The Second Great War No. 51

THE SECOND GKEAT WAR Editors :'Sir John Hammerton JAr Maj.-Gen. Sir Charles Gwynn, K.C.B., D.S.O. Associate Editor :J.R. Fawcett Thompson Assistant Editors :J. St. Denys Reed Bell:A. I then history of the British Empire the name of Singapore will be forever surrounded with= chequered memories. Some will be of well- ==grounded pride in the tremendous achievement of a =handful of Empire-builders who in a few generations =transformed a squalid settlement, inhabited only by= a few miserable fisherfolk, into a great city with a =population of well over seven hundred thousand, ¦=white, brown and yellow. Some, however, will be =of gloom, even of humilia-=tion, in that what had been =described as a powerful ==fortress, a bastion of British =might in the Orient, should =have fallen so speedily to §H the Japanese. =Mo r ethan a year has e= "passed since the ==tidings of Singapore’s fall 1= spread gloom but not des-=pondency ‘amongst us. He Much has been written of =the events which led up to =that disastrous climax. Most of those who have =described Singapore’s last ==days as a British city have written with pens dipped ^in vinegar. Wellnigh everything, and almost every-=one, has been made the target of bitter criticism. H Thee local administration has been pilloried for its =bureaucratic tape,red its lack of realization of the= i urgency of the moment: and particularly caustic have H I been the comments passed on the conduct of at least ==some of the civilians, who have been charged with see wining, dining, and dancing when the abyss was iHI opening beneath their feet. =critical as any and better informed (it maybe =H *suspected) than most, Lord Strabolgi has some eee pertinent remarks on this aspect of the drama in his ==book 1 4 Singapore and After,” an account of the =war in the Far East from Pearl Harbour to the =Battle of Java. That Singapore remained gay to the rH= end, that the leading hotels still ran their tea and =dinner dances, and that =the cinemas and other places |H of entertainment still did good =business— in this surely (he writes) “there was some-=thing to admire. With a cruel =and unscrupulous enemy at iH the gate, few could have had =H any illusions about his success HH or their own fate, and yet 1= ihese poor people kept cheer­ LITERARY CONTENTS OF THIS NUMBER Chapter Pase 203 (Contd.) Record and Review of Main Events, January to December, 19412023204 Russian Winter Offensive, 1941-42 :The Closing Phase 2031 Diary o f the War, January and February, 19422038 Colour Section :Bombed London's Wounds are Healing Map o f the Far Eastern Theatre o f War: A Corvette inAction between 2038-39205 Malayan Campaign and the Fall of Singapore 2039206 Five Months’ Rearguard inAction Burma 2049 |SAVE EVERY SCRAP OF PAPER |=In a normal year o f pcacc Britain imported =nearly two million tons o f pap er-m akin g mate rials ,some o f which came fro mas faraway as Can ada, Finland and North A fric a .It was bulky cargo ,taking up a lot o f shipping space which today is far too precious to be used for that purpose. Waste paper will go along way to supply the deficit if every one lends a hand in its collection and preservation .From N o veV n b er 1939 to August 1942 nearly 2j million tons were saved for rep u lp g.in Save your used paper and cardboard and hand it in clean condition to thelo cal collector. ful to the end. It was rather like the dignity and =|gaiety of the French aristocrats waiting for the =tumbrils and execution during the revolution/' ^Maybe those things, or some of them, that are ^laid to Singapore’s account will be found true =by the historians who in the calmer atmosphere of H i the years tt) come write dispassionately of the events |H of these tremendous days. But that time is not =yet. For one thing, so =many of the, witnesses ^whose evidence will be |^j. required are languishing in ^Japanese prison-camps. About the valour'of them 1 troops, British^ §H Dominion and Indian, HH who strove so desperately ^to keep the enemy from Singapore's gates, there H|is no difference of opinion, H i however. All who were ^there have borne witness =to their dogged tenacity, their fighting spirit, their ^unquenchable enthusiasm i| in a battleground so terribly strange. There is a •=chapter in Mr. D.O. Gallagher’s vividly written H “Retreat in the East” in which he tells of the British and Indian troops who for months before i i the outbreak of war had been doing their best to =§settle down in the rubber plantations and jungle =zones of Northern Malaya. A dreary, morale- §i§ withering life of waiting, waiting, waiting (he ==describes it )in wet weather the drip, drip, drip ||j from the trees nearly drove them mad. Com-m manding officers did what they could to provide m them with diversions to fight the melancholia that =flourished in the oppressive semi-darkness of the =plantations but there is a touch of pathos min Mr. Gallagher’s account of the hundreds of“ V ’sH for Victory ”cut in the bark of the rubber trees. As elsewhere, the British troops adopted stray dogs ^as pets but alas these, mistaking the latex, slowly ^collecting in the small clay ^cups fixed to the trees at a con-!§j| venient height, for milk, drank' H i it and died Little details m these,but they should be added =1 to such things as armoured that were museum =pieces, and inferior planes, H i “good eaough for Malaya,” ^to help to give an idea of |j= what the campaign was like. ===cars SI Xo. 52 of THE SECOND GREAT WAR, our next issue, will be ready on Friday, May 14,1943
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