Denis BRAY [1926-2005]

Submitted by David on Sun, 10/28/2012 - 15:06
Birthplace (town, state)
Matilda Hospital
Birthplace (country)
Hong Kong
Died in (town, state)
Headington, Oxford
Died in (country)
United Kingdom
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In 1978, in London, I was part of a batch of new recruits to the HK Govt. Mr Bray, as Commissioner, was introduced to us as a rare gweilo who could speak both Mandarin and Cantonese. He gave a fairly uninspiring speech I seem to remember.


Denis Bray was at school in Chefoo in China, with my father, Alan Bailey, in the 1930's. they were good friends. My recollection speaking to my father, was that Denis had something to do with the decision (by the Government) to abandoned the day-light saving (putting the clocks back) idea?

Denis was my father and my brother Rupert died in a drowning accident in our swimming pool when we lived in Island House, Tai Po.  In later years there was a Kayak club that stored their kayak's in the old garage at the bottom of the driveway up to the house.  We lived in The Lookout when I was a small child but moved to Peak Mansions before Rupert was born.

My parents donated several cine films to the Hong Kong Film Archives including times at The Lookout and my grandfathers films of the farmers in the area around Fatshan (Foshan) in the 1920's and the building of the Chinese Methodist Church in Wanchai.  They had to shoot these films to show in UK when they went back on furlough.

I'll pass the link of Peak School on to my mother, we'll be in HK in September and you can reach us through the Barrettos in Taipo.


Mum had loads of memories and names of all the people inthe picture.....she's an incredible mine of information like this, she's the kind of person who remembers birthdays and birthdays of people's kid, sisters, aunties.....the lot!  I thought my sister Alison had added all these names a week or so ago.

Dear Jenny,

Read your message here concerning your dad and your brother.

We try to connect your family cause we are producing a documentary focusing on HK back to 60's, your dad's book carries important information.  We visited villagers in Taipo recently for oral historty, they remember Mr Bray so well, he could speak their languages and they missed him dearly.

We need your permission for using a few old photos in the book "

Hong Kong Metamorphosis".

Look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Connie Lo




I was wondering if anyone has any information on other occupants of Island house?

I am keen to find out more about the period 1923-1939 when Frederick Eaves served as the 1st Police Magistrate and assistant Land Officer of Hong Kong. He lived in Island house during this period and it is believed that my great uncle Kenneth Evans either visited him or lived with him for a period in the 1930s. Kenneth also ran a missionary at Tai Po with his wife for a period too. But I do not know which particular one this would be.


I crewed on the yacht, ( Windsong?) which he owned with Bim Davis. Came back from Manila on it after the 76 or 77 China Sea race.

He was heavily involved with the Queen's visit in 1975.

Last met him at a mutual friend's party in Mount Eliza, Victoria in the late 80s



My recollection is in two aspects about Denis Bray:
One of the major catalysts in moving Hong Kong into the modern world and assisting in making it a manufacturing and logistics hub in Asia, was the Hong Kong Government’s decision to allow private development of the container terminals in Hong Kong.
The first phase of development was in Gin Drinkers Bay, and included Terminals 1, 2 & 3.
I was the engineer in charge of supervising the building Terminal 3 for Sea Land Orient Ltd.
The right to build was via an auction and Sea Land Orient’s bid, I believe, was approximately US$25 million.
The completion of the terminal and formal opening was around 1973.
Denis Bray was the key speaker and the official to cut the ribbon to open up the terminal.
In his speech, I recall his humor as he said, to my recollection, “We offered you the right to build the terminal and we received US$25 million.
We gave you the ability to excavate terraces on the hillsides on Tsing Yi Island and Kwai Chung.
The excavated material of these terraces gave you the ability to fill in the water in Gin Drinkers Bay.
We sold these terraced hillsides for considerable sums.
However, the only thing that we didn’t make money on, was for the mud you needed to dredge out of Gin Drinkers Bay to build Terminal 3!”
Everyone laughed at his humor.
The second aspect of my recollection is that I also recall that he was involved, with others, in establishing the New Territories Small House Policy.
Best regards,

Google Groups


Passenger List Hong Kong to London arriving 22 December 1954

Denis C Bray 28 Civil Servant

Marjorie Bray 23

Daughter Bray 18 months

UK Address The Manse, Watlington, Oxfordshire

UK Birth Index  Denis C Bray 1926 Hertfordshire