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 A Postcard from Hitler, Stalin and Mr Jones

 

In October 2010 Chief Caravaneer Phil Colley was invited by acclaimed filmmaker George Carey to return to Inner Mongolia, this time in search of places associated with the death of his Great Uncle Gareth Jones. Jones was an intrepid Welsh journalist who had been in the employ of David Lloyd George and who was at the time on a tour of the Far East investigating the intentions of an increasingly assertive Japan. He had earlier risked his life, and his career, to bring the Georgian Stalin's man-made famine in the Ukraine to the world's attention.  As a result of his reporting Jones was vilified by the British establishment, effectively for telling the truth about the Soviet Union. Whilst in in Inner Mongolia he was kidnapped by bandits and later murdered, in as yet unexplained circumstances, on the eve of his 30th birthday. George Carey's footage of their journey was used in the Storyville documentary  'Hitler, Stalin and Mr Jones'. The film remains a valiant attempt to tell the story behind the young journalist's untimely demise.  The documentary was aired on BBC4 in July 2012.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phil sings the traditional Welsh Folk Song 'Dafydd y Garreg Wen' (David of the White Rock) . Linguist Jones did not sadly have Mandarin as one of his languages and was reduced to singing Gregorian chants in a desperate attempt to ingratiate himself
,with his captors.

Elderly resident of Guan Ma Gou, the village where Gareth Jones was ambushed

At the time of Gareth's capture the village of Guan Ma Gou was known as Hou Jia Da Huo Fang (Wade-Giles - Ho-chia Ta-huo-fang), many villages having been renamed at the time of Mao's 'Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution'. Though today very much a backwater in those days it lay on one of the few routes between Dolonor and Paochang.
 

 

 

 

 

 

George Carey

 

 

 

 

Phil with a villager from Meng Jia Ying, scene of Jones' execution. The man in the photo was able to recall village elders discussing the incident as a child.
 


George Carey en route back to Beijing.
 

On location in Meng Jia Ying
 

 

 

Another resident of Guan Ma Gou

Phil at the site of Kublai Khan's Xanadu (pinyin - ShangDu). The site is mentioned in Gareth's account of his journey to Dolonor (pinyin - DuoLun).
 
Cowhand at Guan Ma Gou


The continuing destruction of Beijing's hutongs. The architectural soul has been ripped out of the city in recent years, some say as punishments for its residents stance against the Party in 1989.
 
Plaque showing the former site of the Japanese consulate in Beijing The former Japanese consulate in the Dongjiaominxiang Hutong, former Beijing Legation Area

 

 

 

 

Original section of the Beijing Hotel where Gareth spent time before his journey to meet Prince De Wang (Teh Wang) in Inner Mongolia.
 
Hutong gate with Tibetan influences in Beijing After 25 years Phil meets up again with Yin Laoshi, his Mandarin teacher during his time at Beijing Normal University.


Ginko leaves with Qianmen gate and TianAnMen Square in the background
Former site of the German Legation, now home to the Century Hotel. Searching for the site of Gareth's execution in the backwaters of Inner Mongolia
     

Modern day BaoChang (Wade- Giles - Paochang). It was here that Gareth's body was first brought before its journey back to Beijing and finally, upon cremation, aboard HMS Rawalpindi to Barry South Wales. My mother used to speak of carrying the urn upon her lap on the train journey back from Southampton docks.
The old route through GuanMaGou. It is likely that Gareth spent his last moments as a free man driving along this section of road before his ambush on exiting the village. The actual site of the ambush?
     

Village House in GuanMaGou. Most residents are Han settlers who gradually pushed out the nomadic Mongolians as Inner Mongolia was colonised during the latter years of the Qing dynasty.
Much of Dolonor (DuoLun) remains as it must have been at the time of Gareth's short, ill fated visit in July 1935. It was here he stumbled upon the Japanese Kwantung army and was subsequently arrested. The Lama Temple in Dolonor visited by Gareth and Dr Mueller shortly before their detention by the Japanese.
     
  That's all for now!

With best  wishes,

 from Phil and all aboard
The Oriental Caravan  

    Chief Caravaneer rests on some temple steps in the company of a Mongolia monk in Dolonor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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             Revised and last updated: November 20th 2013. Links