Captain Edward Ivo Medhurst Barrett was born in Surrey, England on 22 August 1879. He was educated at Cheltenham and went to Sandhurst, going on to serve with the Lancashire Fusiliers in the second Boer War in South Africa.
He was a remarkable sportsman and represented Shanghai in interport rugby, association football, rifle shooting, cricket, golf, hockey and tennis. His first wife was recorded as being a fine rifle shot.
His one England rugby cap was earned on 21 March 1903 playing against Scotland at Richmond Park (Twickenham was still a few years away). He also played for Hampshire County Cricket Club and the Rest of England at cricket.
With his fashionable Edwardian moustache finely trimmed and brushed, he made an immediate impact in Shanghai on his arrival in 1907. In his first season he scored 1,283 runs in twenty-three innings and at average of sixty-seven.
He was recruited from the Malay States to be the head of the Indian Branch of the Shanghai Municipal Police. He eventually rose to the position of Commissioner of the Police being appointed in the wake of the May thirtieth incident in 1925. His career stalled at this point; Barrett was from the ‘old school’ and the required reforms did not happen. He battled with Council Chairman Sterling Fessenden over Police matters and lost.
He married in April 1928 -for a second time- to Katherine Isabel Brown, nee Craven. While on home leave in 1929 he was forced to resign his position, replaced by F W Gerrard the man who had come to Shanghai from India to investigate the organisation of the Shanghai Police Force which Barrett was running.
On his retirement he concerned himself with golf. He had a lucky escape on a golf course in 1932. A storm broke out and his party took shelter in an iron roofed hut. While sheltering the hut was struck by lightning, Barrett and his colleagues were knocked down, rendered unconscious, their clothing was scorched and their tongues burnt. Barrett survived and only ‘Mr. Vanneck’s steel-shafted clubs were scorched, but no other clubs were affected.’ Eighteen years later Captain Barrett was not so lucky, on 10 July 1950 he was killed while riding his bicycle aged seventy.
Captain Edward Ivo Medhurst Barrett (1879 - 1950)
Barrett photographed in 1907
Barrett in later used still with a 'good eye' was an accomplished Billiards player. This caricature by Sapajou dates from 1923
Barrett's biography in the the 'China's Who's Who' listing of 1927
A caricature of Barrett titled 'Barretus the Centurion' from the Eastern Sketch magazine, August 1907