Monday, 27 February 2012
Saturday, 25 February 2012
This is one of the shots I took at the 7am fall of Singapore memorial service at Kranji War Memorial on 15th February 2012 - the 70th anniversary of the fall of Singapore. These were the Australian vets present who received a lot of media coverage back home during their time on the island last week. Would have been great to have had the opportunity to spend soem time with them but their schedule did not allow unfortunately. I am sure it was a very moving experience for them coming back.
A nice photo of George Prior at the Singapore veterans anniversary dinner held just over a week ago in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the fall of Singapore. Captured in Singapore George ended on the Thai Burma Railway and maintains a cheeky sense of humour and looks remarkedly well for his age.
Thursday, 16 February 2012
NOT many can make the journey now. Only a dozen ageing Australian survivors of the fall of Singapore stood when asked to identify themselves at the city-state's Kranji War Memorial yesterday during a service commemorating the 70th anniversary of perhaps the greatest military defeat in the history of the British empire. Veteran Affairs Minister Warren Snowdon announced the fast-diminishing roll call. While 14,792 Australian servicemen and nurses were captured by the Japanese in Singapore in 1942 ''only 520 of those brave souls are still with us,'' he said. ''We are fortunate some of those who survived sit with us here today.'' One of them, Bill Ennis, 89, of Sydney, said despite the passing of many of his comrades he believes the sacrifices made in Singapore will grow stronger in the minds of Australians when they are all gone. ''It don't know why but just like Gallipoli the young people are taking a much greater interest in what happened in these battles,'' Mr Ennis said. ''It's very sad that so many of us are passing but you just have to get used to it,'' he said. George Smith, 86, of Western Australia, who lied about his age to enlist in June 1941, said that during the solemn service held on a hill overlooking the graves of thousands of servicemen he remembered his many mates who were killed. ''Usually I try not to think about it - you get too upset otherwise,'' he said. Air Vice-Marshal Neil Hart, representing the Australian Defence Force at the service, said it was important to continue to speak about the stories and the sacrifices that were made 70 years ago. ''It is hard for those of new generations, those without the personal experiences of the veterans here with us today, to understand, to comprehend,'' Air Vice-Marshal Hart said. ''All these numbers, all the killed, all the wounded, had loved ones, had their own personal and unique stories; some of them known to us, some of them unknown,'' he said. Constituting only 14 per cent of the troops defending Singapore, Australian forces sustained 73 per cent of the battle deaths, about 400 people attending the service were told. Of the Australian prisoners, a third died in captivity, many of them in conditions that Mr Snowdon described as barbarous. Staff of Australia's Department of Veterans' Affairs have fussed over six of the survivors who were flown to Malaysia and Singapore for services marking the anniversary. The youngest are 86 and the oldest 93. According to the department, 326 Australians who were prisoners of war in Europe during World War II are still alive. But the department says there are 54,118 Australian World War II veterans still alive, the youngest of whom would be 85, if they lied about their age. The oldest are 100 or more. There are no survivors of World War of WW1. From the Age Newspaper
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Singapore surrendered to the invading Japanese forces and Britain suffered its biggest ever military defeat. It was almost surreal driving past the site of the surrender location at the old ford factory on Bukit Timah Road this morning after returning from the 7am dawn service at Kranji War Memorial. A fateful day in history that will never be forgotten. Lest we forget
Saturday, 11 February 2012
I was surprised to read today that the Bovington Tank Museum in England has on display a captured Japanese tank from the Malaya battle being a Ha Go Type 95. Very successful in the Malaya campaign The interior of the tank was cramped and uncomfortable, especially for anyone trying to operate the rear turret machine-gun, and it is interesting to note that the main gun could move independently of the turret. However the British troops did not have any tanks and these Japanese tanks were very successfully used during the campaign. The markings indicate a tank of 14th Sensha Rentai (Tank Regiment) in 3rd Sensha Shidan (Tank Division) around 1941. What is interesting is that this Type 95 was captured in Malaya and was examined in Calcutta before being sent to Britain. Surviving Japanese tanks from the Second World War are extremely rare and so this was very interesting to discover.
Saturday, 4 February 2012
There are a number of events,commemorations and tours taking place in February and you can keep updated with these at http://www.nhb.gov.sg/battleforsg/ I have also attached links to a number of these events on my @singapore1942 twitter site.