Hank Lacy

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My Father's Brief Career as an Intelligent Officer

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During World War II, Dad (Henry A. Lacy) served in southern China with the Office of Strategic Services.  He was assigned to the US Army with the rank of Captain.  Dad trained in the Calcutta area, not far from our home in India, and flew "the hump" into China in January 1945.  While in China, he ran six intelligence networks covering Kwangtung Province (now Guangdong Province), Hong Kong, and Macao.  We do not know a great deal about his whereabouts before the Japanese surrender in September 1945 (place names were frequently snipped out of his letters by the US military censors), but it appears that he was largely in the area west and south of Amoy (Xiamen) and certainly south of Fuzhou where he grew up.  After the surrender he was stationed primarily in Waichow (now Huizhou for those who want to locate it on Google Earth), Guangdong Province.  [Interestingly, Huizhou is currently the largest producer of laser diodes in the world, and a major producer of DVDs.]  In 1946 Dad was awarded the Bronze Star for his work in China and received that and a citation from President Truman at a ceremony in New Delhi.


Dad was a fourth generation missionary kid in China.  Before 1900, his great grandmother, Mary Clark Nind, visited her Daughter Emma Lacy  in China and while there got involved in the Methodist mission work.  She subsequently went on to Singapore, bought the land for a girl's school there and then repeated that feat in Penang. She then went on to India and spoke at the Lal Bagh Methodist Church in Lucknow, U.P. while my great grandfather on my mother's side, Bishop Robinson, was the pastor (1898).  Dad's mother, Jessie Ankeny, traveled to China as a single 19 year old girl to join the mission and met and married her husband, Henry Veere Lacy, there.  Dad loved China while he was growing up and attending the Shanghai American School.  He continued to speak Chinese (Fuzhou dialect) until the end, and often hunted down Fuzhou people in Chinese restaurants around the US where they treated him with great surprise, tea, and special dishes not found on the menu!  (Click on the pictures for a larger view of the image.)


Dad loved his pipe during the war and was delighted when he was able to find some good tobacco.  It was a frequent request in his letters home, much to his mother's disgust!

Driving a Japanese landing barge on the East River just below Waichow. October 1, 1945.  Dad often commandeered these boats to move his people from town to town.

Dad's out inspecting Japanese installations and damage in Waichow. Note the tunneled hill in the back and the blown bridge.  October 1, 1945.

Dad and Tojo, the Japanese commander's horse. Waichow, China October 1945.

"The only real pleasure in Waichow was riding the commander's horse.  There are some wonderfully fast & flat rides with jumps over ditches..."

A memorial to General Chan, "the Christian General" who fought with the nationalist forces.  Shanghai, January 1946.

Dad waiting in Shanghai for orders to return home to India.  January 1946.

This page was last updated on 04/19/2009

© Hank Lacy