The History of Sport Played in China's Treaty Ports

The Shanghai team Captain George Billings, a good friend of Dunman, could not play in the match 1907 interport fixture due to illness. He is pictured here in 1909. 

  The final rugby match of the twelve I have identified Dunman playing in in Shanghai was the city’s first rugby interport fixture in February 1907. The visitors were the Tientsin [Tianjin] Rugby Club who travelled down to Shanghai from the north of China. In the pre-match reporting, Dunman, who played at full back, was described as, ‘A safe back, fields neatly and is a very powerful kick. Might, however, find touch more frequently. Has had no opportunity this season to exhibit his tackling powers. Knows the game.’

 Reporting on the game, played on a very wet outfield, the Eastern Sketch observed that, ‘On the Shanghai side, Dunman at full back was safe, but did not have a great deal to do.’ For the record, Shanghai won by 3 tries and 1 goal to nil. The rugby match appears to have been Dunman’s sporting swansong in Shanghai. There are no more records of him playing rugby or cricket in Shanghai after this date.

Patience Mary Dunman marries Anthony Richard Winsloe Patton in 1935 in London 

  A few weeks after meeting the two British Lions, Dunman increased his social standing further by being elected as 2nd Assistant in the Mi-Ho-Loong Fire Brigade alongside rugby team mate Billings who was elected as Foreman. Many of the Settlement’s young men joined the Fire Brigade because of the status it gave them and of course, the thrill and excitement of fighting fires. The social scene connected with the Fire Brigade was very active and included the much-anticipated annual Mi-Ho-Loong ball.

  At the Shanghai Cricket Club’s Annual General Meeting in April 1905, Dunman was awarded the prize as the club’s best bowler. In the new season, he also showed form with the bat, in one match scoring 30 against the Shanghai Police team, and in another he ‘batted in nice style’, scoring 35 against the Shanghai Golf Club.

 In between these two games, Dunman was the best man at his rugby captain’s wedding. Billings was married on 5 July 1905 at the British Consulate followed by a service at the Holy Trinity Cathedral.

  Dunman next appears in the Straits Times newspaper in 1911 which reported that he had been appointed as the manager of a newly opened office of Messrs Lowe, Bingham and Matthews a firm of public accountants and auditors, presumably in Singapore.

  A few years later, in 1915, his engagement was announced to Miss Elsie Clare O’Malley, the sister of Mrs R. H. Ransom, of Kuala Selangor Estate in Kuala Selangor. Dunman was noted as being the local manager of Messrs, Lowe, Bingham and Matthews. They were married a few months later in Penang, Malaya. The marriage announcement noted that Elsie was as being the third daughter of the late Patrick O’Malley. Elsie’s name appeared in several variations over the years on passenger manifests. Sometimes travelling as Helen Clare, Sometimes Mrs. E. C., other times as Mrs. H. C., it seems that her full name was Helena Clarissa "Elsie" O'Malley, born in Limerick, Ireland 30 June 1888.

Extract from passenger manifest from November 1920 showing Charles Dunaman and Thomas Drakeford who had played rugby together in Shanghai reunited with their families travelling back from the UK to their respective homes in Singapore and Shanghai.

  One of the features of life in Shanghai was the annual ‘Hong’ matches, played across a variety of sports. The ‘Hongs’ were the foreign companies based in Far East. As noted above, Dunman worked for Butterfield and and Swire, a company whose Hong name was Taikoo. In the summer of 1905, Dunman turned out for his Hong’s cricket team against Wayfoong, otherwise known as HSBC Bank. Dunman excelled in the game; he opened the batting scoring 50 runs out of his team’s 101. The bank failed to overhaul this score in both of their innings, Dunman taking five wickets in the first innings. In Wayfoong’s second innings, a future head of HSBC Vandaleur Grayburn hit his own wicket.

   In the year ended 31 July 1905, Dunman was again the Mi-Hoo-Loong’s best attendee, with 114 fires attended in the year.

  After a yearlong gap in the records, perhaps because he had left Shanghai for a while, Dunman is recorded playing cricket again, this time for the Shanghai Golf Club, grabbing a five-wicket haul in their loss against the Shanghai Recreation Club. This match kicked off a series of cricket games during the season that Dunman played in. His highlight match was the 65 runs and 4 wickets he got in his company’s victory against corporate rivals Wayfoong.

‘Rarely missed a fire!’
Charles Clement Dunman (1877 – 1938)

 A source referenced copy of the text below is available on request

Player for Fourth Shanghai Football Club (1903 - 1904)
Player for Shanghai Rugby Football Club (1904 – 1907) with one interport cap

Extract from 1906 China Directory showing the Shanghai employees of Butterfield & Squire (Taikoo) with C C Dunman one of its many employees

  The Dunman children, Patience Mary, born 21 May 1917 and Charles O’Malley born 1918 or 1919, were certainly well travelled. In May 1919, the family are found travelling on the Marama from Singapore to London, accompanied by their Amah, a Chinese nanny. In November 1920, Dunman and his family travelled from Liverpool to Singapore on the Blue Funnel Line’s Anchises. Coincidentally, also boarding in Liverpool was Thomas Goode Drakeford with his wife and three children and a governess who were travelling to Shanghai. Drakeford was a rugby teammate of Dunman’s. They had both played in the first interport fixture in 1907 mentioned above.

  After their children had grown up, Charles and his wife remained in Singapore. In 1935 their daughter, aged 18, married Mr. Anthony Richard Winsloe Patton at the Brompton Oratory in London, the magnificent Catholic Church on the Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, London.The wedding was reported in detail in the Eastbourne Gazette which noted that the most humorous toast of the day was made by the bride’s brother Charles in honour of the bridesmaids. Four hundred guests attended ‘the reception and dejeuner’ at the Rembrandt Hotel opposite the Oratory.

Drakeford above and Dunman below who shared a boat trip 13 years later (see below).

  Charles Clement Dunman was born in St Pancras, London in 1877, the third child of a Wesleyan Minister, the Reverend Sidney John Palmer. He appears to have travelled around the country with his family, for example in the 1881 census they were living in the north of England in Stockport. Ten years later Charles was boarding at Kingswood School in Bath, a school for the children of Wesleyan Ministers founded by John Wesley. ‘When Kingswood opened in 1748 it initially provided education for a small number of the sons and daughters of John Wesley's colleagues and friends. It was soon restricted to boys only, all of whom were the sons of Methodist preachers and leaders. The school eventually outgrew its original site in Kingswood in Bristol and moved to its present, stunning location in Lansdown, Bath in 1852.’

Above: Team list from November 1903 showing Dunman in his first game

​Left: Match report from November 1903 game

Below: P Lancaster - one of Dunham's first rugby opponents

  In the New Year, the Shanghai Rugby Football Club, who had recently broken away from the fourth Shanghai Football Club, to stand as a club in its own right, were privileged to receive two eminent visitors. Taking his position as full back for the rugby club in a match against the Old Bedfordians, Dunman played alongside players such as his cricket colleagues George Billings and Percy Lambe, the American Percy Lancaster and future club President, Richard Maxwell Saker.

  The two distinguished guests in attendance at the match were, Dr S N Crowther and Mr David Revell Beddell-Sivright, who had recently completed a tour of Australia and New Zealand with the 1904 British Lions. They had both decided to remain in Australia after the tour to start a new life. ‘Darkie’ Bedell-Sivright was the captain of the British Lions. After the undefeated Australian part of the tour, he broke his leg in the first game of the New Zealand segment which prevented him playing any more tour matches.  This may explain why he decided not to play in the game in Shanghai but rather referee it. It was truly a privilege for Shanghai to have such a giant of the game in their midst. A rugby magazine commented about him; ‘He was utterly devoid of fear and, indeed, raged like a Berserker of old over the football ground’.  He had been captain of Cambridge University rugby team and won twenty-two caps playing for Scotland. He died aged thirty-four in the First World War at Gallipoli in September 1915, not through military action but by septicaemia after being bitten by an insect. ‘Darkie’s’ companion that day, Sidney Nelson Crowther, played on the same tour. He was a forward and played in all four of the internationals. Not unusual for this period, he did not win any caps for his country. Like Bedell-Sivright, he too decided to stay in Australia and also died very early in the First World War in October 1914.

Previous Persons of the Month

Person of the Month 1 - George Michael Billings (with club 1902 - 1927)
Person of the Month 2 - Commandent Louis Guillaume Fabre (with club 1936 - 1941)
Person of the Month 3 - Victor Vause Winser Fretwell (with club 1927 - 1934)
Person of the Month 4 - Eric Byron Cumine (with club 1930 - 1934)
Person of the Month 5 - Francis Kingdon Ward (with  club 1907 - 1909)
Person of the Month 6 - Percy Martin Lancaster (with  club 1903 - 1913)
Person of the Month 7 - The Schlee family (with  club 1886 - 1950)
Person of the Month 8 - Henry Bluett Liversedge (with Tientsin and Shanghai rugby 1927 - 1929)
Person of the Month 9 - John William Henry Burgoyne ( with club 1881 - 1885)
Person of the Month 10 - Lawrence "Lolly" Goldman (with club 1921 - 1930)
Person of the Month 11 - Alford Russell Burk (with Tientsin and Shanghai Rugby 1927 - 1930 and 1933 - 1936)
Person of the Month 12 - Barney Allen Cogsdell (with Tientsin and Shanghai Rugby 1927 - 1931 and 1933 - 1935)

​Person of the Month 13 - Milton Calvin 'Slug' Marvin (with United States Fourth Marines 1929 – 1934)

Person of the Month 14 - Frederick Anderson - (with club 1882 - 1886 and 1905 - 06)

Person of the Month 15 - Steve James ‘Shanghai’ Vucic - (with the United States Fourth Marines 1935 - 1938)

Person of the Month 16 - Sir William Johnston - (with the club 1875 and 1881 - 1882)

Person of the Month 17 - Albert Ferdinand Moe - (with the United States Fourth Marines 1932 - 1934)

Person of the Month 18 - Charles Clement Dunman - (with club 1903 - 1907)

  Within a month of this debacle, he was playing in the Shanghai Race Club’s cricket team in the annual fixture against the rest of the Shanghai Cricket Club. His contribution was as a bowler, earning his team’s best figures of 4 wickets for 19 runs. He continued playing cricket for the rest of the season, predominantly for the Shanghai Cricket Club, alongside future rugby colleagues such as George Billings and Percy Lambe

  As the cricket season progressed, Charles was selected for the probable interport cricket team in a trial match against the ‘possibles’ to earn selection in the forthcoming interport fixture against Hong Kong. A month later he played for the Shanghai Volunteer Corp cricket team listed in the scorecard as Private C. C. Dunman. The following week he turned out for ‘England’ against ‘Scotland’ in the annual fixture, resulting in a huge win for the Sassenachs with 205 runs against the Scot’s miserly 42. The week after the English victory, Dunman was confirmed as being selected for the interport team to play in the forthcoming triangular tournament in Hong Kong.


Extract from 1906 Shanghai Municipal Government Report showing details of the volunteer Shanghai Fire Brigade

Extract from the National Probate Calendar showing the mother and son's probate record which after the earlier death of Charles Dunman left his daughter Mary as the sole beneficiary. 

 The interport cricket team left Shanghai from the P&O jetty by the Gutzlaff tower on Friday, November 11, on their way to meet the P&O Steamer Manila at Woosung at the mouth of the Yangtze. Shanghai’s visit to Hong Kong was not successful. They lost both of their two innings games. Dunman had a dismal tour, he batted in all four-innings, amassing a total of three runs, albeit two of his innings he finished on 1 not out. On the bowling side, he only bowled in the first of the four innings, amassing figures of 6 overs for 21 runs with no wickets.

  The 1904 Hong list shows Dunman working for Butterfield & Swire, one of the earliest and most important companies in Shanghai. In common with many of his contemporaries, as well as playing sport, Dunman joined the Shanghai Fire Brigade, choosing the Mi Hoo Loong Company, the most socially prestigious of the volunteer companies. In August 1904, he was awarded a cup for being the man who attended the most fires for the Mi Hoo Loong’s company for the year ended 31 July 1904.

  On his return from Hong Kong, Dunman attended the Shanghai Fire Brigade’s annual cup presentation day. After being inspected by the Fred Anderson, the Chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Council, himself a Shanghai rugby player in times past, Dunman received his medal as the volunteer who attended the second most fires in the year for the Fire Brigade as a whole. Dunman was in attendance an incredible 127 out of the total of 131 times the Brigade were called out.

Shanghai vs. Tientsin
The first ever rugby Interport fixture, played in Shanghai on 13th February 1907
Shanghai won by 14 – 0

 Top Row: I.R. Wheen (Touch judge), P. LancasterC.C. Dunman, A.H. Arnold, T.G. Drakeford, R.E. Gregson, J.L.M. Gibson (Referee), 

2nd Top Row: W.O. Lancaster, A. F. Wheen, H.H. Fowler, G.A. Turner, H.G. Allen
3rd Top Row: V.M. Grayburn, P. Fowler (Captain), A.W. Walkinshaw

Bottom Row: R.M. Saker, D.E. Donnelly

Scenes from the 1907 interport match against Tientsin. Shanghai played in white for the match, changing from their first choice black kit that they had been photographed in for the pre match photo

  In 1901, the census shows Dunman living in Clifton, Bristol, in lodgings, just three months after he had qualified as a Chartered Accountant. Within three years he had arrived in Shanghai, probably in 1903. The earliest record of him being there was playing rugby for the fourth Shanghai Football Club against the YMCA in November 1903. The first record of him playing cricket was against the Shanghai Recreation Club for Mr. J. B. Walsh’s XI, a team hurriedly brought together after the Shanghai Municipal Police had been unable play. The game was a rather inauspicious start for Dunman’s sporting career, his team were bowled out for only 29 runs.

David Revell Beddell-Sivright in a Scotland shirt 1901

  Charles Dunman died a few years later in the General Hospital in Singapore aged only 62. At the time of his death, he was a partner in the firm he had joined years before, by now named Lowe, Bingham and Dunham. An obituary noted that Dunman had served for many years on the Singapore Municipal Commission and was the Chairman of the Jubilee Relief Fund. He was described as, ‘A man of singular charm of manner… a great upholder of the traditions of his profession as a chartered accountant. He left a large estate which despite the cost of his daughter’s wedding a few years before was valued at £5,198.

  Dunman’s son Charles was killed in action 5 June 1942 aged only 23. He was a Captain in the Royal Artillery, 157th Regiment. Based on the date of his death it is likely he died while participating in the Battle of Gazala, a series of actions which began on 26 May and ended four weeks later with the fall of Tobruk. Dunman’s name is recorded on the Alamein Memorial which forms the entrance to Alamein War Cemetery.

  Dunman’s wife also died during the war, on 4 January 1944 in Eastbourne. She too was young, only 55 years of age. In a strange twist of fate, the records of their respective probates published in the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar, appeared on the same page. Mother and son leaving their estates to the sole surviving member of the family Patience Mary Patton nee Dunman.

Marriage certificat of rugby captain George Billings with Charles Dunman's signature signed in his role of best man.