St Johns Cathedral Choir 1956 | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

St Johns Cathedral Choir 1956

St Johns Cathedral Choir 1956

(Click Zoom for a closer look.) These are the people identified so far. Please leave a comment below if you can add any more.

Front row

  • ?
  • 1c Ian Whybrow
  • 1d Robbie Hutchison
  • ?
  • 1f Dick Worrall
  • ?
  • 1k Anthony Charter
  • ?

Second Row

  • ?
  • 2b Yvonne Charter
  • ?
  • 2e Mrs Swabey in charge of robes
  • 2f Mr ?Soul organist
  • 2g Dean F.S. Temple
  • 2h ​Choirmistress Miss Cheng(Mrs Kwok)
  • 2i Colonial Chaplain Rev Jimmy Froud
  • ?

Third row

  • 3a Jennifer Oblitas
  • 3b Margaret Hogan
  • ?
  • 3e Karin Brandt
  • ?

Fourth row

  • ?
  • 4d Eugenie Itenson
  • ?
  • 4g Jean Turner
  • ?
  • 4i Geoff Wellstead
  • 4j David Wong
  • ?

Sixth row

  • 6a Dennis Blumenthal
  • 6b Frank Waller
  • 6c John Marshall
  • 6d Peta Buckingham
  • ?
  • 6f Georgina (Georgi) Thompson
  • 6g Rae Jones
  • 6h Loretta Goldman (now Graham)
  • 6i John Charter
  • ?
  • 6l Roy Spencer

Seventh row

  • ?

Back row

  • 8a Alan Sainsbury
  • ?
  • 8f Peter Scales
Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Sunday, January 1, 1956


If my memory serves me correctly The Choir Mistress was Miss Cheng but became Mrs Kwok after her marriage. She remained at St John's for many, many years. 

The good looking young choir boy sitting at the front between Miss Cheng and Dean me!

Every time I return to HK I visit St John's, still beautiful. A truly lovely place.

Regards from a much older.......Dick Worrall


Some names:

Front row L-R  ?, ?, 1c Ian Whybrow, 1d Robbie Hutchison, ?, 1f Dick Worrall (quick to identify yourself Dick !), remainder ???

Second row - 5 from left 2e Mrs Swabey in charge of robes, 2f Mr ?Soul organist

Third row 3a Jennifer Oblitas, 3b Margaret Hogan, ?,?, 3e Karin Brandt, remainder ????

Fourth row - 2nd from right 4i Geoff Wellstead, on extreme right 4j David Wong (a grandson I recall of Sir Robert Ho Tung)

Two rows further back: 2nd man from left 6b Frank Waller (former head prefect KGV), next to 6d Peta Buckingham. Rae Jones is 6g

Back row 3rd from right 8f Peter Scales   

         - Geoff W.

What a lovely surprise.  I am in the 3rd row from the back, 6 from the right as you look at the photo. Frank is 1st on the left of the same row. On my right as you look at the pic is Loretta Goldman (now Graham). Next to Frank is Peta Buckingham (now Carnelly).

At the moment I can't identify others but will continue looking.

Best wishes,


It's great to see the faces being identified. Here are a few more from Frank Waller:

I was actually 2nd from left in the 5th row with John Marshall behind me. Along to my left in same row was Rae Jones and far right, same row was Roy Spencer.

Very top row 2nd from left was Alan Sainsbury and the very beautiful girl in the 4th row standing behind, and between the Dean and Cecilia Kwok was Eugenie Itenson.

It's a bit tricky pinpointing who's where in the middle of the group, so I've annotated Geoff's photo which hopefully will help.

Regards, David

Hello David and every one else contributing on this subject!

I've now identified two others, both ex KGV and in the 5th row. At 6f we have Georgina (Georgi) Thompson and next to me at 6a I'm pretty sure it was Dennis Blumenthal.

Two others I previously named were John Marshall (behind me) and Roy Spencer (at far right side of 5th row). Sadly they are no longer with us but Roy's widow Judi (nee Evans) - also ex KGV, who also sang in the choir, has a home in Spalding, Lincolnshire and another in Spain. She travels a lot to exotic places like Chile and quite recently in Northern India.

Another identified person is Peta Carnell (nee Buckingham) who married Buddy Carnell, also ex KGV. He was a leading Hong Kong cricketer and rugby player and they now live in New Zealand. Peta's younger brother is also in the front row so perhaps other contributers can identify him?

What this identification study has made me realise,after all these years, is just what a good school KGV was in that so many pupils, boys and girls, were keen and encouraged to join a church choir - unlike today when boys especially keep well clear as it is not "cool" enough! I know this for a fact because I only gave up choral singing two years ago and saw the decline of boy singers at first hand. Very sad!

Regards - Frank Waller

Thanks Frank, I've combined all the entries in a list at the top of the page. If I've made any mistakes, just let me know.

Regards, David

Hi David

There are two additions I mentioned by name previously but not then numbered. They are:

4d Eugenie Itenson

8a Alan Sainsbury

Thanks  -  Frank

Dear Frank,

Thanks for identifying Eugenie Itenson in this photo.  She is my mother-in-law and was very excited to see this when I sent it to her.  She remembered you Frank straight away and also Jean Turner who is 4G.  She asked that I send a request on her behalf to have Jean Turner updated in this photo as well - David if you could be so kind :-)

She was also wondering Frank, if you would consider providing your contact details as she would love to connect with you and catch up.

Much thanks!



Hi Karin

Thanks for getting in touch on behalf of your mother-in-law Eugenie. My contact email address is a bit of a mouthfull, but here goes: 

I live in the south of England and still keep in touch with many of my old friends from Hong Kong (those left!)

Please give my best regards to Eugenie. No doubt she will also remember Roy and Judi Spencer (nee Evans). I posted some photos of them on Gwulo a few weeks ago. Sadly Roy is no longer with us but Judi still keeps in touch.

Bye for now  -  Frank Waller

Much thanks Frank!  I have passed your info along to Eugenie and I am sure she will be in touch with you.

Isn't it wonderful to be able to connect with old friends through a platform like this!!  :-)



Have really been enjoying John Charter's Stanley POW Camp diary and surprised that he and his lovely wife, Yvonne, have not so far been identified in the 1956 picture of the choir. John is at 6i and Yvonne is seated at 2b.

Thanks Dick, I've added John and Yvonne to the list.

Many thanks Dick Worrall for your kind words about the book. Anthony Charter will be pleased as I have just forwarded this to him.


I sent this picture to Anthony Charter who recognised himself as 1K. He was 8 years old at that time.