Harry Lechmere CLIFT [1876-1949]

Submitted by @dibden on Wed, 01/25/2023 - 04:46
Names
Title
Dr
Given
Harry Lechmere
Family
Clift
Sex
Male
Status
Deceased
Born
Date
Died
Date
Died in (country)
Hong Kong

Dr Harry Lechmere Clift was a medical missionary.  Born in 1876 he married C Winifred Ashby and they went out to China in 1909 to found the Emmanuel Medical Mission in Nanning, Guangxi, which he operated at his own expense until 1917, when he served in the RAMC in France until the end of the War. 

He returned to Nanning and served until 1923, when due to ill health, he handed over the Mission in Nanning to the (B)CMS (?) and moved to Hong Kong  with a home of 35 foundlings, which he settled in Broadwood Road. In due course he set up a practice in Nathan Road.  There he rented four ground floor shop spaces based at 118/802(?) Nathan Road. As well as the Medical Centre, the space was used as a Chapel for the Emmanuel Mission Church (1929), and for the Fraternity Book Room, later renamed Emmanuel English Bookroom, which became a well-known evangelical English book-store in Kowloon.  The book room continued until the building was demolished in 1978.

Dr and Winifred Clift were both key in encouraging Mildred Dibden in her calling to start taking in abandoned babies in 1936, when no missionary society in the UK was willing to back her.  The Evangelical Fraternity backed her for three years.  When her numbers outgrew her small flat in Tsimshatsui, she moved to moved to Observatory Road, then to the SJAB premises in Tai Hang, and finally to a holiday bungalow on Cheung Chau owned by the Clifts.  Then in 1940 she moved to Fanling with 49 babies and opened her Babies' Home on Main Street, at which point she became financially independent of the Fraternity as a faith mission.  The Clifts were always there for her however.

During the War, the Clifts were interned in Stanley Camp by the Japanese.  They had a happy reunion with Mildred after the War, but Dr Clift's death in 1949 was a heavy blow to Miss Dibden, as was Winifred's death in 1966.

The Biographical Dictionary of Medical Practitioners in Hong Kong web page gives a photo of the Clifts and a more detailed summary of their lives.

Gloria Deo

Photos that show this Person

c.1939
c.1948

Comments

During the war, Dr and Mrs Clift were interned at Stanley Camp. They appear on the 1942 list of civilian internees:

Clift Mrs E W L 65 Housewife
Clift Dr H F 65 Medical Doctor