When Jack Reynolds gave a copy of A WOMAN OF BANGKOK to Bernard Llewellyn, his best buddy from the Friends Ambulance Unit 'China Convoy', he wrote the above on the title page and it puzzled me greatly. Meeting and pausing awhile in the back streets of Bangkok is one thing but...!
So I put the question to Jack's old China friend, Howell Jones in Newfoundland and he quickly came up with the answer. Jack and Bernard were keen climbers when in China; near the FAU depot in Kweiyang there were some strange conical hills which they must have named in Dora's honour. And now at last I even think I have found the hills themselves, to the right of the picture seen across the roofs of the village by the depot.
But who was Dora? Well, I think I now know this too. In the FAU Register is listed Dora Chau, otherwise Tsou Ling-hwa and this week at the Imperial War Museum in London she took off her dark glasses in my presence and gave a most wonderful smile. At least, we were watching a faded colour film of the China Convoy in the early forties but it was enough to suggest she would have deserved a special association with those mountains.
I believe that Dora was a refugee from the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong, an educated woman, a student perhaps, who fled into the interior of China, to Kweiyang and into a job with the China Convoy. She may have returned to Hong Kong after the hostilities and I would really love to know.
There's more about Jack and Dora in my forthcoming book, but I don't want this blog post to be a spoiler!
My last five years have been dedicated to producing a book called, "Jack Jones - A TRUE FRIEND TO CHINA" about the work of the Friends Ambulance Unit 'China Convoy'. Jack wrote about their work during the nineteen forties distributing medical supplies and doing medical relief work until the communist regime called a halt in 1951. Jack, author of the novel, "A Woman of Bangkok", was a fine writer and evokes the era superbly in his contemporary articles that I have edited for this new book. It's been produced by Earnshaw Books in Shanghai as a large format book of 400 pages and 500 photos. Ask me how to buy it on firstname.lastname@example.org.