Obituary of James Dashwood Saunders (1865-1926)

The Straits Times, 30 Dec 1926


Passing of a Well-Known Resident.
Long Association With Singapore.

With the passing of Mr. James Dashwood Saunders, Singapore has lost one of its oldest and most respected citizens. His death occurred yesterday shortly after 1 p.m. at the General Hospital, where he had been an inmate since Christmas Eve, on account of complications following jaundice.

He was one of the best known men in Singapore and at the same time most popular and generally respected. He had lived by far the greatest part of his life in the East and was so much a part of the life of this city that he will be much missed especially in sporting and business circles.

Connections With the East.

Mr. Saunders was born at Chobham, Surrey, in 1865 and it was not surprising that he should turn his attention to the East for he came of a family which had been associated with this part of the world for over a century.

He was the son of Capt. Hugh Ward Saunders, of the 7th Bengal Light Cavalry, who fought in the Indian Mutiny in 1857 and was wounded and left for dead. He recovered from his wound however and lived for 19 years in retirement.

Mr. Saunders' mother was a daughter of Mr. James Bannerman who was governor of Penang from November, 1817, until his death in August, 1819, shortly after the founding of Singapore by Sir Stamford Raffles. An even more distant connection can be found in the fact that Mr. Saunders' grandfather, Mr. Robert Saunders, was in the Bengal Civil Service and died in Singapore at the age of 28 and was buried at the top of the older section of the Fort Canning Cemetery.

Mr. Saunders made his first connections with the East and at the same time with Singapore, in the late eighties. When the Oriental Bank, of which he was a member, failed, he removed to Hong Kong and after spending a year in that city he went on to Shanghai spending two years there. He then became a member of the staff of the New Oriental Bank which also failed, and he returned home for a year.

In 1892 he came back to Singapore and has since founded several broking firms and latterly was a partner of Saunders Macphail and Company.

A Keen Sportsman.

During his playing years Mr. Saunders was probably without equal as a Rugby footballer in the Colony and would in all probability have been capped for England had not his departure for the East prevented it. Whilst playing in England, we understand that he was a member of the Richmond team.

He attained some reputation as a batsman among the cricket circle of the colony. In 1901 ina match against Selangor, it is said that he drove Lawrie Dougal for eleven in two hits, off consecutive balls, much to the astonishment of the fast bowler. He was also a wetbob, being an oarsman of some repute.

He always took a keen interest in the activities of the Turf Club, or the Sporting Club as it was then known, and had been a member of the committee for a number of years. For the past five years he held the position of chairman almost continuously. He was also a member and several time chairman of the Singapore Club and a member of the Sports Club, London.

Mr. Saunders married Miss L. Wishart in the early nineties and is survived by her. There is no family.

Mr. Saunders had a friend in every one who knew him for his personality was such that all who met him were attracted into an immediate and strong liking for him. Dignified and courteous he will be long remembered in Singapore with the greatest regard.

The Funeral.

There was an attendance of over 300 at the funeral at Bidadari Cemetery this morning.

The Bishop of Singapore officiated. H.E. the General Officer Commanding (Major-General Sir Theodore Fraser) was present with Lieut. Bourke, A.D.C., and Lieut. J. F. Baker, R.N., represented H.E. the Governor.

The chief mourners were the widow and Mr. J. B. Wishart (brother-in-law), while the Singapore Turf Club, with which the deceased was so long prominently associated, was represented by Messrs. A. W. Vick, H. J. Fougere, G. R. Holden Webb, R. Page, A. J. Ferguson and C. Stewart (members of committee) and A. H. Todd (secretary). The trainers and jockeys were represented by Messrs. W. W. Redfearn and A. W. Sleigh.

Among the large gathering were the Chief Justice (Sir William Murison), the Colonial Secretary (the Hon. Mr. Hayes Marriott) and Mrs. Marriott, Sir David Galloway, Lieut.-Col. Pickering and Major Mohd. Tahir and Lieut. Abdullah (representing H.H. the Sultan of Johore).

The Wreaths.

Beside wreaths from the widow and close relations, floral tributes were received from the following:--

Sir Laurence Guillemard and Lady Guillemard, H.H. the Sultan of Johore, the Hon. Mr. Hayes Marriott and Mrs. Marriott, the Hon. Sir William Murison and Lady Murison, Boustead and Co., Ltd., Mr. Arthur Young, Mr. J. B. Young, Mr. and Mrs. George Hemmant, the East Asiatic Co., Mr. A. G. Anthony, Mr. C. Stewart, Mr. G. H. Pitt, Mr. J. R. George, Mr. Stuart Fortune, Clerical Staff Singapore Turf Club, Mr. and Mrs. S. L. Thompson, Mr. and Mrs. H. W. Lamb, Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Hewitt, Mr. A. W. Vick, Mr. and Mrs. H. E. Somerville, Mr. F. Allen Flett and Mr. R. P. Molony, Mr. and Mrs. Frederic G. Heros&eactute;, Lyall and Evatt, Jessie and Teddy Cleaver, Mr. and Mrs. R. W. Hughes, Mr. and Mrs. F. G .Allen, Mr. R. J. Farrer, Capt. and Mrs. H. E. Gilroy, the Chartered Bank, Mr. H. E. Trenerry, Anthony and Co., Mr. and Mrs. C. M. Bennett, Capt. S. P. Groves, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. de Piro, Mr. H. B. Layton, Fraser and Co., Mr. and Mrs. J. J. McMichael, Messrs. G. H. Sweet Shop, Exchange Brokers Association.

Mr. R. B. Bannon, Mr. Jack Murray, Mr. M. D. Rutley, Mr. J. C. Rath, Mr. and Mrs. Godwin, Mr. and Mrs. R. Donnell, Staff Hongkong Bank, Members of the Singapore Club, Trainers and Jockeys Straits Racing Assn., Mr. and Mrs. Charles Dunman, Committee and Members Singapore Turf Club, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Stevens and Kenneth, Mr. H. R. L. Dyne, Mr. and Mrs. S. B. Myles, Mr. and Mrs. H. W. H. Stevens, Messrs. Wm. Jacks and Co., Mary Phillips, Mr. A. D. Allan, Mr. and Mrs. F. R. Heron, Mr. John Robertson, Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Vick, Mr. and Mrs. J. A. and F. A. Elias, Mr. and Mrs. D. W. Reid, President and Committee of the Selangor Turf Club, Mr. and Mrs. A. A. A. Patterson, Mr. and Mrs. John Donaldson, Mrs. Douglas and Mrs. O'Sullivan, Mr. and Mrs. W. Redfearn, Mr. and Mrs. P. B. Owen, Ipoh Gymkhana Club, Mr. and Mrs. A. H. Todd, Miss D. M. Buckle and Miss C. Richardson, Mr. and Mrs. W. P. W. Ker, Mr. and Mrs. D. J. Ward, Directors, McAlister and Co., Ltd.

Mr. and Mrs. G. P. Owen, Mr. W. H. Charters Coates, Mr. and Mrs. E. S. Manasseh, President and Committee Penang Turf Club, Mr. and Mrs. Livingstone, Mr. and Mrs. G. W. A. Trimmer, Mr. R. Williamson, Mr. and Mrs. H. C. Hopkins, the Bishop of Singapore and Mrs. Ferguson Davie, Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Sime, Mr. and Mrs. E. H. Derrick, Mr. and Mrs. A. P. Cameron, Mr. and Mrs. A. W. W. Ker, Straits Racing Assn. Committee, Singapore Cold Storage Ltd., Mr. and Mrs. R. Page, Mr. and Mrs. Ariff, Mr. A. E. Odell, Lynette and Nancy Griffith-Jones, Gwennie, Eric and Lilo Griffith-Jones, Mr. and Mrs. H. R. Waring, Mr. and Miss Newton.

Mr. Justice Sproule and Mrs. Sproule, Mr. and Mrs. R. Turner, Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Mayson, Mrs. Lee Choon Guan, Europe Hotel Staff, Mr. C. J. Judah, Capt. V. G. Olive, Mr. and Mrs. H. Elphick, Mr. and Mrs. H. J. Fougere, Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Linton, Mr. and Mrs. E. Walker, Lt.-Col. and Mrs. J. H. Tyte, Mr. F. M. Toscenie, Mr. and Mrs. Tan Quee Leong, Mr. and Mrs. W. N. Skey, Mr. and Mrs. Noel Davies, Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Wishart, Mr. and Mrs. H. C. Cooke-Yarborough, Mr. and Mrs. A. P. Ager.

Mr. and Mrs. R. H. Ellis, President, Committee and Members Sports Club London, Messrs. David and Toft, Mr. and Mrs. A. de Burgh-Thomas, Mr. W. E. Rayner, Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Brown, Mr. and Mrs. A. Leggatt, Dr. and Mrs. Naughton, Mr. A. J. B. Carruthers, Capt. and Mrs. G. D. Rushton, Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Vowler, Mr. and Mrs. H. M. Cantrell, Mr. and Mrs. W. Bartley, directors and staff Lewis and Peat Ltd., Mr. and Mrs. H. D. Sharpin, Messrs. Saunders and Macphail, and Messrs. Rose, Macphail, Mr. and Mrs. G. R. H. Webb, Messrs. Evatt and Co., Manager and staff Mercantile Bank of India Ltd.

The funeral arrangements were carried out by The Singapore Casket Co.


Hugh Ward Saunders appears to have been a lieutenant in the 7th Bengal Light Cavalry, not a captain, although this article is not the only source that calls him a captain. He was probably not even in India for the Mutiny. He was married in London in 1855, and there is no sign that he ever again left England.

Hugh's wife was indeed the daughter of James Bannerman, but it was her grandfather John Alexander Bannerman who was governor of Penang.

Hugh's father, Robert Saunders, was indeed in the Bengal Civil Service, but he died in London in 1856, aged 64. It was Robert's wife Eliza who died in Singapore aged 28 and was buried in Fort Canning Cemetery.

content last revised 25 Jul 2010