More on Singapore RC & Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Rowing

Photo: Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s website.

A week ago, on 15 July, we posted a question about Singapore Rowing Club. Matt Jennings, England, had read The Escape from Singapore (1987) by Richard Gough, a book describing the fall of Singapore in February 1942. It seems one of the last boats out from Singapore was a four-oared shell from Singapore RC and Matt was wondering if anyone had information about this club and what happened to it after the war.

In that blog post, I mentioned some information from Christopher Dodd’s book The Story of World Rowing from 1992. Just a couple of days after the blog entry was posted HTBS received an e-mail from Simon Boyde of Hong Kong. He writes:

I think that Mr. Dodd has made a small error in his note on post war Singapore.

I believe the Singapore Rowing Club duplicated the situation in Hong Kong – where the Victoria Regatta Club merged with the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club – and merged with the Royal Singapore Yacht Club in the immediate post WWI colonial period – this is backed up by the small potted history on the RSYC website.

I rowed (for the RHKYC) in 1979 in Singapore against crews from what is now known as the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club, having changed its name from the Royal Singapore Yacht Club in the 1960s.

The regatta in 1979 was the annual Far East Amateur Rowing Association Championships (regattas had been hosted in the 1970s and 1980s in Manila, Karachi, Madras, Colombo, Saigon, Hong Kong and Singapore) which was very strong through the post WWII period up till the early 1980s. FEARA, as an organization, effectively an association of the old expatriate rowing clubs around Asia – albeit with the crews being largely local apart from Singapore and HK – is now largely defunct outside of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The rowing movement in Asia has been replaced by national teams in squad crews now so FEARA is a bit of an anachronism.

In terms of the RSYC itself, it seems that rowing has now stopped (though someone told me they still have boats in storage a few years ago). Rowing seems to be controlled and run only by the Singapore Rowing Association.

I am glad to report, however, that the RHKYC still has a very strong rowing section; it has in fact expanded a lot over the last thirty years and is back to sending crews overseas.

Many thanks to Simon Boyde in Hong Kong for this interesting information. If there is anyone else among the readers of HTBS who has more information about Singapore RC, please post a comment to this entry, or send HTBS editor, Göran R Buckhorn, an e-mail, at gbuckhorn – at – gmail – dot – com

One comment

  1. I hope Simon doesn't mind this post but he is the grandson of Sid Radley the last boat builder of V Radley and sons of the river Lea England. A picture of one of Sids boats has featured more than once on this blog from the Wooden Boat Show at Mystic Seaport. Simons mum Shirley Radley rowed in eights for England in the 1950s. She also competed in regattas with her sister June.

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