Born in 1924, known as Harold to his friends, is a second generation Dutch Burgher, educated in Penang Free School is the current President of the Penang Veterans Association. He was a Founder Member and Adviser of Persatuan Veteran Keselamatan Negara Malaysia 1955. Further, he has been Chairman of the Persatuan Bekas Pasukan Keselamatan Negara Malaysia, Sungai Gelugor Branch from 1996 todate.
He is the son of Mr. Clair Alexander John Speldewinde, an original Dutch Burgher from Ceylon joined the Malayan Forest Department in 1907 as Senior Forest Ranger and retired in 1942 as Senior Assistant Conservator of Forest, Taiping, Perak. He was a State and Federation of Malaya Cricketer. During the war years he was attached to the South East Asia Command, Ceylon (SEAC, Earl Mountbatten's Head Quarters) for training R.A.F. and American Pilots for Jungle Survival Course. His mother, Adeline Alice Siebel Speldewinde was awarded the Medal of Merit for Service with the Girl Guides and was an active Committee Member of the Y.W.C.A.
As a student in Penang Free School he played an active part being the School Assistant Head Prefect, School Champion Athlete, School Rugger Captain, School Hockey Captain, School Athletic Captain, 2nd, Lt. Of the School Cadet Corps and School Boxing Captain.
During the Japanese Occupation (1941 - 1944) he was branded as a Third National by the Japanese.He joined the Anti-Japanese Guerillas in the Tapah / Cameron Highland Sector to escape detention and came out at the end of the war to take up Planting as a career by becoming a member of the planting profession.
He had a illustrious career as a
Planter commencing as an Assistant Planter in 1946 and by 1957 became the
Manager of Sungei Bernam Estate. There was nothing to stop him after that
from serving in several rubber, oil palm, coconut and cocoa plantations as
either Senior Manager of General Manager.
His experience as a Planter has been well respected and he has presented several papers on the industry. He has visited research stations in Sabah, Sarawak, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Nigeria, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Senegal, South Africa, Egypt, Denmark, Spain, Canary Islands, Germany, Italy, England U.S.A., Australia and Holland.
He has also served in Planting Councils & Research Committees, namely Malaysian Agricultural Producers Association (MAPA), Malaysian Estates Owners Association (MEDA), Malaysian Oil Palm Growers Council (MOPGC), United Planting Association of Malaysia (UPAM).He is a Member of the Incorporated Society of Planters and the Malaysian Institute of Management.