Jupp's gravestone at Yokohama Cemetery (Courtesy of Mike Galbraith)
Born in Hong Kong in 1902, John Edmund Jupp (known as Edmund) played rugby for Shanghai in the mid-1920s and also served on the Club’s committee. It was perhaps through this connection that he met his wife to be Faith Drakeford, the daughter of Thomas Goode Drakeford who played in Shanghai’s first rugby interport match in 1907 and remained a member of the rugby club until 1941.
The couple were engaged in August 1932 and married on 8 December 1932 in Shanghai. After the wedding service, a reception was held for more than 300 guests at one of the best and newest hotels in Shanghai, the art deco style Metropole Hotel. No expense was spared. The bride’s father hired the orchestra from the Cathay Hotel, a short rickshaw ride away to entertain his guests. Within a year a child was born, a daughter, Susanna Jane, in Hong Kong 21 August 1933. A second daughter Phillipa was born a few years later.
Jupp pictured as part of the 1924 Shanghai team selected to play Hankow
John Edmund Jupp (1902 - 1942)
Jupp's marriage certificate and family photograph
As War approached the Far East, Edmund escorted his wife and daughters to the safety of Australia to live with Mr and Mrs Thomas Drakeford and their youngest daughter Beryl. Edmund then decided to return to Hong Kong by seaplane in order to continue his work with J D Humphries and Son and to be ready to help defend the Colony. On the day he left he came into Susanna’s bedroom at five in the morning and said, ‘I want you to be a really good girl, Susanna, and look after your mother for me’. Susanna replied ‘I will, Daddy I will.’ It was the last time they spoke. The Japanese invaded Hong Kong on 8 December 1941. The soldiers and volunteers desperately defended Hong Kong against overwhelming odds for sixteen days. The defenders were under instructions from London to resist to the end, and were firmly told that the honour of the Empire was in their hands. Edmund served with the Hong Kong Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and took part in the famous Repulse Bay Hotel battle on the island of Hong Kong. Once captured Jupp was moved around three internment camps, Sham Shui Po, Argyle Street and Stanley. Conditions were very harsh, disease was rife and it was a struggle to find medicine to treat the wounds of the injured. The prisoners were not given enough to eat and many were forced to perform hard labour. In mid-September 1942, Jupp found himself as part of a second draft of prisoners selected to travel to Japan to work in labour camps. The selected men were inoculated and embarked onto the Lisbon Maru on 25 September 1942. The ship set sail for Yokohama on the twenty-seventh. On 1 October the American Submarine USS Grouper, not knowing that prisoners of war were on board torpedoed the Lisbon Maru and severely damaged it. About 800 died as they were swept out to sea or dashed against the rocky coast. Only when it became apparent that there would be survivors did the Japanese show any interest in helping to save the struggling prisoners. Some, including Jupp, who was a strong swimmer, managed to swim to land. They were helped by local Chinese villagers who at great risk to themselves fed and housed the shipwrecked men. After a few days, the Japanese recaptured Jupp and he was taken to Shanghai. A few days later he was made to board the Washington Maru (also known as the Shinsei Maru) and sailed to Moji in Japan. Men died at every stage of the journey, and once in Japan groups of sick and dying were left at each stop. After arriving in Moji in the evening of 10 October, the survivors boarded a train which travelled firstly to Kokura, thence to Hiroshima, and on to Kobe. At Kobe, a group of about 350 men including Jupp left the train and were marched to Osaka #2 Branch Camp (Kobe) arriving around 13:30 on the eleventh. It was here that Warrant Officer John Edmund Jupp a husband to Faith Eveline and father of two small girls died during the night of 12 October 1942, the first of many to die in that camp. Owing to a shortage of coffins his body was placed in an apple barrel prior to being cremated.
The sinking of the Lisbon Maru (Courtesy of the Public Records Office, London PRO WO235-1114)