THINGS like this always seem to be happening to us. The other evening we became embroiled in a discussion arising from an assertion that letter writing is a lost art. We were a Nay. The Ayes were convinced they had won. Next morning there came to us a copy of a letter written by a Canadian, C. E. Ross, to his mother in Vancouver. It was mailed in Chungking. It revealed the details of Mr. Ross’ escape from Hong Kong as the Japanese troops were pouring in, and, for the first time, just what happened before and at the time of the capitulation. The story so engrossed us that we felt everyone else ought to read it. And so, by arrangement, on page five of this issue of Maclean’s we present the first installment of “Escape from Hong Kong.” It will take two further parts to complete the narrative.
C. E. Ross was born in Winnipeg twenty-nine years ago. In 1929 he entered the service of the C.P.R., in Vancouver. In 1936 he was transferred to Shanghai, and in 1940 to Hong Kong. When the Empresses discontinued the oriental run, he left the C.P.R. on leave of absence and joined the staff of the British Ministry of Information, to which he is still attached. Following the writing of his letter, Mr. Ross journeyed to Calcutta on business and returned to Chungking via the Burma Road just before the Japanese attacked its southern terminus. For the present he is staying in the Chinese war capital.
• By chance, there are sinister Jap carryings-on in the eerie but don’t - interrupt - till - I - finish -this tale, “Apple Boy the Soothsayer,” on page twelve. Its publication is an authoring milestone to Laurence Wilson, because, while he has long “ghosted” for others, it is his first success under his own name. English born, thirty-nine, he has been a lumberjack in Quebec, a topographical surveyor in Ontario, a reporter in Toronto, Quebec City and Montreal; editor for the Havas News Agency in New York; written ads and publicity for the Associated British and Irish Railways in the U.S., handled the thirty-eight city tour of the crack L.M.S. train “Coronation Scot”; written and produced a television playlet. A breakdown in health sent him to the country. At Ma Normandie, Beloeil, P.Q., he concentrated on his hobby, chem-
istry; did a bit of research; started a guinea pig farm, supplying specialized types of guinea pigs to hospitals, universities and government laboratories. Last summer there was a slump in the guinea pig market. The stock bred terrifically; almost ate the Wilsons out of house and home. Says Mr. Wilson, “Some slick ghost writer could make a screaming piece about the woes of Ma Normandie. Myself, I haven’t the heart.”
Incidentally, he loves the story of his nephew, an R.A.F. air gunner who, after a recent raid on Germany, experienced the shooting away of the plane’s undercarriage and a crash landing in England. Taken to hospital for a check-up, he was found to be suffering from—scarlet fever.
• Now that our industrial war effort has given women trousers, pockets, wages to put in the pockets, power over machinery and a greater amount of economic independence, you may be asking where it is all going to end. After the war will the girls be content to go back to the kitchen? Will there be any hands to rock the cradle, or will the ladies rule the world with spanners and gauges? We suggested to Thelma LeCocq that she sally forth, investigate and form a conclusion. She sallied forth, investigated, but could reach no conclusion, for the girls themselves seem to be content to let tomorrow take care of itself in so far as these matters are concerned. However, on page ten, Miss LeCocq (a Winnipegger living in Toronto) does present some interesting facts concerning the women working in war industries.
•Air Force discipline can be tough—for those who dish it out as well as for those who take it. D. K. Findlay demonstrates that in his story of R.C.A.F. training, “The Shining Links,” on page eight. On page eleven Grant Dexter introduces you to the Chief of the Canadian General Staff, Lieut. General Kenneth Stuart, and on page fourteen our London Letterer, Beverley Baxter, tells why he thinks the pattern of victory is emerging from the confusion of this unpredictable war. Backstage at Ottawa and Cross-Country are on pages fourteen and fifteen.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.