go to home page

... the most recent messages are on top !

Nick Laws nmlaws@me.com [weihsien_camp]
Tue, 23 May 2017 at 17:50
[weihsien_camp] Search for Grandfather

I would be grateful for any information on my Grandfather who was interned in Weishien during the war.

My Grandfather was Albert ‘Jimmy’ Laws. He had been living and working in Harbin as an Accountant for British American Tobacco from the 30’s when the Japanese first came into Manchuria. My Grandfather survived the war and died in his early 80’s. My Grandmother had ‘escaped’ to Canada and the USA, managing to get back back to the UK on a convoy in 1944(?) to be reunited with my Father who had been left in the care of school teachers.

I remember my Grandfather as being a quiet ‘Gentleman’.

I am also intersted to find out if you or your contacts may have any information on a Russian Lady who I knew as ‘Claudia Howard Ford’. She had known my Grandparents in Harbin, Manchuria and then was interned herself. I believe that she married an American ( Howard...Ford??) possibly in the camp? I know that after the war it was discovered that he was already married. She then came to London where she looked after some bedsit apartments in South Kensington. For me, the remarkable part of the story is that Claudia played ‘cupid’ and introduced my Father to my Mother who was staying in Claudia’s bedsit. My Father was on his way back from leave to return to Assam as a Tea Planter. On the second day of meeting my Mother he asked her to marry him!! 3 months later my Mother was travelling out to Assam to marry a Man she had only briefly met! I am happy to say they were happily married for 55 years and regretfully died within a few months of each other 7 years ago.

I would be grateful if you are able to pass on any further information of anyone who may have know my Grandfather ( Albert ‘ Jimmy’ Laws) or perhaps may have known Claudia ‘Howard Ford’?

Thank you for any help you are able to provide.
Nick Laws ( Grandson)

Esther rank@mailbox.co.uk [weihsien_camp]
Tue, 23 May 2017 at 10:49
Re: [weihsien_camp] Journalist Michael Rank** do send me your E mail address

Hello Angela,

Michael and I share this email (rank@mailbox.co.uk).

All good wishes,

Angela angelalousia@yahoo.ca [weihsien_camp]
Tue, 23 May 2017 at 07:42
Re: [weihsien_camp] Journalist Michael Rank** do send me your E mail address
1030 pm Mon may 22

Hi Esther

Please send me your personal e mail to angelalousia@yahoo.ca
I/d like to send you a personal e mail re Michael

sincerely Angela


Esther rank@mailbox.co.uk [weihsien_camp]
Sun, 21 May 2017 at 12:28
[weihsien_camp] Journalist Michael Rank


My husband Michael Rank was involved in the Weihsien camp group and accompanying many of you to Weihsien two years back was a great honour for him.

I wanted to tell you that Michael died, aged 67, on May 20, 2017 in London.

Michael had a myriad of interests -- birdwatching, North Korea, politics, languages, linguistics and above all China which was so much a part of his life-- and trying to tell so many people/colleagues/organisations will prove challenging. If you could tell those you are in contact with who may have known Michael we would appreciate that. And of course if anyone wishes to contact us directly that would be fine.

Michael managed to do a lot since his cancer diagnosis in 2012 including that final visit to China in 2015. He withstood a lot of treatment and never complained. During his last three weeks in hospice he was given incredibly kind and professional care. We couldn't have asked for better.

With best wishes,
Esther Rank

Angela angelalousia@yahoo.ca [weihsien_camp]
Fri, 5 May 2017 at 02:18
Re: [weihsien_camp] Autographed Weihsien parachute silk
800 am fri may 5

Hello from Tianjin ,

Am presently visiting for China/Belgium 120 years friendship exhibit Tianjin museum o f modern history.

What a nice write up as well as all the ones Mary Previte has sent I was born in camp but with Maida Harris Campbell the day the gates opened -just over 2 yrs old & alas have no recollection but all these stories make it all very vivid. It definitely was a good cause to sew on a sunday & a job well done.

My late mother collected parachute materiel & made cushion covers once back in Tientsin - they werent taken when we left 1956 but do recall the red & yellow colors. The material indeed very strong. She even had strips of cord which i donated to Mr Shu Suide at the Weihsien reunion 2015 & a small strip to Eddie .

Angela Cox

Mary Previte mtprevite@aol.com [weihsien_camp]
Thu, 4 May 2017 at 18:55
Re: [weihsien_camp] Autographed Weihsien parachute silk

Estelle, what wonderful details that I've never known before.

Please, please send these out on the Weihsien-camp yahoo groups network.

I'll pass them on to Helen Leavey, who wrote the wonderful story about Joseph Cotterill's 100th birthday celebration that appeared in South China Morning Post. She continues to be interested in the Weihsien story.


Sent from my iPad

estelle.m.horne@gmail.com [weihsien_camp]
To:Mary Previte mtprevite@aol.com [weihsien_camp]
Thu, 4 May 2017 at 17:08
[Attachment(s) from estelle.m.horne@gmail.com included below]
RE: [weihsien_camp] Autographed Weihsien parachute silk [1 Attachment]

I was also in Weihsien Camp, a schoolgirl of 16. The first parachutes came down on Friday, 17th August 1945. The colour, shown in the sample that you have, was a non-descript, perhaps camouflaged – it would fall into 8 foot sorghum, gaoliang to us. The tassels waving at the top would be beige from above. On Saturday the 18th there was another drop, this time of red parachutes, their loads consisting of basic radio equipment and other essentials for the pioneer soldiers.

They had seen a small airport near the camp, and the American soldiers quietly went to investigate it. Was it guarded all day? How many planes took off in a day? The answer was that it was seldom used, and unguarded. They went to our headmistress, and asked if there were some teenage girls who could do some sewing for them. Could we cut the red silk (Nylon just beginning, and no other artificial yarn in those days) into strips and make a message. We were recruited for this job.

We cut the material into strip about 18 inches wide, and pinned them onto strong paper making the words “OK TO LAND”. This notice was pegged across the small airport, and some GIs were deputised to guard the field. We were so proud that we could actually do something to help the war effort. BUT there was a little problem! We had been brought up to do no work on Sunday, “the Sabbath”! It took us some discussion while we were sewing, to decide that this was life-saving, urgent work, and we were satisfied.

Estelle (Cliff) Horne

Mary Previte mtprevite@aol.com [weihsien_camp]
Mon, 1 May 2017 at 15:18
Re: [weihsien_camp] FW: Sunday Morning Post - Centenarian recalls Eric Liddell, Chinese internment camp roommate

Beautifully done! This flooded me with memories.

Mary Taylor Previte

Sent from my iPad

tapol@skynet.be [weihsien_camp]
To:'Nicholas Kitto',njkitto@netnavigator.com,weihsien_camp@yahoogroups.com
Mon, 1 May 2017 at 09:01
[Attachment(s) from tapol@skynet.be included below]
[weihsien_camp] FW: Sunday Morning Post - Centenarian recalls Eric Liddell, Chinese internment camp roommate [1 Attachment]

Dear Nicholas,

Many thanks for the URL that I shall forward to the Yahoo Weihsien group with this message.

As for your relatives mentioned in your message, I hope that somebody will remember and be able to help you. I guess that you already found it on the website at
in Norman Cliff’s chapter and the exact location of the grave is noted on the adjoining map.

All documents and information about Weihsien are to be transferred to me. I am the webmaster of this (now) voluminous website … free access to all and non-commercial. I would be glad and honoured to open a new chapter with whatever information you could send to me about that period of our history.

Thanks for the links to your remarkable photos that are also accessible via the Weihsien-Paintings’ website at:
(scroll to the bottom of the page)

… all the best,

P.S.: do you have any photos of the “LEOPOLD building” in Tianjin with the logo “Leopold” written on it? When we were kids, just after the war ― in Tientsin ― my sister remembers being able to read the name of her baby brother with what she had learned at school in Weihsien-camp. She was just seven years old.