Enquiry regarding wedding photo

Submitted by Richard Horsburgh on Mon, 10/14/2019 - 14:37

Can anyone assist in identifying the people in this wedding photo. The photo comes from the collection of Mavis Gock Ming and dates between 1939 and 1941

Hong Kong Wedding 1939-1941_1.jpg
Hong Kong Wedding 1939-1941_1.jpg, by Richard Horsburgh

There are photos of Mavis Gock Ming (1916-2008) in the papers, the appearances of which seem to match the Eurasian lady in the front row in the extreme right holding the flowers…which I assume you can confirm definitively as she is your mother-in-law?  

The Hong Kong Telegraph Page 9 4th March 1939 

“Miss Mavis Ming, of Sydney, who will arrive in Hongkong shortly to take over the Woman’s League of Health and Beauty which was started by Miss Kathleen Glover” 


Hong Kong Sunday Herald Page 12 14th January 1940 


So we are looking for a wedding that took place in HK sometime between March 1939-December 1941

Thank you for your replies. Unfortunately Mavis Ming is not one of the wedding party. I can only assume that either of both the bride and the bridesmaid were friends of hers. It appears from the two photos I uploaded that the man in the military uniform gave the bride away. Perhaps someone may be able to tell me what the uniform is - British military or maybe Hong Kong Police?

Mavis did arrive in Hong Kong from Sydney, Australia to take over the running of the League of Health in March 1939. She also performed part time office work for the Chinese Industrial Cooperative movement and the International Womens Club based in the Gloucester Hotel. She was detained by the Japanese occupation forces in the round up of British citizens in January 1942 but escaped from Hong Kong in March 1942 making her way to Chungking (Chongqing) to work for the British Embassy for the remainder of the war looking after Hong Kong refugees.

Hi Richard, 

Thanks for confirming that.

At the very least we can place the wedding as definitely occuring on the island of Hong Kong:


The 'Star Taxi' company only operated on HK island and had its charateristic lone star logo and its telephone number displayed on its back '23456'

If that was not Mavis, did she have a sister? 

I agree, identifying the senior chap and his uniform would be helpful too. There is a badge on his cap and lapels. A bit blurry. Can anyone figure it out? 

It also has the 'Ming Yuen' logo on the bottom right hand corner. I gather that was the Sze Ming Yuen studio based in Nanking Road in Shanghai but a photo studio founded by an Eurasian from Hong Kong. Was there a studio in HK? Any family links with Shanghai? 

Thanks David. Mavis had no siblings in HK so neither woman in the photo is related to her. She completed her secondary schooling at the Shanghai Public School for Girls, an English language school in the International Settlement that catered for Eurasians, many Russian emgre children and children of international residents. Many of these people joined the influx of refugees to HK when Shanghai was occupied by the Japanese. She also had friends from Australia of Chinese descent whose parents sent them to China or HK to learn Chinese language and culture. I am hoping that the mix of Chinese and European participants in this wedding photo will assist in identifying at least one of them. The fact that she kept the photos for so many years indicates a strong friendship with the bride or bridesmaid.

The chap in the white outfit looks ecclesiastical in dress sense. So likely this is a ecclesiastical wedding rather than civil.

Given this is a British Colony, it's a good chance we're dealing with the Anglican faith.

There is a very short list of Anglican churches on HK island: 


The building appears to be on a level surface, so we can eliminate a number of churches on slopes.

If you look at the architectural style of the base of the buttress and windows in your photos, we've got a good match with St. John's Cathedral in Garden Road, Central, HK. Maybe some kind gwulo reader living in HK can have a quick walk round the grounds to see if the exact spot of the photo can be indentified. 

Contact St John's Cathedral to see if they can give you the very short list of the weddings there between March 1939-December 1941 (esp. a spring/summer wedding given the short sleeves of the bridesmaid and other female guest's outfits) that would involve a Caucasian chap and presumably a Chinese woman. With names and dates, a scan of the newspapers on-line hopefully will fill in more details.

Finding out the names of these people in the photos is very doable.