The origins of HASHING

Filched by courtesy of The Bicester H3

Running in a war zone article

To begin at the beginning, as they say in all the best yarns, one should go back to 1938 in Kuala Lumpur in what is now Malaysia when a group of ex-patriates associated with the rubber plantations started a modified paper chase in order to work up a decent thirst before retiring to the Selangor Club. There the restaurant was known locally as the "Hash House" so naturally the name was adopted by the harriers and in contrast to other groups undertaking similar activities the name stuck. The particular genius of the founding father, A S Gispert, nicknamed "G", was to make the traditional hare & hounds running more fun by making it non-competitive. But you knew all that really, didn't you?

So we will move on quickly to the Second World War and its aftermath which became known as the Malayan Emergency when British and Australian troops joined in the fun and when posted elsewhere began new chapters and the Hash House Harriers spread throughout the world rather like a virus - how's this for exponential growth:


Date Event
1938 Kuala Lumpur H3 (Mother Hash) founded
1962 Singapore H3 founded
1967 Dhekelia H3 - first hash in Europe
1967 Sydney H3 - first Hash in Australia
1971 Fort Eustis H3 - first Hash in the North America
1971 Westcombe Park H3 founded - oldest Hash in UK
1973 KL H3 1500th run - 35 other Hashes "known" to exist
1974 Bicester H3 founded
1975 Surrey H3 founded
1976 London H3 founded
1977 90 Hashes known in 35 countries
1984 Harrier International founded
1986 555 Hashes known in 85 countries
1988 700 Hashes known in 125 countries
1991 First High Wycombe H3 run from The Stag and Huntsman at Hambledon
1997 1470 Active Hashes known in 184 countries with 100,000 hashers

Both servicemen and diplomats have been largely responsible for the contagion spreading and indeed the first known recorded hash in the UK was the Commando Forces H3 based at Plymouth founded in 1971/2 by the then Col Ray Thornton (ex-JM of Singapore H3) which flourished in the early seventies but like many military hashes petered out when postings decimated the membership.