Cecil Thomas

Cecil Thomas Rust (1905-1960)

Cecil Thomas Rust was born in Mussorie, India on 6 August 1904 and was baptized on 28 August 1904. He had been studying in Edinburgh University to be a doctor like his grandfather, however, in 1925 he left UK for Ceylon and became a tea planter almost by chance. Then, after serving his apprenticeship on Hanwella Group, Padukka, under the formidable Gordon Brooke, Mr Rust took over Mahaberiatenne Group, Teldeniya in the Anglo-Ceylon Company. He was Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Times of Ceylon Ltd during the historic period before and after the island gained independence, and remained a director of the company until his death in Westminster hospital London on 19 Jan 1960, aged 55.


Cecil was a very successful businessman and an attentive son and brother, who worked hard to keep his mother and sisters in comfort. After the death of his father in South Africa, Mr Rust made a happy home for his nearest and dearest at Katugastota in 1946. Their house in Ceylon, that was sold by his sister Helen in 1984, was chock-full of paintings, antiques and furniture, most of which he had taken from the family homes in Huntingdon, Nottinghamshire. The family named it Huntingdon Hall from their English ancestral home and it was here their mother Elizabeth died. This was the town house - a mansion atop a hill - in Katugastota, that had been occupied by Lord Mountbatten, during his stay there as Commander-in-chief of the Allied forces.


While Cecil was dying in London after a serious operation, Sir Stanford Cade took care of him in Westminster Hospital. Despite his uncertain health, he still held friends spellbound with his stories of world travel. There can be few Ceylonese planters who travelled more widely about the world than Mr Rust. There was no continent he had not visited and comparatively few countries he had not been, and the sisters Helen and Violet had been all round the world from Paris to India, Australia and Vietnam. He would keep any audience entertained with stories of life and experiences from Florida to the South Sea islands and from Cape Town to Kalamazoo.

None of Rust's family married but enjoyed a life of travel and luxury.