On the 6th April 1917, America declares war against Germany. Two years earlier in May 1915, Americans volunteered to help defend a small corner of the British Empire as long as they could serve “…without prejudice to our allegiance to the United States of America.” This small group of Americans had already served as Armed Civilians, one was almost court-martialed for falling asleep but the British Officer in command thought better of it. These armed American civilians were also Methodist 5 of them clergymen. There was another proviso which reflected this.”…Mr Oechali has a public service to conduct every Tuesday from 5.30 to 6.15. The authorities will, we anticipate, give due consideration to this fact…”
So where was this? Who were these Americans? How do we know?
The places is the Settlement of Singapore. The Americans were:
William T Cherry, Superintendent Methodist Publishing House.
Earl Hibbard, Principle, Oldham Hall.
Osbourne E Hooley Teacher Anglo-Chinese school, Oldham Hall.
Harry H Mansell, Mission Treasurer,
J Stewart Nagle, Principal Anglo-Chinese School
Leonard Oechali, Paster Wesley Church
and George E McComb, Teacher Anglo-Chinese School
The quoted pieces and the names are from a letter to the Editor of The Straits Times published by the Straits Times on the 10th May 1915.
All the men named had served as Armed Civilians helping to suppress Singapore Mutiny.