Because of the strategic location, not only the Sino-French war, WWII also came to Danshui.
The 1944/45 map of Danshui posted under Mr Chang's "Memories of 濱栗 and more..." has been brought up before because the US Navy bombed Danshui in 1944 for reasons unclear to me.
According to Mr Chang: "You mentioned several times about the small sea plane base next to train station. The lot belongs to GO-SHA, the fifth son of the rich man, before Japanese takes over and converts to airport. I also met Mr. Iwamoto here in SF bay area, he was a pilot of the Zero fighter converted sea plane at that base. It is interesting that his only memory about Tamsui is fried BeeFunn 炒米粉."
The intended targets actually were the oil storage tanks of the old British (Dutch?) Shell Oil Corp near the seaplane base. The oil storage was hit and my youngest uncle remembers seeing the sky over Danshui orange red from a distance at 北投仔 where the family was evacuated to, and figured that the whole town had been destroyed. The fire actually burned for 3 days. Mr Chang recalls that one of the 20+ casualties was a driver minding his own taxi business near Danshui Station when the area was hit by an off-the-target bomb.
The date of the bombing was Oct 12, 1944, the first day when the whole Taiwan was attacked. The F6F fighters would have been from US Naval Task Force 38/58 (based on the carriers). There is still some confusion whether the B-25s or the B-29s from the land-based USAAF were involved. The intended target was actually 迺生產石油株式會社淡水油槽所, the "Rising Sun Petroleum Co" on the US Navy map. This event was known as "火燒臭油棧" to Danshui-ren. 臭油, because of the foul oily smell. The seaplane base was apparently a secondary target.
The oil company site is still around albeit somewhat neglected. For a quick tour, see here.
Addendum: The attacking aircraft were carrier-based, most likely the F6Fs. According to CINCPAC COMMUNIQUÉ NO. 150, OCTOBER 13, 1944:
"Carrier aircraft of the pacific Fleet fast carrier task force striking Formosa on October 11 (West Longitude Date) shot 124 enemy aircraft out of the air and did heavy damage to enemy shipping and shore defense works. Preliminary pilot reports and photographs show that 97 enemy aircraft were destroyed on the ground. Initial reports indicate the following damage to enemy shipping
Large cargo ships‑2
Medium cargo ships‑2
Small cargo ships‑12
Large cargo ships‑2
Medium cargo ships‑7
Small cargo ships‑10
In addition to the foregoing, extensive damage was done to hangars, buildings, oil dumps, warehouses, docks and industrial establishments at Einansho臺南安南區, Okayama岡山, Tamsui淡水, Heito屏東, Reigaryo苓雅寮, and Taichu臺中.
Our losses were 22 aircraft. There was no damage to our surface ships."
Robert Swinhoe was born in Calcutta, India. He was a naturalist and a diplomat. He arrived in 1854 in Hongkong to learn Chinese languages after passing the British Consular exam.
In 1858 HMS Inflexible sailed from Amoy to Taiwan, with Swinhoe as interpreter. They explored the entire coast, and penetrated considerable distances inland. Swinhoe made important collections of animals and plants.
After serving briefly as interpreter for the 2nd Division of the allied forces in northern China under Major Garnet Wolseley and (later) Commander-In-Chief Sir Hope Grant in 1860, Swinhoe was appointed the first British consular official in Formosa in 1860 at age 24. He traveled to Formosa aboard the gunboat Cockchafer and arrived in Takao with an assistant, George Braun, and a retinue of Chinese servants in early 1861. They then trekked overland to Taiwanfoo, where he set up an acting consulate in Funshin temple outside the city walls. Although Swinhoe was only a vice-consul, he conferred upon himself the title of “brevet rank of acting consul” in order to gain the respect of the local intendant, and eventually managed to secure a house inside the city walls in which he officially opened the consulate on 10 July 1861. Shortly after he moved the consulate to Tamsui in order to encourage trade in late 1861. For the next year the British consulate was based on the SS Adventure, moored in the Tamsui (Danshui) River, after which it was moved to San Domingo, the old Spanish fort in Tamsui:
Swinhoe fell ill and returned to England on sick leave on 10 May 1862 and returned to Taiwan in 1864. He remained active professionally until 1873 when he suffered the first of a series of strokes. He died in 1877, at age 41.
蔡阿信Tsai A-Hsin was a precocious child who grew up to be the symbol of high achievement of Taiwanese women. After graduating at age 18 from Danshui Girls' High School, she went on to study medicine at Tokyo Women's Medical School in Japan. Danshui Girls' High School 淡水女學校 was founded by Dr George Leslie Mackay in 1884, later to become Danshui Girls' Academy 淡水女學堂. Only 45 graduated from the Academy and Dr Tsai was one of them. After receiving her medical degree, she came back to Taichung to practice, and became the first female physician (specializing in OB-GYN) of Taiwan. Her hospital had an affiliated midwifery school, in which 30 students were trained every half year. In a short span, 200 to 300 midwives graduated from this school, and practiced all over Taiwan. (Adopted from http://www.tccgc.gov.tw/report/taichung/English/people/people-18.htm)
Danshui is always proud to have hosted Dr Tsai and many of her fellow Danshui Girls' High students, including Pianist 陳信貞女士 (also of Taichung), who came from different parts of Taiwan to study here.
Pretty much all boys from Danshui go to this elementary school (and all girls go to another). Naturally both Mr 張 and EyeDoc attended this school albeit at different times. It does have a long history - 107 years to be exact.
During the Japanese occupation, Taiwanese children went to public schools (公學校), while the Japanese (or children from rich and powerful Taiwanese families) went to the much better staffed and equipped Little Schools (小學校). [日據時代臺灣人讀的學校叫公學校,日本人讀的學校叫小學校,小學校的設備,師資,教具等學用品都比公學校好的多,只有極少數有錢有勢的台灣人才能讀小學校.]
There have been many famous alumni of Danshui Public School, e.g., past President of Taiwan Mr Lee Teng Hui [李登輝總統], and the first physician with a doctoral degree, Dr Tu Chung-Ming [杜聰明博士].
In 1922, Tu Chung-Ming of Danshui County submitted his post-graduate research thesis to the then Imperial Kyoto University and received its faculty approval, thus becoming the first Taiwanese to have earned a doctoral degree. Dr Tu was born in Danshui in 1893. At age 11, he entered the Ho-be Public School and graduated first in his class at age 17. He then entered Taiwan Office of the Governor-General School of Medicine (the predecessor of National Taiwan University School of Medicine) and graduated again first of his class in 1914. He started his teaching career at the same school from 1921 until 1954 when he left to found Kao-Hsiung Medical School. He was most definitely an accomplished teacher, researcher and physician who had saved many lives and nurtured many students in Taiwan. He was a farm boy who had never forgotten his roots.
杜聰明，1893年誕生於淡水百六戛農家，9歲入書房啟蒙，11歲 入滬尾公學校並寄宿在滬永吉街，17歲以第一名畢業。同年又以第一 名考進當時的最高學府「台灣總督府醫學校」，他的成績一直保持第 一，1914年以醫學校十三回第一名畢業。但是杜聰明先生並不是只會讀書的獨善其身者。他在醫學校求學時，熱心於革命志業，曾親赴中國北京，試圖謀刺梟雄袁世凱，為民除害。且自1921年任教台北醫專 ，一直堅守教育崗位，1937年任職台北帝大醫學部教授，戰後受聘為台大醫學院院長，又於1954年創辦高雄醫學院。一生作育英才、提攜 後學，不遺餘力，貢獻於台灣之醫學教育，居功厥偉。並且積極從事鴉片、嗎啡、蛇毒等研究，發明減量弁毒療法及尿液檢查法，又自蛇毒中提煉鎮痛劑，自木瓜葉中製成赤痢病特效藥，不僅獲得極高的藥理學成就，而且濟世救人無數。杜聰明博士一生動敏好學，以一農村青年躋身日本帝國學術殿堂 ，成為台灣醫界泰斗，已屬不凡；更以所學回饋台灣社會，實為台灣人知識份子的典範，足以為有志向學之淡水青年的最佳榜樣。