Academic journal article Borneo Research Bulletin

Bob Reece, Ed., 2011. End of an Era. the Borneo Reminiscences of C.F.C Mackaskie, C.M.G

Academic journal article Borneo Research Bulletin

Bob Reece, Ed., 2011. End of an Era. the Borneo Reminiscences of C.F.C Mackaskie, C.M.G

Article excerpt

Bob Reece, ed., 2011. End of an Era. The Borneo Reminiscences of C.F.C Mackaskie, C.M.G. Kota Kinabalu: Opus Publications. ISBN 978-983-3987-42-9; 170 pp., + appendix, index, photographs, hardcover with dust jacket.

This book presents the memoirs of the late C.F.C. Macaskie, one of the most successful and longest-serving officers of the British North Borneo (Chartered) Company and the post-World War II colonial governments. It has been edited and prefaced with a fairly comprehensive Introduction by Dr. Bob Reece, Emeritus Professor of History at Murdoch University. Apart from some editorial errors and omissions which do not affect the book's overall importance, the Macaskie memoirs are interesting reading and provide important insights into the history of North Borneo (now called Sabah) and Malaysia.

Charles Frederick Cunningham Macaskie was bom in England in 1888. After a relatively happy childhood, later adventures in Canada and Cyrus, and passing the Bar at Gray's Inn, he came to North Borneo in 1910 as a cadet under the Chartered Company. He was briefly posted to Tambunan and to Papar. Then over the next fifty years, he had a distinguished career in most of the departments of the Chartered Company administration in North Borneo, with a secondment to the Brooke administration of Sarawak (19321934), service in both World Wars, and as head of both the post-war British military and British Crown colonial administrations. After retirement to Stanthorpe in Queensland, Australia, he was recalled to service as the British Judge in the Appeals Courts of Fiji and the New Hebrides.

Among his numerous Chartered Company appointments, he served as Commissioner of Lands (1920), Acting Judicial Commissioner (1923), Protector of Labour (1926), Resident of West Coast (1929), Judge of the Sessions Court (1930), Judge of the High Court (1930), Officer Administering the Government (1930), Resident of Sandakan and Kudat (1931), Official Member of the Legislative Council (1932), Chief Justice (1934), and Deputy Governor of North Borneo (1936).

He served for two years in World War I in Italy then France as 2nd Lieutenant of the Essex Regiment and then Acting Captain of the 8th Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment. While on leave in 1918, he married an English socialite. With little in common and no shared interest in Borneo, the marriage was a disaster and they divorced a few years later.

In 1941, serious illness necessitated his departure to Sydney for surgery. When his return to North Borneo was prevented by the outbreak of World War II and he was deemed unfit for military combat, he at first spent some time in a rented property in Stanthorpe, Queensland, from where he sought to assist the wives and children of Chartered Company officers and others who were held in Japanese prison camps in Borneo. In 1943, he was appointed as Head of the Borneo Planning Unit in London to prepare for the liberation and post-war development of North Borneo and Sarawak. From 1945 to 1946, he served as Chief Civil Affairs Officer under the 50 Civil Affairs Unit, followed by the British Borneo Civil Affairs Unit (BBCAU), and then under the British Military Administration of Borneo. In 1947, he worked with the War Damage Claims Commission for Borneo, and finally retired from North Borneo in 1951.

During 1946, he married Doris Cole-Adams, widow of his friend Bernard Cole-Adams the former Acting Resident of Tawau who had died in the Batu Lintang prison camp in Kuching just before the war's end. He became a devoted father to her three children. Doris accompanied him on his post-war appointments to Borneo under the War Damage Claims Commission, and during his service in Fiji and the New Hebrides. This happy marriage lasted until his death in 1969.

Macaskie writes in a flowing, easy-to-read style. His memoirs display an intelligent dedication to duty, a diplomatic sense of fair play, humility and a subtle wit. …

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