Elizabeth LUCAS [c.1879-????]

Submitted by Aldi on Sun, 04/02/2023 - 23:20
(Day, Month, & Year are approximate.)

Born c1879 Elizabeth Lucas served with the BCMS from 1924 to her semi-retirement in 1933.

When the Clifts handed over their Children’s Home in Nanning, Guangxi Province to the BCMS in 1924, Miss Lucas became its superintendent, reporting to Dr Lechmere Clift, who had moved to Hong Kong

In 1925, due to anti-British, anti-foreign feeling in Nanning, Miss Lucas and Dr Kate McBurney, who ran the Hospital, found it necessary to go to Hong Kong, leaving the Chinese staff in charge.  In 1926 The Children’s Home (26 in number) was moved 180 miles south to Lungchow and Miss Lucas returned in charge, assisted by Miss Loudwell.  For greater safety, 8 older girls were taken on to Haiphong which was in French Territory.

By 1930 the Chinese Civil War had begun and The Red Army took Lungchow.  At 7am one morning about thirty armed soldiers came and looted the Home, and the missionaries were taken to the army headquarters.  It was a march of some 18 miles.  Some of the soldiers however were sympathetic and asked Miss Lucas to tell them about ‘the Jesus doctrine’. One account reads, ‘Can you picture the rather frail elder lady stumbling along that rough mountain track, her feet raw with blisters, surrounded by a bunch of Red soldiers, armed to the teeth, trying to hear the old old story from their prisoner?’

 Luckily the Red Army was driven out of Lungchow and Miss Lucas was able to return with a strong escort of soldiers and move the Home firstly to Haiphong and then to Hong Kong under the British flag.  The home was settled in the palatial surroundings of 24 Broadwood Road, where it stayed for three years.  The BCMS was able to afford the low rent as the landlord believed the house was haunted by the spirit of his dead wife.

In 1931 they were joined by the young missionary Mildred Dibden, who initially spent a lot of her time learning the Cantonese language.  By then the Home had 35 girls.  They called Miss Lucas Aunty Luk.

In 1933 the Chinese Landlord of the Home put his prices up and the Foundling/Children's Home was obliged to move to Taipo.  At this point Miss Lucas (semi) retired (aged about 54), leaving Mildred Dibden in charge.  After a home furlough she was going to a mission in Columbo where she would have less responsibility, and more leisure, before finally retiring.

In her account of Mildred Dibden’s life, Jill Doggett describes Elizabeth Lucas as Mildred saw her – ‘Straight and stern when the occasion demanded discipline, but staunch and true as a friend. . . Someone of absolute integrity. . . but sometimes a block in the way of more enlightened educational methods.’ 


SourcesThe First 25 Years of the BCMS – W S Hooton and J Stafford Wright;  The Yip Family of Amah Rock – Jill Doggett.


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Passenger List Liverpool to Canada 1920

Elizabeth Lucas 41 Missionary

UK address 66 Redcliffe  Gardens South Kensington London

Passenger List Southampton to Hong Kong  November 1928

Elizabeth Lucas 49 Missionary Country of Future Permanent Residence China

UK address 6 Redcliffe Street (sic)  London S.W.10