For the descendents of Richard Dearie and his son John Russell

Robert Cecil Russell

Born: 5 September 1889

Died: 5 November 1948

Left: Bob photographed in London by the very fashionable society photographer Dorothy Wilding.

Bob, the youngest of five brothers, was born at South View Villas, Elm Road, in New Malden, Surrey, on 5 September 1889.

He was only a baby when he travelled with his parents and four brothers to Kuala Lumpur where his father Jack had a job in the government printing office. When he was four his mother died saving his life in a carriage accident in Singapore on 16th January 1893.

Bob and three of his brothers, Archie, Phil and Don were sent by their father to England to live with their aunt Nell and her husband George Oxer at 135 Chadwick Road, Peckham, London.


Above: South View Villas.

Below right: Chadwick Road

Below left: the boys in Peckham.

Below centre : Bob

His father came to England to bring the four sons back to Kuala Lumpur in 1899, when Bob was 10, and he was then sent off with his brother Don to Crediton Grammar School in Devon England in 1902 for his secondary education.

Bob Russell married twice but had no children so, unlike his four brothers, he has no descendants to help with the writing up of his life. We have few primary sources to consult and only the recollections of his brothers' wives or their children. They have described him as the “black sheep” of the family and as a “playboy” and "flamboyant". The information gathered here comes from a variety of sources and readers may decide themselves if they have enough evidence for his poor reputation.

Sources summarised and collated by Claire Grey

“In 1906 at the age of 17 Bob came out from England to join his brother Archie's firm of J. A. Russell and Co. Passenger lists show him leaving from London on the S.S. Nile on August 18 1906 and arriving a month later.

Bob joined the Polo Club and played with his brother George in 1907 and 1908. A directory from 1909 shows his job description in J. A. Russell as "assistant".

Right: Bob in 1909 aged 20.



Above: Don and Bob ( right) when they were at school, with their brother Phil in the centre in the garden of their relatives the Roughs in New Malden.

In 1909 his father Jack moved into a house overlooking the racecourse. They called it the “The Shabeen". In September of that year his brother George married Madeleine Mossop. Wives were not expected to go to the Shabeen without announcing themselves. The boys used it for drinking and kept women there.

Right and below: The photos of Bob and his brothers Don and Phil with Swan of Barlows were taken at the Shabeen in May 1910.

According to his brother Don, Bob left J. A. Russell when the rubber boom started and joined Baxendale and Devitt – later on known as the Planter's Stores. This firm was engaged in share broking and offered Bob a very handsome salary and commission. Ship's passenger lists show him returning from Labuan in North Borneo in May 1911. In January 1913 he was leaving for Burmah and was still stationed there in April 1914, at which time the papers describe him as being "formerly of the Planter's Stores." When the rubber boom collapsed he joined Adolf Henggeler, so he may have been in Burmah on his behalf, but the nature of his work is not known.

It is during 1916 that the archives show that he had returned to work for J. A Russell. In December of that year he was sent to sort out labour troubles at Malayan Collieries. In February 1917 he was present at New Serendah's 7th AGM. On his way back to England the London Agent for the Collieries, Mr. Dykes, suddenly died and Bob took over the London Agency work. This included getting the necessary priority certificates for equipment to be sent to K.L. during the war. Ships passenger lists from 1918 show him arriving at Liverpool on 16 January from Yokohama, Japan, via Kobe, Colombo, and Cape Town on board the Hirano Maru. He gives his occupation as "miner". In June 1918 ships' passenger lists show him leaving England and arriving in New York, returning to Malaya in August.

For the whole of 1919 his brother Archie took a year's leave and Bob was left taking his place in shareholder meetings and writing letters. He presided over the 6th A.G.M. of the Collieries in September. In October he was listed as a director in the prospectus for Clive Rubber, a company set up to acquire a 1,000 acre property known as the Chee Woe Estate in Johore. It is not known if he did this on behalf of J. A. Russell or as an independent venture. Malayan Matches was also launched in the year that Archie was on leave but it is not known if Bob was responsible for this.

In 1920 he presided over the A.G.M. of Jerantut Plantations in January. He wrote a series of letters asking for the monthly supply of Chandu (prepared opium) to the licensee of the coal mines at Rawang to be increased. In March he signed one of the many letters to Government on the subject of sugar cultivation. He was present at the A.G.M. of New Serendah, and the A.G.M. of Kamasan, and in 1921 was a substitute Director for Archie at the first A.G.M. of Malayan Matches. He did not neglect his social life and was elected Vice President of the Selangor Club in August 1921. He was recorded as playing in a Polo Tournament in October of that year in Singapore.

In January 1922 his marriage plans were announced. His wife, Myrtle Chance, was the granddaughter of Sir Frederick Dickson, who was Colonial Secretary, S.S., and acted as Governor in 1887 and again in 1890. Bob and Myrtle were married at St. James, Westminster on 25th March. They returned to Malaya on 12th June. In September he was a judge at the athletic championships held on the padang at K.L.

In February 1923 he was elected to the committee of the Selangor Polo Club, and at one of the races for polo ponies his horse Ginger Mick was the favourite, but didn't win. He was in Johore in September for a tournament promoted by the Royal Johore Polo Club in connection with the celebration of the 50th birthday of the Sultan.

He chaired the third A.G.M. meeting of Malayan Matches in October and was appointed alternate for Archie as director for Baku Tin. In November he was on the committee of the St. George's Society. During 1923 Lady Dickson, widow of the late Sir Frederick Dickson stayed with her granddaughter, Myrtle Chance, in K.L.

By January 1924 he was Vice President of the St George's Society. In May he was present at the A.G.M. of Utan Simpan, where he supported his brother Archie being re-elected as a director, despite opposition from Frederick Peck.

In July he was in Singapore again for the Polo Tournament. He played in several games but not in the last one as he had injured his foot. The Malay Mail explaining in August that: "Mr. R. C. Russell, who returned to Kuala Lumpur by the mail train on Sunday evening, met with a nasty accident while in Singapore, having the misfortune, while walking in his sleep, to walk over a verandah with a 40 foot drop. He alighted upon his feet, the result being a broken bone in the heel and ankle." The injury meant that he did not attend the 4th A.G.M. of Malayan Matches where his prepared speech was read by director James Davidson. In it he explained the very poor position of the company which was only being kept going by loans from J. A. Russell and Co. The plant wasn't working properly, production was low, they could not even afford fire insurance. In September he presided as vice chair over the half yearly meeting of the Selangor Club who decided to erect a building on Frasers Hill.

This appears to be the last year that he played polo professionally.


1924 -1925 The control of Malayan Collieries.

When his brother Archie's court case came to an end, J. A. Russell and Co. were asked to resign as secretaries and managing agents for Malayan Collieries. Bob helped Archie try to retain them as agents by arguing that it must be a shareholder's decision. With the Eastern Mining Company, Archie and Hilda Russell, his brother Phil's widow, they had enough shares to requisition an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Collieries to submit resolutions that J. A. Russell and Co. should continue as managing agents and that no changes should be made without shareholder approval. At this point Bob was a director of Malayan Collieries, possibly as an alternate for Archie. The meeting was held on 18 October, when in Archie's absence, Bob proposed the resolution. Bob said he had no knowledge of the board's decision to dispense with the services of J. A. Russell and Co. Mr. Henggeler as chair, explained that Bob was not a director on June 10 when the decision was taken, and that Archie was told about it but it appears that Archie had not told Bob. After a long debate the motion was put to the vote and lost with only four shareholders present voting for Bob's resolution. Bob called for a poll which resulted in the resolution being lost by 844 votes, despite Bob having proxies for 75,690. "Russell Coup Fails" reported the Malayan Saturday Post. Another Extraordinary General Meeting was held on 30 October to discuss compensating Frederick Peck for his expenses in his case against Archie and the recovery of money for the Company. Bob was against any unspecified sum being voted for and wanted to wait for the result of an appeal against the judgment. On a show of hands the resolution was passed but the result of a poll showed it to be lost. The meeting could not pass the resolutions and had to be adjourned. The directors began to search for a new manager for the Collieries and in a circular dated 18 December gave the job to James Barr, who was already the general manager. The job of secretary went to Henry Brown, the secretary of J. A. Russell and Co.

Archie arrived back in K.L. in January 1925, having been in London. It was discovered that some of the proxies for votes were not in order at the recent meetings and votes had been improperly cast. This meant that Russell and Co. were illegally removed from being managing agents. By 15 January all the directors of Malayan Collieries except Archie had resigned. They felt it was not in the best interests of the Company to retain the services of J. A. Russell and Co. Archie was in sole charge and appointed Mr. Ferrers as a director, and the two of them appointed Bob as a director. These three then appointed Mr. Cunningham and Mr. Barr and Bob then resigned. It is clear that at this point Archie did not want Bob as a director of the Collieries.

In February Bob described as "of J. A. Russell" was said to be going on leave. The only other news of him in 1925 is in April as Vice President of the A.G.M. of the Selangor Club .


Bob and Myrtle were recorded as arriving in Singapore in March. They both had dinner with the High Commissioner at Government House in K.L. in March. In July they returned from a holiday in Brastagi, where they had not been affected by the earthquake at Fort de Kock.

In October Bob presided as chairman over the 6th and final A.G.M. of Malayan Matches, reporting further losses and falling production. The company had appointed a receiver who had informed the directors that production must stop and the factory was closed on 30 September.


In March he was elected to the committee of the Selangor Club. In April he chaired the 17th A.G.M. of Utan Simpan, gave a brief speech and was appointed as a director. In May he was elected as a director for New Serendah at their 17th AGM. When Sir Laurence Guillemard, the High Commissioner retired in May, Bob and Myrtle were at the decorated Railway Station at K.L. amongst a distinguished gathering to see him off. In August at a fancy dress ball Mrs. R. C. Russell won a prize for her white Hiawatha costume. She is recorded as a passenger leaving the country in September. In October Bob chaired the A.G.M. of Amalgamated Malay, with another very brief report. Later in October he was re-elected as a director of Selangor Coconuts at their A.G.M. In November he was elected to the fellowship of the Royal Colonial Institute in K.L., and later the same month dined at Government House with the Acting British Resident.


In February he went home on leave. In May he was re-elected a director of Utan Simpan. The papers reported him leaving London for Malaya in August.


In May he chaired the 19th AGM of Utan Simpan. He said "The sums enumerated have been money well spent, the silt pitting has materially improved the property and the water supply and anti malarial works have made our Tamil workforce contented and healthy. For some time Utan Simpan had an extremely bad name from a health point of view, in fact I believe it was once called a death trap, but now I can honestly say it more closely resembles a health resort." "From Death Trap to Health Resort" was the headline in the Straits Times. Also in May he was elected to the committee of the newly formed Malayan Aeroplane Club, formed to encourage flying, develop airports, and train pilots. In October he chaired the 13th AGM of Amalgamated Malay.

In October he was re-elected a director of Selangor Coconuts at their 18th A.G.M. In the autumn he left for Europe.


The directors' report for Utan Simpan for the year ended December 1929 shows that "Mr. H. H. Robbins serves on the board as alternate for Mr. R. C. Russell, who has proceeded on leave, "and that R. C. Russell retires by rotation and, being eligible, offer himself for re-election." The directors' report for New Serendah also shows H. H. Robbins serving as alternate for R. C. Russell. In April Bob left London on the Ranpura. He was re-elected a director of Utan Simpan at their 20th AGM. He arrived back in K. L. in May. In September he attended the 14th A.G.M. of Amalgamated Malay where he retired as director and was re-elected.

His father Jack died at the end of the year.

1931 Slump

In April he chaired the 21st A.G.M. of Utan Simpan where in a very brief statement he thanked the staff for accepting pay cuts during the present crisis. At the 21st A.G.M. of Kamasan "on the motion of Mr. R. C. Russell it was agreed that subject to the present conditions continuing, the director’s remuneration for the current financial year should be reduced by 20 per cent." In August he was an official at the annual championship meeting of the Malayan Amateur Athletic Association.

At the 15th AGM of Amalgamated Malay in September he chaired the meeting, explaining that one of the two estates has been placed on "care and maintenance" and the other was to be kept going in order to keep the labour force: "so that we will be in a better position than estates which have closed down and dismissed their labour force to take advantage of the slightest rise in the price of rubber. A penny rise in the price of rubber would enable us to work at a small profit, whereas a penny rise would be insufficient for estates that have closed down to reopen and recruit fresh labour."


In April he was re-elected a director of Utan Simpan, all the directors had waived their fees. In August he was a judge at the annual championship meeting of the Amateur Athletic Association of Malaya on the Selangor Club padang . In September he was present at the 16th A.G.M. of Amalgamated Malay. Also in September the report of Selangor Coconut's 21st A.G.M. shows him as a retiring director being re-elected.


Bob left London on the P. and O. Ranchi on 3 March. His brother Archie died on 7 April, and it seems likely that Bob arrived too late to see him. Bob was not present at Archie's funeral or noted as sending a wreath. An obituary for Archie in The Straits Times on 15 April notes: "In those early days Mr. Russell was also associated with the floatation of Sungei Ramal, New Serandah, Utan Simpan and other local companies and was a member of their boards for some years. More recently the pressure of other business compelled him to hand over these duties to Mr. R. C. Russell. He also built up substantial rubber interests of his own, so much so that at the date of his death he was, I believe, the largest private owner in Malaya".

With the death of his brother, Bob was co opted onto the board of Bakau Tin in September. Also in September he helped to stage a play at K. L. "the Town Hall was nearly full last night when a group of Ipoh amateurs presented A. E. Milne’s “Belinda” the ….…staging of drawing room scene for which Mr. R. C. Russell was responsible was admirably done….."


He was re elected a director of Amalgamated Malay at their A.G.M. in September.


A year after his brother's death Bob was elected a director of Malayan Collieries at its 20th A.G.M. in March. In April he was re-elected a director of New Serendah, the rising price of rubber meaning the cuts imposed the year before had been reversed.

On 11 May he went Home on the s.s. Naldera and returned in September on the Rawalpindi. The report of Amalgamated Malay stated that R. C. Russell was absent on leave during the year under review, and J. H. Clarkson acted as his alternate.


At Kamasan's 25th A.G.M. in March Bob was re-elected as a director He was still a director at the Collieries' 21st A.G.M .The meeting chaired by H. H. Robbins set the directors' remuneration at $20,000. Bob was re-elected a director of Utan Simpan in April. The company was finally beginning to recover from the slump. In September he was reported to be a member of the council of the Malayan Estate Owners' Association, one of the representatives for Selangor. He offered himself for re-election as a director of Selangor Coconuts in September, although the share price had fallen so greatly that shares were impossible to sell and the company was considering reconstruction. He presided over the 19th A.G.M. of Amalgamated Malay in September. On 13 September the papers announced that he had married Miss. Lola Margaret McColl, of Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.in a surprise wedding by special licence. The papers noted that Bob "besides being Managing Director of Malayan Collieries, Ltd., is a director of J. A. Russell and Co., of Amalgamated Malay Estates Ltd., and several other companies."


In March it was reported that he had undergone a serious operation in Singapore in the previous month. It is not known what this was for. He "has gone on a six weeks round tour to Japan with Mrs. Russell." He was not present at the 22nd A.G.M. of Malayan Collieries on 31 March, Mr. Robbins explaining that he "had been ill and was convalescing."

On 12 July the servant's quarters of the Selangor Club collapsed causing two deaths. Bob as Vice Chair was later asked to give evidence at the inquest. In late July he was in court over the will of Khoo Khye Cheah. J. A. Russell had been trustees of his estate, and the will was being contested by an adopted son of the deceased. The trial was covered by the newspapers from 24 July to the 1 August, when it was adjourned till 11 August. On July 23 ". “ Mr. Russell gave evidence producing the original will of 1897, and stated that he had been looking after the deceased’s estate for the past 28 years.” On 3 August Bob was mentioned as one of the elected members of the Malayan Estate Owners’ Association. On 5 August Kuala Lumpur's first new cinema, the Pavilion Theatre, was opened showing the film "Top Hat", and amongst the distinguished audience were Bob and Lola. On 5 August the inquest into the deaths caused by the collapse of the Selangor Club's servant's quarters began. The case went back to the previous November when the club was informed the building was dangerous and was served an order to demolish it on 21 December . Mr. Jennings the building inspector described meeting with Bob then Vice Chair of the club. The club had decided to repair it, giving the job to the Federated Engineering Co. whose manager Mr. Sevege was a member of the club committee. On 12 August , Bob was told off by the magistrate for being in the court room when he had to give evidence himself later on. When he gave evidence later that day he said, " The Sanitary Board authorities often do not really mean what they say. I thought they were being alarmists.” Mr. Russell said he did not think it would have been the committee’s duty to the Club members immediately to demolish the building" and "Mr. Russell, in his evidence, said he thought the building was unsafe at the time but not immediately dangerous. He agreed that if there was danger in the repairs it was the duty of the Federated Engineering Co., to tell the club that the repairs were “ticklish”.

The court case of Khoo Khye Cheah continued on 14 August and judgment was reserved.

Bob was recorded as a director of Selangor Coconuts and Amalgamated Malay in August. On 30 October Bob was present at a meeting of the proprietors' Section The United Planting Association of Malaya.

On 28 October the papers announced that "Midnight Follies" were in rehearsal for their new revue: "Up She Goes,” and the stage manager is Mr. R. C. Russell, they have been putting on productions since 1925. An idea of the type of show can be had from reading a description of the first one, although it is not known if Bob was involved in it. (See above right.) 43 people worked four times a week at the Town Hall, Kuala Lumpur, rehearsing for presentation on December 10, 11, and 12. "The art director of the production, Mrs. R. C. Russell, first sketches a scene in half-inch scale. It is then reproduced upon canvas 24x48 ft., by an Indian scene painter." She also does the decorations for the children's Christmas party at the Selangor Club."The attractive hall decorations (with Japanese landscape motif) were the work of Mrs. R. C. Russell."

The judgment in court case of Khoo Khye Cheah was given on 20 December. The question of costs was left until 9 January.





In January Bob and Lola were present at one of the highlights of the social season when "Mrs. Loke Yew, widow of Dr. Loke Yew, C.M.G., is staging a ball unrivalled in magnificence for their youngest son, Mr. Loke Wan Tho, on the occasion of his coming of age."

In March Bob was summoned to Court. He had failed to comply with an order to pay costs in the civil suit to Khoo Boo Hooi in case of Khoo Khye Cheah.

In March he was once again elected vice president of the Selangor Club. The A.G.M. of the Collieries was taken up with concerns about labour troubles. Mr. H. H. Robbins, chairing the meeting, explained that under the present quota system for Chinese immigration, labour supply had been inadequate. There had been two strikes in four months, and it would be a good idea to set up a wages board and some form of industrial arbitration for the whole country. Bob was re-elected as a director : a “worthy successor to worthy and celebrated brother the late Mr. J. A. Russell whose memory is still cherished by the shareholders of the Malayan Collieries (Hear hear)"

Bob was still a director of Utan Simpan, New Serendah and Kamasan and in April was re-elected a director of all three.

In May there is an appeal by Khoo Boo Hooi against the decision of Mr. Justice Pedlow concerning the will of Khoo Khye Cheah.

In June American records show Bob arriving in Detroit on 26 June to visit his mother-in-law Clara McColl at 8130 Evernor Highway, Detroit.

In August in the annual report of Baku Tin he offered himself for re-election as a director. Also in August the adopted son of Khoo Khye Cheah won his appeal.

In September the report of Amalgamated Malay explained that although Mr. R. C. Russell was still a member of the board he was on leave and his alternate was J. H. Clarkson. Bob was re-elected a director at their A.G.M. in September. Back in K.L. he and Lola were entertained at the Kings House:" Thursday November 4 Mr. and Mrs. R. C. Russell… Mr. J. Drysdale had luncheon at Kings House"

At the end of 1937 Bob and H.H. Robbins had a disagreement and Bob was asked to resign from J. A. Russell and Co.

He and Lola left for Canada. He was given an annual sum of £4,500 and the whole affair was kept quiet.



1939 Canada

Bob wrote several letters from Canada to Kathleen, his brother Archie's former wife. His address was CADBORO BAY, R.R.1. BRITISH COLUMBIA. It is clear that although he was no longer with the company she was keeping him informed of events and had sent him minutes of Colliery meetings, and a photo of her son Tristan. On 7 July 1939, he wrote to say that Lola's mother had died and they had brought her body to Ontario to be buried. He writes that does not like or trust Mr. Robbins and thinks that it is right to have a member of the family as a director. In another letter dated 16 January 1940, he worries that Robbins is selling income bearing properties, and that his own income will be affected. He mentions that his current arrangement will come to an end and needs to know if he will have an income. He says "Archie never visualised the present position for neither Don nor myself were permitted to save or make any provision for the future, we both drew any money required but could not draw to invest or speculate." He also says; "I note that he has not yet sold any of the undeveloped land in K. L. (incidentally he bought some more) and my failure to do anything with this undeveloped property was one of his many criticisms of my slackness—anyone can sell a revenue producing property. On 6 March he described Robbins' income and expressed concerns at the amount of power he held. On 2 April, he writes to say that Robbins is feathering his own nest at the expense of the firm. He writes that Robbins gave him an ultimatum : “Either you go or I go” and also that neither Kathleen nor Don liked Robbins. Bob calls Robbins a "machiavellian trickster", with a strategy of "low cunning". On 11 April, he had received copies of correspondence between Robbins and William Gemmell, (Kathleen's new husband). Bob wants to separate the management of the company from the duties of the trustees of Archie's will.

Travelling was limited due to the war but at some point before 1944 Bob and Lola reached England and stayed with his brother George at his house East Grove in Lymington until the war ended. Lola became George's grandchildren's godmother.

After the end of WW2 Bob returned with the Malayan Planning Unit to assist in the rehabilitation of Malayan Collieries Ltd., of which he was Managing Director until 1947. His brother Don was in Stanley Camp, Hong Kong, captured by the Japanese. When Don was released in 1945 a huge row ensued between them, because Bob had had returned to the firm after being asked to leave. Presumably he knew that Mr. Robbins, who had sacked him, had died in internment and that Mr. Drysdale and his brother Don were still interned. Bob was first a secretary and then a director of Malayan Collieries. An article in the Straits Times in June 1946, said "Mr. R. C. Russell, the managing director of the Collieries". However events at the Collieries become challenging. In 1947 there was an eight week strike. The dispute went to arbitration. The district judge's view was that "everything was done to inflame these poor people". Surrendered Japanese had been put to work at the mine, the arbitration board sat in February. Bob questioned union officials as part of the arbitration process. The strike was settled by mid March. The Collieries' A.G.M. in December reported a surplus of production.

According to notes kept by Kathleen in a diary for 1947 there was a struggle with Bob over control of the Company. Bob finally accepted their conditions as he was threatened with exposure of his previous dismissal and the financial agreement that went with it. "He was still managing director under his contract when in 1947 he was found to have exceeded his powers in one respect to his benefit (cost of living allowances) and on this the Board asked him to resign and gave him 6 months pay."

Ships' passenger lists show Bob and Lola travelling back from Trinidad and arriving at Bristol on 12 October 1948. Only a month later on 5 November 1948 he died at the Rembrandt Hotel, Thurlowe Place, Kensington, at the age of 59. The cause of death was cardiac failure, chronic bronchitis, and generalised arteriosclerosis. It was certified by the coroner after a post mortem. The informant was John D. Russell, Bob's nephew, of 68 Cheyne Court, Chelsea London, SW3.


From Notes By Don written in 1944.

Mr. R. C. Russell having lost his money in retirement came to England in 1943 to get a job and has since linked up with Mr. Beattie in the reorganisation of Malayan Collieries Ltd.

From Notes by Don written in 1944.

..." a Board of Directors for Malayan Collieries Ltd. had been formed in this country and that they are endeavouring to resuscitate the Company in England for which purpose they have registered an office at 4, Queen Victoria Street. The Directors now registered are Andrew Beattie, alternate for F. Cunningham; G. M. Dalgety, for A. M. Delamore; R. C. Russell, A. J. Kelman and J. Drysdale. The previous Board of Directors consisted of H. H. Robbins, J. Drysdale, F. Cunningham, A. J. Kelman and A. M. Delamore. Of these Directors, two only could be considered working Directors, viz. Messrs. Robbins and Drysdale who were also Directors of J. A. Russell & Co., Ltd. Unfortunately both these Directors were captured by the Japanese. Mr. Robbins has since died in internment and Mr. Drysdale is till interned. Also at this juncture it is pointed out that Mr. D. O. Russell, referred to previously, was also captured by the Japanese and is interned in Hongkong. The active members on the reconstituted Board are Mr. Andrew Beattie and Mr. R. C. Russell, the others being just names or unable to act. The two gentlemen mentioned have grudges against Mr. D. O. Russell. Mr. A. Beattie by reason of the fact that he was virtually discharged from W. R. Loxley & Co. (London) Ltd., Mr. R. C. Russell who was a principal of J. A. Russell & Co., to the end of 1937, by reason of the fact that he also was asked to resign. In this latter instance Mr. Robbins was responsible for the resignation, but would have obtained the agreement of Mr. D. O. Russell.

Were Bob's theatrical activities embarrassing to the company? Was his expensive life style a drain on the company's resources? Was he so busy doing revues that he neglected the work of a director? Was he right about Mr. Robbins and removed because he knew too much?

Bob Russell with his nephew Robert, Philip's son. From Hilda's album taken in the late 1920s
Above: Bob seated left. His notes on the back of the picture record that Mrs. Maxwell is seated next to him and that her husband was late of Chartered Bank now Macphail & Co. Standing: Syd Smith left, and Welsh right, (one of H. H. Sultan's Team). Presumably at the races, or a polo match, possibly one of the ones reported in February 1923, above. Was this Mrs. Maxwell, wife of the Chief Secretary to the F.M.S. (1920-26)?
Bob was said to have entertained Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford in Kuala Lumpur. Possibly at Bok House. It is not known when this would be but must have been between 1920 and 1933 when the couple separated. Bob said that Fairbanks never walked downstairs he always vaulted. No news reports of their visit have been found to confirm this.

The Straits Times, 25 November 1925, Page 10

THE MIDNIGHT FOLLIES Performance at Kuala Lumpur. (Contributed.) With the performance last Friday and' Saturday of the Midnight Follies (organised by Mrs. J. Davidson on behalf of the K. L. Girl Guides Companies) Kuala Lumpur achieved its greatest success in topical revue. Sitting round small tables and dancing between the stage items, - conditions which made the whole performance singularly enjoyable- the audience were astonished, in this cabaret show of local amateurs, at the professional finish which marked the whole production, the faultless taste in the stage setting, and the admiral regularity with which the whole programme was carried through. We know of many who saw the show both nights and enjoyed the second as much as the first, which is a test of its quality. We congratulate Kuala Lumpur on this remarkable achievement. • The stage had its own orchestra and a good one too, (Mr. Mallon assisted by Messrs. Hydon, Trowell and Wiggington,) and the audience its own band (the State Band) stationed at the opposite end of the hall, - one of those arrangements which suggested themselves to Mr. Kitserow and make all the difference in cabaret between a first rate and an indifferent result. After an overture by the State Band, the Midnight Follies introduced themselves in an opening chorus, which gave the audience a hint of what might be expected later in the more elaborate items which this excellent chorus was to give. After a fox-trot the audience had the pleasure of hearing Mrs. W. S. Reeve- Tucker, in Spanish costume, singing very well a song which Mrs. Raffles and Dr. Miles danced to. The Uninvited Guest followed, a topical sketch in two scenes, (i) the Chief Secretary’s office and (ii) Bud’s Tea Rooms. The first scene contained a witty conception which would have been altogether admirable if the authors had resisted the rather natural temptation, to which it lent itself all too easily, of giving too many examples of it. The second scene required more acting and got it, especially from Mrs. Bagot who played an amusing part amusingly. A solo and dance Tamarisk Town which Mrs. Stamford Raffles gave next left one with the feeling that unless this kind of oriental dancing is done by genius itself, it had better be left undone, but certainly Mrs. Raffles did it as well as we have seen anyone out here do it, and our criticism is a general one. • With the topical item the Girl who bought forward in Rubber, Messrs. Linell and Kitserow delighted the audience in their own inimical way. Those who have tried to write topical verses and original patter will appreciate how clever the performance was. Later (and dancing was going on between the items all the time) came the chief event of the evening, Listening sung by Mrs. Wallis and assisted by the special Dancing Chorus of the Midnight Follies. This item was unusually admirable, the early Victorian costumes being most attractive, the ladies in crinolines of tastefully blended colours and the men in Beau Brummel dress. It shows what can be done when a producer like Dr Miles takes in hand seven ladies of grace and charm, and seven men of presence, and applies ideas as well as industry to their training. The selection of Mrs. Wallis as the central figure was fortunate and the charm of her singing was greatly admired. Opinion was unanimous that performance of this chorus was beautifully conceived and perfectly rendered. Their names deserve to be recorded:- Mrs. Raffles, Miss. P. Gleeson, Mrs. Bagot, Miss M. Gilman, Mrs. Davidson, Mrs. Wallis, Mrs. Spooner; Messrs. Hime, Langworthy, Kibder, Gibb, Davenport, Hindly Smith and McIntyre. Of the remaining items special mention must be made of the duet Show me the way to go Home, with ukuleles, with which Messrs. Linnel and Kitserow again carried the audience enthusiastically with them. Their technique was professional. • After a finale by the entire company, the ladies of the chorus appearing in fascinating jazz costumes of soft pale shades and top hats, dancing continued for an hour or more, when one heard nothing but praise of what was undoubtedly an admirable show.

Agnes Rough, when interviewed in the 1980s, said she was supposed to have married Bob Russell twice. Once before he married Myrtle and again when he was free after his divorce. Agnes was asked to go and see Bob's father Jack and was told Bob would be there. Agnes declined to go because Bob was married to Myrtle but Jack said they were "untying the knot." Agnes went and Bob promised that when they returned from K.L. after sorting out his affairs with Myrtle, they would get married. But in the end he married Lola and Agnes remained single for the rest of her life.

Archie talking about China Minerals Ltd., in 1918 said:

"The directors of the company were myself, my brother R. C. Russell and Mr. Beatty. Messrs. Loxley and Co. were the agents of the company. They engaged the services of Mr. James Barr and my brother Mr. R. C. Russell. He was working in the F.M.S., but not as a mining engineer. He had experience in mining and spoke a certain amount of Chinese. Although Mr. R. C. Russell was not a partner, the bulk of certain of his shares and properties belonged to the partnership."

Malay Mail Thursday April 3 1924 page 9

A letter from J. A. Russell and Co. signed by H.H. Robbins to the Kinta Land office on 27th July, 1922 includes a Power of Attorney, Mr. J. A. Russell to Mr. R. C. Russell.

John Drysdale said that Archie once said that if Bob gave half as much attention to company business as he did to amateur theatricals he would be a very useful member of staff.

Kathleen Gemmill said that Archie said Bob was useful for the social contacts he made.

" Nevertheless, on Friday last, at a board meeting of the E.M.R. Co. Mr. Tan Way An was again appointed director of that company being proposed by Dr. Birnie (the promoter of Menoehan) and seconded by Mr. R. C. Russell, who is a substitute on the board of the E.M.R. Co. for Mr. J. A Russell."

A letter to the Editor of the Straits Times from Fred. Peck on 14 October 1924.

Left: Bob and Lola's wedding reported in The Straits Times, 15 September 1935, Page 24

Bob and Myrtle appear on the electoral register for Westminster, London as Robert Cecil Russell and Myrtle Aline Russell living at 23 Brook Street W1. Robert Russell abode Kuala Lumpur F.M.S. and Myrtle's abode: Vectis Wolsey Rd. Surrey.
Above: Bob in riding clothes outside the Shabeen.