Letters Received from Lunghua Camp Internees Following Publication of Empire of the Sun

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 58 Add MS 88938/2/1/6
  • Alternative Id.
      (ark) ark:/81055/vdc_100000001201.0x0003b9
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      1 file

Scope and Content

Letters, with some enclosures, that comment upon personal experience of Lunghua Camp in the light of reading Ballard, Empire of the Sun:

1. Fred H Artindale, California (dated 1 March, without year), enclosing a photocopy of a photograph of Lunghua Pagoda taken by Artindale 'in the early twenties'. Artindale's letter has been annotated in Ballard's hand (red ink): against Artindale's (mis-)statement that 'We were all in "D" Block', Ballard has written: 'No - Ballards in G Block'.

2. G S Dunkley, Henley on Thames (31 October 1984), 'distressed at the lurid picture drawn in your book', and enclosing a letter (20 October 1984) from F T Ranson FRCS, also a former internee, who describes the book as a 'wild imagining' in which 'nearly everything you say about the camp is wrong'.

3. James Maas, Republic of Panama (15 November 1991), a long letter (4 sheets) prompted by Ballard's article 'Unlocking the Past' (Daily Telegraph, 21 September 1991). Maas remembers Ballard's father: 'I remember standing at the window [...] and watching your father walking with his long strides past the Assembly Hall [...]'. The letter is accompanied by:

  • a plan of 'Lungwa Civil Assembly Centre Shanghai 1943-1945' (Maas refers to his father having had the plan prepared);
  • a photocopy of the same plan, showing the route from the entrance to G Block marked (by Ballard?) in red;
  • an alphabetical 'List of Adult British, American, Belgian and Dutch Internees 1943' (21 numbered photocopied sheets, showing Ballard's parents on the first sheet - where the copy is illegible Maas has added names in ink by hand);
  • an alphabetical list of internees 'From Pootung' (2 photocopied sheets adhered together at their top edges - where the copy is illegible Maas has added names in ink by hand);
  • a single-sheet photocopy of two pages from a small ring-bound notebook listing 'G Block occupants Lunghua Camp Shanghai 43-45' - the list includes 'Artindale' (see above) and 'Ballard' [N.B. It is posiible that this list, discovered as an unattached sheet amongst Ballard's papers, did not derive from Maas: it has been placed here by the archivist as a plausible source, since it does not appear to derive from Braidwood - for which, see below - and conveniently accompanies the other lists of occupants];
  • 'Water', dated 20 April 1944 (4 sheets typescript with occasional corrections by hand, signed 'N Maas i/c P.W.D.') - a technical account of water supply and storage.

4. Julia Reilly, London (20 October 1984): 'you have caught the flavour of the place remarkably'.

5. Mrs D K Storey, New York (without date): 'I was 8½ when we went into Lunghua [...] I had a much more protected time than you as I was with my parents in a corner room of D Block'. The autograph letter is written on the verso of two photocopy sheets showing captioned photographs of Lunghua Camp published in The Shanghai Evening Post and Mercury (11 January 1946).

For further documents deriving from Lunghua Camp (received by Ballard from Margaret Braidwood in December 1996), see Add MS 88938/2/1/7.

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Not Public Record(s)