From the ship SS Kaifeng? off Shanghai. This is the last Sunday of 1939 after a hectic week. They left Hong Kong a week ago today and arrived in Shanghai early on Wednesday. He was kindly met by Ronald Rees (Emily should send a note of appreciation to his wife) and he spent all day doing necessary things before going to the Allans [family of Charles Wilfred Allan] for tea. Their house will be essentially H B R's headquarters as he moves in and around Shanghai. Thursday and Friday were filled with meetings and interviews. There is a bureau of Japanese affairs now at the Consulate which acts as a channel of communication with Japanese officials. He is hopeful that travel will be somewhat faster here than it was in the South.
Walter Allan is to be married on January 27 to Miss Dorothy Harmon, a nurse at the Leicester Hospital.
H B R managed to have lunch with Mr Fryer at the [unreadable word] Shop. Reference is made to Roberta who has recently recovered from malaria.
The Blind School premises has been completely restored but there is some registration problem preventing the school from moving back in at present. There are at present about two hundred blind and dumb pupils under Fryer's charge. He did so well in New York at raising money that apparently for the first time in the history of the school, they are out of debt and even have a considerable balance at the bank. So not everything is a cause for pessimism.
He has also met with the Hudspeths [family of William Hudspeth] and a lot of other people including Miss Spurling who is pretty much the same. She is living on the edge of the French settlement. The [Missionary?] Home is a little old-fashioned but housing is a problem in this over-crowded city. There is no trace of the bombing tragedy in the Nanking Road or the French Concession - all has been rebuilt and restored. Everything south of Soochow creek is more hectic than ever. North of the creek is a different matter. Military authorities in times of war do not consider peaceable settlement. 'Their aim is strength & authority. There is little except Japanese shipping in the river & much of that is military & naval'. There is more of an international presence here than he had expected although that is liable to be reduced because of the outbreak of war in Europe.
Mr Richardson of Wesley College is in Shanghai on his way to the United States to join his family. [George Robson] Osborn is also expected here, hoping to fly home at his father's expense.
H B R will be here for the Conference week February 1-7. This will be held at the Methodist Moore[?] Memorial Church, a wonderful place where the Soochow University has been temporarily housed.
He has been warned that the weather in North China might be cold so he has picked up a zip leather jacket. So far this trip has not been cold but this may change of course as one goes further north.
'[David Howard] Smith speaks with confidence of Peiping [Peking] & Wuching[?]. In that case I shall see everybody including [Dr John Wesley] Pell or Pells'. [Dr John Wesley Pell; Medical Missionary. First appointed to China in 1892.]
Ningpo, Wenchow and Hupeh remain to be visited. It all depends on speed and ease of communications but he does not think that he can get to England before the end of April. There are places where flying might alter things.
Soon he will be sixty-two and Emily will be eight years younger. She should regard this as her birthday letter and should spend £1 on herself for a present from him.
Hopefully 1940 will bring a just peace to the world. Hitler seems broken already. The Finnish resistance to the Russians [the Winter War] is truly admirable and has exploded the myth of Russian invincibility.
- Ronald David Rees (1888-1975) was born in Weston-super-Mare, the son of a Wesleyan minister. He was educated at Trinity College Oxford and after graduate studies in Theology at Mansfield College, was accepted for the Methodist ministry in 1913. He was immediately appointed assistant tutor at Handsworth College and after two years there, spent five years serving with the Student Christian Movement. During this period he also saw service in France during World War 1 as an officer in the Royal Artillery. In 1922, Rees was appointed to the staff of Lingnan University, Canton, China. From 1930 to 1947, he worked with the National Christian Council of China. After his return to England, he served as the International Secretary of the British Council of Churches and then as the Secretary of the Appointments Board of the Institute of Christian Education. Reese superannuated in 1953, although he continued to work with the Institute of Christian Education until 1963. For a time he was also Chairman of the United Nations Association's Committee on Africa and the non-self governing countries and was also on the executive of the East-West Friendship Council. Rees was also a member of the governing body of the Council of Christians and Jews. During his long ministry, Rees had the unusual distinction of never having a circuit appointment. Source: Minutes and Yearbook of the Methodist Conference 1976.
- Charles Wilfred Allan (1870-1958) was born in York. He trained for the Wesleyan ministry at Headingley and was appointed to serve in Central China in 1895. During World War 1, Allan returned to Europe and worked among Chinese labourers in France. From 1922 he taught at the Union Theological College at Changsha and later Wuchang and in 1930 he was invited to work for the Christian Literature Society in Shanghai. Allan was interned by the Japanese during World War 2 and was repatriated to Britain in 1945. He hoped to return to China but finally accepted superannuation in 1946. Allan was an outstanding linguist and in 1913 was invited to share in the work of preparing the Union Version of the Bible. He was also the editor of several Chinese periodicals and published many books including a Chinese commentary on Isaiah. Source: Minutes of Conference 1958 and Methodist Recorder May 22 1958, p.5.
- William Harrison Hudspeth (1887-1976) was born at Willington, Co. Durham, and was educated for the Methodist New Connexion ministry at Ranmoor College. In 1909 he travelled to China as a junior colleague of the famous missionary Samuel Pollard. He returned to Europe after several years and saw service in France during World War 1 before going up to Cambridge University to study Oriental Languages and Anthropology. After graduation he returned to China to work with the montagnard Miao people and native Chinese, acting for many years as the Secretary of the British and Foreign Bible Society. In 1939 nearly five million copies of the Bible were distributed in China, largely through his efforts. During World War 2 Hudspeth suffered internment by the Japanese. After liberation he went to Canada as the Bible Societies representative and retired to England in 1953. Source: Oliver Beckerlegge, United Methodist Ministers and their Circuits 1797-1932 (1968), The Methodist Recorder 1976, May 20th, p.14 and William Leary, Ministers and their Circuits 1969-1989.
- George Robson Osborn (1905-79) was born in Sheffield and was educated at the Leys School and Kings College, Cambridge. He trained for the Wesleyan ministry at Wesley House, Cambridge, and in 1930 was appointed to the China mission. For three years he worked with the Y.M.C.A. in Peking and then taught at the Wuchang Wesley Middle School. In 1937 he was placed in charge of a refugee camp and remained there after the camp was overrun by the Japanese. During the war Osborn was interned at Langhwa and was head of the camp school. Despite the terrible conditions he achieved standards of education comparable to those in Britain. In 1945 he went back to Wuchang and apart from a period of home furlough, remained in China until well after the Communist takeover. He returned to England in 1951 and served as Secretary of the Methodist Education Committee (later Department) until his retirement in 1970. He did much valuable work in the field of ecumenical co-operation with the Church of England as well as helping to expand the Methodist teacher training colleges. After his retirement Osborn remained active in the educational field and the United Nations Association. Source: Minutes and Yearbook of the Methodist Conference 1980.
- David Howard Smith (1900-87) was born at Great Harwood, Lancashire. He was educated at Accrington Grammar School and trained at Victoria Park and Manchester University for the ministry of the United Methodist Church. He served as a missionary in North China from 1924 to 1948 and then returned to England where he spent ten years on the staff of Manchester University. Smith was a brilliant linguist and possessed a great knowledge of Chinese philosophy, culture and religion. His publications included The Wisdom of the Taoist Mystics (1980) and articles in many academic publications. Smith superannuated in 1963 and retired from the University in 1966. His last years were spent in Cornwall. Source: Minutes of Conference 1988.