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Memorable Manitobans: Phyllis Elta Wardle [Phyllis Argall] (1909-1977)

Journalist, author.

Born at Brandon on 17 September 1909, daughter of Amy C. Harrington, she was adopted by her aunt and uncle following the death of her mother, in 1913, and took her uncle’s surname Argall. Soon after, she moved with them to Japan and spent her childhood at Okayama. She later worked as a Principal in the Presbyterian Mission at Formosa before becoming a journalist. At the outbreak of the Second World War, she was Managing Editor of the American-owned newspaper Japanese News-Week at Tokyo and a correspondent for the London News-Chronicle. When the Japanese entered the war, she was imprisoned for six months on a charge of espionage before being released in July 1942. She later wrote about her experiences in the book My Life With the Enemy, published in 1944 and later reissued as Prisoner in Japan (1945). Other books written after the war included The Truth About Jesse James (1953) and Bonsai: Dwarf Trees in the Japanese Mode (1964). She died on 5 March 1977 and was buried with her husband Raymond “Bud” Wills (1893-1977) at Indianapolis, Indiana.

Sources:

Birth and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Manitoban tells of Jap atrocities,” Winnipeg Free Press, 27 July 1942, page 3.

“Americans talk about Jap camps,” Winnipeg Free Press, 27 August 1942, page 6.

“Life in Japan,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 April 1944, page 10.

J. Frank Dalton, Wikipedia, accessed 15 March 2014.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 15 March 2014

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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