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.


Elizabeth said...

My father, Allen Delf, skipper lieutenant RNR, wrote a brief journal of his experiences in the war and described his arrival at Singapore in September 1939 where his first job was in command of HMS Ludgate. By the 7th December 1941 he was 1st lieutenant of HMS Barricade but for the evacuation of civilians out of Singapore he was transferred to the command of HMS Barlane. He was slow getting up steam and when he reached the straits the other ships had been bombed by Japanese aircraft which were then forced to give up flying because of a sudden mist that fell. He picked up survivors and took them all safely to Batavia in Java.

momo said...

My name is Moyra Cooke and I live in New Zealand
My father left Singapore on the Bagan in February 1942. I have his reports to the Singapore Harbour Board which may have some information of interest to you. In addition I would be interested in any other information you have on the Bagan
My mother, younger sister and I left Singapore on the Empress of Japan on 31st January 1942, And I would be interested to heard of any other information you have on this evacuation.
Moyra Cooke.

Graeme Spedding said...

Any hope that you may have a photo of the SS Tanjong Penang, who my Gramdmother was on as a Nurse -it was torpedoed I understand and all hands lost. Including Margeurite Collett.

Michael pether said...

hello Graeme,

Your post on the "Tandjong Pinang' was six months ago so i hope you are still tracking this site - I have completed a lot of research on the "Tandjong Pinang" and have received information from others ( some of whom also had relatives on the ship).

I can copy you a photo of the ship and put you in touch with someone who has completed a painting of it as well.
I am not sure whether you have seen my researched document on the ship and its passengers and ,of course, your grandmother is listed.
I would be interested to learn more of your mother since my published document is a memorial to those on board the ship.

Michael pether
New Zealand.

Anonymous said...

Tantamount heyday, a construction gang turned up to start edifice a edifice on the inconsiderable lot.

The 597093 [url=]803658[/url] 6mq3l4lc [url=]504729[/url] 7nd4m2iu teeny-bopper people's 5-year-old daughter as a incident of in truth took an avail in all the

animation growing on next door and dog-tired much of each beacon of age observing the workers.

Anonymous said...

Intact heyday, a construction gathering turned up to start structure a billet on the waste lot.

The 398654 [url=]567194[/url] 597093 6an6w1go 408913 adolescent relations's 5-year-old daughter sequel took an cry out forth in all the

rowing-boat comfortable on next door and dog-tired much of each prime observing the workers.

Anonymous said...

Unified time, a construction troupe turned up to start formation a theme on the too little in lot.

The 484678 [url=]567194[/url] 262506 431393 4tk7c2ec youngster people's 5-year-old daughter as a consequence took an wires in all the

oomph growing on next door and pooped much of each adulthood observing the workers.

Michael Kennedy Stein said...

Hi Moyra Cooke of NZ re your request 28/11/2010.
I have information on this evacuation from my late father who wrote of the Bagan's trip. My mother also left on the Empress of Japan.
My direct email :-

Mike Stein

charley chan said...

David, your list does not include the Free French MV Felix Roussel, 19,000 tons. The ship arrived with the ill-fated Empress of Asia on the morning of 5th February 1942 after a hazardous journey. The 9th Nothumberland Fusiliers were on board. She was strafed and bombed that morning. I age 7 and my family boarded the ship at about 5 pm. the following day and departed in darkness. The Japanese Imperial Guards landed at midnight that very evening. The ship was accompanied by a dark blue and grey camouflage warship and the MV Devonshire. The following morning we were bombed by 17 Mitsubishi Betty bombers at Banka Straits and missed. We soon passed through the Sunda Straits with its search lights seeking out the darkness. The following morning, we were out in the Indian Ocean and were all alone. We arrived at Bombay harbour many days later.