William Lewis RAPLEY (aka Bill) [1918-2000]

Submitted by Stephen Rapley on Tue, 12/13/2016 - 21:37
William Lewis
Alias / nickname
Birthplace (town, state)
Hong Kong
Cause of death

William Lewis Rapley was born in Hong Kong on 26 Oct 1918. His mother was Isabel Agnes Rapley (née Allen) and his father was Lewis Stephens Rapley. Before starting as a boarder at the Diocesan Boys School at age 9, he lived at 16 Arbuthnot Road. He attended kindergarten at the Italian convent on Caine Road. He spent a year at St Josephs College on Kennedy Road. He went to DBS in 1927 as a boarder spending some months in the temporary premises before moving into the new school at Kowloon once the army had moved out. 

He enjoyed the sporting facilites at the DBS - tennis courts, basketball, volleyball, soccer and cricket, swimming and baseball. He completed his school certificate in 1935 and had been a prefect, in the cricket 1st XI, and a house captain. 

His father Lewis Stephens Rapley appears in the Juror lists between 1914 and 1919 with a break in 1916. Lewis Stephens Rapley appears to have left Hong Kong by the 1920s and Isabel Agnes Rapley, his mother apparently died in the mid 1930s. DBS headmaster Christopher Sargent then became his guardian. 

I believe Lewis Stephens Rapley married a Catherine Wallace E Lees in London in mid 1929, and died in London in late 1936. 

After leaving school, William Lewis Rapley worked in clerical positions at the Royal Hong Kong Golf Course, and then the Fire department of the Union Insurance Society of Canton from 1937 to 1941, and then as an accountant with the Immigration Office from January until April 1941. 

At some stage he had joined the HKVDC with his friends Archie Zimmern, Tommy Suiter, Reg Broadbridge and Duggie Hunt. He was also a very keen cricketer, playing with the Kowloon Cricket Club. It's delightful to see his name appearing in the sports coverage of The China Mail. He always liked to recall the warm friendships he enjoyed then around shared sporting activities. 

He appears in the Juror's list for 1940 and 1941. 

He left Hong Kong in June 1941 and came to Sydney, Australia. He joined the Australian Army and spent the latter part of the war learning Japanese at the RAAF School of Languages at the Coogee Bay Hotel training to be a translator and interrogator. 

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