American Shot by Indians. #FWW #WWI #WW1

I have no idea who the first American to be killed  in the First World War was. Moira Maclean was killed on the 15th February 1915. Those who keep such things can add Moira to the List. Moira is not listed in The Foreign Burials of American War Dead by Chris Dickon, so that would be a good place to start.

Moira was born in Colorado City, Texas in 1885. Schooled in England at Oundle School  Moira joined the Indian Army in 1900 and served in India for 13 years.  In 1913 now Captain Maclean is placed in command of the Mountain Battery, Malay States Guides. A unit that consists of Sikhs, Pathans, and Punjabi Muslims. They are based in Singapore at Tanglin Barracks. The 5th Light Infantry Regiment of the Indian Army arrives in Singapore in October 1914. Half of the 5th had mutinied during the Indian Mutiny. On the 15th February 1915, half of the 5th mutinied again.

Havildar Sohan Singh, Malay States Guides,  is awaked by a shot at around 3 pm. There is another shot heard just as Sohan is getting up and the alarm is soundedSohan sends Gunner Santa Singh, the bicycle orderly to tell Captain Maclean that there is firing from the 5th Lines.  Santa returns with orders from Maclean that the men are to take cover.  Sohan orders his men to get behind cover.  Sohan watched Maclean approach through the jungle and go between a couple of barrack blocks. Then some men of the 5th Light Infantry came out from the direction of Hyderabad Road and attacked Maclean Sohan says he heard them shout “Ali Ali” and fire five or six shots. He saw Captain Maclean fall. In his statement to the enquiry into the mutiny Havildar Singh said.  “Amongst those coming from the opposite direction I saw some of our men; there was a lot of firing and there may have been some of our men but I don’t know. The Captain was very good and kind to us and I don’t think that there was any man who had a grudge against him or would do a thing like that after giving those orders to the men;we went down through the Jungle to the road.”

Corporal Chanda Singh also of the Malay states Guides vouched for Havildar Sohan Singh story. he added that Maclean’s orderly Sham Singh came and gave the same order that Santa Singh had, that the men were to get and stay under cover.  Chanda goes on to say that after 20-25 minutes he too heard the shouting of “Ali Ali” and then he heard Havildar Sohan Singh say, “The 5th Light Infantry have shot my Captain”.

Chandra also escaped through the jungle where he met  Sohan Singh along with two others, place another they met soon after, headed to Singapore. Along the way the did capture two men from the 5th and disarmed them. Followed by over a hundred men of the 5th they decided to let the two men go. From the jungle, they headed by road to Singapore. By chance, they came across two English ladies who were walking towards Singapore and a car  waiting for the two ladies.  They all headed off until they halted at a lorry full of European troops who they surrendered to. After the women had explained that Sohan Singh and the others were decent chaps the men proceeded to the Police Station at Keppel harbour. Here they reported the incident and Captain Maclean’s death to a friend of Maclean. From the Police station, they were sent to the P and O Wharf were the General headquarters were to report on the day’s events there.

Captain Moira Francis Allen Maclean, born in Texas, killed by Indians, is now interred  in Kranji War Cemetery Singapore


references – gives Moira’s date of birth as November 1883.

CWGC gives his age as 30

Statements given to the board of enquiry and the military courts convened after the Singapore Mutiny.



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