Penang 1990

The Thatcher induced recession was biting and money was short . We went to the Ferringhi Beach Hotel, Penang in November : rather a downmarket place, where the corridors smelt of urine, so we used to take a bus every morning to the Rasa Sayang Hotel, purchase their sumptuous breakfast and then use their pool all day! We did actually return to stay in the hotel years later when our fortunes had recovered

We found the Wee Free Presbyterian Church the my Great Grandfather William Proctor had founded in Georgetown, Penang. The St Andrew's Presbyterian Church which Rev Proctor was associated with was commonly known known as the Mission Chapel at Light Street. The Presbyterians merely rented the premises. The actual building itself has by now been long demolished, though adjacent buildings within the former Mission compound still survive as ruins and could be restored as heritage buildings in the future. The St Andrew's Church that exists today is the 4th incarnation of Rev Proctor's church. The second (Light St) and third (Farquhar St) churches were pulled down decades ago, the land sold for profit and redeveloped. The 4th church was much more modest in size and built in the 1950s to replace the third church which had been looted and badly damaged during WW2. The largely British congregation had dwindled away to about 2 dozen souls by the 1970s and faced severe financial difficulties. The congregation then decided to donate the church premises to a Chinese language congregation which appropriated the name of St Andrew's and assumed the property's liabilities but neglected to maintain the records of the colonial congregation which are now lost. The remnants of the colonial congregation either joined the Church of St George the Martyr (Church of England) or Wesley Methodist Church which had English-language services and which already had British expatriates in their respective congregations.


Georgetown , Penang is a Unesco World Heritage site



Took a trip up to the Malaysian Highlands with its vast tea plantations and stayed at The Lake House, a rambling neo-Tudor building in the Cameron Highlands. The Cameron Highlands and Fraser's Hill were old British Hill stations where the British could go in the hot months for their cooler climate. They also did and do grow a lot of tea

There were traces of the Malayan Emergency in the 1940s/1950s

The Assassination of Sir Henry Gurney took place at the height of the Malayan Emergency. The British High Commissioner was killed by members of the Malayan Communist Party at Mile 56 ½, Kuala Kubu Road on 7 October 1951, on his way to Fraser's Hill for a meeting. Gurney was riding in his Rolls Royce Silver Wraith with his wife, private secretary D.J. Staples, and his Malayan chauffeur as part of a convoy that included an armoured scout car, a police wireless van, and a land rover with six Malayan policemen sitting in its open back. Eight miles from the ambush site, the wireless van developed engine trouble, and the commander advised Gurney to wait, but Gurney decided to press ahead with the rest of the convoy.

About 60 miles north of Kuala Lumpur, as the convoy rounded a curve in the road, it was ambushed by a force of 38 Malayan Communist Party guerrillas, who opened fire on the convoy with three Bren guns, Sten guns, and rifles. Gurney and five of the six Malayan policemen in the land rover were wounded, and his chauffeur killed. Both vehicles came to a halt as bullets punctured their tyres. Gurney pushed his wife and private secretary into the footwell of the car, then got out and staggered forward towards the ambush site to draw the insurgents' fire away from the car and towards himself. The guerrillas fired in his direction, fatally hitting him.

The armoured scout car pushed ahead of the Rolls-Royce with some difficulty to get help from a nearby police station. The insurgents stayed in the area for about ten more minutes, firing intermittently at anything that moved. A bugle call then sounded, and the insurgents pulled back. When the firing eased, Lady Gurney crawled out of the Rolls Royce, only to discover her husband's body lying in a roadside ditch. Twenty minutes later, the officer in charge of the armoured scout car arrived at the scene with reinforcements from the police station. According to Communist leader Chin Peng, the ambush was routine, the killing by chance, and the guerrillas only learned the High Commissioner was among the dead from news reports.

All Holidays