Last modified: 2016-08-19 by ian macdonald
Keywords: singapore | stars: 5 (white) | crescent: points to fly (white) | compass rose | canton (red) |
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image located by Esteban Rivera, 6 July 2016
A group of flags is seen at
The picture caption reads: "MILITARY FLAGS: These flags can be seen openly
paraded during the annual National Day Parade, on August 9. During the parade,
these flags are called the Colours. Every vocation of the Singapore Armed
Forces, such as the Guards, Infantry, Commando and Military Police, have their
own unique flag. The vocational flags display the emblems of the various
vocations. Besides vocational flags, there are also organizational flags such as
the Singapore Armed Forces and the Chief of Defence Force flags. (Photo by Brian
Esteban Rivera, 6 July 2016
The caption sounds like it came from a civilian who knows little of military
culture, but then I know little about Singapore military culture other than its
British origins. The photo looks like a cadets passing out parade (rather than
the National Day parade), but that fails to explain the presence of regular army
Colours carried by the cadets. Singapore has national service (i.e. conscript
armed forces), so there is a large intake every year.
Most of the flags in the front row feature the crest of the Singapore Armed Forces, surrounded by a circlet inscribed "Tentera Singapura" which means Singapore Armed Forces. I don't know what the different colours of those flags means, but I think they are all different battalions of Singapore Infantry, the colour being the battalion's identifier (along with the Roman numerals in the canton.)
The flag on the far right is "3rd Battalion, Singapore Guards." The Guards are elite infantry, first formed in 1976. 3rd Battalion was formed in 1980 by redesignation of 7th Battalion Singapore Infantry. The winged dagger crest of the Guards can be seen on Wikipedia. Barely visible on the flag above the crest is the word "Guards." The scroll at the bottom reads "Ready to Strike." Judging from the uniform of the colour bearer (note the winged dagger on his colour belt), the next flag to the left is also a Guards battalion. In that case, fringe and cord colour would seem to also be battalion identifiers.
The yellow flags with slightly different winged dagger badges are Commandos (not to be confused with the buff coloured infantry battalion to their right.) As far as I know there is only 1 Commando (designated by battalion roman numeral on the right flag.). The other very similar flag to the left might represent Commando Headquarters (with no battalion numeral.)
The second row in the photo is still army flags. On the left are two armoured
regiments (green flags), the crest being a mailed fist on crossed daggers. To
the right of them is a red over blue bicolour with crest of crossed cannons and
a grenade. This represents the Artillery branch. I would assume that individual
artillery regiments do not carry colours (in the British tradition.) Next is the
Combat Engineers branch, a brown flag with crest of crenellated turret
surmounted by a dagger. Next is the Signals branch, a vertical red-blue-red
tricolour, with on the blue stripe a white device containing two signal flags.
The next flag I can guess, but I am not familiar with it. It is a horizontal
light blue-red-dark blue tricolour representing the air, army and navy services,
and one can make out the words "Medical Service." I. was not aware that this was
now a joint service operation. The next flag (red with cogwheel) is Maintenance
and Engineering Support branch. The next two flags are black, and I don't know
what they are.
Third row, second from left with antique crossed pistols is SAF Military Police Command (inter service). The rest to the right seem to be naval and air force.
T.F. Mills, 7 July 2016