AGBU UK Trust.
The list of Founders of the school.
|The first paragraph of Aratoon Kaloos's Will.|
|The extract shows evidence of his financial support |
to the building of the Armenian Church in Singapore
This is the first time I have seen written in any estate accounts evidence of the support Calcutta Armenians, and in particular a named individual, gave to the community in Singapore for the erection of their own church. Normally a generalisation is made in reference material that the Armenian communities in Calcutta, Java and Singapore raised the necessary funds.
Arratoon Kaloos had been the head master of the Armenian College during the first years of its inception and it can be seen from his will and supporting accounts that he was a generous man of heart and mind. As well as supporting the school and the church, he and his wife adopted a child and brought him up as if he was his own. Ever grateful to Arratoon Kaloos for his kindness in offering him a home, the child Arratoon John Agacy, went on to marry and have children one of whom he named Kaloos in his honour.
|A simply family tree chart|
|Aviet Agabeg's Obituary, written by an un-named ex student|
of the Armenian College and Philanthrophic Academy
The students in question were:
Mr. G.M. Gregory (not to be confused with Rev. G. Gregory)
Mr. Tigran Matthews Gregory
Mr. Nazareth Malcolm Manuk
Mr. Mackertich Cyril Owen
and 1 other with a nickname "Goblin"
They all arrived in Hong Kong in late 1899. A coincidence in this small story is that they took the ship "Lightning", which was the same ship Chater sailed on in 1864 when he left Calcutta for Hong Kong. Chater, an Indian Armenian pioneer in 1864 facilitated more Indian Armenian pioneers 35 years later. The ship belonged to the Calcutta based Armenian company Apcar & Co, and thus the promise of a new life and prospective fortune was instigated and carried out by Chater and Apcar. Both, who were influential in their own right in the Far East, having paved the way for further Armenian settlers to seek their fortune in the Fragrant Harbour and also keeping it nicely within the Armenians of Calcutta community.
The students all took up their positions obtained for them by Chater in the Post Office in Hong Kong. Five of them are listed in official papers of the colony. They were all earning $40.00 per month with a $4 sorting allowance. None of them stayed long in the Post Office, all of them ultimately making a good living, particularly Tigran Matthews Gregory. Tigran started his own company T.M. Gregory & Co of which he was sole proprietor and he was also a well connected and established diamond merchant in Hong Kong during his lifetime. Without that first leg up from Paul Chater, Tigran Matthews Gregory would not have been in a position to donate to the Armenian Church in Calcutta so generously upon his death, Tigran died in Hong Kong in 1962 and is buried in the same cemetery as Sir Paul Chater. Thus, the Armenian Church in Calcutta acquired further generous donations which, ordinarily it would not have received but for Sir Paul.
After three years at the Post Office, Stephen M. Joseph felt confident enough in himself and his abilities to try his luck in Shanghai, but perhaps youthful exuberance, or slight immaturity held him back and he wasn't as successful there as he would have liked. However, undaunted and unbowed, he left for Japan with one of the original six friends, and he secured a job with an American firm. S.M. Joseph lived in Japan for 23 years and became extremely successful. However, his brother, Abraham Joseph had a Shellac business in Jhalda and asked Stephen to join him. He left Japan for India with approximately a lakh of Rupees in his pocket but tragically just prior to his leaving, he learnt of his brother's death by drowning which happened in 1927. Shortly after this the big depression in trade set in and in 1930 all his savings where lost. Stephen Joseph was now in serious financial difficulties and facing great hardship. He received a letter from one of the original six friends that he had travelled to Hong Kong with from Calcutta, and who had heard of his hard times, the letter contained a job offer with a firm in Bangkok. He immediately took the offer up and left for Bangkok to start his life all over again at the age of 60. He became a successful businessman there.
Mackertich Cyril Owen, (known as Mack Owen) after his time at the Post Office, took a position as an assistant with the well known firm of A.H. Rennie & Co., Mack married in March 1909 at St. John’s Cathedral, Hong Kong to Phyllis Seth the daughter of the Court Registrar of Hong Kong, Arathoon Seth and his wife Catharine. Arrathoon’s family was originally from Madras.
That friendship of six Armenian College students was solely due to Sir Paul Chater bringing them together, spotting their potential and giving them the chance of a lifetime to make something of themselves. They in turn held each other in the highest regard all through their lives; that bond of friendship forged on the decks of the "Lightning" on that long journey between Calcutta and Hong Kong was etched in their minds for life.