The Beginnning Hashing originated in December 1938 in Kuala Lumpur, when a group of British colonial officers and expatriates began meeting on Monday evenings to run, in a fashion patterned after the traditional British Paper Chase or "Hare and Hounds", to rid themselves of the excesses of the previous weekend. The original members included, Albert Stephen Ignatius "G" Gispert, Cecil Lee, Frederick "Horse" Thomson, Ronald "Torch" Bennett, Eric Galvin, and H.M. Doig.
Gispert came up with the name "Hash House Harriers" after the Selangor Club Annex, where the men were billeted and ate their meals, also known as the "Hash House." Apart from the excitement of chasing the hare and finding the trail, harriers reaching the end of the trail would be rewarded with beer, ginger beer and cigarettes.
The Constitution of the Hash House Harriers is recorded on a club registration card dated 1950: 1. To promote physical fitness among our members 2. To get rid of weekend hangovers 3. To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer 4. To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel
The Death & Re-Birth Hashing was suspended during World War II after the invasion of Malaya, but was re-started in 1946, after the war with most of the original group, with the exception of Gispert, who was killed on 11 February 1942 during the Japanese invasion of Singapore, an event commemorated by many chapters by an annual Gispert Memorial Run.
A second group was founded in 1947 in Italy, but the growth of Hashing remained small until 1962, when a third chapter was founded in Singapore. The idea then spread throughout Malaysia during the 60s, with chapters forming in numerous locations around the world. There are now over 2000 clubs spread out over all seven continents.