Prince Philip Plays in Hong Kong

This is an extract of the speech given by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at the Squash Rackets Association (former name of England Squash) Golden Jubilee Dinner at the RAC Club, London on 7 December 1978.


“….. The foundation of the Squash Rackets Association in 1928 seems very long ago, but I have been doing a bit of research and recollection and I have come to the conclusion that my first introduction to the game was 40 years ago and I would probably still be playing it now but for a wrist that does not work too well anymore. Whether it was due to playing polo or shaking all those hands in New Zealand and Australia, I am not quite sure.


I think my most vivid memory of the game was when I arrived in Hong Kong with the first Naval ships after the Japanese surrender in 1945. At that time the population was some 300,000 – it is now just over 4.5 million, and owing to the severs shortage of fuel practically everything made of wood such as doors, staircases and window frames had been torn out for fire wood.


It so happened that just before the war the Hong Kong Yacht Club had completed a splendid new clubhouse on an island in the harbour. Soon after we arrived a few of us took a boat across to take a look round the clubhouse.


Every scrap of woodwork had gone from the bare and deserted rooms and staircases.


Eventually we came across a squash court and I can only imagine that the Chinese had not started to play squash because they had even removed the floor. The next court – same thing, no floor, until we came to the last of the four courts and as luck would have it, the floor was still intact.


As you can imagine we kept it a closely guarded secret for as long as possible and made as much use of that court as circumstances would allow”.


(Photo: Prince Philip speaking, with the ISRF (now WSF) President Murray Day, NZL, seated).