Statement of my affairs and the affairs of my firm (Logan, Ross & Samuel4, 5 Union Street, Penang) and of monies held on behalf of clients either as agents or trustees at the date I left Singapore on the SS Kuala on 13th February 1942
I must preface these notes (made from memory) with the statement that all title deeds, securities etc held by my firm on behalf of clients were left in the safes in the office or were taken by me and placed in the safe in my house on Penang Hill. All securities deposited with the Chartered Bank and Mercantile Bank, Penang were also left in Penang and the records of our Clients’ Account in the Mercantile Bank were destroyed when the Bank building was hit by a bomb. All our accounts books were left in the office.
Records were compiled by me of the various bank accounts operated by my firm from the Banks’ records (where available) and with the assistance of the managers on my arrival in Singapore on 2nd January 1942, and were noted by me in an account book together with all dealings after my arrival. This book was in my suitcase on board the SS Kuala and went down with the ship after it had been hit with the bombs. They are therefore lost but I have a very fair recollection of all dealings.
1. My Own Affairs
I have an account with the Chartered Bank, Penang which was about $26 in credit when I arrived in Singapore. I paid the following sums into this account when in Singapore: $500 being my own money in my firm’s Clients’ Account, $450 share of profits standing to credit of firm’s account with Chartered Bank, $2000 from the account of Miss HM Brown (with her consent by cable to Hongkong Bank), $1400 from my wife’s account in PO Savings Bank, making a total $4326. The balance to the credit of this account when I left Singapore on 13/2/42 was between $2300 to $2500. I had remitted by TT through Chartered Bank to my daughter Myfanwy (Union Bank of Aus, Melbourne) £100 ( Aus currency) which cost about $680. This account was changed into the joint names of myself and my wife (Mrs HVS Samuel) so that my wife could operate on it.
I have also an account with the Mercantile Bank, Penang which is overdrawn and they hold the following securities: (1) assignment of two Life Policies for $500 each in Northern Assurance Co Ltd (Head Office: Liverpool, Agents Sandilands & Buttery, Penang), (2) certificate for 1200 shares (£125) in Jitra Rubber Estates Ltd; these securities were left in Penang. The policies were……….payable at age 60. I am 60 years old on 9/2/43…………..
The house known as “Brown House”, Penang Hill held under a Govt Lease granted to the late DAM Brown5 for 99 years was purchased by me and my wife from Miss HM Brown owner of Glugor Estate6 (see note later under her name) for $36,000 and was assigned to me and my wife as joint tenants on 1st October 1941, the deed was executed by BE Ross the attorney of Miss HM Brown8 (she specially cabled her consent) and in the presence of Mr Lim Gim Hoe, Adv & Sol, in our office. It was then mortgaged to my wife’s mother, Mrs HG Scott Brown, 8 Lorne Park Road, Bournemouth, Hants for $28,000. Further reference will be made to this mortgage when dealing with Miss Brown’s affairs. Both the assignment and mortgage were correctly stamped ($360 and $56) and registered in the Registry of Deeds, Penang. Licences to assign were duly granted by the Govt and registered. All furniture and effects in the house belong to me or my wife and are free from any charges. The title deeds were taken by me when I left Penang and were in my suitcase when I left Singapore on 13/2/42 on SS Kuala and went down with the ship. I also had certificate for shares……………
I am entitled to receive a one-sixth share in the estate of my father (WE Samuel) of which my brother, WE Samuel, Beech House, King Street, Wrexham, N Wales is the trustee. The share will be paid on my mother’s death. She is now 90 years old and lives with my sister, Miss AJ Samuel at No 19 Parkdale, Wolverhampton, Staffs.
There is a Partnership Deed between myself and my partner, BE (Balfour) Ross, relating to our business, Logan,Ross & Samuel, 5 Union St, Penang, which provides that on the death of a partner the value of his share in the firm shall be $20,000 ( this I think should be $15,000), which may be paid by instalments and pending payment, $400 ($300 ?) per month shall be paid to the widow or beneficiary of deceased partner. If the surviving partner does not wish to carry on the business under the firm name, the business, including goodwill, stock, books, shall be sold or otherwise wound up and proceeds divided equally after payment of all debts due by firm and adjustment of each partner’s drawings against profits. I am not prepared to express any definite opinion as to whether this partnership deed will still hold good, having regard to all the circumstances.
As my Will went down with the SS Kuala, I made a fresh one when interned in Padang, W Sumatra, in which I appoint my wife the sole executrix and legatee. In the event of her predeceasing me I appoint my two daughters, Violet Myfanwy Samuel and Lucy Gwynedd Lewis (wife of JSA Lewis8, SS Customs) the executrixes and give them all my estate and effects equally. They are both in Australia and can be communicated with via Mrs LD Meyer, 37 Elizabeth Street, Elsternwick, Melbourne, Aus. This Will was attested in my presence by Mr JB Ross9, Mercantile Bank Singapore and Mr HH Sturt, APC Singapore, both present at same time.
2. Office Affairs
The personal firm account was with the Chartered Bank, Penang. This account was closed by me in Singapore. There was a credit balance of $800 odd. I remitted Ross’ wife (Mrs HM Ross, 49 Great King St, Edinburgh) by TT through Chartered Bank $350 and paid balance into my own account. This had overdrawn his share, but as I did not know the amount, I paid his wife the above sum in respect of his share of the profits. All current debts (rent, telephone, electricity etc) for November had been paid.
The firm’s Clients’ Account was with the Mercantile Bank, Penang. On my arrival in Singapore I saw Mr Aste who informed me that as at 11th December 1941 the credit was $50,000 subject to adjustment if and when books could be produced. A new account was opened with a credit entry of $50,000. Whilst in Singapore I paid into this account $100 being interest for half year ending 20/1/42 on $4000 Singapore….5% Deb Stock.
The following sums were paid out:………….$208.33 was paid monthly to the Chartered Bank, London for the credit of Mrs HG Scott Brown ( my wife’s mother)……but I presume they would cease paying when Singapore was occupied……As it was improbable there would be any further drawings on this account I consulted Mr Aste……and accordingly instructed him to remit by TT the sum of £4500 sterling to his Head Office, London to the credit of “L.R.&S Clients Account”. This remittance cost $37,000 odd and there was a balance of about $10,700 left in the Penang account. My Aste gave me a letter confirming this transaction, but it was lost on the SS Kuala.
The following securities were deposited with this Bank and left in Penang……………..
We (my partner and I, either jointly or individually) have acted as trustees and agents of clients non-resident in Malaya and I will now detail those transactions relating to their properties, monies and investments which I am able to recollect.
(a) Miss AJ Samuel (my sister) address:19 Parkdale, Wolverhampton…………..details of certificates.
(b) Mrs HG Scott Brown10 address: 8 Lorne Park Road, Bournemouth. She holds a mortgage for $28,000 on the house on Penang Hill belonging to me and my wife as joint tenants. The monthly interest is $208.33 and was remitted as stated above.
Until August 1941 this sum of £28,000 was invested on two mortgages, as to $18,000 on my house No 1 Ayer Rajah Road, Penang which I sold on 1/10/41, and as to $10,000 on property in Logan Road belonging to Mr Wen Gim Puay. He paid off this sum in August but I continued to pay the interest to her as she had no other means. Later (as stated above) these two sums were invested on a mortgage of the Penang Hill house by my wife and myself. Mrs Brown was informed of this. Her Will
was in one of the office safes. Under this my wife and I were appointed the executors and the property and estate was to be divided equally between my wife and her brother Egerton G Scott Brown, 395 Southborough Lane, Bromley, Kent. The estate consisted of this sum of $28,000 and her jewellery, effects and cash in Chartered Bank, London. If my wife predeceases her mother her share was to be divided between my two daughters (mentioned above). If the Will cannot be found and she is treated as dying intestate the result would be the same: half to her son EG Scott and half to my wife or my two daughters.
(c) Mrs Cheong Ku Brown11 (widow of late JR Brown). We hold $3,000 in our Clients Account which is part of the Marriage Settlement funds uninvested. It was repaid in August 1941 and I had not been able to find another investment. We also hold the title deeds of her house in Macalister Street, Penang which she purchased after the death of her husband and lived in it with her two sons, David and John Brown. She was legally married to JR Brown in the Registry of Marriages, District Court, Penang about 18 or 19 years ago. I was one of the witnesses. Ross was also a witness. The title deeds were left in the safe in the office. All allowances made for the maintenance and support of the sons out of JR Brown’s estate were paid to her as their lawful guardian.
(d) Estate of JR Brown late of Glugor Estate, Penang. BE Ross and I are the trustees of this estate, the beneficiaries being his two sons, David and John aged now 18 and 17 years. He left his wife a legacy of $6,000 which has been paid. She used it to purchase the house in Macalister Street. The estate so far as I can recollect consists of……………...list of investments….. The total estate was somewhere between $20,000 to $24,000. As stated above the allowance to the sons was paid to the widow and was supplemented by a monthly sum of $60 paid by Miss HM Brown from Glugor Estate monies.
(e) Estate of Mrs Harriet Jones I am the administrator with the Will…as the attorney of BE Ross who was appointed her sole executor. She left all her estate to her daughter Emily Jones during her life and after her death to all her children then living………….The amount of the estate is about $20,000 and the investments are…..
(f) Miss Emily Jones, I Grange Road, Grange Park, Ealing, London W5. Ross and I were her attorneys. Investments were………..
(g) Bashu Ashan’s Trust Settlements ……………list of investments
(h) Estate of AO Merian ………………. list of investments
(i) Mrs Sellama Sinnatomly …………… list of investments
(j) Estate of Puri Fatimah ……….. list of investments
(k)Mohamed Ariffin ………. list of investments
(l) Wannah & Wannah (infants) …………… list of investments
(m) Chinnat Ariffin ……….…………… list of investments
(n) Miss Helen Margaret Brown12 address: Longformans, Duns, Berwickshire; Solicitors Messrs James & David WB Tait W.S., Kelso, Roxburghshire. She is the owner of Glugor Estate, Penang. Ross and I hold her full Power of Attorney. Mr HR Watts is the Manager of the Estate. The titles of the property are all Statutory Land Grants granted under Part 1 of the Crown Lands Ordinance ie free from all restrictions, increase of quit rents, mineral and rental rights. Her bank account was with the Hongkong Bank, Penang. All account books, annual accounts, reports, correspondence files are all in a cabinet in the office. The title deeds were placed by me in the safe in my house on the Hill………..
Miss Brown was the owner of “Brown House” Penang Hill which she purchased from Mrs DAM Brown13, the executrix of the Will of DAM Brown. She sold the house to me as stated above. The purchase money was remitted to her solicitors in Kelso and they sent me formal receipt….details of bank balances and investments….
(o) Mrs MR Brown (Mrs DAM Brown) address: 6 The Ridgeway, The Common, Horsham, Sussex. Ross and I were her attorneys. Her account was in the Chartered Bank. She was the executor and legatee of her late husband, DAM Brown. She sold the house on Penang Hill to Miss HM Brown…..list of investments….The title deeds were in an office safe. Mr HK Watts managed the estate and had complete control of the finances. My firm only acted in legal matters. Mr Watts informed me he had remitted the credit in his hands by TT to Mrs Brown. Mr Watts was CSM in Penang Volunteers, but had transferred to the Intelligence Service with a commission. I did not see him again and presume he is interned in Singapore.
(p) AO Merian Estate ………… list of investments
4. Internment Camp Finances14
On 17/1/1943 Japanese took balance of our money Fl. 719, SS $100.81, and £14 Aus currency notes. My debit balance on this date was $149.63 exclusive of [soap] to be added from 18/1/43. I do not at this stage admit any liability beyond the above debit.
3 The original handwritten Diary runs to 65 pages. I have not reproduced information where it seems irrelevant (eg lists of client investments in the initial section).
4 Charles Samuel originally joined the law firm of Presgrave & Mathews, an old established Penang firm. In 1908 EW Presgrave was a member of the Committee of the Penang Club (established in 1868 as the “Pinang Club”). The name “Logan” in the firm of “Logan, Ross & Samuel” could be a reference to James Logan (1819-1869) who was a prominent Scottish lawyer in Penang, an editor of the Penang Gazette, and who popularised the name “Indonesia” and “Indunesians”; a marble statue of him stands in the compound of the Penang High Court building and Logan Road is named after him. Perhaps Charles and his partner Ross bought the goodwill of the former Logan firm having first started “Ross & Samuel”.
5 See footnote 13
6 The Gelugor Rubber Estate on Penang Island.
7 See footnote 12
8 See Appendix 1 for the description by JSA Lewis OBE (1909-2003) of the bombing of Penang.
9 Both JB Ross and HH Sturt are listed in the table at the end of the Diary as internees of the Men’s British Civilians’ Camp at Padang, West Sumatra. Both survived.
10 The Brown and Scott families were early Plantation owners on Penang Island. They intermarried with each other and with local families. The Scott Browns are one line of this family tree. A number of the Scott family including James Scott (co-founder of Penang and a second cousin of Sir Walter Scott) are buried in the Old Protestant (Northam Road) Cemetery in George Town, established in 1789 and very close to the Eastern & Oriental Hotel.
12 Miss HM Brown inherited the Glugor/Gelugor Estate in Penang through the Brown family. David Brown originally owned the Glugor Estate and Glugor Road near the former estate is named after the assam glugor (tamarind) tree. As stated above JR Brown used to manage the estate and after his death Helen Brown continued to pay a monthly allowance to his widow, Mrs Cheong Ku Brown, and his two sons.
13 DAM Brown, who was the secretary of the Penang Club in 1908, was the eldest son of Mr David Brown, a well known pioneer of the Pinang Settlement. He was born in 1871, educated at Harrow and Trinity Hall Cambridge where he was captain of the varsity Golf Club, returned to Penang in 1891 and entered the Perak Civil Service. He later resigned and commenced business in partnership with Richard Phillips. DAM Brown was also secretary of the Chamber of Commerce and the Pinang Turf, Town and Golf Clubs.
14 This is the only Diary entry post 4 November 1942.