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Invasion of Malaya file photo [2093]

Invasion of Malaya and Singapore

8 Dec 1941 - 15 Feb 1942


ww2dbaseMalaya was known for its rich natural resources, and that very aspect was eyed by the Japanese militarists and industrialists. In 1939, Malaya was the resource of 40% of the world's rubber and 60% of the world's tin; that fact alone interested Japanese expansionists, but two additional reasons sealed the approval on the invasion planning that started in early 1941. The first was that most of this rubber and tin supply went to Japan's potential cross-ocean rival, the United States. Secondly, Japan needed oil. Every drop of oil consumed by Japan's military and industrial capacities had to be imported. The Japanese Navy alone needed 400 tons of oil an hour to maintain its war readiness. While Malaya only had a limited amount of oil production, the peninsula was a perfect staging point to launch and support further invasion for the oil rich islands of Borneo, Java, and Sumatra. In Jun 1941 Japan was refused supplies of iron and oil from United States, Britain, and Netherlands, therefore further reinforced Japanese thought that Southeast Asia must be taken. In addition to the natural resources, Malaya was also part of Japan's "Outline Plan for the Execution of the Empire's National Policy", a plan to expand the outer perimeters so wide that her enemies would not be able to attack by air against the home islands. This perimeter extends from the Kurile islands down to Wake, Guam, the East Indies, Borneo, Malaya, and up to Burma.

ww2dbaseIn general, the Japanese troops knew very little of jungle warfare. The Japanese Army did not embark on conducting research with jungle warfare until Dec 1940, and even then the effort was not fruitful, as the responsibility of the research was given to the Taiwan Army, and the island of Taiwan lacked any jungle for this purpose. Furthermore, Japanese intelligence only detected 30,000 to 50,000 British and Commonwealth troops in Malaya, when in fact there were about 88,600 men; this under-estimation could have easily caused serious harm in the Japanese invasion, but General Tomoyuki Yamashita would later admit that "our battle in Malaya was successful because we took the enemy lightly". Yamashita was given the overall responsibility of the invasion. On paper, he commanded a force 70,000-strong, organized into three divisions; in reality, the Japanese strength was less than that, as the 5th Division left behind a whole regiment in Shanghai, China as late as 26 Dec 1941, while the 18th Division left two headquarters regiments in Canton, China. Meanwhile, the Imperial Guard Division, elite academically, had no combat experience.

ww2dbaseThe defenses in Malaya and Singapore were equally unprepared for war. Coordination between the ground troops and the small Royal Air Force contingent in the region was poor, while the ground troops, particularly conscripts from India, lacked training and were not properly equipped. High ranking British officers, too, lacked training in jungle warfare. In fact, some of them were not even considering that they needed to know how to conduct a war in the Malayan jungles, as indicated by some of their frustrated complaints that there was no room for them to conduct training maneuvers because the jungle was in the way. While Singapore was boasted to be a fortress that could resist an amphibious invasion, defense against a convention invasion down the Malayan peninsula was inadequate. Finally, another hint of Singapore's unpreparedness was the lack of food rationing despite its mother country had been in war since 1939 and the Japanese invasion seemed inescapable by late 1941. The only major attempt that the British had committed in building the defense of Malaya and Singapore seemed to be a request for the United States to station capital ships of the US Pacific Fleet in Singapore, but that request was denied.

ww2dbaseThe Start of the Invasion
8 Dec 1941

ww2dbaseThe invasion fleet left the port of Samah on 4 Dec 1941. Although detected by British scout planes two days earlier, bad weather provided stealth for the invasion convoy. On 8 Dec, after some fighting at Kota Bharu, the Japanese troops took coast cities of Singora (Thailand), Patani (Thailand), and Kota Bharu (Malaya). British planes attempted to attack landing ships, but Japanese troops made beachhead at Kota Bharu within three hours despite the air distraction. At an airfield near Kota Bharu, Indian troops who received incorrect intelligence that the Japanese were far ahead than where they actually were killed their own commander Lt. Col. Hendricks and fled the airfield without destroying anything, providing the Japanese invaders a fully working airfield along with fuel and ammunition. General Yamashita, in Singora, negotiated with the Thai government, and won an agreement that allowed Japanese troops to move within Thai borders toward Malaya without local resistance. Meanwhile, Colonel Tsuji's men, disguised in civilian attire, secured key bridges beyond Malaya's borders before the British could destroy them on their retreat. No reinforcements from United States' Philippines appeared during the landings, as the US forces were busy fending off a nearly simultaneous invasion at Philippines and at Pearl Harbor. On the same day, 8 Dec, Japan sent her first air raid on the city of Singapore, resulting in 61 deaths. British command in Singapore still did not call for a general blackout of the city.

ww2dbaseBattle off Kuantan
10 Dec 1941

ww2dbaseWith the threat of Germany, the bulk of the British Royal Navy were recalled to defend the English Channel, Northern Atlantic, and the Mediterranean. When it came to the defense of British interests in the Pacific, the duty fell squarely on the shoulders of three capital ships (with a support cast of smaller ships, of course). The battle cruiser Repulse was commanded by Captain W. G. Tennant, an older design but sported six 15" guns. The second ship was the battleship Prince of Wales, a ship practically fresh out of the docks (she was commissioned in March 1941), sporting ten 14" modern guns and good anti-aircraft defenses, but her total tonnage was limited by the treaty. The Prince of Wales was commanded by Captain J. C. Leach of the Royal Navy. The last large ship was the Indomitable, a 23,000-ton aircraft carrier with a compliment of 45 fighters. This force was designated "Force G" and sent underway to rendezvous in Singapore.

ww2dbaseIndomitable soon ran into bad luck -- she ran aground on 3 Nov 1941 off Jamaica, and had to sail north to Norfolk, Virginia, United States for 12 days worth of repairs. With the Japanese striking earlier than expected (United States estimated that the earliest date Japan would gather enough force to attack United States and/or British holdings in the Pacific would be Mar 1942), she would not make it in time to fight alongside her squadron mates, but this mishap would save her to fight another day.

ww2dbaseNear Ceylon, the Repulse and the Prince of Wales met, and the force was renamed "Force Z", and sailed for Singapore. With Admiral Sir Thomas Philips flagged aboard the Prince of Wales, the fleet of two warships and four destroyers reached Singapore just as news of Japan's mostly successful attack all across Pacific reached the admiral. He decided to take his fleet up the eastern Malaya coast to stop any further landing operations against Malaya. He sailed half-way up the coast of Malaya when he had heard a radio report that a Japanese landing at the port of Kuantan was being staged, and turned the fleet around toward Kuantan during the night, planning on a dawn attack against the landing ships. At 2352, Japanese submarine I-58 spotted Force Z and launched a torpedo, but missed so widely that there were no British reports of being attacked. I-58 reported the finding to Rear Admiral Matsunaga Sadaichi's 22nd Air Flotilla, which launched 76 aircraft to search for Force Z. It was of interest to note that should these planes not be able to find Force Z, they had the orders to fly all the way to Singapore for a bombing run, without ample supplies of fuel for the return trip; the commander essentially told the pilots that should they not find the British fleet, they would not be allowed to return to base with honor. Luckily for the Japanese pilots and unfortunately for the British, Ensign Hoashi Masame of a reconnaissance aircraft spotted the British ships at 1045 on 10 Dec in the Gulf of Siam. Admiral Nobutake Kondo sent cruisers and torpedo planes to attack the ships, but the British warships escaped the first attack.

ww2dbaseAs Japanese aircraft of the 22nd Air Flotilla approached, they were surprised to see two capital ships without air cover. With the Indomitable out of action and the airfields at Kota Bharu already under Japanese control, there were no available air cover for the British ships (also interesting to note that when the attack occurred, Philips only requested for destroyers for assistance, not aircraft). Little after 1000 Japanese aircraft began the attack on the British ships. The Repulse, with inadequate anti-aircraft weaponry, was disabled quickly and sank at 1233, killing 500 men. The Prince of Wales suffered heavy damage and was abandoned at 1300. Over 300 men lost their lives, including Admiral Philips and Captain Leach, who stood at the bridge and went down with the ship. Later, the British found out that sending the ships to Kuantan was pointless, as the port was never a target that day. At the end of the battle, Japan had lost only 3 aircraft. After Pearl Harbor and Philippines only a couple of days before, Japan once again proved that airpower was the future of naval warfare, not big warships. Ironically, the largest battleship in history, Yamato, would be launched 11 days later, and become the flagship of the Combined Fleet.

ww2dbaseFall of Jitra
11 Dec 1941

ww2dbaseThe 11th Indian Division was in no shape to defend Jitra with no working communications systems and flooded trenches. The oncoming Japanese attack captured several artillery and anti-aircraft guns, however, the attack on the city of Jitra on the night of 11 Dec caused heavy losses among the Japanese troops. A shift in tactics allowed the Japanese column to drive a deep wedge into the center of the British line of defense, and then the addition of a reinforcement force broke through the line. During the British retreat, there was much confusion due to the lack of a good communications system, and it was fueled by unorthodox tactics employed by the Japanese, including snipers under disguise as local civilians. The Japanese forces would push to the vicinity of Penang within days.

ww2dbaseFall of Penang
17 Dec 1941

ww2dbasePenang was an island garrison, consisted of four anti-aircraft guns and 500 troops. The first attack on the island by the Japanese was as early as 11 Dec, in the form of air raids. During one of the raids, a bomb was dropped on a firestation, which resulted in no firefighting capability from the civilians. Some RAF resistance was present, but was largely unsuccesful. The city fell under a state of lawlessness within days, with uncontrollable looting while corpses were left rotting on the streets.

ww2dbaseOn 17 Dec, Japanese troops landed on the island of Penang with no resistance, as British forces had already evacuated the island on the previous day. Once again, the British failed to destroy resources that could be used by the invaders, including a fully functional radio station. The Japanese troops used the radio station to broadcast the cruel message "Hello, Singapore, this is Penang calling. How do you like our bombing?" and proceeded to massacre the Penang residents during a large-scale looting. General Tamashita called a stop to the atrocities, and executed three soldiers as punishment. Lt. Col. Kobayashi was also placed under arrest as punishment. However, the image of the Japanese as brutal conquerers would forever be carved in the minds of the natives.

ww2dbaseGeneral Archibald Wavell, British commander-in-chief in the area, had little confidence in Lieutenant General Arthur Percival, who was in tactical command of the defending troops. During the defensive campaign, Wavell interfered in Percival's decision making on several occasions, but he repeated failed to replace Percival, thus further weakening the British ability to fight.

ww2dbaseFall of Kuala Lumpur
11 Jan 1942

ww2dbaseJapanese troops, originally thought as inferior in jungle warfare, continued to surprise British troops as they moved quickly down the peninsula. Part of the Japanese secret was bicycles, providing Japanese soldiers great mobility in the rubber plantations. On 11 Jan, tanks reached the edge of Kuala Lumpur, and had taken the capital city with relatively little difficulty. In the city Yamashita found stores of food, fuel, and ammunition, solving his previously stressful situation of a long supply line from Siam/northern coasts of Malaya.

ww2dbaseWithin weeks, British troops slowly backed into Singapore as Japanese troops advanced. Gordon Bennett and his Australian 8th Division staged several ambushes against Japanese troops, while successful in causing casualties, they largely did not significantly slow the Japanese advance. Blown bridges, however, slowed the momentum, but the Japanese was still able to reach as far south as Gemas on 15 Jan and Johore by the end of the month. The fortress of Singapore was in sight, and the quantity of men killed, wounded, or captured thus far was the equivalent of two divisions of men for the British, while Yamashita had lost about five thousand (two thousand dead).

ww2dbaseBattle of Singapore
1-15 Feb 1942

ww2dbaseOn 1 Feb 1942, the Japanese reached Singapore island after overrunning British, Australian, and Indian troops. On 5 Feb, down to 18 tanks and lacked ammunition and food, the smaller force commanded of Yamashita attacked the island of Pulau Ubin on the east, creating a bluff that another Japanese force was attacking from the east. This deceived Percival, who moved his major ammunitions stores to the east when the actual Japanese attack came down from the northwest. On 8 Feb, the actual attack on Singapore started with landing of troops on Singapore's northwest coast. Australian troops fought off initial landing attempts while inflicting enormous casualties on the part of the Japanese. However, the Australian troops retreated unnecessarily amidst the confusion of battle, allowing Japanese troops to gain a strong foothold at the shore defense installations. Subsequent landings would be unopposed.

ww2dbaseFrom very early on, British commander Percival had his troops destroy docks and fuel dumps to prevent enemy capture. While it indeed took away Japan's ability to have readily available infrastructure and various resources, the early destruction of such facilities further destroyed defender morale. Such moves instilled the soldiers with the notion that the battle had already been lost.

ww2dbaseOn 10 Feb, the Japanese 5th and 18th Divisions routed the 22nd Australian Brigade, who retreated further into the city and turned on its citizens, pillaging the city of its food and liquor. By this time, Japanese tanks were also in Singapore in force, first routing Indian troops at the hills of Bukit Timah then denying a successful counterattack by British Brigadier Coates. While RAF fighter pilots bravely downed several Japanese bombers early in the assault, most of them were picked off one by one in dogfights by the superior Zero fighters. Singapore citizens continued to evacuate the city as they had done earlier, though at this stage many boats out of the city faced strafing by Japanese fighters. On 13 Feb, Japanese troops would seize or damage most city reservoirs, attempting to cause chaos by drying up the city. "While there's water," Lieutenant General Arthur Percival says, "We fight on."

ww2dbaseOn 14 Feb, Japanese troops closed into the city, and atrocities ensued. Lt. Western, a British medical officer, surrendered with a white flag but was bayoneted to death. Then, the Japanese troops entered the Alexandra Hospital, killing over 300 doctors, nurses, and patients, most by bayonets. When Yamashita heard about the incident, he had the Japanese soldiers responsible for the attack executed at the hospital.

ww2dbaseOther reports of atrocities including gruesome accounts where Japanese troops emasculated captured British soldiers and sewed their penises to their lips before hanging them in trees where Allied patrols would find them; signs on their necks read "he took a long time to die". Such displays were meant to, and were successful to a certain degree, to demoralize Allied soldiers.

ww2dbaseAt 1400 hours on Sunday, 15 Feb, Percival decided that he only had enough supplies for two more days of fighting, and surrendered. Yamashita asked Percival, who wore the baggy British tropical uniform shorts that date, "do you wish to surrender unconditionally?", and Percival answered "Yes we do", and that marked the fall of the "Impregnable Fortress" of Singapore to Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita. Yamashita's troops had only enough ammunitions to fight a few more days, but Percival did not have that intelligence. Singapore, the Gibraltar of the East, would remain under Japanese control until the end of the war. Until the last moment of battle, the British shore batteries of 15" and 19" guns pointed southward, waiting for the naval assault expected but never came.

ww2dbaseConclusion of the Campaign

ww2dbaseAt the conclusion of the Japanese campaign at Malaya, all Allied troops at the peninsula, numbered at over 138,000, were killed or captured. Many of the captured would endure a four-year long brutal captivity as forced labor in Indo-China. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill considered the British defeat at Singapore one of the most humiliating British defeats of all time. Many historians suggested similarly.

ww2dbaseEpilogue: Sook Ching Massacre
16 Feb-2 Mar 1942

ww2dbaseAfter Percival's surrender that concluded the military campaign, the Japanese Army became concerned about both moral and monetary support from Malayan and Singaporean Chinese to Chiang Kaishek's Nationalist government in China. In a process that the Japanese called Daikensho ("the Great Inspection") and the Chinese called Sook Ching ("the Purge", coined in 1946), Yamashita authorized his men to cooperate with the Kempeitai on a purge of Chinese groups that were likely to undermine Japanese occupation. Some of the groups targeted were known supporters of the China Relief Fund, Chinese men with tattoos (believed to be members of secret societies), communists, and politicians, among others. The purge soon expanded to cover almost all Chinese men, many of whom had nothing to do with any of the anti-Japanese groups. During the purge, Singaporean Chinese men were sent to remote sites such as Changi, Punggol, Blakang Mati, and Bedok and executed by drowning or by machine gunning; in Penang, indiscriminate killings took place, where entire villages of Chinese were imprisoned and executed. The purge was called off on 3 Mar 1942. Because of the lack of records, death tolls were not certain. Post-war Japanese authority recognized the figure of 5,000 killed, while Singaporean estimated upwards of 100,000. Most historians agreed that the number was likely somewhere between 25,000 and 50,000, based on evidence provided during post-war trials.

ww2dbaseThe massacre deprived the Japanese of any cooperation from Malayans and Singaporeans, Chinese or otherwise. Consequently, significant amount of troops became tied-down in Malaya and Singapore to maintain order.

ww2dbaseIn 1947, seven Japanese officers were tried and found guilty of war crimes for the Sook Ching Massacre. Commander of No. 2 Field Kempeitai Lieutenant Colonel Masayuki Oishi was executed on 26 Jun 1947; Lieutenant General Saburo Kawamura was also executed on the same date. The remaining five were given life sentences, including Lieutenant General Takuma Nishimura, who was later found guilty of the Parit Sulong Massacre by an Australian court and was executed as according to the Australian tribunal.

ww2dbaseSources: American Caesar, Britain at War, Nihon Kaigun, the Pacific Campaign, the Pacific War, Wikipedia, World War II Plus 55.

Last Major Update: Mar 2010

Invasion of Malaya and Singapore Interactive Map


Men of the British 2/9th Gurkha Rifles training in the Malayan jungle, Oct 1941Men of the British Malay Regiment performing bayonet practice, Singapore, Oct 1941
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Map showing Japanese offensives in Dec 1941Maps depicting British dispositions in Malaya and Singapore on 7 Dec 1941 and the Japanese advance from Dec 1941 to Jan 1942
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Invasion of Malaya and Singapore Timeline

19 Feb 1941 The Australian 8th Division arrived in Singapore.
28 Apr 1941 Winston Churchill, without reference to the Chiefs of Staff, issued a directive stating that there is no need at the present time to make provisions for the defence of Malaya and Singapore.
13 Nov 1941 Allied troops established a new defensive line from the mouth of the Muar River to Gemas in British Malaya.
25 Nov 1941 Japanese troops transports en route to Malaya were detected off Taiwan.
2 Dec 1941 US PBY Catalina patrol aircraft reported 20 Japanese transports congregating in Cam Ranh Bay off Indochina.
3 Dec 1941 US PBY Catalina patrol aircraft reported 30 Japanese transports congregating in Cam Ranh Bay off Indochina, 10 more than the previous day. Meanwhile, a Japanese fleet departed Hainan Island in southern China for Thailand.
4 Dec 1941 Japanese invasion fleets departed from various locations for their destinations in Malaya and Thailand. Later this day, American PBY Catalina patrol aircraft reported that the 30 Japanese transports detected on the previous day in Cam Ranh Bay off Indochina were no longer there.
5 Dec 1941 Japanese invasion fleet boarded a Norwegian freighter and destroyed her radio.
6 Dec 1941 US Navy yacht Isabel was detected by a floatplane from Japanese seaplane carrier Kamikawa Maru off Indochina; Isabel was later ordered to abort her current mission as bait for first fire and to sail for Manila, Philippine Islands. Shortly after, nearby, a Japanese Zero fighter covering the Malaya invasion force found and shot down a British PBY Catalina patrol aircraft.
7 Dec 1941 Japanese troops invaded Khota Baru, Malaya, two hours before the attack on Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. A series of landings in nearby Thailand initially met stiff resistance, but the Thai government negotiated for an armistice within hours.
8 Dec 1941 Japanese cruiser Kumano provided close support off Cap Camau during the landings at Singora, Patani and Kota Bharu on the Mayla Peninsula.
8 Dec 1941 RAF Hudson aircraft bombed Japanese invasion shipping off Kota Bharu, British Malaya, setting cargo ship Awajisan Maru afire. The Japanese 143rd Infantry Regiment of 55th Division (under command of 25th Army) landed on four beaches in southern Thailand; local Thai forces, unaware of their government's agreement to allow free passage to the Burma border, put up a fierce resistance and killed 79 Japanese soldiers. Japanese aircraft began arriving at Songkla in southern Thailand to prepare for air raids against targets in British Malaya.
9 Dec 1941 Bitter fighting between British and Japanese troops took place for the airfield at Kota Bharu in British Malaya, while two groups of Indian troops crossed into Thailand to destroy roads and railroads. In Thailand, the Japanese entered Bangkok. Out at sea, Japanese aircraft and submarine I-65 spotted British battleship HMS Prince of Wales and battlecruiser HMS Repulse; torpedo bombers were launched from Saigon, occupied French Indochina, but they failed to locate the ships.
10 Dec 1941 Japanese submarine I-58 spotted British battleship HMS Prince of Wales and battlecruiser HMS Repulse off British Malaya, launched five torpedoes, but all of them missed; beginning at 1117 hours, Japanese aircraft began to attack. Overwhelmed, HMS Repulse was sunk at 1233 hours (513 killed), followed by HMS Prince of Wales at 1318 hours (327 killed); destroyers HMS Electra, HMS Express, and HMS Vampire rescued 1,862 survivors. On land, the British commanders dispatched the 1st Battalion of the 14th Punjab Regiment and the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Gurkha Rifles regiment to Changlun and Asun in northern British Malaya to counter the Japanese advance; contact was made at Changlun at 2100 hours, where two Japanese tanks were destroyed before the Punjabi troops fell back toward Asun.
11 Dec 1941 Japanese infantrymen under the command of Colonel Shizuo Saeki overran the defenses set up by Punjabi troops between Changlun and Asun, British Malaya, and gave chase into Asun, where Gurkha troops slowed the Japanese advance by destroying the two Japanese tanks in the spearhead; the Gurkha positions, however, would be captured by 1900 hours, killing or capturing 350 men. Nearby, Japanese troops also under Saeki reached the outskirts of Jitra, British Malaya, which was defended by troops of the 11th Indian Division. Out at sea, Japanese pilot Lieutenant Ito, flying a torpedo bomber over the location where Repulse and Prince of Wales were sunk on the previous day, dropped a wreath to honor the killed British sailors.
12 Dec 1941 Colonel Shizuo Saeki led elements of the Japanese 5th Division attacked Jitra, British Malaya. After sundown, British General Lewis Heath gave the order for the 11th Indian Division to withdraw from Jitra.
13 Dec 1941 Just after 0000 hours, Dutch submarine O.16 entered Mueang Patani, Thailand and damaged four Japanese freighters with six torpedoes, sinking a number of them in shallow water. All ships would later be repaired and put back into service. At 0200 hours, rearguard Indian troops blew up the bridge at Jitra, British Malaya before joining the main body falling back toward Gurun to the south. Later on the same day, Japanese troops arrived at the abandoned airfield at Alor Setar, British Malaya, capturing bombs and aviation fuel.
14 Dec 1941 At 1500 hours, Japanese troops overran Allied defenses near Gurun, British Malaya but failed to reach the town.
15 Dec 1941 The British government accepted the Malayan Communist Party's offer to resist Japanese rule. At the same time, the British freed all left-wing political prisoners with ties to the party.
15 Dec 1941 Japanese troops overran the Allied defenses at Gurun, Kedah in Malaya, opening up the road toward Penang. On the same day, the British abandoned RAF Butterworth in Penang, flying all of of the remaining aircraft to Singapore.
16 Dec 1941 European civilians began to evacuate from Penang, Malaya while Allied troops destroyed guns, ammunition dumps, and other military facilities to prevent Japanese capture; the radio station and the ships in the harbor, however, were overlooked and would later be pressed into Japanese service.
17 Dec 1941 British and Indian troops established a defensive line 65 miles south of Penang, British Malaya near the Perak River.
19 Dec 1941 Japanese troops captured Penang on the Malay Peninsula.
20 Dec 1941 Two RAF Buffalo fighters attacked the Japanese barracks at Victoria Point, Burma near the border with Thailand, inflicting heavy casualties. Meanwhile, in Malaya, Japanese troops attempted to flank the Allied positions on the Perak River while another column marched along the Grik Road.
20 Dec 1941 British military personnel at the 101st Special Training School in Singapore began training members of the Malayan Communist Party in guerrilla warfare tactics.
21 Dec 1941 Having seen previous success with the same tactic on a smaller scale, Japanese launched a large number of rafts down the Perak River toward Kuala Kangsar, Malaya in an attempt to bypass nearby roadblocks; casualties were heavy, but the Japanese troops were able to establish a bridgehead downstream, causing the British to abandon the Perak River positions and to fall back.
25 Dec 1941 The Allies completed the abandonment of defensive positions along the Perak River in Malaya and established new positions at Ipoh about 10 miles to the south.
26 Dec 1941 Anglo-Indian and Japanese troops clashed at Chemor, Malaya north of Ipoh. Later in the day, the Allies withdrew from Ipoh and fell back to Kampar 25 miles to the south.
27 Dec 1941 Japanese bombers attacked Kuala Lumpur, Malaya. Meanwhile, Japanese troops advanced toward Kampar in western Malaya and Kuantan on the east coast.
28 Dec 1941 Indian 22nd Brigade arrived at Kuantan, Pahang, Malaya.
30 Dec 1941 8,000 troops of the 9th Brigade of the Japanese 5th Division launched probing attacks on Kampar on the west coast of British Malaya. On the east coast, Japanese troops attacked the defensive positions north of the Kuantan River, whose defenders were confused by inaccurate intelligence that the Japanese were to land from the sea behind them.
31 Dec 1941 British 155th Field Regiment of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry stopped a Japanese attack at Kampar, British Malaya; further south on the western coast, the Japanese landed behind the Allied lines. On the east coast, the Indian 9th Division fell back to the south side of the Kuantan River.
31 Dec 1941 Off the Chinese coast, 56 Japanese troop transports departed the island of Taiwan, escorted by 3 cruisers and 16 destroyers, for an amphibious operations in British Malaya.
31 Dec 1941 In Singapore, British and Dutch transports took on civilians for evacuation to South Africa.
1 Jan 1942 Japanese troops continued the assault on Kampar, British Malaya; both sides incurred heavy casualties in the morning. Meanwhile, Japanese 11th Regiment landed in the Bernam River 35 miles to the southwest. In London, England, United Kingdom, Winston Churchill complained of the British Royal Navy's inability to disrupt Japanese shipping in Malayan waters.
2 Jan 1942 Japanese and Anglo-Indian troops continued to fight at Kampar Hill in British Malaya and prepared to withdraw southward later in the day. To the south, troops of the Japanese 4th Imperial Guard Regiment sailed down the Perak River to reinforce the Japanese 11th Regiment at Bernam River; Indian 12th Infantry Brigade arrived to reinforce the failing defense at Telok Anson nearby. Far to the south, Japanese aircraft based in Malaya and Borneo attacked Singapore.
3 Jan 1942 British Colonel Arthur Cummings, commanding officer of the Indian 12th Frontier Force Regiment, gallantly led a rearguard unit near Kuantan, Pahang, Malaya as the main body of his division retreated further south, suffering a bayonet wound in his stomach and a gunshot in the arm. He would survive the war and be awarded the Victoria Cross for this action.
3 Jan 1942 The Japanese made an amphibious attack at Kuala Selangor in western Malaya, which was repelled by Indian troops. In eastern Malaya, Japanese troops pushed through Indian 9th Division defenses and crossed the Kuantan River, capturing the airfield nearby.
3 Jan 1942 Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Cummings led a counter attack against the Japanese at Kuantan, Pahang, Malaya, in which all of his men were killed or wounded, and he was bayoneted twice in the stomach. Rallying the remnants of his force under fire, he was wounded again, but succeeded in saving many lives. He was awarded the Victoria Cross.
4 Jan 1942 Indian 11th Infantry Division withdrew from Kampar Hill in western Malaya, falling back to a new defensive line at the Slim River.
5 Jan 1942 Japanese troops launched probing attacks at the defenses manned by Indian troops at Trolak, British Malaya; 60 Japanese were killed without achieving success.
7 Jan 1942 Japanese tanks wiped out the Indian 11th Division at Slim River, British Malaya early in the morning; by 0930 hours, both the road and railway bridges were secured by Japanese troops.
8 Jan 1942 Japanese troops penetrated the outer lines of defense at Kuala Lumpur, Malaya, which was about 15 miles north of the capital city. Australian 8th Division began to move forward to replace the nearly-destroyed Indian 11th Division near Kuala Lumpur.
9 Jan 1942 Japanese Kaidai-type submarine I-58 sank Dutch ship Camphuijs in the Java Sea.
10 Jan 1942 Japanese tanks and infantry attacked the remnants of the Indian 11th Division at Serendah, Selangor, Malaya, 15 miles north of Kuala Lumpur, which was being evacuated. Out to sea in the Gulf of Siam, Dutch submarine O 19 sank Japanese freighters Akita Maru and Tairyu Maru.
11 Jan 1942 Japanese troops entered Kuala Lumpur, the capital of the Federated Malay States, unopposed, capturing large amounts of supplies and ammunition left behind by the evacuating British and colonial troops.
13 Jan 1942 Allied convoy DM1 arrived at Singapore from Durban, South Africa, delivering 9,100 troops, anti-aircraft guns, and 52 Hurricane fighters (with 24 pilots).
14 Jan 1942 Japanese troops on bicycles, supported by tanks, crossed the Gemencheh Bridge over the Kelamah River in Negeri Sembilan, Malaya at 1600 hours into an Australian ambush, killing somewhere between 140 and 700 Japanese troops while losing only 1 killed and 6 captured (they would later be executed); the Japanese would return after dark to successfully secure and repair the bridge. Elsewhere, Japanese troops captured Malacca on the west coast.
15 Jan 1942 Japanese troops crossed the Gemencheh Bridge over the Kelamah River in British Malaya at 1000 hours to attack Australian-held positions at Gemas; although the initial attack failed with the loss of six tanks, subsequent attacks and flanking maneuvers forced the Australians to fall back to the Gemas River. Elsewhere, Japanese 4th and 5th Imperial Guard Regiments wiped out forward positions held by elements of the Indian 45th Brigade north of the Muar River.
16 Jan 1942 Japanese 4th and 5th Imperial Guards Regiments crossed the Muar River in British Malaya before dawn, forcing the Indian 45th Brigade to withdraw from Muar.
17 Jan 1942 Indian 45th Brigade withdrew from Bukit Bakri, British Malaya.
18 Jan 1942 Australian troops destroyed 9 Japanese tanks north of Bakri, Malaya at 0645 hours, but by the evening the Japanese were able to get through this area.
19 Jan 1942 The headquarters of the Indian 45th Brigade in Malaya was destroyed by a Japanese air raid at 1000 hours, wounding General Duncan and killing all of his staff officers. Elsewhere in British Malaya, Australian 8th Division withdrew from Gemas to prevent being cut off by a Japanese flanking maneuver.
20 Jan 1942 Hawker Hurricane fighters, sent as reinforcements to Singapore, shot down eight Japanese bombers from a force of 27 attacking the city. Ground troops had less success, however, as the Indian and Australian retreat from Bakri, Malaya was cut off by the Japanese. Also on this date, more Japanese troops landed at Endau, Malaya.
21 Jan 1942 Following the catastrophe of the previous day, Japanese Mitsubishi A6M fighters escorted the bombers to Singapore and shot down five of the defending Hurricane fighters without loss; during the period 30 Dec 1941 to 15 Feb 1942, Singapore would suffer 18 heavy air raids and 25 lesser attacks. Meanwhile, to the north in Malaya, the retreat of Indian and Australian troops from Bakri was blocked at the Parit Sulong bridge at 0930 hours.
22 Jan 1942 Two RAF Albacore aircraft from Singapore attacked the Japanese positions at the Parit Sulong bridge in Malaya in an attempt to relieve the Indian and Australian troops being blocked there; failing to break through the Japanese lines, the Allied troops decided to break up to small groups and take the risk of fleeing through the jungle. Nearby, 110 captured Australian and 40 captured Indian troops were executed by the Japanese by machine gunning, bayoneting, beheading, and burning.
24 Jan 1942 Troop convoy MS2 arrived at Singapore, disembarking an Australian machine gun battalion and 1,900 green conscripts.
25 Jan 1942 Troops of the Japanese Imperial Guard captured Batu Pahat, British Malaya; in response, Lieutenant General Arthur Percival ordered troops in Malaya to withdraw to Singapore. Meanwhile, Allied convoy BM10 from Bombay, India arrived at Singapore, disembarking 4,745 troops of the Indian 44th Infantry Brigade, vehicles, and supplies.
26 Jan 1942 British, Indian, and Australian troops began to withdraw from the Batu Pahat-Ayer Hitam-Jemaluang defensive line in British Malaya as ordered by Lieutenant General Arthur Percival on the previous day. On the east coast, 1,500 troops of the British Brigade of the Indian 11th Division were cut off at Rengit. At 1100 hours, Japanese 18th Division landed at Endau, 80 miles north of Singapore. At 1500 hours, RAF biplane aircraft attacked the Endau landing force, causing little damage and losing 5 Vildebeest aircraft. At 1630 hours, destroyers HMS Thanet and HMAS Vampire departed Singapore to attack the Japanese ships at Endau. Finally, at 1730 hours, another air attack was conducted by 9 Vildebeest and 3 Albacore aircraft, escorted by some Hurricane fighters; this attack also achieved little, and 9 aircraft were lost.
27 Jan 1942 At 0318 hours, destroyers HMS Thanet and HMAS Vampire engaged Japanese cruiser Sendai and six destroyers, which were protecting the troop transports that the two Allied destroyers were aiming to sink, off British Malaya; in the ensuing Battle of Endau, Japanese troop transports Kansai Maru and Kanbera Maru were damaged. At 0400 hours, HMS Thanet was sunk; 38 were killed, 67 survived and were rescued by friendly forces, and 31 survived and were captured by the Japanese. Also in eastern Malaya, British gunboats HMS Dragonfly and HMS Scorpion evacuated 1,500 British troops from Rengit and transported them to Singapore.
28 Jan 1942 Japanese troops outflanked and wiped out Indian 22nd Brigade at the village of Layang Layang, Perak, Malaya. Meanwhile, US B-17 bombers based on Java, Dutch East Indies bombed Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Malaya. After sundown, British gunboats HMS Dragonfly and HMS Scorpion evacuated British troops at Rengit, Johor, Malaya.
29 Jan 1942 British colonial administrators and civilians departed from Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaya for Singapore.
30 Jan 1942 British troops in the southern tip of British Malaya completed the withdraw into Singapore, thus marking the start of the siege. After sundown, British gunboats HMS Dragonfly and HMS Scorpion once again sailed for Rengit to evacuate the last of the enveloped British troops there.
31 Jan 1942 Indian sappers destroyed the main causeway linking Singapore and British Malaya at 0815 hours. Shortly after, Japanese troops captured Johor Bharu, Johor, Malaya.
1 Feb 1942 Japanese troops reached Singapore, pausing for the following few days to prepare for a landing on the island. Meanwhile, General Arthur Percival announced that "the battle of Malaya has come to an end and the battle of Singapore has started.... Today we stand beleaguered in our island fortress. Our task is to hold this fortress until help can come."
2 Feb 1942 Japanese aircraft attacked naval facilities at Singapore, forcing Allied warships to withdraw for the Dutch East Indies.
2 Feb 1942 US B-17 bombers, based in the Dutch East Indies, attacked airfields in Kuantan and Kuala Lumpur in Malaya.
4 Feb 1942 Believing that reinforcements were on their way, the British Authorities in Singapore turned down a Japanese demand for the unconditional surrender.
5 Feb 1942 Japanese troops attacked the Pulau Ubin island to the northeast of Singapore, drawing British troops to move to that region; the actual attack would come from the northwest three days later. Out at sea, passenger liner Empress of Asia, with reinforcement for Singapore aboard and fallen behind from fellow BM12 convoy members, was attacked and sunk by 9 Japanese aircraft; although the loss of life was small (16 killed), all the weapons and equipment aboard her were lost; 1,804 survivors were rescued by Australian sloop HMAS Yarra.
6 Feb 1942 Japanese artillery and aerial bombardment continued against various military and port facilities at Singapore.
8 Feb 1942 The main Japanese offensive against Singapore began. Australian troops stationed on the northwestern coast of Singapore initially inflicted heavy casualties on the Japanese landing, but confusion of battle caused them to retreat prematurely, providing Japanese a beachhead by nightfall.
9 Feb 1942 During the day, Japanese troops captured Tengah airfield at Singapore while behind the front 10,000 additional troops arrived at the beachheads. At 2100 hours, the Japanese 4th Imperial Guard Regiment landed at Kranji in northern Singapore, but the attempt was driven off by Australian 27th Brigade's heavy machine gun and mortar fire before the Australians fell back in anticipation of another landing.
10 Feb 1942 Australian 22nd Brigade misunderstood an order and withdrew past the Jurong Road in northern Singapore, thus exposing the flanks of neighboring Indian troops, forcing the entire Allied line to shift further south. Meanwhile, the British Royal Air Force withdrew the small number of aircraft from Singapore to prevent Japanese capture. After sundown, Japanese troops captured the Bukit Timah heights which overlooked Singapore and hosted two reservoirs of fresh water.
11 Feb 1942 Battle of Bukit Timah: Japanese 5th Division attacked British, Commonwealth, and Chinese (Dalforce irregulars) troops along the Choa Chu Kang Road at Bukit Timah Hill in Singapore. Supported by 50 tanks, Japanese troops halted the Allied counterattacks and took the hill. After the battle, to avenge their casualties, the Japanese troops massacred Chinese civilians living in a nearby village.
12 Feb 1942 Before dawn, British cruiser HMS Durban, destroyer HMS Stronghold, destroyer HMS Jupiter, transport Empire Star, and transport Gorgon departed Singapore with British Royal Navy personnel for Batavia, Java, Dutch East Indies; they would be attacked and damaged by Japanese aircraft en route. Meanwhile, on Singapore island, Japanese troops made conservative probing attacks in western Singapore as the Allies slowly withdrew into the city.
13 Feb 1942 Japanese troops pushed the 55th Brigade of the British 18th Division out of its position which controlled the last fresh water reservoir in Singapore for the British. Arthur Percival's senior staff members persuaded him to request permission to surrender. At 1830 hours, a large convoy of 44 ships departed Singapore with evacuees; a few of these ships would be attacked and sunk by Japanese aircraft.
14 Feb 1942 While Japanese troops penetrated the lines manned by the 1st Malay Brigade at Singapore and reached the Alexandra Barracks Hospital, where 323 hospital staff and patients would soon be brutally massacred, Archibald Wavell rejected Arthur Percival's request to surrender Singapore.
15 Feb 1942 With Winston Churchill's permission, Arthur Percival decided to surrender Singapore. A delegation bearing a white flag was dispatched at 1130 hours, but it was turned back by the Japanese, who requested Percival to surrender in person, which Percival complied at 1715 hours. At the Ford Motor Factory at Bukit Timah, Percival signed the surrender document at 2030 hours, making the biggest capitulation in British militay history official.
16 Feb 1942 The Sook Ching massacre began in Singapore during which somewhere between 5,000 (Japanese estimates) and 100,000 (Singaporean estimates) ethnic Chinese civilians were killed during the following 3 weeks.
17 Feb 1942 Japanese occupation administration at Singapore sent 3,000 British civilians to Changi prison and 50,000 British, Australian, and Indian captured troops to Selarang Barracks. Some of the captured Indian troops were taken to hear Captain Mohan Singh at Farrer Park, who attempted to persuade them to collaborate with the Japanese.
28 Feb 1942 Japanese killed 2,000 civilians, mostly ethnic Chinese, in Kota Tinggi, Johor in Malaya.
4 Mar 1942 Japanese killed 300 civilians, mostly ethnic Chinese, in Geland Patah, Johor in Malaya.
6 Mar 1942 Japanese killed many civilians, mostly ethnic Chinese, in Benut, Johor in Malaya.
15 Mar 1942 Japanese killed 76 civilians, mostly ethnic Chinese, in Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan in Malaya.
16 Mar 1942 Japanese massacred the entire village of Parit Tinggi, Negeri Sembilan in Malaya; more than 100 were killed.
16 Mar 1942 Japanese killed 142 civilians, mostly ethnic Chinese, in Tanjong Kling, Malacca in Malaya.
18 Mar 1942 Japanese troops under Major Kyomi Yokokoji massacred the entire village of Joo Loong Loong (now known as Titi), Negeri Sembilan in Malaya; 990 were killed.
10 Mar 1945 US bombers attacked rail marshaling yards in Kuala Lumpur and the airfield in Alor Star, Kedah, Malaya. The Royal Selangor Museum near Kuala Lumpur was accidentally bombed, destroying the museum's left wing; in response, the museum's surviving collection was relocated to the Perak Museum in Taiping, Perak, Malaya.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Ruth Ann Needham says:
23 May 2005 07:06:11 AM

My grandfather fought for world war 2 and I see his name basically no where. I think someone should make a book on biographies about people who did an amazing thing. They fought for their country. Thank you grandpa Rawlins. I miss you.
2. Ruth Ann Needham says:
23 May 2005 07:08:27 AM

Put Fred Rawlins in here. He fought for us in that war. Now he's passed away. Show us that you care. Make him someone.Please?
3. Anonymous says:
23 May 2005 06:10:55 PM

Ruth Ann, would you like to tell us about your grandfather here? I would love to hear more about this unsung hero.
4. Anonymous says:
10 Aug 2005 06:12:37 AM

good article but you fail to mention the fighting spirit of malay regiment headed by lt adnan.
5. inez says:
13 Aug 2005 11:11:18 PM

it is very useful.
6. Anonymous says:
7 Sep 2005 09:31:46 PM

Im doin this project on WW2 and i wonder if any1 can answer my question. tanks: When did the fall of Singapore occur??
7. pedro says:
8 Sep 2005 09:13:48 PM

In my country, Peru, we know almost nothing about the war in Asia between british troops and japanese forces. I am atonished by allied mistakes and japanese atrocities. However, we realize that allieds could did very little facing fairly superior atacking forces.
8. Gavin Maclennan says:
17 Dec 2005 08:03:32 AM

My parents George & Helen Maclennan escaped Singapore. My mother left by ship eventually to Sydney. My father volunteered for a mission and was given the job escorting General Price out of the country. Who was Price?
9. razak says:
27 Jan 2006 06:05:41 AM

I like the story and feel free to hear from sombody
10. Anonymous says:
3 Feb 2006 02:36:01 PM

my granuncle didnot escape they were captured. He was a pow in singapore. my grandmother recieved a letter from to say he died.my grandmother is dead now but my own mother is looking to find out anything she can about him and what happened to him and if his name is on a memorial if anybody knoes anything about him could you contact me.at Genie4Life04@yahoo.ie
his name was Harry Lambert from sheffield
11. Anonymous says:
8 Feb 2006 08:41:35 PM

hi.. im doin a project.. does anyone know the the relationship between LT Adnan & the missing kris
12. Stansfield says:
16 Feb 2006 03:48:09 AM

Its very useful. My history project is a piece of cake wih information like this. Thx..............
13. jack says:
27 Feb 2006 08:05:25 AM

Hai...i would like to know when did they came to malaya truely
14. Anonymous says:
15 Mar 2006 09:53:32 PM

I hate wars. JUst dun understand why dan human be so greedy. everyone is wishing for world peace, I hop they can understand there is no diff between wars and quarrels anf fights.
15. Anonymous says:
19 Mar 2006 02:50:28 AM

damn good info
16. Steve Ward (Historian) says:
29 Mar 2006 03:16:25 PM

The battles in Malaya 1n 1941 exemplify the importance of morale as a component of victory. Allied forces were more numerous but their lack of sufficient airpower and proper training doomed their efforts in resisting the Japanese.
Allied leadership suffered from lack of intelligence and the necessity of conducting coalition warfare with component parts that were sometimes hostile to British interests.
It is hard for an imperial power to have the moral high ground. Japanese imperialism could initially convince the locals that they were just getting rid of white power in Asia.
17. GEP kid says:
18 Apr 2006 03:28:27 AM

Can you enlarge ur words, if this is what you write, SO TINY, then im sure other people wun like to look into this page...
18. Anonymous says:
6 Jun 2006 08:21:38 PM

can u hep me 2 find the operational map which explain how does japan get into malaya at kota bharu
19. Anonymous says:
19 Jul 2006 08:20:03 AM

my grandfather was a volunteer in the army during bukit timah. he escaped with another comrade following a defeat
20. Neil Penny says:
26 Dec 2006 12:46:44 AM

Great site and interesting reading. FYI the island off the north-east shore of Singapore is called Pulau Ubin not Palau Ubin. Keep up the excellent work.
21. Mohmo says:
7 Feb 2007 04:29:39 PM

Thanks for maintaining this site.
Just want to make some addition: Penang did not fall to the Japanese. It was *abandoned* by the British. According to my father, uncles and granfather, the British quietly abandoned Penang one night. The local population woke up to find their colonial masters missing. The Japanese continued their bombings until a few community leaders put up a big piece of white cloth on a field and wrote on it that the British were gone. The Japanese pilots saw the notice and stopped the bombings. The Japanese army then landed on the island without firing a single shot.
- mz -
22. Anonymous says:
26 Feb 2007 01:56:08 AM

The Sook Ching Massacre is of no less significant then the rape of Nanking, it should be further research, as the massacres and terrors never ended till Japan surrender. My grandfather was a school principal and anti-Japanese leader at Amoy and then after in Singapore under the leadership of Tan KK...my grandfather was captured after the fall of Singapore and never return. His 2 daughters died in China after the war since my grandfather was gone and the family back there was poor as there was not enough financial support back to the hometown ...indirectly, Japanese killed them too. Japan and Japanese need to face up to real fact of history and before like a man instead of trying to evade.
23. Chris Barrett says:
2 May 2007 08:06:26 PM

Gordon Bennett was an Australian not British. The Australians wanted to continue the battle, but were ordered to surrender. With that order from Percival, Bennett escaped back to Australia. The A.I.F. 8th Division had very little training and lacked equipment. Do a bit more research and get it right next time.
24. Lowry says:
12 Jun 2007 06:41:04 AM

I am currently writing a book about a soldier called John Wyatt who fought the Japanese at Jitra, Gurun and Kampar and was in the Alexandria Hospital when the *** came in. he is still alive and well. Could you tell me where you got your info that *** soldiers were executed for carrying out the atrocities. John knows nothing about this at all.
25. Lowry says:
12 Jun 2007 06:42:45 AM

The word with the **** is *** . I have no idea why it has come up like this.
26. Person says:
8 May 2008 05:54:28 AM

Ok, I agree that the words are very small but the info seems quite good... I am writing this History essay about 'Why were the Japanese able to defeat the British in Malaya and Singapore by Feb 1942?' Erm... I dun noe what to write...
27. Person says:
8 May 2008 05:57:35 AM

Hai, forget it. I bet nobody will ever answer my question since everybody coming here is mostly to search for answers for homework or project... So sad...
28. Rajakumbang says:
27 Oct 2008 12:09:55 PM

Why were the Japanese able to defeat the British in Malaya and Singapore by Feb 1942?

Get a history book. Or you could just google it.

Actually, I could tell you.

1st: The Brits weren't expecting it.
2nd: The Japanese had the element of surprise.
3rd: The Brits were undermanned.
4th: The Japanese had better tactics.
5th: The Allied (British, Australian and Indian) forces were badly outnumbered, and couldn't get much support.

And so, Malaya and Singapore fell.
29. Rajakumbang says:
27 Oct 2008 12:12:00 PM

Anyway, I wrote a tribute to all those unsung heroes of Singapore in WW2. It's here at http://rajakumbang.wordpress.com/2008/10/23/unsung-heroes/

Cheers to all, and thanks to those who did their best for Singapore.
30. Anonymous says:
27 Oct 2008 12:21:36 PM

Hey Lowry.

Jitra, Gurun and Kampar are at Malaysia.

Alexandria Hospital is in Singapore.

Are you sure this John-Wyatt ain't pulling your leg, mate?

And as far as I know, I've got a grand-uncle beheaded by Japanese officers, a few grand-relatives raped and maybe a few of their neighbour's babies thrown in the air and bayoneted.

Yup, sure didn't seem like it was atrocious now, innit?
31. Anonymous says:
7 May 2009 06:01:04 PM

My grandfather was among the first that enter Singapur. All asians should be gratefull to people like him, for expelling british oppressors, and returning Asia to Asians
32. GEP kid says:
14 Jun 2009 09:14:21 PM

thx very useful indeed!
33. half-korean says:
28 Aug 2009 09:35:35 AM

sorry about your grandfather in singapore. not sure that my great-grandfather was happier, being enslaved by asian oppressors instead. my grandmother always celebrated V-J day every august.
34. Jonathan says:
6 Nov 2009 02:42:12 AM

Clearly Anonymous of 7th May has no idea how the Japanese 'co-prosperity sphere' operated.
British 'oppression' came with the rule of law and brought economic and social progress.
Like the peoples of all countries occupied by the Japanese in the 1930s and 1940s the people of Singapore experienced mass murder, rape and enslavement. Cheering crowds greeted the return of the British in September 1945 though everyone, including the British, knew things had to change.
35. Anonymous says:
24 Nov 2009 10:29:12 PM

can any one tell me any quotes From anyone who was significant in this war. please.
36. Anonymous says:
14 Mar 2010 10:52:01 AM

There has been a lot of comparisons of Singapore with Stalingrad as though the 2 battle were comparable.....and exemplary of the strength of the Russian soldier and commanders with the weak-kneed British forces.
this is comparing apples with oranges, For starters the russian defenders were continuously supplied with fresh troops and materials throughout the battle as the Germans had never crossed to the other side of the river. The british forces had to rely on possibly getting supplies from farawy India or Australia.
were british defenses weak and completely out of touch with reality? Possibly. In a battle success is determined by expoliting the inability of the opponent to understand their own weaknesses which dont become apparent until the battle starts.In this case the British were stuck in the thinking of 1914-1918 and were prepared for a major direct attack by amphibious forces after a naval bombardment from the sea. They did have a plan to defend the north but no-one anticipated the ability of a well-organized experienced japanese force with modern equipment could move rapidly down a relatively narrow peninsula. The british did use the concept of hilltop artillery positions to provide area bombardment which was subsequently copied in Korea and Vietnam but inadequatedly equipped ground troops and lack of supplies with antiquated air defences proved overwhelming.
from a command perspective reports of the indian troops killing their commander and surrendering at the outbreak of the battle in nortern malaya, would have created much uncertainty in the white officers. The lack of water supplies on the Island in tropical conditions where it is critical to avoid dehydration when engaged in extreme physical exertion make any comparisons with the russian front risible.
the nature of the devastation of stalingrad provided excellent cover for a protracted street to street fight with piles of concrete and tunnels to provide protection to the defenders. The light wooden buildings of most of singapore provided little or no cover. the russians were able to move significant numbers of artillery pieces into large buildings and were able to bombard german positions and tanks almost continuously. the british had no such resources. ....and little expectation of such arriving within days. the russians commanders knew they could get new resources by nightfall. from the east bank the russians could bombard german rear positions almost continuously from protected positions.
two of our family were civilians in singapore when it fell and suffered badly in captivity.
37. mr messy says:
21 Apr 2010 05:12:22 AM

can you anser my qestion? who are the five singapore heroes.it is for a project
38. Nurin Mardini says:
8 Jun 2010 10:56:56 PM

i juz want to know how does the japanese occupation make what singapore is today and how it has impact singapore in the present and the past !!! and also in what ways did it make singapore vulnerable and how it has influenced our life now.!!! i need to know the answerssss by today !!!
39. Anonymous says:
8 Jun 2010 10:58:14 PM

can anyone tell me in what ways has the japanese occupation make our country the way it is today !!!!
40. Harry says:
7 Jul 2010 06:31:23 PM


The British or Allied forces never UNDERMANNED in Singapore during WW2. At the same time General Yamashita almost run out of his supply as well but the British surrendered before he run out of his ammo.

And the history we read during school here are greatly misleading
41. Martin Killips says:
1 Aug 2010 10:00:13 PM

This abridged history is very good as an overview and it has helped give direction to my interest in the Malaya during the Japanese invasion of 1941-1945. I have a personal interest in this period because my mother was just nine years old and living in Penang during these years. She witnessed many horrific scenes, and rarely spoke of them. She hated the Japanese for what she saw them do to her family and friends and random Chinese men and women going about their day. She never forgave then and took the hatred to her death in July 2005.

What irks me most about the situation is most Japanese people do not know what their troops did. They never get the opportunity, unless they actively seek it, of learning the truth. My mother witnessed Chinese men being bayoneted on the street, and then the Japanese troops jumping up and down on the man's split open tummy and laugh as his guts splattered out. She saw a Japanese army officer slice off the head of a chinaman as he cycled past on the road.

If the Japanese people would issue and apology like the belated one by the recent Australian PM, Kevin Rudd, I think it would go a long way to healing the wounds.
42. Harry says:
2 Aug 2010 06:06:29 PM

Mr Martin

I saw Japanese young man running out from WW2 museum in Kelantan not believe what he saw.

My friend from Japan said she never know about all these until she saw the pictures and books i show her. She asked can she take the books back to Japan....
43. Martin Killips says:
2 Aug 2010 07:18:19 PM

I think we can all, in hindsight, accept the circumstances that led to the Japanese soldiers behaving in such a barbaric fashion. They were subject to an indoctrination that made them think of Chinese people as something less than human. This was similar to the attitude German troops had for the East Europeans - again a result of indoctrination.

What I find hard to accept is the reluctance on the part of the Japanese hierarchy to put up their hands and accept the error of their ways. To hide behind the excuse that to do so would mean an unacceptable loss of face is pathetic and meaningless. What about the losses inflicted on their victims? The 'comfort ladies' whose lives were damaged forever the returning prisoners, most of whom suffered diseases related to malnutrition and malaria for their remaining years the unspeakable horrors the populations of South-East Asia had to deal with and of all the rebuilding of their villages, towns and cities - destroyed by a cruel, occupying Japanese army.

I will have full respect for the Japanese when they own up to the sins of their forefathers. The Germans have done this, and full credit to them. But so far the Japanese still cloud their conduct during WWII in enough fog to ensure they don't have to face any clear truths.

44. Niek Mooijaart says:
25 Sep 2010 03:34:24 PM

Fine site, fine comments.

Hope somebody knows the story of reconnaissance posts along the west-coast of Malacca or the south-west coast of SiamThailand in the months june up till 8 december 1941. I heard a story of Australians and Dutch forces manning small observation posts looking sharply on eventual movements of the Japanese in the Malayan Street. I need info!, or places where I can find info.
Regards Niek
45. Curious says:
1 Nov 2010 03:41:36 AM

This is a great site and the comments have helped me too.

If anyone could help me on this question for a project: I haven't started learning anything yet and I have been given this question. I have searched web pages for around 4 hours straight now and I havnt come up with anything.

Who were the defendants of Singapore? Provide detailed explanation for two racial groups.

Thank you!
46. Anonymous says:
19 Dec 2010 08:15:46 PM

Majority of the British and Australians abandoned Malaya during WW11. Why should we commamerate war efforts for when 2 thirds of the war was fought by mainly Indian soldiers? British wanted Malaya for her natural resources. They plundered the whole of India, Africa and Malaya for centuries. I think less importance should be placed on British and Australian pows and focus on the true Asian unsung heroes who fought the real battle.
47. Anonymous says:
2 Jan 2011 08:43:34 PM

hi there i am also doing this project on ww2 of singapore and can anyone help me with where i can find some information about the anti- *** during that time? thanks:D
48. Gavin Maclennan says:
16 Jan 2011 10:05:27 AM

It is my understanding the main reason Singapore fell was that it was defended by large gun batteries facing out to sea. The invasion came instead from the Malay peninsula so the Japanese did not have to did not have to deal with the guns.
49. Gavin Maclennan says:
16 Jan 2011 10:53:48 AM

Here are two excellent books about the Fall of Singapore:
The Forgotten Highlander by Alistair Urquhart. This is a hair raising account of the fall of Singapore. Written 70 years after the event by a survivor. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/mar/14/the-forgotten-highlander-by-alistair-urquhart-review
The other book is Tanamera (Red Earth in Malay)by Noel Barber. An excellent read. A love story involving two families one Chinese and the other English. Set at the time of the invasion of Singapore.
It has also been made into TV mini-series.
50. Anonymous says:
12 Mar 2011 11:00:21 PM

1. we should not forget that if not for the japanese invasion in 1941, east asia would still be under colonial rule.
2. history is written by the victors, and that is why there is no mention always of the real combatants of the war: the indian army and the civilians on both sides- (the british and nationalist movements in asia).
3. a lot has been said by the colonial powers of their pow treatment in japanese captivity, but the british (in their victory) were just as barbaric in their treatment of civilians who were fighting for nationalist causes, and combatants for Indian Nationalist Army.
4. i have never seen these aspects discussed adequately in any forum and the Imp War Museum in UK also seem to have selective memory loss of the deaths of the INA pows in british hands.
5. i only hope when the majority of the classified war papers in britain are made available a truer picture of what really happened to the civilians and INA pows in Malaya between 1945 to 1947 comes to light.
51. james says:
18 Mar 2011 08:36:56 AM

My Grandfather was part of the Garrison at Singapore and he stated the only reason the British/Allied Garrison surrendered was due to low freshwater stocks. To continue would have been mass suicide.
52. Anonymous@Rajakumbang says:
19 Mar 2011 04:42:27 PM

You gotta be kiddin me
"Rajakumbang says:
27 Oct 2008 12:09:55 PM

Why were the Japanese able to defeat the British in Malaya and Singapore by Feb 1942?

Get a history book. Or you could just google it.

Actually, I could tell you.

1st: The Brits weren't expecting it.(they were)
2nd: The Japanese had the element of surprise.(this is true)
3rd: The Brits were undermanned.(they outnumbered the *** by 3 to 1 when they were in singapore)
4th: The Japanese had better tactics.(yes)
5th: The Allied (British, Australian and Indian) forces were badly outnumbered, and couldn't get much support. (they could, but London didnt allow)

And so, Malaya and Singapore fell.(my foot)
53. rootstracer says:
31 Mar 2011 08:06:52 PM

Interesting topics, it just clicked me to go deep into the history. I remember my mom said her parents died in accident when she was 10 probably 1941, and she and her sister ended up in the convent and were adopted by her adoptive family. I feel her parents could have died during the war. Now I am starting to understand my mom's trauma and the state of health which I was ignorant about when she was alive.
54. G says:
16 May 2011 05:10:49 AM

Does anyone know who accompanied General Gordon Bennett when he escaped from Singapore?
I am also trying to find out if his boat motor quit and was then re-started by some Malay fishermen.
55. Anonymous says:
19 May 2011 08:53:08 AM

why the malaya fall too fast?
1)britain didnt protect it well bcoz there were not their mother country?
2)allied officer not intelligence as *** ?
3)the civilians not patriot to defence their homeland?
4)got betrayer like ibrahim haji yaakob?
5)poor trained armies?
pls tell me the main reason malaya fall too fast. TQ
56. Anonymous says:
17 Jul 2011 01:34:52 AM

This site's great! information this specific on this topic is pretty hard to come by! good job.
57. Anonymous says:
24 Jul 2011 05:37:32 AM

"On 10 Feb, the Japanese 5th and 18th Divisions routed the 22nd Australian Brigade"
what do you mean by that in the battle of singapore, third paragraph.
58. Anonymous says:
4 Aug 2011 05:58:19 AM

someone please help me. What were the social impacts of WW2 on Singapore?
59. carol says:
30 Aug 2011 11:59:02 AM

My uncle was an RAF Flt.Sgt. on an airfield in Malaya when the Japanese invaded. They woke one morning to find that all the officers had gone so somehow made their way to Singapore and he was on one of the last ships to leave, was torpedoed but eventually fetched up in Ceylon. The family heard nothing of him for almost a year and it was thought he was dead or missing. Is it possible that the Officers would have abandoned their men to an unknown fate?
60. Anonymous says:
8 Sep 2011 03:46:55 AM

Now we hav PAS no 2 saying communists who massaccre at bkt kepong are real heroes.. wat next?
61. Lt Col E.C. Grills (VC) says:
8 Sep 2011 08:00:40 AM

Some facts:

1-Allies HAD more troops (almost 3 to 1 superiority)
2-Allies HAD in FACT suspected a possible attack from land side a plan to prevent this (Operation Matador) was approved but not supported by Churchill.
3-Ironically, the Japanese Imperial Army misjudged Allied numbers (the tought they were less Allied soldiers)
4- Allied tactics were appaling. THIS IS INCOMPETENCE at command level.
5-Jitra defenses were NOT finished (and this has NO excuse)
6-Many, if not most British did not trust the Hindu troops, specially after the massive desertion from the airfield hindu-supporting troops in the early stage of the invasion. Those, cowardly murdered their commanding officer, and abandoned the airfield, leaving everything intact. That give the Japanese a full functionning airfield in the Peninsule.
7-Australian troops that repulsed the first Japanese push across the strait towards Singapore inflicted massive casualties to the Japanese but they retreated from their posts afterwards (this was not very well explained but it was apparently due to conflicting orders).
8-The Allies had APPALING BAD intelligence and comunications This is INCOMPETENCE.
9- Singapore lacked supplies (food and water) because failed to stock before the invasion and this has NO excuse whatsoever.
10- The Japanese Imperial Army barely run out of supplies.
62. Anonymous says:
7 Nov 2011 10:34:09 PM

this is a good sight lol have to do an assignment on it
63. edwynrudge says:
2 Dec 2011 11:38:12 PM

I hardly think that any Indian contribution to this tragic episode would be worth consideration.
64. gunungtetek says:
10 Jan 2012 12:01:41 AM

This article is not a literature exposure.The author fail to describe how Malay regiment fight to the end of life. And what are the coward communist do. Nothing and left away with British . So it seem a little discriminate issue to me.
65. Retired CPO says:
4 Mar 2012 11:53:14 AM

My mother's family were Japanese civilians who had lived in Malacca before 1930. The British Army shipped my grandfather to India into a prison camp leaving my grandmother and 5 children alone. Due to the rapid advances by the Japanese Army, they and 13 other women and children, were left behind in any kind of evacuation to fend for themselves. Through sheer luck and the kindness of Malay, Indian and Chinese families they had grown up with, these 19 Japanese women and children were cared for, hidden, until 11 were able to survive and make it to Singapore to evacuate back to Japan at the end of the war.
66. Anonymous says:
8 May 2012 10:12:19 PM

to all those who say that their family must be enter and it makes to sense to them that their not listed or mentioned. please tell us their story! the rising generations are too young to have witnessed and without the voices of those living and dead to aid us we will never fully understand just how it was for all those who faught, suffered, and/or died for their countries
67. Jenny Hill says:
28 May 2012 06:17:08 AM

My father arrived in Singapore February 1939 R.A.S.C. he was General Wavell/Percivals short hand writer and actually wrote "the diary of Singpore" although I have not been able to find a copy of it. he was authorised to escape Singapore on the 13 February and did so on H.M.S. MALACCA t Sumatra where it was scuttled, then via H.M.S. DANAE from Padang to Cilicap, Java. Then to Ceylon on Chinese paddle ship S.S. WUCHANG APRIL 1942. He told me they had no guns or anything wa they used an upturned wheelbarrow with tarpoaulin thrown over it with two sweeping brushes as "guns". There were many Japanese subs in the area. One torpedoed the Wuchang but being a flat bottomed paddle steamer it just went straight underneath and they watched it come out the other side. He and his party of 30+ were missing presumed dead for many months. He and all his party bar one arrived at Ceylon Malaya HQ safely.The affects of things in Singapore and his escape remained with him all his life. He died in 2002 aged 90.
In his own words this is what in did while in Singapore: Arrived Singapore March 1939.Attached 52 M.T. Coy R.A.S.C. at Alexandra Barracks. Duty with Transport Office R.A.S.C. Malaya Command and later a Chief Clerk with mixed military responsible for allocation of Military and civilian transport, civilian labour, water transport (held by No.4 Water Transport R.A.S.C. AT Pulan Bradi) and all shipping movements and control.(military)control
68. Singapore Lion says:
19 Aug 2012 08:26:46 AM

A lot has been written about the Japanese invasion and occupation of Malaya and Singapore. and mainstream historical accounts have largely portrayed the initial invasion force as Japanese. This is far from the truth.
My father was a victim of the Japanese brutality, having survived being bayonetted by Japanese soldiers. In the post war years I learnt from him that the front line forces of the invading Japanese army actually consisted of mostly Taiwanese conscripts (Taiwan was under the control of the Japanese) and Manchus. My dad had an encounter with 2 Japanese soldiers who spoke to him in Hokkien to go hide somewhere (they were Taiwanese) warning him that the second line of Japanese soldiers were fierce and cruel. Before he could run, some other Japanese soldiers appeared and the earlier 2 soldiers immediately switched their conversation from Hokkien to Japanese. My dad was caught and bayonneted by the second batch of Japanese soldiers who were Manchus. He feigned death and survived the war.
On the day the Japanese emperor surrendered to the Allied forces, a lot of Japanese soldiers and officers stationed in Singapore committed suicide, many of whom were found hanged in Alexandra Hospital, which was the place were a lot atrocities against both the locals and wounded British soldiers were committed by the Japanese during their initial attack of Singapore.
69. anumodh says:
10 Sep 2012 12:05:45 AM

I am searching for details as to the ground events during the Japanese invasion of Singapore.My great grandfather who was in Singapore never came back. His daughter, my grand mother, till the day she died (98 years in 2012)kept expecting him to come back home to India.
Could any one let me know if there is any information/list of names of Indian civilian people working in Singapore during the Japanese invasion.
70. OJ Forever says:
22 Oct 2012 12:52:19 AM

This is a great site.we have people coming in related what their ancestors,relatives etcs encountered during the Japanese Invasion on the Malay Peninsular.Maybe someone can related the fierce resistance the Malay Regiment gave to the Japanese during the Bukit Chandu Battle before the British surrender. Maybe the named Lt.Adnan Saidi rang any bell? thank you
71. Debz says:
29 Oct 2012 08:32:37 PM

I found your site more informative than most, I only found out recently that my grandfather was on the prince of Wales when she was sunk, he was MIA for 10 days before he was found. & fortunately my step mother still has the telegram that was sent home saying he was alright. I am currently trying to find out all I can about the prince of Wales to be able to tell my son when he inherits his great grandads medals & would appreciate any advice on where to find all the info I can.
72. Anonymous says:
9 Dec 2012 09:54:39 AM

My grandfather was sent to Singapore during the war. He helped a family there and I still have a picture of the little girl (who will be in her 70s now) I have her name and address in 1945. Anyone know how I could find out more about her?
73. Anonymous says:
2 Feb 2013 08:20:04 PM

great article
74. Anonymous says:
9 Mar 2013 08:26:21 PM

is there any person who remember or have heard that the japanese army were riding woodenframe push bikes when they invaded java during ww2. i was 7 or 8yrs then and i remember we had one in Surabaya,red coloured frame and solid rubber tyre with streched and comes off the rim all the time because of the hot bitumin road.
75. Victor I.C. de Thouars, Ph.D. says:
23 Mar 2013 11:17:42 AM

Yes, my mother and brothers. We lived in Surabaya.
A terrible time it was, and still gives me bad feelings against older Japanese, especially if known to have been on Java. My father was interend in Siam. Afer the war, he did not like the English General Percival. He really felt betrayed, and so did many other Dutch, Australian and English men who fought. Singapore my father felt was a disaster. Percival had to his holdings, troops, food, ammunition, guns, yet he was so easely misled. many believed his cowardly act of surrender was a tragedy. Churcul should have relieved him of his command. Many good people gave their lives up for nothing, because of Percival. The Brave Dutch Rear Admiral Karl Doorman who fought bravely, never in reality gained support. My father felt, if he was in percival place he would have attack and fought to the last men. Percival was dubbed by a Japanese General and his soldiers committed many Authrocities. The English people and allies deserved better. We all know, it is water under the Bridge as one would say. Still, I remember my father as he survived the interment by the Japanese. He coined Percival surrender as a cowardly act, that caused many to die needlesly.
History proved my father correct. No Atta boy as many belief Percival deserved. Loosing Singapore was a tragedy.
76. Anonymous says:
29 Apr 2013 09:16:00 PM

I have some papers that my Father brought back with him from Japan , they are written in Japanes , I have been told that they are love letters to his wife , that he would be killed shortly by the Americans , they were found in a cave in Japan .I really dont know what they say , they could be info that was left for other Japanes to find ?? How would I find the Family that the Letters were written to , or if they are info what they would be worth ?? Or where I can take them to find out what they really say ?? Thank You
77. Anonymous Japanese says:
6 May 2013 05:52:41 PM

Japanese Imperial did not kill any civilians.However,Some 5000-25000 were executed in charge of crime and organizing armed resistance.According to war-time international law all soldiers must wear military uniform.Without wearing uniform men with weapons were shot by Japanese military code.You are ignorant of real war.Without the control of the sea you cannot defend any peninsula.First thing you should do is to build a fleet aircraft carrier which costed 10000 able military personnel. Percival surrendered with consent of Churchill.Imperial Japan did not invade Malaya, Java or somewhere but the British Empire to save German army in North Africa.
78. Gerald A. Archambeau -author says:
23 Jun 2013 09:16:55 AM

Your Topic is very revealing, and helpful to me. However I am hoping that you may be able to help me find a photpgraph of my step-uncle Lt. Col. Herbert Prichard Thomas, who escaped with his men before Singapore fell.He was born in Jamaica B.W.I. on 22nd Dec,1892, he went to the UK and entered the R.M.C.S. and was awarded King's Commission Aug24th 1921.He was accepted in the Indian Army in 1914, as an Officer in the 126th Baluchistan infantry and served as a Captain in WW-1. He served again in WW-2 and was sent to Singapore with promotions; OBE, Lt. Col.& 5 medals for his service. He died in Scotland where he is buried. I respectfully await any photo info, as I have had his"secret documents" for the British Army preserved in York U. in Toronto, On. Canada, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections under The Archambeau-Thomas family fonds-#F0612. All my research was done by UK Military Genealogist Alan Greverson. With my thanks, Gerald.
79. Anonymous says:
7 Aug 2013 07:41:00 PM

this site is brilliant. Thank you everyone who contributed comments. All your stories should go in a book.
80. Gerald A. Archambeau -author says:
7 Aug 2013 08:11:01 PM

I am grateful to your web site for giving the info on my step-uncle Herbert Prichard Thomas, who served in WW-1 & WW-2 the exposure that it needed. Sadly he has been forgotten by his country of birth Jamaica and the UK, when one considers his gallant service in 2 wars in the British Army. He died in Scotland UK 1969, also any info, photos on this oficer would be appreciated by me, and family. The author of "A Struggle to Walk with Dignity- The True story of a Jamaican-born Canadian"2008.
81. Manzoor Ahmad Khan says:
10 Aug 2013 09:53:47 PM

i want offical record of guner asgar khan No.51051 Indian Royal Attalary.who was in Singapur Mallaya in 2nd world war.He was captured with his rajment
82. Anonymous says:
11 Aug 2013 02:38:15 AM

Nice Infomation :D
83. Staves says:
22 Nov 2013 05:55:24 AM

My Uncle Walter Staves WO (1)8th Railway Coy R.E. escaped with his unit from Singapore and was missing for 2 years. They used eucalyptus oil for fuel to keep old army vehicles going for a while, then walked. Locals fed them (sometimes they feared on puppies and rice). At some stage met up with the Chindits but finally emerged in Chungking. He came home so thin his family didn't recognise him. If anyone knows of his unit or 2 year trek I would be pleased to hear from them.
84. Anonymous says:
17 Mar 2014 06:47:01 AM

In actuall fact the defense of Gemas by the Australians had the effect of stabilising the front for about 14 days, long enough for the British to whip in some Hurricanse, which were not enough, but for the FEW Australians to be able to hole the 18 mile wide front was just stupid and the British missed a golden opportunity to laucng a vigorous counter attack. This arcticle is untruthful and if you do some research you will find what I say is true.
85. Anonymous says:
23 Mar 2014 07:10:29 AM

Hi, I am trying to find out more information about the adoption of my deceased Chinese- Malay grandmother who was in a Japanese run camp during the war. She was adopted into an Australian family. I want to know if this was common,
If her mother gave permission.. and just anything really. She didn't talk about it very much so my information is vague. she was born in 1939 and judging by some of the first photographs taken with her adoption mother, she would have been around 7 or under. The Australian adoption family were wealthy cattle farmers. Also, my grandmothers biological father was a French soldier. Any leads would be appreciated. Thank you in advance :)
86. War Historian says:
1 Jul 2014 11:06:09 AM

No. 85 refers. Your grandmother would have been a Eurasian baby (French father and Asian mother) and such babies were often adopted by Europeans unable to have their own children. There were no French soldiers in Malaya or Singapore in the 1930s. The French community in Malaya consisted mainly of planters and many of them were single men or married men unaccompanied by their families who remained in France. Some of these men would have formed liaisons with local Asian women, usually Indian or Malay women, but possibly with Eurasian or Chinese women as well. A number of these planters had served in WW1 as soldiers,
87. Hidy Chui says:
25 Jul 2014 03:07:45 PM

Dear C. Peter Chen,

Hello Peter. I am commenting on this article wondering if I may use the photos inside of your gallery? I know most of them are over 50 years old, so they are in a public domain, but I am still asking for your permission to use the photos from this website. Thank you.
88. Pencolekhangek says:
30 Jul 2014 07:52:00 AM

Another reason why the Japanese fought successfully was because of their 'Fifth Column'. These people mostly were spies or military officers disguising as traders or merchants setting up shops around Malaya and Singapore. My grandfather was an anti malaria personnel of Kuala Lumpur municipality. During the course of his duty he befriended a few Japanese traders including an owner of a photography shop. This trader/photographer was in fact a Colonel in the Japanese Army. He used to take photographs of nature around the city and my grandfather used to accompanied him. He appeared as a colonel during the war and asked my grandfather to continue doing his anti malaria job as usual and in fact provided him with essential foodstuff such as rice during the occupation.
89. iakovos says:
10 Oct 2014 01:18:24 PM

90. Anonymous says:
19 Oct 2014 01:55:10 AM

My grandfather was in the Colonial Service as Agricultural Advisor to the Malay States in Kuala Lumpar when Malaya fell. I've found his name in the list of inmates at Changi Jail. Did these prisoners walk all the way? Most of the information available relates to military personnel.
91. Mimi Kolandai says:
5 Nov 2014 03:06:56 AM

My mother, now aged 85 was a burns victim in Singapore December 1941. She was 11 years old. Her family fled Singapore on one of the last ships SS Rona (I think) for Madras, just before the fall of Singapore. Mother returned to the then Malaya in 1949 as a young bride. Is there anyone out there who was in that ship bound for India ? The vessel took the longest route using the Sea of Java onto the Indian Ocean as the Straits of Malacca was unsafe.
92. Anonymous says:
13 Nov 2014 12:43:13 AM

My mother was captured by the Japanese. She managed to escape. I am writing a book about her and the women victims of Japanese occupation in Malaya and Singapore. I would be grateful for personal accounts told by victims or relatives/ friends of victims. I believe my book will raise public awareness of the atrocities committed to women by the Japanese.
93. Anonymous says:
13 Nov 2014 02:14:27 AM

Dear Mimi

I am so sorry to hear about your mother being a burns victim in Singapore in December 1941. Does she still remember the events that led to her injury and what was happening around her. How did her family manage to get on the ship to escape the war.
94. Librarian says:
27 Nov 2014 05:40:35 PM

Dalforce, or the Singapore Overseas Chinese Anti-Japanese Volunteer Army (星华义勇军; Xinghua Yi Yong Jun)
95. Mimi Kolandai says:
1 Dec 2014 08:38:01 AM

Thank you for your comments.
My mother and her friends stopped by the Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Ophir Road after school, to pray. While the girls knelt down for their devotion, some candles were still burning at the grotto. Mother's skirt caught fire almost immediately. Before the alarm was raised, the flames were already at her waist. The church authorities instead of calling an ambulance, sent Mom home. Her family sent her to hospital later.

Mother's family managed to secure steamer tickets for the entire family & they set sail for India just before the fall of Singapore. Mother had to be carried around all the time by some adult.
96. Merle Naylor says:
2 Feb 2015 10:42:15 AM

My father fought at the end of the war in I believe India, Burma and Malaya (only certain of Burma). He was there to 'round up the *** ' at the end of the war.

He was the company bugler and fought alongside Ghurkas. He had a tattoo of two crossed khukria knives on his right fore arm.

His name was Malcolm Ewart Naylor, an Englishman.

He caught malaria and was discharged. The disease damaged his heart and he died at the age of 56 from a heart attack.

I would love to know more, but can find no details despite thorough searching online. How can there be no record of my fathers service? It blighted his youth, traumatized him and ultimately cost him his life!

If there is anyone who can help me, I would be eternally grateful. I have photos of him in Burma.
97. Shah says:
17 Feb 2015 11:58:53 PM

According to my elder brother our father came from India Calcutta in the late 1930's and joinEd the naval base police and participated in the ensuing war and survived the war and died in 1985 at the age of 65. He helped to feed the Prisoners of war during their internment and rescued some of them.
98. Anonymous says:
26 Apr 2015 10:19:51 AM

pukimak hanjing punya artikel !!!!! mana kau dpt maklumat2 ni sial??????!!!!!!!!!
kau langsung tak mention tntang Rejimen Askar Melayu yg berjuang di bukit timah?????!!!!! celah mana tiba2 cina pulak yg berjuang?????????!!!!!!!

pukimak anjing punya komunis C. Peter Chen !!!!!!!

You never mentions about Royal Malay Regiment fought in Bukit Timah???!!
Since when the chinese communist fought the *** in Bukit Timah ???!!!!!!!
This article is *** !! All the fact has been manipulated by this *** chinese communist, C. Peter Chen !!!!!!
99. Commenter identity confirmed C. Peter Chen says:
26 Apr 2015 10:32:51 AM

To anonymous of 26 Apr 2015:

Thank you for visiting WW2DB.

You are correct, Chinese communists never fought at Bukit Timah. The Chinese troops mentioned refers to the Dalforce, also known as the "Singapore Overseas Chinese Anti-Japanese Volunteer Army". The article above makes no mention of communist troops. If there are points of confusion, please point out which passage(s) may need clarification.

You can find pictures of the Malay Regiment ("Royal" title was not bestowed on them until decades later) in the gallery of this article, so they are definitely not forgotten. You can also find a featured article dedicated to Lieutenant Adnan bin Saidi on WW2DB; the link to the article on him is high up on the right panel.
100. Anonymous says:
2 May 2015 09:35:30 PM

good article but u fail to mention what happened after 17 Feb 2015. Please help to edit it thanks
101. Stephen says:
14 May 2015 01:53:09 PM

Dear C. Peter Chen, Re your Timeline for 31st Dec 1941, your source states, "British 155th Field Regiment of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry stopped a Japanese attack at Kampar". But the 88th Field Regiment artillery were there too; incl. my Gndfthr a gunner who, good evidence shows, shot down a *** spotter-plane with a bren gun before it could find our artillery). The Sikh, Gurkha and Surrey infantry fought very bravely. The *** were losing badly but we had to retreat due to *** shore landings behind. At the end of the war Wavell said, "The glorious 88th would have made their last stand at the south pole!".
102. Stephen says:
14 May 2015 02:16:02 PM

Re: Anonymous says:
17 Mar 2014 06:47:01 AM

"The Australians had the effect of stabilising the front for about 14 days" info is not in any history I've read, bold though the action was. 88th Field Regiment (352 battery) was supporting the Aussies at Gemas and the Jap's rapid repair of the bridge and our equally rapid withdrawal is reported in all that I've seen. What research is being missed out on this event?
103. Stephen says:
14 May 2015 02:28:01 PM

Dear: Anonymous Japanese says:
6 May 2013 05:52:41 PM

I am sorry but you are badly misinformed.
104. Woody says:
21 May 2015 07:29:47 PM


This is not unusual for Japanese to be so wrong about WW2. The funny thing I find about Japanese is that they are the only people in the world who deny all their attrocities, because everyone else in the world knows how brutal they really were, and I find it also laughable that the Japanese were trying to take back Asia for the Asians, where every place the Japanese invaded were turned into bloodbaths by the Japanese soldiers and or the Kempatai...its not really the fault of the general population of Japanese, the Japanese government has withheld the truth from their people since wars end. The Japanese government sent word to forms of media to always portray Japan as the victim of WW2 and to always downplay or outright deny any and all attrocities. The Japanese Education Ministry has been complicit in that lie by going along with the government to teach so many untruths...but with the help of the internet, some Japanese people are learning the truth...
105. Mary Penelope Young says:
31 Oct 2015 11:09:40 AM

Thsi is a truly fascinating,interesting and informative website.
My father, Constantine Roderick Martin lived with his family in Kuala Lumpur well before and after WWII. He was involved in the "underground," subverting the Japanese and trying to bring some solace to the POWS in Pudu Jail such as a radio. My uncle, CR martin's brother-in-law was Christian brother and had to work in the fields growing food for the community. My aunty taught school and had to submit to the demands of the Japanese army that the curriculum praised the Japanese Empire. Everyone suffered and little childre also went through hell like my brothers and sister. I was born one year after the surrender.
We must remember so similar things do not occur ANYWHERE in the world. Complacency and ignorance are not acceptable.
106. Joan Harrison says:
2 Apr 2016 10:08:12 AM

Wanting information about my father. Served in R.A.M.C. WW2 in Johor Bahru Hospital.
Address on the back of a postcard he sent states:-
RAMC 45 IGH (c) India Command.
The postcard sent 01-May 1946 has a picture of a zebra in the hospital grounds.
Any help gratefully received.
107. Anonymous says:
6 Jun 2016 10:38:47 AM

I have an school exam about this, does anyone know some about the war, i mean personal about the war
108. Anonymous says:
7 Jun 2016 09:48:16 AM

that "malayan chinese anti japanese army" was indeed a fully sponsored troops by the COMMUNIST..in year 1945, right after the japanese troops surrendered, they suddenly demanded malayan people to take over the administration..they also demanded to be addressed as "Sir" from the locals out of nowhere..well the parasites' traits have always been there; till now i guess.

personally, in my opinion, that so called "chinese-volunteer forces" also did not have much impact in war of malaya; in fact none at all. so far, there's no record in world history portraying its battle with japanese.

the only so-called "war" involving the troops were against the british administration of malaya, which extended to the Malaysian government after the declaration of independence; as proudly labelled MALAYAN COMMUNIST PARTY, a political organisation---whereby this period was called "communist insurgency"..

such a betrayal. never will I; at least; believe in this particular race forever.
109. Anonymous says:
25 Oct 2017 09:33:35 AM

i didnt see any britsh ground forces action notes in the time line, that does not put them in a good light. honestly the senior officers were poor and brits over confident have read one quote which represents how they felt about the *** . "our defenses are so strong they may not attack" he said this worried they may not get a chance to fight those poor quality fighter who only can fight the worse china fighter,,our thats was their view about them.
110. James Eagles says:
17 Jul 2018 11:28:07 PM

One of the greatest injustices to be recorded about the loss of Singapore is the story about the 'drunken Australians' roaming around Singapore. Australian troops inflicted more casualties on the Japanese than any other group. They carried out successful ambushes and knocked out Japanese tanks. The truth is they were the only groups in Singapore that put up any real fight. The drunken troops were in fact the survivors of the Empress of Asia bombed and sunk by the Japanese on 5 Feb. The troops were rescued by three Australian ships and put ashore. All the gear of the survivors was lost in the sunken ship and they were fitted out from stores on the wharf, mainly Australian equipment. Not having any purpose or leadership they roamed around Singapore leaderless. Meanwhile, the Australians were placed on the northwest coast in positions that were untenable and had no defensive positions prepared or any barbed wire. It had been forbidden by Percival as being bad for morale. General Bennett left Singapore with other officers by boat after the surrender and was criticised for hit, but Wavell, Spooner, Duff Cooper and many other senior officers had decamped long before the surrender was signed.
111. Anonymous says:
2 Oct 2018 12:45:42 AM

actually the Chinese Volunteer forces were very important. although not the best at fighting and inflicting very little damage, due to poor quality weapons such as parangs (knives) and shotguns with very little bullets, they helped as they knew the area well and were enthusiastic to help. this greatly boosted morale and helped in the war effort.
112. Anonymous says:
14 Apr 2022 12:13:16 AM

The so called sleepy valley was not mentioned although its a retreat but weary aussies fell into an ambush and mostly till today not all bodies were accounted for.

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Men of the British 2/9th Gurkha Rifles training in the Malayan jungle, Oct 1941Men of the British Malay Regiment performing bayonet practice, Singapore, Oct 1941
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