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.

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 the AIDS virus spread from a central origin in Africa. You knew that, too? Well, perhaps not the fact that Hashing is an affliction akin to AIDS but how’s this for exponential growth:

Date                      Event

1938                      Kuala Lumpur H3 (Mother Hash) founded

1947                      Royal Bordighera H3 founded – first known offshoot, ceased early 1960s

1962                      Singapore H3 founded

1962                      Brunei H3 founded

1967                      Dhekelia H3 – second hash in Europe (Cyprus), after RBH3 above.

1967                      Sydney H3 – first Hash in Australia

1971                      Fort Eustis H3 – first Hash in the North America

1969                      Longmoor H3 founded – the first Hash in UK (Hampshire area)

1971                      Commando Forces H3 founded – previously thought to be the first Hash in UK

1971                      Westcombe Park H3 founded – oldest monthly running Hash in UK

1973                      KL H3 1500th run – 35 other Hashes “known” to exist

1974                      Bicester H3 founded – oldest weekly running Hash in UK

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

2000                      1570 Active Hashes known in 184 countries with 200,000 hashers


Both servicemen and diplomats have been largely responsible for the contagion spreading of the hash. Previously it was believed that the first known hash in the UK was the Commando Forces H3 based at Plymouth, founded in 1971 by Col Ray Thornton, but evidence has shown the first was the Longmoor Hash, which Capt Richard McAllister started in May 1969. More information on Longmoor is here

These flourished in the early seventies but like many military hashes petered out when postings decimated the membership. Longmoor was the “mother hash” for the Fort Eustis Hash in USA whilst Ray Thornton also went on to found Bicester, Donnington and Looe & Liskeard, all of which still hash today.