Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Myrtle Bailey and the Japanese Invasion and Occupation of Hong Kong

This is my third entry in my miniseries on the newspaper articles mentioning my great grand aunt, Myrtle Bailey. She lived through extremely interesting historical times in her life as a missionary to China and Hong Kong in the first half of the 20th century which can be broken up into approximately one major historical event per decade, so I’ve divided the miniseries into decades. In the 1940s, Myrtle lived in Hong Kong during the surprise Japanese invasion and subsequent occupation of Hong Kong. She also participated in the repatriation exchange of women, children, diplomats, prisoners of war, and other nationals between Japan and the United States/Canada and other allied nations in 1942.

This decade’s news articles about Myrtle constituted a cross between those of the 1920s and the 1930s for me, in that, like the articles from the 1920s, they did tell an exciting story of what happened, albeit all in retrospect, and, like those from the 1930s, provided many clues for my contextual history research to flesh out the story.


Climbing My Family Tree: ”Missionary Returning” 18 August 1942, The Findlay Republican Courier, p. 13
”Missionary Returning”
18 August 1942, The Findlay Republican Courier, p. 13.
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Transcription:


MISSIONARY RETURNING

Miss Myrtle Bailey Expected to Arrive Here From Brazil Soon

Miss Myrtle Bailey who has been a missionary in Hong Kong China for 26 years is on her way home. Miss Bailey wrote her sister, Mrs. Phillip A. Snyder, that she expected to be here within the next two weeks.

The letter was sent from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and dated August 1 so that her arrival is now expected daily. This is the first letter Mrs. Phillip Snyder has received since last November. Miss Bailey visited here five years ago.



Climbing My Family Tree: ”Missionary now home” 14 September 1942, The Findlay Republican Courier p. 12
”Missionary Now Home”
14 September 1942, The Findlay Republican Courier p. 12
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Transcription:


MISSIONARY NOW HOME

Miss Myrtle Bailey Hastens Last Lap of Trip from Hong Kong Due To Death of Niece

Miss Myrtle Bailey, for 25 years a missionary in China has returned from Hong Kong to Findlay, which is her home city.

She came in on the steam ship “Gripsholm,” the refugee ship landing in New York City on August 23. Miss Bailey was two months on the voyage across two oceans. She was very weary so was resting for a Few days in New York when she received the sad news of the death of her niece, Mrs. Christine Buntz, victim of an auto accident last week.

Miss Bailey came on immediately and is now with her sister, Mrs. Pauline Snyder, 535 Tiffin Avenue, where she will remain for the present.



Climbing My Family Tree: ”Missionary will tell of Hong Kong”, 19 September 1942, Findlay Republican Courier, p 13.-A

Climbing My Family Tree: ”Missionary will tell of Hong Kong”, 19 September 1942, Findlay Republican Courier, p 13. - B
            "Missionary will tell of Hong Kong”, 
19 September 1942, Findlay Republican Courier, p 13.
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Transcription:


MISSIONARY WILL TELL OF HONG KONG

Miss Myrtle Bailey to Speak at Assembly Of God Sunday Evening

The Sunday evening service at the Assembly of God, 406 East Sandusky St., 7:45 p.m. will be missionary in nature. Miss Myrtle Bailey from Hong Kong will tell of her experiences during the invasion by the Japs. Her topic will be “Hong Kong under the Fire of Japanese Bombs.”

Miss Bailey has spent 20 years as missionary in China. She was surrounded by the Japanese military authorities for several months and was among those recently arrived in the United States under the exchange agreement between the two nations.

At 10:45 a.m. service, the pastor, Rev. Benson B. Compton will speak on “a yoke for two That.” It will be the fourth and last of a series of sermons the pastor has been presenting on that theme. The Sunday school lesson, “The Valley of Dry Bones,” is at 9:30 a.m.



Climbing My Family Tree: ”Missionary tells of Bombings” 21 September 1942, The Findlay Republican Courier, p. 3
”Missionary tells of Bombings” 21 September 1942, The Findlay Republican Courier, p. 3
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Transcription:

MISSIONARY TELLS OF JAP BOMBINGS

Myrtle Bailey Relates Experiences in Attack on Hong Kong

“Hong Kong thought it was prepared, but it was caught off guard, “ Miss Myrtle bailey told the Assembly of God, 406 E. Sandusky Street, Sunday Evening.
Miss Bailey has spent 20 years as a missionary in China and lived in Hong Kong during the Japanese bombing.

“The Japanese crept in from the back, camouflaged by weeds and grass. They were in front of Hong Kong before the British saw them move, “ Miss Bailey said. On the ferry on British soldier told her that the Japs outnumbered the Allies in Hong Kong 20 to 1.

“The attack was sudden,” the speaker continued. “First the bombers set fire to the aerodromes then they stormed the warehouses where a two year food supply was stored. The Allies could do nothing but retreat to Hong Kong Island, “ she said.

Most of the damage was done in the tenement districts. Most of the government buildings and banks were saved, she explained.

Miss Bailey said she lived on the mainland at the very edge of Hong Kong’s foreign settlement, next to the Chinese section. The Japanese took the house opposite her for Red Cross headquarters. Three others near her were taken for barracks. One Jap officer lived on the second floor of her home. “They just took what they wanted, “ Miss Bailey said.

The speaker said she was never interned in a camp but was virtually a prisoner in her own home for seven and a half months. She had almost given up hope when word came that she could leave.

When in China Miss Bailey established two missions, two schools, a boys’ and a girls’, opened a Bible school, and kept 15 orphans in her home.

A Red Cross shipment of food stuff was used to aid Hong Kong. Miss Bailey said she had eight large bags in her home when the bombings came. Fifty people were in her home during the bombings.

“I know what starvation is,” Miss Bailey said. “The older girls knitted for the Japs to get food, and the younger girls sold candy and cakes on the streets. We sold our furniture – everything, even to the typewriter.”

Finally word came through a Red Cross representative that she could leave but could only take four suitcases with her. She was on the Japanese Ship Asama Maru until she reached Lourenco Marques. There Gripsholm picked up the refugees and brought them to New York. There were 500 to 700 missionaries on the ship, she said.



Climbing My Family Tree: ”Missionary Will Speak to W. M. S.” 29 September 1942, Findlay Republican Courier, p 5

”Missionary Will Speak to W. M. S.”
29 September 1942, Findlay Republican Courier, p 5.
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Transcription: 

Missionary Will Speak to W. M. S.

The Women’s Missionary Society of St. Paul’s Evangelical Church will meet at 730 o’clock Wednesday evening, September 30, in the church auditorium.

Miss Myrtle Bailey who has spent 25 years in China will give a talk on conditions among the Chinese people and tell of her trip homeward. Both men and women are invited to attend this meeting to hear Ms. Bailey speak.

Mr. M. S. King, president, will have charge of the business meeting. The program committee also has arranged the following numbers for the program.

Devotions in charge of Mrs. Hoker; solo by Mrs. Vera Hummel; outline of new study book by Mrs. Gladys Scothorn; women’s quartet; offering in charge of Rev. L. H. Naumann.



Climbing My Family Tree: ”Leaving for China” 20 September 1947, Findlay Republican Courier, p 9
”Leaving for China”
20 September 1947, Findlay Republican Courier, p 9
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Transcription:

Leaving for China – Miss Myrtle Bailey, who has been visiting with her sister, Mrs. Pauline Snyder, 535 Tiffin Ave., will leave today for San Francisco where she will embark for Hong Kong to return to her work in the mission field which was interrupted by the Japanese invasion five years ago. The mission school and girls school has resumed operation while Ms. Bailey hopes to get a boys school and Bible school started.



 By 1953, all Protestant missionaries had been expelled by the communist government of China.  


4 comments:

  1. Myrtle lived an amazing life, Jo. She was one adventurous and courageous woman.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I wish I'd known her in life. I was 1o when she died, but never met her. She is an inspiration to me now.

      Delete
  2. I've been interested in Myrtle's story since you started writing about her, and I still find her fascinating!

    I have just discovered a great aunt who was a missionary in Assam and I'm sure her life was interesting. I just wrote a post about her (Esther Stanard Dring), but I have far fewer details about Esther than you have about Myrtle. I hope to learn more as I have more time to research, but isn't it amazing what the women in our families did?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is. Myrtle is an inspiration to me now.

      I hope you find out lots about your aunt, too. Now I'm off to read your post about Esther!

      Delete

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