Tribute to Hugh Cecil Aldons

Ladies & Gentlemen,

To those of you who do not know me, my name is Nihal de Run. I am one of two Vice Patrons of the Royal College Old Boys in Australia Association, the other being Fred Kreltszheim who is also present here today,to pay our respects and convey our tribute to this illustrious man Hugh.

We represent the College that Hugh attended as a young boy in Ceylon and where he grew up to be; not just a great sportsman but a legend.

Very few old boys of our College have earned the status of Legend. Hugh certainly has and we are here to salute him for his achievements.

His sporting talents were developed in backyard cricket with his brothers and others who played softball cricket and crafted their batting betwixt coconut trees,murunga trees and fruit trees. All those skills helped Hugh hone his cricket and hockey skills on the big stage.

When it came to Rugger, it was lunch interval games at Royal where he excelled amongst boys of all ages and then turned up with torn clothes and sweaty body after running around the sparsely turfed grass for 45 minutes in the searing heat.

Royal College was first established in 1835 by English headmasters who gave sports a prominent place in the curriculum. Royal turned out many great sportsmen and the Aldons boys were amongst them.

Hugh being the natural sportsman that he was, excelled at Athletics and gained entry to the Rugby team as a wing three quarter. He also represented the College at

Cricket, Swimming and Boxing.

I never knew Hugh to have been a swimmer or boxer of repute but I learnt that when I read his memoirs which Sonia very kindly let me read.

Hugh was successful at the London Matriculation Examinations with First Division results and was Head Prefect and Vice Captain of Cricket, Rugger and the Athletics team. There is a great story to tell about his incredible run in the 4×440 relay in which two Aldons boys ran the 1st and 3rd laps of the relays. Such was life they had only one pair of running shoes between them; so not only did they hand over the baton they also changed into the only pair of running shoes between them and still completed the race which they duly won.

Not many will know or remember that Hugh was a Junior and Senior Cadet at College and rose to the rank of Sargent, then Company Sargent Major responsible for the platoons of Royal & St Josephs Senior Cadet Platoons.

At 18 years of age he left College to enter the world of employed people and that is when he became famous in his chosen sports, Cricket, Rugger and Hockey.He won Ceylon caps in each.

At Cricket he was an allrounder, batting, bowling and an exceptionally good fields man. He captained the National team in the Gopalan Trophy encounters in India.

Rugger at the Havelocks was where the Aldons boys excelled. In the words of an admirer, Michael Loos a good 15 years younger than Hugh” I remember as a boy of about ten in 1950/51, going to the Havelocks rugger matches and watching the legendary three quarter line of Fred, Eric and Hugh with brother Harry at Full back. Dubbed the ‘chewing gum boys’ they tore through all before them to win the Clifford Cup in 1951. The Havelocks line was not crossed that year because of resolute tackling by the Aldons boys.Hugh and Fred were scintillating in their performance.

I might mention S. B Pilapitiya at scrum half and my father in law the late Basil Henricus on the other wing; what a formidable line up.

It was Hockey at the BRC and All Ceylon in which Hugh will also be remembered as peerless. He was the best centre half forward of that era and created numerous opportunities for others to score. He captained the Mercantile and Ceylon team on tours to India. Sports journalist Dennis De Rosayro writing in the Ceylon Observer described Hugh as ‘the complete package’. He orchestrated every attacking move with accurate timely hits,judicious scoops, controlled pushes and graceful side-steps that were treats to the hockey connoisseurs.

In conclusion, let me say that it was a privilege to pay this tribute to our fallen champion. He was always a true gentleman of humility and never boastful of his achievements.

The Royal College Old Boys in Australia extend sympathy and condolences to Hugh’s family and thank you for allowing our flag to drape his casket.

I would ask Old Royalists,Havelocks Sportsmen. BRC Stalwarts and those sportsmen who played in clubs associated with Hugh that are present here today to form a guard of honour at the exit to this church before the casket is taken into the hearse.

Nihal de Run

St David’s Anglican Church

Moorabbin

Victoria

Australia

8th July 2024

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