eMail message titled “Re: John Dewar”

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  • Title eMail message titled “Re: John Dewar” 
    Author from Ly Mok in Singapore 
    Source Type E-Mail Message 
    Dated dated 13 Jan 2005 
    Source Location filed under Source 467 
    Recipient to Roger Moffat 
    Source ID S467 
    Text This eMail describes the attached files which are presented as Sources 468, 469, 470 and 471.

    Hi Roger,

    Thank you for your email.

    I have attached a word doc containing the following info:

    1. Details of John Dewar's service from the Malayan Civil List 1938(1939).
    2. His entry in Who Was Who vol. VI.
    3. Notice of his death and obituary from MALAYSIA, the Journal of the British Association of Malaysia.
    4. A letter published in The Australian Surveyor, asking for help with surveyor recruitment.

    Interesting to note that John Dewar did not serve in many different parts of British Malaya, as compared to his many predecessors, contemporaries and successors. He stayed briefly in Pahang and spent most of his surveying years in Kedah, which was an Unfederated Malay State.

    The obit answered my earlier question on where did he retire to and subsequent movement. He retired to Callander, presumably the one in Scotland. Home of 'Rob Roy'. When I was last there, the guide told us about reported sightings of 'Rob Roy' riding his horse along the highway.

    I have not got the time to go check out the old newspaper collection in the National Library of Singapore. There should be some information about him when he retired from Malaya. Also, there might be more newspaper coverage after WWII, when he was back to survey and report on the ports and survey situation in Malaya and Singapore. But I do not think there would be much on his death, as it was then the era of post-colonial nation building.

    BTW, do you by any chance know if he was into amateur theatres? On-stage drama acting? There was a one-line reference about a Dewar in a 1909 amateur play in Singapore. Since he was on leave that year, it could have been him performing.

    Interesting to note that his middle name 'Robert' did not appear in the various publications found so far. In the letter, his middle initial was printed as 'M'. Perhaps it was a typo error.

    In the past few months, I have had the opportunity to check out the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors' journals. Strangely enough, John Dewar was never featured in their publication. The NZ Institute of Surveyors was formed in the late 19th century. I wonder if he was regarded as a fellow Kiwi or a Britisher. Becoming the Surveyor-General of the FMS & SS was a significant professional achievement in those days. The lack of any mention is intriguing.

    John Dewar's tenure as SG was filled with many challenges. The department had suffered greatly following the retrenchments as a result of the Great Depression. He had to face the immediate challenge of rebuilding the department as well as to tackle the many other rapid developments in Malaya in the inter-war period, crippled by the perpetual problem of under-staffing in the survey service.

    He had also contributed one or two short letters to the in-house publication The Malayan Surveyor. I do not have the copies at the moment.

    I hope this batch of info is of some interest to you.

    Best wishes,

    Linked to (1) John Robert Dewar, CBE 

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    eMail from Ly Mok in Singapore and kindly provided for publication here.
    eMail from Ly Mok in Singapore and kindly provided for publication here.
    eMail from Ly Mok in Singapore and kindly provided for publication here.

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