Last modified: 2013-05-18 by rob raeside
Keywords: southeast asia | malaya | malaysia | brunei | singapore |
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The principal British colonies southeast Asia included Malaya, Singapore, Straits Settlement, Brunei, North Borneo, Sarawak, and Labuan.
Governor General's flag
image by Martin Grieve, 21 April 2013
by Peter Johnson, 24 April 2013
I found the following information in Anne Thurston's
Sources for Colonial Studies in the Public Record Office. Malcolm MacDonald
was appointed a governor-general in May 1946 covering the Malayan Union,
Singapore, and Brunei, extended later to Sarawak and North
Borneo. There was also a special commissioner, Lord Killearn, who conducted
foreign affairs in a region that included Burma, Thailand, Indo-China and
Netherlands East Indies. In May 1948 these two posts were combined and MacDonald
became commissioner-general for the United Kingdom in South East Asia, with the
same responsibilities towards the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and
North Borneo as he had had, as governor-general. Brunei now had a high
commissioner who was also governor of Sarawak. In September 1955 he was
succeeded by Sir Robert Scott, and 'responsibilities declined during the
1950's'. I presume that this is a reference to the independence, in August 1957,
of the Federation of Malaya, which had its own monarchy and would not have
needed a governor-general. At a guess, the post came to an end in September 1963
when Sarawak, Sabah (North Borneo) and Singapore merged with Malaya to form the
Federation of Malaysia. So it seems reasonable to date the
David Prothero, 16, 18 and 28 January 2000
Before the Japanese invasion, the Governor of the Straits Settlements was, I
believe, also the High Commissioner to the Federate Malay States. I don't think
he had a special flag for the position.
Peter Johnson, David Prothero, 1 March 2005
Unfederated States had British advisers while Federated States had British
residents. I have an idea that the British residents may have had swallow-tail
versions of the state flag, but I am not sure.
David Prothero, 1 March 2005
From Nick Weekes:
"When the RCS (Royal Commonwealth Society) Library was still in London, I found there a photocopy of an extract from an article 'The Flags of the Malay Peninsula' published in 'Jour. Straits Branch R. A. Soc., No. 75, 1917' (I think this may be Royal Asian Society). The relevant text said 'The Chief Secretary of the Federated Malay States has a Jack corresponding to the Governor's [i.e., the Governor of the Straits Settlements as described earlier in the article] in which a kris is the emblem'.
Perhaps the reason that I can find no other evidence of this defacement is that the Chief Secretary was getting above himself and was instructed by someone to stop using the defacement. The Chief Secretary was subordinate to the Governor of the Straits Settlements (also High Commissioner for the Malay States and British Agent for British North Borneo and Sarawak)."
David Prothero, 27 April 2005
In May 1946 a Governor-General post was created for the administration the
Malayan Union, Singapore, Brunei, Sarawak and the British North Borneo Company.
At the same time a special commissioner assumed responsibility for advising the
UK government on problems relating to Burma, Siam, Indo-China and the
Netherlands East Indies. In May 1948 the two posts were combined and the
Governor-General became a Commissioner-General with head-quarters in Singapore.
According to Carr, there should be a hyphen between ‘South’ and ‘East’. The ratio of the flag was 21:16 with the charge occupying “approximately three-quarters of the depth of the hoist”. The same dimensions applied to the ‘Federation of Nigeria’, ‘Ghana’ and ‘Federation of the West Indies’ flags.
David Prothero, 20 April 2013
I assume that the same dimensions were maintained when the crown was
changed in 1953. Accordingly, I have had a go at making an image of the post
Peter Johnson, 24 April 2013
image by Martin Grieve, 20 August 2005
An usual British tri-service flag. The normal order of the colours, first,
dark blue-Navy; second, red-Army; third, pale blue-Air Force; has been altered
putting the Air Force colour at the top of the flag. Approved September 1964 for
the Headquarters of the Director of Operations, Borneo.
National Archives (PRO) WO 32/15019.
David Prothero, 20 August 2004