Sr G.Aurely-retired Hong Kong businessman-1962 | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Sr G.Aurely-retired Hong Kong businessman-1962

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Sr G.Aurely-retired Hong Kong businessman-1962

The South China Sunday Post Herald dated 4 November 1962 has a column on an Italian, Sr. G. Aurely, described as a retired Hong Kong businessman who had lived in the Far East for 60 years. He claims to have staged the first air displays of powered flight at Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore in the early 1900s.

The article is headed by a poorly reproduced microfilmed image of Aurely with Charles Van den Born and his Farman at Bangkok The display in Hong Kong in March 1911 featured Charles Van den Born flying his Farman biplane at Shatin, the replica of which can be seen hanging for the ceiling of the arrival’s hall at Hong Kong International Airport.

Is anything further known about Sr, G. Aurely or his partner Mr R. Offer’s time in Hong Kong?

Aurely was 83years old when the article was published.

Given that he was still in Hong Kong in 1962 when the article was published, there may still be someone around who has come across him.

The usual internet searches have raised nothing that is new.

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Sunday, November 4, 1962


The Far East Aviation Company was represented in Hong Kong by a machinery import firm, Messrs Arndt & Co. which organised the Aviation Meeting at Shatin. In advertisements for the Aviation Meeting in March 1911, Mr. K. Offer was a manager of the Far East Aviation Company. In the 1911 Juror's list, Mr. Karl Offer was an assistant with Messrs Arndt & Co. G. (Giovanni ?) Aurely was also an assistant with Messrs Arndt & Co as noted here He appears in later decades in Singapore.

Offer also organised the Bangkok Aviation Meeting. See here


Thank you for the Aurely/Offer pointers

The Far East Aviation Company poses some anomalies as the SCMP quotes its title below in 1911. However, in 1928-1930 it also states that Raymond Vaughan Fowler, well-known in Hong Kong’s aviation circles, started a company titled The Far East Aviation Company with an investment of 500,000 dollars. This company survived until about 1980 within the Wheelock Marden/Hutchinson groups


Headquarters in Hong Kong with branches in London-Shanghai-Bangkok-Saigon circa 1911

Referred to in the South China Morning Post edition of 18 March 1911 as being the company organising Charles van den Born’s tour of the Far East demonstrating powered flight with his Farman biplanes


A later SCMP report:-

However, in 1928 Mr. R. Vaughan Fowler and Mr. F. R. Smith started The Far East Aviation Company as a private company. When he went to England in 1930, Vaughan Fowler planned to represent in China the majority of British air firms. A limited liability company with the title of The Far East Aviation Co. Ltd. was formed in 1930 with a capital of half a million Hong Kong dollars. The managing director is Mr. Vaughan Fowler; Besides its aviation activities the company was later responsible for Far Eastern Motors in Hong Kong.

Presumably the Hong Kong government’s business registration data files have not survived for as far back as 1911 so that the first Far East Aviation Co. could be examined. Possibly the basic data remains in commercial ‘Year Books.’ If they existed then?

I think the Far East Aviation Company in its earlier guise in 1911 was a translation from French of the company's name. The enterprise appears to have been initialized to promote the aviation activites on Van Den Born and perhaps other early aviators in the Far East.  See here 

Vaughan Fowler's Far East Aviation Co. Ltd is another chapter in Hong Kong's aviation history.


OK I'll buy that explanation.


His wife's obituary confirms his name was Giovanni:

Alice Aurely

Alice Aurely, 98, a Palo Alto resident for 28 years, died Feb. 15. Born in Java, she lived in Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong and Mill Valley. The widow of Giovanni Aurely, she is survived by a daughter, Rosanne Saussotte of Palo Alto; a son, John Aurely of San Rafael; nine grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. A memorial mass will be held March 4 at 2:30 p.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 745 Waverley St., Palo Alto.

They are buried together in Palo Alto:

Thank's for that find, David

The Aurely family seniors certainly lived to a ripe old age