Lewis Stephens RAPLEY [1885-1936]

Submitted by Stephen Rapley on Wed, 12/14/2016 - 14:51
Lewis Stephens
Birthplace (town, state)
Dorking, Surrey
(Day & Month are approximate.)
Cause of death

Lewis Stephens Rapley was my grandfather. He appears on the Juror lists between 1914-1923. According to those (and my father's birth certificate of 26 Oct 1918), he worked as an Assistant with 
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Whiteaway, Laidlaw & Co, and 
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Lane Crawford and then from 1918 as Sales Manager and Outfitter at J. T. Shaw. His addresses ranged from 22 Kennedy road, 'Sea View', Wanchai Gap Road and 16 Arbuthnot Road. 

'Sea View', Wanchai Gap Road is the address entered by my father's mother Isabel Agnes Rapley on his birth certificate of 26 Oct 1918. 

Lewis Stephens Rapley is also mentioned in the Government Gazette of 16 Aug 1918 item no 310 in a list of two names with the declaration that "The following persons shall, as from the date of publication of this List, be deemed to have enrolled in, and to belong to, the General Military Service Force of Hongkong". Were there specific privileges or benefits associated with this particular status?

It appears that he left Hong Kong in the mid 1920s while my father William Lewis Rapley was quite young. It’s unclear how much he had to do with my father’s early life if at all. My father’s brief memoir doesn’t mention him at all, just his mother and his amah, and starting as a boarder at DBS at age 9. 

A Lewis Stephens Rapley married a Catherine E Wallace Lees in London in mid 1929 and he appears to have died in late 1936. 

Our family in Sydney retained over the years three items associated with Lewis Stephens Rapley - an aluminium shoe horn and a wooden coat hanger branded J. T Shaw, and a fob watch cover with his monogram, an elaborate LSR. 

I would be interested to hear any further information about Lewis Stephens Rapley and his possible relationship to others living in Kong Kong between the wars who also bore his not very common surname who also appear on the Jurors lists.  

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The General Military Service Force of Hongkong is first described in "Bill read a first time:- General Military Service" , dated 30th May 1918, then an amended copy is given in "The General Military Service Bill as amended in Committee" dated 6th June 1918.

Looking at the document I think its intention was to introduce conscription to Hong Kong. Though conscription had been introduced in Britain in 1916, men in Hong Kong weren't included. The 1918 bill described above changed that, and once you were a member of The General Military Service Force of Hongkong, you were under military control and could be sent wherever the armed forces needed you. 

Thank you so much, David for pointing me back towards the rich vein of material to be uncovered in the Hong Kong Government Reports Online search. Using 'General Military Service' as my search term, the resulting Gazette extracts remind you of the distinctions made at every level of life in the colony - the intention of the bill to "enrol only persons of pure European descent"' and the insurance cover against death for those married men being £2000 for those with wives of "pure European descent", and £1000 for men married to women "not of pure European descent".