Paul Ewart Francis CRESSALL [1893-1943] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Paul Ewart Francis CRESSALL [1893-1943]

Paul Ewart Francis
Birthplace (town, state): 
Bronley, Kent
Birthplace (country): 

Photos that show this person



I think this is probably P. E. F. Cresssall, who's on the 1942 list as a judge, aged 48.

If so, he died on April 8, 1943 (see Chronology).

Thanks Brian, I've updated his details. He's also listed on Tony Banham's site as "Puisne Judge". Is he the puisne judge that handled the investigation into the costs of the ARP tunnel construction?

A search for "Cressall" in the online newspapers gives several results (including his welcome to the HK courts in the HK Daily Press, 1941-04-30). But no mentions of the ARP case.

Regards, David

'The Commission met from 14 August to 7 November 1941...Its findings were never issued...Judge Cressall took a draft report with him into internment at Stanley where he died in 1944 (sic); his draft was never found and after the war the enquiry was dropped...'

 Hong Kong Eclipse (G. B. Endacott and Alan Birch), 51-52

So he was the ARP man! Thanks for checking on that,

Regards, David

Cressall was particularly unlucky.  He had been appointed puisne judge in January 1941 after the prevoius Puisne Judge Roger Lindsell died.  He arrived in Hong Kong in April 1941 .  Before that he had been a district judge in Palestine.  If he had stayed in Palestine, he would have avoided internment. 

According to Cricket Archive he was born on 2 May 1893 in Bromley, Kent.  He played 4 First Class matches for British Guiana.  He was awarded the Military Cross fighting in Africa and Palestine in World War I. 

The Hong Kong Daily Press carried a photo of him on 30 April 1941 when he first sat as Puisne Judge.

Judge Paul Cressall.jpg
Judge Paul Cressall.jpg, by Hong Kong Daily Press


Thanks Paul, I've updated his details.

Regards, David

Here is his gravestone

Cressall gravestone.jpg
Cressall gravestone.jpg, by brianwindsoredgar


He was a Supreme Court Judge. He was billeted in Block A3 Room 44. He lived before the war at 153, The Peak. He died aged forty-nine of paralysis. The paralysis started in his legs and then moved to the rest of his body including his lungs. The disease was diagnosed as spreading paralysis of the spinal cord. His wife was Olga Bertha Victoria Cressall who was not in Camp. "Cressall caused trouble in the kitchen and staff walked out." (Source: RE Jones Diary for 11th March). Several months before the war he had been appointed as Chairman of the Public Enquiry relating to corruption in the Public Works Department and the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) Department. This was seen as a major scandal at the time and was one of several reported cases of corruption within Government Departments. According to George Wright-Nooth he was in some public disfavour due to his perceived forceful handling of the affair and there had been criticism in the Press at the time over this. The findings had not been published by the time war began and the draft findings were taken into Camp by Paul Cressall but after his death were never seen again and after the war the enquiry was dropped. During his internment Paul Cressall wrote a collection of verse, which is now held in the Hong Kong Public Records Office (HK PRO). He had been a keen cricketer and had played for British Guiana. His declared friends in Camp were Mr S.T. Williamson (a ship-owner of Block A3 Room 44) and Mr J.A. L. Concannon (an Architect with PWD of Block 8 Room 2).  I would have thought these two gentlemen would have inherited all his possessions in Camp including the draft findings. His next of kin outside Camp was his wife Olga Cressall of Georgetown, British Guiana although by 1943 she was living in London where she passed away in 1955. Stericker writes in ‘Captive Colony’ that Cressall was "a recently appointed Puisne Judge. He had come to Hong Kong after colonial service in Palestine (and British Guiana) and had been appointed Chairman of the much-publicized ARP Commission of Enquiry."