The Squash Section is a popular sports section at the British Club comprising about 80 Members. Any Club Member is welcome to join. The Squash Section Members are a very friendly, social and welcoming bunch. There is an annual section fee of 300 baht and a monthly fee of 100 baht. These fees cover regular court bookings including mix-ins.
Every week the Squash Section has mix-in nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays commencing at 5.00pm. All Section Members are welcome at either.
The Squash Section also runs monthly leagues commencing on the first and ending on the last day of each month. Matches are played to the best of five games, American scoring, to 11 points. League entry fee is 150 baht per month. The winner of each division receives a prize. Again, all Section Members are welcome to play in the leagues.
There is a squash ladder which is 100 baht per month and open to any Section Member. Any player on the ladder can challenge another ladder player who is positioned above him/her. Matches are played to the best of five games, American scoring, to 11 points. Ladder matches are recorded on a sheet on the Squash Section notice board near the courts. There is a monthly prize for the player who has played the most ladder matches that month. (League matches also count as ladder matches.)
The Squash Section runs five competitions throughout the year: a team competition, a handicap comp, a Club Championships, an over-45’s competition, and a tournament open to any player in Thailand. Competition fees range from 300 to 400 baht which cover the costs of F&B on finals nights, trophies and any prize monies offered. Once again, all Section Members are very welcome to enter any competition.
Team Matches and Tours
The Section also regularly hosts visiting teams from all over Asia, and goes on various tours, both domestic and abroad. Teams for these events are selected by the Section Captain, but are generally open to all Section Members. There may be some charges for these events to cover F&B and/or tour fees.
There are regular social functions throughout the year, such as an AGM, a Christmas party, birthday, farewell and public holiday mix-ins open to all Members, friends and family. Again, there may be some small charges to cover F&B.
Coaching and Others
The British Club has a squash knocker and the Squash Section offers an English County Standard Squash Coach. Details of these services are available in the Club's Fitness Centre where Squash Section shirts, a racket stringing service and squash balls are also available.
All Squash Section fees are debited monthly to a Member’s Club account.
The British Club Squash Section is self-funded by its Members and self-run by an annually elected committee which meets once a month to discuss the section’s affairs.
If you are a keen squash player then you will enjoy being part of the BCB Squash Section, regardless of your standard. There are Section Members of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, and with all the many competitions arranged throughout the year as well as the leagues, mix-ins, tours and social functions, the British Club Squash Section is one of the most social and active sections of the British Club Bangkok.
For further details please contact the Squash Section Captain or Chairman.
1925 - 2014
Late in 2005 I sat down with Tom Annas and his wife Khun Rumphai to get Tom’s life story for this article. Tom proved to be extraoradinarily modest but must have been formidable in his prime, a great soldier and a great sportsman. “Tough but fair” someone apparently once described him during his Marine days, and I’m sure he was. But the Tom we knew later in life was gentle, sincere, a deep thinker and as nice a guy as you could ever meet.
Themistocles Thomas Annas was born in Manhattan, New York City on 3rd October 1925. His parents and ancestors were Greek, his father arriving in the USA as a young man, his mother just 9 months old. His Dad was drafted into the army, served in WW1, and then worked with his brother in the family trade as a woodwork contractor fitting out stores in Manhattan. Young Tom attended De Witt Clinton High School on the Bronx where he developed a passion for American football and enjoyed baseball and basketball.
Graduating from High School in 1943, Tom joined the Marine Corps and was sent off on active service for two years in the South Atlantic. At the end of WW2 he was on the security guard team that took charge of German prisoners captured from the last submarine allegedly carrying high ranking Nazis to Argentina. He was discharged in February 1946, studied evenings at City College of New York, worked with his Dad and somehow found time to get married in 1947. This didn’t really work out, but they had three kids two of whom have done exceptionally well professionally whilst the other served in Vietnam. Sport was always important and he won some “small honours” at football for his college and was selected for the Greek All-American team in 1946.
Tom was still “young enough to be patriotic” when he graduated from college in 1951 and enlisted again with the Marines. He underwent officer training in Quantico, Virginia after receiving a direct commission to 2nd Lieutenant. He then served with an engineer battalion at Camp Le Jeune, where he had his first company command. In December 1953 he was sent to Korea.
There was an armistice in effect and US troops were eyeballing the North Koreans to make sure they didn’t do anything naughty. Tom’s company had the task of “wiring all the bridges in case they started moving” (“No, the Koreans, not the bridges”!). It was bitterly cold, terrible conditions for engineering work. One of Tom’s closest escapes came at night when, zipped up over his head in his sleeping bag, he suddenly woke up to find himself covered in soot, with his tent on fire. The sentry doused the fire with an extinguisher whilst the blackened Tom fled in his long johns. It was minus 17 degrees and Tom’s only option was to shower under a 4” running mountain water pipe. No wonder he never complains about the British Club showers!
Tom’s dad died in 1954 aged 61. Tom managed to get home but his father was already in a coma from which he never recovered. After Korea he was sent to “Parris Island”, South Carolina, then an island surrounded by sharks “just in case anyone felt like leaving”. This was one of those boot camps we are all familiar with in the movies, a “gruelling experience” during which recruits occasionally died during extreme tests of their stamina … great character building for marathon 5-gamers with Dick Anwar later in life! But recruitment fell off, Tom’s battalion was disbanded and he was reassigned to the much more reasonable responsibility for asphalt mixers on camp maintenance.
In 1958 Tom was sent back to Little Creek, Virginia which he described as the “high point” of his learning curve. He was an instructor in amphibious operations, “learning more than his students”. A highlight was being sent to Spain to train the Spanish Marines. Tom played his last Football game at Little Creek and also played in the 10th Naval District Championship softball team. He was also playing handball in the all-Marine and the Washington area championships where he came up against national ranked players.
In 1960 Tom attended junior officers school at Quantico and after 9 months was sent to Okinawa, Japan which was still under US control. Here he worked as an assistant logistics officer at the HQ of the combined operations of the Marines in the Far East. It was from here that he made his first visit to Thailand, covering operations in Laos, where he met his new wife to be, Khun Rumphai. Khun Rumphai was working in a gold shop. “Did Tom know much about jewellery Khun Rumphai”, I asked … “No, but I knew about people who worked in jewellery shops” Tom interrupted.
He retuned to Thailand in 1962 with an expeditionary unit at the request of the Thai government, concerned about a possible incursion from Laos. Tom coordinated logistics between Bangkok and Udon Thani. Sadly his mother died of cancer that year. Tom reflected wistfully that officers were supposed to put their jobs above personal matters and she died before he could get back.
After 1962 Tom retuned to Quantico with the Marine Corps research development command where he was put in charge of an ammunition requirement study. Backed up by computer simulations of warfare at Stanford Research Institute, ammunition options were tested against different opponents under different conditions, producing a mix of recommended ammunition requirements for different battle scenarios. This is where we can assume Tom worked out the potency of firing a squash ball up the back-side of any opponent threatening to take up position on the T.
Tom was then transferred to the Fleet Marine Forces HQ in the Pacific in Hawaii. He was assigned to the engineering section responsible for all military construction and facilities in the Pacific. A Major since 1962, he spent most of his time travelling to Vietnam and sometimes to Thailand. ”Bangkok was an oasis in those days”. It was “like a village and people were not materialistic. Taxi drivers would sometimes take passengers for free”. Most of Tom’s contacts were with the engineering community involved in military construction.
Tom, by now a Lieutenant Colonel, was sent to Vietnam in 1968, commander of an engineer battalion. I really couldn’t get Tom to say too much but he was obviously in the thick of the action spending most of his time “trying to keep my ass nailed on”! His battalion took many losses but Tom is proud of the fact that they tried to help civilians by building small dams, schools and brick-making facilities. His battalion’s job was to build military bridges and sweep roads for landmines. “If you didn’t find them with your minesweepers you would find them with your vehicles!” Tom was fired at “a few times” and narrowly escaped a mine laid for him but which his driver missed as he swerved to avoid a civilian.
By now Tom was “thinking more about life” and “re-examining his priorities”. He returned to California in August 1969 and joined the 5th Marine Division as battalion commander of the 5th Engineers which was deactivated 4 months later. Marines were now being pulled out of the war and Tom was reassigned as Logistics Officer of the 5th Marine Brigade. Tom decided he wanted to retire. This was initially refused since it seems he had been such a dedicated Marine that no one really believed him. But his request was accepted a year later when his friends at HQ realised he was serious.
I asked Tom whether he felt more American than Greek. “Sure. I never felt Greek”. But he grew up speaking the language with his family and recollected that in 1962 he was sent to Greece for a short period to train senior officers. He was pretty rusty but they asked to him to carry out the training in Greek and was obviously flattered that the trainees soon began to regard him as one of their own, talking about the Americans as “them”.
Tom came to Thailand in August 1970 aged 45 to “start something”. “The first 5 years were very difficult” trying to establish himself. He worked for an investment company for a couple of years and then formed his own company, Omni Capitol, with three friends. By 1974 he had had enough of that and went into market research forming another company Martec doing market research, public relations, executive recruitment and special projects.
The famous knees saga began in 1968 when he had surgery on his left one and in 1983 it was the turn for his right one to go under the knife. After a holiday in the USA with Khun Rumphai and their two kids Constantine and Vanida, he worked as a consultant with Thai British Security Printers.
Tom joined the British Club as an Associate Member in July 1980. There were only 50 Associate slots in those days and they were at a premium as they rarely turned over. Tom was introduced to Charles Stewart and Arthur Phillips by David Frost and a shady deal was done.
In 1981, at the age of 56 Tom decided to join the squash league and came up against his toughest challenge yet … moi ! … Jack Dunford … squash ladder coordinator … Sir! In spite of claims to being Thailand’s number one racquet ball player at Jusmag and Soi Khlang, there was no room for sentimentality. Tom had to start in Division 18 … the bottom … where he was consigned with the lady beginners! To be fair he never complained (well not more than 10 times a day) and diligently worked his way up, Division by Division, to Division 4 winning umpteen trophies in the process. “Who was your greatest victim Tom?” I asked. “Guess I whipped everyone!” was the typical Tom reply!
Tom had one or two more jobs but when a teaching position was cut short by the economic collapse in 1997 he decided to retire permanently. Since then he’s spent most of his time “shopping and visiting the hospital” where he had recently undergone major new surgery on both knees. “When are we going to see you back on court Tom?” Well the doctor is “waffling” but I hope to hit a few balls soon”.
Tom passed away peacefully in his sleep on Friday 29th August 2014. He will be sorely missed by family and friends.
Originally published in Outpost February 2006