JAPANESE INVASION 1941-1945
The 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
poplulation were constituted from a large number of Chinese. Britain
was already in dispute with Japan. This is the story of the invasion.
December 8th, 1941
On 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.
On 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 ariel bombardment of Singapore,
Hong Kong and Pearl Harbour. This was the opening of the war with
December 9th, 1941
By 9th December 1941 the airfields at Sunei Patani,
Butterworth and Alor Star were in Japanese hands.
December 10th, 1941
On 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 prescence
was wiped out.
The 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.
December 11th, 1941
On 11th December 1941 Penang became the target
of the Japanese bombers.
December 12th, 1941
On 12th December 1941 Jitra was taken closely
followed by Alo Star the same day. The British troops were forced
to retreat south.
December 16th, 1941
On 16th December 1941 the British evacuated Penang
leaving it to the mercy of the advancing Japanese who eventually
occupied it on 16th December 1941.
December 19th, 1941 - January 31st, 1942
The onward march south saw Ipoh taken on 26th
December. A stand was made against the Japanese at Kampar lasting
3days and nights bteween 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 Japense 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.
The British line of defence established in North
Johore ran from Muar in the west to Segamat and then to Mersing
in the east. The 45tgh 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 Jnauary the Japanese 15th Divisiuon 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.
February 1st-15th , 1942
From 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.
The 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 amalgamted 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 ariel 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.
On 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 Tenrah 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 the surrender.