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Queen’s & Regimental Colours of the 1st Singapore Infantry Regiment

Singapore Naval Force Ensign

Last modified: 2015-01-04 by ian macdonald
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1st Singapore Infantry Regiment

A photograph from the National Archives of Singapore shows the Queen’s Colour and Regimental Colour of the 1st Singapore Infantry Regiment (1SIR), dated 24th August 1961. The photograph can be seen here: (also archived here).

The Queen’s Colour is on the left and the Regimental Colour is on the right. The person sitting on the right is the Queen's Representative in Singapore, the Yang Pertuan Negara of Singapore, Encik Yusof Bin Ishak. He presented the Colours to the Regiment on 27th July 1961. Singapore just received internal self-government status from the British a few years earlier.

The history of the 1SIR Colours is on my website but I’ll repeat it here nonetheless:

It can be seen that the Regimental Colour is slightly different from the usual British Army Regimental Colour in that the laurels were palm leaves instead of  the standard laurels made up of roses, thistles and shamrocks.

Initially, the Colours were planned to be presented in 1960. The Regimental Colour was to be charged with the crest of the municipality of Singapore (a lion statant on a green turf affronting a palm tree). It was to be encircled within “The Singapore Infantry”, all on red/crimson. The field of the Regimental Colour was to be yellow and the canton is to be embroidered with “I” for the first Regiment. (According to ‘Journal of the Singapore Infantry Regiment’, December 1959 issue).

In 1959 however, Singapore revealed her own present day Coat-of-Arms. The original planned design and date for presentation was thus delayed. When the Regimental Colour was presented in 1961, it featured the Singapore Arms encircled within “Tentera Singapura” (translated from Malay as Singapore Armed Forces) instead of the municipal crest within “The Singapore Infantry”. Other details remained the same. The Queen’s Colour that was also presented in 1961 was unchanged from the original planned design and still conformed to that of the standard British practice, featuring their Title on the St George’s Cross. Also to note is the different finials used by the respective Colours, a Crown for the Queen’s Colour and a spearhead for the Regimental Colour.

The Regimental Colour of 1SIR survived independence in 1963 & 1965 and was replaced in 1982, with a similar design. The emblem as used on the 1961 Regimental Colour is also the emblem of the Singapore Armed Forces in general and was used on the former Singapore Army Service Flag. The Army Service Flag was inaugurated in July 1980. The design of the 1SIR Regimental Colour remains unchanged to the present day and similar ones were granted for the other Singapore Infantry Regiments.

The Singapore Armed Forces Flag was inaugurated in July 1989. However the Singapore Armed Forces emblem used was altered slightly with regards to the depiction of the palm laurels. Eventually, the Army Service Flag also used this new depiction of the Singapore Armed Forces emblem, exact date uncertain, but most probably around the same time. 

Herman Felani M.Y., 12 December 2003

Singapore Volunteer Corps

For additional reference, the municipal crest was used on the Regimental Colour of the Singapore Volunteer Corps and was garlanded with the standard rose- shamrock-thistle laurels. It was presented to the Corps in 1954, together with their Queen’s Colour.

The Regimental Colour of the Singapore Volunteer Corps can be seen in an exhibition, here:

Herman Felani M.Y., 12 December 2003

The green SVC pre-war flag is described on "Military & Paramilitary Flags of Singapore" page 2 as being that of the Arms of the Colony of the Straits Settlements 1911-42. Found however, are two of the quarters of the shield in detail - the one for Labuan which depicted a schooner in front of Mt. Kinabalu; and the one for Penang which shows an areca palm tree (both very clear). The quarter in the shield for Malacca shows the branch and leaf of a "Malacca kerung" which I'm told is a hardwood tree, so probably have to go to a botanical trees reference book to get some detail on that (maybe it is in EJH Corner's famous book on tropical trees of Singapore and Peninsula Malaya as it then was). The one still to see a really detailed picture of, is the "lion passant guardant on a tower as per the first quarter of the Arms of the Straits Settlements" - this being the one that looked to me in a blurred picture, like a lighthouse....well the lion passant description should mean something to UK military flag makers I guess - less sure what it is doing on the tower unless, in fact, that IS a lighthouse......with luck we shall find out yet!!

This flag should still be of interest to the Republic of Singapore and to Malaysians, because their own people greatly outnumbered the total few thousand of European Volunteers in Singapore and the Malayan States. The SSVF 2nd battalion was largely Chinese; those of Malacca and Penang contained many Eurasians, Chinese, Malays, Indians too.
Audrey McCormick, 1 June 2005