Category Archives: IWW

#Shorncliffe’s other Air Raid Victims #FWW #Folkestone

The story of the bombing on the 25th May 1917 is well known. The burials of the Canadian Soldiers killed led to the Canadian Day Memorial Service now held annually at Shorncliffe Military Cemetery. Not quite as well known is that 13 other Canadian Soldiers all from theCanadian Field Artillery who were killed in an earlier air raid were buried there. I say were because only the remains of 12 still lay buried at Shorncliffe. Sgt 42623 Edward Charles Harris’s remains were repatriated and now rest in St Catherines Cemetery Toronto.

The air raid occurred on the 13th October 1915 at Otterpool Camp. Zepplin L14 dropped four bombs on the camp killing 14. Another soldier 86687 Harry James Rixon died on the 15th, he is buried at Easthamstead. One other soldier 86398 Pringle Borthwick is buried in Wilton Cemetery, Hawick.

The soldiers killed in the air raid on the 13th October 1915 at Otterpool and are buried in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery  are:

IMG_8547.JPGCharles Boeyckens, a Belgian from Antwerp who enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Buried apart from the other soldiers killed, he is buried very close to the Belgium plot in the cemetery in Plot C.123

The others are buried in Plot O numbers O.303-O.313 inclusive. They are:

IMG_853086372 David John Philips. Plot O.303

IMG_853186436 Sydney George Lane who was born in Burgate Hampshire. Plot O.304

IMG_853286503 Ernest William Bayes who hailed from Walthamstow in Essex. Plot O.305.

IMG_853386463 Richard Dyer Simpson. Plot O.306

IMG_853486474 Richard Stewart Truscott. Plot O.307

IMG_853586676 Charles Gordon Peterkin Plot O. 308

IMG_853686658 Wilfred George Harris. Plot O.309.

IMG_853786552 Samuel McKay. Plot O.310.

IMG_853886791 Thomas Dickson. Plot O.311

IMG_853986777 Henry Adrian Horn. Plot O.312. The epitaph reads “Fear not them who can kill the body but are not able to kill the soul.”

IMG_8542400004 Douglas Routledge Johnston. Plot O.313. The epitaph reads “Till the morning breaks and the shadows flee away”.

Sources

Surrey History Forum

Kent History Forum

CommonwealthWar Graves Commission Website

Service Records of Canadian Soldiers WW1

 

Causes of the #Singapore Mutiny #FWW

The mutiny was not confined to the Rajputs wing of the 5th NLI  (Native Light Infantry). Soldiers from the Malay States Guides Took also part in the mutiny. It would seem that the Soldiers from the Malay States Guides (MSG) were coerced by men from the 5th NLI. But see, Kassim Ali Mansoor, who was under arrest and imprisoned in the Goal on Outram Road.

Primary Cause?

  • Subversion

Secondary causes?

  •  Rations
  • Non-promotion of Imatiaz Ali
  • Colonel Martin -Officer Mismanagement. Dissention among British Officers, and amongst Indian Officers. As the letter written by Mansoor shows the 5th NLI were not the only unit involved. A few soldiers from the Malay States Guides took part. On the 15th February 1915 they may have had to be coerced but a willingness to defect was shown by at least two Havildars of the MSG who signed the letter apparently on behalf of others.  p62, p69 Indisipline, Mutiny in Singapore

An army marches on its stomach. If the food a soldier is given is of a low quality or rations are barely adequate moral suffers. In Singapore, the 5th NLI sepoys found their rations were not as good as they were in India. Back in India, the rations contain a large quantity of goat meat plus plenty of milk. In Singapore, both goat meat and milk were in comparatively short supply. The sepoys could supplement their rations with meat and milk purchased locally. However, they now found themselves station in Dollar, rather than a rupee economy with a higher cost of living.(Singapore Mutiny p23 M &H).

Poorly fed soldiers tend to be unhappy and are more prone to suggestions of ways to either improve their lot or find ways of punishing those they feel responsible. So while not a main cause. rations or rather inadequate rations should be included in factors which led to the rebellion.

Non-promotion of Imatiaz Ali. Imatiaz Ali was a Rajput who was promised promotion when the next vacancy occurred

Colonel Martin. The Commanding Officer of the 5th NLI. If the 5th NLI was a family, as the majority of British army regiments claim they are, the 5th NLI was a dysfunctional family. Martin often acted as the Sepoys friend in disputes and when men were brought before him in disciplinary matters (Singapore Mutiny p24 M &H) This would have eroded the NCOs and the officers in the regiment’s authority over the men. Martin himself thought that all the officers were against him (page 23 Singapore Mutiny). There was also friction between the Left and Right Wing of the Regiment, (Singapore Mutiny p23 M &H)

Colonel Martin was responcible for the Regiment, but that is not the same as saying he was a primary cause of mutiny. Neither was he responsible for the feelings and thoughts of the men in the Malay States Guides.

Subversion of the 5th NLI is a primary cause of the mutiny, but the question remains, Subversion by whom?  There are five  candidates.

  • The Gandr Movement/Foreign Agents.
  • Kassim Ali Mansoor
  • Nur Alam Shah
  • The Crew of the Emden.
  • Christi Khan

The Gandr movement was an Indian Nationalist movement form by Indian ex-pats on America’s west coast. Its aims were to overthrow the British Raj by armed insurrection.  Germany had started to form links with the Gandr before the outbreak of the war. After the start of the war, the ties between Germany and the Gandr movement grew. The Germans providing funds, offices under the guise of the Indian Political Department, part of the German War and Foreign offices. German agents also distributed the Ghadr, which was the Ghadr’s movement’s official publication.  The movement sent agents to all parts of the British Empire in Asia as well as Japan. (P9 Singapore Mutiny Harper and Miller)

Kassim Ali Mansoor, the man who made the coffee. His coffee shops was a place where many of the Indian officers and men had coffee. Mansoor had befriended the Officers and men from the 5th NLI..He also chatted to the troops in his coffee shop. All good customer service. This small acts were very much part of service during those days and were good for business. Mansoor also wrote letters on behalf of the soldiers. Very probably he never gave much thought to those letters. He would write them, they would sign them, and almost certainly post them.  One of these letters,   posted on the 28th December 1914, was intercepted by the authorities. on the 23rd January (1915.http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/newspapers/Digitised/Article/straitstimes19150531-1.2.56.aspx (source checked 17/02/2017))

The letter was with other letters to his son. There was a covering slip in Mansoor’s own handwriting asking his son to take care unless the handwriting could be traced back to him. Addressed to his son with a request for it to be forwarded to the Turkish consul in Rangoon the letter was written in Urdu and translated as follows;

“There is a regiment here belonging to the English in Singapore called the Malay States Guides. In it is a mule battery, and all the members are Mohammedans and are not willing to serve the English.                                                                                                                                                                                 They say “We want to join the Turkish Forces, and we want someone to be kind enough to enable us to join the Turkish Forces. We have the money to meet our travelling expenses, and do not want one pie even for expenses, but we want someone to show us the way whereby we may reach Turkey. That is what we want. ”                                                                                This letter is written to you as on your side Ahmad  Madin is the Turkish Consul, so as to enable that gentleman to write to the German Consul at Bombay on direct to Stamboul in order that a man of war may be sent to Singapore.  Then the sepoys can board the Turkish man of war and be ready to fight in the battle of Europe.                                                         The manager of the German firm of Behn, Meyer and Company was the German Consul in Singapore, but as all the Germans have been arrested and imprisoned on a hill opposite Singapore so that they are helpless.                                                                                               Those Mohammedan sepoys are prepared to risk their lives. If the Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment tries to exert his authority by force, at once we are prepared to fight. But we do not desire to fight against the Turks on behalf of the English. On behalf of Turkey, we are willing to fight both the English and the Russians. Therefore, they entreat some Mohammedan to help them for God’s sake and enable them to reach the Turkish Forces. All we ask is not to let us fall into the hands of the English while leaving Singapore.                                                                                                                                                                                 Accordingly, as you are the Turkish Consul, kindly let us know by which way these sepoys my leave Singapore and where they might go. You sir will get much honour. if we fight against the English on behalf of Turkey and die then we will become martyr. Therefore be kind enough to pay attention to our petition and reply soon. Address as follows to write to us.”

The address was for a Bengali baker who lived in one of the houses on  Mansoor’s estate in Pasir Panjang.     It was signed by two “Havildars” from the Malay States Guides, Osman Khan and Sikandar Khan. (http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/newspapers/Digitised/Article/straitstimes19371121-1.2.110   (source checked 17/02/2017))

Nur Alam Shar was the Imam at the mosque in Kampong Java Road. Shar was a charismatic figure regarded as a prophet by a number of the sepoys. He was also a member of a group of Indian nationalists in Singapore.(Singapore Mutiny p7-8 M &H)

The between 23rd January and the 12th  of February the crew of the Emden and other Germans interned at Tanglin were guarded by approximately 50 other ranks of the NLI including Imatiaz Ali (p30, Singapore Mutiny,Harper and Miller) and Sepoy Ismail Khan.(page 71 TheSingapore Mutiny Sho Kuwajima) Ismail Khan fired the shot that signalled the start of the mutiny. Lt Lauterbach an officer on the Emden who in his fictionalised book, Rogue Raider did claim responsibility for the mutiny, denied in 1917 being responsible for instigating the mutiny.

" Before my eyes they sank the collier. My crew and I were taken as 
prisoners to Singapore. The natives of this island city were very friendly 
toward us. I had soon gained their confidence sufficiently to know that 
an attempt to escape would not miscarry. But I wanted to make prepara- 
tions to take my crew with me when I fled. We then began to dig a tunnel 
under the wire fence that surrounded our prison-camp. We had scarcely 
completed our work when the famous revolution among the natives in 
Singapore broke out. The English blamed me for inciting the blacks 
against them. I herewith declare that this blame is founded on untruths. 
When the revolution had been settled, we completed our tunnel, and, 
during the following night, nine of us gained our freedom.

(Source 282 THE AND’ENTURE.S OE lIEUTENANT LAUTERBACH (N.WAL RESERVE) 284 “Ayes HA”, Full text of “Proceedings of the united States Naval Institute” Vol 43, February 1917 (http://www.archive.org/stream/proceeuni43168unit_djvu.txt. (checked 17/02/2017))

The Japanese Consul in a report he sent to the Japanese Foreign Minister. Kato, based on talking to two Japanese barbers who worked at Tanglin Camp did say that ” The Indian Muslim soldiers took their final decision in consideration of their religion, and responded to the German instigation” (page 71 The Singapore Mutiny, Sho Kuwajima)                     Christi Khan

Jemedar Christi Khan, was heard on many occasions to sow the seeds of doubt about the British War effort.  He was overheard saying to his men, ” Why should we fight for England and be killed in Europe when we are paid half a coolie’s wage and our wives and children are left to starve on two or three rupees a month?” (P35 Harper & Miller). Harper and Miller also give other examples of christi Khan undermining the war effort to his men.

Imatiaz Ali and Christi Khan were executed by firing squad.

Ismail Khan was killed during the rebellion.

Kassim Ali Mansoor was hanged.

Nur Alam Shar exiled.

Notes

  1. The mutiny was planned. the mutineers split up into three main groups who appear to have clearly defined objectives, and that would take planning.
  2. The timing of the mutiny after the speech by Col. Marting informing the Regiment that it was to embark overseas given the day the Mutiny started is significant. The Ghandr movement claimed it was the day a general rebellion against British rule would start. There appears to be no evidence this was the case.
  3. The speech informed the regiment that they were about to embark for service. There appears to be no surviving record of the translation of the speech. Therefore we do not know exactly what was said, only what was meant to have been said.
  4. If the men were told that they were to sail “East” They either did not believe this, or they were not looking forward to another Garrison posting. If the men were informed they were going where ever the Empire felt they were needed they may not have believed this and thought they were going to fight the Turks. There are possibly other reasons as yet not known (by me)

This blog will be updated at some point.

 

 

Malcom/Malcolm Bond Shelley

Malcolm Bond Shelley born 8th July 1879 and educated at Dulwich College and then Cambridge became one of the thousands of able and competent civil servants in the British Empire. He was posted to the Federated Malay states in 1902. Here he became a District Officer,  Acting Governor Straits Settlements 1931, Chief Secretary to the Governor of the Federated Malay States 1933-35. To this day there is a road named after him in Kuala Lumpur the capital of Malaysia. For his services, he was awarded The Order of St Michael and St George, (CMG) also known as Call Me God. Living the normal life of a colonial civil servant, he played cricket and joined the Malay States Volunteer  Rifles  (MSVR). He was with the regiment when he serving as a lieutenant in the MSVR. (1) and others in the MSVR were in Singapore for a months training in 1915.

His being in Singapore coincided with the mutiny by the Indian 5th Light Infantry Regiment. On the 5th March 1915,  Malcolm and his party of theMSVR captured Abdul Razzak one of the mutineers. (1)  This was not to be his only involvement in the events of the mutiny and its aftermath. After the first of the trials of the mutineers, it was announced in General Orders that the MSVR would carry out the first of the executions. Captain Smith, the officer in command turned to  Malcolm and said, “That will be your job.” Malcolm had never convened a firing squad before, nor had most officers in the British Army. He hurriedly read the most appropriate manuals. Those on musketry and King’s Regulations but could find no mention of how to convene a firing squad.  His RSM, who probably did not know either said you need ten men. Ten men were duly chosen and after breakfast, they were given som practice by the RSM. Malcolm rushed to the Europe Hotel where British officers often stayed to try and find out if anyone there knew how to organise a firing squad. No one there knew, but he was told that if the prisoners were not killed outright the officer in charge would have to deliver the coup de grace.  A prospect that Malcolm determined was not going to happen. He decided on three things. The first was there would be no blanks. Secondly, each rifle was going to be loaded with a clip of five rounds. Lastly, the firing squad would be as close as possible, eight paces from the stakes.

That afternoon(23rd February 1915) Two upright wooden stakes were positioned close to the wall. Malcolm marked out eight paces and positioned the firing party.  The Colonel of the Shropshire Battalion then based in Singapore who was the parade’s commander spoke to him and the firing squad was moved a further two paces away from the stakes. The two condemned men, Dunde Khan and Chiste Khan.(3) were then led out and positioned in front of the stakes, they were not blindfolded. The sentences were then read out. Instructed to carry out his duty Malcolm saluted the colonel with his sword and gave the order to load. One soldier was very nervous and dropped his clip. After the order to fire was given one of the condemned men slid to the ground. The other remained standing and staring at the firing squad. It must have seemed like an eternity, but Malcolm quickly gave the order, “Left hand firing party, aim, fire.” and the second Indian soldier fell to the ground. The Medical Officer examed the body. There were ten bullet holes in the chest where the heart was.  The condemned man had died as a result of the first volley after all. There was another bullet would in the neck. One of the right-hand side of the firing party had fired wide.(4)

The Japanese newspaper, The Japan Times on the 19th March 1915,.carried a report on the executions under the headline, “How Singapore Mutineers Died. Two Publically Shot After Court Martial for Murder- A Grim Example.” The report and Malcolm’s memory are in broad agreement. Although the report states it was Scottish Troops who formed the firing party. In the early 1920s when the volunteer units were reorganised there was a Scottish Company. Not known if this company was just formed then or was a descendant of an earlier company in the MSVR

Malcolm Bond Shelley died 27th July 1968 in his home at Littlehampton in Sussex

Notes.                                                                                                                                                                                     Thanks due to Madelaine Kirk for background information about MB Shelley

1.    p798  Secret Documents of the Singap[ore Mutiny 1915 Dr T Sareen.                                        2.p649Secret Documents of the Singap[ore Mutiny 1915 Dr T Sareen.                                    3.Note 25 p237 The Testimonies of Indian Soldiers and the Two World Wars: Between Self and Sepoy. By Gajendra Singh                                                                                                                          4.p798-817 Secret Documents of the Singap[ore Mutiny 1915 Dr T Sareen.                                  5. p844.

 

 

 

David Sutherland’s Sargeant. #Folkestone #Denton

In Memoriam,
Private D. Sutherland
killed in Action in the German Trench 16 May 1916,
and the Others who Died.

So you were David’s father,
And he was your only son,
And the new-cut peats are rotting
And the work is left undone,
Because of an old man weeping,
Just an old man in pain,
For David, his son David,
That will not come again.

Oh, the letters he wrote you,
And I can see them still,
Not a word of the fighting
But just the sheep on the hill
And how you should get the crops in
Ere the year got stormier,
And the Bosches have got his body,
And I was his officer.

You were only David’s father,
But I had fifty sons
When we went up that evening
Under the arch of the guns,
And we came back at twilight
— O God! I heard them call
To me for help and pity
That could not help at all.

Oh, never will I forget you,
My men that trusted me,
More my sons than your fathers’
For they could only see
The little helpless babies
And the young men in their pride.
They could not see you dying
And hold you while you died.

Happy and young and gallant,
they saw their first born go,
But not the strong limbs broken
And the beautiful men brought low,
The piteous writhing bodies,
They screamed, “Don’t leave me Sir,”
For they were only fathers
But I was your officer.

Another account was written by Ewart Mackintosh and published in

War : the liberator, and other pieces : with a memoir by E A Mackintosh, in 1918

This account describes the death of David.
” I believe we have to leave him” Charles said “He’s a dying man” Charles Macrae looked up with his hand on the boys heart  ” No he isn’t”, he said “he’s dead”. They rose and left him lying there on the German parapet; from the right as they ran for the old trench came the clatter of a machine gun.(2)
The account ends(3)  with
“”Whats up Tagg? ” said the Major
“I’m going back to give those swine hell Major” he yelled, and was knocked sideways by a vigorous clout on the head. “You young fool” said the Major “What you want is drink”and led him down to HQ where his men were already assembled. First of all he went to the dressing station and found there men lying and sitting, to hear from one that he had bayonetted two Germans, from another that he had bombed such dugouts, and to realise that the raid had really succeeded although it was a while before they found out how well.
At HQ was Sgt Godstone sitting on the steps with his head in his hands-it was from his section that the dead had come(4) The Co gave them both strong whiskies…”
Sgt Godstone’s real name was Robert William Goddard MM and Bar.
Robert survived the war. He lived in Denton, near Folkestone,  Kent where he was a farmer. Robert lived to be 90 years old and died in 1982. As far as I know the Goddard’s still have a farm there, near where Robert is buried.
img_8152

Religious, Racial Profiling and S.A.D #FWW #WW1 #WWI

This blog has its origins in a book. Death sentences passed by military courts of the British Army 1914-1924, revised edition edited by Julian Putkowski with a forward by Andrew Mackinlay MP.  2005, ISBN 1 903427 26 6. If you are interested in the men Shot at Dawn, it is a must read. Along with its companion book, British Army Mutineers 1914-1922, also by Julian Putkowski. They are should have books for anyone with more than a passing interest in the soldiers executed. Combined they not only give a good comparison between Sentences passed, and Sentences carried out.  They contain a guide to other sentences the Military Courts passed and where.

“There has always been public disquiet about the fate of the men who were sentenced to death during the First World War”  Andrew Mackinlay MP, the opening sentence of his forward in  Death sentences passed by military courts of the British Army 1914-1924

The closing sentence of his forward reads “It would also be to the credit of those given to sustaining the officers’ version of military justice if, as a consequence of studying this book, they were to advance a more generous measure of compassion to the condemned, and to acknowledge the misery and grief simultaneously inflicted on the innocent families and dependents of the men whose names are recorded herein.”

It gives the impression that the book represents a complete list of those executed by the British Army. A plea of compassion for the men and recognition that their families were innocent victims of the war. Which they were.

However, not all Commonwealth Soldiers who were executed are listed in the book, at the memorial, or on the Commonwealth War Graves Registers. Which purports to list all those soldiers who died in the first World War regardless of how they died. It is as though they never existed. The books list only one man sentenced to death in Singapore. Private Chadwick, 1st Battalion King’s Own YorkshireLight Infantry. sentenced to death for cowardice on the22nd September 1914. His sentence was quashed. There is also a list of the number of executions by each offence.  55 Soldiers convicted of mutiny, 15 of whom were executed. At the back of the book, Appendix 2 p122, there  are the number of condemnations executions by Division. The final group of entries on the page is headed Dominion Forces and other Formations. The last entry is ” Indian Army  54 (Condemnations) 5 (Executions)” It is by no means complete. It does establish that at least in some cases Capital sentences in Singapore were recorded by the Army and also by the Indian Army. Further evidence is contained in the book British Army Mutineers 1914-1922 that sentences for Mutiny were recorded in Singapore in March 1915. Malay SG (States Guides) Bty Gnr Ahmad Sultan Singapore 11/03/15 3 years Penal Servitude for Mutiny, Commuted to 18 months imprisonment. He is one of four listed on p120.

So the others, the soldiers sentenced to death and executed? It is difficult to acknowledge their deaths, or the misery, grief and shame imposed on their families if we do not know who they are. It seems if you want to erase history, first delete their names.

Two Shot on the 23rd February. Notice by his excellency Brigadier General DH Ridout, These men were found guilty in the act of shooting at peaceful citizens and has been tried by a properly constituted Court Martial (1) These two men were executed in public at the rear of Banda Prison. They were executed by a firing squad of Scots soldiers. Two volleys were required to kill one of the men. After the execution  and the removal of the bodies,  some of the crowd rushed forward to search the blood soaked ground for  the bullets. (3) The nationality of the crowd, Singapore was as it is now a cosmopolitan country is not known. It is known that there was not a lot of disquiet amongst them on that day.

Two unknown were shot on the 28th February,  (2)

Now it is possible to name some of the others.

Dunde Khan, Chiste Khan, Rahmat Ali, Hakim Ali, and Abdul Ghani. Sentenced on 22nd March 1915.  The men along with others were marched out of Outram  Prison that afternoon. Just before 5:10 pm. The five condemned men were tied to posts and the verdict of the Court Martial was read out. in front of a well behaved crowd estimated at around 6,000 of mostly Asians by Major Hawkins. “These five men, Subadar Dunde Khan, Jemadar Chisti Khan, 1890 Havildar Rahmat Ali, 2311 Sepoy Hakim Ali, and 2184 Havildar Abdul Ghani have been found guilty of stirring up and joining a mutiny and are sentenced to death”

Moments  later Lieutenant Vyner of the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) gave the command. The firing squad of 25 men from the RGA commanded by Vyner and a sergeant fired. All five men executed slumped to the ground. From being marched to their execution posts  the whole proceedings had taken just a couple of minutes.(4)

On the 25th March 1915, 22 were executed. 2112 Naick Munshi Khan, 1933 Naick Zaffar Ali, 2463 Sepoy Mahomed Baksh, 2715 Sepoy Rahim Dad, 2462 Sepoy Suliman Khan, 1886 sepoy Nawab Khan, 2406 Sepoy Suliman, 2457 Sepoy Jamal, 2457 Sepoy Jamel, 2574 SepoyBahar Ali, 2819 Sepoy Shafi Mahomed, 2544 Sepoy Faiz Mahomed, 2770 sepoy Umrad Ali, 2885 Sepoy Suleiman, 3048 Sepoy Lai Khan, 2824 Sepoy Shamsuddin, 2997 Sepoy Said Mahomed, 2652 Abdul Ghani, 2649 Bashart, 2982 Sepoy Rafi Mohamed, 2904 Sepoy inayat. 2856 Sepoy Moman, and 3113 Sepoy Nur Mohamed.(5) As with the executions on the 22nd March,  the men were marched out of Outram Prison and tied to posts. The time was 5.25pm the order to fire was given at 5.30. This time the crowd numbered around 15,000 and consisted of Europeans as well as Asians. The firing part were 110 men from the Singapore Volunteer Corps. While the firing party was moving off Captain Fraser Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) examined each body. Several had to be finished off by a shot from a revolver. it is not known who fired the revolver. No other person was reported as accompanying Captain Fraser. There is at least one photograph of this execution. none of the men are wearing blindfolds. It is almost certain that no blindfolds were offered.

The Straits Times 3 April 1915 (6) list another six, 1905 Sepoy Ismail Khan, 1499, Sepoy Nathe Khan, 3051 Sepoy Nishan Ali Khan, 1754 Havildar Ibrahim Khan, 1352 Havildar Murid Khan, 2058 Sepoy Taj Mohamed Khan. All as in the previous cases tried in open court and executed in public in front of 1,000s.

Taj Mohamed was identified by a German prisoner of war detained at Tanglin Barracks. (6)

On the 19th April the Straits Times (7) gives the names of three more men executed. This time on the 17th April, Havildar Samand Khan, 2637 Lance Naick Feroz, and 2102 Lance Naick Fazel Ali.

Fazel Ali was badly wounded and he was shot inside the walls of Outram Prison. the other two men were executed outside in public. The two firing squads fired at the same time. No verbal order was given the executions were carried out on the lowering of a flag.(7)

In all 39 men were executed for their part in the Singapore mutiny, 38 shot and one hanged. The Imperial narrative describes the causes of the mutiny as dissatisfaction with their officers. Discontent over a promotion/rations, or a riot (8).  Anything but a rebellion. All soldiers deserve to be named on the Commonwealth War Graves Register regardless of how or why they died. it is a gross error of admission for the men of the 5th Light Infantry who died as a result of the mutiny not to be included. Regardless of whose side in the mutiny they were on.

These men were not suffering from Post Traumatic Stress when they mutinied.  Some but not all committed terrible crimes including murder, but so did some of the men pardoned and commemorated by the Shot At Dawn Memorial.  This article is not about righting wrongs or part of a lost debate over should those  executed be pardoned or not.  It is about fairness. If others are commemorated so should they. Religion or race should not be a factor. They were part of the British Indian Army. It is time to prove we commemorate all regardless of race or religion and do it.

If you think that it was a rebellion, remember this. They died for freedom-this I know those that bade them fight told them so.(apologies and thanks to WN Ewer  and his poem Five Souls)

(1) page 827 Secret documents on the Singapore Mutiny 1915 Dr TR Sareen

(2) page 826 Secret documents on the Singapore Mutiny 1915 Dr TR Sareen

(3) Japan Times 19th march 1915. Translation of which p 844.

(4) Straits Times, 23rd March 1915, p7 viewed on the web.

(5) Straits Times, 26th March 1915, p7 viewed on the web.

(6) Straits Times 3rd April 1915 page 10, viewed on the web

(7) Straits Times 19th April 1915 page 10, viewed on the web

(8) Introduction Secret documents on the Singapore Mutiny 1915 Dr TR Sareen

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

http://www.britainssmallwars.co.uk/the-singapore-mutiny-1915.html – 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.

 

#FWW #WW1 #WWI Refugees

A refugee, someone seeking refuge, usually from disasters such as war. They seemed to be in the news on a daily basis these days. Sometimes I think they are showing us the future. People fleeing famine, earthquakes, typhoons, and wars all across the globe. One common remark from various people is, “We need to help the women and children, but the young men should be sent back to fight for their country, instead of sending our servicemen.” The unsaid implication being “Then we can send them all back.” Often on  the other side of the coin people say, “It never used to be like this. It is the centenary of the First World War, remember how we treated the Belgians. We looked after refugees then, we can do it now.” What is is difficult to know though is, what did people think? We can look at old newspapers, magazines and say “Look, we did treat them well” Most of the newspapers were wartime propaganda. They do not show us “How we felt” only “What made us look good”. So how did we feel about the refugees?  This letter , reproduced in Supreme Sacrifice, by Walter Reid, Gordon Masterton, and Paul Birch.(ISBN 978-1-78027-3)50-1  first appeared in the Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette on 13th February 1915. Incidentally, the town is “Bridge of Weir.”

Sir, I understand we are having another 200 Belgium refugees coming to the town…              … Would anyone be kind enough to inform me why our striplings and mere boys in many cases are being urged and almost shamed into these awful trenches and so many able-bodied Belgians skulking about the country, It is only humane we should shelter women and children of any stricken country, but I fail to see why we should be called upon to support a lot of men who should be in Belgium today fighting for their country…

Some attitudes never change. We have forgotten that when the fighting was over the vast majority of those Belgians went home.  They have never forgotten how Britain treated Belgium. We never remembered why.

Now substitute Syria, for Belgium, and Syrians for Belgians.