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Mary Previte mtprevite@aol.com [weihsien_camp]
Sun, 26 Mar 2017 at 20:14
[weihsien_camp] Joseph Cotterill's 100th birthday celebration

Thank you to Peter Bazire for this report.

Mary Taylor Previte

On March 11th 2017 over a hundred friends and relatives gathered at a fine village hall in Oxfordshire to celebrate the 100th birthday of Joe Cotterill. We sat down to a tasty lunch, and this was followed by many reminiscences of Joe’s interesting life.

For those of us who were in Weihsien for the last years of the war, we were glad to hear about his marriage to Jeannie Hills, the Chefoo School history teacher. In Weihsien there was a Salvation Army Band, conducted by Brigadier Len Stranks. The band played twice a week outside, one of which was outside the camp hospital. In the camp Joe shared a room with Eric Liddell, the Olympic athlete who broke the 400 metre world record in the 1924 Paris Olympics. Joe and Eric were close friends. In February 1945 Eric was seriously ill, and requested from his hospital bed that the band play one of his favourite hymns: “Be Still My Soul”. He died a day or two later. I, Peter Bazire, was then aged 14 and played in that band. At Joe’s party I, a lone trumpeter, played the same tune on my old Weihsien trumpet as I had in the band 72 years earlier.

Brigadier Stranks had two daughters. After the war Joyce, the younger one, married Marcy Ditmanson (who also had played in the band). After the war Joe and Jeannie returned to England. Joe became a government chemist, reaching a high rank. Jeannie taught in schools, and later became a senior lecturer in a teachers’ training college. Jeannie died in 1988.

Marcy Ditmanson died in 2000. Some years later Joe & Joyce married and live in the Oxfordshire village.

The party ended with the singing of “Lord, for the years thy love has blessed and guided, sought us and saved us, pardoned and provided; Lord of the years, we give you thanks today”. Then came the cutting of a magnificent cake made by one of Joe’s parishioners.

Joe’s party was a most enjoyable and moving occasion. Other ex-Weihsieners present were Margaret (Vinden) Holder, Kath (Strange) Foster, and Jean (Murray) McDermid who was actually born in Weihsien.

Peter Bazire

tapol@skynet.be [weihsien_camp]
Wed, 15 Mar 2017 at 17:09
[weihsien_camp] Eddie Wang

Dear All,

Eddie Wang has written his complete biography for us …

You can read and print it from the Weihsien-Paintings’ website … go to the “Seven Magnificent Men’s” chapter and click on the last entry in the left column :

For the “printer-friendly” versions, I added images and a A4-layout in two columns …
… enjoy

… all this thanks to Eddie …
Best regards,

Mary Previte mtprevite@aol.com [weihsien_camp]
Mon, 6 Mar 2017 at 16:00
[Attachment(s) from Mary Previte included below]
[weihsien_camp] Weihsien-er Joseph Cotterill celebrating 100th birthday this week [5 Attachments]

Let’s flood Joseph with e-mail birthday greetings. josephcotterill@hotmail.com

Joseph Cotterill, who married our Chefoo School teacher, Jeannie Hills, in Weihsien, will celebrate his 100th birthday on March 11, this Saturday.

As far as I know, he is now the oldest living Weihsien internee. In Weihsien, Joseph roomed in the same single men’s dormitory as Eric Liddell.

To celebrate, Joseph’s wife, Joyce Stranks Ditmanson Cotterill, tells me they will rejoice with 110 guests, in a village-wide party. She says she and Joseph are still recuperating from jet lag, returning from wintering in Arizona in the USA. Now age 80, Joyce says she has lots of help arranging this party.

Our very own Peter Bazire — bless him! — tells me that at this village party, he will play the trumpet he played in Weihsien, playing Be Still My Soul. Peter says that while the whole Salvation Army band played that hymn for Eric Liddell just a day or so before Eric died, on Saturday, Peter will be playing alone.

Here’s the Salvation Army Band in Weihsien. Photo couresy of Leopold Pander’s Weihsien web site.

Chefusian Kathleen Strange Foster will also attend this celebration.

Having met Joseph and Joyce Cotterll at the 2015 reunion in Weifang, Weihsien liberator, “Eddie“ Wang, tells me he is sending his birthday greetings.

I’ve asked Peter to send a detail-by-detail report of this celebration. — photos, too, please, Peter. And get someone to take a photo of you playing your trumpet. (Did you know that Peter still plays with professional musicians in community concerts?)

How amazing is this — Joseph Cotterill — 100 years of age! Oh, my sakes alive! Does Joseph get to blow out 100 candles on his birthday cake? I hope the queen sends her greetings.

Mary Taylor Previte

[click on the photo]