An English Schoolboy in War-torn China

Walford Gillison talks to Rana Mitter about his childhood in China.

Walford Gillison, a missionary son born in Wuhan, was a neutral during China’s war with Japan. He was semi-imprisoned after Pearl Harbor, but a full POW in Yangzhou from March 1942. In his book, he describes everyday life in an over-crowded camp with 600 people. He recounts the food shortage, lack of privacy, steaming summers and below-zero winters. Health was achieved thanks to the dedicated medico-nursing staff in a make-shift hospital. Education was achieved thanks to amazing teachers using minimal equipment. His release was delayed for seven weeks due to political turmoil outside the prison gates. Walford Gillison eventually became a surgeon in the West Midlands before retirement.