The founder of the HASH, Alberto Esteban Ignacio Gispert, hash name “G”, was born on the 31st July 1903 to Arthuro and Remedeos Gispert y de Puiguriguer. He was born at 80 Breakspear Road, Brockley, Kent (actually on the corner of Harefield Road!) which is now part of the London Borough of Lewisham but previously the Metropolitan Borough of Deptford. The family were Catalan Spanish and maintained the house in Breakspear Road plus at least one other in Barcelona. They moved to Brockley sometime in late 1891 or 1892. Alberto was the youngest of seven children, the third to be born in the UK.
The young Alberto, although described in later life by Cecil Lee (one of the other original members of the first hash) as the ‘perfect English Gentleman’ was brought up in a household that spoke little English. His mother, Remedeos, spoke no English at all so the household language was Spanish. Alberto was sent to the local Roman Catholic school, St Joseph’s Academy in Blackheath. Here Alberto learnt the basics of non-competitive running following paper trails which was a common sport in English schools at that time. This may be where the idea of hashing was first formulated to reappear many years later in Malaya, as it was then called.
Following his schooling Gispert joined H S Baker & Co, became a Chartered Accountant in 1928 and applied for an overseas posting with Evatt & Co (later to become Price Waterhouse) who sent him to Kuala Lumpur. He married Eve in 1937 and his son, Simon, was born. In the same year, ‘G’ discovered the Springgit Harriers, one of the paper chase clubs in Malacca. He introduced Ronald "Torch" Bennett to the concept and the stage was set.
When "G" returned to Kuala Lumpur in 1938, he became a member of the Federated Malay States Volunteer Reserves, which trained on Mondays. "G" and many of the other ex-pat Brits were housed in barracks in the Royal Selangor Club where he and "Torch" would often discuss starting a harrier club in KL (Kuala Lumpur). Finally around the December of 1938, "G" with “Torch”, convinced Cecil Lee and a dozen or so others to follow his inaugural paper trail. Gispert then suggested the name of HASH HOUSE HARRIERS in mock allusion to the mess at the Selangor Club, where many of them dined. The runs were held Monday evenings after reserve training and were followed by refreshment of Tiger beer.
Reaching the rank of Captain, he was on leave in Australia when the Japanese invaded in December 1941. Although his wife and son had safely returned to England, by then “G” rushed back to Malaya and was seconded to the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders regiment as a Second Lieutenant. He was killed in battle defending Singapore from the Japanese at 0400 hours 11 February 1942.
The HASH has grown from those humble beginnings to include thousands of chapters and tens of thousands of hashers worldwide. Much of the information presented above comes from the book "On On! Run #2 Hash House Harriers 1938-1992" by Harrier International and the late Tim "Magic" Hughes, Phhh.D.
The family memorial shown below is in Brockley Cemetery, South London.
Take a beer for him if you visit.