the sky above us filled with fluttering leaflets.


    The huge aircraft, which Stanley and I learned later was a B-24 Liberator, lumbered majestically over us.

    Our game of pingpong forgotten, we raced barefoot over the baked ground all the way past Block 61 where we lived, until the plane banked steeply to circle the wide expanse of peanut and gowliang (sorghum) fields surrounding Weihsien Camp.

    Standing on a small hill overlooking the camp wall, I watched the beautiful Liberator approach us a second time. Then, with boyish wonder, I saw the sight of my young life. As I stood there looking out over the wall which had long held me prisoner, suddenly there appeared below the distant airplane the figure of a man. Above him billowed out the white silk of his parachute.

    At that moment I thought of what I had learned as the young son of Christian missionaries in the great land of China. I knew that just as this American airman had come to us after all the years we had waited for liberation, so too my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, for whom I had also waited so long, would come again one day, from the sky to set his people free!

    And today, over fifty years later, I treasure the memory of that day--the day the great B-24 Liberator arrived in the sky above Weihsien Camp in the summer of 1945 and ended more than just a game of pingpong for Stanley Thompson and me.


De: <

À: <


 Re: One small chapter in the story of my life

Date: mercredi 10 novembre 2004 3:31


Thank you.  Thank you!  What a beautifully-written story, David!  Did you save any of those leaflets?


Mary Previte


De: "Joyce Cook" <

À: <


 Re: One small chapter in the story of my life

Date: mercredi 10 novembre 2004 6:40


Dear David. I was in our compound when I heard the Liberator and I clearly remember reading the name on it which was "Armoured Angel" which indeed it was.

Joyce Bradbury. (Nee Cooke)


De: "Dwight W. Whipple" <

À: <


 Re: One small chapter in the story of my life

Date: mercredi 10 novembre 2004 6:51


  I've thanked you personally, David, for your "small chapter" in the story of your life.  Of course, we had already been repatriated, leaving the camp in September of 1943.  But one of my strong memories of camp life was our parents telling us when we saw planes flying over the camp be sure to look for the star under the wings.  That would be an American plane.  But all we ever saw were planes with the rising sun under the wings.  Thanks again for your account.

  ~Dwight W. Whipple


De: "leopold pander" <

À: <


 Re: One small chapter in the story of my life

Date: mercredi 10 novembre 2004 9:04


Wow! superb! Thanks David.

May I include your text on my (our) --- web-site? with maybe a picture or two?

In Belgium, we live not very far away from a military air-field. Whenever a C-130 takes off from there he passes over our house quite low in the sky, the 4 engines making this very special roaring sound that makes my heart beat faster ---- and my mind goes back to Weihsien ---

à bientôt,



De: "Natasha Petersen" <

À: <


 Re: One small chapter in the story of my life

Date: mercredi 10 novembre 2004 19:41


Dear David,

What memories your "small chapter" has brought back.  The sister of George Wallis told me that the planes were American, that her brother had told her so.  I believe that both she and I ran out the main gate.  My heart still beats faster when I think of those moments.

Thank you so much for letting us share your wonderful memories.  This will go into my two folders for my two sons. 

Natasha Petersen


De: "David Birch" <

À: <


 Re: One small chapter in the story of my life

Date: mercredi 10 novembre 2004 20:45


Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Dear Natasha,

Thank you for your appreciative note re my One Small Chapter!  It was so thoughtful of you to write! I'm positively thrilled that you are including my little story in the folders you are preparing for your two sons.

We have SO MUCH to be thankful for; haven't we, Natasha!




I think when I'm thankful it helps to tint the past in cheerful colors in spite of all the suffering we may have experienced in life!


De: "Stan Thompson" <

À: <


 Re: One small chapter in the story of my life

Date: mercredi 10 novembre 2004 21:56



   It was almost 60 years ago !   Thanks again for plucking that warm chord so skilfully.

My memories of the rest of that day seem to be clouded by the discomfort I felt when I ran outside the gate and got a lot of thorns in the soles of my bare feet !

                                 Stan Thompson



De: "David Birch" <

À: <


 Re: One small chapter in the story of my life

Date: jeudi 11 novembre 2004 1:29


Dear Joyce,


Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness in replying to my posting of 'One Small Chapter!'  Those are still quite vivid memories for me although I'm sure many details have slipped away over the years.  Your own memories of the memorable day of our spectacular rescue are equally special - because they are uniquely yours!


It was only very recently that I learned through this Weihsien memories site that we might all very well have been killed by our captors prior to their own suicides had events proceeded according to the typical enemy protocol.


Thank you, Joyce, for telling me about the name, Armored Angel, which you actually read that day on the great B-24 Liberator which brought  several "angels" in human form to us that day!







De: "Joyce Cook" <

À: <


 Re: One small chapter in the story of my life

Date: jeudi 11 novembre 2004 3:28


Another thing I remember about our liberation is from my father who told me he saw Tad Nagaki walk up to the Japanese guard at the main gate, slap him on the shoulder and say, "Now what do you think of your Nagasaki?"  The guard did not reply. I do not know whether the guard had heard of Nagasaki at that time. I know I had not heard of Hiroshima either. I now know that there was a hidden radio receiver in the altar of the church which begs the question "Did anyone in the camp know before the Liberator came that the war had ended and that an atomic bomb had been dropped.?"  I know I was unaware but maybe some in the camp were privy to that information. Joyce Bradbury


De: <

À: <

Objet: Re: One small chapter in the story of my life

Date: vendredi 12 novembre 2004 1:12


Hello, Stanley:


    I have often thought about your account of Liberation Day and how your progress to find our liberators was impeded when burrs punctured your feet. 

Did we use to call those burrs "kisses"?


    Today,  (Veterans Day in the USA),  the Smithsonian Museum on the Mall in Washington, D.C., opened its new exhibit on America's wars.  I think it's called THE PRICE OF FREEDOM.  This exhibit includes a small display on Weihsien.


Mary Previte


De: "Nicky & Leopold" <

À: "Norman Cliff" < ; <

Cc: "Janette & Pierre @ home" <

Objet: Legend or facts ??

Date: samedi 13 novembre 2004 10:35


Dear Norman,


When I got the bone! I don't let it go so easily!

I looked in Ron Bridge's listings and didn't find John Hersey's name written anywhere. The "Gripsholm folks" are on that list though. Must I conclude that he was NOT in Weihsien during WWII?

Made a search on "Google" and found this link:   

John Hersey was born in Tientsin --- not in Weihsien.

I then asked "Google" what he thought of this: "John Hersey"+Weihsien

Astonishing: google sent me back to my own site:

I noticed though, that google's research engine is slightly different from one country to another!!

Where ends the "facts" and where begins the "legend"?

Could it possibly be that John Hersey had the story from one of the Gripsholm folks and included it in his book: The Call?

I am perplexed!

I'm sending this message to Topica. Maybe someone can help!

All the best,



----- Original Message -----

From: leopold pander

To: Janette & Pierre @ home

Sent: Saturday, November 13, 2004 9:26 AM

Subject: Fw: Question:



Hi Ya!

--- et vlan! v'la la réponse. Qu'est-ce qui prouve le contraire?

Norman sous-entend qu'il a été emprisonné à Weihsien --- mais il ne figure pas sur les listings de Ron Bridge (qui inclut aussi tous les Américain rapatriés via le Gripsholm). Alors quoi?


Je m'amuse bien avec le texte de Father Scanlan. Il est génial cet homme là ---




----- Original Message -----

From: Martha L Smalley

To: leopold pander

Sent: Friday, November 12, 2004 8:52 PM

Subject: Re: Question:



Dear Mr. Pander,

John Hersey was born in Tientsin.  I have never heard that he was born in Weihsien.


Martha Smalley


Martha Lund Smalley

Research Services Librarian &

Curator of the Day Missions Collection

Yale Divinity School Library

409 Prospect St.  New Haven, CT 06511

Phone 203 432-6374  Fax 203 432-3906


At 11:00 AM 11/12/2004, you wrote:


  Dear Sir,


  All John Hersey's biographies tell us that he was born in Tientsin-China in 1914. Is it true (?) that he was born in the missionary camp of Weihsien (Shantung) and that he spent his early years there? ---- Later, the Weihsien compound was a prison camp for the civilian enemies of the Japanese Empire during World War II? The fact that he was born in Tientsin is because his birth certificate was established by the Consular services in Tientsin --- . Is this correct?

  I was in that camp, --- 60 years ago!

  Best regards,

  Leopold Pander





De: "Ron Bridge" <

À: < ; "Norman Cliff" <

Cc: "Janette & Pierre @ home" <

Objet: Re: Legend or facts ??

Date: samedi 13 novembre 2004 16:34



Weihsien inmates.

The list that I let you have and which you have put on your website of Weihsien was originally based on a list that is held by several of us namely a Census of the Camp as at 30Jun44. That list had missing the names beginning with the letter "S" after Str...and all after Wolfson. The copy of that list that I have has the rooms that inmates were in pencil in the margin but there is no date as to when people were in those rooms except that it must have been after the escape as the Chefoo School were in Block 61 the Hospital. (it could well have had the room numbers added after the war but I suspect that it was no later than September 1945

Further sources that have confirmed or added to names on the web site list are the following:

A similar list dated 30 Sep 44 obtained from Tokyo Archives but this is complete (ie no missing pages and includes the names of the Italians who had been moved in from Shanghai)

A US Army Signal Corps telegram despatch of freed inmates dated 30 August 1945 ( This has some names missing and is corrupt text in others also forenames are not given but initials spelt phonetically) NARA Washington

A list of British subjects complied by the Swiss Consul Tsingtao in June 1943, obtained from Berne. Sadly this is the only one surviving in Swiss records those of other nationalities were destroyed in the 1980s - this one was overlooked.

A list of British subjects moved from Chefoo complied by the Swiss Consul Tsingtao in Sep1943

A list of Belgian religious raised by Assistance aux Belges d'Asie Orientale dated 6 Feb44

A census of British Subjects dated 31Jul 43 (This is one page per family and gives passport and next of kin details) totalling 779 British.

A list of Religious Communities undated but believed to be July 1943 held at Cardinal Stritch University

Commonwealth War Graves Commission list of notified deaths (original is held in Westminster Abbey)

A plan of the graveyard in Weihsien with the names of the 24 interred there. Their date of death, age, nationality and the doctor certifying death ( found in the UK national Archives) The last entry is A Marinellis 6th Aug 1945 ( there is no mention of the graves allegedly outside the walls)

Camp lists of the camps in the Shanghai regions some of which have annotations liked "moved from Weihsien" ( generally applies to children or families which had been separated at the start of the war and were moved together) variety of archives

Shanghai Times list of allied nationals repatriated in August 1942

Passenger lists of the Kamakura Maru, Conte Verde, Gripsholm, Teia Maru,

Shanghai Times list of allied nationals repatriated in September/October 1943

New York Times list of 1236 US citizens exchanged in Gao on 14th October 1943 who will be arriving in New York on the Gripsholm

List of Allied subjects (all nationalities) repatriated from China published by the Malayan Research Bureau Sydney NSW Australia dated Feb 1944. Cambridge Univ.

Sundry contemporary personal diaries variety of archives

I have also crossed checked against all the names used in books written about Weihsien. Including Gilkey's "Shantuing Compound" where although he used pseudonyms in the book I have copy of Hugh Hubbard's typed de-code provided by Mary Stanley to my late mother. However this quotes a Ramsey but there was no one of that name in Weihsien

In using the names contained in the Newspaper lists has necessitated some elimination antics to arrive at the Camp that they were in. The Shanghai papers give the area( do not forget that they include Japan, Indo-China Philippines Hongkong and Manchuria) and in some cases the actual place particularly in the 1942 exchange the 1943 exchange and the one that really affects Weihsien has area but the Shanghai Camp lists give the names of those leaving and these can be identified on the ships lists to arrive at those who were in Weihsien.

Weihsien camp operated from Feb 1943 until Oct 1944 thus in no way can John Hersy have been born in camp if he was born 1914. Do not however forget that Weihsien had been a Protestant School and his parents may have been at that establishment. Martha Smalley of Yale is quite definitive but has she consider that births were registered at the nearest consulate. My own father's birth certifcate says registered in Tientsin whereas he was born in Weichen ( A different place) in 1904.


The name John Hersey does not appear anywhere in the 29,000 names of allied nationals interned by the Japanese that I have accumulated as of the time of writing.


As general rule I am however very wary of lists in books that have been written later than the 1950s as the human memory plays tricks and some names are misspell. Also I have seen cases of people who were babies during the war claiming to have been in a camp and naming the camp. Examination of all known records has shown that the father was in the camp claimed and that the wife and the young children (Under 5) were allowed to stay outside. This happened particularly in the Shanghai area and when the mother was not British or American by birth. There were also several cases in Tianjin (Tientsin) where the Japanese allowed people to stay out of camp to look after aged relatives, this also occurred to my knowledge in Beijing( Peking) and there are anecdotal references to the same policy in Shanghai and Hong Kong. In the latter many part Portuguese were not interned and in Malaya the internment of the Jewish community occurred in May 1944 and normally they do not seem to have interned all of those of mixed blood. I must stop or I will be writing a thesis

bien amicalement


PS if anyone has or knows of any other source documents please let me know.

PPS pour Janette et Pierre y compris


De: "alison holmes" <

À: <


 Re: One small chapter in the story of my life

Date: samedi 13 novembre 2004 19:12


I was so glad, David, to see your mention of the leaflets.  I almost had begun questioning my own memories as no other accounts spoke of the plane circling and dropping the leaflets.  I remember rushing out of the church to the roll call ground/baseball field and being delighted to see those leaflets which were then followed by the seven men with their brightly coloured parachutes.  So thank you for giving the wording of them. Those burrs in our feet are still in my body's memory as I live in prickly Arizona and the dog brings in little horrors that which ever way they fall, a prickle is always pointing upwards. 

Mary, do you think Ted Nagaki would have really made that remark about Nagasaki?  And would the Japanese soldiers in our neck of the woods have heard and understood about the bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki?  Did we understand what was happening? 

We were incredibly lucky to have had such a relatively easy time of it.  Roll on the day when the world as a whole sees that working for understanding is better than brute force.


De: "Gladys Swift" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Legend or facts ??

Date: dimanche 14 novembre 2004 4:52


Yes, I know that the Hersey family lived in Tientsin as my father, Hugh Hubbard, worked with John Hersey's father in the YMCA in Tientsin.  Gladys Hubbard Swift



De: <

À: <

Objet: Re: Legend or facts ??

Date: dimanche 14 novembre 2004 8:42


Dear Leopold,

        I have not researched the matter as you have, but I believe that

Hersey was genuinely in Weihsien Camp.  The details which he describes of camp life in that earlier period ring true.  There are no statements which conflict with anything which we already know.

        That is my opinion.   Norman


De: "Nicky & Leopold" <

À: <

Cc: "Janette & Pierre @ home" <

Objet: Re: Legend or facts ??

Date: dimanche 14 novembre 2004 17:00


Dear Ron,


Thanks very much for your prompt answer to my question. It is ― how can I say ― “on ne peut plus cartésien.”


My little sister, Mary-Lou was born in Weihsien and her birth certificate was delivered by the “Consul de Belgique” in Tientsin. Place of birth= Tientsin.


When we came back to Belgium in 1952 from Hong-Kong ― with no chance of ever going back to China again ― our dad had to declare us to the authorities. We all needed identity cards and little Mary-Lou insisted to have her birth certificate changed ― to Weihsien instead of Tientsin.


This explains that!


In Weihsien, there were quite a few births and maybe, 60 years later one of you is reading the “Topica-messages”? Your birth certificate mentions “Weihsien” or another place?


I’d like to know!  (Pure curiosity!)


Best regards,






De: <

À: <

Objet: PRICE OF FREEDOM exhibit in Washington, D.C.

Date: dimanche 14 novembre 2004 20:45


Hello, Everyone,

    Here's a letter from Susan Strange, a curator of the newly-opened exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute's Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.   Susan comments on the opening of the exhibit, "THE PRICE OF FREEDOM," that includes a few items from Weihsien.  Mary Previte


It's been quite a week!  Wednesday a lot of dignitaries were in attendance (the head of Veterans Affairs, various Generals, Tom Ridge) for the opening and then a black-tie affair that evening co-hosted by Veterans Affairs.  Yesterday the exhibit opened to the public; this morning a staff breakfast to thank us for our hard work.  The Washington Post gave the exhibit a very good review, but I hear the New York Times did not like the exhibit.  Oh, well, you can't make everyone happy!


Your embroidered parachute silk looks absolutely wonderful.  It has been carefully folded (and padded so no crease lines) into a rectangle showing all of the embroidery.  The bonnet is tilted so that Tad Nagaki's and Major

Staiger's embroidered signatures show well.  And I hope that YOU will like the way the case looks!!

Susan Strange


De: <

À: <

Objet: Re: Legend or fact -- Amelia Earhart in Weihsien

Date: dimanche 14 novembre 2004 21:20


Speaking of legend or fact --


    Weihsien rescuer, Jim Hannon, told me this week that he has completed his manuscript, which he has titled "THE SECRET OF WEIFANG."  Long in the works, this is Jim's controversial account of finding in Weihsien a woman whom he says was Amelia Earhart.

    When I visited him in 2000, he showed me the manuscript -- then in progress.

    Jim did not tell me this week when he plans to release THE SECRET OF WEIFANG.  (Weifang is today's name for what we knew as Weihsien.)

    Mary Previte


go to :



What does "Love to Mother" mean?

The Weihsein Telegram

For several years now, TIGHAR researchers and subscribers to our online Amelia Earhart Search Forum have been signing their correspondence with the somewhat enigmatic closing "Love to Mother," often abbreviated to "LTM." First used in that context by Expedition Team member Russ Matthews (TIGHAR #0509CE), the phrase is taken from a document which has become a cornerstone of allegations that Earhart was alive and in Japanese custody at the end of World War II. At TIGHAR , the phrase has become popular as an irreverent reminder to be rigorous in our research and reasonable in drawing our conclusions.

Recently, as an independent research project, TIGHAR members Ron Bright (#2342) and Laurie McLaughlin (#2212), with assistance from oft-published Earhart researcher Rollin Reineck, set out to discover the true author of the Love to Mother message. Ron's report, edited and reproduced below, summarizes an excellent piece of detective work. For new forum subscribers who may be wondering what this Love to Mother (often abbreviated to LTM) business is all about, here's the story:


After Amelia Earhart disappeared on 2 July 37 enroute to Howland Island, an immediate Navy search disclosed not a single trace of Earhart or the Electra. In 1943, the fictional Hollywood film Flight For Freedom popularized the idea that Earhart's flight may have been somehow associated with prewar U.S. intelligence gathering efforts. One historical document which has often been offered as evidence that Earhart was held captive by the Japanese is a Radiogram message dated 21 August 45 from Weihsein Internment Camp, China, sent via the US State Department to George Putnam at N. Hollywood, California.

The text of the message read:

Camp liberated; all well. Volumes to tell. Love to mother.

It was transmitted as "unsigned."

Putnam replied to the State Department on 9 September 1945 with a terse letter asking that any further telegrams be forwarded to his home at Lone Pine, California. Neither the government, Putnam, nor anyone else initiated an investigation of Earhart's possible presence at Weihsein. Putnam apparently did not mention the communication to Amelia's mother Amy or her sister Muriel Morrissey. The message was never made public.

Then in 1971, author and long time Earhart researcher Fred Goerner learned about the message and in 1975 received a copy from the National Archives. Goerner didn't publicize this discovery, although he exchanged letters with other researchers. Goerner, despite his personal conviction that the Japanese had captured Earhart, dismissed the document as a message to Putnam from someone at Weihsein who knew him before the war. He didn't believe it was from Earhart.

On 28 June 1987, the Los Angeles Times published an article claiming that a State Department employee had found an "unpublished" government telegram in the "Earhart" file at the National Archives. It was the Love to Mother message.

The clear implication was that Amelia Earhart had been a prisoner at Weihsein Civilian Assembly Camp. Some researchers took this to be compelling evidence that the Japanese had indeed captured Earhart and that she had been held since 1937 by the Japanese government. After the Camp's liberation in 1945, so the speculation went, Amelia was returned to the US and evaded all publicity.

Adding support to the idea that the message was from Earhart, Lt. James Hannon, one of the OSS paratroopers who liberated the camp on 15 August 45, told researchers that the message confirmed in his mind some of the strange events at Weihsein. He described a comatose, incoherent female "Yank" whom he believed must have been Earhart because of the special treatment she was accorded. In September 1945, according to Hannon, she was spirited away by a Japanese "Betty" bomber.

Interviews with other OSS troops, camp administrators, internees, and camp documents, failed to confirm or conclusively deny the supposition that Earhart was at Weihsein. Most researchers agreed with Goerner and believed it was an associate or friend of Putnam that wrote the message pointing out that Putnam apparently did not ask for additional investigation. But then, who did write the Love to Mother message? If we could discover the author and it wasn't Amelia, that would close the speculation on Earhart's presence at Weihsein.

The Investigation

We began with three assumptions:

  1. The author knew the 1935--41 address of Putnam at 10042 Valley Spring Lane, N. Hollywood, California;
  2. The author knew Putnam well enough to send the message with some kind of reason and;
  3. The author was conveying a code or intimate purpose with the "love to mother" closing.

The research steps I followed were:

  1. I examined a list of all 1400 plus internees on a June 1944 roster for any clues regarding, age, business, occupations, and nationalities (American) but none seemed to suggest a link a professional or business link with Putnam.
  2. I examined the Radiogram from the State Department, transmitted from Chungking to the US State Department via Navy radio, with the 135 messages. They were mostly addressed to relatives, business partners, schools, and all limited to about 10 words.
  3. Only two messages were designated with a (*) meaning signature omitted -- Putnam's and the very next message. This suggested a possible transmission problem. Rollin Reineck wondered if a limit of "one message per internee" prompted someone to add the second message to Putnam, deliberately leaving off the signature in order to get the message out.
  4. Examining the text of each disclosed that only two messages out of the 135 were strikingly similar in the phrasing of "camp liberated." Those messages belonged to an "A. Kamal" and to GP Putnam.

    Putnam's: "Camp liberated; all well. Volumes to tell. Love to Mother. (sig. omitted)"

    Kamal's: "Advise mother all safe concentration camp liberated books ready, Kamal."
  5. Kamal's message was addressed to Maxwell Perkins at Scribner and Sons, a publishing house.
  6. None of the other messages used the "camp liberated" phrase, and the "advise mother" phrase. I felt that Kamal could be a possibility as he was a self-proclaimed author and might be writing publishing house in competition with Putnam's. Maybe he was writing to Putnam too about a forthcoming book.
  7. The camp roster listed A. Kamal as a 30 year old "student" and a Mrs. A.T. Kamal, housewife.

We then contacted numerous former Internees and learned that Kamal was "Ahmad Kamal" a supposed expert in Central Asia matters, authority on Mongolian and Chinese Turkestan, a guide on the Roy Chapman Andrews expedition in the Gobi desert, and an "author."

Former internee Pamela Masters, who wrote The Mushroom Years, a story of the Weihsein experience, recalled that Kamal from Weihsein accidently ran into her sister in LA in 1947 trying to sell a story -- something about "Six Fathoms Deep;" he was attempting to break into the Hollywood scene. She described him as a "flaming red headed" Turk. We reviewed publishing companies and found that an "Ahmad Kamal" had written seven books, including The Seven Questions of Timur published in 1938 and Land without Laughter, published in 1940. These books described his adventures in Central Asia, getting charged as a spy by the Russians, and escaping with a Chinese general to Peking.

These descriptions of the book led us to believe that the Ahmad Kamal at Weihsein was the same Kamal as the author. If he was an author it was possible that he had some connection with George Putnam pre-war, but we couldn't find any direct link.

A fellow TIGHAR researcher, Andrew McKenna (TIGHAR #1045CE), found that AE and George Putnam had a social relationship with Andrews of the Gobi expedition in the mid- to late 30s.

Thus, we speculated, if Kamal at Weihsein was the author Kamal, it could be a common link between Kamal and Putnam.

Then a major breakthrough came in April 2001. A review of FBI records on Putnam, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, and just declassified in 1998, disclosed an amazing connection between Putnam and a "young man" who spoke Turkish and Chinese, and who was writing about his adventures in China circa 1935-38. According to the FBI files, Putnam was recruiting a "young man," never identified by name, to be a double agent against the Japanese at Los Angeles. The young man, said Putnam, was working for the Los Angeles Japanese Consulate and was furnishing them with aircraft data, construction information, ship movements, etc., gleaned from public sources. Putnam wanted the FBI to recruit him as a double agent. After an exchange of letters with J. Edgar Hoover, and meetings with the LA FBI agents, it was clear the FBI didn't want anything to do with this scene, and they suggested that Putnam contact Navy Intelligence. Putnam declined as he had "bad experiences" with two Navy admirals earlier.

But who was this "young man," whom Putnam declined to identify to the FBI? Was he Kamal?

A social security death index check disclosed that an Ahmad Kamal was born in 1914 and died 13 October 1989 at Santa Barbara, California. The FBI in Los Angeles estimated the young man's age at 24 in 1938. As we knew that the Kamal at Weihsein was age 30 in 1945, this Kamal was looking better to us, but we could not find any existing autobiographies or biographies in major libraries about this Ahmad Kamal.

Our conjecture then was that the author Kamal was the same Kamal as Putnam's young man based on age and on the Central Asia background, and Kamal's published book in 1938 at Santa Ana, near Santa Barbara. Why would Weihsien Kamal send a message to Putnam? A new book? Kamal seemed to be the LTM author but why would he use the intimate phrase "Love to Mother?" How could we ever find a specific link between Kamal as the "young man" and the Kamal that Putnam was recruiting?

The Final Link

On 18 April 2001, I located Ahmad Kamal's son in Southern California and his revelations about his father were extraordinary. Yes, the author of The Seven Questions of Timur and Land Without Laughter, and the Kamal at Weihsein Civilian prison camp were one and the same. Yes, there was a close link between Putnam and Kamal at Los Angeles before World War II.

The following is based on his son's recollection. After extensive traveling in Turkestan, China, and Central Asia, Kamal returned to the US circa the early '20s. In the late 1920s or early '30s Kamal obtained a pilot's license and kept an airplane at the Burbank Airport. There, in the mid-thirties, he met and flew with Howard Hughes. At Burbank he also met George Putnam and Amelia Earhart. Kamal was close to Hughes' personal secretary Nadine Henly. Earhart was at Burbank airport prior to her first world flight attempt in March 1937.

During this time in 1937-38, Kamal became closely acquainted with Putnam who was helping him find a publisher. About this time, 1938, Kamal published his Seven Questions book about his adventures in Central Asia, fighting against the Russians, imprisonment, and escape to Peking. Sometime about 1939-1940, Kamal returned to China where he met and married his wife at Tientsin, China. The war broke out in December 1941 and soon afterwards, the Japanese Secret Police captured him and his wife. Refusing to cooperate, they were transferred to Weihsein Camp in the summer of 1943. There they remained until liberated in August 1945. According to his son, shortly after the camp was liberated, Kamal, sent out two radio messages: one to Scribner and Sons about publishing a book, and one to George Putnam. His son said he has seen either notes or a journal of that message and could repeat it almost by heart -- something like "camp liberated, all was well, volumes to follow and love to mother." The "love to mother" was added, said Kamal's son, because Putnam had agreed to look after Kamal's aging mother when Kamal left for China. Mrs. Kamal lived nearby and Putnam was to look in on her. It was an informal caregiver arrangement.

Kamal spoke Turkish, Chinese and was an "international figure." Kamal's son said that his father never discussed with him any of Putnam's efforts to recruit him for the FBI. (The son was born in 1950.)

After liberation, Kamal returned to the US, continued to publish, and lived in the Los Angeles area from 1945-51. He does not know if Kamal ever got in touch with Putnam after the war.

In summary, Kamal said his father often discussed Amelia Earhart and various disappearance theories. His father, who knew Amelia, said she was not at Weihsein while he was there from 1942 until August 1945. The story of Earhart being at Weihsein was, in the son's words, "apocryphal" and that's why he recalled his father's stories while he was growing up in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

His father thought she went down in the sea.

The son said he would search through his father's journals and provide any relevant document or record.


The author of the LTM message is Ahmad Kamal. Kamal was at Weihsein and he knew Putnam and AE. His message to Putnam was a generic hopeful notification. "Love to mother" was nothing more than an endearing message for Putnam to convey to his mom after his three years at the camp.

For those that wish to know more about Kamal I suggest reading his first two books. A further indicator of his mother's role in Kamal's life is seen in the dedication in his first book, The Seven Secrets in which he writes, "TO MY MOTHER" (in 20 point type).


Laurie and I wish to thank Rollin Reineck, who initially researched and located State Department radiograms to Putnam and generously provided them. Also to Don Neumann, and TIGHAR members Pat Gaston (TIGHAR #2328), Don Jordan (TIGHAR #2109), and Andrew McKenna (TIGHAR #1045CE) for advice and direction in this investigation. Early researchers did not have the advantage of the 1998 declassified Putnam FBI file that disclosed the relationship between a Weihsein internee and Putnam.

This telegram and the nonsense which has surrounded it in recent years has prompted those of us most involved in TIGHAR's Earhart research to adopt the "Love to mother" closing as a reminder to keep our objectivity and skepticism intact when evaluating any new evidence.

You can order your very own Love to Mother shirt and refrigerator magnet on the TIGHAR website by clicking here.



De: "Stanley Nordmo" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Legend or facts ??

Date: dimanche 14 novembre 2004 23:26


Information that might help to unravel the John Hersey legend


The obituary in 1993 covered John Hersey’s  war time assignments


(June 17, 1914-March 24, 1993)


 Born John Richard Hersey in Tientsin, China; spent first ten years of life in China.

Graduated Yale in 1936; attended Clare College, Cambridge (1936-37).

 During summer of 1937 worked as driver and private secretary for Sinclair Lewis.


Joined staff of Time magazine in 1937 as editor and correspondent, reporting on war from China and Japan (1939), the South Pacific (1942), Sicily and the Mediterranean (1943),  and Moscow (1944-45).

Traveled to Japan and China for Life and New Yorker, 1945-46; reported on atomic bombing of Hiroshima.


Details about the research behind his book  The  Call  can be found in the              

The John Hersey Papers

Yale University Library

Divinity Library Special Collections

409 Prospect Street

New Haven, Connecticut


This collection contains research materials gathered by Hersey while preparing to write his novel, The Call. The main figure in this novel, David Treadup, was partly based on the lives of six actual missionaries to China, including Hersey's father.


Hersey did a considerable amount of research in the personal papers of China missionaries and other figures such as ecumenical leader John R. Mott..


Based on the above information, it would be reasonable to assume that John Hersey’s time line as a war correspondent excluded any connection with Weihsien


The fact  that six missionaries to China had given him access to their  personal papers, would help to explain the amazing detail of camp life,  enhanced in the novel by the use of  diary excerpts.


Stanley Nordmo



De: "Gladys Swift" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Legend or facts ??

Date: lundi 15 novembre 2004 2:05


To add a bit to what Stanley Nordmo has written (below), my father was one of the six missionaries whose lives were used in "The Call".

John Hersey personally called me to ask if I would give permission for him to use my father, Hugh W. Hubbard, 's papers in his book "The Call".  I gave permission, and also talked with him about the fact that my father had worked with John Hersey's father in the YMCA Tientsin, @ 1908 to 1910.  My parents were stationed in Paotingfu after their marriage, which was used by John Hersey in describing Treadup's early married life in Paotingfu and his missionary life there.  Gladys Hubbard Swift


De: "George Kaposhilin" <

À: <

Cc: <

Objet: RE: Legend or fact -- Amelia Earhart in Weihsien

Date: lundi 15 novembre 2004 8:30


 Dear Mary:

If possible can you send a picture of the Weishien exhibit to our archives


De: "Donald" <

À: <

Objet: Some of Hersey's Sources

Date: lundi 15 novembre 2004 18:32


Regarding John Hersey's sources for "The Call," you might be interested in the following.


One of the sources he used for the composite character of Treadup was Hugh Hubbard, whose daughter, Gladys Swift, recently joined this group.  Hubbard has been mentioned by several of you as one of the leaders of the "spirit team."   He, like Treadup, started as a "Y" secretary and transferred to the ministry under the American Board (Congregational).   Before internment Hubbard was active in Paotingfu, and was especially important as a leader of the literacy movement in China.  I think Gladys will confirm that many aspects of Treadup's character and adventures were based on her father, whom some of you remember.


Hersey's end-notes listing his sources also mention two unpublished manuscripts by Howard Galt, another American Boarder, who taught at Yenching Unversity in Peking.  One of these describes life in Weihsien and the other deals with the trip back to the U.S. on the Gripsholm.  I was able to get copies from the Yale Divinity School library and had them transcribed and saved to PDF format and posted on my "family" web site.  You can download and print them by going to, clicking on the Site Directory and then Weihsien.


(I just checked and found that the Weihsien documents are there all right but there is some problem with the Galt's Gripsholm memoir.  I'll let you know when I've fixed it.)


De: "Donald" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Some of Hersey's Sources

Date: lundi 15 novembre 2004 18:36



I must apologize to Gladys for not having read her email before saying the same things that she had already said about her father.  Sorry, Gladys.  But I guess that Hubbard was an important enough figure to be mentioned twice.




De: <

À: <

Objet: Re: RE: Legend or fact -- Amelia Earhart in Weihsien

Date: mardi 16 novembre 2004 3:00


I'll certainly ask my contact at the Smithsonian if someone can take a picture of the Weihsien section of this The Price of Freedom exhibit.  I know of three items in this Weihsien exhibit -- a 1945 photograph of Major Stanley

Staiger, Ensign Jim Moore,  Sgt Tad Nagaki, and Sgt. Raymond Hanchulak;  a baby bonnet embroidered with autographs of American rescuers; and a piece of parachute silk embroidered with the scene of American rescuers parachuting from the B-24 over Weihsien and the autographs of each rescuer.  Carol Orlich, widow of Weihsien rescuer Pete Orlich, gave me this piece of embroidered parachute silk when I tracked her down in 1997.  She says a white Russian woman or girl in Weihsien gave it to Pete as a goodbye present as his group was leaving Weihsien. 

We've never been able to find out who that woman was.  I have not yet visited the Smithsonian exhibit and have no immediate plans to travel to Washington, D.C., to do so.   I hope to visit it with Carol Orlich and members of her family.


I'm sure our heroes never in their wildest dreams imagined being part of a display in the Smithsonian.  Imagine it!  In a world class museum!   Needless to say, I've most certainly told them about it.  The curator has asked if I thought Tad Nagaki and Jim Moore might visit the display.  I don't know.  At around 85 years of age, Jim and Pat Moore still travel quite a bit to visit their children and grand children, but Tad Nagaki feels most comfortable on or around the fields of his farm.


Mary Previte


De: <

À: <

Objet: The Price of Freedom

Date: mercredi 17 novembre 2004 3:50


I'm told that this exhibit focuses on everyday soldiers  of ALL of America's wars going as far back as the Revolutionary War.  I expect that NONE of them gets a lot of space.

Mary Previte



----- Original Message -----

From: "Zehao Zhou" <

To: <

Sent: Friday, November 19, 2004 12:41 AM

Subject: The Story of Gene Lance and his Xiao Haizhi as Published on Nov. 17 2004 in Towson Times (fwd)


  Dear Ms. Previte,
  I thought you might enjoy reading this article.
Eugene was onf of those CBIers who listened to your speech at Valley Forge last fall.
  Zehao Zhou
  York College of PA
  ---------- Forwarded message ----------
  Lost and Found (Title of the Article)
  Loni Ingraham
  Email this story to a friend
They found Eugene Lance in September 2003 in a hallway at the annual  reunion of veterans of the China Burma India theater during World War II.
  He was sitting alone.
  He had never been to a reunion before, the 80-year-old former U.S. Army staff sergeant from Lutherville told them.
  When he remarried in 1967, he put away his war experiences with the shoe box of faded photographs he had stored far back on the closet shelf. He had never mentioned them to his new bride and her three children or to his own five children - his firstborn son had been just a baby when he was drafted in 1943.
  In fact, he had never talked to anybody about what it was like 60 years ago. It was another life, another wife.
  But this day in
Valley Forge, it was as if the dam had broken.
  "When we talked to him, he became very emotional, very excited," recalls Zehao "ZZ" Zhou, an assistant professor at York College and member of the Association for Preserving the History of World War II in Asia. He was there that day with documentary filmmaker Pat Lucas to interview veterans of the Asian theater. "Each one is a walking encyclopedia of that history," he says. "We grabbed him."
  What the two men didn't realize is that this particular encyclopedia came with dozens of illustrations. The photographs Lance eventually provided for them were a tremendous asset for their project. They were very grateful.
  What could they do for him? They asked him.
  He missed his "little kid," Lance told them, using his version of Chinese vernacular for the term. It is spelled Xiao Haizhi, but he pronounces it shawheightza.
  "Find my shawheightza," he said.
  Lance was not talking about one of his own children. He was talking about the year when he worked as a welder on the
Burma Road which allowed gasoline and supplies to be shipped from India to the China front and the virtually abandoned Chinese boy he and his outfit "adopted."
  His shawheigthza was the skinny little boy he came to think of as his son, the boy he had to abandon when he returned to the States, the boy he never saw or heard from again.
Monkey Bridge
  Lance had signed up for hazardous duty in 1943.
  "A week later I was flying over the hump to
China, assigned to the Burma Road engineers," he says. "They needed help for a 100-mile deviation of the road to bypass the Japanese."
  Base camp was at an altitude of 7,000 feet, he says. It was hot during the day, frigid at night. They called it
Monkey Bridge because of the bamboo bridge over the stream next to his tent. It was 35 feet high, constructed entirely of trees, vines and branches, and its only visible means of support was a long vine attached to a tree on the river bank.
  "We thought only a monkey would want to use it," he says.
  They lived in fatigues or khakis. Fresh food was nonexistent. There was no kitchen, no chef, no cook. There were C-rations and K-rations; that's what they lived on.
  "It didn't bother us," he says. "It was just what life was. It was something we had to do for our country, and that was the end of it. We were so determined. We were Americans, and we were going to get this war done."
  Months later, a straggly little kid wandered into the camp. His clothes were tattered, and he was starving.
"I first saw him walking down the road looking very hesitant, curious as if he was unsure who we were. The only foreign troops he had seen were Japanese, and we were a pleasant surprise to him. We were friendly."
  Lance found out later that just the week before the Japanese had chased most of his family over the mountains and slaughtered them. The kid was a survivor.
  Lance had a 1-year-old himself. God forbid if his children had had to go through anything like that. He motioned for the boy, who didn't speak English, to come with him.
  "We fed him and we clothed him," he says. "He was the kid who came to lunch and never left."
  He became part of them. He just hung around and helped out where he could.
  "He always called me 'Sarge,'" Lance says. "We became pretty close. I was the only one who shaved. He would take cold water from the stream and boil it in my helmet at
5 a.m. each day, and he would touch my face and say in English, 'Nice. Clean.' He was proud of me."
  Lance taught the boy to speak English through repetition. With Lance's help, he could say "Good morning," "Yes, sir" and "No, sir."
  "He was a smart boy," Lance recalls. "He was a good kid to be around."
  In October 1945, two months after
Japan surrendered, Lance received orders to return to the United States.
  "It was sad to say good-bye to him," he says. "But the military standards wouldn't allow us to take him with us.
  "We took him to where his mother was living in a lean-to on a mountain side.  It was only three kilometers away but it was an overnight trip - and we left him all our supplies and clothing and gave him a big hug like Americans do.
  "I felt guilty leaving him - Americans are sentimental, you know," he says. "It's a certain weakness."
  After Lance was discharged, work was scarce. He worked as a welder for a dollar an hour when he could and drove a cab to survive. Later in life he would become an insurance agent, a real estate agent and an amateur pilot who owned a series of planes.
  For a long time he thought about his shawheightza, and then only occasionally. He was busy raising his own children.
  But he was not through with the Army in 1945.
  In August 1950, he was drafted during the Korean War.
  He left
Korea on a litter in November 1951. Sixty of his fellow patients on the plane had frostbite - "In Korea, the enemy was the weather," he says.
  But he was on his way home because of a knee injury he sustained during training. It didn't prevent the Army from shipping him to
Korea, but when he was there, he messed up his knee again "in a Ping-Pong game," he says.
  A needle in a haystack
  Finding Eugene Lance's shawheightza, assuming he was still alive, in a primitive area of a province of more than 50 million people was like finding the proverbial "needle in a haystack," according to Zhou.
  And the problem was compounded by the fact that Lance didn't know the boy's name - he had just called him "Shawheightza," and the boy hadn't known Lance's name. He had just called Lance "Sarge" or "Boss."
  But Zhou wrote a long letter to the Chinese government detailing Lance's request. He was pleasantly surprised to receive a positive response.
  "The Chinese government can be very efficient," he says. The government issued a decree to have the
Monkey Bridge area searched and the local foreign affairs officer, Cai Mingchen, went from village to village and door to door for a month searching for a nameless boy now old enough to be a grandfather.
  In the interim, Pat Lucas used his local connections with his television buddies to publish old photos of the boy and the television networks picked up the story.
  "It was like looking for a wanted person," Zhou says.
  After a month of intense searching, the foreign affairs official thought he had found the right man: Cai Wenbo, a 75-year-old grandfather who is a member of the Li Shu ethnic minority - there are 56 ethnic minorities in
China, Zhou says.
  But the man was initially reluctant to admit that he was the shawheightza because in the tumultuous 1960s, during rampant persecution in
China, he had been accused of being an American spy because of his association with Lance and the other American soldiers, and he still had the scars from that persecution.
  "But after the government officials convinced him that this was no longer a crime, he opened up," says Zhou.
  "The Chinese aren't stupid, Lance says. "They needed to make sure that they had the right person, so they asked him what he could tell them about his sarge.
  "When he said, 'all the time, clean clean clean, all the time shave,' they knew they had the right man."
  Zhou was ecstatic when the government called to tell him they had found shawheightza.
  "I was jumping with joy," he says.
  A hero's welcome
  Lance made the journey to meet his shawheightza this September in conjunction with a symposium the Chinese government had invited him to in
  "The visit was a major event in
China and covered by various Chinese media at national, provincial and local levels," Zhou says. "Gene was overwhelmed with the hero's welcome he received. So many people thanked him for his contribution to the Chinese people's freedom from Japanese occupation and brutality."
  By the evening of the next day Lance was on board a bus with other dignitaries heading for
Monkey Bridge.
  "It was a four-and-a- half-hour trip," he says. "In front of us the whole way was a police escort with siren on and lights flashing."
  After visiting
Monkey Bridge, they traveled by foot. He didn't know what to expect, Lance says. If he saw his shawheightza, he wouldn't know him from California.
  Then he saw a small hut on the mountain and his shawheightza's son and daughter came out to escort him across the planks and blocks that had been laid out above the mud and the rocks.
  "He was in the hut waiting for me," Lance says. "He was just a tiny little thing."
  They greeted each other in the language that overcomes the cultural barriers that divide East from West. They hugged each other, and they both cried.
  "It was a great reunion," Lance says. "It was as if he was my long lost son."
  E-mail Loni Ingraham at


De: "Nicky & Leopold" <

À: <

Objet: Mr McLaren,

Date: mardi 23 novembre 2004 14:15


In Norman's scrap-book No1:


TED McLaren (1902-1950)



         Ted McLaren was born in Edinburgh on May 28th 1902, the scion of an ancient Scottish clan, and was educated at the Royal High School, Edinburgh. He excelled in all forms of sport but his speciality was Rugby Football.



         In 1923/4 he played Rugger for Scotland under the inspired captaincy of A. L. Gracie. Team photos of the time show him in the three-quarter line alongside Eric Liddell (the future Olympic athlete and hero of 'Chariots of Fire').



        Ted McLaren and Eric Liddell were friends in Edinburgh, in Tientsin (where they both lived and worked for some years in the 'thirties and early 'forties) and in Weihsien Camp (Japanese Internment Camp, 1942-45). Liddell died young ― in the Camp from a brain tumour, and McLaren spoke at his Memorial Service:



"... we played [Rugby] in the same side and against one another for ... three years and never once did he show the slightest sign of bad temper or bad sportsmanship ... both ... were utterly foreign to him ... [He had] that characteristic of never to give in ― he was never beaten but always trying ... no truer sportsman ever drew on a running shoe ... "



         McLaren himself also died young ― in England ― five years after the war, from coronary thrombosis.



         McLaren spent most of his life in the service of that famous Far Eastern shipping and trading firm, John Swire & Sons (then known as Butterfield & Swire). He learned Chinese and worked in Hankow, Shanghai, Tientsin and Hong Kong.



         In 1926, while still a young man, he earned the praise of his company for his handling of the so-called 'Wanhsien' incident on the Upper Yangtze, when two vessels of the China Navigation Company (a Swire subsidiary) were seized by the local 'Warlord'. The Royal Navy subsequently rescued the two ships. McLaren, according to a confidential report in the Company's files, "did extraordinarily well". That verdict sums up his whole career.



         At the time of Pearl Harbour he was based in Tientsin, in charge of the firm's North China operations, and in the following year he and all other British and Allied citizens living in Tientsin, Tsingtao, Peking and (later) Chefoo were interned by the Japanese in Weihsien Camp.



         In Weihsien he was elected Chairman of the Camp's 'Discipline Committee' and soon became the kingpin of the Council-of-Nine which ran the internal affairs of the Camp. In that capacity he had the difficult and dangerous task of liaison between the Japanese Commandant ― Mr. Izu ― and the internees. He was an outstanding success, treading the delicate tightrope with consummate skill.


         On occasion he dared to rebuke the (California-educated) Commandant in no uncertain terms, as when an Englishwoman was slapped by the guards, or when a drunken soldier intruded into female internee quarters.


         But he also had to relay the Commandant's complaints and rulings to the internees. For example, the Commandant complained that internees were being disrespectful to the Japanese guards (and thus to the Emperor of Japan) by getting in their way as they walked about the Camp on their duties. McLaren duly posted on the Camp Notice Board this delightful tongue-in-cheek notice:



"Internees will give way to uniformed members of His Imperial Majesty's Forces, i.e. internees will alter their course to port or starboard to avoid a head-on collision. E. McLaren  (Discipline Committee)"



         This piece of surreptitious mickey-taking had the internees chuckling for many weeks.


         McLaren was quite capable of losing his temper, but in public he seldom raised his voice. He ruled the camp very quietly, with seeming effortlessness, with deliberate understatement, with an innate, unspoken authority.


To my schoolboy mind ― I was fifteen at the time of Pearl Harbour ― he epitomized the 'strong, silent man-of-action', a hero out of John Buchan or Dornford Yates.


         When General Wang Yu-min, a local Chinese Guerrilla Commander, established secret contact with the Camp, McLaren and a small group of China 'experts' made plans to send two 'representatives', i.e. escapees, to the Guerilla H.Q. Two young Chinese-speaking internees ― one British, one American ― successfully escaped. McLaren waited till they'd had time to get clean away, then officially 'reported' the escape to the Commandant so as to safeguard the camp and preserve his own standing in Japanese eyes! The pair were never caught and from their guerrilla bases were able to send and receive messages to and from the Camp and establish radio contact with Chungking.


         McLaren listened regularly to a secret radio within the camp, so when the War drew towards its close, he arranged with the two escapees that guerrilla forces would be ready ― at a moment's notice ― to protect the camp or to send in food supplies. 


         He also organized an 'underground' police force ― of reliable, able-bodied internees ― ready to take control of the Camp.


         In fact liberation came from the air, with the dramatic descent of seven American parachutists ― handpicked OSS men. The Commandant surrendered peacefully and McLaren's police took over the Camp gates. McLaren and his Council-of-Nine administered the camp in conjunction with the Americans.


         The young American major and his gallant few were astounded to find such an efficient and well-run camp, in spite of three years of meagre, dwindling rations and other privations.


         After the war, the Japanese Commandant, Mr. Izu, along with hundreds of other senior Japanese officers, Police Chiefs and Commandants throughout Southeast Asia, was charged with war crimes. McLaren, with his innate sense of honour, could not allow Mr. Izu, who had, in some ways, done his best for the Camp, to go undefended. He and others from Weihsien travelled to Tokyo, met General Douglas MacArthur, and testified on Mr. Izu's behalf. He was acquitted.


         At Eric Liddell's Memorial Service in 1944, McLaren had referred to the Olympic champion's numerous attainments which could have turned many a man's head. In fact, said McLaren, "they had no effect other than to make him even more retiring and unassuming". The same could well have been said of McLaren himself. In the darkest days of the war, he became the most respected man in Camp. Everyone looked up to him.        Everyone instinctively trusted this chivalrous, humour soft-spoken, canny Scot who combined all the skills of diplomacy with firmness, wisdom and magnanimity. We shall not see his like again.


E. McLaren


De: "David Birch" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Mr McLaren,

Date: mardi 23 novembre 2004 18:35


I well remember Mr McLaren and his little notices on the Camp's bulletin boards; although I did not know the man personally.


Our own Mr P A Bruce, in those days, was one of my main "heroes!"  Another was a tall, grey-haired Britisher whom I only knew as "Mr Stewart!"  Mr Stewart formed a sort of "cadet corps" with the boys in Roll Call area #6. We were the last area to be counted each day. So the guard doing the tally would not reach us till about forty to fifty minutes after the roll call began at the other side of the Camp.


Mr Stewart had us young teen-aged and late pre-teen boys doing doing drills for twenty or thirty minutes during which he would act as a sort of  Cadet Officer barking out commands to us: "Right Dress," "Quick March," "Right Wheel," "Form Fours," "About Turn," "Attention," "Stand at Ease," Stand Easy," until it was time for us to return to our Roll Call lines on the adjacent outdoor basketball court.  Then he would line us up one last time and give us the command to "Dismiss." Anyone dawdling had to run several laps around the little parade square which was out of sight of the guard towers, or do several "push-ups."


We would have followed Mr Stewart anywhere I believe. And maybe that was the whole idea behind this drill; in case of an emergency rescue, we were a well-disciplined squad of youngsters who knew how to follow their leader and obey his commands.


I also knew Mr Stewart from my duties as a thirteen-year-old stationed at the hand pump by the Ladies' Showers.  Mr Stewart served in the Boiler Room there.


He was a personal friend of one of my most-respected teachers, Miss I E Phare who taught English Literature and Composition, two of my strong subjects.


It's interesting to learn from this page in Norman's scrapbook of Mr McLaren's life. Truly a remarkable man. I respect his memory. Decent chap!


Was he a bachelor or a married man? Did he have family members who were close to him during and after the war?


De: "Gay Talbot Stratford" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Mr McLaren,

Date: mardi 23 novembre 2004 20:44


Thank you so much for the profile on Mr. McLaren- and thanks to Norman too. Young as I was in camp, I recognised that here was a man of greatness. We owe much to his diplomatic skill and wisdom.

I do know he was married and had a daughter called Jennifer, a friend of a friend of ours here in rural Ontario.

Best wishes to you and yours for the Christmas season.

                                   Gay (Talbot) Stratford.


De: "Nicky & Leopold" <

À: <

Objet: Fw: Weihsien mini-meeting

Date: mardi 30 novembre 2004 11:53


Dear everybody,

It was a real nice surprise to meet with Albert de Zutter (3 short days in Brussels) and Rob Sancton (who is actually working in Brussels). Of course we talked all about our days in Weihsien --- we unfolded our red parachute and looked at the pictures and books we had. A few snapshots were taken of our little group and ---- as pictures are better when shared with others ----

Well, --- hope you like them

Best regards,




Je vous invite à consulter un de mes albums photos sur Skynet Photo Service.

Pour vous rendre sur cet album, veuillez cliquer sur le lien (*) :


De: "Donald" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Fw: Weihsien mini-meeting

Date: mardi 30 novembre 2004 15:55


At last we get to put a face and body on some familiar names!

Many thanks, as usual, to Leopold.



----- Original Message -----

From: David Birch


Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 2004 10:52 PM

Subject: Re: Fw: Weihsien mini-meeting


Thanks again, Leopold!



De: "Nicky & Leopold" <

À: <

Cc: "Janette & Pierre @ home" <

Objet: new chapter

Date: vendredi 3 décembre 2004 9:23


Dear Paul,

Dear Stan,

Many, many thanks for giving me the permission to reproduce your private documents on the Weihsien-picture-gallery-web-site. We all remember Brian's tragic accident and after reading the Committee's very complete report I am sure that memories will come back (to all of us) about your brother. Father Hanquet told me about him, so did my big sister Janette, three years older than I am and so did my Mother --- many years ago.

Best regards, and à bientôt ---



De: <

À: <

Objet: Fwd: Hello from Yantai

Date: samedi 4 décembre 2004 18:33


Hello, Everybody,

    Those of you planning to visit Yantai or Shandong may find the following information helpful.  I met Mr. Lui when I told my Chefoo and Weihsien story to a group of Chinese government officials from Shandong province at the University of New Haven, Conn., where they were participating in an education exchange program.


    Some of you may be planning trips to Shandong next year for the 60th anniversary of our liberation. 

    Mary Previte


----- Original Message -----

From: Jeff Liu


Sent: Wednesday, December 01, 2004 4:41 AM

Subject: Hello from Yantai


Dear Ms Mary T. Previte,


I let myself to take the liberty of writing to you. I knew you in your presentation in University of New Haven in 2000. At that time I was a student of UNH from Yantai, China.


I have finished the degree study of University of New Haven and been back to China. And in Feb. 2002, I was deployed to this position: deputy director of Yantai Foreign Affairs Office.


I remember that there are a group of people in the states who were born in Yantai and spent their school time in Yantai. This is a special tie between you fellow people and this city. I am willing to offer my help for you becasue of my position convinience.


Last month, I received a group of people (as many as 23) from Japan. Every member was born in Yantai and his/hers their childhood here. Now, they are very much fond of Yantai, so they organized this group to visit the school and houses they used to live in 1930s until 1945. They claimed that they were not members of military families but businessmen. Decades have passed, some of them have found the houses they used to live in Yantai.


Any help if you need, please do not hesitate to let me know.


Your truly,


Jeff Liu




My Phone number:


+ 86 535 662 8431 (office)      + 86 535 621 2917 (Fax)

+ 1380 891 3632 (mobile)


Do You Yahoo!?


De: "Tracy Strong" <

À: <

Objet: RE: Legend or facts ??

Date: jeudi 9 décembre 2004 18:19


Dear All -- John hersey was certainly not born in Weihsien, nor do I think he was interned there (from a conversation I had with him in the middle 1980's).  He was living in Tianjin in the 1920's when my grandfather (Tracy Strong) and my father (Robbins Strong) visited the Hersey's on their way to Geneva.  Hersey was also later a friend of Israel Epstein, the AP correspondant who stayed on after Liberation to become the editor of China Reconstructs.


I am the son of Robbins and Kitty Strong (decesaed in 1999) and was born in the Weihsien camp.

best wishes,

Tracy B. Strong


----- Original Message -----

From: "Tracy Strong" <

To: <

Sent: Thursday, December 09, 2004 6:22 PM

Subject: RE: Some of Hersey's Sources



Ø                 Quite so: Hersey also used the AMB archives that are in the Houghton
  Library at Harvard.  The figure in THE CALL is a composite of, I think,
  six missionaries are is to my mind one of the very best accounts of the
  complexities of the Christian Church in
Tracy B. Strong


De: "Tracy Strong" <

À: <

Objet: RE: Hello from Yantai

Date: jeudi 9 décembre 2004 18:30


For what it is worth, I visited the Weihsien camp in 1980 with my since deceased wife, Helene Keyssar, in the course of doing research for the book we published on my great-aunt, Anna Louise Strong (RIGHT IN HER SOUL: THE LIFE OF ANNA LOUISE STRONG (Random House).  The local Friendship Committee took advantage of the occasion (not many visitors to Weihsien in 1980!!) to throw a banquet with TWO bottle of Mao-Tai. 

They apologized for having torn down the building in which my parents (and I) lived, but assured me that ones there were "just like it."  The main buildings are now a Middle School if memory serves.

Greetings to you all,

Tracy B. Strong


De: "Dwight W. Whipple" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Some of Hersey's Sources

Date: jeudi 9 décembre 2004 19:55


  Hello Everyone~

  To add to the John Hersey discussion I offer the following correspondence

I had with him in 1988:


  March 1, 1988

  Dear Mr. Hersey

      Thank you for your novel, "The Call" which brought back so many memories of China to me.  Throughout the book I was reminded of so many places and thought patterns and images of life during my childhood.  I also identified with the struggle in and for faith that is represented in David Treadup.

      I enclose a copy of a letter that I have written to the Day Missions Library at Yale.  Perhaps you have information regarding this inquiry of mine.

      Again, thanks for your book which I enjoyed immensely.  I particularly appreciated the cameo appearances of your father, Roscoe M. Hersey, Sr.


      (signed) Dwight W. Whipple


  March 22, 1988

  Dear Reverend Whipple:

      Thank you for your kind letter about The Call.  The Day Library will answer your questions; they may conceivably be willing to have the materials copied for you.  A.W. March's account was of experiences at one of the other internment camps in China.

      My very best wishes to you.


      (signed) John Hersey


  For any of you "old China hands" The Call is must reading.

  ~Dwight W. Whipple

  PS I found the library at Yale to be very cooperative.


De: "Donald" <

À: <

Objet: RE: Hello from Yantai

Date: jeudi 9 décembre 2004 20:25



(This is a personal note to Tracy Strong, probably not of much interest to the rest of you.)




Your name was so familiar to me that I went back and checked my grandfather's (George Wilder) diary from Weihsien, and found the following entry:


"Aug. 2-6


Baseball: much interest in the kitchen teams.  Our Kitchen No. 3 first team lost twice to No. 1, considered the best.  No. 2 Kitchen beat the "8-Balls" and No. I.  We played No. 2 again on August 4th and won 6-5.  Steven Shaw starred by making four long fly catches B one while falling backward after a jump B and a home run in the 9th, winning the game.


Robbins Strong caught for Father Whalen in the game yesterday, just as Kitty went to the hospital to have her baby.  He went to her after the game at 8 p.m. and stayed to see the baby born at 1:50 a.m., August 6th "Tracy Burr Strong," hesitating some over the middle name, being doubtful if Aaron Burr was a traitor or not. "



You and your parents appear several more times in the Weihsien diary, and also in the Wilders' letters after they returned (with you) on the Gripsholm and were living in Oberlin.  In fact the Wilders and Strongs lived in the same house until you and your family returned to China.  One of their letters says that my sister, Betty, who was then a college student at Oberlin, was baby sitting for you.   Even I, who was about 8 years old at the time, remember your name from times when I visited my grandparents in Oberlin with my father, so I guess we must have met about 50 years ago.


If you are interested in these brief snippets about you and your parents, it's all available for you to download from the web site that I set up to distribute Wilder documents to family members - (no www. needed).  You can go to the Site Directory and click on "Documents to Download" for a list of what's available so far, and then click on the ones you want.  You should be able to find yourself using the "Find" function in MS Word.


Can you send me a brief description of what happened to your parents (and to you) after you returned to China.  I am trying to add footnotes containing such biographical material on people mentioned in the letters.


Once again, nice hearing from you.


Don Menzi



----- Original Message -----

From: "Ron Bridge" <

To: <

Sent: Thursday, December 09, 2004 10:46 PM

Subject: Re: Legend or facts ??


  I thought that we had put this to bed I am absolutely certain from all
  evidence that John Hersey was not in
Weihsien Camp
Ron Bridge




----- Original Message -----

From: David Birch


Sent: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 8:05 PM

Subject: Re: It was different for the old people




Your family obviously suffered very greatly! War really is horrible and family separation due to war can be a great hardship! How wonderful, though, to have memories of the love and faithfulness of family members who sacrificed so much in order to try to be there for those they loved!

You have a wonderful heritage! As have I!

I'm just thankful that at the end of the war our family (Dad and Mother and my brothers and sisters and I) were finally reunited in Canada. In fact, my dear mother, Grace Lillian Birch, only just died (at the age of ninety-eight years and eight months) two and a half weeks ago on January 4, 2004!

My brother John who was 11 years old in 1945 was with me in the camps at Chefoo and Weihsien. He died in a tragic motor vehicle accident after the war, in 1954. But John and I had each other during those war years. After the war, we met a little sister, Miriam, who was born in 1943 far away in inland China!

But China is basically a country that holds happy memories for me! Both my parents, and most of my teachers, as well as other adults I knew as a child, set me a wonderful example of looking on the bright side of things - even when we had very little! I'm so thankful for that! Perhaps that is why I respond so readily to Zandy Strangman's positive attitude about those days! It wasn't heaven but it was home, and lots of good things happened there!

One memory that means a lot to me even today concerns a blazing hot day in the summer of 1944. Some of us children had been moved to Block 61 from Block 23 to take the place of some young men in their twenties who were moved from their dorms in the attic of the hospital (Block 61) where they had been able to command a clear view of the countryside surrounding the camp. I had lost my little garden patch over by Block 23, so I was trying to dig another patch by the wall over near the hospital, my new home. It was tough going! The ground was baked hard by the blazing sun, and I was hacking away at it with a big ungainly mattock and making very little headway. When all of a sudden I noticed a uniformed Japanese guard looking down at me. He had a kindly smile on his face, and he motioned to let me know he wanted to help me. I handed him my heavy mattock and he readily went to work. He was bigger and much stronger than I, and soon had my little patch of hard dirt all broken and cultivated. Then he smiled and gave me back the mattock and left. I continued to work with my garden patch and was able to plant flowers and vegetables in it. I was 12-l/2 years old at the time. That was sixty years ago now, but I've never forgotten the friendliness and helpfulness of that Japanese guard. He was not the only one of our captors who showed us kindness in those days of internment!






"Theresa Granger(Myrtle Sharp)" <  wrote:

Dear Frances,


I'm so sorry that your great grandparents suffered such losses. What a pity that they felt so deprived and hurt! War is not an easy time, and there are many who are deeply hurt! I'm just so thankful that our missionary teachers were able to give us kids the ability to look on the positive side of things at Chefoo and Weihsien.


I think, in a way, we were all hurt by the war. I was separated from my parents and most of my family for about five years altogether! It wasn't ideal at all. Fortunately most of my friends went through much the same experience. Perhaps with the adaptability of childhood, we sort of naturally adjusted to the environment in which we found ourselves!


Zandy was very athletic and had the encouragement of some truly amazing Roman Catholic priests who coached him in sports - baseball and so on! A couple of my teachers, a certain Mr. Gordon Martin known as "Goopy" to us kids, did much the same for the boys and girls in their care.


I don't think either Zandy or I were offended by your reference to the rooms we occupied as "cells". We just pointed out that from our perspective the camp was not a penal institution! In fact, it was "home" for us during that time. A home that still holds many warm memories.




David wrote:

  Dear Zandy and David,

  I'm sorry to have upset you by using the term cellblock for the blocks   in Weihsien. I understand that they were originally built for bible   students and were known as cells for that purpose (as in monasteries). I   am pleased that you both have such fond memories of Weihsien and am   fully aware that for many children, internment was an exciting   adventure.

  However, for the older people there, I am told, it was quite   different. They were at the end of their working lives and they had just   lost everything they had. They didn't know how they would survive when   they left the camp. Or where they would go. And the novelty of camp life   was for them, physical hardship. My great-grandmother's husband was so   old and ill that he needed nursing care which, in the community spirit   of the camp, somebody was kind enough to give. But,




De: "Gladys Swift" <

À: <

Objet: RE: Legend or facts ??

Date: dimanche 12 décembre 2004 3:50


To Tracy B. Strong - I am pleased to hear from you as I knew your parents Robbins and Kitty Strong at Oberlin in the early 1940s.  I went to see them when my husband Lloyd Swift and I were applying to go out to China under the American Board.  Perhaps I was asking for news of my parents, still in Weihsien.   I remember Kitty telling about what a problem it was feeding her baby on the train leaving Weihsien to go on the Gripsholm.  I suppose the baby was you!  Gladys


Hubbard Swift <

Another comment:  Treadup in The Call may have been based on Hugh Hubbard (among the six) but I have not felt Treadup in any way lives up to his role model Hubbard!!!  I said that to Arthur Hersey and he said he felt the same way about Treadup and his (Hersey's) father!



 Dear All -- John hersey was certainly not born in Weihsien, nor do I think he was interned there (from a conversation I had with him in the middle 1980's).  He was living in Tianjin in the 1920's when my grandfather (Tracy Strong) and my father (Robbins Strong) visited the Hersey's on their way to Geneva.  Hersey was also later a friend of Israel Epstein, the AP correspondent who stayed on after Liberation to become the editor of China Reconstructs.


 I am the son of Robbins and Kitty Strong (deceased in 1999) and was born in the Weihsien camp.

  best wishes,

 Tracy B. Strong

 Gladys Swift wrote:


    Yes, I know that the Hersey family lived in Tientsin as my father,    Hugh Hubbard, worked with John Hersey's father in the YMCA in    Tientsin.  Gladys Hubbard Swift




De: "Gay Talbot Stratford" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Father Scanlon's Memoir

Date: mardi 21 décembre 2004 18:46


May everyone have a blessed Christmas and a safe New Year.

Gay Talbot Stratford


De: "Raymond Moore" <

À: <

Objet: Re: Father Scanlon's Memoir

Date: mardi 21 décembre 2004 20:19


I got my copy of Father Scanlon's book online through Abe Books at


I also want to wish everyone a happy Christmas.  I have been writing up my story for my children,, and have found the Weihsien reminiscences a real stimulus to my memories.   Thank you to everyone.   I still have trouble remembering how we celebrated Christmas in camp.


Ray Moore


De: <

À: <

Objet: No Subject

Date: mercredi 22 décembre 2004 1:24



    I hope you've intercepted the long-hidden Christmas present from

Weihsien, which I've forwarded to the Weihsien network..  Greg Leck found a photograph in the National Archives, tucked in among some from the Doolittle Raiders. He forwarded it to me for identification.   Bless Greg one thousand times!   I couldn't believe my eyes when the pictures came up on the screen.  My brother John, my sister Kathleen who died of lupus about 7 years later,   me - just turned 13 a couple of days before.  I wanted to weep with remembering.   What a gift, Greg!  I wanted  to hug the world.


    Do you remember when you looked like that, Raymond?  David Allen and I think the photo was taken on Septmber 10, 1945, when six Chefoo School students were evacuated in the second planeload out of Weihsien.  We flew from the airstrip outside the camp to the OSS airbase in Si-an, the first step to being reunited with our parents after 5 1/2 years of separation.  The photo must have been taken either at the Weihsien air strip or the airbase in Si-an.  Pictured here are #1- Raymond Moore;  #2 - David Allen;  #3 - John Taylor;  #4 - Mary Taylor (Previte);  #5 -Kathleen Taylor.  Jamie Taylor was also in the group, but is not included in the photos.  I've asked Greg if he can show us the whole photograph.  On my refrigerator, I keep a photo taken of us six Chefoo students eating cake with an OSS officer at the OSS base in Si-an that same night.

    At the time -- 1945, Kathleen was madly in love with and sort of betrothed to Douglas Finlay, 6' 6 1/2", one of the unattached men who was transplanted from the hospital after the escape of Hummel and Tipton.  After that September 10 goodbye, Kathleen and Doug never saw each other again.

    Does anyone remember the Christmas pudding the cooks in Kitchen Number One made?  They must have hoarded the sugar.  After our steady and dwindling diet of boiled lu-doh and gaoliang, the pudding almost made me sick.  Much too rich.  I kept it on a shelf in the dormitory until it gathered dust.

    Thank you, Natasha, for this priceless gift of linking us together with this Weihien network.  I brings me constant joy and surprises.

    And thank you, Greg Leck, for this photograph -- a priceless treasure.

    Happy Christmas, everyone.


    Mary Taylor Previte


De: "Joyce Cook" <

À: <

Date: mercredi 22 décembre 2004 6:47


To all WeiHsieners. First of all, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We are basking in about 29 . Celsius here in Sydney and are enjoying it.


 Now some sad news and I quote from a Charlottesville, VA newspaper (taken from the Washington Post);

Headed "Langdon Gilkey, 85, theologian transformed by WW11 internment."


Langdon Gilkey, 85 an eminent Protestant Theologian who wrote of the relevance of God in a 'Time of troubles"died of meningitis Nov. 19 at the university of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville.  He once quoted theologian Edgar Brightman as having said, 'I believe in God because I believe that history represents a steady moral, progress.

To Mr. Gilkey, whose formative experience was spending World War 11 in a Japanese Internment camp, the opposite was true. " I believe in God because to me history precisely does not represent such a progress"

Long based at the University he wrote some 20 books and hundreds of scholarly papers on the meaning of religion in an increasingly secular age. His career also touched on aspects of the civil rights era. Vatican II reforms and the creationism vs evolution controversy.

His testimony in a land mark 1981 case affecting Arkansas public schools helped end a requirement that gave creation science parallel treatment  with evolution.

Mr. Gilkey was born in Chicago on Feb. 9, 1919.  His father was a liberal Baptist Minister and the first’s dean of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago.

Despite his father's profession he said, "I was, I suppose, an ethical humanist if I was anything"

At Harvard University, where he was a classmate of John F., Kennedy's and of future Cardinal Avery Dulles' he began to develop pacifist beliefs.

He received his doctorate in religion from Columbia University."

 I am sure most of you will remember Langdon in WeiHsien as a lovely man, always friendly and helpful. I am sorry for his -passing.  He wrote a book on his time in WeiHssien titled Shantung Compound. Joyce Bradbury.


De: "Tracy Strong" <

À: <

Objet: RE:

Date: mercredi 22 décembre 2004 14:48


I am very sorry to hear of Langdon Gilkey's death.  Aside from his writings in theology, the memoir of Weihsien is, to my political theorist's eye, one of the most interesting studies in social contract and small group politics that I know of.  As a political problem:  put 800 adults who speak the same language together into a limited space, with limited resources, with the requirement of performing certain tasks both for themselves and for others, and tell them to organize themselves:  what works? what does not?  What behaviors can be tolerated? which cannot be?

 Wonderful book.


best wishes to all for a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Improved New Year.



Tracy B. Strong

Professeur et directeur, Centre d'études

Université de Californie</

18, quai Claude Bernard

69365 LYON France

EAP Phone: (011-33)(0) 4-72-73-48-29</  

Tel. domicile: 04 78 37 58 73

Mobile: 06 21 56 78 34</