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Remembered Today:

RGA - Singapore Mutiny 1915

ianjonesncl

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Whilst researching Royal Garrison Artillery units I came across a commemoration to Gunners who had been killed during a Mutiny in Singapore in February 1915. 

 

The Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) operated the coastal guns that protected Singapore. They were manned by the 78th and 80th Companies RGA and Indian Army Gunners from the Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Garrison Artillery (HKS-RGA).  A British  infantry battalion, and the Singapore  Volunteers Battalion formed the garrison troops.

 

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When war broke out the British battalion was sent to France, being replaced by the 5th Light Infantry of the Indian Army, an all Muslim unit. In February 1915 a mutiny occurred when the 5th Light Infantry of the Indian Army revolted. Amongst the mutineers were gunners from the Malay States Guides (MSG) Mule Battery.

 

The roots of the mutiny lay with unrest caused through propaganda being circulated advocating Indian independence, poor conditions for the soldiers and weak leadership from the battalion officers. Among the tasks the battalion undertook was the guarding of German crew from the Light Cruiser Emden who took the opportunity to fuel the Indian soldiers unrest. The trigger was an announcement that the battalion would transfer to Hong Kong. However rumours spread that the battalion was actually destined for Europe to fight the Turks, fellow Muslims.

 

The mutiny lasted nearly ten days, and resulted in the deaths of more than 100 people including six British officers fourteen British soldiers and fourteen civilians. The mutineers casualties were estimated at 200.

 

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Marines from HMS Cadmus landed to support local soldiers not involved in the mutiny and the Singapore Police. Further assistance arrived when a French, a Russian and two Japanese warships arrived in Singapore, with sailors and marines reinforcing. The fighting lasted 7 days, on the 20th February , companies of the 1st/4th Battalion, King's Shropshire Light Infantry (Territorials) arrived from Rangoon to relieve the sailors and the marines.

 

During the mutiny 432 mutineers were captured, 205 would face trial, of which 47 were publicly executed by firing squad, the remainder receiving varying lengths of jail sentences.  The commanding officer of the 5th Light Infantry was cashiered.

 

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Amongst those killed were three officers and two other ranks from the Royal Garrison Artillery.  They are commemorated on a memorial located in St Andrew's Cathedral in Singapore.

 

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"To the glory of God and in memory of

Major R.H. Galwey

Captain F.V. Izard

Captain M.F.A. Maclean

Corporal R.V. Beagley

Gunner J. Barry

All of the Royal Garrison Artillery

who were killed in the mutiny at Singapore in February 1915

This tablet is erected by their comrades of the

Royal Garrison Artillery at Singpore."

 

Another memorial in the Victoria Memorial Hall remembers those from the Singapore Volunteer Corps, including a member of the Singapore Volunteer Artillery.

 

"To the glory of God and in sacred memory of the undermentioned officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the Singapore Volunteer Corps, who lost their lives during the mutiny of the 5th Native Light Infantry in February 1915.

 

Gunner P. Walton, Artillery

 

The Gunners are buried, together with others killed during the mutiny are buried in Kranji War Cemetery.

 

Rank

Surname

Forenames

D of D

Age

Unit

Major

GALWEY

Reginald Hugh

15-Feb-15

Aged 42

80th Company RGA

Captain

IZARD

Francis Vallance

16-Feb-15

Aged 34

RGA

Captain

MACLEAN

Moira Frances Allan

15-Feb-15

Aged 30

RGA

Corporal

BEAGLEY

Reginald Victor

15-Feb-15

Aged 30

80th Company RGA

Gunner

BARRY

John

17-Feb-15

Aged 29

78th Company RGA

Gunner

WALTON

Philip

18-Feb-19

Aged 33

Singapore Volunteer Artillery

 

 

 



6 Comments


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Maureene

 

Than you for the additional information. |Very much appreciated.

 

Ian

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The other memorial referred to, incl Singapore Volunteer Artillery, is, I think, this:

image.png.040829164faf4e0bbb3987c9b5267b4f.png

 

There are some relevant threads elsewhere on this Forum

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BullerTurner

Posted

Fascinating episode, with the reaction of Russian and Japanese allies really quite complex, in an era of The Great Game?  Through in the SMS Elden and there’s probably a better novel than the two it has already spawned.  Lots of very interesting resources out there but I would be grateful if anyone can clarify something.

 

Lt Col E.V.Martin was heavily criticised and it seems fair to award him a lot of responsibility for the state of morale and the mutiny.  However some sources say he was cashiered but others that he resigned.  Can anybody clarify this end-note to the revolt?

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For a comprehensive account of the Mutiny I can recommend " Singapore Mutiny" by Harper and Miller, Oxford University Press 1984. ISBN 0 19 582549 7

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