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The Moss Collection : A Brief Introduction To Mr And Mrs Moss
The picture on the left shows Percival Moss and his wife Jessie Gertrude Moss (nee Blake) on their Golden Wedding Anniversary. At the time this picture was taken, Mr Moss (85) and his wife (82) were probably living in Acton, UK.
On the right is an article taken from the London Post, dated October 29th 1948. This article gives a brief account of the life of Mr and Mrs Moss during their years in Malaya, from around 1899-1910. The London Post states that
In 1898, Jessie Blake was on her way to Melbourne for a friend’s wedding where she was going to be the bridesmaid. She then met Percival Moss on board the SS Oceania when it stopped at Colombo, Ceylon. They got married in London in October 1898 and Jessie followed her husband to Malaya.
Mr Moss first started out in Singapore, where he was employed by John Little and Co, supplying uniforms for about 500 Sikh and Malayan policemen. Once the Malayan States were federated, the police and armed forces increased in number (between seven to eight thousand). They included Sikhs, Afghans, and Indians. Moss then began his service for the FMS as ‘superintendent clothier’ and provided uniforms for the military, police and prison wardens.
While they lived in Malaya, Mr and Mrs Moss were frequent guests of the British Resident. It was in Taiping that the couple welcomed the birth of their only son Arthur Percival Moss. Mr Moss was a freemason while his wife was a member of the ladies rifle club at Taiping. It was at this club that Mr and Mrs Moss met Lord Kitchener - who was the ‘commander of the force’ that saved General Gordon, Lord Roberts and the Duke of Connaught.
During those years (late 1800's and early 1900's), travelling on the back of an elephant was quite common. This was one of the ways Mr Moss made his journeys around Malaya. It is also stated that when the first railway (in the FMS) was built, the engine had an unfortunate encounter with an enraged elephant - which led to the poor beast’s death and the derailment of the said engine. The Moss’ were frequent worshippers at the All Saints’ Church in Taiping. They knew the then vicar Rev H G Peile. Mr Moss retired in 1910 due to ill health and the family moved back to the UK. They lived at Hastings for about nine years before moving to Acton in 1921. They spent the rest of their years together with their son and two grandchildren.
We thank Bernard Moss, the grandson of Percival Moss, for lending us this picture and the article. He has also lent us a large collection of pictures and documents which are featured on this site (under the title ‘The Moss Collection’).
Ipoh Remembered also added that: "Moss was sent from Singapore to Taiping as a "cutter" – by his employer, John Little & Co., which had the MSG (Malay States Guides) contract. Moss was in Taiping by 1890, before the Malay States were federated".