Following the leasing of the HK New Territories to Britain in 1898 the Hong Kong Police needed to expand. Two large intakes of recruits at this time came from the Royal Marines – 12 men in 1899 and 40 men in 1900. Political correctness was unknown at this time and Hong Kong Society loved to allot nicknames. These two groups therefore became known amongst their colleagues as “The Twelve Apostles” and “The Forty Thieves” – with absolutely no irreverence meant or insult taken.
Service records of Royal Marines can be found at The National Archives at Kew, London under the ADM (Admiralty) series. These records can be ordered and downloaded online on payment of a small fee. It is therefore possible to obtain much detail about the RM service of these men.
Detail of their Hong Kong Police service is a matter of sifting through huge tomes of old Colonial Office correspondence in the hope of finding a despatch which mentions the name one is researching. A frustrating and time consuming endeavour. My latest research project has now identified most of the men from these intakes and I am in the process of writing up their stories on my Hong Kong Police Ancestors Blog. The first story, on HK Police Constable 99 James Edward NEW, has been published and can be found by following this link: