Were They The Earliest Sabahans who Travelled to London?

The year was 1897 and a group of North Borneans or Sabahans from the British North Borneo Constabulary were chosen to travel to London for a special occasion.

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That special occasion was the celebration of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee which fell on June 22, 1897. A grand parade which comprised of military and police forces from The British Empire marched through the streets of London.

The photo above dated June 1, 1897 – shows the British North Borneo Constabulary on board a ship, with no indication of whether they have already arrived in London or otherwise. The person seated in the middle was the officer in charge Captain W Raffles Flint while the person standing next to him was Lieutenant A J Wardrop.

Captain W Raffles Flint was the nephew of Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore.

The journey by a steamship from North Borneo to London back in those days would have taken around 4-6 weeks.

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The British North Borneo Constabulary lead by Officer in Charge, Captain W Raffles Flint.

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This guy on the left appeared multiple times in these photos – can you identify him?

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This photo was published on a report entitled Views of British North Borneo by the British North Borneo Chartered Company. There seems to be a bad case of “cut and paste” work in this photo – if you observe carefully, the person on the top right seems to be Lieutenant A J Wardrop which appeared on the first photo above.

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The same group also appeared on ‘The Navy and Army Illustrated’ in 1902. There’s no record of names of those in this police force.

A YouTube video of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Celebration is shown below but the British North Borneo Constabulary wasn’t captured in the footage.

Pre-war photos like these are extremely rare and I’m delighted that I was able to link all of these photos together.

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Richard Ker

I love the history of North Borneo (Sabah) and strive to digitally archive any related information on this website. I'm also the author of LifeinMy.com and CyberjayaCity.com. Follow me on Twitter @richardker.

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