History & Traditions

The Hong Kong Branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society was established in 1986 by John Wright who was posted to Hong Kong with the British government, and Steve Verralls a serving officer in the Royal Hong Kong Police. The first meeting was held in the Police Officers Club in the autumn of that year and membership quickly flourished.

In the heydays of the late 1980s the Branch boasted a membership of in excess of 30, which included Brigadiers, Police Assistant Commissioners, Coldstream Guardsmen, academics, civil servants, journalists, and even members of the Consular Corps. Members had they own array of personal medals including a holder of the Military Cross and holders of the Queen’s and Colonial Police Medals as well many other honours and orders. The transient nature of community at that time saw a steady and healthy turnover of members.

The Branch continued to prosper though the rest of the 20th century but inevitably the change of sovereignty in 1997 and the departure of the British Garrison saw a change of the membership profile. Serving and retired members of the Hong Kong Police remain the backbone of the Branch. Our President Angus Stevenson-Hamilton, QPM, CPM is a retired Assistant Commissioner and the Branch Secretary and Treasurer is a serving officer.

Traditionally the Branch meets at the Police Officers’ Club, but occasionally has ‘away’ meetings at other premises. Meetings are also complemented by visits, which have been as far a field as Singapore, Manila and the Bogue Forts in the Pearl River Delta.

Branch traditions include the annual dinner, which is normally held at Christmas and in recent years has been a formal dinner held in the Senior Officers’ Mess in Police Headquarters, Arsenal Street. Anniversary dinners were also held to celebrate the 20th and 25th anniversary of the founding of the Branch.

A more recent tradition involving the trooping of the didgeridoo and certain rituals therewith associated during Branch formal dinners makes any military mess night look tame. Needless to say two former officers of the Royal Hong Kong Police perform the ritual.

As the Branch heads towards its 30th anniversary membership is increasing and the quality of presentations, visits and activities is as high as ever.