Friday, June 27, 2014

William Willens Willens, death 27 Jul 1903, East Sussex

The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 22 August 1903, Page 5


The death is announced at 10, The Drive, Hove, Brighton, of Mr. W. W. Willans, who retired from the Colonial Treasureship here on pension in 1882, but who was well known to the older generation of Singapore residents. The deceased was a man of kindly nature, whose geniality and readiness to help others made him remembered by his old friends as a living prototype of Thackery's Col. Newcome. In Mr. Buckely's reminiscences it is noted that he was a nephew of Mr. Tom Church and he first came into the civil service as clerk in the Land Office. In the good old days, an official had to be ready to take charge of any work or department and the "Free Press" of 1849 noted though Mr. Willans was "a young gentleman of great activity" it was questioned how he could be expected to act as Coroner, Official Assignee, Chief Clerk to the Treasury, etc. However hard work never killed him, and he lived to complete forty years of varied and very valuable service, holding amongst other posts those of Magistrate for Singapore, Police Magistrate for Malacca, Official Assignee - the first to be appointed after the establishment of the Court for Insolvent Debtors in 1848 - Accountant General and Colonial Treasurer; he was a member from the first of the Executive and Legislative Councils after the transfer. He married Lucy, daughter of Governor Blundell, the elder sister of Mrs. Bruce Robertson, and had a large family, who however did not remain in the Straits after their childhood. He lived at Sunnyside, River Valley-rd a great part of his life, and at one time cultivated a nutmeg plantation of 1,000 acres near Tanglin Barracks. Much of his money was invested here, and his interests in the Settlement were very widespread; he took however little part in the general recreations of the community, his hobby being the cultivation of plants and flowers. By his death one more link which binds the colony to the old order of things, is snapped. Mr. Willans' record would appear to be unique for there are few civil servants who can boast after 40 years arduous service in the tropics, that they have been enabled to draw a pension for 21 years.

The Straits Times, 22 August 1903, Page 4


Willans. - On 27th July, at Hove, W. W. Willans, late Colonial Treasurer, Straits Settlements, aged 81 years.

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