[bas relief by Oleh Lesiuk]
S.S. President Coolidge en route from Honolulu to Yokohama, between January 30th and February 9th, 1935 with Gareth Jones with Pax Cheng (300 Kb printable image).
Text from 'Gareth Jones: A Manchukuo Incident', by Dr. Margaret Siriol Colley
After a few days in Hawaii he boarded the SS President Coolidge. As the ship left port, thousands of coloured streamers were thrown from the ship to the pier and Gareth was presented with a lei; a wreath of flowers to put round his neck. It was a beautiful boat, such a contrast to the SS President Monroe and was about five times larger and very luxurious, having excellent drawing rooms, suites, a cinema, tea garden and an orchestra. In the dining room he sat with a charming young Chinese man who had a great sense of humour and his young son, aged three, called Pax. Mr Cheng4 had been for many years at the League of Nations Secretariat, hence the child’s name. Pax could only speak French and was always talking about Mickey Mouse and ‘le grand méchant loup’ [the (animated) big bad wolf from the Three Little Pigs].
During the voyage they experienced one of the worst storms in the Pacific for a very long time. Many people watched the mountainous waves for hours. Huge ‘monsters’ came towards the ship and the boat would go up and then down again. Sometimes the whole vessel would crash, while bumping on two waves. One night there was a fancy dress party, but just as the dancing began a wave made the boat lurch and a great many people were swept from the middle of the floor to one end falling on top of each other. The tables collapsed and chairs fell over. The captain said it was the worst storm he had fought in 25 years of seamanship.
4 Mr Cheng was very worried about the banks failing in Shanghai on account of the American Silver Purchase Act and he sent a cable from the boat telling the bank to pay out all his account in cash to his father-in-law.
5 In the Second World War, the SS President Coolidge was converted to a troop carrier. On 20th October 1942 it struck a mine in the Segond Channel off the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu in the Southern Pacific with the loss of two lives.
For a high quality image (359kb) , then please click the photo above.
By coincidence, the young boy in the picture above, was called Pax Cheng and a through Google search in 2001, it was discovered he was currently living in California.
His Chinese father, at the time of the photo, worked for the Chinese Delegation at the League of Nations and Pax happened to have been born during a previous peace treaty - hence his unusual Latin name .
After the 1949 Chinese Revolution (at which time, his father was the then, Chinese Ambassador to Cuba - they were forced to emigrate to the US.
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