LILIAN, KATHRYN, PAUL and JAMES
… to whom I have
recounted these stories many times.
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.
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.
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.
LESLIE T. LYALL
Retired O.M.F. missionary
and well-known author on the Chinese Church.