Forgotten Names Recalled: The Singapore Cenotaph Project


This week sees the anniversary of three of our men from the Singapore cenotaph.
  • 15 September 1916, Frederic Devereux Jessop, aged 26.
  • 17 September 1916, Guy Harold Corke, aged 26.
  • 20 September 1918, Sydney (Sam) Riley, aged 31.

Coincidentally all of them were from Penang, in the sense that they were employed in Penang when the First World War broke out and they left Penang in order to join up.
All three were also members of the Penang Cricket Club (PCC). Fortunately for the Singapore Cenotaph Project the PCC put up a memorial to its members who were killed or died during the Great War and the unveiling of the memorial was reported in the Singapore press of the time.

I say fortunately because the pavilion of the PCC was destroyed during the Second World War when the British bombed Penang, which was then occupied by the Japanese. The club building (above) was located on Penang's padang or esplanade, close to the port, so it's not surprising that it was hit. The memorial, of course, was destroyed along with the building. From its inception the club had operated a colour bar or whites-only policy, in common with all such clubs in Malaya and the Straits Settlements of the time. Interestingly, however, the architect was a Eurasian called Huttenbach, a British subject of German descent. During the Great War he was was not considered an enemy alien at first, but eventually he was interned in Australia and lost all of his property and his health. 

Not all of the names from the PCC were included on the Singapore cenotaph, possibly because some of the men worked in Kedah, which was close enough to avail of the PCC's facilities. It's also possible that not all the names were relayed to the Straits Settlements War Memorial / Singapore Cenotaph committee in time for inclusion.

The Penang Cricket Club no longer exists by that name. It is now the Penang Sports Club whose website gives the following history:

1900 The Penang Sports Club started as the Penang Cricket Club at the Esplanade in the early 1900's.
1910 The Penang Cricket Club was originally a single storey clubhouse. It was extended in later years into this two storey building situated next to the Municipal building. This club was a popular meeting place for the European community, especially cricket enthusiasts.
1939 The Penang Cricket Club moved to the present clubhouse in 1939 as the Penang Golf Club and then changed its name to Penang International Club. The clubhouse was at that time a military hospital and was later converted into an officer's mess when the Penang General Hospital was opened.
1947 The Penang Sports Club was established.
1950 The Penang Sports Club was officially registered with the Registrar of Societies on 21st February

I'll admit that I haven't checked with the Penang Sports Club if the war memorial was resecued. I've had some ridiculous conversations and exchanges with people over the words 'memorial and 'plaque', including one at the Masonic Hall in Singapore when a silly person showed me the basement pub and the small shields that clubs exchange with each other as her understanding of a 'war memorial plaque'. So next time we are in Penang (nephew's wedding in January) we will pay a visit to the Penang Sports Club and investigate.

Names Listed on the Penang Cricket Club Memorial
* indicates inclusion on the Singapore cenotaph

*Anderson, J.A. Capt 4th Batt East Lancashire Rgt
Bourdillon T. L. Major M. C. 8th Batt. Kings Royal Rifle Corps
Borton C. E.  Major 129th Baluchis Malay States Guides
*Corke G. H. Lieut. 15th Batt. Northumberland Fus.
*Duncan A. Cpl. Royal Highlanders, Black Watch
*Duncan D. C. 2nd Lieut. 2nd Batt. London Scottish.
Gorton A. L. 2nd Lieut. 1st Batt. 10th Gurkhas.
*Greenslade A. Cpl. 1st Batt. Royal West Kent Rgt.
Hepworth A. M., Capt. M. C. 4th Batt. R. W. Surrey T. Attached R. F. C.
*Humphreys S. P. Pte. 2nd Batt. Canterbury Rgt. Royal Fus.
Hawkins H. E. 2nd Liet. 1st Batt. Somerset Light Inf.
*Jessop G. A. St. J. 2nd Liet. 4th Batt. Middlesex Rgt.
Jones W. L. P. G. Lieut. M. C. 2nd Batt. Durham Light Inf.
*Kekewich J. Capt. 8th Service Batt. The Buffs.
May S. H. Lieut. 8th Batt. Loyal North Lancs Rgt.
*Nash T. S. Lieut. 80th Sqdn., Royal Air Force.
*Picot P. S. Capt. 14th Batt. Notts and Derby Rgt.
*Rennie J. A. Lieut. 2nd Batt. Devonshire Rgt.
*Riley S. 2nd Lieut. 1st Batt. Northumberland Fus.
Ruck-Keene R. E. Lieut. 9th Batt. Royal Welsh Fus.
*Sayers R. Lieut. Legion of Honour, 5th, Batt. 7th Middlesex Rgt.
*Sharpe J. Pte. 1st Batt. 1th A and S Highlanders.
*Thomas K. Capt. 12th Batt. King's Royal Rifle Corps.
*Thornton L. I. L. 2nd Lieut. 16th Indian Calvary.
*Upton R. Sgt. 10th Sqdn., Royal Flying Corps.
*Warner A. A. J. 2nd Lieut. 2nd Batt. Grenadier Guards.
*Wilkinson N. Pte. 692nd Coy. Royal Army Service Corps.

Source: Straits Times, 9 August 1922, p7

Rosemary Lim