An Old Coathamian – Not Forgotten


Private, 2 Machine Gun Company,
Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps.

Died 24 December 1941, aged 32 years.

Commemorated on the Sai Wan Memorial, Hong Kong,
Panel 34.

The long-established Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps was the British Crown Colony’s own locally-raised army of volunteer residents which supplemented the regular British and other Commonwealth forces stationed there. It played a notable part in the defence of Hong Kong when the Japanese attacked in December 1941; but, after bitter fighting in which thousands were killed, the territory surrendered to the Japanese on Christmas Day 1941. Those defenders who had not been killed, or who had not managed to escape, became prisoners-of-war. Geoffrey Newhouse, like his fellow Old Coathamian William Mackinlay serving in the Middlesex Regiment (q.v.), was killed in the fighting the previous day, Christmas Eve. He has no known grave.

Geoffrey Newhouse was the second son and third child of Ernest and Annie Newhouse. His father was a civil engineer and although Geoffrey was born in Eston, in 1909, the family was living in Saltburn when he joined Coatham Grammar School in September 1921. His older brother George joined at the same time, and they were fee-paying day boys. Geoffrey also had two sisters, Lucie and Vera. At school he was placed in Gales House, in Form IIB. At the swimming gala of July 1923 he did well, winning the long plunge and coming second in two senior distance races. He was also awarded his house cricket colours in the term he left, in July 1924. His occupation on leaving school is not known at present, nor what led him to be in Hong Kong in 1941. By the time of his war service he was married, and his wife Dorothy was living in Aberdeen at the time of his death. He was first listed on the School’s Roll of Honour in December 1943.