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District Grand Master, China, 1939-1942




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Henry Campbell and Olive Caroline (Cope) Lurton's son - Judge Nelson E. Lurton: Unknown newspaper, 27 Dec. 1956: "Judge Lurton died dec.21 in St. Louis": Atty. Nelson E. Lurton of St. Louis, Judge of the United States Court of China in Shanghai for twenty-one years, died Friday morning, 21 Dec. at three thirty o'clock at St. John's hospital in St. Louis, where he had submitted to surgery two weeks ago. He resided at 5966 Enright in that city. Judge Lurton was a son of the late Henry C. and Olive Caroline Cope Lurton and was born in Jersey county on 1 Jan. 1883. He was aged seventy-three years, eleven months and twenty days.

Judge Lurton received his early education in Jersey county. After being admitted to the bar he practiced law in St. Louis for five years. At the end of that period he was appointed U.S. Commissioner to Shanghai in 1918 and held the office until his resignation in 1927. He was reappointed to the post in 1937 and at that time his wife and son, Nelson E. Lurton, Jr. were evacuated and came to St. Louis to reside. While in Shanghai he also served as Judge of the Consular Court. He was interned by the Japanese for a time and returned to the states from China on the exchange ship Gripsholm in August, 1942.

The former Jersey county resident had served on the Missouri State Workmen's Compensation Commission since 1945. Fraternally he was a member of the AF & AM Scottish Rites Bodies and Shrine. Judge Lurton was also Deputy Sovereign Commander of China for a number of years. Surviving him are his wife, Mrs. Lida Houghtlin Lurton of St. Louis, one Son, Nelson E. Lurton, Jr. of Shreveport, La.; one brother, William P. Lurton of Dow; and two sisters, Mrs. Lyle Garrison of St. Louis and Miss Metta Lurton of Los Angeles, California. A Masonic service was conducted at Alexander and Sons funeral chapel in St. Louis Sunday evening at eight o'clock. The body was brought to Jerseyville for interment in Oak Grove cemetery.


In December 1942, Grand Master Schaefer presented the account of Brother Lurton's experiences in wartime China during the Japanese occupation.

From Proceedings, Page 1942-233:

A year ago I was obliged to report to you that we had but little and most indirect information regarding the activities of our District Grand Lodge in China. We had not then received any official returns nor had Right Worshipful Brother Lurton, our District Grand Master, communicated with us in any way. Knowing the meticulous care with which he had until that time kept us constantly advised, we knew that conditions then existing must have been critical indeed.

Not until mid-summer did rumors seep through that our District Grand Master was safe and was then, with a number of other members of our Lodges there, on his way to the States. Arriving here on the Gripsholm the latter part of August, he proceeded at once to St. Louis to join Mrs. Lurton, who had returned to the States some months previously.

Under date of October 5, he wrote a report in longhand. It deals with not only the Masonic, activities, but the general conditions existing in China up until the summer of 1942. It is eighteen pages long. I wish that I had time to read it in its entirety. I cannot, but I know you will be interested in some parts which I shall read.


It is with the deepest regret that I have to report to you the condition of our organization in China since the war broke with the Axis.

My arrival in the U.S.A. is due to my good fortune of being a Government official which caused me to be repatriated on the first boat permitted to leave the East on a mission of this character.

I am sorry to say that Masonry has been hard hit by the Japanese in China and all of the Far East. About the 2nd. week of Feb. last they commenced their investigation of all organizations of Masons in Shanghai.

Their first contact with Mass. Const. took place when they discovered the treasurer of Ancient Landmark Lodge, Bro. Wm. Monk. They have given him an awful grilling because he is employed by one of the large business concerns in Shanghai and under their direct supervision. His office is in the same building where the officer of the Jap Naval Landing party who has the job of investigating Masonry has his office, so it is very convenient to send down stairs for Bro. Monk whenever they wanted further information.

Brother Monk had to give them the names of all the reigning Masters and officers of our Lodges and Wor. Bro. B. P. Dillon, Asst. Dist. Grand Sec. and Sec. of the Scottish Rite Bodies in Shanghai. On the week commencing Feb. 15th last, the Japs called him to their office in the Cathay Hotel and grilled him for four days. He took them out to the American Masonic Temple and showed them all files that he had in his possession, mainly Scottish Rite. They inspected the Building from top to bottom — then took all files in sight with them. The Captain in charge then told Bro. Dillon that he wanted to see me and that I should be at the American Masonic Temple on Feb. 22nd at 10 A.M.

On that morning I presented myself to the Captain and he demanded me to give him my Dist. Grand Master's reports to you. I did not have them with me at the time and told him so. He asked me where they were in my office down town. After further questioning for about 1 hour, he said — "You will now go with me to your office to get your reports." He took me there and I showed him my report for 1939-40, the only one that I had rendered to you since my appointment. He read it and then asked me whether I had any more. I said, "No."

His lady sec. with him at the time then took my report together with all of my Dist. Grand Masters files to their office in the Cathay Hotel where they now are. The Captain then said that I was to report to his office in the Cathay Hotel the next day at 2 P.M. I reported to his office the next day as ordered and was put in charge of an Inquisitor with his interpreter.

The Inquisitor was a young man about 30 or 35 years old. He was a real fanatic. Said he had been educated in Germany and I feel sure he had had training under the Gestapo. After questioning me relative to history in civil life he then commenced on my connection with the Dist. Grand Lodge and particularly whether I had rendered more than one report to you. I told him that one was all that I had rendered and that the second one was now due but I had not yet compiled the facts to put it in form. He seemed to think that I was lying to him and threatened to send me to the "Bridge House," that infamous prison used by the Gendarmes to incarcerate political prisoners, if he found out my statements were untrue. About 7 P.M. that evening he said that he wanted to go to my private office and out to my residence.

I took him, his interpreter, and the Captain's secretary to my office and they found my Scottish Rite files as Deputy which they took with them. We then went out to my apartment and they looked it over. Then I was told to report to them the next day at 2 P.M. at the same place which I did. My examination continued the rest of the day on Dist. Grand Lodge set up. What it was, who were my predecessors, all I knew about them, what was Freemasonry, where was its head office (Mass. Constitutions), what did we do with our money, etc. (They told us that they were investigating to find out whether it was of a political nature. They also intimated that the Germans had requested Tokyo to make the investigation.)

About 8:30 P.M. on the 24th Feb. after finishing their work for the day, they thought that it was best for me to stay with them that night as it was a bad night and that I was an old man. I told them that I could get home all right. Then they said "You will have to stay here as it is the Captain's orders." I then said to them — "I am a Government Official, and do not think you can detain me." This seemed to stump them for a few minutes — one then went upstairs presumably to the Captain's office — came down again in about 5 minutes and informed me that it was the Captain's orders that I remain in the Hotel that night. They took me to a nice room on the 4th floor with all proper conveniences — put a padlock on the door and kept me there for one week. They provided me with good food from the Hotel, three times a day. Each day about 2 P.M. they would commence their inquisition and finish about 8 P.M. One night they did not quit until 10 P.M.

During my examination after several days, I said something to the chief which evidently angered him. He said to me, "Bushido, greater than Adam and Eve, greater than Jesus Christ, greater than Geo. Washington, greater than Abraham Lincoln." The true fanatic showed most emphatically while he was talking, more the appearance of a mad man.

About the third day after I was locked in, a Jap vice-consul who acted as interpreter for the Captain when I first met him came down to my room one morning and told me confidentially that Wor. Bro. Dillon was locked in the box room of a room on the same floor as my room. Said he was stubborn and would not co-operate with them, and that he had to be punished. I told him that Brother Dillon was a sick man as he had had an apoplectic stroke several years ago and had not fully recovered from it and was under the doctor's care and might die if they persisted in such harsh treatment. They paid no heed to my admonition as I afterward learned. I feared for his life as the mental strain on one is fearful.

Brother Dillon told me later of his experience with them. He was taken in the day before I was. I did not learn of it at the time. He was grilled the afternoon previous to his incarceration but said that there was nothing happened other than the usual questioning. That evening they put him in the box room of the hotel room. This box room is a small room about 4' x 6' used by the guest of the room to place luggage. In it had been placed a chair, a table, and a bucket. The only fresh air coming into it was through the crack around the door to it. {He} had no light in it the first night, afterwards it was lighted continuously. He was fed dry bread and tea, for one week. He was released two days after I was and in a terrible physical condition. He was confined for a period of ten days. After a week or two, he recovered his strength and was all right apparently when I left Shanghai on June 29th, last. I fear though that this terrible ordeal both mental and physical will leave its effect on his general health. The mental strain is so tearful, as those brutes are capable of doing anything they want to, no matter what it is.

Several other of our Brethren were called in for questioning but not »r long duration. Among whom are Wor. Bro. Hylbert, Past Master of Sinim Lodge, Wor. Bro. Chas. Kliene, Past Master of Shanghai Lodge. Brother Kliene being of Danish nationality could talk to the Japs with more freedom than could the Americans as he was not considered an enemy. Brother Kliene is better versed in Masonry than any other one in China, and he had a lot of pleasure out of his examination. Instead of questioning him, he was bold enough not only to answer their questions, but to put questions to them and he impressed them. Brother Kliene gave them a real philosophical lecture on the subject. And I am sure it was a good one, though I did not hear it.

Brother K. K. Wang, Wor. Master of Ancient Landmark Lodge was called in on the subject of "The Shrine." He is the Sec. and Treas. of Nomad Oasis in Shanghai. Explaining "Shrine" to a Jap is an un-solvable problem. I tried it and failed. They questioned me on the subject — {I} gave them full data as I am also a Shriner, informed them of its purposes in detail but I could see that they could not understand it. To a Jap, a Shrine is the most sacred institution in life. When a Jap soldier goes to war, I understand that the last thing he does before leaving his home is to go to his Shrine and offer himself to his emperor. It would be very difficult I can see for a Jap to analyze a Shrine ceremonial circular with comparison to their conception of a Shrine.

All of my current files of the Dist. Grand Lodge have been taken from me and were in the possession of the Japs when I left Shanghai. They have put military seals on all wardrobe rooms, Secretary's Office, Library and store rooms in the American Masonic Temple. The main halls were left intact.

On Jan. 20th last, a general meeting of Sinim, Shanghai and Ancient Landmark was held quietly with notice by word of mouth and these three Lodges closed for an indefinite period with my approval subject to again convening at such time as conditions will permit.

On the same date and just prior to the above Lodges meeting, the Dist. Grand Lodge held its annual meeting that being the regular date for it. No notices could be sent out. All that could be done was to elect a Treasurer and appoint officers and install such new ones coming into the Dist. Grand Lodge official list. Minutes were taken by Wor. Bro. Dillon, the Asst. Dis. Grand Sec. but they had not been written up in form by him when I left there, for fear of the Japs.

On June 23rd. last I appointed Wor. Bro. Arthur Q. Adamson, Deputy Dist. Grand Master and installed him in my private apartment in the Clement Apts. in Shanghai with Wor. Bro. Dillon, Asst. Dist. Grand Sec. present, together with 5 or 6 other Brethren of our Const, present. Minutes of the occasion were taken by Bro. Dillon. Right Wor. Bro. Adamson held the office of Deputy Dist. Grand Master some 6 or 8 years ago, I do not recollect the exact date. It may be that he also will be repatriated on the next boat to leave. I trust you will approve his appointment by me in this most informal manner which could not be done in any other manner at the time.

In reference to the Lodges in North China, my information concerning their condition is very meagre. Wor. Bro. C. C. Lin came to Shanghai from Peking last May and said that the Japs had sealed the Temple but had not given any of our members the inquisition.

I have not been able to receive any communication from Wor. Bro. Charles Thunder, Dist. Grand Secretary who resides in Peking. It was not safe for him to write to me or me to him.

In Tientsin, Wor. Bro. R. E. McCan, Master of Hykes Memorial Lodge was questioned in a rather mild way by a Jap who informed him he was appointed to go over the material taken from the Masonic Temple in Tientsin, and make a study of it. It appears that the Japs visited the Temple in Tientsin the latter part of Dec. 1941 and demanded to see all records. They took away all records, jewels, charters and regalia. Wor. Brother McCan was taken into custody on political charges due to his employment with a large American firm in Tientsin. Was kept confined for 144 days, part of the time (while in Peking) his treatment was most obnoxious. The prison regulations of the Japs are most severe and painful.

Several other Brethren of our Const. in N. China were taken in on political charges — Brothers Plath, Mills, Sherwood, Benedict, Spielman, McNally, Morris, Wor. Bro. Eastham, Alston.

In Shanghai, a number of our Brethren were taken in by the Gendarmes as political suspects among which were — Brother J. B. Powell, Sinim Lodge. You no doubt have read his article in the Press about the treatment accorded him while he was detained in the infamous "Bridge House" at Shanghai, Gangrene & Malnutrition causing him to lose his toes and part of his foot of both feet. Was taken in on Dec. 20th and did not receive medical attention necessary until March. Picture of his feet is in magazine "Life" about 3 weeks ago.

Brother E. M. Himrod, Sinim Lodge, 69 years old was also taken in to the Bridge House for 51 days. Bitten by vermin terribly, his legs swelled badly which caused him to run a high fever. In his suffering, the guards would not even give him a cup of cold water, although informed of his illness. Only tepid tea was permitted.

Brother Fred Twogood, Gen. Manager of Socony-Vacuum Oil Co. was taken in for 109 days. His treatment was similar to that of Brother Himrod but of longer duration. He looked very emaciated when he came on board ship. The mental strain told on him.

There were some 40 men taken in on March 5th, comprising the ranking business men of Shanghai who were enemy subjects.

Not only did they "take in" men but women who were thrown into the same cell with the men. In the cell with Brother Himrod at one time were 5 Chinese women. A British subject and his wife, one of the wealthiest couples in Shanghai were incarcerated, he in one cell and she in another with men. I could relate many incidents of similar brutality but time and space do not permit at present.

I am greatly concerned about the future of our membership in China.

Quite a few came home with me. On the S.S. Gripsholm, I called a gathering of Masons on board under Mass. Const., and recorded their names and addresses which I am enclosing herewith.

The present Masonic year commenced on Sept. 1st last and they will be without dues cards. I feel sure this situation can be remedied by the Grand Secretary receiving the money for the current year and crediting same to each Lodge to be adjusted after the war is over. It may be difficult to determine the amount of the annual dues as the Lodges in China usually make their dues payable in local currency. However, I believe that some have absent member dues calculated in U. S. currency. My Lodge, Ancient Landmark, as I recollect, has adopted that method. I do not know the amount and I do not have a copy of its By-laws with me. My dues were paid up to Sept. 1st, 1942, but now I am without a card. May I kindly request that you refer this matter to Right Wor. Bro. Hilton for his attention, and if possible let me know how much I am to pay and whether it is possible to receive a card. It is my opinion that it would serve a good purpose and be greatly appreciated by the Brethren from China now located in the U.S.A. if they could be informed by the Grand Secretary's office, the procedure for them to follow to be able to receive their dues cards for the current year.

Relative to the funds of the District Grand Lodge, I am very pleased to inform you that most of its money is safe. Quite a few months before the war broke, the District Grand Secretary had all surplus money deposited with the National City Bank in N. Y. Just enough local currency was retained in China to keep the District Grand Lodge going. I had about $4100.00 local currency in the Chase Bank held by me as an imprest a/c for the benefit of the Dist. Grand Lodge and succeeded in drawing out about $1500.00. The balance is frozen in this bank. The amount drawn out by me has been handed over to Wor. Bro. Adamson, Deputy Dist. Grand Master for his attention.

I am so sorry about the condition relating to my District Grand Master's reports. When the war broke, I was in the midst of forming my report for 1940-41. It perhaps was fortunate that I had not made it as I might have said something in it about the Japs and I would have been punished more.

At present, I have nothing but my memory to make a report. All of my files were in the hands of the Japs when I left Shanghai on June 29th last. Whether they will return them is a matter of conjecture. I rather doubt it. When I can locate a typewriter or typist, I will render you a more formal report as circumstances will permit. Relative to our Brethren still in Shanghai, I am gravely concerned about their welfare. Many are of nationality that will not be concerned by their Governments relative to repatriation and will have to live through probably most severe conditions. I believe most of the American Brethren will be able to get out of China on the next exchange ship list. If some are left behind and need help it will be a difficult problem to send assistance.

The Americans, I feel sure will be taken care of, but I am at a loss to make intelligent and practical suggestions for the relief of our other members who may need it. The next boat load of repatriates will no doubt bring information to us that will materially assist us. The food problem is the most serious. Prices were exorbitant when I left there and I am sure that they will get worse as time goes on. I do hope and pray that this horrible war will end most quickly so that mankind can live normal lives.

It is with a sad heart that I write you this sordid letter. When I think of the time and energy that Masons have spent in the Far East and how so many men have valued Freemasonry so highly, it is a great catastrophe that has befallen us. The Japs have knocked us down but we are not "out" yet. Freemasonry in the Far East will rise again stronger than ever. Its seeds are so strongly implanted in China today that it will come to life with renewed vigor at its first opportunity. Ordo ab Chao is the motto for us Masons in China to listen to at present.

I apologize for writing to you at such length in longhand, but it is the best I could offer at the time and trust that you will be able to decipher my hieroglyphics. Trusting that this letter finds you. in good health and with it my kindest regards and best wishes, I am

Sincerely and fraternally yours
(Signed) N. E. Lurton
District Grand Master


At the Feast of St. John, Brother Lurton gave an address of his experiences in China, but it does not appear in full in the Proceedings for the reasons stated by the Grand Master.

From Proceedings, Page 1942-369:

Those of you who were at Grand Lodge about two weeks ago, at our annual meeting, will remember the very interesting letter that I read to you that came to me from our District Grand Master in China, written after he had come back to this country on the Gripsholm the latter part of August, telling of the trials and tribulations which visited the Craft in China after Pearl Harbor. The references which the Grand Master of Illinois made to the little yellow tots in the Orient reminded me that many of our Brethren there suffer untold humiliation and agony, due to the persecution and even torture inflicted upon them by the Japs.

I had expected that I might have with me at Grand Lodge today one who had come back from China and I was very sorry indeed to receive a telegram just before the opening to the effect that he could not be here in time for the Grand Lodge. At exactly five minutes past six tonight he arrived and asked me if he had time to go across the street and change his clothes. I said, "You have only time to wash your hands, if you have time even for that."

I can say to the Brethren that it is a rare privilege I have to present to you the Judge of the United States Court in China — at least he was a Judge of that Court prior to the occupation by the Japanese— our District Grand Master, in China, Right Worshipful Brother Nelson Lurton.

[Because Right Worshipful Brother Lurton wished to bring to us the more intimate details of the difficulties surrounding the Craft arising out of the occupation of China by Japan, he expressly desired that his talk be not transcribed in full, fearing that a recitation of times and places, and particularly of individuals, might prove embarrassing at a later date. At his request, therefore, merely the following abstract of his remarks is printed in these Proceedings.]

Mention was made by him of a book now extant in the United States, written by an Italian by the name of Vespa, in 1937, entitled The Secret Agent of Japan. In this book the author told how he was compelled by the Japanese to perpetrate most subversive activities against all of our Masonic Brethren residing in the three provinces of China, formerly called Manchuria, but now named Manchukuo by the Japanese. Right Worshipful Brother Lurton stressed the fact that a reading of this book by our Brethren would give them further insight as to the set future purposes and aims of the Japanese, most startling in their audacity.

He told how Lodges in Harbin, Mukden and Darien, all under our Massachusetts Constitution and located in zones under Japanese jurisdiction, had to close on account of the pressure brought by the Japanese against the members of these Lodges.

A vivid and graphic picture of conditions prevailing in China after war was declared by Japan against us on December 7, 1941, as it related to Freemasonry in China, was told by him. How the Japanese Naval Landing Party in Shanghai in the month of February, 1941, visited the Temples of all Masonic organizations in the city, took away all Masonic records, lodge regalia, many Masonic books from their libraries and then placed the seal of the military on rooms and various apartments in the Temples, thereby precluding their use by the Craft. From information received by him through other Brethren of the Craft, the same action was taken by the Japanese throughout China in territories occupied by them, as well as the whole of the Far East.

Brother Lurton had the painful experience of being imprisoned by the Japanese in a locked room in the Cathay Hotel for a period of seven days during the month of February, 1941. He told how he was compelled to give his inquisitors answers to their questions relative to Freemasonry six to eight hours each day. Many times he was threatened with dire punishment if he was caught lying by them.

During the course of his questioning rather amusing incidents took place. One was the Japanese inquisitor's inability to understand the significance of the Shriners' organization. The usual communications sent Brother Lurton by his Shrine Temple were found by the Japanese and they could not interpret their meaning, especially that part of the circular relating to the second section of a forthcoming ceremonial. To a Japanese, a Shrine is a most sacred place — a place where their most solemn religious duties are performed. To try to explain to them the aims and purposes of the Shrine, with them holding in their hands at the time a high-powered ceremonial circular of a Temple, just did not make sense to them.

Another incident occurred during his questioning which confirmed in his mind the charge that the Japanese are possessed of an extreme fanatical sentiment. In the course of his examination, a topic of some religious nature was being discussed-Brother Lurton's answers evidently displeased the inquisitor, who very angrily exclaimed, his eyes flashing fire: "Bushido. Greater than Adam and Eve, greater than Jesus Christ, greater than Abraham Lincoln." A demoniacal demonstration of spleen.

A third most interesting incident occurred after the third or fourth day of his inquisition, and after the inquisitor had gleaned more knowledge relating to Freemasonry in general. He had learned, that of the truly great men of the world, both present and past, a large number of their names appeared on the rolls of Freemasonry and none could be found on those rolls among the Japanese. No doubt this hurt. The Japanese had lost face in this respect. The inquisitor said: "I am going to organize Masonry in Japan," a most startling assertion to be made by one who was then in the act of perpetrating a most damning deed against an organization in which he had apparently found some good.

The secrets of the order were not demanded of Brother Lurton during his examination. However, among other Brethren of the Craft who were brought in for short examination, this subject was a topic of examination. One Brother, not of our Constitution, was asked to give them the "Word." This Brother said to them: "I am a Master Mason. I was honored by a Masonic Lodge by being accepted to its membership. My Lodge gave these secrets to me as a gentleman. I have always observed that gentleman's agreement. You are gentlemen. Do you want me to break a gentleman's word?" They pressed for an answer no longer.

When the Japanese commenced their investigation of Freemasonry in Shanghai, they were asked what their reason for it was. They tacitly implied that Germany had made a request on their government to investigate Freemasonry operating in their territory to determine whether it was of a political nature.

It is most difficult to analyze the Japanese mind. For sixty years Blue Lodge Masonry has been operating in Japan. Lodges under the English Constitution, as well as the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, have been functioning there unmolested. When Masonic Lodges were first instituted in Japan, a gentleman's agreement was entered into between the authorities and the Lodges that no Japanese subject would be permitted to join a Lodge of Masons, and this agreement has never been broken by our Fraternity.

In order to make a case against Freemasonry as being politically inclined, Brother Lurton's inquisitor resorted to placing most false and ludicrous interpretation on acts of business operations of the Lodges for their practical administration. For instance, the examiner said to him: "We see that your Lodges take in quite a bit of money during the year. Whenever money is involved, you are bound to be political." He was further questioned as to the expenditure of the money collected. Wanted to know whether the organization ever gave any money to charities outside of the Brotherhood.

This young inquisitor was evidently uninformed or did not wish to recall the incident when the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, appropriated and paid U. S. $10,000.00 to the suffering Japanese people after their terrible earthquake in 1923.

Brother Lurton related how the three Massachusetts Lodges in Shanghai secretly held a meeting on January 20, 1942, at the American Masonic Temple by giving notice of it by word of mouth, not daring to send written notices, and formally closing the Lodges until such time as conditions permitted their resumption of operations.

In the course of his address, the District Grand Master told of the terrible brutality practiced on the helpless civilian enemies. Many of them were members of our Fraternity. One of the outstanding cases was that of Brother J. B. Powell, a member of Sinim Lodge in Shanghai. No doubt many of our Brethren here in this country have read Brother Powell's narration of his suffering while locked in that most infamous, improvised prison of the Japanese in Shanghai, the Bridge House, and have seen the awful condition of his feet, as depicted in the magazine, Life. Not only Brother Powell, but several other Brethren of Massachusetts Lodges, were treated likewise and imprisoned in that same place for many days. A graphic picture of conditions in this prison was related to Brother Lurton by a member of our Constitution. This prison was improvised out of the garages on the ground floor of a large building. The cell in which our Brother was cast had an area of about 10' x 20'. In that cell with him were thirty-five persons all told, five of whom were women—Chinese. No discrimination was made between male and female. When prisoners were placed in the cell, each had to take off his shoes. The floor was bare and one blanket was allowed to each. There was no heat in the prison. The winters are cold in Shanghai, not excessively—four to ten degrees below freezing—but very uncomfortable, due to excessive moisture in the atmosphere. The food furnished by the prison was very meagre — congee, a thin mixture of water and boiled rice, with a scanty amount of fish, at times. It was not enough for the diet of a person in good health. Food from outside was subsequently allowed to the prisoner if brought to him. No talking or whispering was allowed. The prisoners were required to sit on the floor.

Punishment for infraction of any of the rules of the prison was rigidly enforced. Types of punishment included requiring the prisoner to kneel on the hard floor and keep his hands raised above his head for an hour. Kicking the shins, stamping on the instep, slapping the face and knocking two heads together were common practices. Members of our Fraternity were incarcerated in this prison ranging from 51 to 109 days, a most cruel ordeal. Some of our members in North China were locked up in the Japanese military prison in Tientsin and Peking for as long as 149 days.

It seemed to be the aim of the Japanese to give vent to their great inferiority complex by trying to humiliate innocent people among their enemies. On March 15, 1942, they went about the city of Shanghai and arrested forty of the leading business men, mainly Americans and British, and threw them in the Bridge House. They arrested a British couple, one of the wealthiest in Shanghai. The wife was put in one cell with men and the husband in another. Both were hospital cases when they were released.

Brother Lurton further expressed the opinion that although the Japanese had wrecked Freemasonry in the Far East for the present, it was so deeply rooted in China that it would immediately come to vigorous life again as soon as Japan and her Axis partners were disposed of. It was heartening to observe the great number of Chinese who have joined the Craft in recent years. He stated that two Lodges in Shanghai under our Constitution, Sinim and Ancient Landmark, now had Chinese members as their Worshipful Masters, that the rank and file of the Chinese joining with us were of a very high type and men of worth—a most gratifying state of the Order in this respect. He further stated that our efforts in the Far East to bring good to the men of China through the enlightening principles of Freemasonry have not been in vain.

He expressed the hope that our Government would be able in the very near future to repatriate some 1500 of our countrymen still in the war zone, fearing that they were lacking food and warmth during the present winter months; that many of our Brethren were among this number and very anxious to come home. He closed his address with a plea for our prayers for the safety of our distressed Brethren and their families in the Far East.

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