W. H. Donald
1875 - 1946HomeDon Who?!World views DonA Chinese life ...Don - the BookPlay/MovieDeath in ShanghaiScholarlyChinese researchOn the AuthorPersonals 

 

(Inscription on Mr. Donald's tomb in the International Cemetery, Shanghai, from 1946 to 1967 when the cemetery was destroyed in one of the excesses of the 'Cultural Revolution'.)
 

W.H. DONALD'S FUNERAL IN SHANGHAI

From Shen Pao, Shanghai daily, November 11, 1946

 

DONALD'S FUNERAL - NATIONAL FLAG COVERS COFFIN

FLORAL CROSS OF YELLOW AND WHITE CHRYSANTHEMUMS GIVEN BY PRESIDENT AND FIRST LADY

Mr W. H. Donald, the late personal adviser to Chiang Kai-shek, has been a foreign adviser in China for 40 years. Yesterday, at 3pm, he was farewelled by a close circle of friends, including Madame Chiang, at the Shanghai International Cemetery.

Mr Donald died at 1.15am the day before yesterday. Funeral arrangements were handled by the firm of Li Zhi She who employed the Wan Guo funeral parlour to make up the body. At 9 o'clock yesterday morning, Mr Donald's friends started to arrive for the service and to view the coffin which was partially covered by the national flag. Only the upper half of Mr Donald was visible. He was dressed in a grey-blue shirt, dark blue tie with grey stripes and a green suit with a white handkerchief tucked into the breast pocket. His expression was dignified yet, perhaps because the makeup was too light and the room dimly lit, it seemed to his friends that under this yellow light he resembled a wax statue of an old man.

The coffin was placed in the middle of the hall. Behind it was the cross of yellow and white chrysanthemums sent by Generalissimo  and Madame Chiang. Hanging on either side of the cross was a white ribbon containing a text in English to the right and, to the left, a message in Chinese: "To Don, with deep respect, from Chiang Kai-shek and Soong Mei-ling"

Two flags - Australian and Chinese - flanked the cross of flowers. Surrounding the coffin and along the walls were wreaths of yellow and white chrysanthemums and more than ten pots of the flowers were placed on the floor. An appropriate verse was displayed, from a poem by Ye Gong Zhou, which underscored the sadness of the occasion:

    You are no more - I am still here

    Alas, Irreplacable loss!

    We are honoured that you entered our world

    For your words were here more valued than gold

    You mark on our nation's history is indelible.

    Too late, too late to sigh.

    O how can you rest in peace while we remain so sad?

From 1pm, those invited to the funeral began to arrive. Employees of Li Zhi She and Donald's closest friends entered the room to observe the deceased. At 1.50. Mme Chiang - accompanied by Miss L. H. Kung and Miss L. W. Kung - arrived at the funeral parlour. She looked sad and was dressed entirely in black including her jacket, dress, high heel shoes gloves and handbag. She remained silent throughout, simply sitting in the centre of the first row directly opposite the body. Behind the mayor, Mr Xuan Wu and his wife, was Mr H. H. Kung .              

PREPARATION FOR THE BURIAL

At 2pm the funeral procession began. Six of Mr Donald's closest friends acted as pallbearers and a priest said prayers while all stood still and silently prayed for the deceased. The ceremony lasted some 20 minutes. Then Mr Huang, directing the proceedings, requested everyone to take a last look at the body before departing. At that point, the coffin was slowly covered and sealed although the flag remained on top, so too the cross of flowers sent by Mr and Mme Chiang.

THE BURIAL

While everyone else waited outside, Mr Donald's 6 friends carried the coffin to a waiting car. The whole entourage then moved off to the Shanghai International Cemetery, Hongkew, with the priest in the first car, the coffin in the second, the 6 pallbearers in the third, and Mme Chiang and others following in more than 10 other cars.

The grave, surrounded by fresh green grass, was already prepared. The coffin was lowered within while the priest uttered prayers to those in attendance and the ceremony finished at 2.45pm. After the burial, Mr Huang gave thanks to all mourners and Mme Chiang waited until more than 20 floral wreaths had been distributed along the sides and behind the grave. She then went home.

Yesterday's ceremony, at Mr Donald's request, was a simple one, in rich contrast to the atmosphere and feelings among the mourners, who included Yan Hui Ching, Wang Zhen Ting, Zhang Dao Fan, Bei Zhu Yi, Qian Da Jun, Xuan Te Wu and others (including foreigners and Chinese) numbering in all more than 100 people. The city's police chief and an elite corps of officers took charge of the day's proceedings.

Mr Zhang Dao Fan, a representative from the Central Committee, wrote an article mourning Mr Donald He signed it at the end: "From a Chinese friend, Zhao Dao Fan, with profound respect and love"

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Copyright, Frank Bren 2001. Photographs of Mr. Donald and friends are reproduced by kind permission of the Donald family (Australia) and Ansie Lee Sperry (USA). For all enquiries, please contact the Manager via frankmondial@lycos.com . Oh, and many thanks for visiting this site.