Faudzil @ Ajak

Faudzil @ Ajak
Always think how to do things differently. - Faudzil Harun@Ajak

30 April 2013

MALAYSIA - Kuala Lumpur Once Upon A Time

By Faudzil Harun

Merdeka Parade 1961

Ampang Park Shopping Complex

Jalan Bukit Bintang 1960's

Bukit Aman

Central Market 1937

Dataran Merdeka

Kuala Lumpur General Hospital

Jalan Pudu

Medan Pasar 1960

Masjid Jamek

Selangor Turf Club

The Times of Malaya Press Ltd

MALAYSIA - Japanese Invasion of Malaya

Japanese invasion of Malaya

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Japanese Invasion of Malaya (also called the Battle of Kota Bharu) began just after midnight on 8 December 1941 (local time) before the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was the first major battle of the Pacific War,[11] and was fought between ground forces of the British Indian Army and the Empire of Japan.

Kota Bharu, capital of Kelantan State on Malaysia's northeast coast, was, in 1941, the Royal Air Force's (RAF) and Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) base of operations in Northern Malaya. There was an airstrip at Kota Bharu and two more at Gong Kedah and Machang. Japanese losses were significant because of sporadic Australian air attacks,[12] Indian coastal defences, and artillery fire.


The Japanese invasion plan involved landing troops from the 5th Division at Pattani and Songkhla on Thailand's east coast, and troops from the 18th Division at Kota Bharu Malaya's northeast coast. The forces in Thailand were to push through to the west coast and invade Malaya from the northwestern province of Kedah, while the eastern forces would attack down the east coast and into the interior of Malaya from Kota Bharu.

The British plan for defending against an attack from Thailand into northwestern Malaya consisted of a pre-emptive strike into southern Thailand, known as Operation Krohcol, in order to take strategically vital positions and delay the enemy attack. The British plan for the defence of the east coast of Malaya consisted of fixed beach defences defended by theIndian 9th Infantry Division along the northern stretch of coastline and two thirds of the Australian 8th Division (the other third being on Ambon,[14] West Timor[15] and at Rabaul[16]) defending the southern stretch of coastline.

The Japanese attack force for the invasion of Malaya, from Lieutenant General Tomoyuki Yamashita's 25th Army, had sailed from Samah Harbour on Hainan Island on 4 December 1941. Additional ships carrying more troops joined the convoy from Saigon in southern VietnamFrench Indochina. An RAAF reconnaissance Lockheed Hudson discovered the Japanese convoy. Admiral Sir Thomas Phillips, the British naval commander, Far East ordered HMS Repulse to cancel its trip to DarwinAustralia, and return to Singapore as quickly as possible.[17] The invasion force was spotted again on 7 December by a PBY Catalina flying boat of No. 205 Squadron RAF. The aircraft was shot down by five Nakajima Ki-27fighters before it could radio its report to air headquarters in Singapore.[18] Flying Officer Patrick Bedell, commanding the Catalina, and his crew became the first Allied casualties in the war with Japan.

Landings at Kota Bharu

Air Marshal Sir Robert Brooke-Popham, commanding officer of the British Forces in the Far East, fearing that the Japanese Fleet was trying to provoke a British attack and thus provide an excuse to go to war,[19] hesitated to launchOperation Matador on 7 December. Matador was the British plan to destroy the invasion force before or during the landing. He decided to delay the operation, at least for the night. Shortly after midnight on 7/8 December, Indian soldiers patrolling the beaches at Kota Bharu spotted three large shadows: the transport ships Awazisan MaruAyatosan Maru, and Sakura Maru, dropping anchor approximately 3 km off the coast. The ships were carrying approximately 5,200 troops of the Takumi Detachment (Major-General Hiroshi Takumi, aboard Awazisan Maru). Most of these troops were veterans of the war in China.[17]

The Japanese invasion force consisted of units from the 18th Division, the assault troops came from the 56th Infantry Regiment (Colonel Yoshio Nasu, aboard Sakura Maru), supported by one mountain artillery battery of the 18th Mountain Artillery Regiment (Lieutenant Colonel Katsutoshi Takasu), the 12th Engineer Regiment (Lieutenant Colonel Ichie Fujii), the 18th Division Signal Unit, one company of the 12th Transport Regiment, one company of the 18th Division Medical Unit and No. 2 Field Hospital of the 18th Division Medical Unit. They were escorted by a powerful escort fleet (Kota Bharu Invasion Force) under the command of Rear-Admiral Shintaro Hashimoto, consisting of light cruiser Sendai, destroyers AyanamiIsonamiShikinami, and Uranami, minesweepers No. 2 and No. 3, and Subchaser No. 9.[17]
The invasion began with a bombardment at around 12:30 a.m. local time on 8 December. (The Japanese carrier planes flying towards Pearl Harbor were about 50 minutes away; the attack on Pearl started at 01:18 a.m. local time, although it is usually referred to as the 7 December attack as it occurred in the morning of 7 December US time). The loading of landing craft began almost as soon as the transports dropped anchor. Rough seas and strong winds hampered the operation and a number of smaller craft capsized.[12] Several Japanese soldiers drowned. Despite these difficulties, by 12:45 AM the first wave of landing craft was heading for the beach in four lines.[17]

A6M Zeros of 22nd Air Flotilla at RAF Kota Bharu after its capture from Allied forces, c. 1942.
The defending force was the 8th Indian Infantry Brigade (Brigadier B. W. Key) of Indian 9th Infantry Division (Major General A. E. Barstow), supported by four 3.7 inch Mountain Howitzers of the 21st Mountain Battery (IA) (Major J. B. Soper). The 3/17th Bn, Dogra Regiment, under the command of Lt.Col.G.A.Preston,[20] had responsibility for the 10 miles (16 km) stretch of coast which was the chosen landing site. The British fortified the narrow beaches and islands with land minesbarbed wire, and pillboxes. They were supported by the 73rd Field Battery of the 5th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, deployed adjacent to the nearby airfield.[21] The area defended by the 3/17th Dogras consisted of the narrow beaches of Badang and Sabak at Kota Bharu. The beaches were split by two estuarys that led to the mouth of the Pengkalan Chapa River through a maze of creeks, lagoons and swampy islands, behind which was the Kota Bharu airfield and the main road inland.[22]
The Dogras immediately opened intense fire on the invasion force with artillery and machine guns. By midnight the first waves of Japanese troops were heading toward the beach front in landing craft. Colonel Masanobu Tsuji wrote in his book about the Malaya Campaign:
The enemy pillboxes, which were well prepared, reacted violently with such heavy force that our men lying on the beach, half in and half out of the water could not raise their heads.[23]
The first and second waves of Japanese soldiers were pinned down by the intense fire from the Dogra's pillboxes and trenches but after vicious hand to hand fighting a breach was made in the defences on the south bank of the estuary.[22] On the northern bank the Japanese were pinned down on an island where dawn found them trapped in the open. Allied aircraft from the nearby airfields began attacking the invasion fleet and the soldiers trapped on the island. Japanese casualties in the first and second waves were heavy.[23] The Japanese managed to get off the beach only after the two pill box positions and supporting trenches were destroyed. Despite their heavy resistance the Dogras were forced to retreat to their defences in front of the airfield.[20] Brigadier Key brought forward his reserves; the 2/12th Frontier Force Regiment and the 1/13th Frontier Force Rifles to support the Dogras. At 10.30am Key ordered an attempt to retake the lost beaches with the 2/12th Frontier Force Regiment attacking from the south and the 1/13th Frontier Force Rifles attacking from the north. The fighting on the beaches was heavy with both sides suffering more casualties. The British forces made some progress but were unable to close the breach. In the afternoon a second attack went in but failed again to close the breach.[22]
The airfield at Kota Bharu had been evacuated and by dusk on 8 December, with very low visibility, and Japanese troops were now able to infiltrate between the British units and with possible threats of landings further south, Brigadier Key asked for permission from Major-General Barstow (9th Division commander) and Lieutenant General Heath (III Corps commander) to withdraw if it became necessary.

Air attacks

Lockheed Hudson aircraft of No. 1 Squadron under assembly at RAAF Station Richmond. The Hudson in the right foreground was flown by Flight Lieutenant John Lockwood, who led the first sortie which heavily damaged the Awazisan Maru
No. 1 Squadron RAAF based at RAF Kota Bharu launched ten Hudson bombers to attack the Japanese transports, each loaded with four 250 pound bombs. In the seventeen sorties flown they lost two Hudsons shot down and three badly damaged. One Hudson, flown byFlight Lieutenant John Leighton-Jones, crashed into a fully laden landing craft after being hit while strafing the beachhead, killing some 60 Japanese soldiers on board. All three Japanese troopships were significantly damaged, and while the Ayatosan Maru and Sakura Maruwere still able to sail, the Awazisan Maru was left burning and abandoned.[18] The wreck later sunk or was torpedoed by the Dutch submarine K-XII on 12 December.[24]
Despite the strong defence, Takumi had three full infantry battalions ashore by mid morning of 8 December. Counter attacks launched by Brigadier Key failed and the Japanese took Kota Bharu town on the 9th. After fierce fighting during the night, threatening the airfield, Lt Col Arthur Cumming's 2/12th Frontier Force Regiment attempted to hold the airfield and put up a brilliant rearguard action.[25] Cumming would later receive the Victoria Cross during the fighting at Kuantan. Key asked for and was given permission to withdraw from Kota Bharu.[21]
The Japanese claim that the landings at Kota Bharu were some of the most violent of the whole Malayan Campaign. It is estimated that they suffered about over 300 killed and 500 wounded.

Invasion timeline

[edit]8–18 December 1941

HMS Prince of Wales sinking after being hit by Japanese bombs and torpedoes on 10 December 1941.
The Imperial Japanese Army landed at Padang Pak Amat beach just after midnight on 8 December 1941, triggering a ferocious battle with the British Indian Army only an hour before the attack on Pearl Harbor. This battle marked the official start of thePacific War and the history of the landing of the Japanese in Malaya. The Japanese experienced high fatality rates, but wave after wave of attackers storming the beach forced the British to retreat. The Japanese then regathered their forces, before moving on to seize Kota Bharu airport. At the same time, the Japanese attacked Singapore, Hong Kong, and Pearl Harbor by air.
The Japanese succeeded in capturing Sungai PataniButterworth, and Alor Star airports on 9 December 1941. On 10 December 1941, the battleships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse sailed along the east coast of Malaya towards the area of the Japanese landings in Kuantan. With the British lacking air support, Japanese aircraft were able to repeatedly attack the ships, and succeeded in sinking both. This effectively eliminated the Royal Navy from the battle for the Malayan peninsula.
Japanese soldiers landing at Kota Bharu divided into two separate forces, with one moving down the east coast towardsKuantan, and the other southwards towards the Perak River. On 11 December 1941, the Japanese started bombing Penang.Jitra and then Alor Star fell into Japanese hands on 12 December 1941. The British had to retreat to the south. On 16 December 1941, the British left Penang to the Japanese, who occupied it on the same day.

[edit]19 December 1941 – 31 January 1942

Japanese troops take cover behind steam engines at the Johor railway station in the final stages of their advance down the Malayan peninsula which culminated in the surrender of all British forces, and the occupation of the British naval base on Singapore island.
The Japanese continued to advance southwards, capturing Ipoh on 26 December. Fierce resistance to Japanese progress in the Battle of Kampar lasted three days and three nights between 30 December 1941 and 2 January 1942, before the British had to retreat once again. On 7 January 1942, two brigades of the 11th Indian Infantry Division were defeated in the Battle of Slim River, giving the Japanese army easy passage to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaya. On 9 January, the British position was becoming more desperate and the ABDACOM Supreme Commander,General Wavell, decided to withdraw all the British and Commonwealth forces to north Johor, thus abandoning Kuala Lumpur (which was captured by the Japanese on 13 January).
The British defensive line was established in north Johor, from Muar in the west, through Segamat, and then to Mersing in the east. The 45th Indian Infantry Brigadewere placed along the western part of the line between Muar and Segamat. TheAustralian Imperial Force (AIF) were concentrated in the middle, from where they advanced north from Segamat, clashing with the advancing Japanese army atGemas on 14 January.
The 15th Division (forming the main Japanese force) arrived on 15 January, and forced the Australians back to Segamat. The Japanese then proceeded west towards the inexperienced 45th Indian Brigade, easily defeating them. The Allied command directed the Australian 2/19th and 2/29th Battalions to the west; the 2/19th Battalion engaged the Japanese on 17 January 1942 to the south of Muar.
Fighting continued until 18 January, and despite efforts by the 2/19th and 2/29th Battalions, the Johor defensive line collapsed. The Allies had to retreat across the Johor Causeway to Singapore. As 31 January 1942 approached, the whole of Malaya had fallen into Japanese hands.

[edit]1–15 February 1942

With the Japanese controlling the airspace, they were able to continually bomb Singapore. Civilians were evacuated; some left on the ship Felix Russell, which sailed on 6 February and berthed at Bombay (Mumbai), India, on 22 February. Other ships such as the Empress of Asia were not as fortunate, and were sunk en route.
The British 18th Infantry Division and the Indian 11th Infantry Division retreated to Singapore in stages; fighting with the Japanese had severely reduced their numbers. The two divisions were merged with other units, and stationed along the northern coast of Singapore island.
Japanese cannon were hidden in the jungle facing the Johor Strait. Japanese artillery could be quickly transported through new paths constructed through the jungle, and with the maps they had of the defensive positions they could move rapidly to fire on strategic positions. At the same time, aerial bombing caused the continuous burning of the oil facilities, which it was feared would turn the Johor Strait into a sea of fire.
On 7 February 1942, the Japanese began their assault on Singapore, and landed on the small island Pulau Ubin to concentrate heavy fire on Changi. In the northwest, the Australian forces were bombed. On the following day, the Japanese traversed through the northwest, and closely engaged the Allied forces. In the morning of 10 February, the Japanese army succeeded in landing on Singapore island. In the northwest of Singapore, the Malay Regiment (commanded by Lieutenant Adnan bin Saidi) fought fiercely despite dwindling supplies, but was overwhelmed with the death of almost all its men. The Japanese then advanced on the next target, the Central airport. During the battle for the airport, a new Japanese assault began from the Kranji estuary onto the Johor Causeway. From the Central airport, Japanese soldiers moved south, attacking Bukit Timah on 10 February and capturing it on the next day.
The Allies were forced to retreat to the city of Singapore, where they were relentlessly bombed by the Japanese. On 15 February, the Japanese army focused on the city. The Allied forces continued to fight with perseverance, but found themselves in an increasingly desperate state. Finally, an order was given for the Allies to unconditionally surrender. At 6.10 pm 15 February 1942, General Arthur Ernest Percival signed the surrender document. He had been forced to surrender when the loss of food, water, petrol and ammunition made it impossible to carry on the struggle.


[edit]Living conditions

Once the Japanese had taken Malaya and Singapore from the British their attention turned to consolidating their position. Of primary concern with the ethnic Chinese. The Chinese were known to support both Nationalist and Communist forces in China fighting the Japanese. In December 1941 a list of key elements to eliminate within the Chinese population had been drawn up. Commencing in February in Singapore and then into Malaya a process of rounding up and executing those Chinese percieved as being threats began. This was the start of the Sook Ching massacre's in which an estimated 50,000 or more ethnic Chinese were killed, predominantly by the Kempeitai.
Malaya's two other major ethnic groups, the Indians and Malays, generally escaped the worst of this treatment. The Japanese wanted the support of the Indian community to invade and free India from British rule. Indian's were also encouraged to assist Japanese war efforts by being labourers. The Malay's were left to manage their country under Japanese guidance. This is said to have given rise to the Malay nationalism that culminated in the formation of Malaysia in 1957.
As the war proceded all three ethnic communities began to suffer deprivations from increasing severe rationing, hyper-inflation, and a lack of resources.

Banana money was issued during the war.

[edit]Resistance movements

During the occupation a guerilla resistance force battled the Japanese from the jungles of Malaya. Groups such as the Malayan Peoples' Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) and Force 136 were involved in the bulk of anti-Japanese resistance during the occupation. Members of these resistance forces were trained by British soldiers. They also received medical and food supplies that were dropped from British aeroplanes. After the war ended however, MPAJA was banned due to their communist ideologies.


The invading Japanese forces used slogans such as "Asia untuk orang Asia" (translation: Asia for Asians) to win support from the local Malays. The Japanese worked hard to convince the local population that they were the actual saviours of Malaya while Britain was portrayed as an imperialist force that wished to exploit Malaya’s resources.
In November 1942, the Japanese army set a world record for marching endurance by covering 100 miles down the Malay Peninsula in 72 hours. It was so famous as a Japanese propaganda tool that the American magazine Reader's Digest happened to come across it, publishing an article about it that same month. One person who read it was Lieutenant Colonel Robert Sink, commander of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment.[5]
In response, Easy Company (which became famous in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers) marched from Toccoa, Georgia to Atlanta on 1 December, covering 118 miles in 75 hours. Proud of the company, Colonel Sink told the press, "Not a man fell out, but when they fell, they fell face forward."


Japanese-occupied Sarawak

Boruneo Kita
Military occupation by the Empire of Japan

GovernmentMilitary occupation
Historical eraWorld War II
 - Pacific War begins8 December 1941
 - Japanese troops land on Miri
15 December 1941
 - British troopssurrender1 April 1942
 - Surrender of Japan15 August 1945
 - British Military Administration set up
12 September 1945
 - Cession to the UK as a Crown Colony
1 April 1946
CurrencyJapanese-issued Malayan dollar ("Banana money")
Today part of Malaysia

The so-called "White Rajahs", the Brooke family, had ruled Sarawak, on the northwest of Borneo, for almost a century, first asRajahs under the Sultanate of Brunei (a by then tiny but once powerful state entirely enclosed within the borders of Sarawak), and from 1888 as a protectorate of the British Empire.
Before the Japanese invasion, the Brooke family that ruled the Kingdom of Sarawak had been abroad in Australia. The one remaining member of the family, Donald Hudden, lost his life during the Japanese Occupation.
Borneo was a prime target for Japan, and a very poorly guarded one. Chronically short of natural resources, Japan needed an assured supply of fuel to flex its muscles and achieve its long term goal of becoming the major power in the Pacific region. Borneo also stood on the main sea routes between Java, Sumatra, Malaya and Celebes. Control of these routes were vital to securing the territory.
The main Japanese force—led by Major General Kiyotake Kawaguchi—consisted of units from Canton, southern China:
  • 35th Infantry Brigade Headquarters
  • 124th Infantry Regiment from Japanese 18th Division
  • 2nd Yokosuka Naval Landing Force
  • 4th Naval Construction Unit
  • 1 platoon of the 12th Engineer Regiment
  • 1 unit from the 18th Division Signal Unit
  • 1 unit from the 18th Division Medical Unit
  • 4th Field Hospital, 18th Division
  • 1 unit from the 11th Water Supply and Purification Unit
On 13 December 1941, the Japanese invasion convoy left Cam Ranh Bay in French Indochina, with an escort of the cruiserYura (Rear-Admiral Shintaro Hashimoto) with the destroyers of the 12th Destroyer Division, MurakumoShinonomeShirakumoand Usugumo, submarine-chaser Ch 7 and the aircraft depot ship Kamikawa Maru. Ten transport ships carried the Japanese 35th Infantry Brigade HQ under the command of Major-General Kiyotake Kawaguchi. The Support Force—commanded by Rear-Admiral Takeo Kurita—consisted of the cruisers Kumano and Suzuya and the destroyers Fubuki and Sagiri.
The Japanese forces intended to capture Miri and Seria, while the rest would capture Kuching and nearby airfields. The convoy proceeded without being detected and, at dawn on 15 December 1941, two landing units secured Miri and Seria with only very little resistance from British forces. A few hours later, Lutong was captured as well.
After securing the oilfields, on 22 December, the main Japanese forces moved westwards to Kuching. The Japanese airforce bombed Singkawang airfield to prevent a Dutch attack. After escorts drove off a lone Dutch submarine, the Japanese task force entered the mouth of the Santubong river on 23 December. The convoy arrived off Cape Sipang and the troops in twenty transports, commanded by Colonel Akinosuke Oka, landed at 04:00 the next morning.
The 2nd Battalion of the 15th Punjab Regiment, which was stationed in Kuching, was the sole Allied infantry unit on the whole island of Borneo. Although they resisted the Japanese attack on the airfield, they were soon outnumbered and retreated up the Santubong river. At about 16:40 on 25 December, Japanese troops successfully captured Kuching airfield. The Punjab Regiment then retreated through the jungle to the Singkawang area.
After Singkawang was secured as well on 29 December, the rest of the British and Dutch troops retreated further into the jungle southward trying to reach Sampit and Pangkalanbun, where a Dutch airfield at Kotawaringin was located. South and central Kalimantan were taken by the Japanese Navy following attacks from east and west. After ten weeks in the jungle-covered mountains, Allied troops surrendered on 1 April 1942.

[edit]North Borneo

Japanese-occupied North Borneo
Boruneo Kita
Military occupation by the Empire of Japan

GovernmentMilitary occupation
Historical eraWorld War II
 - Pacific War begins8 December 1941
 - Japanese troops land on Jesselton,Labuan and Brunei
31 December 1941
 - Fall of Sandakan19 January 1942
 - Surrender of Japan15 August 1945
 - British Military Administration set up
12 September 1945
 - Formation of North Borneo Crown Colony
1 April 1946
CurrencyJapanese-issued Malayan dollar ("Banana money")
Today part of Malaysia

The Japanese landing off the west coast of British North Borneo, 1942
Since 1882, North Borneo was another British protectorate under the British North Borneo Company. Offshore lay the small British crown colony of Labuan.
On 31 December 1941, a force under Lieutenant Colonel Watanabe moved northward to occupy BruneiLabuan Island, and Jesselton (now called Kota Kinabalu). On 1 January 1942, the Japanese army invaded Labuan Island, one of the early actions in their campaign to capture Borneo. The sole Allied infantry unit on the whole island of Borneo was the Indian Army's 2nd Battalion, 15th Punjab Regiment, based in Kuching, Sarawak.[6] The North Borneo Armed Constabulary, with only 650 men, hardly provided any resistance to slow down the Japanese invasion.
On 18 January 1942, using small fishing boats, the Japanese landed at Sandakan, the seat of government of British North Borneo. On the morning of the 19 January, Governor Charles Robert Smith surrendered British North Borneo and was interned with other staff.
Following the Allied surrender on 16 May 1942, North Borneo was under Japanese rule. Under the Japanese occupation, it was divided into two divisions; the west coast including the interior and Kudat was named Sheikai Shiu and the east coast was called Tokai Shiu.

[edit]The Resistance in North Borneo

The occupation was resisted by guerilla groups. Among the rebellions were the Kinabalu Guerrillas led by Albert Kwok in the west and another led by Tun Datu Mustapha bin Datu Harun in the north. However, the Kinabalu Guerrillas movement ended with the mass killing of Kwok and its members at the current site of the Petagas War Memorial on 21 January 1944. The exploits of the guerrillas are described very vividly in the book Kinabalu Guerrillas by Maxwell Hall.[7]
During 1942–45, Japanese positions on Borneo were bombed by Allied air forces from the South West Pacific Area command, including devastating attacks on SandakanJesselton and Labuan. On 10 June 1945 the Australian 9th Division began landings at Brunei and at Labuan, preludes to a campaign to retake North Borneo. The war in North Borneo ended with the official surrender of the Japanese 37th Army by Lieutenant General Baba Masao on Labuan on 10 September 1945. Incidentally,Maxwell Hall was the Chief Advocate at some of the war crime trials of Japanese officers held in Labuan in December 1945.

"A lot of the children died because they didn't have any food to eat. 

The mothers had no milk because they could not find enough food to eat. 

The Japanese took the men away and women did not know how to work, 
so they went hungry. 

The women had to dress ugly and wear rags, otherwise the Japanese would 
rape them (Japanese Invasion)."

"'When it comes to one of the most fascinating chapter of Malaysia’s history 
(1946-1969), memories of rapture and joy, misery and shame would crop up 
instantly in my mind and without doubt.'
This is a confession made by Madam Chan Ying, 86 years old who survived the Japanese occupation and witnessed the glory of nation Independence Day herself (One)."

In 1944, the Japanese faced defeat in World War II and were forced to retreat from Singapore.

Japanese Surrender Document