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S.D.A. - Seventh-day Adventists
extracts from "Advent Angels in Burma"
and the "Eastern Tidings" Magazine
and the "Eastern Tidings" Magazine
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Meiktila Technical School, 1910, destroyed in WWII
Meiktila Training School 1945
SDA Mission Training School, (name changed from Meiktila Technical School) Staff and Pupils, 1933
Brightlands Nursing Home, Maymyo, 1931
Brightlands and the late Sister Gladys Tarleton R.N.
SDA Church, 1928, corner of Voyle and Stewart Roads.
SDA Hospital, Rangoon. 1947-1965
Missionaries home, Meiktila, 1900's
Missionaries home, Meiktila,
Mission House 60 Kemmendine Rd. Rangoon, c. 1900
Myaungmya mission school c. 1920's
The original Meiktila Technical School
Pupils at Meiktila Technical School
Pupils from the woodworking class, Meiktila Technical School
Kamamaung Dispensary, S.D.A.
Mission House 60 Kemmendine Rd. Rangoon, c. 1900
Missionaries rest house, Kalaw, c. 1900's
Burma Union Headquarters and Church Building Rangoon c. 1940's
Meiktila Technical School, 1910
Seventh-day Adventist Mission Training School (until 1918 it was known as the Meiktila Technical School, then the emphasis was on carpentry, furniture making (wood and cane) cloth weaving, shoe making and printing.) Its motto "To train the hand, the head, the heart." The building was destroyed during WWII. It was discontinued and its property sold to the Government.
U Chit Hla, U Hpo Hla, Mr & Mrs Votaw, Mollie Rae, Mrs Shannon
U Chit Hla who, with his brother U Hpo Hla accepted the message in Moulmein when the Votaw’s visited that town in the late 1905...... The work of treasurer was capably cared for during the ‘teen years by three fine ladies – first Mollie Rae for a time, then Mrs Shannon for a further period. These two were Anglo-Indian or domiciled English Ladies.....
(The term Domiciled English means they were of English parents, but had grown up and lived all or most of their lives in India or Burma.)
Mr & Mrs Hubley, Dr. Ollie Tornblad, Mrs Alice Smith and Mrs Gladys Tarleton, Mrs Mahoney
Among those that the Hubleys helped to bring into the light while they were in Rangoon were two sisters, both widows These domiciled English ladies were operating a boarding house for the elite. They smoked freely, drank a little and took part in dancing and other worldly amusements. But an Adventist colporteur got some literature into their hands and then Dr. Ollie Tornblad made contact with them. To become Seventh-day Adventists meant a tremendous transformation of life for these ladies, but that is what finally took place. They were baptized by Peter Phillips in the Royal Lakes at Rangoon soon after the Hubley’s left Burma.
These sisters were Mrs Alice Smith and Mrs Gladys Tarleton. Mrs Smith’s husband had been head of a large firm in Rangoon and Mr Tarleton was a leading official in the Police Dept. The Tarleton’s had entertained the British Governor of Burma in their heyday and both Ms Smith and Mrs Tarleton had moved in the so-called upper circles of society.
The death of their husbands had made it necessary for these women to find a way to support themselves. Gladys had decided to train as a nurse, although her sisters – Mrs Smith and a third sister, Mrs Mahoney – were very much against her “disgracing the family” by taking up such menial work, but she went ahead and trained and was ready in time for service in Mesopotamia with the British Military Forces in WWI. It was after this that she and her sister Alice were operating the home for paying guests in Rangoon and they became members of the Seventh-day Adventists.
Brightlands Nursing Home, Maymyo, Mrs Tarleton, Alice, Smith, Col. West. Gracie David
....to operate a nursing home at Brightlands and invited Mrs Tarleton to take charge of it as her training and experience prepared her eminently for such work... The Mission asked Mrs Tarleton to furnish the place so it would be acceptable to “upper class” patients. She did this and then contacted the leading doctors of Maymyo and invited them to being their surgical and convalescing patients there. Leading medical men, including British doctors connected with the Military base that was located there, came to examine the place and were pleased with what they saw.
Mrs Tarleton began her work at Maymyo in 1931. She had some wonderful experiences. Some prominent people of England and of Burma – were her patients.... In addition to her work as a nurse Mrs Tarleton continued Sabbath meeting at Brightlands.... Her sister Alice Smith, several years her senior, lived with her and helped a great deal in the home as well as her prayers and her godly influence......
Col. West, Chief Medical Officer of the British regiment stationed at Maymyo, was a leading supporter of the work at Brightlands Nursing Home. His practice was among civilians as well as military personnel and he brought many patients to Brightlands for the expert nursing care he knew they would receive there. But the time came (1935) when he returned to England. This was something of a crisis to the work at Brightlands. How could the work continue without the kind of support Col. West had been giving it?.... This meant that the Burmese nurse Gracie David, who had been assisting Mrs Tarleton, would be out of employment, unless we could find a way to finance her somewhere else.... when here came Mrs Tarleton from Maymyo (to Meiktila) with an exciting story to tell. She said I had scarcely gone from Brightlands when an English Officer came and introduced himself as the successor of Col. West. He said Col. West told him to be sure and support Brightlands Nursing Home when he got to Maymyo and keep it going. She had caught the next train to Meiktila to being me the exciting news....
E.M. Meleen, E.B. Hare, W.W. Christensen, J.W. Baldwin, Dr & Mrs I.S. Walker, Pastor A.J. Johanson,
... Early in January 1942 the American Consul advised our missionaries to send their wives and children across to Calcutta for safety. But when they went to apply for passage the steamship agency told them they had not had a ship for several days and did not know when there would be one. They could put their names on the waiting list as thousands of others had already done. The situation looked hopeless.
January 20th 1942 - the telephone rang and the consul unexpectedly announced. “We have a little freighter going to Calcutta. It has just unloaded some tanks and bombs. It’s not listed with the steamship agents, but if you can get some of your women and children to the wharf by 3 p.m. well take them across for you.”
They got some of them onto that boat and some more on another little freighter a week later. Some ships were being torpedoed in the Bay of Bengal at that very time, but these small freighters carrying our missionary families made it safely to Calcutta.... The men stayed on in Rangoon, to help get our members out to safety and to give what assistance they could to the Red Cross and the Civil Defence in caring for the wounded. Pastor E.M. Meleen was serving as superintendent of the Union at the time and with him were E.B. Hare, W.W. Christensen and J.W. Baldwin. Dr and Mrs I.S. Walker and Pastor A.J. Johanson left Rangoon on February 16th for Myaungmya, hoping to get out to Chittagong and from there to Calcutta by train. This plan failed but they were able to go by river steamer up the Irrawaddy and Chindwin rivers, then walk over the Tamu Pass, ten days on foot, into India.
On Friday the 20th February the four men still in Rangoon, Meleen, Hare, Christensen and Baldwin, found all officials had gone - no Civil Defence, no Red Cross, even the American Consul’s office they found closed, with a note on the door saying, “moved to Maymyo.” So these four decided it was time for them to leave too. They managed to get the last two families of Adventist members and the mission office boys on a train that night, the train having been taken over by the military was loaded with hundreds of evacuees. Hundreds more were unable to find room on the train. The Civil Defence insignia worn by Hare and Baldwin influenced the guards to give them priority and they led their groups through the gates to the train, the last hope of escape.
Pastor O.A. Skau and family, Pastors F.A. Wyman, H. Baird
February 21st, these four met in the church or worship, then locked the doors and left in three cars (two had been given them by refugees leaving by boat.) They followed the road to Prome, then via Yenangyaung to Mandalay and Maymyo. Car trouble on the way and the problem of finding any petrol available slowed their progress but they finally made it to Maymyo, where they found Pastor O.A. Skau and family and Pastors F.A. Wyman and H. Baird.
Pastors Meleen, Wyman, Hare, Baird and Christensen
From Maymyo Pastors Meleen, Wyman, Hare, Baird and Christensen drove back to Mandalay then down the river to Myingyan. How they got their cars across the great Irrawaddy river from Myingyan to Pakokku by raft and made their way to India over cart trails as far as they could go by car, then on foot over the mountains is truly an adventure story.
Pastor Shau and family, Genl. Stilwell, Col. Williams, Brightlands, Jim Baldwin
Pastor Shau and family were flown out from Maymyo to India at the last minute, through the kindness of General Stilwell, who himself trekked out on foot, Pastor Skau gives this account:-
“We were able to protect our mission property until the Japanese took over Burma. I conducted meetings for refugees both in Maymyo and on the golf course at Lashio.
... Before General Stilwell pulled out, he ordered a plane from India “for Skau and family.” I had helped Col. Williams getting medical supplies to the front from the Agricultural College in Mandalay. I had also helped with the clinic at Brightlands after I rented the place to the American army. Stilwell was so impressed with Col. Williams report about my work that he provided transportation for us from Lashio. He wanted to take us straight to the States but we asked to be let down in Calcutta. No charge. I also headed a convoy from Maymyo to Lashio with U.S. personnel from the consulate. The Lord was good to us through the bombings in Rangoon, Maymyo and Lashio.... When we boarded the DC3 the U.S. officer said “No one enter this plane till Skau and family have taken their place.” There were high brass on the field, who had to stand side while the six of us – five of our family and Shwe Kyine, our Burmese girl – went aboard.
Jim Baldwin decided to cast his lot in with the teachers and students he had worked with at Meiktila and entered military service. He was finally commissioned as Chaplain...
Pastor's Sargent, Tha Myaing & Pein Kyi, Thara's Peter, Baw Bee, Ah Chu & Ka Yai, Pastor Chit Maung & wife, Maung Ni
... During the invasion of Burma and throughout the four years of the Japanese occupation, our people endured great suffering. All Christians were taken for spies and many were tortured to try to make them talk. Some were cruelly put to death. Those who escaped fled to the jungles and kept off the beaten tracks as much as possible. Cut off from all outside support as they were, our workers had to try to make a living by gardening and farming or by cutting and selling bamboo building materials or firewood or by selling medicines or trading in a small way. Those who had been leaders moved about as much as possible in a quiet way, to visit and encourage our members wherever they could. Real heroism and wonderful faithfulness and loyalty were displayed.
Pastor Sargent was the first of our missionaries to return – in fact I believe he was the first of any mission to return. He arrived from India the day after Christmas 1945, bringing a few boxes of used cloths for distribution to those in need of them and that was just about everybody. In the villages many had no more than gunny bags with which to clothe themselves.... Let him tell it as he wrote it.... “Never can I forget my mingled feelings as our boat entered Rangoon river the day after Christmas 1945. The dense tangle of jungle plant life had kindly covered many of the ruined rice and timber mills that lined the river banks but as we neared the place where the docks used to be, there we saw it – the open wound of poor old Burma. The docks were no more, the city was blasted and laid waster till we could see right through it... I slept that night in the home of one of our Meiktila school graduates, who had opened a medicine shop in the city.... some of the workers were painfully thin and under nourished. They had suffered more than we will ever know. All the Christians were regarded as spies, arrested and taken to jail for questioning. In order to make them talk, in some cases finger nails were pulled out and live electric wires were applied to their eyes, faces and hands. Many of our own boys were tortured like this. They were beaten, slapped and starved and some of them were bayoneted to death, long after they were wishing for death. On the least suspicion they were arrested and taken to jail. Some ran into the jungle; then the dacoits (bandits) got them.
“Thara Peter had lots of trouble. He was trading up and down the Salween river to enable him to visit his church members and he was put in jail many times.
“Pastor Chit Maung came in from the Salween district one day. It was pitiful to see him. He was so thin it seemed that his cheek bones would pierce the skin. He was a tower of strength in the time of trouble. He supported himself and others by his garden and rice field hidden away in the jungle. He has faithfully shepherded his flock and kept them together....
Mrs Chit Maung, one of the daughters of Pastor Tha Myaing...... tells of the war from the viewpoint of the mothers and children who had to endure its horrors:
“As the war neared Toungoo, we fled first to the Shwe Nyaung Bin mission station, where we found Thara Baw Dee, Thara Ah Chu and Thara Ka Yai and their families. We diligently prepared little gardens hidden away in the crevices of the hills... first my dear mother died, then Thara Baw Dee’s little girl was laid away, then Thara Ah Chu’s little baby girl. It looked as if the angle of death passed by and took one from each home. Phoebe’s little girl followed, then Maung Ni’s little girl, then Ka Yai’s little son. You see we were hiding in the mountains, sleeping here a night and there a night and when the little ones got sick we had no medicine, we had no proper food and now their little graves mark the journey of our flight.....
Pastor Pein Kyi, secretary–treasurer of the Burma Union, gives this vivid description of the devastation of the war:
“Because of the fact that Burma was twice overrun by the invading and liberating armies, most of the towns and villages were destroyed. Sir Alexander Campbell, former director of public instruction in Burma, in describing the conditions in the country, made the following remarks “Outside Europe, Burma is the most devastated country in the world...The position in Burma today is indescribable. Slaughter of plough cattle and other farm stock means that agriculture in the country cannot be restored to normal for five years at least. Burma is in a state of chaos and the black market is uncontrolled.”
Mr & Mrs Laval and daughter Constance
.... Constance had gone through a baptism of fire during the war. As the threatened Japanese invasion of Burma became serious, Mr Laval sent his family, including daughter Constance, along with hundreds of others fleeing from Rangoon to Myitkyina... Being one of the leading officials in the city of Rangoon, he himself stayed on duty as long as possible, then escaped to Calcutta. As the Japanese took Rangoon and Lower Burma and pushed rapidly northward, their planes began to bomb and strafe even these helpless, unarmed refugees who had fled to Upper Burma for safety. The British military forces air-lifted them out to India as fast as possible, but many were killed while waiting their turn to be flown out. In telling this frightening experience, Constance said, “We all fell flat on the ground whenever there was an attack, but those planes, strafing us with machine-gun fire, flew so close to us that we could feel the heat of their engines on our backs and many of our number were killed. Through the mercy of God, my mother and brother and I finally found ourselves on a British plane and headed for Calcutta....
Mrs Laval was a Burmese lady and had friends who were quite well-to-do.... Then Mr Laval reached retirement age and decided he would take his family to England and retire there. But Constance had her gay friends in Rangoon and also a job as a secretary, so decided she would stay with them for a while and follow her family to England later.....
Apart from the well known American missionaries the following are also mentioned in the book as outstanding colporteur-evangelists:
Maung Hla Pe
Saya Hla Pe
Extracts from "Eastern Tidings"
Jan. 1st 1942
A Visit to Burma by G.G. Lowry
... Since leaving there we have had word that about a week ago nineteen people were baptised. While the baptism was going on over a bunch of Japanese bombers flew over the city. The air-raid signal was given and there was great excitement. When the British went up to meet the raiders, however, they turned tail and went back towards Indo-China.
Jan. 15th 1942
Medical work in Burma by G.G. Lowry
We were very much interested, while visiting Burma recently, to make the acquaintance of Dr. and Mrs Walker, who are located in Rangoon. They have a very interesting medical work started in that city. They have a small clinic located down in the bazaar and people literally flock to them by the score. The doctor and his helpers are almost swamped with work and are greatly handicapped because of a lack of sufficient room. They have found the largest place available in that section of the city but it is really only about one-third large enough for their work. It is almost unbelievable that they could do the amount of work they are doing. During the month of November the doctor told me that the had taken in over Rs 4,000 in medical fees. How many patients he had during this time I do not know. They are very hopeful that help will be given to them soon so that they can secure more suitable quarters for their work. Their plan is to rent or purchase a place a little further out towards the edge of the city where they can take care of patients who need to be kept in bed for a period of time. They hope to run the clinic and this institution along together. Unless the war makes it impossible for them to continue their efforts along this line, we feel sure that the is a very bright future for the medical work in Rangoon. The doctor and his wife are very enthusiastic and of good courage. They hope not only to relieve the sufferings and ease the pains of those who are physically sick but they hope also to help their patients spiritually and point them to something that is better than what they have at the present time. We must support the doctor in his work with our sympathies and prayers.
Rangoon Notes by E.M. Meleen
... Just after the last meeting in the tabernacle, the black-out orders became more stringent than formerly. The meetings were transferred to the church. Difficulty of moving about after dark, as well as some molestation by robbers and thieves taking advantage of the darkness, deterred many from venturing out....
Feb. 15th 1942
... Mrs Sargeant and children, Mrs Coberly and children, Mrs Barnes and little girl and Miss Lehman have arrived in Poona from Burma.... From a letter which Mrs Wyman received from her husband, he declares his intention of taking the overland trip to India from Mandalay.
Mar. 1st 1942
News of our work in Burma by G.G. Lowry
... the most recent word received from Pastor Meleen and from those who have just been evacuated from Burma. The most recent arrivals are Mrs Coberley and two children, Mrs Sargent and two children, Mrs Barnes and child, Mr and Mrs Johnson, Mrs Johanson and children, Miss Lehman, Mrs Baldwin and Mrs Baird and son. They all arrived in Calcutta early in February. Mrs Hare and children, Mrs Christensen and children and Mrs Wyman arrived a few days before. They report that while there has been much bombing in Rangoon, Moulmein and Bassein so far as is known none of our people have been injured nor any of our property damaged. A bomb fell on a school building about a block away from our church in Rangoon but nothing has come closer than that. The workers tell of lying out in the trenches near their homes watching the fighters and bombers high up in the air, fighting one another.
In a letter recently received, Pastor E.M. Meleen says “I suppose that you have received the news of the air battles over Rangoon during the past few days. The slaughter of Jap planes has been terrific. One would think that they would know better than to return but still they seem to come. Yesterday an entire formation was destroyed, not a single one escaping to tell the story at home, except the fighters that escaped. The bombers were all destroyed. The day before, after the battle, twenty-one planes were counted on the ground but the defenders were pretty certain that five more lay somewhere and that probably several others were not able to go all the way home.
We were not disturbed, but after the service while some were still visiting with one another outside, the siren sounded.
They waited more than half an hour before the shooting began, but it was too far away to be heard violently. However, from the compound they saw one plane go down in flames. I heard it very distinctly, but had gone up stairs and watched from the balcony. Trees obscured the view, so I could not see the thing. It come down at a terrific rate. The alert sounded at about 7.30 this morning, but we have not yet heard what happened. Some of our folks went out to see the wreck.”
The military have taken over our Meiktila school, so the school has been closed for the time being. The Burma Committee are planning to open up the school in some other place if possible. Those of our forwign staff yet remaining in Burma are Mr and Mrs O.A. Skau and family, Mr Johanson, Mr Baird, Pastors Meleen, Hare, Christensen, Wyman, Sargent and Dr. and Mrs Walker. All the wives and children are being sent to India as fast as possible. The men who are allowed to leave will probably follow later. Pastor Meleen writes that the port of Rangoon has been closed and no ships are arriving or leaving. The rest of our workers, therefore, may have difficulty in getting away. If there is no other way, they plan to come overland via Chittagong and Assam. All our workers from China who were in Burma studying language have left and are returning to China over the Burma road. Sixteen trucks left recently for Chungking. Let us all remember our workers in Burma in our prayers.”
Mar. 15th 1942
Burma Notes by E.M. Meleen
From January 1st, the military authorities requisitioned our school property at Meiktila. Arrangements had to be made and school closed in a hurry. Because of the military situation, nearly all schools in Burma had been closed by Government orders, but we were trying to carry on as long as possible and could have carried on at least until February first without difficulty. The principal was permitted to occupy his house until he could arrange for other quarters and our print shop is to continue. The school equipment has been moved to our school at Myaungmya, where we will carry on temporarily if conditions permit.
During the first part of February, Dr. Walker resumed work in our city clinic after having had it closed for nearly six weeks. As we take on familiarity with raids and bombs, we discover ways of dodging them and working between times, of which we did not know in the beginning. Our headquarters office work has suffered very little interruption at any time, except that some of our office force at first became frightened and fled to their homes or other places. All but one have returned and we have carried on as usual.
Since the latter part of January, our workers and members of the Tenasserim Mission are completely cut off from communication with us, neither rail, post or telegraphs being available.
The raids have caused us no little trouble in Rangoon and to a considerable degree our evangelistic work had been interrupted. Another baptismal service had been planned to be held on 17th January but that had to be postponed indefinitely. For two or three weeks after the first raids, all means of transportation ceased to function. Shops and markets were closed and food was obtained only with difficulty and at much expense in some cases. These conditions all improved a little in time, though there is still difficulty of the same kind. Many people fled from the city and the exodus is still in progress. Coolies, household servants, sweepers, dhobis, malis etc. have fled with the rest of the refugees and this has caused no little degree of inconvenience and trouble. The majority of our members and prospective members have fled from the city and our Sabbath congregation has dwindled from more than a hundred to just a little handful.
Our village work has also suffered somewhat because of scare and panic, though there have been no actual difficulties or conditions to interfere with normal activities. The slightest rumour or deviation from the usual is sufficient to cause hysteria and stampede. Parents call their children home from boarding schools, workers demand that they be returned to their own villages and whatever inclination there may have been to work, in some cases evaporates completely. For no apparent good reason workers in business or whatever it may be, seem to feel that this is not time to work. In Rangoon much business is at a stand-still and the great majority of the smaller business places open up only after noon. When there is much to do, crowds of men stand about idly, simply watching to see what is going to happen next. This has had its adverse influence on our people even in the
country districts but most of our workers are carrying on as usual. We trust that by the time this is read, at least two efforts will be in progress.
The wives and families of all our foreign workers, except Mrs Walker and the Skaus, have gone away to India and with them quite a number of others. Our men, if they have not learned long ago, are learning to cook their own food, do their own dhobi work etc. and some are becoming quite expert at it. In fact, their shirts and collars in some cases will compare very well with those done by the dhobis, especially on a dark night.
Though there have been about sixty-five raids or attempted raids on the city, those of December 23rd and 25th were the worst in physical and material damages done. Brother Subushanam, our Telugu worker, had quite a thrill when, during an air battle that raged on the 23rd over the part of the city in which he lived, an engine of a bomber fell a few yards from his doorstep. The other engine fell near our clinic and the fuselage in still another place.
Brother Ward lived with his three young children in an apartment on the street where the destruction was worst on the 23rd. He is a piano tuner and was away at his work when the bombers approached, the motherless children being alone at home. About an hour after the raid and before the “all clear” had been sounded, Pastor Christensen and I went to see about the welfare of our people, in due course calling at Brother Ward’s apartment. We found the door padlocked on the outside and thereby concluded that the inmates had probably escaped safely, though they were not to be found. Through a crevice we could see the wreckage inside. At eventime Brother Ward came to our headquarters saying that he had searched all day in vain for his children. With the great help of Pastor Christensen’s car, the search was continued until late in the night. Great was the joy of father and children when they found each other. When the “alert” had been sounded a neighbour had taken the children into a trench and after the raid had fled with them to the out-skirts of the city.
Brother Martin lived in the section of the city known as Kemendine. He had been at work on Christmas morning and had barely returned to his home, leaving his car near the front entrance. Scarcely had he entered the house when the siren wailed its nerve-racking tones. The inmates of the house, eight or ten of them, ran at once to the near-by trench Scarcely had the last of them entered when a stray bomb struck the house and with a deafening explosion blew it to splinters and set it afire. The trench, though only a few yards from the house was a wonderful protection and none in it were hurt, though shrapnel was blown clear through all walls and partitions of adjacent houses. But Brother Martin and his family lost all they possessed except the clothing they wore.
On December 23rd Brother Ross, one of our new Rangoon members who was baptised with the group on the 13th December and who is an electrician, was at work on a ladder adjusting wires on a pole in the busy city street. Five men were assisting him. Because of the din of the city traffic they did not hear the siren announcing the arrival of raiders and their first warning was roaring planes overhead and exploding bombs nearby. Brother Ross slid down from his ladder and lay down in the gutter, shouting to his men to do the same, only one whom he seized by the leg, obeying the call. These two escaped injury. Brother Ross claims the promise of the 91st Psalm.
April 1st 1942
Moving North in Burma
The following facts are gleaned from letters received which narrate the adventurers o some of our workers who were evacuated from Rangoon, written by Pastors E.M. Meleen and Eric Hare. When the Salween was crossed and especially when Singapore fell, the workers left in Rangoon began to feel uncomfortable. Immediately (February 16th) Dr. Walker and his wife and Brethren Sargent and Johanson left for Myaungmya intending to go to the coast and to India via Assam. Brethren Meleen, Hare, Christensen and Baldwin, the only ones left, began to pack up. They had the Christensen and Walker cars and had been saving petrol for some weeks. They might have left earlier, but some of the Rangoon church members had not left and they wanted to see them all off first. So they planned to drive out February 22nd.
They had extreme difficulty in getting the last two families out of the city. They were taken to the boat bound for Myaungmya (our mission station in the Delta region) but while they were embarking the military authorities took over all the boats. After many delays and much trouble they were put on an evacuee train for Meiktila in upper Burma. At the last moment, another family that was leaving hurriedly put their car in charge of the workers, telling them to do as they pleased with it and to burn it rather than let it go over to the enemy. So the four men had three cars. They said they could have had more for the asking, for many cars were being burned and the authorities announced, on Friday the 20th that all civilians must leave the city within forty-eight hours and that all cars not in civil defence or held by a special permit would be burned on Sunday. They had planned to leave Sunday, but decided it would not be safe to wait.
They had stored all the clinic equipment in the church-school room. Before Dr. Walker left they had stored his things and those of the Coberlys in various rooms in the mission building. They boarded up the windows and hid things as well as they could before locking up; but of course none of these precautions would keep out persistent looters.
The Government officials had already gone, the telephone exchange was closed, the fire department went, taking their equipment with them, the post office closed, the police had fled, the foreign consuls had left and all public institutions had been opened and their inmates turned out into the streets. Looting was rife, race battles were on; and on Sabbath morning evacuees were streaming past the mission quarters by the thousands, leaving the city.
Preparations were all made and it seemed time to start. Brother Hare very feelingly describes how early Sabbath morning, he went through his house, patting the furniture good-bye and bursting into tears. At the mission they held a little Sabbath school. At 1.30 the four men and two of the indigenous church members gathered in the church, for the last time as far as they knew. They felt as if they were attending a funeral. They sang a hymn, read a portion of Scripture and all prayed. Then they locked the building, made provisions for the keys and drove away about two o’ clock. Afterward they heard reports of fire and looting and wondered if the property remained intact. One report over the wireless said that our church had been struck by a bomb and was demolished but we have not had this confirmed.
The Pegu-Toungoo road was closed to all but military traffic so the thousands of cars moving north had to take the Prome road to the northwest and the Irrawaddy river. They stayed that evening at Thonze, eighty-five miles away. Next day they made two hundred miles and slept at the high school compound at Taungbwingyi. The following day after going fifty miles, Brother Christensen‘s car broke down, the flange breaking right off the hub. There was no hope of welding it so they decided to abandon the car though Brother Christensen seems to have stayed with it for the time being. They drove thirty-two miles to Yenangyaung (on the river in the oil region) and slept at the American Club on the tennis court. Next morning Brother Baldwin was sent back in Dr. Walker’s car to bring on Brother Christensen and his stuff. He did not return in reasonable time so the two remaining men unloaded and went in search of him, finding him stuck in a sand bank with his clutch burned out. By spending all day at getting repairs done from a distance, they put both cars back in shape and were back in Yenangyaung by Wednesday afternoon. Thursday they went on to Meiktila and spent part of Friday there, sending money out to such workers as could be reached.
Brother Baldwin seems to have left the party. Pastor Christensen went to Pakokku (on the Irrawaddy at the mouth of the Chindwin river where evacuees start for Assam by the overland route) and Pastors Meleen and hare drove to Maymyo for the Sabbath. There they met the Skaus, who were staying at Brightlands Nursing Home. They expected to see Pastors Wyman and Baird but these two men, despairing of their coming had started out up the river in a canoe towards the border.
On Sunday however, these two returned. They had too much luggage their canoe leaked and they stopped near the bridge at Sagaing. The police suspected that they were trying to blow up the bridge and arrested them. Brother Baird was taken to jail, but after promising to appear before the D.S.P. in the morning they were allowed to go back to the canoe and sleep. As soon as the D.S.P. saw them he smiled and apologised and gave them a letter to go on. But they decided to return and leave some of their luggage.
This is all we have from the letters except that they said if Rangoon fell they would start out on the long trek to Assam. Skaus seem to have decided to stay. Later the Division headquarters at Poona received a wire from Pastor Meleen saying he and Brethren Wyman, Baird, Hare and Christensen were starting from Pakokku for the border town of Tamu.
May 1st 1942
... While our hearts go out to Burma in the ordeal through which she is passing, yet we welcome some of the fine workers from there who have come to us recently. Brethren Hare, Baird, Sargent and Johanson are in our midst.
June 15th 1942
Lonsdale and Darwood
Donald D. Lonsdale died on May 13th 1942 at the Mayo hospital, Nagpur from cerebral malaria after an illness of only one day. His wife and children had been ill following their trek from Burma. He did his best in caring for them and probably got sunstroke as Nagpur was extremely hot at that time. His sisters Rose and Elsie were with him at the last. His wife and three children are left without his comfort and help. She was baptised in the Irrawaddy river shortly before they were forced to leave Burma. Brother Donald had been a student at Vincent Hill School many years ago.
Immediately following his funeral, the uncle, Charles Darwood, whom we knew as U Chit Hla, was taken to the same hospital and died on May 18th 1942. Although he had passed his eightieth birthday, he made the difficult walk over the hills to Imphal and had reached Nagpur in apparent good health. The extreme heat and the death of his nephew combined to hasten his death. He was greatly beloved by those who knew him. Many have been baptised because he laboured patiently with them. He was among the first converts baptised by Pastor Votaw when the work was begun in Burma. He spend some years with Pastor Hamilton in opening up the work on the Salween. He also worked with the late Pastor Beckner in the Henzada district.
News concerning our Burma Believers
... We have visited Sister Rose King at the Indian General hospital in Kirkee near Poona. She is doing her best, along with two other ladies from Burma attending the wounded. From her I learned that Brother and Sister A.N. Isacke are located in evacuee quarters in Amritsar. The Poole's, Sister Windsor, Sister Rodgers and children, Sister Mainstone, Sister Hesse and perhaps others are in Calcutta. Brother and Sister W.C. Donaldson and baby are in Dehra Dun after a brief visit to their daughters who are in Vincent Hill School. The Godfrey family are at Whitefield near Bangalore. Mrs Sharrock is in Lucknow.
It was my privilege to visit those who are in the Nagpur district. The Lonsdale's, Bother and Sister D’Costa, the Valens family and Brother Ward and children are living at Chindwara near Nagpur. Brother Lonsdale was not well at the time of this visit. I am sorry that I must record his death, as well as that of Brother Darwood at the Mayo hospital Nagpur.
Aug. 1st 1942
... Calcutta has become an evacuation camp for many of our Burma believers. The following Burma church members are with us:
Brother and Sister W. Poole
Brother and Sister F. Johns
Brother and Sister R.J. Donaldson
Brother D. Stevens
Sister M. Mainstone
Sister E.M. Berry
Sister E.M. White
Sister A.N, Wright
Sister E. Grant
Sister M. Gough
Sister G.H. Smythe
Sister H.E. Watts
Miss Joy Gough and Miss Alice Johns
Sept. 15th 1942
... Mrs Gerard and boys from Burma are now occupying the cottage recently vacated by Miss Tuckey. We welcome these folk to our midst.
Nov. 1st 1942
... was spent by Brother E.L. Clark and the writer, with our evacuee brethren from Burma who are at present living in Chindwara. Several good meetings were held while there and each home visited.... We regret that Brother and Sister De Costa and Brother Lonsdale were not able to attend the meetings due to illness...
Feb. 15th 1943
Frank Mainstone was born in Cawnpore in 1897. His early education was acquired at St. Fidel’s school. Later he attended Manor House at Mussoorie where he finished his colleges studies. During the Great War he joined the transport corps in connection with which work he was stationed at Poona where he learned the advent truth and accepted it in 1924. The following year he bought himself out of the army and was baptised by Pastor G.F. Enoch. For a year or more he employed himself as a colporteur. While thus engaged he accepted a call to serve as assistant accountant in our division office as secretary-treasurer of the Burma Union and of the Northeast Union until five or six years ago, after which he made his home in Rangoon until war came to Burma. Early in 1942 Mr Mainstone was called into the army as accountant in Rangoon. Shortly thereafter the forces removed to north Burma, but were later compelled to withdraw to India. The retreat through the jungles and mountains of north Burma, involving strenuous treks, privation, hunger, sickness and other great hardships, brought the lives of many to an end. Among these was Mr Mainstone, who succumbed to fatigue and exhaustion. He died in a camp at Shinbwiyang on the 9th June 1942.
According to reports from military officers, he received as much care and attention as could be administered in a village camp. During his illness he realised that his end was approaching and wrote to Mrs Mainstone exhorting her to be faithful to the principles of present truth. Though he had not been connected with our work for a number of years, he still seemed to cherish the memories of his first association with it and to love the message. In suburban Rangoon he was pleased to have his home used as a place of worship and for Sabbath services for the little group that lived in the community and once remarked to Mrs Mainstone that no doubt God had led them to hire the spacious living quarters for this purpose. His last letter to Mrs Mainstone seemed to show that he went to his long rest with peace of heart and mind.
Nov. 15th 1944
Sister Juliet Rachel Clark of Rawalpindi was born in Moulmein, Burma on July 20th 1873 and passed to her rest in the Lady Hardinge hospital in New Delhi on October 24th 1944. Sister Clark accepted the truth in Rawalpindi while Pastor Collett was conducting a series of lecturers there in 1940. From that time the truth has been very precious to her and she did all she could in her quiet way to reveal it to others. She as very active in her church duties and took special delight in playing the piano for the services until some months ago when her health began to fail. Her sons and daughters did all that loving hands could do to make her last days comfortable and peaceful;. Her daughter, Mrs Dady, lives here in Delhi so they brought her to tthe Lady Hardinge hospital hoping she would regain her health but the Lord saw best to call her to her rest until He returns. She leaves to mourn their loss, two sons in Rawalpindi, one daughter in Karachi, a daughter in England and one in Delhi. Pastor Torkelson of Hapur conducted the service, bringing comfort to the bereaved through the words of the Master and we are confident that she will be amongst those who will come forth in the first resurrection. O.O. Mattison
Dec. 1st 1944
Sister Elizabeth Cleal Connor was born at Barrackpore, December 29th 1863 and quietly fell asleep in Jesus at the home of her daughter in Calcutta being at the time of her decease eighty-one years of age. Sister Connor with her family went to Burma in 1886 and while residing in Maymyo she accepted the their angel’s message and was baptised by Pastor G.W. Pettite. Her love and devotion to her family were recognised not only by her loves ones but by all who knew her. While she rests from her labours the inspiration of this godly life lives on and will continue to be a great blessing to her loved ones and the many friends who mourn their great loss. Our Sister was laid to rest in the Lower Circular Road Cemetery, Calcutta. Words of comfort were spoken by the writer. The welcome call of the Life-giver will soon be heard. Then will come the glad reunion. J.D. Dean.
Brother Frederick Lonsdale of Burma passed away to his rest in Jesus on November 29th 1944 at his home in Amraoti. He was just a month short of his seventy-seventh birthday. He bore his long illness of two and a half years with wonderful Christian patience. Baptised about thirty-seven years ago in Burma he laboured ceaselessly for the Lord and the people of his homeland until his evacuation with his family due to the war. He was laid to rest with full confidence and assurance in the first resurrection and leaves behind him three daughters, a son, a daughter-in-law and a son-in-law to mourn. We extend our condolence and sympathies to these bereaved ones. H.C. Lamb
Jan. 1st 1945
Mrs Gladys Weldon Tarleton died in Dehra Dun on November 23rd 1944 after a protracted illness. Our sister was fifty-eight years of age. She will be remembered in connection with the Seventh-day Adventists Nursing Home at Maymyo of which she was the Sister-in-charge for many years. At the time of the evacuation of Burma she came to India and by her industry and hard work built up a splendid business in Dehra Dun that provided her and her brother, Mr Hall-Jones, with a comfortable home. Mrs Tarleton lived to please God. In spite of great opposition she accepted the truth and lived as a faithful Seventh-day Adventist and bore an excellent testimony of her abounding faith in the message and hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ. One of her favourite hymns was sung as the procession entered the cemetery. “There’ll be no dark valley when Jesus comes,” and volunteers from the one hundred people present united in singing the joyful anthem.
Mar. 1st 1945
Victorine May Donaldson
... In the interim of Sabbath school and church, Brother Alfred J. Sargent dedicated a little four months old baby Victorine May Donaldson. All were very moved as he told of the perilous escape of the mother and of the babe out of Burma, of the death of the grandmother and aunts on the way and later of the death of the baby’s mother four days after the little one was born, it being the last wish of the mother that it be dedicated to the Lord at the first opportunity. The father flew down from Myitkyina to present the baby for dedication.
Jan. 1st 1946
A telegram has just been received from Pastor A.J. Sargent, who had been stationed in Calcutta for some months while waiting for passage to Burma informing us that they sailed for Rangoon on the 26th Dec. 1945 taking with them two boxes of clothing. We rejoice that at last the way is opened for some of our workers to enter Burma.
Feb. 1st 1946
When I first arrived here from Burma after the evacuation in 1942, I went up to Vincent Hill and have been there ever since. I was a bit unhappy the first year as that was my first experience of a boarder’s life, besides the fact that I was in a new country. Once I settled down I grew to love Vincent Hill and have had some very happy times there. The teachers have been very considerate and I appreciated all their hard work in helping us students in our spiritual and educational progress. There is great comradeship between the staff and students for one can approach the staff and gain their counsel and advice which is rarely the case in other schools. When I returned home for my vacations and compared my school with others, it seemed to my young mind that V.H.C. was far superior to other schools – and it is! I have enjoyed all the hickey games, basket-ball, picnics and hikes and the good companionship of the friends I have made. Those who are beginning their scholastic careers and are privileged to be going to V.H. are to be envied, for next best to home is Vincent Hill – the school that educates for eternity! Denise Hardinge.
Feb. 1st 1946
... the latest word received from Pastor Sargent, written from Rangoon in the 7th of January. He arrived in Rangoon the last day of December and had with him, by permission of the Sea Transport Co. two boxes of clothing – evidently all they allowed him to take. He says that the clothing was as a “drop in the bucket” and that it “was soaked up as with a sponge.” It seems that the people in the jungle are using gunny bags and reeds for covering. He appeals to our people in India not to stop collecting clothing for while all living costs are prohibitive and money of little value, clothing seemed to be one of the greatest needs.
... During this service it was my privilege to have sitting beside me on the temporarily constructed platform for this occasion Brother S.J. Beale, one of our workers up until the time of the evacuation in 1942. Early on Sabbath morning Brother Beale and three of his children came walking up the steps to the house where I was. Brother Beale had not been able to escape from Burma but God had watched over this faithful man and although he and his family lost everything that they had, they kept their faith and God kept them. As he walked up the steps that morning he was bare-footed, but his face was covered with great joy because we had come back.
He told of this dreadful days in early 1942 when the enemy within the country was bent upon destroying the lives of the Christians. He and his family were forced to flee from their home and could take nothing with them. In escaping across the river he had stepped out into the mud and one shoe had been pulled off and lost in the mire. There was not time to search for it and there were no more shoes to be had. He told of how for lack of bedding they had had to cover with straw at night in order to keep warm. He would put his little children in a box and cover them with straw for the night. Even when I saw him in Inma they still had only enough covering to cover one half of the family at night. He was so grateful for the one blanket that we gave him. We told him that as soon as the relief materials arrived from India and the United States we would reserve much needed clothing for him and his family.