Category Archives: IWW

Insanity at #Shorncliffe. #FWW

“May they not take it too seriously! Seein’ as ‘ow the training is all washed out as soon as you turn that narrow street corner at Boulogne, where some watcher with a lantern is always up for English troops arriving, with a “Bon courage” for every man. A year ago today-but that way madness lies.”

(Captain Charles Hamilton Sorley from a letter to the Master of Marlbourgh, in War Letters of Fallen Englishmen, edited by Laurance Houseman, Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1930)

It somewhat surprises me that I can quote from a War Poet, for whenever I’m asked about the War Poets the default answers is “Not a fan”. It is not that I don’t like them. They wrote some of the finest poetry ever written in English. They wrote a lot of crap too, but we won’t dwell on that today. It is just they are shite historians. They are part of the history of the Great War, but they did not write that history. I remember Mr Millinship, one if not the best teacher I ever had reading Dulce et Decorum Est and asking me what I thought of it. Don’t think he was too impressed with my reply, I said something along the lines of. “It took him three years to come up with war is hell. My dad’s a soldier don’t you think I don’t already know that?” I was 11 at the time, an easy going child in a difficult world. Back to Sorley. Sorley was for a time at Shorncliffe but the madness he was writing about was not the madness at Shorncliffe but the madness of war.

Someone who will never be as famous as Owen or Sorley, basically because he wasn’t a War Poet but who dealt with insanity, his own, at Shorncliffe was Private 513212 William Anderson, Canadian Army Service Corps Training Depot. (CASC TD)

William was born in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England. After serving in the Inniskilling Fusiliers He emigrated to Canada it was here he enlisted at Petawawa, in No.2 CASC TD. he was 37.

William sailed to England on the SS Olympic arriving in England on the 28th December 1916 and is taken on the strength of the CASC TD at Shorncliffe on the 29th. On the 5th May 1917, William was posted to the 7th Reserve Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, (Eastern Ontario Regiment). (PPCLI (EOR). Six months later he is admitted to 44 Casualty Clearing Station suffering from Trench Feet, a condition caused by standing with unprotected or badly protected feet in unsanitary water.  Sent back through the evacuation train to England and the General Military Hospital in Colchester. January 1918 sees William at the Military Convalescent Hospital Epsom and on the 28th at the Manor War Hospital Epsom. May 16th and William is back at Shorncliffe. This time he is at 11 Canadian General Hospital and diagnosed with Dementia Praecox (Schizophrenia). On the 28th May, his diagnoses is changed to Exhaustion Psychosis, which is an abnormal mental state in which the patient is restless, illusional, and has severe communicational problems. At 11:30 pm on the 14th June 1918, William Anderson’s madness ends.

William is buried in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery.

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#Shorncliffe, #Labour_Corps

Recently the Shorncliffe Trust held their annual Light in the Darkest Hour. Hopefully, this years ceremony will encourage people to visit the graves of the Labour Corp in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery. The Closing ceremony was the placing of lanterns at the Chinese Labour Corps graves, (CLC) of which there are six all close together in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery. This was also part of the Big Ideas Company’s Unremembered  (An awful name if they mean “Forgotten” they should just say so.) Project.  Apart from the CLC, there are two men from the South African Native Labour Corps (SANLC) and eleven men from the British Army’s Labour Corps buried in the cemetery.  Photographs of the graves of the SANLC and the Labour Corps men follow.IMG_8384

Piet Malinge of the South African Native Labour Corps. In April 1917 a tented camp was pitched east of Hill Road, Cherry Garden Avenue in Folkestone. Designated the Labour Concentration Camp, it was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel F. Hopley and could accommodate 2,000 Chinese (Chinese Labour Corps CLC) or South African Native Labourers. (South African Native Labour Corps, SANLC) Opposite on the west side of the road another tented camp was erected. This camp could contain another 2,000 Asian or African Labourers. During the summer of 1917, the CLC built hutments of reinforced concrete and the camp became known as the Cherry Garden Camp. This was really two separate camps with Kitchens and Hospitals. 1,500 men could be housed here. It is likely that Piet was part of the SANLC housed in one of these aforementioned camps. Busalk Mvinjelwa would also have been there.

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Private 331158 H.A. Baker served in the 18th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment before he was transferred to 242nd Works Company Labour Corps.

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Private G/78845 J Baker, 29th Battalion Middlesex Regiment before being transferred to the 389th Home service Employment Company Labour Corps. The 29th (Works) Battalion was formed as a labour battalion hence the (Works) atMill Hill the entire battalion was transferred to the Labour Corps and retitled the 5th Labour Battalion in April 1917. (2)

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Private 76316 R Bedford also served in the 29th Battalion Middlesex Regiment before being transferred to the 389th Home Service Employment Company Labour Corps.

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Private G/78071 George Henry Bloodworth. Another soldier from the 29th Battalion Middlesex Regiment before he was transferred to the 5th Battalion of the Labour Corps. The son of George Henry and Mary Bloodworth of 18 Banstead St Nunhead, London was killed in the Folkestone Air Raid on the 25th May 1917.

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Private 28527 G.W. Graves, the husband of Lilie Gertrude Parkinson (formally Graves) served in the 9th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment before being transferred to the Labour Corps.

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Private 267099 Samuel Beckerleg Hall the son of Mrs Evelina Hall of 21 Church Street, Helston, Cornwall. He served in the 2nd/1st Kent Cyclist Battalion before he was transferred to the 426th Company Labour Corps.

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Private 293210 T Marshall Served in the 2nd/7th Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) before he was transferred to 342nd Works Company Labour Corps. Marshall died on the 10th November 1918, one day before the war ended.

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Henry Gordon Prince the son of Mrs Charlotte Prince of 3 Evergreens, South Bersted, Bognor, served in the 1st Infantry Labour Company Northamptonshire Regiment.

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Private 37998 A.H. Slater is another soldier who served in the 29th Battalion Middlesex Regiment before being transferred to the 241st Works Company Labour Corps.

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Guardsman 18439 J.W. Taylor served in the Coldstream Guards before being transferred to 437th Company Labour Corps.

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Private 5417 Robert Williams served in the 2nd/6th Battalion Cheshire Regiment before he was transferred to 317th Works Company Labour Corps.

Notes

(1) Soldiers details from the CWGC website.

(2) Details about the 29th Battalion from the Long Long Trail Web site. A website that can not be recommended too highly. If you are even remotely interested in the British Army in the First World War bookmark and use the LongLong Trail website.

 

1 wife, 2 Husbands and, 1 grave #FWW

19970810_10211935516414705_2102724859_nThis is the grave of Albert (Bert) Corporal 9183 of the 2nd Buffs (East Kents). He married Gladys Faircloth in December 1917 in Canterbury, Kent, England. Probably they married in the same church, St Dunstan, where his grave is. It is a pretty little church, better known as the final resting place of St Thomas More’s head than it is for First World War Graves. Of which Albert’s grave is the only one. It is though, an interesting grave and makes an interesting read.

“In Loving Memory of Albert (Bert) Goldsack. Late Cp. of 2nd Buff

Late Cp. of 2nd Buffs

The Dearly Loved Husband of Gladys Goldsack

Who died at Lenham Novr 28th 1918.

Aged 27

Also of

Com Sgt H L Faircloth

7th Sussex Battn

First Husband of The Above

Killed In Action Dec 28th 1915

Age 25

Erected by their sorrowing wife

After their country called them.”

Lenham, where Bert died, was a War Hospital near Ashford. Bert was a wounded soldier being treated there. He had served in France and been given a Silver War Badge.

H. L. (Henry Latham) Faircloth, a Company Quartermaster Sarjeant in the 7th Royal Sussex enlisted in 1908. Henry married Gladys on the 6th March 1915. He crossed from Folkestone with the Battalion at the end of May 1915.  The CWGC  lists his date of death as the 22nd December 1915. The War Diary indicates he was killed on the 28th and his Medal Card records him as being KinA on the 28th. He is buried in Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy.

Not known if Gladys married again.

 

From #Folkestone July 1915.

July 1915 was a busy month down at the harbour. I have a long list of the units,  and the dates they crossed from Folkestone in the draw. Lack of funding has more or less brought research into the embarkation of Units and soldiers to a halt. More soldiers do get added to the list most days but…. Anyhow I will continue to publish some of these soldiers as and when. These two soldiers both crossed to France from Folkestone on the same day, 9th July 1915. The first died from his wounds in 1927.  The second killed in action in September 1915.

7No. 10618 Lance Corporal Duncan Begg Mackintosh

7th Battalion Queens Own Cameron Highlanders,

Highland Light Infantry, and the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)

Died of Wounds 21st June 1927.

Duncan Mackintosh was born in Grantown-on-Spey on the 19th November 1883. He was the eldest surviving son of Peter and Margaret Mackintosh of Rosemont, Grantown-on-Spey. Duncan enlisted in Inverness during October 1914 and joined the 7th Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders in Glasgow. He arrived in France with the battalion on the 8th July 1915. Duncan took part in the Battle of Loos in 1915 where on the 25th September 1915 he was wounded in the shoulder. After his recovery, Duncan went on to serve in Mesopotamia, now modern-day Iraq. He was reported in the Strathspey Herald, as being dangerously ill, on the 1st June 1916. During the Battle of San-I-Yat a bullet entered his left lung and exited through his spine. After a tiring journey by boat down the river Tigres he was transported by Hospital Ship to Bombay in India. Here he lost his left lung. Eventually, Duncan returned to Scotland and married Mary Robertson. They lived at 5 Kings Street Coatbridge. Duncan worked as a Master Watchmaker. Eleven years after being shot Duncan Begg Mackintosh died on the 21st June 1927. His death certificate records that he died from “Gunshot Wounds” On the Family Memorial in Inverallan burial ground Duncan is commemorated as “Dying from the effects of wounds received in 1917.” Duncan was awarded the 1915 Star, British War Medal, the Victory Medal, and the Silver War Badge. 8 9

S/6523 John Lawson, “C” Company 8th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders. (Ross-shire Buffs, the Duke of Albany’s)

Killed in action 25th September 1915

John was born in Paisley son of Mr and Mrs L Lawson of Achnahannet Grantown-on-Spey. A brother of Lewis Lawson of 13 South Street Grantown-on-Spey. He worked as a railway porter at Knockando. Arriving in France on the 8th July 1915 he was killed in action on the 25th September. His grave is now lost. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, Grammar School Memorial in Grantown-on-Spey and on the Grantown-on-Spey War Memorial.

He fell where fall the dying brave,

Among the noble slain,

Nor Kindly love nor tender care

Could light that couch of pain.

Nor loving hands may kindly tend,

The sod above his breast,

But tender thoughts will ever haunt,

His far off place of rest.

(in Memorium, Strathspey Herald, 27th September 1917 and 26th September 1918)10

John Lawson was awarded the 1915 Star, War Medal, and the Victory Medal.

7 Information reproduced with slight editing, from Poppies from the Heart of Strathspey by, Peter Anderson, 2010

8 Morayshire Roll of Honour 1914-1918

9 Poppies from the Heart of Strathspey, Peter Anderson, 2010.

10Page 60, Poppies from the Heart of Strathspey, Peter Anderson 2010

#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.