BASHALL Talbot ISO
British Army Born 19 July 1926 Died 6 September 2020
Service No: 370796. Grew up in Ripley, Derbyshire, before and during World War II. He recalls having to run for cover when German bombers flew overhead. Later, as a 20 year old British Army Lieutenant he had the considerable responsibility of guarding German Field Marshal Albert Kesselring in Venice. Kesselring was awaiting trial for war crimes, was found guilty and his death sentence was later commuted by Winston Churchill, and he and Talbot corresponded until Kesselring’s death. In 1953 Talbot moved to Hong Kong as a prison officer at Stanley Prison, rising to become a senior officer in the Hong Kong prison system; and subsequently became the commander of a force to control the colony’s many street hawkers. As a senior public servant he was appointed the Controller of the Refugee Control Centre from 1979 – 1982, managing the influx of Vietnamese “boat people” refugees into Hong Kong, post the end of the Vietnam War. He took special pride in knowing that “not a single boat was turned away”. Talbot arranged the successful third-country resettlement of tens of thousands of refugees who, unlike a great many others, were fortunate not to perish in the South China Sea. Talbot’s varied efforts as a public servant in Hong Kong led to him being awarded the Imperial Service Order (ISO) (British Award). In 1982, he retired with his wife Cynthia to Perth. A book of Talbot’s memories “I was There: A Memoir of the Life and Times of Talbot Henry Bashall ISO” was published in 2019.