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79 Years ago on this day: Fall of Singapore 15 February 1942

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Singapore fell on this very day 15 February 1942, 79 years ago.  

Image result for the Fall of Singapore + royal navy

The British had a big Naval Base, the Sembawang Naval Base at the northern part of Singapore island. 

It was named after the Sembawang tree, the Mesua Ferruginea.  (Like Ipoh city in Malaysia, which was named after the Ipoh tree.)

Image result for battle of singapore + admiralty dock

The King George VI Dock at Sembawang Naval Base was the largest dry dock in the world when it was opened in 1938.

The Naval Base was a target for both the Japanese while it was in British hands and for the Allies when it was occupied by the Japanese.

Image result for Sembawang naval base WW2

It was bombed by 53 U.S. B-29s which took off from India on Nov. 5, 1944.

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Sembawang Park has a "Battleship" playground today to commemorate its past.

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Image result for sembawang park

The Naval Base School started by the British in 1957, is still active today as Naval Base Secondary School.

https://navalbasesec.moe.edu.sg/about-us/our-heritage

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The Naval Base today under Sembcorp Marine:

Image result for sembcorp marine

There are many historic markers in Singapore today commemorating the Fall of Singapore and the Japanese Occupation of Singapore during WWII.

Heritage-Board-WW2-Trail.jpg

(Source: https://lynettesilver.com/investigations/rimau-historic-marker/)

Singapore WWII Trail Historic Marker 8: Rimau 10 execution site

5.+Plaque+at+Rimau+execution+site.JPG?format=2500w

Also a booklet on Singapore's WWII events published by the Singapore National Heritage Board:

 

Edited by mm2012
Additional information on 5 Nov 1942 B-29 raid & Singapore WWII historic markers
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My oldest son is considering a move there. I'll alert him to the possible future threat from the north...

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Not exactly sympathetic to Percival.

Hindsight yes, but considering their actual troop numbers and the Japanese supply issues, it seems like Percival didn’t even try to push the Japanese back off the island.

Battan didn’t fall until the troops defending it were literally starving, and Wainright didn’t surrender on Corregidor until the Japanese were almost literally storming Malinta tunnel.

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World War Two week by week had been covering the Singapore campaign for a while.  Their latest on it was part of a recent episode.  At 2:34 mark is where Indy specifically starts the week's events for Singapore.

shot-21-02-05-20-13-32-0695.jpg

Oof!

 

Invasion of Vichy France controlled Vietnam by Japan.

Prince of Wales and Repulse, gone.

Indian Ocean Raids by the IJN's Kido Butai.

Capture of the Dutch East Indies by Japan.

Fall of Singapore imminent.

The US defense of the Philippines is cornered at Corregidor holding out for a relief that FDR will never send.

Rabaul will fall to Japan very soon.

Australia will look very isolated.

And not to forget the continued bloodbath in China that has been going on since 1937.

 

As dark as early 1942 was for the Allied war effort, the light will start shining eventually.  But until then, December 1941 and early 1942 was disaster for the Allies.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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7 hours ago, theLaalaa said:

My oldest son is considering a move there. I'll alert him to the possible future threat from the north...

That's great!  It will be a good experience for your son to live there.  I spent more than 30 years there and served its army 17 years.

The former Ford factory where the British surrendered to the Japanese is now a museum for the Japanese Occupation during WWII.

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Image result for ford factory 1942

Image result for ford factory 1942

You can worry less about any threat from the north now ... your USMC will be there!

and the USAF and USN are currently deployed already:

F-4E 497th TFS over Korea 1986.JPEG

And some USN TF73 tips about living in Singapore for your son:

 

 

 

Edited by mm2012
Additional info on USN TF73 Singapore
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I didn't know too much about the Fall of Singapore, so it was kind of interesting reading up on it and LtGen Percival's reputation.  The stain of the defeat is on him, he was after all the CO there.  Singapore was a cornerstone possession of the British and there was a large garrison.  He did make numerous errors in his command, especially out in Malaya.  But at the same time Singapore wasn't a high priority in reinforcement despite the British wanting to actually defend her.

 

At the time Britain was hard pressed in a lot of places.  Continental Europe was still firmly under Axis sway.  The Mediterranean and North African theaters are contested.  Russia is an ally and really needs help to prop up their situation because the Wehrmacht is mostly over there, so Allied shipping is going their way.  All the fancier, newer planes are not going to Singapore.  No tanks go there.

 

Still, he had over 80k men over there.  Yamashita on his push into Singapore itself realized late he was in big trouble and didn't notice until late just how outnumbered he was.  But he stayed aggressive and basically bluffed his way to victory.  Supposedly, according to wikipedia, Churchill's physician said:

The fall of Singapore on February 15 stupefied the Prime Minister. How came 100,000 men (half of them of our own race) to hold up their hands to inferior numbers of Japanese? Though his mind had been gradually prepared for its fall, the surrender of the fortress stunned him. He felt it was a disgrace. It left a scar on his mind. One evening, months later, when he was sitting in his bathroom enveloped in a towel, he stopped drying himself and gloomily surveyed the floor: 'I cannot get over Singapore', he said sadly.

 

Yamashita's fate wasn't good.  He'd be hanged after the war for what troops under his command did in the Philippines late in WWII.  I think he was treated wrong in that:  He ordered his command to leave Manila and go north to defend in the mountains.  He did not want to damage the city with war.  All his command went north as ordered... Except one.  Rear Admiral Iwabuchi refused to follow orders and kept his command of IJN sailors and SNLF (equivalent of Marines) in Manila and turned it into a battlefield, with his men committing numerous atrocities.  It's also of interest that Iwabuchi was captain of Battleship Kirishima when she was sunk and that supposedly affected him heavily afterward, wanting to avenge his ship's loss.  Yamashita was hanged over this, even though he expressly ordered his command to leave Manila.

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Alexandra Hospital Massacre 14 February 1942

Image result for alexandra hospital massacre historical marker

IMG_5685.JPG

876571396_AlexandraHospital.thumb.jpg.430cc445696b27d5e353237810d03b25.jpg

 

Japanese forces invaded Malaya on 8 December 1941 and drove the British troops from the Malayan peninsula after just 70 days of fighting. By early February the following year, the Japanese were poised to strike their final blow on Singapore, the bastion of the British Empire in Asia.

Under the command of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, Japanese soldiers crossed into Singapore on 9 February 1942. It was evident by 14 February that the island would soon be captured by the invaders.1 The British Military Hospital (now known as Alexandra Hospital) was caught between the advancing Japanese troops and the retreating British forces. It became the site of a Japanese massacre when between 150 and 200 staff and patients were killed on 14 February 1942.2

The massacre
The British Military Hospital had a normal capacity for 550 patients but the battle for Singapore had swelled the numbers to 900 patients.3 The men of the 32nd Company of the Royal Army Medical Corps were running the hospital under difficult conditions.4 Water was rationed, torches and lights were used only for medical procedures, and corpses wrapped in blankets remained unburied.5


The hospital had been under heavy Japanese shelling since the morning of 14 February 1942. At about 1:00 p.m. the first Japanese soldier was sighted approaching the building. A British officer walked out to meet him while pointing to his Red Cross arm band as an internationally recognised symbol to protect military medical personnel during armed conflicts.The Japanese soldier ignored this and fired at the officer but failed to hit him. The officer ran back inside but by then more Japanese soldiers had surrounded the hospital.7

For about one hour, three large groups of Japanese soldiers attacked the hospital. They went from room to room shooting, bayonetting and beating up doctors, orderlies and patients indiscriminately. They even killed an anaesthetised patient who was still lying on the operating table. About 50 men were killed in this first round. Around 3:30 p.m., 200 men were rounded up, tied into groups of eight and forced to march toward a row of buildings some distance from the hospital.8 The gravely injured were not spared and were killed if they fell along the way.9

Upon reaching their destination, which was a row of outhouses, the men were divided into groups of 50 to 70 people and crammed into three small rooms. There was no ventilation and they lacked water. They had neither space to sit nor lie down. Under these terrible conditions, some men died during the night. The following morning, the remaining men were told that they would receive water. By 11:00 a.m. the Japanese captors allowed the prisoners to leave the rooms in groups of two on the pretext of their fetching water. However, as the screams and cries of those who had left the rooms could be heard by those still inside, it became clear that the Japanese were executing the prisoners when they left the rooms. The death toll numbered approximately 100 prisoners.10

Suddenly at this time, Japanese shelling resumed and a shell struck the building where the prisoners were being held. This interrupted the executions and allowed a handful of men to escape.11

References:

References
1. Hack, K., & Blackburn, K. (2004). Did Singapore have to fall?: Churchill and the impregnable fortress. London; New York: RoutledgeCurzon, p. 84. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 HAC-[WAR])
2. 
‘Japanese massacred 400 in Singapore hospital’. (1984, July 17). The Straits Times, p. 3; Recognition: History of hospital, S’pore linked. (1998, September 16). The Straits Times, p. 24. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. 
Partridge, J. (1998). Alexandra Hospital: From British military to civilian institution, 1938–1998. Singapore: The Hospital, p. 58. (Call no.: RSING 362.11095957 PAR)
4. 
Bruton, P. (1989). The matter of a massacre: Alexandra Hospital Singapore 14th/15th February 1942, p. 8. (Call no.: RSING q940.5425 BRU-[WAR])
5. 
Bruton, P. (1989). The matter of a massacre: Alexandra Hospital Singapore 14th/15th February 1942, p. 9. (Call no.: RSING q940.5425 BRU-[WAR])
6. 
International Committee of the Red Cross. (2010, October 29). The emblems. Retrieved April 3, 2014 from the International Committee of the Red Cross website: http://www.icrc.org/eng/war-and-law/emblem/overview-emblem.htm
7. 
Partridge, J. (1998). Alexandra Hospital: From British military to civilian institution, 1938–1998. Singapore: The Hospital, pp. 58–60. (Call no.: RSING 362.11095957 PAR)
8. 
Bruton, P. (1989). The matter of a massacre: Alexandra Hospital Singapore 14th/15th February 1942, p. 21. (Call no.: RSING q940.5425 BRU-[WAR])
9. 
Bruton, P. (1989). The matter of a massacre: Alexandra Hospital Singapore 14th/15th February 1942, p. 23. (Call no.: RSING q940.5425 BRU-[WAR])
10. 
Partridge, J. (1998). Alexandra Hospital: From British military to civilian institution, 1938–1998. Singapore: The Hospital, pp. 64–66. (Call no.: RSING 362.11095957 PAR)
11. 
Partridge, J. (1998). Alexandra Hospital: From British military to civilian institution, 1938–1998. Singapore: The Hospital, pp. 66–68. (Call no.: RSING 362.11095957 PAR)

Image result for alexandra hospital massacre historical marker

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Edited by mm2012
Added black and white Alexandra Hosp picture

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The Alexandra Hospital Massacre, 14-15 February 1942

One of the most despicable acts of inhumanity committed in the Far East theatre of war  occurred on 14-15 September 1942.

Dozens of medical staff serving at the British Military Hospital, known as Alexandra Hospital, in Queenstown, Singapore were massacred, along with their patients. This facility, housed in an imposing white colonial-style 1930s building, had a normal capacity for 550 patients, but recent fighting had swelled this number to 900.

Alexandra Hospital Singapore

Alexandra Military Hospital, Singapore, taken in the 1970s

On 14 February, the hospital found itself caught between Japanese and British troops advancing towards each other. Due to the rationed supply of water and electricity, men from the 32nd Company of the RAMC were struggling to treat patients and corpses were being wrapped in blankets, remaining unburied.

At 1.00 pm on 14 February, the first Japanese soldier approached the building. Captain J.E. Bartlett RAMC walked out to meet him, his hands in the air, and indicated the Red Cross brassard on his arm. The soldier ignored this and fired at him at point-blank range. Amazingly, Bartlett survived and ran back into the building. For the next hour, three groups of Japanese soldiers went from ward to ward, shooting, bayoneting and beating up medics and patients indiscriminately, killing about fifty people.

Captain Lance Parkinson, who had been posted posted to the Alexandra Military Hospital, having lost the toss of a coin with Captain Bill Frankland, was anaesthetising
Corporal Holden of the Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire). Holden was bayoneted while on the operating table whilst Parkinson was bayoneted through the abdomen and gravely injured. He escaped to a nearby corridor but collapsed and died less than thirty minutes later.

Captain Tom Smiley, who had been operating on Corporal Vetch – another victim of the Japanese bayoneted on an operating table – was lined up against a wall with several other men. He pointed to his Red Cross brassard and told the Japanese troops that the building was a hospital. In response, one soldier lunged at his chest with a bayonet, striking a cigarette case that had been given to Smiley by his fiancée. This deflected the blow onto his chest. A second soldier bayoneted him through the groin whilst a third attacked him, causing a hand injury. He collapsed onto Corporal Sutton and both men feigned death. Remarkably, both were left alone and survived.

Alexandra Hospital Singapore2 (2)

A light and spacious ward at the Alexandra Hospital, December 1941

Around 3.30 pm, 200 men were rounded up, tied into groups of eight and forced to march towards a row of outhouses some distance from the hospital. The gravely injured were not spared and were killed if they fell along the way. Upon reaching their destination the men were divided into groups of fifty to seventy and crammed into three small rooms. Here they were kept without ventilation or water, with no space to sit or lie
down, and many died during the night.

The following morning, 15 February, the remaining men were told that they would receive water. By 11.00 am, the Japanese captors allowed the prisoners to leave the rooms in groups of two on the pretext of them fetching water. However, as the screams and cries of those who had left the rooms could be heard by those still inside, it became clear that the Japanese were executing the prisoners when they left the rooms. The death toll numbered approximately 100 prisoners.

Alexandra Hospital Singapore Signaller Reg Holmes

Signaller Reggie Holmes, Royal Corps of Signals. One of the many patients bayoneted to death at the hospital

Suddenly, Japanese shelling resumed and a shell struck the building where the
prisoners were being held. This interrupted the executions and allowed a
handful of men to escape.

Following further cold-blooded murders by his troops, a senior Japanese officer arrived at the hospital at 6.00 pm on Sunday, 15 February and ordered all movement around the hospital to stop. Pointedly, Smiley, having had his wounds dressed by Corporal Sutton, defied the order and carried on tending the wounds of the survivors,
and was soon back operating. For this action, he was later awarded the Military Cross.

The stories of RAMC doctors and orderlies who served in the Far East and across the globe during the Second World War are presented in my recent book Faithful in Adversity: The Royal Army Medical Corps during the Second World War

Faithful in Adversity

Source: https://faithinwartime.wordpress.com/2020/02/15/the-alexandra-hospital-massacre-14-15-february-1942/

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The Turncoat Who Brought Down an Empire

James I. Marino

The Japanese used hundreds of spies throughout Malaya prior to their invasion in December 1941. Those agents helped the emperor’s generals gather all types of information about terrain, military fortification and readiness of units, road and rail networks, and anything else that would be of help to the Twenty-fifth Army, which had the task of seizing this British possession.

In the two years leading up to the invasion, Malaya and Singapore were awash with spies and fifth columnists, most of them Japanese or locals working to throw out their British imperial masters. One of the most effective agents, however, was none of these, but a serving British officer—a traitor whose work enabled his country’s enemies to destroy the Royal Air Force during the first crucial week of the campaign.

The turncoat was Patrick Vaughan Heenan, born in Reefton, New Zealand, on July 29, 1910. His mother, Ann Stanley, bore him out of wedlock. In the small mining town of Reefton, such events were not that unusual. During Patrick’s first year, Stanley met a man, George Charles Heenan, who was the son of an Irish civil engineer working in northern India. Heenan had attended Cheltenham College and then, like his father, took up a career in mining.

Shortly after meeting, George and Ann traveled to Burma posing as man and wife. Patrick was baptized Patrick Heenan at the St. John Catholic Military Church in Rangoon on April 21, 1912. Although he was now “legitimate,” Patrick’s dark complexion gave rise to suspicions that his real father was of Indian or Maori descent, a stigma that meant the youngster would never be entirely accepted by the local British establishment.

Six months after Patrick’s baptism, George died and Ann was again on her own. She worked odd jobs to scratch together a living for herself and her son. After 10 years she became governess to a British family. Patrick was educated at mission schools that covered only the basics of reading, writing and mathematics. His “low” education, his dark skin and his mother’s position as a servant ensured they would both remain second-class citizens in Burma. In 1923 the British family returned to their home country, taking their governess and her son with them. Neither had seen Britain before.

Once established in England, Ann sent Patrick to the respectable Sevenoaks School as a fee-paying boarder. Patrick, however, struggled to keep up with his classmates and became something of a loner. Academically, Patrick excelled only in history; but he did succeed athletically at swimming, rugby, cross-country and boxing.

In January 1927 Patrick continued his studies at George Heenan’s old school, Cheltenham College. At 16 he was three years older than most other new students. The school was known, among other things, for preparing young men for admittance to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst and the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. Perhaps caught up in the spirit on campus, Patrick joined the college’s Officer’s Training Corps (OTC).

Even with membership in the OTC, Heenan did not make friends at school, and some of his classmates later remembered him as “graceless and a bore with a gloomy face,” someone who did not fit in. Despite his lackluster status among classmates, Heenan did impress his instructors, rising to the rank of sergeant and receiving a recommendation from his commanding officer, Major J.R. Holland, on his application to the Supplementary Reserve.

In 1929 Heenan failed the School Certificate Examination, which ruled out his admission to Sandhurst or Woolwich. Barred from a military career, the disgruntled graduate took a job with a business firm in London. Although the work was dull, it did allow him time to open a back door into the army. In February 1935, he was commissioned in the Territorial Army and assigned to the Bedfordshire Regiment.

Heenan then used his reserve commission as a springboard to a regular commission, which he received shortly afterward. He was then placed on the unattached list to the Indian army. Service in this imperial force required that a newly commissioned officer spend his first year attached to an all-British battalion before being posted to command Indian troops. Heenan’s posting was to the 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, at Poona, 75 miles southeast of Bombay. No doubt relieved that Patrick had finally found some direction in his life, Ann Stanley saw her son off on February 15, 1935. She would never see him again.

Heenan’s first posting did not go well. His one-year apprenticeship was extended to 18 months. The battalion commander, Lt. Col. J.P. Duke, refused to recommend the lieutenant for service in an Indian battalion. According to one officer: “The Warwicks’ CO had doubts about Heenan’s ability to fit into the Indian army. Heenan was a difficult chap to fit into anything.”

Word of Heenan’s deficient performance spread throughout the army. It was humiliating and, in part to rid himself of a troublesome and embarrassing officer, Duke had Heenan transferred to the 1st Battalion, Royal Norfolk Regiment, where he served until October 1936. Eventually, his application to the 1st Battalion, 16th Punjab Regiment, was accepted and Heenan at last joined the ranks of the Indian army, where his background and the color of his skin would be less detrimental to a military career. Although he had finally achieved his goal, the frustrations of his early years in uniform had left their mark. A superior officer, Major Alisdar Ramsey Tainsh, later recalled, “Heenan had a huge grudge against society and was out to get his revenge.”

Hoping to make an impression at his new posting, Heenan got involved in athletics and eventually won the heavyweight boxing championship of India. Lacking social skills, however, he bungled this momentary gain: Soon after becoming champion, he was reprimanded for bullying the smaller officers in the regimental mess and transferred to the Royal Indian Army Service Corps, which was derisively nicknamed the “Rice Corps.”

He remained there until late 1939, and despite his four years in uniform was still a lowly subaltern. It was while toiling away in this anonymous posting that the time came for Heenan to take his “long leave,” which was due all officers serving in India and lasted about six months. Most eligible men used the time off to tour the Far East or return home to England. Heenan took a different course. Rather than go home to his mother, whom he had not seen in three years, he spent his entire leave in Japan.

At this point, Japan was already mired in conflict with China, and most people recognized that a larger confrontation in Southeast Asia was not far off. Other British officers who found themselves in the “Land of the Rising Sun” frequently found themselves the target of the Kempeitai—the Japanese secret service. And Heenan was no exception.

When his leave was up, Heenan returned to his unit, where some of his fellow officers were surprised at his newfound expertise in photography and the use of various types of radio equipment. What they did not know was that he also had compiled an impressive list of contacts in Malaya as well as with personalities in the anti-British Indian Independence League. They were also unaware that he was in regular contact with Japanese agents who had ensconced themselves in every corner of the British empire. Perhaps motivated by either money or a desire to redress earlier humiliations, or both, Heenan was soon deeply engaged in spying for his new Japanese masters just as the British empire was about to confront one of the greatest threats in its history.

At the outbreak of the war in Europe in September 1939, Heenan returned to the 16th Punjabis. Even here, he found himself serving in relative obscurity, being sent to fight marauding warriors along the northwest frontier rather than taking part in the “main event” in Europe. Combat, however, suited the lieutenant. Heenan was many things, but he was no coward. In the irregular and often brutal guerilla fighting, the officer demonstrated courage and bravery under fire and even earned a measure of respect from some of his fellow officers. After one engagement, his battalion commander noted that he had “acquitted himself well.”

Promoted at long last to captain, in October 1940, Heenan transferred to his regiment’s 2nd Battalion, which was about to depart with the rest of the 6th Indian Brigade for Malaya. The battalion arrived at Ipoh in November 1940 and two months later moved north to the Thai border at Arau in Perlis. A seemingly routine course of events had now placed a motivated Japanese agent at the very center of what would soon become a major theater of the war. From his billet in the northernmost Malayan state, Heenan’s espionage activities went into high gear, as he busied himself gathering vital information on British defenses in Malaya.

According to historians Peter Elphick and Michael Smith, “Patrick made a number of clandestine trips into Thailand, passing information to a mysterious ‘Dutchman,’ a frequent cover for a German agent.” This information was then passed back to Tokyo through the Japanese embassy in Bangkok. Proof of the importance of this information was later unwittingly provided by the Far East Combined Bureau (FECB), which controlled British intelligence operations in the region. Without knowing who was involved in the intelligence leaks, agents of the FECB reported that “Japanese espionage and intelligence activities are widespread, efficient and comprehensive.”

Hoping to destroy what they recognized as a significant threat, the FECB worked diligently to put a stop to the intelligence leaks. They eventually concluded that the Singora Consulate, 50 miles north of the Malayan border, was the key northern center of the Japanese espionage network. What they did not know was that a relatively obscure captain in the 16th Punjabis operated through this hub. As Elphick and Smith wrote, “Of all the individual agents in the Japanese network, Heenan must have become one of the most important, a spy within the Allied forces and one with access to secrets vital to the Japanese in the opening hours of the attack.”

As bad as the leaks were for the British, they were about to get worse. On March 18, 1941, Heenan was selected to join a newly formed unit that was intended to securely exchange secret intelligence between the 11th Indian Division and the RAF. His new job would be as a grade three intelligence officer.

To prepare for his new assignment, Heenan received extensive training at Seletar and was eventually posted to the 300 Air Intelligence Liaison Section (300 AIL), which was headquartered at Alor Star. The unit had four officers, two NCOs and 16 enlisted men and helped prepare the defenses at the three main British airfields on Penang. Its chief responsibility was to coordinate the collection and distribution of reconnaissance photos taken by the army and RAF. Up to his eyes in his traitorous activities, Heenan was sure to pass copies of any relevant photos—along with other classified information—on to the Japanese.

Private Fred Cox, the unit’s dispatch rider, occasionally filled in as the unit’s driver and was sometimes assigned to transport Heenan. After the war, he wrote that he drove Heenan three or four times to a plantation near the Thai border just north of Alor Star. “Each time the trip was to be for reconnaissance, but he ordered me to remain in the staff car, whilst he went into a bungalow occupied by a Dutchman. He made light of the visits, but I was told not to mention it to anyone. But after the second trip, I reported it to the CO, Major James France.”

It was Major France who began the slow process of monitoring and collecting information on the unusual actions of one of his officers. His suspicion increased when he learned that during one of Heenan’s absences from the unit he had taken a party of Section 300 AIL troops on a “ground exercise” that involved taking photographs of all the junctions and crossroads from Alor Star up to the border and even into Thailand itself. Next, France learned that Heenan had persuaded the station commander that he had permission to review France’s most classified papers, which were kept in the commander’s safe.

The alarm bells should have rung much louder at this point as the pieces of the puzzle began to come together. Amazingly, France could not persuade anyone that Heenan clearly presented a security risk. In fact, rather than keep a more careful eye on Heenan, the British continued to provide him with additional sources of useful intelligence. He was assigned to the team that was preparing the intended response to any Japanese invasion, and he also had access to the details of the air recognition strips, which allowed pilots to identify friendly forces on the ground. He knew the daily air recognition codes used by pilots and airfields to identify friendly aircraft.

Undeterred by his superiors’ lack of concern, France worked on his own to obtain proof of Heenan’s covert activities. He arranged for a couple of officers to take his suspect for a Sunday drive to a club for a drink. With Heenan out of the picture, France searched his quarters and discovered a typewriter with a false bottom “which contained copies of situation reports, aircraft positions and strengths, and a map of the aerodrome indicating bomb dumps, fuel stores, and AA guns.” France now believed he had what he needed to prove his subordinate’s duplicity, and he made plans to meet with Maj. Gen. Murray Lyon, the commanding officer of the 11th Division, to present his findings. He planned to leave the next morning—December 8.

His plans were changed by the arrival of Japanese aircraft, which heralded the long anticipated invasion. The enemy aircraft hit RAF airfields the length and breadth of the peninsula, only sparing Alor Star. Four hours after their first attack, the Zeros struck there as well. Moving with speed and precision, the Japanese pilots caught No. 62 Squadron’s men on the ground as they were refueling after a mission.

Private Jack “Bladder” Wells later remembered that on the day the Japanese attack started, Heenan disappeared repeatedly: “Every time we made a move, Captain Heenan seemed to push off somewhere.” With the collapse of its position in the north, RAF command ordered all units to withdraw south the next day. As part of that move, the members of 300 AIL busied themselves by packing everything.

Caught up in the general chaos of the start of the war and the responsibilities of hastily evacuating his unit, France had either forgotten—or not had an opportunity—to contact Lyon as he had intended, or even to detain Heenan. It was during those hectic few hours, however, that the major discovered the irrefutable proof that Heenan was a traitor.

The squadron chaplain had asked France to take his field communion set in the staff car when he left, which France did. Upon arriving at Butterworth, the unit’s new location, while unloading a truck France discovered another communion set, an exact copy of the padre’s. “I collected the mystery case and examined it,” France later recalled. “Inside the case was a two-way radio receiver and transmitter along with batteries. I told the driver to return the fake case to the truck and the two of us hid and waited. Before very long, Heenan arrived, picked up the case and dashed off into his tent.”

This time France took the time to contact Lyon at Penang. The 11th Division commander responded quickly and dispatched a detachment of military policemen to arrest Heenan. Leaving nothing to chance, France then had his driver, Private Jock Grove, give the captain a lift into town on a false errand. “I drove north and stopped the car outside the police station,” Grove remembered. “There were suddenly police everywhere, all armed with Tommy guns, and they arrested Heenan and took him away.”

The arresting officer was Chief Inspector “Sandy” Minds of the Straits Settlements Police Force. He took Heenan to the Penang police station and charged him with espionage. The court-martial began on Friday, January 2, 1942. Major France attended the three-day trial providing evidence, and Heenan was found guilty and condemned to be shot.

While awaiting his execution, Patrick Heenan was confined at Tanglin Barracks in Singapore. He was still there when the Japanese crossed the strait on February 13. Afraid that the condemned might be rescued before the sentence could be carried out, officers at the prison decided to execute Heenan themselves. He was marched to the harbor and summarily shot, his body then dumped into the water.

Japanese success in Malaya is often explained by Britain’s failure to properly secure its possession in the 1920s and ’30s when it had the chance. Even though they were regarded among the most important holdings in Asia, Malaya and Singapore were provided with insufficient men and aircraft to mount an adequate defense when the time came. To that explanation, however, must be added the part played by a disgruntled British captain. Sleeper agents and spies were in Malaya well before Heenan began his traitorous activities, but none provided the enemy with such specific and critical information as he did. His information allowed the Japanese to strike the RAF with precision on the first day of the invasion and eliminate that threat almost before the first soldier crossed the border. With no air cover, there was little the British could do to stop the Japanese columns as they raced down the peninsula and destroyed Britain’s Far East empire in a matter of weeks.

https://www.historynet.com/the-turncoat-who-brought-down-an-empire.htm

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Harrowing story of Derby hero killed during Alexandra Hospital Massacre

Signalman Reggie Holmes was killed by Japanese soldiers

0_JGR_TEM_030719_VJDAY_02-2.jpgReggie Holmes was killed by Japanese soldiers in Singapore (Image: Derbyshire Live)
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Lying wounded in a hospital bed after being shot on a telegraph pole, a 23-year-old Derby man's chances of recovery were brutally ended when he became a victim of the bloody Alexandra Hospital Massacre.

The date was February 14, 1942.

Seeking reprisal for losses sustained during the Battle of Pasir Panjang, Japanese soldiers entered the Singapore hospital from its western end, before killing an estimated 50 staff and patients.

The following morning, they massacred another 150.

Among the dead was Derby-born Reggie Holmes, of the Royal Signal Corps. His brother Phillip, a member of the 7th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment, would also become a victim of a Japanese ambush two years later.

Seventy-five years on, their great niece Emma Richardson, also from Derby, has spoken about their bravery during the Second World War - and why she believes more needs to be done to remember the "Forgotten Army".

"I am proud of my family for what they did during the war," she said. "It's sad that, especially Reggie, being 21, was fighting for his country and not even being in a hospital bed could save him."
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The family still has the original certificate commemorating Reggie's death (Image: Derbyshire Live)

Phillip and Reggie both joined the Army at the start of the war in 1939, with Phillip leaving a career in the Metropolitan Police to serve his country.

The two men were born and raised in Derby, attending Ashgate School on Ashbourne Road and living in Richardson Street

Both were deployed to the then British colony of Malaya, modern day Malaysia.

Speaking about Reggie's death, Ms Richardson, from Mackworth, said: "He was up a telegraph pole fitting a wire and was shot by a Japanese sniper.

He was severely injured so they had to evacuate him to Alexandra Hospital in Singapore. On February 14, 1942, the Japanese infiltrated the hospital and patients were shot at."

The event became known as the Alexandra Hospital Massacre.

Ms Richardson said: "Basically anybody who was there was killed. My uncle was lying in bed and was bayoneted by a Japanese soldier. We don't even know if he was conscious at the time or not.

"A water pipe was being laid at the time and the dead from the hospital were thrown into the hole as a mass grave. It was only discovered after the war ended.

"It meant Reggie was still classed as missing throughout the war."

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Reggie (Left) and Phillip (Right) Holmes both died fighting the Japanese during WW2 (Image: Derbyshire Live)

News of Reggie's likely death devastated his mother, Charlotte, and sister, Dorothy.

Ms Richardson said: "My great-grandma, she never fully recovered. She had constantly worried that the knock on the door would come.

"Their mother Charlotte, she lost two of her four sons in the war, while the other two were still out there, like a Saving Private Ryan moment.

"It upset them a great deal. It was a close-knit family, just them and their mum. My great-grandma said her mother was always living on her nerves after losing two sons."this 90s city centre nightclub?

Reggie's brother, Phillip, later fought in British Burma, modern day Myanmar, where he served with the Chindits, a special operations unit which used unconventional tactics to raid Japanese supply lines and troops deep in the Burmese jungle.

His great-niece said: "Conditions were awful. There was very little to eat and they had to use donkeys to carry supplies. They're a regiment that not many have heard of."

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Phillip Holmes was killed in an ambush in Burma (Image: Derbyshire Live)

Operations in Burma were characterised by long marches through tough terrain, malnutrition, disease and an exceptionally high casualty rate.

The commando was eventually killed in a Japanese ambush in 1944.

To honour her great-uncles and all soldiers who served in the Far East during WW2, Ms Richardson is supporting a petition to establish a national day in commemoration of VJ Day on August 15, similar to the bank holiday scheduled to coincide with VE Day next year on May 8.

The Commonwealth forces that served in Burma are sometimes referred to as the "Forgotten Army" because their operations were considered to be overlooked by the press and public compared to the soldiers fighting in Europe.

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Phillip left the Metropolitan Police to join the army when war broke out (Image: Derbyshire Live)

The petition, which has reached over 11,000 signatures, says: "Over 50,000 UK servicemen were held as Japanese prisoners of war in South East Asia between 1941 and 1945, of whom twenty five per cent were either killed or died during captivity.

"With few survivors now left, this conflict is fast disappearing from living memory. These brave men felt cruelly overlooked upon their repatriation and beyond, and a national day of commemoration would go some way to putting that right."

Ms Richardson says that operations in the Far East were unfairly overshadowed by those in Europe.

She said: "I don't want to take away from the sacrifices of the soldiers landing on beaches but I think it's because of the glamour of the D-Day landings, which got most attention from Hollywood movies, which also focused on the Americans fighting against the Japanese.

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Phillip's death was reported in the Derby Daily Telegraph in 1944 (Image: Derbyshire Live)

"It was also very hard to get communications to the Far East, the Japanese did not give the Red Cross proper access so people did not hear so much about the conditions.

"Also it's the fact that it was a world war, because it was on the other side of the world people didn't think about it as much."

The mother-of-two has contacted Derby MPs Chris Williamson and Margaret Beckett in the hope that they will support the campaign.

Now that the petition has over 10,000 signatures the government will respond to it, at 100,000 signatures the issue will be considered for debate in Parlliament.

 

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Last Words of the Tiger of Malaya, General Yamashita Tomoyuki

What was Yamashita's responsibility for the crimes committed by Japanese troops against local civilians and POWs in the Philippines? When he arrived in Manila as Commander of the 14th Area Army in October 1944, the Japanese communication and supply system was already in turmoil, and the morale of the troops was very low. These problems intensified after his headquarters was moved to Baguio while the troops were scattered throughout the mountains of northern Luzon. By this stage the soldiers were desperate in the face of severe shortages of food, medicine and ammunition. Many soldiers never received Yamashita's orders and instructions, and many commands were ignored, even by junior officers. The rejection by the 31st Naval Base Force of Yamashita's order to evacuate Manila was a typical example of a situation aggravated by the longstanding Army-Navy rivalry. For this reason, the defense lawyers, themselves members of the American armed forces, thought the trial a "kangaroo court" -- a political exercise -- staged by the U.S. Army, particularly General MacArthur.

However, this does not automatically exempt Yamashita from responsibility for all Japanese military atrocities. On 18 February 1942, three days after the capture of Singapore, Yamashita issued an order to 'select and remove hostile Chinese.' At the time, about 600,000 Chinese lived in Singapore and anti-Japanese sentiment was rife after a decade of Japanese invasion and war beginning in Manchuria in 1931 and continuing in China from 1937. Indeed, a Chinese guerilla force set up with the help of British forces support fought fiercely against the invading Japanese troops after the fall of Singapore. For their part, the Japanese occupation force amassed and interrogated 200,000 Chinese men aged between 15 and 50, in an attempt to root out the so-called "anti-Japanese elements," such as communists and supporters of the Guomindang, as well as criminals. One officer, Masanobu Tsuji, reportedly boasted that he would reduce the Chinese population of Singapore to half by implementing Yamashita's order. Due to the haphazard methods used to find these "anti-Japanese elements," however, the exercise ended as a massacre of large numbers of innocent civilians. Estimates of the toll varied between 6,000 and 100,000, although it was probably around 40,000. Similar atrocities were also carried out across the Malaya Peninsula, resulting in the deaths of a further 60,000 Chinese. If the British forces had conducted Yamashita's war crime tribunal, he would certainly have been found guilty for this appalling large-scale massacre of Chinese.

https://apjjf.org/-Yuki-Tanaka/1753/article.html

Edited by mm2012
Bold Yamashita's order to select and remove hostile Chinese

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On 2/14/2021 at 10:38 AM, theLaalaa said:

My oldest son is considering a move there. I'll alert him to the possible future threat from the north...

I lived in Singapore for half a year.  It's a very nice place but it is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in if you try and own a car.  And apparently if you drive that car north into Malaysia, there's a good chance it'll get keyed or vandalized, so better to rent a car if traveling north.  Products are vastly cheaper in Malaysia because businesses don't have to deal with the expensive rents in Singapore so it's always worth visiting Malaysia while your there.  On the plus side, you have far more variety of food in Singapore and it's all much cheaper than food you can get in the US.

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26 minutes ago, Sventex said:

I lived in Singapore for half a year.  It's a very nice place but it is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in if you try and own a car.  And apparently if you drive that car north into Malaysia, there's a good chance it'll get keyed or vandalized, so better to rent a car if traveling north.  Products are vastly cheaper in Malaysia because businesses don't have to deal with the expensive rents in Singapore so it's always worth visiting Malaysia while your there.  On the plus side, you have far more variety of food in Singapore and it's all much cheaper than food you can get in the US.

He's planning on marrying a girl he met there on a business trip. She's a new nurse, and they're assessing whether to live here or there after they marry.

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2 minutes ago, theLaalaa said:

He's planning on marrying a girl he met there on a business trip. She's a new nurse, and they're assessing whether to live here or there after they marry.

With that polar vortex making half the country miserable, I would think Singapore would be the better place to live, albeit only if you can afford it.  Hardly any traffic jams in Singapore unlike Chicago.

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Just now, Sventex said:

With that polar vortex making half the country miserable, I would think Singapore would be the better place to live, albeit only if you can afford it.  Hardly any traffic jams in Singapore unlike Chicago.

He actually lives in central Texas, which isn't saying much today as he's without power (for heat and cooking) with temps at or below freezing.

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The Last Survivors

Historians provide facts, the locals share their personal experiences:

There are so many local accounts from all over Malaysia and Singapore.

My family members had the same experience too.

My paternal grandmother too, cut her long hair, dressed like a boy, wore baggy clothes and always smeared charcoal on her face to look disheveled to avoid being [edited] or abducted by the Japanese.

She was living in Bidor, Perak, a tin-mining viilage then.

Edited by mm2012
Added locals' account

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McDonald's / Mekdi at Teluk Cempedak, Kuantan, Malaysia

The present day McDonald's at Teluk Cempedak, Kuantan, Malaysia was a mass grave for civilians executed by the Japanese during WWII.

image.png

Screenshot 2021-02-25 064322.png

By the way, the cempedak is a local fruit which is one of my grandma's favourite!

 

Edited by mm2012
Added cempedak info, after which Teluk Cempedak was named

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