Here is an article which was published in the KLH3 2000 (November 6th 1982)
run magazine with acknowledgements to Mike Smith On-Sec 1982
How on earth did the name arise?
An interview with one of the founder members. Cecil Lee, reveals that it might well have been a tongue-in-cheek reference to the doubtful food served at the drinking hole frequented by the colonial bachelors of the time. Reports claim that the Hash began in early 1930’s, but under precisely what banner and whose direction nobody is quire certain.
The late A.S.Gisbert (known only as "G") was the real power force – albeit accidentally in the initial stages behind the Hash’s development as we know it today. Following an excessively indulgent party at the Selangor Club one Friday night. "G" decided to haul his ample frame around the sports field, thus hoping to balance out the law of increasing supply and diminishing output. Gradually others followed suit, and Cecil recalls that by the end of 1938 the Hash House Harriers were launched.
Such was the determination of "G" to keep this going that he coerced friends into supporting him on a regular basis. Runs were scheduled as a weekly event and Cecil Lee, ‘Horse’ Thomson, ‘Torch’ Bennett, Eric Galvin and later Philip Wickens were the founding fathers. But, as so often happen, good intentions led to evil ends, and the small group began to slake their thirst with generous quantities of beer at the end of each run….. one beer led to another, an institution was born, and (not surprising) the Hash grew in numbers and stature.
The permanent venue of those early meetings was the Selangor Club in Kuala Lumpur.Although no proper records were kept of the early runs, it would seem that the 100th Run took place on 15th August 1941. ‘Torch’ Bennett (an accountant by profession) undertook the responsibility of opening a bank account and entering a balance sheet, and thereafter records are more organised. The runs themselves ventured out in to the country, with the now familiar pattern of ‘hounds’ chasing a ‘hare’ (alias, paper trail). The Ampang and Maxwell Road districts were popular run areas. Cecil remembers, where they were greeted with many startled indigenous face at this extraordinary, foreign behaviour!
As the founding members were all British, the club disbanded upon the arrival in Malaysia of the Japanese. The War took its toll, and "G" – the round and jolly Father of the Chapter, was killed in action in Singapore in 1942. Cecil records that at the end of the War it was as much in tribute to the memory of "G" – Platoon commander of the Argylls – that the reformation of the Hash House Harriers came about. Eric,’Horse’, ‘Torch’, and Philip along with Cecil set up the regular Monday runs once more and in August 1946 the first post-War event took place in the form of a fairly gentle trot round the Selangor Race Course. The tin bath for ice, drinking mugs and two carrying bags which were the only supplies the Hash owned prior to the War, were reinstated on the strength of a claim for War loss!
Events ran satisfactorily, numbers continued to increase and the eccentricities were tolerated amiably enough by the locals, However, during the Malayan Emergency in 1948, when the Communists were infiltrating the jungle, the Hash found themselves in bad official favour and their activities were considered illegal due to curfew regulations, so from 1948-1951 the Hash maintained, at best, a precarious existence.
During this period, on a rainy evening, some Hashmen stumbled across three terrorists in a rubber plantation. For some reason not clearly diaried, the terrorists didn’t react to their cover being blown (although at this point it could be argued that they were probably stunned motionless by the noisy arrival of several sweating foreigners in shorts and tennis shoes, blowing a bugle and shouting '’On! On!") and the Hashmen careered through their camp, ran and the Army subsequently captured the unwanted insurgents the following day.
Other colourful incidents came to mind as Cecil related how ‘Torch’ Bennett once nearly drowned in quicksand, and how on one memorable occasion the erstwhile unathletic’G’ was actually leading the pack: sadly his moment of glory was short lived as the paper trail turned out to be false. Swimming would seem to be an unofficial prerequisite of all Hashmen too, for Cecil remembers having had to swim across a mining pool in order to get home after being lost on once occasion, and on another it is reported that several Hashmen ran in to a stream where bathed some unsuspecting Malay maidens. The girls screamed, their menfolk came hurtling to the rescue with un-sheathed parangs flashing, and the errant Hashmen broke land-speed records in their eagerness to clear the scene.
‘Horse’ is now a sprightly 75, and Cecil an equally lively 71. The two old chums met recently when ‘Horse’ was in England on leave from his home in the Philippines. As they walked and reminisced in the Surrey hills, Cecil recalled that ‘Horse’ has lost none of his aptitude for direction, and as of yore, for finding the right trail when, four decades previously, his tall figure could be seen skipping with agility along what proved to be the right path while the rest of them frequently cast around amongst false trails in the rubber estates or mining flats of Malaysia.’ Horse’ was adept at this sort of thing and on that hot, suitably sultry English summer;s day Cecil’s mind went back to those now-famous Runs which started it all. " We are still going," he jokes, "perhaps not so strongly and certainly not jogging, but we’re definitely still going."
In 1961 Cecil Lee left Malaysia for retirement in his native England. He lives in Surrey, and remembers with amused affection many of the characters and incidents which wove the fabric of those early Hash House days. ‘Horse’ (nick-named for his facial equine resemblance!) is now a sugar planter in the Philippines, but his greatest boasts as a Hashman here was that he’d won a half-blue at Oxford for moral turpitude!.Eric Galvin was a reporter on the newspaper of the time -- The Malay Mail – from whence all the paper for the trails emanated. ‘Torch’ Bennett was a great organiser and it was thanks to him that a few small rules were instigated, a portfolio drawn up and his enthusiasm was quite largely responsible for the growth of the post-War Hash.
First Overseas Hash
It is thought that departing members from the Mother Hash probably started other Chapters, and indeed the second known Has was founded in Singapore in 1962, followed by others in Kuching (1963) and also in Brunei, and in Kota Kinabalu and Ipoh the following year. The Hash opened in Perth in 1965 and this was the first Chapter outside Malaysia and Singapore. Even by the Mother Hash’s 1500th Run in 1974, however, the total number of Chapters constituted only 35, so the sub-sequent explosion of nearly 300 clubs in nearly 60 different countries is, indeed, spectacular. And so it goes on and on. The mysterious madness is spreading, and this historic 2000th Run has to be a phenomenon all its own, with Hashmen in their hundreds from all over the world flooding to the Mother Hash in celebration.