Harold John Timperley
He started his newspaperman career in China in 1921 and reported for the Manchester Guardian from 1928, based in Peiping (1921-1936), Shanghai (1936-April?, 1937, Sept. 1937-April, 1938) and Nanjing (May?-Sept. 1937). He became an advisory editor of ASIA magazine in 1934 (see ASIA of November, 1938). He married Elizabeth Chambers at Nanjing in August 1937.
After the Japanese invasion, his accounts for the Guardian were some of the first-hand information most easily available in the West. His cables from Shanghai, although at times censored, formed the basis for some early writing on the Nanjing massacre from 1937-8.
Timperley left Shanghai for London early April, 1938. There, he published the book What War Means, edited by him, which contains direct testimony as well as official documents. It received great attention, being published in the USA under the title The Japanese Terror in China. Its content has been contested by Japanese historians, including Minoru Kitamura.
Timperley became involved in an attempt to stir the United Kingdom to act on behalf of China. He was close to the Nationalists and Chiang Kai-shek; it is a matter of some dispute to what extent he was supported by them, or was engaged in propaganda work on their behalf. It is not contested that he took a strongly anti-war line, and on a personal level was friendly with Japanese including the Shanghai Domei News Agency chief Matsumoto Shigeharu. Some of the statistics Timperley used have been mis-employed by subsequent writers taking What War Means as a source.
In 1939, he gave up journalism and served for the Chinese Ministry of Information, as an advisor. He continued to write on topics connected with Japan, including the nationalist thinker Yoshida Shoin, until the end of the Pacific War. From 1943, he worked for the Information Office of United Nations (Allied Powers) .
From 1946, he worked for UNRRA at its Shanghai office. In 1947, the United Nations Security Council established the Good Offices Committee for Indonesia to sponsor negotiations between the country and Netherlands, and Timperley was assigned to a Deputy Principal Secretary (later to an Acting Principal Secretary ) of the committee (from May 1948?) until 20 October 1948. After he finished his duty of the committee, he worked for UNESCO in Paris.
Not long after his arrival in London, he came into touch with the Religious Society of Friends and was admitted to the membership in 1952. From January 1954, he threw himself into supporting the War on Want campaign and acted as full-time voluntary office worker. He organized the first War on Want Conference in May 1954.
On 25 November 1954, he was found on a bed in a state of unconsciousness and taken to hospital at Cuckfield by ambulance, but died on the following day (26 November 1954).
- What War Means: The Japanese Terror in China, London, Victor Gollancz Ltd,1938. (There are two editions, Left Book Club and non LBC editions.)
- The Japanese Terror in China, New York, Modern Age Books, 1938.
- Japan: A World Problem, New York, The John Day Company, 1942.
- Australia and the Australians, New York, Oxford University Press, 1942
- Some Contrast Between China and Japan in The Light of History /10 page leaflet, London, The China Society, publication date unknown.
- The War on Want /5 page leaflet, London, Gledhill & Ballinger Ltd., 1953
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (February 2012)|