Our first delegates

We deployed our first official delegates in 1937 to the second Sino-Japanese War. The trip was funded by the Far East Relief Fund, which was jointly administered with the Order of St John. The fund raised more than £9,000 ($898,127.34, 2014 inflation).

The second Sino-Japanese War, between China and Japan, began in 1937 when Japan started to move into Chinese territory. Japan occupied large areas of eastern China in 1937 and 1938.

The fund was used to send two New Zealand doctors - Dr Grey and Dr Tremewan - who were stationed at Loyang and Chengchow. Dr Robert Grey from Auckland set sail for China on 28 December 1937 and Dr Hector Tremewan from Wellington left shortly after on 12 February 1938.

Dr Grey established four camps in China to cater for approximately 20,000 refugees. The camps were financed by the League of National Societies (now known as the International Federation of the Red Cross).

In one of his correspondences back to New Zealand he described the conditions he was working in and appealed for two more New Zealand doctors to be sent to China to help.

"I have almost more work than I can handle," said Dr Grey in a letter dated 28 April 1938. "Thirty wounded arrived on Turesday, and another fourteen on Wednesday, as well as ten during last weekend. All the surgical work is carried out in mission hospitals subsidised by the international Red Cross committee, Hankow.

"It has been rather wonderful the manner in which the different denominations have worked together during the present trying time - Catholics and Protestants in perfect harmony. I have just completed my fifty-eighth operation, and if the work continues to be as heavy as it has been this last week, I should reach one hundred by the time this report is recieved by you."

Dr Golan Maaka and Dr Thomas Watson were chosen as the next two doctors to be sent over.

Dr H.C. Tremewan.

Evening Post, 27 January 1938