Mr. Arthur Gomes (aka Gomez) MBE - Down the Memory Lane – Lasallians Remembered

Mr. Gomes (aka Gomez), Arthur , MBE

Date of Birth: c 1918 Date of Death: 24th April, 2007


Message from Mark Huang (85) announcing Arthur’s death.
(Please click on the blank file with on the left to see the Obitary from South China Morning Post.)

It is with greatest sadness that I announce the passing away of Arthur Gomes (aka Gomez), on 24th April, 2007, at the age of 90. Arthur was a graduate of La Salle in 1933 when he finished Class 1.

Arthur was a Portuguese, born and raised in Hong Kong, and he studied in St Joseph’s Branch School in Tsim Sha Tsui (the fore-runner school of LSC, 1917-1931), in St Joseph’s College, and La Salle College. In 1938 he joined the HK Volunteer Defense Corps. On 8 December 1941, at the commencement of the Japanese attacks on Hong Kong, Arthur, being lance-corporal, was ordered to protect British families living in May Road, Central. He was therefore not involved in the fighting.

The title of the Arthur’s obituary in the SCMP of 25th April stated: “A Life Marked by Courage and Determination to Survive” The obituary remarked on his being taken as a prisoner on Christmas Day 1941 after HK surrendered.

“He reflected later that as a Portuguese, he could have taken off his uniform and melted into the general population, perhaps getting to Macau. He stayed for the honour of our regiment,’ he said. ‘We had to face what was coming to us. We thought we were going to be marched to Guangzhou but the road stopped at the ransacked and looted barracks at Sham Shui Po.’ ” Arthur was imprisoned there 3 years and 8 months.

I met Arthur on several occasions interviewing him for information on the old school, and also on getting information on the war dead of La Salle. He recalled with amazing clarity his days in St Joseph’s Branch School in TST, as well as his memories of the war, including of Roy Maxwell (3-), his cousin and fellow Lasallian, who perished in the battle against the Japanese on 23 December 1941.

Arthur was helping Elden Lai (82) and I review some material of war dead Lasallians, just weeks before his unexpected passing away.

When the opening of the new wings and the Thanksgiving Mass for the school’s 75th Anniversary was held in December 2006, Arthur was also present, standing straight and attentive, only requiring a walking stick.

Arthur was thrown a party for his 90th birthday recently, and I was told it was a lovely and very happy occasion for him and all who attended it.

Arthur, our Lasallian brother, has lived a remarkable life through HK’s peaceful times before the war, when Bro Aimar began offering schooling to boys like him in Kowloon; then Arthur endured war, and imprisonment in very hard conditions. After the Japanese surrendered, he continued to do what he believed in. He founded the HK Prisoners of War Association in 1954. He was also active in servicemen’s associations and he worked hard in the interests of the sevicemen’s families. Arthur worked till he was well into his 80s. Among many recognitions, he was awarded an MBE. He is a role model for each one of us.

Arthur is survived by his daughter Cynthy.

Please remember Senior Gomes in your prayers, and may God grant him eternal rest in heaven.

I will miss Arthur very sorely.

-end of quote-

Arthur Gomes is seen on page 8 of the June 2004 OBA Newsletter

Here are some remarks of the second photo by Mark Huang (85) on 14 May 2007:
The street scene is Tsim Sha Tsui in 1902 as seen from Signal Hill, looking north. Chatham Road is the main road on the right. In 1917, the Christian Brothers established St Joseph’s Branch School on Chatham Road, mainly for the Portuguese boys whose families migrated to Kowloon from Hong Kong Island early in the century. Arthur studied in that school for a few years (Classes 8-5), before moving to higher classes in St Joseph’s College (Classes 4 and 3), and then to La Salle College in 1932 when it opened (Class 2 and 1).

Contributed by: Elden Lai (82)         2007-05-02 19:32:09
Description: I was saddened to learn of the unexpected passing away of senior Arthur. I have not had the pleasure and honour of knowing senior Arthur in person, although I have known of this legendary old boy for a long time, and indeed I had seen him around on numerous occasions during church services at Rosary Church, TST. He impressed me as a very devoted Catholic. I was recently put in contact with senior Arthur through Mark Huang(85) in the course of conducting my research on the fallen Lasallians during the defence of Hong Kong, 1941. I last wrote to him a few weeks ago asking him to comment on some research materials I had compiled. Sadly, I will never get a reply from him. Senior Arthur’s passing is indeed a great loss not only to the Lasallian community, but to Hong Kong society at large. I offer my deepest condolenses to Arthur’s family. May his soul rest in peace.
Contributed by: Bernard Kong (76)         2007-05-02 00:13:43
Description: Mr. Arthur Gomez remained closely connected to the school in the past few years. LSCOBA invited him as a guest of honor in the “Days under the Dome” in May 2004. He talked about his school life and it was a very successful event. His pictures appeared in some of the war history book e.g. Not the Slightest Chance – Albert Manson from Vancouver may have more to say about this. I found this in the internet for sharing: ************************************************ A Volunteer in the Battle for Hong Kong December 1941 One of the vivid memories I have is that of leading a fighting patrol of 7 men from our pillbox in Pokfulam at the foot of Mount Davis. I had to report to the Adjutant – Capt Neville Thursby of the KSLI. The HQ at the time was on the Murray Parade Ground in Garden Road – what was to become the Hilton Hotel. On arrival at the HQ, I met the Adjutant. He was a man who commanded respect – he was short tempered and had a habit of rolling his eyes heavenwards as though seeking patience or inspiration – or both. He had a slight stutter and on this meeting, I stuttered as well in my nervousness. As we both stuttered, he laughed and broke the tension. He then told me that I was to lead a patrol up May Road to where the Volunteers’ and other families were billeted for safety in Tregunter Mansions. The ration party had reported that there were suspicious movements in the area and that lights had been seen – possibly 5th columnists signalling the Japanese in Kowloon. The Japanese had a small but powerful gun hidden in the Kowloon Godowns where Ocean Terminal is now. My task was to investigate and flush out any intruder from where the families were and make contact with the QM who was in charge of supplies to the families. To men who had not had a regular meal for some time, the thought of meeting a supplies officer was indeed heart warming! We headed up hill towards our destination – and our next meal. We proceeded towards Tregunter Mansions with utmost caution and minimal noise up the hillside in single file; some looking left some right and others straight ahead. In fact our heavy leather boots on the gravel and rocks made the patrol sound like a herd of wild elephants. No wonder we encountered no-one on our way. At any rate the disturbances – 5th Columnists or whatever – were cleared and our task complete. It was there that I met my wife and other families for the first time since 5th December and I was able to bring back news of them to the men in my pillbox. We stayed with the families overnight and the next day we were ordered back to report to Capt Chris D’Almada at our Company in Pokfulam. Epilogue. I subsequently read that there was a meeting on the night of the l2th December between the Triads and Insp Shaftain, Admiral Chan Chak and his Chief of Nationalist Police. As a result of the negotiations and in return for payment of a certain amount of money, the “Celebration of the l3th” was called off. This was to be a massacre of all foreigners by the 60,000 Triads in Hong Kong. This explained our sudden dispatch on the fighting patrol to the families but we too could have been wiped out that night if the negotiations had failed. Arthur E Gomez ************************************************ Thank you Arthur for defending Hong Kong and for your courage. We are all proud of you as a Lasallian. God bless your soul and rest in peace. Bernard
Contributed by: Clarence Ng (1969)         2007-05-01 04:49:31
Description: Here, I would like to commemorate our senior Lasallian, a WWII veteran, Lance Corporal Arthur Gomes of the Alliance Forces, for his righteous choice to serve the British military, and to his endurance of the atrocity as a prisoner of war, and also to his contribution to the post-war veterans association in Hong Kong.
Categories: Deceased, Old Boys