Reader's story - from John Parkinson


A small section taken from the story sent in by John Parkinson written about his father in Singapore.

After reporting to the Headquarters Dad was assigned to a troop going north to meet the by then rampaging Japanese army. As they got to a clearing some 30 miles from Singapore Dad was asked to stop. He was part of a 2,000-strong brigade, and the vehicles were told to stop and wait for the soldiers to return. After a lot of smoke and gunfire, an officer came running up to the trucks shouting, “Get out of here!” Dad asked, “Where are the lads (all 2000)”, and the officer replied, “Gone, all gone, get back to base.”

That was the last battle before the capitulation. General Percival surrendered three days later, after the Japanese had overrun the Queen Alexandra hospital and killed many of the patients, doctor and nurses, also killing some of the catering crew of the old Empress, who had volunteered to help in the hospital. With the Japanese approach, lots of the local staff had run away. This was one of the worst atrocities the Japanese soldiers committed. Bayonets were used on patients as they lay in bed, nurses were raped and murdered out of hand, and this was a sign of things to come.

After capturing the water pipe and cutting off all fresh water supplies, it was the end of the colony. Surrender was a national disaster - over 180,000 troops plus thousands of civilians, all waiting for the Japanese army of 30,000. Percival arranged for a seven day truce to enable the smooth takeover of government. In this window Phil was amongst those sent down to the warehouses to destroy as many vehicles as they could. There were Rolls Royces, trucks and cars of every shape and size, and these were pushed into the docks. They had to be destroyed so that the Japanese could not make use of them.

All alcohol had to be destroyed, because when the Japanese Army had taken Hong Kong they had got drunk and committed many atrocities, killing thousands of Chinese civilians. This job suited Dad, as it was drink, break, drink, break. After many drinks, he was with Jack Twiss and six others when an Australian captain approached them and asked if they would volunteer for a secret mission, with a chance to get away before the Japs arrived.

John Parkinson

Read the full story in our January issue here

Forces War Records Magazine



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