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From Stan & Paul Thompson's

One of the leaflets that astonished us all by fluttering down into our Weihsien CAC - from a silver airplane.

In 1945, I was evacuated from Weihsien - with a cluster of other Chefoo people. We went by train from Weifang to Qingdao. (I can be seen in one of Norman Cliff's (?) photos of this trip.)

Upon arriving in "Tsingtao" we were each given, as a welcoming gesture, a little silk handkerchief printed with a grapevine pattern. It was stamped with the words "Lee Sien Liang (Liang Li Xian ?) / Mayor of Tsingtao". This little hanky (28 x 28 cm) - only valued for its associated memories - has lain in a tobacco tin, untouched for 60 years.

Stan Thompson (H. Stanley Thompson, Chefoo-Weixian, 1938-1945)

This painting, as you know, was made in the Weihsien C.A.C. in Weifang, Shandong, in 1942 or 1943.

It is signed by the artist, P.A.Travers-Smith, RA. It is a painterly afternoon scene looking across farm fields, and over an angular river. I had looked at it several times before it came to me that this was a version of the familiar view that we had from the East window of the “Thompson room” (a room at the end of the East Wing of the Hospital on the second floor.) It was a view that I had seen at all times of the day and in all kinds of weather, during 1944 and 1945. It is offered in this painting in warm afternoon sunlight.

(I would suggest that the painting might have been made at the East end of the 2nd or the 3rd floor – or even from the attic or , for that matter, from a window in the South wing)

Looking at the scene on GoogleEarth, I can wonder if the village in the distance might have been Li jia cun (?).

We had watched workers come out from the village and spend many hours flipping the sweet-potato vines from one side to the other – probably so that the plant would not send out a lot of new roots along the vine, and thus waste its available energy in making lots of low-value, small potatoes.

The little stream, can, I believe, still be seen on Google Earth today as part of a wide waterway, now winding among the tall buildings of the modern city of Weifang, and bridged by many four-lane highways.

If the hospital is to be made into a sort of museum, and if this view to the East is still available from the hospital today. - it might be worthwhile to get (or make) a 24 inch framed print of Travers-Smith's painting, to put on the wall beside a window - through which Travers-Smith might have been looking when he painted this picture. This

This photo (taken in 2012) shows the north face of the East Wing of the Hospital in Weihsien. The two windows just above the pink van are the windows of The Thompson Room (occupied by my mother (Ella Thompson), my brother Paul, my sister Joan, and myself, during 1944 and until liberation in '45. (My brother Brian lived with "the big boys" in an attic dormitory, two floors above.)

And this photo of The Hospital, (taken from the NE in 2012) shows that the Thompson room also had an East-facing window that looked over the nearby wall of the camp. However, to match the view-point of the Travers-Smith painting today, it may require a view from a high window in the South wing of the hospital - just to be able to see around the tall modern building - shown here standing to the East of the old Hospital.


Stan Thompson (thompson@ginniff.com)
2096 Kestrel Ridge SW, Oxford, IA, 52322