British Empire & Protection State of Singapore 1946 — 1963

The state of Singapore covers the period from 1946 until 1963.

After the dissolution of the Straits Settlements in 1946, Singapore becomes a Crown Colony under the British Empire. It is essentially based on the quarter representing Singapore in the arms of the Straits Settlements.

The arms of the colony were effectively retired when Singapore became a self-governing state in 1959 and in the spirit of Merdeka (Independence), the present coat of arms of Singapore was adopted instead.


On 1 April 1946, the Straits Settlements was dissolved and Singapore together with Cocos-Keeling and Christmas Islands became a Crown Colony with a civil administration headed by a Governor and separated from peninsular Malaya where Penang and Malacca were merged with as Malayan Union. In July 1947, separate Executive and Legislative Councils were established and provisions were made to allow for the election of six members of the Legislative Council the next year.

Singapore was thus transformed into the British Colony of Singapore, fell within the Crown’s Dominions and continued to be administered from London until 31 December 1948

As a separate crown colony, Singapore retained the hierarchical organisational structure of the Straits Settlements government with a governor at the helm who was assisted by an Advisory Executive Council, a Legislative Council and a Municipal Council. Franklin Gimson was installed as the first governor of Singapore on 3 April 1946.

In July 1946, Labuan became part of the Crown Colony of North Borneo.


From 1 January 1949 until 2 June 1959, it was within the UK and Colonies. 

During this period, the sovereignty of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands was transferred to Australia in 1955. The administration of Christmas Island was also transferred to Australia in 1957 at the request of the Australian government.

Name of Governor Term of Office
Sir Franklin Charles Gimson  1 April 1946 20 March 1952
Wilfred Lawson Blythe
Acting Governor of Singapore
20 March 1952 21 April 1952
Sir John Fearns Nicoll 21 April 1952 2 June 1955
Sir William Goode
Acting Governor of Singapore 
2 June 1955 30 June 1955
Sir Robert Brown Black 30 June 1955 9 December 1957
Sir William Allmond Codrington Goode   9 December 1957 3 June 1959


Flag adopted on 3 December 1959, coat-of-arms adopted on 26 November 1959.

From 1958–1965 Singapore morphed from a British colony to a self-governing state to a special autonomous state in the Federation of Malaya to an independent state.

From 3 June 1959, Singapore was an independent Commonwealth country as it was given autonomy within the British Empire.

Name of Chief Minister Term of Office
David Saul Marshall      6 April 1955 7 June 1956
Lim Yew Hock       8 June 1956 3 June 1959


Name of Prime Minister Term of Office
Lee Kuan Yew    3 June 1959 16 September 1963


From 16 September 1963 until its expulsion on 9 August 1965, Singapore formed as a state within the Federation of Malaysia.

The Merger Referendum passed in 1962 and led to Singapore joining the Federation of Malaya along with Malaya Sabah and Sarawak as a state with autonomous powers in September 1963. 9 July 1963 the leaders of Singapore, Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak signed the Malaysia Agreement to establish the Federation of Malaysia. With the conclusion of the Malaysia Agreement, all Singapore citizens became automatically Malaysian citizens without registration on 16 September 1963 upon Singapore's merger with the enlarged Federation of Malaya on that date which formed Malaysia.

And upon Singapore’s secession from the Federation of Malaya on 6 August 1965, a new Constitution came into effect which granted special state-level, State of Singapore citizenship to all local residents in Singapore and to all pre-independence colonial British Subject Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies (BS-CUKC) passport holders who were British subject with CUKCs as of 16 September 1963 and these Singapore citizens were still considered British citizens at that time as/since exercising Singapore Citizenship Ordinance was first created in 1957 and became law on 21 October 1957 before the commencement of Singapore Constitution when Singapore was a within self-governing colony of the United Kingdom.

With the passage of the 1958 Constitution, Singapore attained the status of a self -governing state AND with the creation of a self-governing “State of Singapore’’, the British Government retained control over the defence, foreign affairs and internal security through the presence of the Queen’s representative, the U.K. Commissioner and then all people became “Citizen of Singapore’’ by operation of law.

Under the 1958 Constitution, the Head of State swore allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom that is he acted as the Queen’s representative and as such did not possess any personal discretion and he also acted more as a proxy for the British Government.

The 1958 Constitution was the last Constitution requiring any office bearer in Singapore to swear the Oath of Allegiance to the British Crown.


The Governors of Singapore ruled Singapore. The men that held this position governed the Crown Colony of Singapore from 1946 to 1959, on behalf of the Colonial Office until Singapore gained self-governance in 1959 in where the Office of the Governor was abolished.

Sir Franklin Charles Gimson (Chinese: 詹遜, 10 September 1890 (Barrow-on-Soar, Leicestershire, England) – 13 February 1975) was a British colonial administrator, who served in Ceylon from 1914 to 1941 and later as Colonial Secretary of Hong Kong (28 August 1945 – 30 August 1945) and Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Singapore (1 April 1946 – 15 November 1952).

Gimson was the first Governor of Singapore from 1946 to 1952 and reinstalled the civil administration in Singapore. He abolished the military government which had been set up by Lord Louis Mountbatten (as he then was) in 1945 and reinstalled the colonial civil administration.


Entitlement to the status of British subject was first codified by the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act 1914, which came into effect on 1 January 1915.

Before 16 September 1963 Singapore was part of the United Kingdom and Colonies for nationality purposes. This means that a person born there, or descended from a person born there, could have become a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies.

On 16 September 1963 (Malaysia Day), Singapore became a part of Malaysia and was treated for nationality purposes as an independent Commonwealth country. At that point, a person who was recognised as a citizen of Singapore was accepted as a citizen of Malaysia. At the same time, citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies was lost by those who became citizens of Malaysia, apart from in certain cases where a  person had a continuing connection with the United Kingdom or a  remaining colony, protectorate or protected state.

When Singapore joined to form Malaysia, it was given a unique privilege unlike Sabah or Sarawak to maintain separate state-level citizenship.


Total Pages 32
Watermark Crown Colony of Singapore (Circular)


1 Crown Colony of Singapore: British Passport with Overprinted BMA Revenue Stamp
08/1945 — 03/1946
Governor: Franklin Charles Gimson, Esquire, Knight Commander ...
Use of overprinted BMA revenue stamps on page 1.
Paper: Reddish
Nationality: British Subject by Birth

Speculation: There may exist a passport from this period showing the nationality without revenue stamps or with revenue stamps but without overprinted BMA.
2 Crown Colony of Singapore: British Passport
1951 — 1955
Governor: Franklin Charles Gimson, Knight Commander of ...
Nationality: British Subject, Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies

Paper: Reddish
To reflect the British Nationality Act 1948
Variety may exist with the name of Wilfred Lawson Blythe, Sir John Fearns Nicoll, Sir William Goode or Sir Robert Brown Black
BMA and without BMA, different stroke of the governer's printed signature
3 Colony of Singapore: British Passport (Partial Internal Self-Government)
1955 — 1959
Nationality: British Subject, Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies
Paper: Greyish

Variety may exist with the name of Sir William Goode, Sir Robert Brown Black or Sir William Allmond Codrington Goode 
4 State of Singapore: British Passport (1959 — 1963) Information Glued Over
State of Singapore (Full Internal Self-Government)
Diplomatic Request Page: Yang DiPertuan Negara

Nationality: British Subject, Citizen of the State of Singapore
Using the previous type but added paper to cover the diplomatic note and Colony of Singapore (page 1)
5 State of Singapore: British Passport (1959 — 1963) New Print
State of Singapore (Full Internal Self-Government)
Diplomatic Request Page: Yang DiPertuan Negara

Nationality: British Subject, Citizen of the State of Singapore
Newly printed format without paper glued over
The passport has an extra unnumbered page for foreign exchange between page 32 and the back cover.



Scheider, Gil. (2012 Oct) The Singapore Passport - A Short Presentation of Its History from Colonial Times to Independence.