November 18, 2005

Hi Tom,

Here's what I know about the Whaley's. They were interred in the Chapei Civilian Assembly Center Shanghai 31-121 according to the WW II Prisoners of War Records just posted on Ancestry.

Gus was born in Wilmington Delaware in 1899 to my great-grandmother, Anna Mae Whaley. She was the widow of William N. Whaley who died of Typhoid Fever in 1896 (obviously, William was not Gus' father). He moved to the Allentown Pennsylvania area in the early 1900's with his mother and older sister, Helen Amanda. He lived there until he entered the Navy between 1918 and 1920. In the 1920 census he was stationed aboard ship anchored in the harbor in Shanghai. He married Simla Violet Harley in 1921; she was born in Simla, India of English parents. They had one child, Walter Everest Whaley, born 1922 in Shanghai.

Between 1920 and the beginning of the war, Gus and Simla lived in Shanghai. He worked for the Shanghai Municipal Waterworks as an engineer, and I think he eventually managed the water works. I have copies of some letters he wrote to his sister in the late 1930's. It looks like they lived a life of privilege during that time. I'm not sure when they were interred, although the prisoner of war records indicate it was 1943. I know nothing of their lives in the camp.

Their son served with the British forces in the Pacific during the war. After the war, Gus and his family moved to the US and spent time in Illinois, but they eventually moved to New South Wales, Australia. Gus died on February 17, 1960. Their descendents still live in NSW.

My father was Gus' nephew and he and my mother almost moved to Shanghai just prior to the war. Since I was also born in November of 1942, I would probably have ended up in the camp as well.

That's pretty much all I know about Gus and Simla.

Bonnie Serben

If you would like to share any information about the Whaley Family, please let me, Tom Moore, know.

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