Hash History: On the Origins of Hashing

This letter was addressed to the Kuala Lumpur HHH in 1958 by Cecil Lee, one of the co-founders of the Hash House Harriers. He was a regular harrier 1938-41, and after the war, 1946-51, then in Borneo for three years before returning to KL to finish his hashing 1954-57:

The Hash House Harriers were founded in a moment of post-prandial inspiration at the Selangor Club Chambers in late 1938, by the inmates, who included myself, Horse Thompson, EJ Galvin, HM Doig and AS Gispert.

Gispert was the real founder – a man of great wit and charm, who was killed on Singapore Island in February 1942 whilst serving with the Argylls having only just returned from leave in Australia to rejoin the volunteers.
I am glad of this opportunity to salute his memory. He was a splendid fellow and would be happy to know the Harriers are still going strong, and are as merry and bright as ever – or more so.

Gispert was not an athlete, and stress was laid as much on the subsequent refreshment etc. as on the pure and austere running. It was non-competitive, and abounded in slow packs. Life was then conservative rather than competitive.

The name was a mock allusion to the institution that housed and fed us. Later Torch Bennet returned from leave, and produced order out of chaos – a bank account, balance sheet and some system. But we pride ourselves on being rather disorganised – or the minimum organization sufficed.

The original joint masters were myself and Horse Thompson, still running somewhere – a past master at short cuts and the conservation of energy.

We started up again after the war due to Torch Bennet who discovered a Bank Balance and put in a claim for War Damage on one tin bath, and two dozen mugs and two carrying bags. We started by a small run in reduced circumstances around the race course – then the horses were not much better. The Emergency cramped our style but did not diminish our activities, and we were called in for information on various by-ways in Selangor , but our usefulness to MI5 was brief, and our information probably otiose. But the hares ran into two Bandits at Cheras, who were later copped.

An Irish accountant Kennedy, drew up the Rules we had to register as a club, and he seems to have preserved the old traditions just as you do now.

Selemat Tinggal HHH (Cecil Lee, KL, 24 October 1958)

To learn more about the History of the Hash, check out Shakesprick's On On – The History Magazine of the Hash House Harriers.