Gertrude Bean Hinch

Gertrude Bean Hinch was born on 18 April 1890/1891 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.  In 1921 she graduated from Carroll College which is the oldest institution of higher learning in the State of Wisconsin.

She was the wife of Thomas William Hinch (1887-1970) who was the first non-missionary expatriate Principal of the Anglo-Chinese School in Singapore from 1929 to 1946 (interrupted by the war of course).

Hinch YWCA BookAGertrude became active in the YWCA and was awarded the OBE 1942. In 1931 she co-edited with Mrs. R. E. Holttum The Y.W.C.A. International Cookery Book of Malaya. 

She was evacuated from Singapore on the Giang Bee on 13th February 1942.

She was “…Camp Commandant in Palembang, c/o Chartered bank, London, husband in Changi…”, also “elected Vice commandant in December 1943.”

McDougall wrote of her in August 1945: She is a thoroughbred patrician, dynamic & from what we heard, took nothing from Japs, but rather kept them on defensive.

In her book ‘While History Passed‘ Jessie Simons, who was also interned along with Hinch, writes that Hinch was: ‘….. a YWCA Representative who was in charge of British internal arrangements. Though middle-aged and not robust, Mrs Hinch upheld the best traditions, and did a great job despite odds very much against her in the struggle for better food and conditions. About the only result of her efforts was ill-treatment for herself, but this had no effect on her persistence. Seki [Japanese commander] was always difficult to deal with…’ p. 91

After liberation from the Belalau camp she and all the ohter prisoners were taken back to Singapore and from there she was repatriated on the Cilicia, arriving at Liverpool on 27.11.45. Gertrude died 21.5.71.

Daughter Kathleen was born on 16th October 1926 in Malaya and married William Conrad.  She became a US citizen in 1985 in Oregon. There is no further information concerning any children.

The following appeared in the Peninsula News on 24 June 2008.

Oct. 16, 1926 — June 20, 2008
Kathleen G. Conrad died in Sequim. She was 81. Mrs. Conrad was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Thomas and Gertrude (Bean) Hinch. Services: None. Drennan-Ford Funeral Home, Port Angeles, is in charge of arrangements.

Gertrude had a younger sister, Dorothy, living in Milwaukee in 1939. Below are some notes on Gertrude and her husband Thomas William Hinch:

Gertrude Hinch 9 April 1947
9 April 1947
TW Hinch Headmaster
The Anglo-Chinese School – seated (L to R): Mr G. H. Kiat, Mr T. W. Ong (President), Mr T.W. Hinch, Mr Th io Chan Bee. Standing (L to R): Dr Ong Swee Law, Mr Dennis Lee, Mr Tan Mong Heng, Dr A.W.S. Th evathasan, Mr Yong Ngim Djin.

The following tribute was paid to the late Thomas William Hinch when he retired from the principalship of the Singapore ACS in 1948, after beginning as a teacher in the Ipoh ACS in 1911, by the Officer Administering the Government of Singapore.

ACS Ipoh
Mr. T.W. Hinch was appointed Principal in March 1915 and under him the school was a model of discipline and organisation. He organised gymnastics under a trained instructor, founded a Cadet Corps, and produced a crack football team. Mr. Hinch remained as Principal till January 1920 except for a short period in 1918-1919 when he enlisted in the I.A.R.O.

MBS Kuala Lumpur
Mr. T.W. Hinch, received his appointment as Principal in 1924 and to him fell the task of finding the money and building the home for the school . . . A Scholarship Fund for the best students in the upper classes and for many poor boys was started in 1925 . . .

ACS Singapore
The period from 1928 to 1949 for the ACS Singapore, which began with the opening of the Cairnhill building by Sir Hayes-Marriot, may be regarded as an era of consolidation and achievement. The Principal closely connected with this period was Mr. T.W. Hinch (1929-1948). Under his able leadership, the School made notable successes in every sphere of school life. In the academic field, the very high standard was maintained as shown by the results of the Cambridge Examinations. In athletics and sports, the School found great incentive in the introduction of the House System in 1930. The ACS Magazine was revived in 1929, taking the place of the ACS Journal which was started in 1889. To instil greater interest in extra-curricular activities, Mr. Hinch encouraged the formation of School Societies and Clubs devoted to Geography, History, Photography and Art. This increase in general interest and the diffusion of energy into every field of school activity by the students helped to build the necessary confidence and love for the school. This we now recognise as the way for the bold expansion plans at Barker Road.

At various periods, Mr. Hinch was Education Secretary for Methodist Schools. He kept abreast of educational and social developments of the years between 1911 and 1948. From an earlier period of stern discipline he was able to change to a gentler one which was attributed to his marriage (to Mrs. Gertrude Bean, an American missionary teacher on whom later was conferred the O.B.E. for her social work) and to the birth of his daughter Kathleen.

Mr. Hinch had a rare combination of achievement in the volunteer corps, games and music in all of which he had personal achievements and leadership. These he inculcated in others. He was a traditionalist in many ways, and yet he gave Singapore ACS the motto: “The Best is Yet to Be” by using it to conclude his annual reports. What he said of Oldham could well be said of Hinch himself: “He so lived his days that others might have better tomorrows. We who are heirs of this great institution (Singapore ACS) must surely play our part. The Past we inherit, the Present we create, but to those who will Hope, Believe and Work. THE BEST IS YET TO BE”.

He was able to separate happily the official and the personal. Work was work and he encouraged creativity and originality even where it came to sacrificing the traditional. The encouragement and inspiration he gave individuals must evoke gratitude in many generations of teachers and students . . .

Hinch had a deep and rugged faith. This came cut clearly in the Chapel programmes of the ACS which he characteristically planned in advance. Indeed the booklet the Planned Chapel which I compiled owed much to the way Mr. Hinch conducted chapel in the ACS through the years. He expressed his faith and philosophy in one of his annual reports in a manner relevant to Christian education: “The interest aroused by participation in sports activities may result, and indeed we believe does result in improved class work and examination results, but that is only a byproduct so to speak. We believe that their chief value lies in the development of personality and individuality. This we feel to be the main object of the school. And it is for that reason that as a Mission School we stress the value of religious training. For we firmly believe that a man or boy has not really found himself until he has found his God.”

He knew his Bible and theology as few laymen did; and he retained a life-long interest in the work of the Bible Society in London. On the strength of working with him from 1933 to 1948 and following his Chapel addresses, I am sure that he was expressing hope in progress in this life as well as hope in the next when he said: “The Best is Yet to Be”.

Methodist Message: January 1971

25 March 1958
25 March 1958