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Nick Charman

Records for the Hong Kong Police Force before 1941

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Can I ask if anyone has any information regarding online records for the HKPF prior to 1941 -- do in fact any records exsist -- my understanding is that records in Hong Kong were destroyed by the Japanese -- and is it correct to say there is almost nothing held for that period of time in this country ?

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Can I ask if anyone has any information regarding online records for the HKPF prior to 1941 -- do in fact any records exsist -- my understanding is that records in Hong Kong were destroyed by the Japanese -- and is it correct to say there is almost nothing held for that period of time in this country ?

Not so.Please let me know who you are interested in.There is a mass of information,it's just not centralized.- 1314

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Hi - welcome to GMIC. I made general enquiries about the early HK Police some years ago when I lived in the Far East and was told by Force HQ that the archives had been destroyed. I think a lot of us would be interested in some of this history if you have access. Mervyn

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I am able to provide the service details of a large number of men who served in the HKP from 1844 until 1969,and the RHKP from 1969 to 1997. 1314

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I am able to provide the service details of a large number of men who served in the HKP from 1844 until 1969,and the RHKP from 1969 to 1997. 1314

Firstly may I thank you for both your replies:-

My father joined the Hong Kong Police Force ( when pensioned off from the Royal Irish Constabulary, when Southern Ireland became a Repulic ) and was invalided out in 1935/36

His name was Arthur Ernest Charman and he wore a crown over three stripes ( if he had that rank in the Army -- I think he would be called a staff sargeant -- but in the HKPF I think he was called a Crown Sargeant ?)

My understanding is that he joined at that rank ( as there was no lower rank for an englishman ) at that time.

There is a photogragh in the entrance hall of the HKPF museum -- showing him as the "commander" and or "i.c." of the first anti piracy guard -- which was made up of white Russains and Indians -- its also a postcard in the museum souvenir pack of postcards.

More than that I do not know any more regarding his service there -- I was born in Hong Kong in 1931.

If you are able to find more information -- I would be very grateful.

My thanks -- and kindest regards,

Nick Arthur Mold Charman ( I was christened Nick -- was allowed in HK -- but not in England at that time -- have not meet any other Nicks to date )

Edited by NickCharman

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Arthur Ernest CHARMAN

Born 12.3.1892

Enlisted in Hong Kong Police on 3.5.1924

At this time expat entrants joined as Police Constables until they had satisfactorily completed their training whereupon they were advanced to Lance Sergeant,subject to satisfactory duty performance and passing examinations they were later promoted to Police Sergeant.Possible promotion to Crown Sergeant and th Inspectorate could follow.

As AEC came direct from the RIC and was relatively old it is possible he enlisted as a Police Sergeant,particularly if he had specialist qualifications.He was allocated the Service Number A.137,the letter A denoting a member of the Expat contingent,Indians were B,Cantonese C,Northern Chinese (Shantung/Wei Hei Wei men) were D and the Russians E. A Crown Sergeant would be the officer in charge of a Marine Police (then known as Water Police) launch,or,as in the photo you quote,the Anti Piracy unit on board a China Coaster.

He appears in a Photograph dated 1935 as a Sgt at No 2 Police Station (Wanchai) at the retirement on an Inspector McLellan and also in Correspondence in the series 5/104 held by the Curator,Force Museum.I believe he died in Hampshire on 24.3.1969 and would welcome confirmation.

The best (only) book on the early history of the Force (tho it does not contain any reference to AEC) is " The RHKP - 1841-1945 " by Crisswell and Watson, Pub by MacMillan Publishing in 182, ISBN 962 - 03 -01977 -8,which should be available through your local library service,or thro Internet Book Sellers.

If I can help further please let me have a PM .

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Hi - 1314 - that is comprehensive info. of the first order. Nick is very fortunate. Are you ex-HK Police - they were a very fine Force in the true background of our Colonial Service Police. The British South Africa Police in Rhodesia were always held up as being the top one - but, to my mind they were both fine units with exceptional standards. I was actually considering joining the HKP in the 1960's - but decided on the Met. since we started it all...

Nick - you're older than I am !!! Would be interesting to see some of your Father's early equipment and paperwork. The rank of stripes - surmounted by a Crown , was originally a Station Sergeant. The Sgt. who actually ran the Police Station. I think it was in 1970 that the rank was abolished and all holders were promoted to Inspector. I suppose the nearest Army equivalent would be a CSM - certainly, you treated them with respect - they were mostly older service police officers.

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Hi - 1314 - that is comprehensive info. of the first order. Nick is very fortunate. Are you ex-HK Police - they were a very fine Force in the true background of our Colonial Service Police. The British South Africa Police in Rhodesia were always held up as being the top one - but, to my mind they were both fine units with exceptional standards. I was actually considering joining the HKP in the 1960's - but decided on the Met. since we started it all...

Nick - you're older than I am !!! Would be interesting to see some of your Father's early equipment and paperwork. The rank of stripes - surmounted by a Crown , was originally a Station Sergeant. The Sgt. who actually ran the Police Station. I think it was in 1970 that the rank was abolished and all holders were promoted to Inspector. I suppose the nearest Army equivalent would be a CSM - certainly, you treated them with respect - they were mostly older service police officers.

Mervyn

I served in the NRP and the HKP/RHKP.

The Crown Sergeants referred to by Nick were principally Water Police ( Marine Police after 1947) and in charge of cruising launches and remote stations.All long in the tooth and mostly ex servicemen,they were not in the promotion stream and were generally hard cases.A post war re-organization did away with them and promoted all European Sergeants and Lance Sergeants to the Inspectorate and new entrants came in as Probationary Sub-Inspectors,(Probationery Inspectors post 1960) who sported one pip.

Those officers to which you refer in your note to Nick were the Staff Sergeants,Grades 1 and Two,who wore a red sash over the right shoulder and either a plain crown or a wreathed crown dependant on grade.In the early 1970s these ranks were abolished and replaced by that of Station Sergeant,who wore the arms of HK surrounded by a wreath.

Several of the Grade 1 Staff Sgts were promoted to the Inspectorate in a Captain/Quartermaster scheme until they retired.

If Nick is fortunate he may have his fathers collar numerals, A 137,his cap badge - a white metal crown and shoulder titles w/m HKP, plus w/m buttons and crowned chevrons,regretably I cannot post illustrations.

Nick

I have certain amount of personal data AEC which you may be interested in.If you wish to read all about the Anti-Piracy Guards please see " Sui Geng The HK Marine Police 1841 - 1941" by Iain Ward,HKU press 1991 ISBN 962 - 209 286 1,in which his photo appears along with his 14 man squad of Russians,I have their details. Regards - 1314

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Mervyn

I served in the NRP and the HKP/RHKP.

The Crown Sergeants referred to by Nick were principally Water Police ( Marine Police after 1947) and in charge of cruising launches and remote stations.All long in the tooth and mostly ex servicemen,they were not in the promotion stream and were generally hard cases.A post war re-organization did away with them and promoted all European Sergeants and Lance Sergeants to the Inspectorate and new entrants came in as Probationary Sub-Inspectors,(Probationery Inspectors post 1960) who sported one pip.

Those officers to which you refer in your note to Nick were the Staff Sergeants,Grades 1 and Two,who wore a red sash over the right shoulder and either a plain crown or a wreathed crown dependant on grade.In the early 1970s these ranks were abolished and replaced by that of Station Sergeant,who wore the arms of HK surrounded by a wreath.

Several of the Grade 1 Staff Sgts were promoted to the Inspectorate in a Captain/Quartermaster scheme until they retired.

If Nick is fortunate he may have his fathers collar numerals, A 137,his cap badge - a white metal crown and shoulder titles w/m HKP, plus w/m buttons and crowned chevrons,regretably I cannot post illustrations.

Nick

I have certain amount of personal data AEC which you may be interested in.If you wish to read all about the Anti-Piracy Guards please see " Sui Geng The HK Marine Police 1841 - 1941" by Iain Ward,HKU press 1991 ISBN 962 - 209 286 1,in which his photo appears along with his 14 man squad of Russians,I have their details. Regards - 1314

Nick - PM sent - 2010 01 22 2230hrs

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Arthur Ernest CHARMAN

Born 12.3.1892

Enlisted in Hong Kong Police on 3.5.1924

At this time expat entrants joined as Police Constables until they had satisfactorily completed their training whereupon they were advanced to Lance Sergeant,subject to satisfactory duty performance and passing examinations they were later promoted to Police Sergeant.Possible promotion to Crown Sergeant and th Inspectorate could follow.

As AEC came direct from the RIC and was relatively old it is possible he enlisted as a Police Sergeant,particularly if he had specialist qualifications.He was allocated the Service Number A.137,the letter A denoting a member of the Expat contingent,Indians were B,Cantonese C,Northern Chinese (Shantung/Wei Hei Wei men) were D and the Russians E. A Crown Sergeant would be the officer in charge of a Marine Police (then known as Water Police) launch,or,as in the photo you quote,the Anti Piracy unit on board a China Coaster.

He appears in a Photograph dated 1935 as a Sgt at No 2 Police Station (Wanchai) at the retirement on an Inspector McLellan and also in Correspondence in the series 5/104 held by the Curator,Force Museum.I believe he died in Hampshire on 24.3.1969 and would welcome confirmation.

The best (only) book on the early history of the Force (tho it does not contain any reference to AEC) is " The RHKP - 1841-1945 " by Crisswell and Watson, Pub by MacMillan Publishing in 182, ISBN 962 - 03 -01977 -8,which should be available through your local library service,or thro Internet Book Sellers.

If I can help further please let me have a PM .

To 1314

This reply ( albeit not as quickly as your response is entitled to /and or deserves ) is sent with my very very sincere thanks. As Mervyn quite rightly says in his reply " Nick is very fortunate indeed".

Everything in your reply is one hundred percent accurate. that is everything I had any knowledge of -- which was only his DoB and DoD

1314 you have been so thorough it seems cherlish to ask this -- but if you allow me may I query the"China Coaster" -- the picture I was referring to was on dry land ( matbe a parade ground of sorts -- and guard to the Empress of Canada.

I have already ordered the book.

and will try to contact the Curator and view 5/104.

Again my thanks -- I do truly appreciate your efforts on my behalf

Nick Charman

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Hi - 1314 - that is comprehensive info. of the first order. Nick is very fortunate. Are you ex-HK Police - they were a very fine Force in the true background of our Colonial Service Police. The British South Africa Police in Rhodesia were always held up as being the top one - but, to my mind they were both fine units with exceptional standards. I was actually considering joining the HKP in the 1960's - but decided on the Met. since we started it all...

Nick - you're older than I am !!! Would be interesting to see some of your Father's early equipment and paperwork. The rank of stripes - surmounted by a Crown , was originally a Station Sergeant. The Sgt. who actually ran the Police Station. I think it was in 1970 that the rank was abolished and all holders were promoted to Inspector. I suppose the nearest Army equivalent would be a CSM - certainly, you treated them with respect - they were mostly older service police officers.

Mervyn -- yes "Sir" I am indeed very fortunate -- I did not think there was the slightest chance of finding out anything at all -- so it beggers the question -- why on earth did I post it

You are of course right about how young I am --- I regret however My father did not keep any of his HKP "stuff" at all -- knowing him he would have handed it all back to stores -- and kept the receipt !

I thank you very much for your thoughts

Kindest regards,

Nick Charman

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Hi - welcome to GMIC. I made general enquiries about the early HK Police some years ago when I lived in the Far East and was told by Force HQ that the archives had been destroyed. I think a lot of us would be interested in some of this history if you have access. Mervyn

Mervyn

We now know that 1314 is "the Man" -- Nick

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Mervyn

I served in the NRP and the HKP/RHKP.

The Crown Sergeants referred to by Nick were principally Water Police ( Marine Police after 1947) and in charge of cruising launches and remote stations.All long in the tooth and mostly ex servicemen,they were not in the promotion stream and were generally hard cases.A post war re-organization did away with them and promoted all European Sergeants and Lance Sergeants to the Inspectorate and new entrants came in as Probationary Sub-Inspectors,(Probationery Inspectors post 1960) who sported one pip.

Those officers to which you refer in your note to Nick were the Staff Sergeants,Grades 1 and Two,who wore a red sash over the right shoulder and either a plain crown or a wreathed crown dependant on grade.In the early 1970s these ranks were abolished and replaced by that of Station Sergeant,who wore the arms of HK surrounded by a wreath.

Several of the Grade 1 Staff Sgts were promoted to the Inspectorate in a Captain/Quartermaster scheme until they retired.

If Nick is fortunate he may have his fathers collar numerals, A 137,his cap badge - a white metal crown and shoulder titles w/m HKP, plus w/m buttons and crowned chevrons,regretably I cannot post illustrations.

Nick

I have certain amount of personal data AEC which you may be interested in.If you wish to read all about the Anti-Piracy Guards please see " Sui Geng The HK Marine Police 1841 - 1941" by Iain Ward,HKU press 1991 ISBN 962 - 209 286 1,in which his photo appears along with his 14 man squad of Russians,I have their details. Regards - 1314

Nick to 1314 -- Yes 1314 I have seen today and replied today -- although I can't see my reply -- which was, I hope a direct PM sent just before lunch.

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Nick to 1314 -- Yes 1314 I have seen today and replied today -- although I can't see my reply -- which was, I hope a direct PM sent just before lunch.

Nick

Many thanks for your reply in the PM and the thoughts expressed in earlier messages,always pleased to help.

Ref AEC and his appearance in the Anti - Piracy Guard photograph " The Empress of Canada " was a Canadian Pacific Mail steamer plying the China Coast and the West Coast of the USA and Canada.The APG had been formed in the 1920s with Indian police to protect merchant vessels plying the China Coast.The Royal Navy also provided men for these duties and all were busy as piracy was a major problem,quite a number of lives were lost.In the late 1920s the RN declined to undertake these duties any more and to fill this gap the White Russian Contingent was formed within the HKP Water Police,it's members were from Russian in Europe who fled the Revolution.Most had fetched up in Shanghai and many had service in the Shanghai Municipal Police or The Shanghai Volunteers.The Russians served loyally and effectively until WW2 but the APG was not reformed after the liberation of HK in Aug 1945.

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Nick

Many thanks for your reply in the PM and the thoughts expressed in earlier messages,always pleased to help.

Ref AEC and his appearance in the Anti - Piracy Guard photograph " The Empress of Canada " was a Canadian Pacific Mail steamer plying the China Coast and the West Coast of the USA and Canada.The APG had been formed in the 1920s with Indian police to protect merchant vessels plying the China Coast.The Royal Navy also provided men for these duties and all were busy as piracy was a major problem,quite a number of lives were lost.In the late 1920s the RN declined to undertake these duties any more and to fill this gap the White Russian Contingent was formed within the HKP Water Police,it's members were from Russian in Europe who fled the Revolution.Most had fetched up in Shanghai and many had service in the Shanghai Municipal Police or The Shanghai Volunteers.The Russians served loyally and effectively until WW2 but the APG was not reformed after the liberation of HK in Aug 1945.

Nick

Sorry to do things piecemeal and moving from HK somewhat

I note AEC also served in the Royal Irish Constabulary as a Sergeant No 70290 and was wounded in action at Tooreengarriv (?), County Cork on the 28.1.1921. He certainly saw his share of action in a variety of theatres ! - 1314

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This has been a very interesting thread - about an area and Unit that seems to have been overlooked for it's early history. We have another new member 'Shanghaigirl' who has been posting on some of the early trading settlements along the China Coast - 1314 - do you have any info. on these settlements - it would be great if we could enlarge background on this area ?

Nick - the reason I said 'you were very fortunate for the info.' is that many people ask for help on GMIC - and more often then not, someone can help - but, not always and yours was a difficult question. Don't disappear on us now - even if you don't collect it is nice to 'chat' with informed people.

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This has been a very interesting thread - about an area and Unit that seems to have been overlooked for it's early history. We have another new member 'Shanghaigirl' who has been posting on some of the early trading settlements along the China Coast - 1314 - do you have any info. on these settlements - it would be great if we could enlarge background on this area ?

Nick - the reason I said 'you were very fortunate for the info.' is that many people ask for help on GMIC - and more often then not, someone can help - but, not always and yours was a difficult question. Don't disappear on us now - even if you don't collect it is nice to 'chat' with informed people.

Mervyn

I have access to the impedimenta of G R Bass, MC WW1 with Machine Gun Corps,then rubber planting,then to Ku Lang Su (an island enclave in modern day Amoy ) where he was initially 2/i/c of The Ku Lang Su Municipal Police and later the I.C. although he seems to have spent the most of his time as Secretary of the KLS Club ! He was bundled out by the Japs(Japanese if we have to ) and served in WW2.Shanghaigirl has illiustrated a KLS MP cap badge,in base metal,the officers' (2) were in silver.I will prepare a potted history and post idc,regretably I do not have the facility to upload photographs,I am better at answering questions ! Time for a new thread - " Police Forces of the China Coast ? " - Regards 1314

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Wonderful - we all look forward to something new. We will all help you where we can - and that includes you, Shanghaigirl...

With photographs - if you can email them to me I will upload - I did this for someone the other day on Zulu Spears. You could also send by post. Best wishes Mervyn

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Nick

Sorry to do things piecemeal and moving from HK somewhat

I note AEC also served in the Royal Irish Constabulary as a Sergeant No 70290 and was wounded in action at Tooreengarriv (?), County Cork on the 28.1.1921. He certainly saw his share of action in a variety of theatres ! - 1314

To 1314

I do apologise for the length of time it has taken me to make a reply.

I thank you for your reference above to the RIC & AEC -- I regret my father never ever spoke about Ireland to me ( only how he loved the place and the people ) -- however once my Mother did say something about 3 major incidents -- all being ambushes -- and my father being wounded ( I thought twice ) --- these ambushes involved the deaths of very senior RIC Commanders -- and one My Father being the only Police Officer left alive ( although wounded ) --- I do not think she had any idea of areas or locations.

I recently went to KEW to see what records they held on the RIC and was very dissappionted that they held almost nothing -- just name rank number Dob and religion.

I would be very pleased to know if you could supply any further information -- regarding archives I could visit to gather any other information about him --- you are right he really did get about.

Again my thanks

Nick Charman

Edited by NickCharman

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Mervyn

I have access to the impedimenta of G R Bass, MC WW1 with Machine Gun Corps,then rubber planting,then to Ku Lang Su (an island enclave in modern day Amoy ) where he was initially 2/i/c of The Ku Lang Su Municipal Police and later the I.C. although he seems to have spent the most of his time as Secretary of the KLS Club ! He was bundled out by the Japs(Japanese if we have to ) and served in WW2.Shanghaigirl has illiustrated a KLS MP cap badge,in base metal,the officers' (2) were in silver.I will prepare a potted history and post idc,regretably I do not have the facility to upload photographs,I am better at answering questions ! Time for a new thread - " Police Forces of the China Coast ? " - Regards 1314

I am trying to get some info on Ernest Common who served in Hong Kong in the 50's/60's. Can you help Please

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To 1314

I do apologise for the length of time it has taken me to make a reply.

I thank you for your reference above to the RIC & AEC -- I regret my father never ever spoke about Ireland to me ( only how he loved the place and the people ) -- however once my Mother did say something about 3 major incidents -- all being ambushes -- and my father being wounded ( I thought twice ) --- these ambushes involved the deaths of very senior RIC Commanders -- and one My Father being the only Police Officer left alive ( although wounded ) --- I do not think she had any idea of areas or locations.

I recently went to KEW to see what records they held on the RIC and was very dissappionted that they held almost nothing -- just name rank number Dob and religion.

I would be very pleased to know if you could supply any further information -- regarding archives I could visit to gather any other information about him --- you are right he really did get about.

Again my thanks

Nick Charman

Nick The best reference I can suggest is The Royal Irish Constabulary by Jim Herlihy, pub 1997 in Dublin by Four Courts Press, ISBN 1 -851182- 343-3,which has an extensive bibliography and should set you off on the right track - 1314

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Nick The best reference I can suggest is The Royal Irish Constabulary by Jim Herlihy, pub 1997 in Dublin by Four Courts Press, ISBN 1 -851182- 343-3,which has an extensive bibliography and should set you off on the right track - 1314

Thank you very much for the prompt reply -- I will now get myself a copy -- and hope I will be able to get further information regarding my fathers service with the RIC. --- Nick

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I am trying to get some info on Ernest Common who served in Hong Kong in the 50's/60's. Can you help Please

Andrea - I have this evening sent two (2) PM's to you on this officer - 1314

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I can't shed any information on Arthur Ernest Charman, but would add an illustration for refernece purposes of the

type of collar badges worn by the Hong Kong Police in the same era before the Second World War.

The below set of collars uniquely belonged to Sub-Inspector L.N. Karpovitch, M.B.E., a former member of the Russian Contingent, Hong Kong Police.

On joining the HKP Karpovitch was allocated the unique service number E35 - E denoted the ethnic group 'Russian' - and that service number was

subsequently used and worn as collar badges. The badges were made of white metal, with 2 x copper lugs to the reverse. Each pair of

collars were of course unique to each respective member of the Hong Kong Police.

As information.

Edited by Aberdeen Medals

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