Email message (edited) to Harpenden-History and St George’s School on 3 December 2015:
A little bit tired after days of work and meetings with the Lanzhou City University and other experts. No time to write details of my meetings and new information of the events. I just want to share with you some photos I took today, as they might of interest to you at Harpenden.
Nie Guangtao, the third brother, has been with us for the last few days. He is nearly 80 years old and his son and his nephew (the son of his younger brother) have accompanied him.
On the back of his tomb tablet is a Chinese translation of the poem which they say he liked.
His date of death is clearly marked as July 22, 1945.
I do remember his letter to his mother written on April 2 1945 from Shandan Bailie School that “having been here three weeks or so now, and not written to you yet”. On his way from Shuangshipu, to Shandan, he and the boys stopped in Lanzhou, I am not sure how long.
Today, it took us three hours from Lanzhou by fast train, via Xining and it must have been very difficult then. He stopped in Lanzhou and he was not sure whether he wrote his mother from Lanzhou then. That means he may have stayed in Lanzhou for some weeks.
From 3 weeks, plus the time from April 2, to the date of his death, on July 22, 1945, that he was in Shandan for only 133 days (21 days in March plus 29 days in April, plus 31 days in May plus 30 days in June and 22 days in July).
Shandan Bailie School
Ed. The school that George Hogg established in Shandan, after the long trek, was originally a monastery. After George’s death in July 1945 Rewi Alley continued the work. The school is now flourishing, with nearly 1500 pupils, training in practical subjects with a view to setting up or working in co-operatives. Peter visited it with Nie Guangtao, one of the original pupils.