Malayan Communist Party (M.C.P.)
On 8th December 1941, after the Japanese had landed
at Kota Bahru the M.C.P. offered to fight on the side of the British
Forces in Malaya but their offer was rejected by the Governor, Sir
Shenton Thomas, because of their political sentiments. On 18th December
when the situation worsened in northern Malaya, the party repeated
its offer and this was accepted.
The M.C.P. had been active since 1928 in Malaya
and it formed a party in Singapore in 1930. But it was an underground
movement and some of its bolder members had been gaoled.
The government released these from prison and agreed
to train and arm them. The M.C.P. recruited new members for training
and the government then decided how they were to be used. At this
time the British Oriental Mission had set up Special Operations
Executive (S.O.E.) to train European officers to form stay-behind
parties in occupied territories and to train locals in guerilla
warfare and the ways to collect information about the enemy. By
the end of 1941 they had already sent several European officers
to set up dumps in the jungle. When the M.C.P. offered its members
for training, the Special Operations Executives, the S.O.E., set
up a training programme for them. These recruits were trained at
the 101 Special Training School (S.T.S.) in Tanjung Balai in Singapore.
They were given only short rush courses and the later ones could
not even complete their courses and these were sent into the jungle
without their European officers as planned. They went into the jungle
with guides and had to contact their communist leaders themselves
and were left on their own but with access to the caches set up
by the Europeans earlier.
At the same time the S.O.E. also set up schools
in India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). It recruited the seamen and students
stranded in India or China. Chiang Kai Shek was persuaded to recruit
young men to take part in the British counter-offensive in Malaya.
Chiang readily agreed. These were given very rigorous training in
the S.O.E. schools. These formed Force 136 but they were not sent
back to Malaya until May 1943. Two European Officers, Richard Broome,
from the Chinese Protecterate and John Davis of the F.M.S. police,
both fluent in Cantonese, were to train the recruits in Singapore;
they were joined by Spencer Chapman. Broome and Davis managed to
leave Malaya before the Japanese overran Johore but Chapman was
trapped and stayed in the jungle for the duration of the Japanese
regime. He travelled in the jungle and met all the M.C.P. regiments
except one and he was at the meeting with the Communist leaders,
Chin Peng and his Plenipotentiary to make the agreement between
the Allied High Command and the communists. He travelled in the
jungle from Johore through Negeri Sembilan to Perak where he met
up with Davis and Broome again when they managed to return via Pangkor.
He stayed in the communist camps and was on very friendly terms
with them although he was frustrated by the lack of facilities to
harass the Japanese.