Senior Inspector Ronald John McEwen, Killed in Action November 5, 1967 | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Senior Inspector Ronald John McEwen, Killed in Action November 5, 1967

Greetings to all.

I am the daughter of the abovementioned police officer and am on a quest to discover as much as I can about him, his life and his career. I believe there were artifacts of his stored in the Police Museum and newspaper coverage of his death.

I realise this is a long shot and I'm depending on the kindness of strangers, but I would be exceedingly grateful for any information or guidance on where to look.


Rona McEwen (Barbara Wanless - adoptive name))


There was a query about a Hong Kong police ancestor earlier this week from Robin M. Your father is more recent and should be easier to find. Christine M. Thomas is the person who can help you. She used to work for the Hong Kong Police and helps people with their ancestry queries professionally. The email address that she gives on the site is

As I said to Robin, if anyone can help you Christine can.

Worth also checking the Carl Smith records - link given in "Where to find Hong Kong's history" on Gwulo.

Dear Jill and Robin,

Thank you so much for your time and recommendation; I have followed up already.


Dear Rona,

I lived in HK from 1959-1970 and my Father Malcolm Gill was the HK Police armourer during that period.

My parents knew your Mum Jean and your Dad as I think they lived at Breezy Court as we did.

A brief time before Ron's death he was on the Police rugby team who played against a KGV school XV and I was on that

team from KGV. After his death Jean gave me a pair of his rugby boots which I wore until I left HK in August 1970.

After my parent Joy and Malcolm Gill retired and returned to the UK in 1973 they still kept in touch with Jean who living in 

Newtyle, Blairgowrie Scotland.

Sometime after I moved to Texas, probably in the early 1990's Jean went on a criuse on the P&O Liner, Canberra and 

because she remembered I collected ship memorabelia she sent me souvenirs from her cruise.

I do hope you are successful in your quest!


Stuart Gill

Dear Stuart,

Thank you so much for your memories.

To set the record straight, Jean was not my mother. And yes, they lived at Breezy Court - what was that like?

Rona McEwen/Barbara Wanless

Dear Rona/Barbara,

I would also suggest that you contact the Royal Hong Kong Police Association. It is very likely that some of the older members will remember your father. If you write making the same kind of request as you have here, it will be circulated to the membership and they may also be able to help with other lines of enquiry as well.

Incidentally, although you are probably already aware of it, I looked up your father in John Cooper's 'Colony in Conflict', which covers the period from May 1967 to January 1968. The following is recorded on pages 241-2:

"On the night of the Hong Kong Week Pageant - the 5th of November - a European Police officer, Senior Inspector Ronald McEwen, was killed when he tried to remove a bomb outside the Golden Gate Restaurant in Yee Wo Street, Causeway Bay. The bomb, one of several found in the area that night, was in a travelling bag, and its presence was causing a hold up of traffic in the area. The Inspector, who was passing by on his motor cycle, decided to be helpful and remove it. He had just tied a piece of string around it to pull it away when it went off with a tremendous impact, killing him instantly. Twenty other people were injured, a restaurant door was shattered and two taxis were damaged in the episode."

Your father was a brave man. I am sorry for your loss. I hope you may find further information about him from the Association. They are always very helpful.

Best wishes,

John O'Regan

Dear John,

Thank you for your genorosity of time and effort.

Yes, I have already contacted the RHKPA and have my fingers and toes crossed.

Best Wishes


In November 1967 I was a Probationary Inspector, aged 23, working in CID Wan Chai. Ron was the Captain of the Police Seconds rugby team. I played in the second row. The day before Ron died we travelled together on the Star Ferry to Boundary Street to play a rugby match. Ron was an inspiring captain and an inspiring man. He was great fun to be with and though much more senior than me, never was rank conscious. When I heard of his death (described by Mr O'Regan early in this series) I cried. The context of his death was the Cultural Revolution in China spilling over into HK. Communist sympathisers were planning both real and fake bombs on major thoroughfares. These caused great inconvenience to travellers. Ron on his Police motor bike spotted one of these bombs and deeming it to be fake tried to move it to allow HK trams to proceed. Sadly the bomb was real. If you require any further information you can contact me through the RHKPA in UK.

Wow! Thank you for that. I am grateful for everything I can learn about him and his father, Ronald Robert McEwen.

The following publications might well be worth checking also: -

"The Royal Hong Kong Police 1841 - 1945" by Crisswell and Watson, and "Asia's Finest" by Kevin Sinclair. I have seen a photo of your father on his motorcycle somewhere; might be in either of those books.

Born  11.12.1907    Enlisted HKP 27.2.1922    Lance Sergeant A 37   Sgt 1.6.1934   then Sub Inspector Proceeded on Leave just prior to Japanese  occupation of Hong Kong  Promoted Inspector 23.8.1942, Returned to HK post war,promoted Chief Inspector 1.8.1946.  Awarded Hong Kong Police Merit Medal Class 4 in 1924,Colonial Police Long Service Medal 0n 27.2.1941.Deceased Scotland  13.12.1953.

Wonderful information. Much gratitude for your effort and encapsulation.


Lived in apartments 3D and 10D until 1970. In those days you had a lovely view of the harbor and the Kowloon hills.

Thank you, Stuart.

May I ask for your source on this information, please?


I came under PTS (Police Training School) discipline in mid December 1966. At that time Ron McEwen, Senior Inspector, was the CDMI (chief drill/musketry inspector), and thus had a strong responsibility for School discipline - on and off the ‘drill square’. Never forget him - especially as he took me up to the camp barber (in my first few days) and ensured I was given a ‘very short back and sides’!


           Ian Marriott (then a prob Inspector of Squad PI35; passed out of PTS in June 1967).

Oh, thank you so much for your memories. Each of these pieces of time is completing a picture for me.


Greetings from NYC to all readers .

I was short of 6 years old in 1967 when my father came home one late night after working in Central or Wan Chai.

I recall all these years he said to my mother that night on the table - a police officer - in a soft spoken voice had died from a bomb . he might have even been on this location where it happen. because if i remember correctly ? the bomb was somewhere near or at the center of the electric Tram rail. hope this helps.



Mason Loh NYC U.S.

Dear Mason,

That must have had a big impact on your father...and you, considering that you remember it all these years later. Thank you for sharing.