Desmond Power was born in 1923 in Tientsin (now Tianjin), North China. He can claim the status of Third Generation Old China Hand, his maternal grandparents having settled there way back in the days of the Dragon Throne.
His easy life was shattered on December 8, 1941 when Japanese land forces in China overran foreign settlements, committing their residents to prison camps. The three camps in which Desmond was incarcerated became his university. In each he observed prisoners looking out only for themselves, while others gave of their all for the common good.
Upon Japan’s defeat, the jubilation of the sworn colonials was short-lived. Their special rights were revoked and they were obliged to leave. In January 1946, Desmond took part in the exodus of his own accord.
He found a niche in the early computer field, which took him from England, to New Zealand, to Canada. It was only after his retirement that he was free to write about his life and times in China. Present day journalists there pressed him for reminiscences and he gladly provided them with photos, memorabilia and written works, some of which are now published in Chinese translation.