Robert MAIN (aka "Duffus") [1909-1993] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Robert MAIN (aka "Duffus") [1909-1993]

Names
Given: 
Robert
Family: 
Main
Alias / nickname: 
"Duffus"
Sex: 
Male
Status: 
Deceased
Birth
Date: 
1909-11-25
Birthplace (town, state): 
Dumbarton
Birthplace (country): 
Death
Date: 
1993-08-18
Cause of death: 
Heart failure

Robert was interned as a HK defence volunteer in Shamshuipo POW camp, and later was shipped off to Shanghai for forced labour.

In camp he worked in the kitchens as often as possible, so as to get the more nutritious scrapings and rice husks from the bottom of the pans.

He also became adept at catching flies in his fist to relieve the boredom, after studying their habits when disturbed. A good party trick in later years.

After the war, interestingly, he was involved in an investigation by the Chamber of Commerce into the possible local production of mild steel reinforcing bars; and also was seconded to a government committee that determined the prices to be charged for machine tools received from Japan by way of reparations. 

Robert joined Taikoo Dockyard in 1937 as an Engineering Draughtsman, and rose to be Assistant Manager before being retrenched in 1957 "to make way for a younger man" to succeed Manager R.B. "Bertie" Bell on the latter's retirement. He then joined Yarrows shipyard in Victoria BC,Canada  

He represented HK internationally in soccer after the war, and probably before the war also. He became a low handicap golfer at RHKGC. He lived at Kornhill in Quarry Bay.

His first wife Jess (Kempton) died in 1972, and he then moved to Sydney, Australia. There in 1973 he married recently widowed ex-HK resident Alvena Wellstead (nee Laihovetsky), who he had first noticed as a spectator cheering on her boyfriends at pre-war soccer matches in HK.   

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Here's his entry in the 1941 Jurors List:

c   Main, Robert Draughtsman. Taikoo Dockyard & Engineering Co., of H.K., Ld. On premises.