Lancelot Maurice Pennefather



Lancelot Maurice Pennefather, also known as L. M. Pennefather (b. 1 January 1894, Malacca–d. 22 June 1982, Singapore) was a noted footballer, athlete, cricketer, weightlifter and hockey player. He was nicknamed “son of the devil” for his fearlessness. Pennefather represented Singapore in six Malaya Cup finals between 1922 and 1928.1

Early life and career
Born to senior survey officer of the Straits Settlements, John Pyne Pennefather and his wife Anne de Souza, Pennefather had seven brothers and four sisters.2 He attended St Francis’ elementary school in Malacca before moving to Singapore with his family at the age of 14, where he attended St Joseph’s Institution (SJI).3

In 1918, Pennefather met Alice Edith Wilhelmina Patterson and they married a year later.4 An accountant by trade, Pennefather was employed at Universal Pictures. After retiring from Universal in 1950, he worked as a tour guide at a local brewery for the next 16 years.5

Sporting career

A versatile sportsman, Pennefather participated with distinction in a number of disciplines including football, athletics, cricket, hockey, badminton, weight lifting and tennis. During his time at SJI, he was the school’s individual champion in sports twice, the inter-school champion in 1910 and runner-up the following year.6

He joined the Singapore Recreation Club (SRC) in 1918, and was the club’s individual champion from 1919 to 1921 and inter-club champion in 1921. He also competed with success at a number of Malayan Amateur Athletic championships in the 1920s.7

Pennefather’s favourite athletic events were the 100-yard and 200-yard sprints, and the 120-yard hurdles. His best times for these events were 10.4 seconds for the 100-yard sprint and 16.6 seconds for the 120-yard hurdles.8

He also played team sports, representing the SRC in football, cricket and hockey. The Straits Times hailed Pennefather as “one of Singapore’s best all-round athletes in his day” in one of its reports in 1933.9

Football career

Pennefather is best known for his football prowess, having captained the SRC team during an early boom of the Singapore league. He also represented Singapore during the first decade of the Malaya Cup, a successful period for the team.10

Pennefather began playing for Singapore in the 1910s, scoring in a match against Johor in 1914.11 When the Malaya Cup was inaugurated in 1921, Pennefather was asked to join the team, but declined as he was then focused on training for the SRC athletics championships.

In July 1922, Pennefather made his Malaya Cup debut, teaming up with well-known players such as Lim Yong Liang and Dolfatah. For the next six years Pennefather was a regular on the team, lifting his first trophy with the team in 1923.12

In 1925, the Malaya Cup final was held in Singapore for the first time and it proved to be a memorable occasion for Pennefather. Playing in front of a packed Anson Road Stadium, Pennefather marshalled Singapore’s rear-guard against Selangor’s forwards and led his team to a 2-1 victory, marking consecutive wins from 1923 to 1925. A Straits Times report singled Pennefather out for his notable performance in the game.13

Pennefather’s last appearance in the Malaya Cup final was in 1928,14 in which Singapore and Selangor shared a trophy as a result of a 2-2 tie. Once again, the plaudits went to Pennefather, with the Straits Times reporting that he “played a fine game and over and over again saved his side from disaster”.15

Some 47 years after his retirement from football, a 1975 New Nation report remembered Pennefather as “one of the most formidable fullbacks Singapore has ever seen”.16

Retirement from football
There are differing accounts of Pennefather’s retirement from football. A 1979 Straits Times article reported that he had retired from the game in 1928 following an injury. A 1933 article from the same newspaper, however, related an incident in which Pennefather had collided with an opposing player during a game against the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment. According to the report, Pennefather was “blamed for rough tactics” and left the game for good as he was “hurt by this allegation of unfairness”.17

Family
Pennefather was one half of a famous sporting couple. His wife Alice was also an accomplished sportswoman. She started playing badminton the year they were married and was coached by Pennefather. In 1931, Alice became the badminton singles champion of both Singapore and Malaya, winning the singles title again in 1932 and 1934. In addition, she was Singapore’s tennis champion from 1935 to 1938, as well as captain of the national women’s hockey team.18 They were known as “grandpa and grandma of Sport” within Singapore’s sporting community in the 50s and 60s.19


Pennefather passed away on 22 June 1982.20 His son, Percy Pennefather, was well-known in Singapore’s hockey scene and had led Singapore’s national hockey team at the 1956 Olympic Games.21 Percy’s daughter Annabel also represented Singapore in hockey and became the first female president of the Singapore Hockey Federation. She was the first female chef de mission to lead Team Singapore at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.22



Author

Alvin Chua




References
1. Fullback with wings. (1975, April 25). New Nation, pp. 10–11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Pennefather One Name Study. Pennefather, Lancelot Maurice. Retrieved on 2016, July 12 from Pennefather One Name Study website: http://pennyfather.one-name.net/getperson.php?personID=I858&tree=Pennyfather
2. Pennefather One Name Study. Pennefather, Lancelot Maurice. Retrieved on 2016, July 12 from Pennefather One Name Study website: http://pennyfather.one-name.net/getperson.php?personID=I858&tree=Pennyfather; Fullback with wings. (1975, April 25). New Nation, pp. 10–11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Fullback with wings. (1975, April 25). New Nation, pp. 10–11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Diamond anniversary…. (1979, March 3). The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Fullback with wings. (1975, April 25). New Nation, pp. 10–11; Diamond anniversary…. (1979, March 3). The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Fullback with wings. (1975, April 25). New Nation, pp. 10–11; A champion of yesterday. (1933, November 19). The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. A champion of yesterday. (1933, November 19). The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Fullback with wings. (1975, April 25). New Nation, pp. 10–11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. A champion of yesterday. (1933, November 19). The Straits Times, p. 14; Fullback with wings. (1975, April 25). New Nation, pp. 10–11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. A champion of yesterday. (1933, November 19). The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Football. Inter-state: Singapore vs Johore. (1914, July 11). Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Fullback with wings. (1975, April 25). New Nation, pp. 10–11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Yap, S. (1975, April 25). Penny for your thoughts. New Nation, pp. 10–11; Malaya cup final. (1925, August 31). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. A champion of yesterday. (1933, November 19). The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. The cup final. (1928, August 27). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Fullback with wings. (1975, April 25). New Nation, pp. 10–11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. A champion of yesterday. (1933, November 19). The Straits Times, p. 14; Fullback with wings. (1975, April 25). New Nation, pp. 10–11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Fullback with wings. (1975, April 25). New Nation, pp. 10–11; Diamond anniversary…. (1979, March 3). The Straits Times, p. 15; Grand old lady of sport dies. (1983, February 25). The Straits Times, p. 42. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Pennefather, A. (2002, April 7). What about Best Sport Parent of the Year Award? The New Paper, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Untitled. (1982, June 23). The Straits Times, p. 32. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. Pennefather, A. (2002, April 7). What about Best Sport Parent of the Year Award? The New Paper, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Pennefather, A. (2002, April 7). What about Best Sport Parent of the Year Award? The New Paper, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. (2005–2016). ANNABEL, PENNEFATHER, HER WORLD WOMAN OF THE YEAR. Retrieved 2016, July 12 from Her World Woman of the Year website: http://womanoftheyear.herworldplus.com/2004-annabel-pennefather



The information in this article is valid as at 2011 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Football players--Singapore--Biography
Athletes--Singapore--Biography
Sports, recreation and travel>>Ball games>>Cricket
Personalities
Pennefather, Lancelot Maurice, 1894-1982
Personalities>>Biographies
Sports, recreation and travel>>Ball games>>Hockey
Sports, recreation and travel>>Ball games>>Football