Roland St John Braddell



Dato Sir Roland St John Braddell (b. 20 December 1880, Singapore–d. 15 November 1966, London, United Kingdom), a prominent lawyer in the region, was the eldest son of Thomas de Multon Lee Braddell, Chief Justice of the Federated Malay States (1913–17), and grandson of Thomas Braddell, the first attorney-general of the Straits Settlements (1867–82). He was a joint editor and a contributor to Singapore’s centenary celebration publication, One Hundred Years of Singapore, as well as the author of numerous legal and historical publications.1   

Legal career
Braddell was born in Singapore on 20 December 1880. He received his education at King’s School, Canterbury, and Worcester College, Oxford, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1904. Braddell was called to the Middle Temple Bar in 1905, and the Straits Bar the following year. A prominent lawyer in the Straits Settlements, Johor and the Federated Malay States, Braddell practised in Braddell Brothers, the law firm established by his father and his uncle Robert Wallace Glen Lee Braddell. In addition, he served as Sultan Ibrahim of Johor’s private legal adviser for many years.2

Public services 
On several occasions, Braddell was commended by the colonial government for his active participation in public affairs, and was knighted in 1948 for his services to Malaya. He was appointed a member of the Statute Revision Commission in 1910, and municipal commissioner from 1914 to 1919. Braddell was also a member of the Raffles Museum and Library Committee. He participated in the Housing Commission to look into Singapore’s housing needs in 1917 as well as a study commissioned by the University of Malaya in 1953. The study, which culminated in a report published in April 1955, was done jointly with Professor R. G. D. Allen, who was then Professor of Statistics at the University of London. Popularly known as the Allen-Braddell Report, it recommended the establishment of a separate Faculty of Law at the University of Malaya in Singapore to provide training for future lawyers of Malaya.3

  
Braddell played a significant role in the negotiations leading to the formation of the Federation of Malaya in 1948 and in the abolition of the Malayan Union. He had supported the idea of a unified political system in Malaya after an envisaged victory over the Japanese, remarking that “there was a ‘God-sent’ chance to clear up all the country’s troubles when the Japs are put back where they belong...” However, the British idea of a Malayan Union, implemented in April 1946, was met with strong protests from the Malay community, including the Malay sultans, as the proposed system required them to relinquish their sovereign powers to the British Crown.4

In March 1946, 42 Malay organisations met at a congress in Kuala Lumpur and decided to form the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to lead the opposition against the Malayan Union. UMNO was formally inaugurated on 11 May 1946. Braddell served as UMNO’s legal adviser, helping its leaders draw up a proposal for an alternative arrangement to replace the Malayan Union. The British eventually conceded to local protests and abolished the Malayan Union, supplanting it with the Federation of Malaya in 1948. Braddell also served as legal adviser to the Conference of Rulers from 1948 to 1951.5

Scholarly activities

Braddell was also a scholar of Malayan history. He was the prolific author of many legal and historical publications on Singapore and Malaya, including Commentary on the Common Gaming Houses Ordinance of 1888 (1911), The Law of the Straits Settlements: A Commentary (1915) and The Lights of Singapore (1934). He was one of three editors, along with Walter Makepeace and Gilbert Edward Brooke, of the centenary work One Hundred Years of Singapore (1921). In addition, Braddell was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts as well as president of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.

Family and other interests
Braddell married Dulcie Sylvia, the only daughter of mental specialist Lyttelton Forbes Winslow, in 1906. They had one son, Thomas Lyndhurst Braddell, who was born in 1908. Like his father Thomas de Multon Lee Braddell, Braddell was actively involved in amateur theatricals. A member of the Singapore Amateur Dramatic committee, Braddell co-wrote a musical farce called The Rajah of Stengahpour, which starred his wife Sylvia. Staged at the Teutonia Club in July 1907, the drama performance was reportedly a great success. Braddell was also a collector of fine Chinese antique porcelain. His collection, which was loaned to the Raffles Museum in 1913, included blue and white dishes, a vase from the late Ming period as well as various specimens of vases, bowls, cups and plates from the Qing dynasty.

Retirement and death
 

Braddell left Singapore in July 1951 but returned to Kuala Lumpur two years later to resume his law practice. He retired to England in November 1960, and passed away in London on 15 November 1966 at the age of 85. Four years later in 1970, the Faculty of Law at the University of Singapore (now National University of Singapore) inaugurated a public lecture series called the Braddell Memorial Lecture in his memory.8



Authors

Joshua Chia Yeong Jia & Alex Ong




References
1. Koh, T., et al. (2006). Singapore: The encyclopedia. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet in association with National Heritage Board, p. 71. (Call no.: RSING 959.57003 SIN-[HIS]); Tan, K. Y. L. (Ed.). (2005). Essays in Singapore: Legal history. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Academic & Singapore Academy of Law, p. 213. (Call no.: RSING 349.5957 ESS); Menon, K. R. (Ed.). (1947). Who’s who in Singapore and Malaya, 1947. Singapore: Oriental Publishers, p. 48. (Call no.: RCLOS 920.05957 WHO); Who’s who in Malaya, 1925. (1925) [Microfilm no.: NL 6705]. Singapore: Fishers in conjunction with Mass Printers, p. 42; Death in London of Sir Roland Braddell. (1966, November 17). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Ramani, R. (1968, July). Memoriam: Dato Sir Roland St John Braddell (20.12.1880–15.11.1966). Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 41(1), 1. (Call no.: RCLOS 959.59 JMBRAS)
2. Allen, J. de V. (1967). The Malayan Union. New Haven, Connecticut: Southeast Asia Studies, Yale University, p. 117. (Call no.: RSING 959.506 ALL); Smith, S. C. (1995). British relations with the Malay rulers from decentralization to Malayan independence 1930–1957. Kuala Lumpur: New York: Oxford University Press, p. 39. (Call no.: RSEA 959.5105 SMI); Makepeace, W., Brooke, G. E., & Braddell, R. S. J. (Eds.). (1991). One hundred years of Singapore (Vol. 2). Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 430. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 ONE-[HIS]); Koh, T., et al. (2006). Singapore: The encyclopedia. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet in association with National Heritage Board, p. 71. (Call no.: RSING 959.57003 SIN-[HIS]); Dorset, J. W. (Ed.). (1918). Who’s who in Malaya, 1918 [Microfilm no.: NL 5829]. Singapore: Dorset & Co., p. 18; Menon, K. R. (Ed.). (1947). Who’s who in Singapore and Malaya, 1947. Singapore: Oriental Publishers, p. 48. (Call no.: RCLOS 920.05957 WHO); Death in London of Sir Roland Braddell. (1966, November 17). The Straits Times, p. 20. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Makepeace, W., Brooke, G. E., & Braddell, R. S. J. (Eds.). (1991). One hundred years of Singapore (Vol. 2). Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 564. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 ONE-[HIS]); Tan, K. Y. L. (Ed.). (1999). Change and continuity: 40 years of the law faculty. Singapore: Times Editions for the National University of Singapore, pp. 10–11. (Call no.: RSING 340.07115957 CHA); Tan, K. Y. L. (Ed.). (2005). Essays in Singapore: Legal history. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Academic & Singapore Academy of Law, pp. 162–163. (Call no.: RSING 349.5957 ESS); Cheong, S. W. (1999, October 26). This small faculty packs a big punchThe Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Dorset, J. W. (Ed.). (1918). Who’s who in Malaya, 1918 [Microfilm no.: NL 5829]. Singapore: Dorset & Co, p. 18; Menon, K. R. (Ed.). (1947). Who’s who in Singapore and Malaya, 1947. Singapore: Oriental Publishers, p. 48. (Call no.: RCLOS 920.05957 WHO); Death in London of Sir Roland Braddell. (1966, November 17). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Mohamed Noordin Sopiee. (2005). From Malayan Union to Singapore separation: Political unification in the Malaysia region 1945–65. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press, p. 16. (Call no.: RSING 959.5 MOH); Koh, T., et al. (2006). Singapore: The encyclopedia. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet in association with National Heritage Board, p. 71. (Call no.: RSING 959.57003 SIN-[HIS]); Allen, J. de V. (1967). The Malayan Union. New Haven, Connecticut: Southeast Asia Studies, Yale University, pp. 13, 33. (Call no.: RSING 959.506 ALL); Lau, A. (1991). The Malayan Union controversy 1942–1948. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. 130–135. (Call no.: RSING 320.95951 LAU)
5. Allen, J. de V. (1967). The Malayan Union. New Haven, Connecticut: Southeast Asia Studies, Yale University, p. 117. (Call no.: RSING 959.506 ALL); Smith, S. C. (1995). British relations with the Malay rulers from decentralization to Malayan independence 1930–1957. Kuala Lumpur: New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 39, 201–202. (Call no.: RSEA 959.5105 SMI); Lau, A. (1991). The Malayan Union controversy 1942–1948. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. vii, 140, 182, 188, 198. (Call no.: RSING 320.95951 LAU); Mohamed Noordin Sopiee. (2005). From Malayan Union to Singapore separation: Political unification in the Malaysia region 1945–65. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press, pp. 22–23, 36–38. (Call no.: RSING 959.5 MOH)
6. Koh, T., et al. (2006). Singapore: The encyclopedia. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet in association with National Heritage Board, p. 71. (Call no.: RSING 959.57003 SIN-[HIS]); Dorset, J. W. (Ed.). (1918). Who’s who in Malaya, 1918 [Microfilm no.: NL 5829]. Singapore: Dorset & Co, p. 18; Menon, K. R. (Ed.). (1947). Who’s who in Singapore and Malaya, 1947. Singapore: Oriental Publishers, p. 48. (Call no.: RCLOS 920.05957 WHO); Tan, K. Y. L. (Ed.). (2005). Essays in Singapore: Legal history. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Academic & Singapore Academy of Law, p. 213. (Call no.: RSING 349.5957 ESS); Braddell, R. S. J. (1934). The lights of Singapore [Microfilm no.: NL 25437]. London: Methuen & Co.
7. Makepeace, W., Brooke, G. E., & Braddell, R. S. J. (Eds.). (1991). One hundred years of Singapore (Vol. 2). Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. 398–399, 400, 429–430. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 ONE-[HIS]); Song, O. S. (1984). One hundred years’ history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 497. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SON-[HIS]); Dorset, J. W. (Ed.). (1918). Who’s who in Malaya, 1918 [Microfilm no.: NL 5829]. Singapore: Dorset & Co, p. 18.
8. Braddell retires, cuts last link. (1960, November 26). The Straits Times, p. 9; Death in London of Sir Roland Braddell. (1966, November 17). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; National University of Singapore. (2015, October 7). History of the faculty. Retrieved 2016, October 10 from National University of Singapore Faculty of Law website: https://law.nus.edu.sg/about_us/history_milestones.html; Ramani, R. (1968, July). Memoriam: Dato Sir Roland St John Braddell (20.12.1880–15.11.1966). Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 41(1), 7. (Call no.: RCLOS 959.59 JMBRAS)



The information in this article is valid as at 2007 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Braddell, Roland St. John, 1880-1966
Lawyers--Singapore--Biography
Law and government>>Jurisprudence
Lawyers--Malaysia--Malaya--Biograpy
Colonial administrators
Personalities>>Biographies>>Colonial Administrators