Thomas Witheridge Gubb was a useful acquisition for Shanghai. He had arrived there in mid October 1935 to join a company affiliated with ICI as a Chartered Accountant. Given his pedigree, he was immediately elected Vice Captain.
Born in South Africa in 1908, he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to go to Oxford University. He played in the Oxford University varsity rugby on four occasions from 1926 to 1929, captaining the team in his last appearance. On leaving Oxford, he also captained Blackheath Rugby Club and Middlesex RFC in London.
As an Oxford student he became one of the ‘lost lions’ when he joined the often overlooked undefeated British Lions tour to Argentina in 1927. He played in the third test match gaining a retrospectively awarded Lions cap but was uncapped either for England or South Africa.
After leaving Oxford Thomas became an Articled Accountant in London from 1930 to 1934, working his way towards becoming a Chartered Accountant, under the auspices of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. In 1934, as a qualified accountant, he joined ICI and moved to Shanghai. From 1936 to 1940 he was in the Secretariat of Shanghai Municipal Council becoming Deputy Secretary in 1937. He earned his Shanghai cap when he played against Hong Kong in 1936.
During World War II he served with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and latterly the 10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles, attaining the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. From 1941 to 1943 he was the Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General. At the latter end of the war he fulfilled the role of General Staff Officer in the British Military Mission to Greece.Following the war, he returned to southern Africa, more specifically to Bulawayo where he dedicated his professional life to Francis & Co Ltd. He rose to become the Managing Director and finally Chairman of the company. He also held positions with the Merchant Bank of Central Africa and Philpott & Collins Ltd.
Thomas Witheridge Gubb (1908 - 1978)
Gubb with his Shanghai teammates in December 1935
A caricature of Gubb from 1928 during his days at Oxford University
Gubb died in the country of his birth in 1978 aged seventy.