Saturday, 19 July 2008

Research regarding the Singapore evacuation ships of 1942

I have lived in Singapore for the past 14+ years and hold a fascination with Singapore military history and in particular the events related to the fall of Singapore to the Japanese in February 1942.

I am looking to one day publish a book on the topic and my research and focused area of interest is focused around military and civilian evacuation records and I am looking to document stories and recover as many images as possible associated with these records. Should you be able to add any background, share any stories or verify any of the information contained in this website please do not hesitate to contact me at

I have set up this blog site to serve several purposes. Firstly to assist my research by listing out some specific topics I am following up on but to also use it as a medium concerning my search for information and hopefully as a tool to assist with collaboration and fact finding and verification as there are many inaccurate records with this history due to the incomplete records, haste and confusion that existed in the last days of the Singapore evacuation. Although this is the primary purpose of my research I have also included on my website other stories of interest related to the period and to the general topic about the fall of Singapore as it is such a facinating topic with so history and stories within stories that deserve to be recorded and shared.

I am consolidating stories regarding the specific ships and stories related to the evacuation and specifically the names of the ships and vessels I am researching from a specific Singapore Harbour Board evacuation record of interest which includes:-

BAGAN - Harbour Board ferry Steamer
LABURNUM (refer below on this site)
MATA HARI (refer below on this site)
KUALA (refer below on this site)
M.L 130
HMS KEDAH (refer below on this site)
Mata Hari (refer below on this site)
VYNER BROOKE (refer below on this site)

As information has come to light or if verification has been provided I have updated the details on this site. In advance I thank everyone who has been assisting me in one way or another with this research.

Original footage of the fall of Malaya 1942

Images of former military base in Penang

The island of Penang off Malaysia's west coast remains a controversial chapter in the history of the the fall of Malaya. Primarily as the decision was made to evacuate the island during the battle of Malaya and the evacuation support was primarily supporting the caucasion population leaving the local population feeling isolated and abandoned by the people that that that had been committed too and dependant on for so long.

Located South East of Penang Island is a former British integrated fortress constructed on 20 acress of land in the 1930s on what is now called Bukit Batu Maung. The fort is now a museum and efforts are underway to preserve the underground military tunnels,intelligence and logistics bunkers, halls offices, pill boxes, artilary and anti aircraft firing bays and ammunition storage bunkers. I understand that the fort was abandoned during the Penang evacuation and although there are signs of bomb damage I believe the fort was never used for its primary purpose which was to defend Penang! I have attached some images taken on my recent visit to the fort.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Remnants of battlefields in Singapore

There are several key battle sites in Singapore that have been well documented in the many books published on the fall of Singapore. Occasionally remnants of war are uncovered in Singapore including an unexploded bomb found during building excavations on Sentosa island in 2007 that was widely reported in the local press. On a recent search in the Adam Road area which was the scene of one of the key battles that took place close to the former combined military headquarters at Sime road I found a number of artifacts related to the battle including several .308 shell casings and bullet heads. Thanks to Mike Ford who identified the shell casing as being made by the Dominion Cartridge Company of Canada in 1940. The headstamp shows it is “DC 40 303 VIIZ”.

Known location of evacuation ships that were sunk

Approximate location of some of the ships that were sunk during the evacuation are shown below:-