The death from chronic uraemia occurred in Lhasa during November 1935 of Frederick Williamson, a valued and energetic Founder Member of the Himalayan Club. A notice which appeared in The Times for the 19th November 1935 contains the following details of his career:

Mr. Williamson was born on January 31, 1891, and was educated at Bedford Modern School and Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He passed the Indian Civil Service examination of 1913, and on arrival towards the end of the following year was posted to Bihar and Orissa; but he quickly heard the insistent call of the War, and was on military duty in India, Mesopotamia, Palestine, and Egypt, mainly with Gurkha regiments, for four years from March, 1915. After holding various appointments in Bihar and Orissa, and being for a few months from November, 1922, Secretary to the Resident in Mysore, he went to Hyderabad in a like capacity.

He found his real vocation when, early in 1924, after a short spell on the North-West Frontier as Assistant Commissioner at Charsadda, he became Trade Agent at Gyantse and Assistant to the Political Officer in Sikkim. He quickly felt the attraction of the romance and mystery of what Lord Zetland has so well called 'The Lands of the Thunderbolt', and in his close study of the customs, folklore, and languages of the people followed in the footsteps of Sir Charles Bell. He looked for and found the best side of Tibetan Lamaism; and his attachment and trust in the men of Sikkim and Tibet were reciprocated.

Williamson was content to serve on the North-East Frontier year after year with little regard to the fact that this greatly limited his chances of high promotion. Proposals of the Political Department to send him elsewhere, though made in his own interest, were unwelcome. After officiating as Political Officer at Gangtok he penetrated deeper into the mazes of mid-Asia when appointed Consul-General in Kashgar in 1927, but he returned to Gangtok as Political Officer in Sikkim in the spring of 1931. It was a keen satisfaction to him to be deputed to Lhasa to negotiate a settlement between the Tibetan Government and the Tashi Lama, who has been an exile in China for the past 10 years. He fell ill while awaiting the return of the Tashi Lama. It may well be that if death was to claim him in later years of his I.C.S. career he would have wished nothing better than to end his days where his heart was-amid the eternal snows of Tibet. In announcing his death the Government of India stated that it robbed the Government of a most valuable officer.1


  1. I am indebted to the Editor of The Times for permission to republish the above details of Mr. Williamson's career.


To his fellow members of the Himalayan Club the death of Williamson is a great loss. Whether at Kashgar or at Gangtok, his friendly advice and service were always at the disposal of travellers, and in both regions he carried out the exploration of unknown routes. In 1928 he made a new route from Yarkand to the Kara-tash by way of Kichik Karaul {Himalayan Journal, vol. iii, 1931, p. 36); in 1933 he travelled in Bhutan with his wife, and crossed the Great Himalayan range by the difficult glacier pass, the Mon-La-Kar-Chung La, into Tibet. It was also largely owing to his influence and the esteem in which he was held in Lhasa that the Tibetan authorities found themselves able to sanction the Mount Everest expeditions of 1935 and 1936.

Williamson married as recently as 1933 Margaret Dobie, the youngest daughter of James Marshall, of Wilmslow, who accompanied him to Lhasa on his last journey. The very greatest sympathy will be felt for her by all members of the Himalayan Club.

Kenneth Mason.



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Dennis Hunt's tragic death by drowning on the 15th October 1935, while duck shooting on the Chitral river, came as a great shock. He had waded into the stream with a Chitrali, and while firing at a bird straight above him slipped and fell; his man clutched at him and both were swept away. The Chitrali could not swim, while Dennis was a powerful swimmer. When last seen they were clasped in each other's arms; without doubt Dennis was prevented from saving either himself or his man. A wonderful companion for any form of work or sport, a most unselfish and energetic partner in any enterprise, his death will be mourned by all who knew him.

Dennis Hunt was born on the 13th October 1905 and commissioned in the Royal Engineers on the 3rd September 1925. He came to India at the end of 1932, and after three months at the head-quarters of the Royal Bombay S. & M., served at Landi Kotal till July 1934, when he became Assistant Garrison Engineer at Drosh in Chitral.

His main hobby was sailing, a sport at which he excelled; and he was generally considered one of the finest ocean-racing skippers in the British Isles. He took part in no less than four Fastnet races, skippering the R.E.Y.C. Ilex in 1929 and 1930. During this time he commanded the same boat in the Plymouth Santander race, winning it by four minutes in a four and a half days' race. It was chiefly due to his efforts that Ilex was entered for and competed in the trans- Atlantic race in 1931, when he skippered her again. He bore a charmed life during his adventures at sea, falling overboard Ilex on a rough night in 1926, when she won the Fastnet Cup; and he was awarded the Royal Humane Society's Bronze Medal for saving life off Flushing in 1930. In very heavy weather one of the crew was swept overboard. Realizing that the yacht was unable to pick him up and that the man was tiring, Dennis dived in and supported him till they were both picked up later by a Dutch Pilot boat.

He was often the youngest aboard the yachts he skippered so successfully, yet his decisions were never questioned and he gave confidence to all. He skippered his parents' yacht, Spica, in several races, notably when she won the Channel race in 1930. Regarding this race a writer in the R.E. Journal? says:

It was a squally evening off the French coast. Twice, within a half-hour, Spica was thrown over on to her beam-ends by shrieking black squalls which seemed likely to keep her down for ever. As the furious strength of the wind slowly decreased, it was seen that the peak halliard had half broken and was slowly unstranding. Another squall would have brought the whole sail down. In a flash Dennis swarmed up the mast and up to the lurching outer end of the gaff and hurriedly made fast another halliard before the old one broke completely—to drop him to the deck or raging sea some thirty feet below. Luckily, the old halliard just held out.

At other sports, too, he excelled. He was a keen ski-runner, and was one of the moving spirits in the Chitral Ski Club. He spent several short periods both in Austria and in Kashmir ski-ing and was well above the average. Soon after coming to India, while on foot in the jungle, he bagged a tiger, the first he ever saw, while it was moving at a range of a hundred yards. In August 1935, on his first essay at mountaineering, he reached an altitude of 24,000 feet on Istor-o-Nal; he had the makings of being a very fine climber.

To quote once more from the R.E. Journal:

For a long time he bore a charmed life: but in Chitral the charm at last wore thin; and we are left wondering what Dennis would have made of the opportunities which a war would no doubt have given to one of his fearless mould and power of leadership. And then as we realize the extent of the loss which the whole Corps has suffered, we dimly see how heavy a blow has fallen upon his devoted parents and family.

R. J. Lawder.


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