Shenton Thomas

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Sir Shenton Thomas
Sir Thomas Shenton Whitelegge Thomas.png
Governor of Straits Settlements
In office
Preceded by Sir Cecil Clementi
Succeeded by Position Abolished
Governor of the Gold Coast
In office
Preceded by Geoffrey Northcote acting
Succeeded by Geoffrey Northcote acting
Governor of Nyasaland
In office
Preceded by Sir Hubert Winthrop Young
Succeeded by Wilfred Bennett Davidson-Houston
Personal details
Born (1879-10-10)October 10, 1879
Southwark, London, United Kingdom
Died January 15, 1962(1962-01-15) (aged 82)
London, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Lucy Marguerite (Daisy) Montgomery
Children Mary Bridget Thomas
St Jude's Church, Kensington, London, where Thomas married in 1912

Sir Thomas Shenton Whitelegge Thomas GCMG GCStJ (1879-1962) commonly known as Sir Shenton Thomas, was the last Governor of the Straits Settlements. He served from 1934 to 1942, during which time the Second World War broke out, and again from September 1945 to April 1946, when the Straits Settlements was dissolved.


Queens' College, Cambridge football team 1900-1901, including Sir Shenton Thomas (second from right, middle row), Charles Tate Regan and Samuel Day.

Shenton Thomas was born on 10 October 1879, in Southwark, London to The Rev Thomas William Thomas and his wife Charlotte Susanna (Susie) née Whitelegge.[1][2][3] He was educated at St. John's School, Leatherhead[4] and Queens' College, Cambridge.[5] He taught at Aysgarth School in Yorkshire prior to entering the Colonial Service. Before he went to Malaya as the colonial administrator, Thomas was the Governor of Nyasaland from 1929 to 1932. He was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (GCMG) in 1930.

Thomas was a prisoner-of-war during the Japanese occupation of Singapore (15 February 1942 - 15 August 1945) having decided to stay in Singapore during the war. He was imprisoned in Cell 24 of Changi Prison along with Ernest Tipson. Thomas established the King George V Park in Malaya (later renamed the National Park of Malaysia). Today, Shenton Way, located in Singapore's business district, is named after him. After the war, Thomas remained as the 11th British High Commissioner in Malaya (9 November 1934 - 1 April 1946), until the Malayan Union was established and succeeded the British administration in the Straits Settlements (except for Singapore, which was created a separate colony), Federated Malay States and Unfederated Malay States, where the post of Governor-General of the Malayan Union was created.

Thomas died on 15 January 1962, at his home in London. He was 82.


He married Lucy Marguerite (Daisy) Montgomery (1884-1978) daughter of James Montgomery [6]on 11 April 1912 at St Jude's Church, Kensington, London,[3] with issue:

In popular culture[edit]

Wallas Eaton portrayed Shenton Thomas in the Australian drama serial, Tanamera – Lion of Singapore.


Shenton Way, a major road in Singapore's central business district, was named after him.


  1. ^ 1881 UK Census: Aged 1 of St John Villas, Park Lane, Heigham, Norfolk - RG11/1951 f.9 p.11 - Thomas Shenton Whitelegge Thomas born Southwark
  2. ^ 1901 UK Census: Aged 21 of The Vicarage, St Barnabas Road, Cambridge - RG13/1530 f.32 p.14 - Thomas Shenton W. Thomas born London
  3. ^ a b GRO Register of Marriages: JUN 1912 1a 348 KENSINGTON - Thomas S. W. Thomas = Lucy M. Montgomery
  4. ^ 1891 UK Census: Pupil, aged 10, of St John's School, Leatherhead Surrey - RG12/549 f.98 p.8 - Thomas Shenton Thomas born St Bride's London
  5. ^ "Thomas, Thomas Shenton Whitelegge (THMS898TS)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  6. ^ "Lucy Marguerite (née Montgomery), Lady Thomas". National Portrait Gallery. 

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Wilfred Bennett Davidson-Houston
Governor of Nyasaland
Succeeded by
Sir Hubert Winthrop Young
Preceded by
Geoffrey Northcote, acting
Governor of the Gold Coast
Succeeded by
Geoffrey Northcote, acting
Preceded by
Sir Cecil Clementi
Governor of Straits Settlements & British High Commissioner in Malaya
Succeeded by
British High Commissioner in Malaya
Sir Gerard Edward James Gent
Governor of Singapore
Sir Franklin Charles Gimson