Sunset and evening star
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar
When I put out to sea
But such a tide as moving seems asleep
Too full for sound and foam
When that which drew from out of the boundless deep
Turns again home!
Twilight and evening bell
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell
When I embark
For though from out our bourn of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar
(Alfred Lord Tennyson)
Crossing the Bar Article.
Jenny, who has died aged 92, was a legend to generations of sailors who visited Hong Kong; despite the colony's constant change, she remained the same incomparable institution for most of her
Jenny led a side party of girls who attached themselves to ships when they arrived in Hong Kong, taking over the domestic economy and husbandry of each vessel. They washed and ironed, cleaned
ship, chipped rust and painted, attended as buoy jumpers, and, dressed in their best, waited with grace and charm upon guests at cocktail parties.
Captains and first lieutenants would find fresh flowers in their cabins and newspapers delivered daily, and many a departing officer received a generous gift as a memento from Jenny. For all of
this she refused to take payment, instead earning her keep by selling soft drinks to the ships' companies and scavenging every item of scrap and gash which could be found on board.
Much of Jenny's life was an enigma, but the authors of her many certificates of service (references) generally agreed that she was born in a sampan in Causeway Bay in 1917. According to a
surviving certificate of service – copied in 1946 from an older, much battered and largely illegible document – Jenny's mother, Jenny One, "provided serviceable sampans for the general use of the
Royal Navy, obtained sand, and was useful for changing money".
The younger Jenny's "date of volunteering" was recorded as 1928. From then until 1997, when the colony became a Special Administrative Region of China, she and her team of tireless girls, who at
one time numbered nearly three dozen, served the Royal and Commonwealth Navies in Hong Kong.
Jenny's huge collection of photographs, stored in large envelopes, dated back to the mid-20th century and showed her in the ships she so faithfully served, often with young commanding officers
who later reached flag rank. In two thick albums she proudly kept her letters of reference, all filled with praise and affection for her. One was a commendation by the Duke of Edinburgh for her work
in the Royal Yacht during a visit to Hong Kong in 1959.
She had a (faux) Long Service and Good Conduct Medal presented to her in 1938 by the captain of the cruiser Devonshire, and a bar engraved "HMS Leander 1975". Most treasured was the (genuine)
British Empire Medal with which she was invested in 1980 by the Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Murray MacLehose. The recommendation had formally named her as Mrs Ng Muk Kah.
Through her perpetual gold-toothed grin, Jenny complained happily: "I velly chocker. All time work in sampan. No learn to lead or lite."
What she lacked in education, however, she made up for with her experience of ship husbandry, her unfailing thoroughness and apparently inexhaustible energy, as well as her integrity, enthusiasm
Jenny's intelligence system was second to none: many a captain in Portsmouth or Plymouth would turn down her offer to become his side party in Hong Kong on the grounds that his ship was bound
for the West Indies or the Mediterranean, only to find that his ship's programme had been changed.
In later years, when Hong Kong was no longer visited by the fleets of ships which gave Jenny a livelihood, she found it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. Yet she stayed fit and was
always willing to undertake any work available; and to the end of the Royal Navy's presence in Hong Kong there could be seen in the naval base a small round figure in traditional baggy black trousers
and high-collared, silk smock, with a long pigtail and an eternal smile.
Jenny died on February 19.
Sadly Vice Branch Chairman S/m Tony Charles Crossed the Bar on February 21st 2013
Tony fought hard to recover from an operation he had in February 2012 but after suffering many setbacks with infections and othr complications he passed away in
Worthing Hospital with his family at his bedside.
Tony's funeral took place at Worthing Crematorium on March 11th attended by standards from around the area.