Singapore At War: Secrets from the Fall, Liberation and the Aftermath of WWII
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This volume brings together for the first time three of Romen Bose's major historical works – Secrets of the Battlebox, The End of the War, and Kranji – in a panoramic account of Singapore's experience in WWII. Sealed off and forgotten until the late 1990s, the Battlebox beneath Fort Canning served as the British Command HQ during the war. What actually happened in this underground nerve centre of the Malayan Campaign? Drawing on top-secret documents only recently opened to research, the author investigates the workings of the Battlebox and the fascinating role it played. Having lost their "impregnable fortress" of Singapore, the British were diverted to the European theatre of war. How then, when the Japanese surrendered, did they prepare to return to their erstwhile colonies? This book goes behind the scenes to investigate the circumstances, events, and unforgettable cast of characters that led up to liberation. Finally, the book considers those who fought and died in the war, and their ways in which they have been remembered in post-war Singapore, with Kranji cemetery and memorial as the centrepiece of the efforts. Singapore At War contains new findings which have come to light since the publication of the individual books, giving an unprecedented breadth and depth of perspective to this historical account.
1971, the lands on which these cemeteries were located were handed back to the Singapore Government. As the government needed the land for future development, the CWGC decided to accept all the graves for reburial at Kranji. This was done with the exception of the graves of stillborn babies, belonging mainly to those of the Gurkha troops in Singapore. These graves would be combined into a single mass grave at Kranji. This mass grave then ended up reinterred with those remains from Ulu Pandan and
discs that were famously thought up by Sir Fabian Ware, “were not worn or did not survive four years burial in Singapore soil”4. In a telegram to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Singapore Governor Sir Franklin Charles Gimson noted that the IWGC, “will not accept any remains in a War Graves cemetery unless they can be definitely proved to be remains of persons entitled to War Graves burial”5. However, the Governor said that the IWGC would note the names of the servicemen in a future war
various positions of the enemy and Allied positions, with additional details coming from the Operations Room at the naval base. After the first few days of the campaign, with the loss of the two capital ships, HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, the plotting room lost most of its purpose as there was no longer a need to plot the naval movements without any big ships. It was used for the smaller evacuation operations and troop transfers but no longer served a very significant purpose until it
be exhausted by that afternoon (15 Feb), and that another class of ammunition, either 18pdr or 25pdr, was likewise practically exhausted. The decision to ask for terms was taken without a dissentient voice. Some minutes later, when details of the surrender were being discussed, Major General Gordon Bennett, GOC 8th Aust Div, remarked “How about a combined counter-attack to recapture Bukit Timah?” This remark came so late, as was by then so irrelevant, that I formed the impression at the time that
invariably fall into the easy trap of over-simplification. When we, as communist guerrillas worked with the British, none of us, for a single moment, considered ourselves pro-British. We were allies, but we had our own agenda. Likewise, following Japan’s capitulation, a different set of circumstances presented themselves to us as far as the defeated army was concerned85. SEAC and Force 136 were in no position to control these disparate agendas, which had begun to surface during the phoney