Malayan Campaign (2)

Gen. Bennet at Gemas

Gen. Bennet at Gemas

General Bennett’s story continued_______

Then came the battle of Bakri where the 19th and 29th held the road for several days although they were being attacked on all sides.  The men who survived fought their way back…destroyed their equipment and tried to filter back in small parties.

Next, the Japanese concentrated on the Batu Pahat…they landed men in sampans.  Troops had just arrived from England and were quite unused to Malayan conditions and they were unsuccessful in landing at Batu Pahat.  This meant our force at Gemas was almost cut off.  Our withdrawal from the Gemas area was one of the saddest events of the campaign from the Australian point of view.  During the next week the whole force was gradually withdrawn.

Singapore

Singapore

Sadly the men crossed the causeway to Singapore Island.  Our position was strengthened by the arrival of the 4th (W.A.) Machine Gun Battalion.  The 7 Australian battalions were given the western half of the island.  The A.I.F had the 44th Indian Brigade.  The 3rd Indian Corps had the newly arrived English division.  When the men began to build beach posts for machine-guns and beach lights, the Japanese aircraft flew up and down bombing them.

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The Japanese were able to observe the Australian positions so closely by air, they made maps showing everyone of them.  They launched their attacks in boats in the dark overwhelming the thin defense…Our units received inadequate support from other units…It must be remembered that many of these troops were exhausted after the long fight in Malaya.

Lookout

Lookout

Even at this stage, the A.I.F. managed to form a strong perimeter, which the enemy smashed over and over again…retirements on our flanks forced withdrawals until our line approached the city itself.  Then the enemy was able to concentrate his whole air force and many of his guns on Singapore, which was being reduced to a pile of rubble.  Casualties among the civilians were very heavy.  The city’s water supply was cut off.

Brig. Duncan Maxwell

Brig. Duncan Maxwell

Our forces were so depleted in the A.I.F. that it was necessary to use noncombatant troops…signalers, Army Service Corps and ordnance – did fine work.  At the end we occupied a perimeter we refused to budge.  It was in this position when the direction to surrender was made.  Brigadier Maxwell who is a doctor in civilian life was given permission to hand over his command to work in an Australian hospital – all the nurses had been withdrawn from the island.

JT5_1942 (800x557)

[General Bennett made an escape from Singapore to Australia via Java.  Brigadier Maxwell remained a prisoner until September 1945; when he returned to Australia.]

Click on images to enlarge.

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British Military Humor – 

Home Guard cadets

Home Guard cadets

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Farewell Salutes – 

Kathleen Daniels – Michigan & FL; US Army7388b_To-Honor-Ones-Country-Wreath

Robert Isgrove – Botony, NZ; RNZ Navy # 16636, WWII

Thomas Lapinski – Toledo, OH; US Army, 187th RCT, Korea

Rowena Littrell – Austin, TX; US  Army, WWII, nurse corps

Peter Miles – Coffs Harbour Base, AUS; RA Navy

Jeffrey Piter – WPalm Beach, FL; US Army, Vietnam

William Royal – Sun City, AZ; US Army, WWII, ETO, Capt.(Ret. 20 years), 390 Bomber Group

Ronald Stuart – CAN; British Army “Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders & Madras Reg., Capt. & Canadian Militia & Intelligence, WWII

Alva Tubbs – Kenai, AK; US Navy, WWII, Underwater Demolition Team

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on November 25, 2014, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. A sad ending, to what in hindsight appears to be a foregone conclusion.
    Ian

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  2. Such a sad story of effort wasted by poor anticipation and preparation, and unsuitable back-up. I love the cartoon of the British Intelligence Section – utterly out-foxed by the simplest puzzle.

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  3. I always enjoy the cartoons.

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  4. Even today, those locations are unknown to us here… Imagine what those young men were feeling, fighting for a place they also may not have heard of… Now, they were dying.

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  5. Fascinating history, as always.

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  6. Everett, that was an easy search on the Lovell Historical Society website. Farnham Brooks was a PFC in the Army Air Corps at Cochoran Field in Georgia, 1942. There are photos of Farnham in uniform, one with a friend, and one when he married Louise Christine Meagher in 1948. My Mom was close friends with Louise before she got married, and I always thought my name, Christine, was honoring their friendship. More so than it being my great grandmother’s name. But, I always had to say I was named after my great-grandmother to keep peace with my Grandma Edna (father’s mother). History is so memorable!

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    • I’m thrilled, C.E. that you have so much luck in your search!! It sort of feels like a hole,you didn’t even know was there, is now filled – doesn’t it? Now, sometimes the Camps and/or units have associations keeping their histories – have you checked Cochoran Field?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sorry, I have no info on my uncle. He was one of the close knit friends that I called uncle, Not sure if there would be something from the Lovell Historical Society that I could find. I’ll look and let you know.

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  8. I also learned something new. Didn’t know about the signalers and others doing fighting also. Great Post, Everett

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  9. Thanks for the “like” on my turkey poem, it sent me here to see your site…I was born in 1944 and the father and uncles who served in WWII never wanted to talk about it much….and history courses in school always started with ancient history and never got much further than colonial or civil war times…..I am partial to blogs dedicated to a specific focus and very much like the idea of this one…I’ll follow…

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    • Thank you very much, Cynthia! I was very happy to locate your site as I traveled thru Thanksgiving sites. If you happen to locate any info on your relatives’ service, please add it to the comments. If you wish, also the Farewell Salutes. Happy to have you on board, you’ll find a great bunch of people here in the comment section who are always contributing additional data or just saying hello!

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  10. It’s an eye-opening experience to read your stories of WWII. I was just a little girl at the time b.1939) and the full impact of the war was not felt by me. The effect limited to food rationing, black outs, and writing simple letters to an uncle in active duty. Thank you for creating your incredible blog!

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  11. Nice Job, GP. I’m curious how you create the “Fairwell Salutes” section of your posts.

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    • I check into various newspapers, Legacy sites, Find a Grave, The Voice newsletter from the 11th A/B Assn., etc. I try to name different states, making each person a representative of that state or nation for that post. I’m thrilled when I hear that people actually read them! Thank you, Cindy!!

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  12. I like to know about the lesser publicized events such as this surrender.

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    • Well, that makes my day, Swabby. I’m always hoping to hit on something that wasn’t known previously! It would become pretty boring around here if I just mentioned what we were taught in school.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I don’t remember ever hearing about this campaign before. I have books upon books about WWII. I need to take a hard look at one of them to see if my memory was just washed clean by the battles that made it into the movies. Thanks for providing the details,

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  14. Reblogged this on A Conservative Christian Man.

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