Obituary – Roger McGowan

Roger McGowan sadly passed away at his home in Kuala Lumpur on 7 July, 2020 aged 71, after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer.  Until the very end he had led a vigorous and busy life – in recent years taking part in ocean swimming marathons in Australia and Malaysia, and trekking expeditions to Ireland, Scotland and Tuscany as well as participating in his usual games of golf in Malaysia.  He fought his cancer with tenacity and optimism – gaining a full four years on the UK consultant who six years ago had given him just two years to live.

Roger’s father, who had Roger late in life, had flown for the Royal Flying Corp in France in 1917 and was deemed too old for active service in the Second World War, where he served as an instructor. With these impressive antecedents, and with flying clearly in the family DNA, it was no surprise that Roger at the age of 18 successfully applied to join the RAF, where he trained to fly the English Electric Lightning, which was the UK’s primary air defence fighter of the 1960s and ‘70s.  Roger served in Lightning squadrons in the UK, Germany and Cyprus before opting to leave in the 1980s and become a civilian pilot with Britannia Airways – where he reportedly enjoyed all the benefits that accrued from long-haul travel to exotic locations. In the 1990s, Roger had a two year assignment with Malaysian Airlines, where once again he participated fully in the cultural and social opportunities on offer, while developing a close attachment to Malaysia.

In the late 1990s, Roger stood down as an airline pilot and thereafter was largely unencumbered by work, taking up instead the Malaysia My Second Home scheme.  This freedom enabled him to become an active golfer, scuba-diver, kite-surfer, mountaineer, ocean free-swimmer, trekker and international traveller.  He also met Mindy, who became his long-term partner and, in his last months, his wife.  Roger and Mindy were well known in the Kuala Lumpur social scene, particularly during Roger’s tenure as Chieftain of the St Andrew’s Society.  Alongside his sport and socialising, many friends will also remember Roger for his enthusiastic promotion of outlandish conspiracy theories, which he would research and argue with the dogged tenacity expected of a fighter pilot.

As a keen golfer Roger played with a number of local golfing groups. He was a regular attendee of the KLOGS golf society, first playing in September 2008 (guest of Andrew Barber) before becoming a member in January 2009. He will be remembered fondly as perhaps the calmest player of the society, with his ability to never get flustered, regardless of the outcome of a shot with a great sense of humour. He was also a winner on the 2018 away in Bangkok and recently served on the committee as ‘moneybags’. Roger also played a total of 63 games with the Loose Cannons golfing group who play every Tuesday. Roger was also an active member over the last few years with the FRID’ Eggs golfing group who play every Friday and played a total of 37 games. He also joined the group on our last away tour in August 2019 to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

His unflappable character served him well in life.  He never seemed to lose his temper and always retained a keen sense of humour – even in his final days.  Roger died too young but he had lived life to the full.  At his funeral, Roger the RAF fighter ace was dressed in the kilt and regalia of a Scottish chieftain. He was a man of parts and will be missed by his many friends, colleagues and companions.   

R.I.P. Roger McGowan

Obituary – Tom Holmes

It was with deep sadness and shock that we heard about the sudden death of Tom Holmes on 12th June 2020. 

Tom (48) will be fondly remembered by all for his jovial nature, his passion for the game of golf and of course his inimitable sharp, dry humour.

It was in 2008, after meeting Mike Smith at the Doha Golf Club, Qatar and with Mike enthusing to Tom about how nice Malaysia was, Tom, who was now at the end of his contract, jumped on a plane with one suitcase and his golf clubs and arrived in Malaysia. Here he fell right into the KL lifestyle and joined a number of golfing societies living the life of leisure before getting a job. Tom subsequently became an “offshore tiger” having gained employment here in Malaysia specialising in offshore installations, flare maintenance and operations, which included flare tip and igniter panels replacement, given his electrical background.

In the time that Tom was in Malaysia he was active in all the KL golf societies such as Loose Cannons, KLOGS and FRID’ Eggs but Tom was of course predominantly active in the running of the WIGS group which played every Sunday at Bukit Unggul.

Tom was involved with the WIGS golf group for many years and with his organisational skills and meticulous attention to detail with the WIGS unique scoring and handicapping system along with the “Animal Fines” and other associated infringements Tom ultimately headed up the WIGS group. Tom organised and attended every twice-yearly golf away trips in his capacity as CW for the WIGS society and they were all an outstanding success.

Tom was also a regular attender of KLOGS monthly games and twice-yearly “aways” for over 10 years when not working offshore. His last victory was at Tropicana in April of 2017, and on this day as well as easily winning the game he was also awarded the “other award” for blobbing the last hole when considered well in front – handicap preservation being the cry with the forthcoming May away on the horizon. Tom was regularly awarded this accolade, most recently on the Chiang Mai November Away, where as well as winning the daily misdemeanour award he also took this for the tour -something to do with the wearing of an orange bathing cap in the shower. Tom’s greatest qualities were to give everyone the benefit of his cutting wit, but also not getting bothered when it rebounded and taking his punishment in fine style. He was also quick to assist and standing in as scribe at short notice, and acting as the tour’s fines master with relish. With his wide knowledge of golf in the region, he was a very helpful source on the latest course information when planning the next away adventure. In addition to all the above an accomplished golfer who always showed great sportsmanship and a loyal friend to all those that had the privilege to meet him.

Tom was also a member of the FRID’ Eggs group who met every Friday and, work or travel permitting, Tom would join the group. Tom’s last game with FRID’ Eggs was on 14th February 2020 at Danau Golf Club where he won on the day – a very fitting result for a great golfer and a great human being.

Tom was a very well-loved and respected friend to everybody in our community here in Malaysia. The outpouring messages of affection and tributes received upon the shock and disbelief at Tom’s sudden and totally unexpected demise bears testimony to this. Tom became more than just a golf buddy to some, he also became a part of the family. 

Tom will be sadly missed by all his golfing friends and all his other friends and working colleagues here in Malaysia and overseas but of course our thoughts and deepest condolences go out at this time to his family back in UK. 

R.I.P. Tom Holmes

Obituary – David Hughes

David Hughes sadly passed away peacefully on 8th December 2019, aged 82 after a short illness.  David for many years lived in Malaysia and was an active member of the Loose Cannons golfing group.

With his armed forces and physical instructor background he was always a strong, low handicap golfer and one of the few lefties amongst us. After his return to Wales, David made annual visits out to Malaysia to visit his daughter during the winter months and frequently rejoined our group for rounds of golf.

David, or “Taffy” as he was affectionately known,  will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by all his golfing mates from the Loose Cannons.

Our condolences go out to David’s family at this sad time and may he R.I.P.

Obituary – Gordon Wingate

It was with deep sadness that we all heard about the sudden death of Gordon Wingate on Saturday 29th June 2013. Gordon will always be remembered for his good humour, his passion for the game of golf and his frequent participation at the Loose Cannons games as well as other KL golfing groups such as WIGS and KLOGS since his arrival in KL in November 2012.

Gordon joined Loose Cannons in November last year when he relocated here from Dubai and very quickly assimilated into the group.  Although I have known Gordon only a relatively short time I quickly grew to relate to Gordon particularly given our common Scottish heritage, his sharp and dry sense of Scottish wit and humour and of course his love for the game of golf. I remember distinctly the first game he joined us at Bukit Kemuning …. back in November 2012  …. I remember it well as it was an extremely wet and rather sodden/flooded course we played …. must have reminded Gordon of Scotland …. and I also remember because I actually won that day. Since that time we have enjoyed playing golf most weeks both with the Loose Cannons group as well as other organised games in and around KL. I may add that Gordon and I added a small incentive over the last few months in the form of a “small wager”  …. RM20 to be precise …  just to focus our minds on the game at hand … although I am disappointed to report that this income has not added significantly to my retirement fund. Gordon was well known for his quick playing style and his big drives off the tee …. many of which kept the local monkey population in the jungles on their toes! In his time here in KL with the Loose Cannons group Gordon played 24 games with the Loose Cannons with one win. It was only just last week I played with Gordon which was sadly to be his last game…. I am glad to report that he did win that game. Gordon is by now no doubt in the middle of that big wide fairway in that celestial golf course (which I may add will be the first time he has been in the fairway for some time).

We should take this time not to be remorseful of this great loss but to take the time to celebrate  celebrate a life, a life well lived, a life lived to the full. Let us all remember and reminisce about the wonderful, colourful times we have all enjoyed with Gordon and the joy, goodwill, humour and laughter that Gordon brought to each and everyone of us. Once again let us all join in hearts and minds to celebrate and remember the Life of Gordon Wingate.