HUGH LAUGHLIN ROBINSON (1897 - 1969)


June 4, 2004
I received the following e-mail from Hugh Laughlin Robinson II, the grandson of Hugh Laughlin Robinson.

Tom:

My grandfather Hugh, a native of NH, was Colby College '18 and Harvard Med '22. He practiced medicine in China (outside Peking) from ca. 1926 to 1941. My grandmother and the four kids (my dad being one of them!) came home (to Boston) in early '41, leaving my grandfather at PUMC (Peking Union Medical College). The American hospital was closed in the Fall of '41; a indeterminite number of staff (meaning I don't know how many) went overland to Shanghai, where they caught a Vichy boat to Manila. They docked in Manila on the morning of 12/7. After presenting themselves for service with the US Army, the Army decamped for Corregidor without telling the PUMC staff, and one thing led to another and my grandfather ended up in ST. He is mentioned in Carl Mydan's book (Mr. Mydans worked in the infirmary at ST). He ended up being repatriated on the Gripsholm in the fall of '43; home by Xmas '43. I have photos of him that Carl Mydans took on the Gripsholm, which Mr. Mydans sent to me after I spent an afternoon with he and Shelley in August 1993. Grandpa was mentioned in articles in the Boston Globe in 2001 called "The Secret History of WWII". These quotes were from an OSS debriefing of him in NY in Dec '43: "Although the Japanese advertised for [coal] miners, they were unable to get any. The locomotives of the trains used roots and branches for fuel instead of coal," reported Dr. Hugh Robinson, a physician from Auburndale, Mass., repatriated in 1943 from the Philippines, where US forces were defeated after Pearl Harbor. "Because of the lack of steel, the bridges were torn down, the steel used for other purposes and the bridges reconstructed of wood. Occasionally guerrillas burn up these wooden bridges." I have a copy of the full debriefing, as well as an audio recording of the 1993 session with the Mydans, although it needs to be transcribed.

I'll try and send the Mydans pics of him.

HLR II (hlr.esr@verizon.net)


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Thanks!

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