Japanese invasion of Malaya and Singapore was swift and decisive putting
the British rulers into a light previously never seen. The Japanese
had already subjected the Chinese to invasion and many atrocities,
Malaya's and Singapore's population were constituted from a large
number of Chinese. Britain was already in dispute with Japan. This
is the story of the invasion.
8th December 1941 Japanese troopships dropped anchor at Signora, Thailand
(Siam). After a short defensive action the Thais stopped fighting
and, realising that they were not in a position to resist, allied
themselves with the Japanese. At the same time Patani was also taken.
Prior to this action transport ships had also anchored off Kota Bahru,
Malaya at midnight on the 7th December.
the 8th December 1941 the Japanese Army stormed ashore at Kota Bahru.
The British defence was heavy and the Japanese death toll high but
wave after wave streamed ashore until the onslaught was too much and
they broke through the lines. From the shores of Kota Bahru they went
inland heading for Kota Bahru airfield which they secured forcing
the British to retreat. At the same time the Japanese started an aerial
bombardment of Singapore, Hong Kong and Pearl Harbour. This was the
opening of the war with the Japanese.
9th December 1941 the airfields at Sunei Patani, Butterworth and Alor
Star were in Japanese hands.
10th December 1941 the HMS Price of Wales and HMS Repulse were off
the east coast of Malaya heading towards a reported Japanese landing
at Kuantan. As they proceeded they were intercepted by Japanese aircraft
which attacked in wave after wave until the two ships were sunk. The
British Naval presence was wiped out.
Japanese troops who had been landed at Kota Bahru divided into two
detachments. One marched down the east coast heading for Kuantan,
the other south to the Perak River.
11th December 1941 Penang became the target of the Japanese bombers.
12th December 1941 Jitra was taken closely followed by Alor Star the
same day. The British troops were forced to retreat south.
16th December 1941 the British evacuated Penang leaving it to the
mercy of the advancing Japanese who eventually occupied it on 16th
19th, 1941 - January 31st, 1942
onward march south saw Ipoh taken on 26th December. A stand was made
against the Japanese at Kampar lasting 3 days and nights between 30th
December 1941 and 2nd January 1942 before the British Army withdrew.
On 7th January 1942 the two Indian Brigades of the British Army were
overrun at Slim River leaving the Japanese with a straight run through
to Kuala Lumpur, the Malayan capital. By the 9th January the British
situation was extreme and General Wavell (Commanding) decided to withdraw
the entire British Army to north Johore leaving Kuala Lumpur free
for occupation which the Japanese did on the 13th January.
British line of defence established in North Johore ran from Muar
in the west to Segamat and then to Mersing in the east. The 45th Brigade
were allocated the western section between Muar and Segamat. The Australian
forces were concentrated in the centre and advanced north from Segamat
to Gemas at which point they engaged the advancing Japanese forces
on 14th January 1942. On the 15th January the Japanese 15th Division
arrived, the main force, and the Australians were forced to retreat
back to Segamat. The Japanese then pressed westwards towards the 45th
Indian Brigade who, as inexperienced and untried troops, buckled easily
at Muar. The 19th Battalion and the 29th were sent to the west, the
19th engaging the Japanese on 17th January 1942 south of Muar. The
fighting continued on the 18th and, despite the efforts of the 19th
and 29th, the Johore Line collapsed. The Allied Forces were forced
to retire across the Causeway to Singapore. By the 31st January 1942
the whole of Malaya was controlled by the Japanese, only Singapore
was in British hands.
1st-15th , 1942
1st January 1942 the Japanese had had air supremacy and had been constantly
bombing Singapore. The Evacuation of civilians was underway, one of
the ships being the 'Felix Russell'. It sailed on the 6th February
and docked in Bombay, India, on the 22nd February. Other ships were
not so lucky like the 'Empress of Asia' which was sunk en-route.
British 18th division and the 11th Indian Division had retreated to
Singapore in stages, fighting then retreating. In the process their
numbers had been severely depleted. They were amalgamated with other
units and positioned in the Northern Area along the coast of the north-east.
Japanese gun emplacements were hidden in the jungle facing over the
Straits of Johore. These could be moved, on newly constructed roads
within the jungle, and, with maps they had made of the enemy positions,
could be quickly moved to cover the most effective areas. Simultaneously
the aerial bombardment continued setting fire to the oil installations
which they feared would be used to turn the Straits of Johore into
a sea of fire.
the 7th February 1942 the Japanese started their assault of Singapore
landing on the islet of Puala Ubin from where they were able to concentrate
heavy fire on Changi. To the north-west the Australian forces were
bombarded. On 8th February the Japanese invaded from the north-west
and hand-to-hand fighting took place. By the morning of 10th February
they had secured a foot hold on the main island of Singapore. To the
south-west the Malay Regiment, ill equipped but fighting with spirit,
was overrun by the full force of the Japanese 18th Division. Outnumbered,
and with less fire power, the Malay's fought hard with the whole Regiment
being virtually wiped out. The Japanese then moved inland to their
next objective, Tengah Airfield. As the battle for the airfield took
place a new Japanese offensive started with the pounding of the coast
from the mouth of the Kranji to the Singapore causeway. From Tengah
Airfield the Japanese headed south and on 10th February 1942 Bukit
Timah came under attack eventually falling on the 11th. The Allied
Forces were forced to retreat into Singapore City where they were
unmercilessly bombarded by the Japanese. On 15th February the Japanese
converged on the city. The Allies stubbornly defending but finding
themselves more and more at the mercy of the Japanese. Eventually
the order was given for the Allied Forces to surrender, an unconditional
surrender. At 6:10p.m. 15th February 1942 General Percival signed