Kossick, David

Plot Location Pokfulam Memorial
Surname Kossick
Given Name(s) David
Place of Birth South Shields, Durham, England
Date of Birth (Eng) 1896
Date of Birth (Heb)
Date of Death (Eng) December 12, 1941
Date of Death (Heb)
Age at Death 46
Hebrew Name
Spouse’s Name Rose Kossick née Davis
Father’s Name Moses Kossick
Mother’s Name Gertrude Kossick née Cammer
Other Surnames
Sex M
Marital Status M
Maiden Name
Title (e.g., Dr)
Religious Status (כ/ל/י)
Cause of Death Civilian casualty
Other Family Data Brother: Sydney Kossick (b. 1904)
Inscription (Eng)
Inscription (Heb)
Inscription (Other)
Historical David was engineer and ship surveyor in the government Marine Surveyor’s Office. On the night of December 12, 1941, a barge filled with 9 tons of dynamite was towed by a P&O tug Jeanette to the Star Ferry pier in Central. As it had arrived earlier than expected, it was fired upon by the soldiers of the Middlesex regiment, who assumed it was a Japanese ship. The boat exploded in the harbour in front of the Harbour Office. A witness described the scene: “A terrific explosion shakes the building, throwing me back against the wall. Before I can open my mouth there is another heavy explosion and it feels as though all hell has been let loose. Doors and windows fly open, glass crashes everywhere.” David, working in the Harbour Office, was killed in this explosion, which was probably the largest ever in Hong Kong. The CWGC notes his grave as “Hong Kong”, but it is not known where he is buried. A Memorial Board in his memory, and that of seven other members of staff of the Marine Department, was placed in the Harbour Office (now the Marine Department) in August 1947. He is also memorialized at Pokfulam Cemetery.

His father was a picture framer, then a newsagent in Newcastle. His parents were both born in England (he in South Shields; she in Manchester), but his grandfather, Henry, was born in Poland in 1823, and came to South Shields in the 1850s, working as a clothier and outfitter. His mother’s family also came from Poland.

When David was 15 years old, he was already working as warehouse boy in a varnish and cycle sundries business in Newcastle. He studied at Heaton Day Technical School in Newcastle, then at the Marine School in South Shields, becoming an apprentice with the North Eastern Marine Engineering Company in 1912. In 1914, he enlisted in the Royal Engineers as a Sapper, and served in France during WWI. He was awarded the British Medal and the Victory Medal. He then returned to his old company to complete his apprenticeship. In 1918, he was employed as a shore staff engineer by Alfred Holt & Co, then promoted to marine engineer, sailing in various vessels. He was regularly promoted, serving at sea as an engineer on Holt’s vessels (the Blue Funnel Line), including SS Telemachus and SS Teiresias.

He and Rose married in 1918 in Newcastle. Rose stayed in Newcastle, living for many years with David’s father at 250 Jesmond Road. Rose died in Newcastle in 1981, leaving an estate of ₤50,104.

He came to Hong Kong in 1935 as Assistant Government Marine Surveyor (Engineer Surveyor), and was later promoted to Engineer and Ship Surveyor, becoming a member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in 1936.

Soon after his arrival in Hong Kong, he was involved with the Jewish community, becoming a member of the Committee of Ohel Leah in 1936.

In addition to his professional and community activities, David was also a prolific amateur show producer. For example, in December 1938, he arranged a burlesque football match in the grounds of the South China Athletic Club (now SCAA) as part of the pageant sponsored by the Chinese Industrial Co-operatives, attended by thousands of people. Following the evacuation of wives and children in 1940, he produced a variety programme for the Dockyard Recreation Club’s “Stag Party”. In November 1941, he arranged a programme of variety entertainment at the Lyemun [Lei Yue Mun] Barracks for the entertainment of soldiers and sailors.

On December 5, 1941, he appeared in the role of Rosen in the dress rehearsal of the comedy “The Late Christopher Bean” by Sydney Howard. The production was by the Amateur Dramatic Club of the European YMCA, in aid of the British Prisoners of War fund and the YMCA Mobile Canteens. As performances were scheduled for later that week, these were no doubt his last appearances on stage.

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