Copyright by Hash House Harriers Singapore - 2019

Alberto Gispert - How it all started

 

Alberto Esteban Ignacio Gispert, known to his friends as “G”, was born in London of Spanish parents on 31 July 1903. Alberto Gispert, generally regarded as the principal amongst the founders of the original Hash - KL 1938 - was an accountant by profession with Evatth & Co. with whom he worked in Singapore, Malacca, and Kuala Lumpur. While in Malacca in the early party of 1938 he took part in weekly runs with a local group called Springgit Harriers, mostly Malayan Civil Service personnel. Later that year, Gispert was transferred to Kuala Lumpur where he apparently missed his weekly run with the Malacca group, and set about trying to organise a similar group in the Malayan capital. After sometime, with the aid of Cecil Lee and 'Horse' Thompson, he managed to organise a new group. Nearly all runners were members of the Selangor Club, sometimes referred to as the Hash House Harriers.

Gispert, as far can be ascertained, organised the first run and appointed Cecil Lee and 'Horse' Thompson as Joint Masters. The group flourished and were able to celebrate their 100th run on 15 August 1941. The hares for this first Hash century were E.A. Ross and M.C. Hay.

Apart from the Harriers, Gispert's other main involvement was with the Selangor Battalion of the Federated Malay States Volunteers, where he was a Company Commander.

In the latter half of 1941, Gispert went on leave to Australia, but returned as soon as war broke out in the Far East. By the time he reached Singapore the Selangor Battalion of the Federated Malay States Volunteers had been disbanded following the loss of most of the Malayan Peninsula, and Gispert joined the 2nd Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders on 21 January 1942 where he was OC Mortar Platoon.

During the battle for Singapore, he was killed at Dairy Farm Road early on the morning of 11 February 1942, age 39. Since his body was not identified, he is probably buried here at Kranji War Cemetery in one of the graves marked "All Unknown Soldiers". His name is inscribed here on the Memorial Wall. The intervention of the Imperial Japanese Army brought hashing to a stop on 12 December 1941. But in August 1946 the Hash was back in business with the help of Torch Bennet, Philip Wickens and Cecil Lee, all prewar hashmen.

 

On 19 February 1962, Ian Cumming, an ex-KL hashman, founded a second Hash in Singapore. The rest, as they say, is history.
 

We are all here because of what “G” started some 80 years ago.

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