to whom I have recounted these stories many times.





THE 1937-45 war in the Pacific began disastrously for China, and continued even more disastrously for Britain and America after Pearl Harbour; but finally ended in triumph for the Allies and defeat for Japan and her grandiose vision of a Greater East Asia Co prosperity Sphere.


Inevitably, civilians were caught up in the maelstrom of war. Internee camps were set up by the Japanese in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Korea, Taiwan and Japan itself. These were rigorously, often harshly administered. Over thirty years have passed since the Allied victory brought dramatic release to the internees who had suffered severe privation and often brutality at Japanese hands. However, war memories may be fading for most of us but the memories of the internees have been indelibly imprinted with the events of those years.


Norman Cliff, son of missionary parents and descended through his mother from Benjamin Broomhall, brother-in-law to Hudson Taylor, was one of those internees. The Staff and children of the Chefoo Schools, after being confined temporarily in the northern port of Chefoo, eventually joined a much larger international community inland, for the duration of the war. This book is a very personal record of reminiscences of the author's formative years in Chefoo, and the unwelcome interlude between the end of his High School education and the commencement of his career as an accountant and in the Christian ministry. This interlude of forcible detention, while armies fought on the world's battlefields, was one of increasing strain on human nature and of growing frustration. Rough living conditions and severe food shortages entailed severe hardships. But there was light as well as shade. Individual Christians lived courageously and selflessly for the inspiration and strengthening of others and helped to maintain the sagging morale. The author himself, as with others among the teenagers, found his faith tested but came through to a deeper, more real Christian experience. This in turn led to his call to the ministry of the Church.


Faith in God and God's faithfulness shine from the pages of what might easily have become a story of squalor and degradation.


Crowborough 1977


Retired O.M.F. missionary and well-known author on the Chinese Church.