The Fall of Singapore

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The Fall of Singapore

15 FEB 1942: World War II and the fall of Singapore. Over 15,000 Australians were taken prisoner after the Japanese had bombed the city and captured Singapore’s reservoirs and pumping stations. The bombing, fighting and heavy shelling continued; many of the troops, separated from their units, wandered around aimlessly and the hospitals were crowded and overflowing.

Some troops were deserting and others had become separated from their units. Hard fighting continued but on 15 February Lieutenant General Arthur Percival, the British commander in Singapore, called for a ceasefire and made the difficult decision to surrender. He signed the surrender document that evening at the Ford Factory on Bukit Timah Road. After days of desperate fighting, all British Empire troops were to lay down their arms at 8.30 that night.

More than 100,000 troops became prisoners of war together with hundreds of European civilians who were interned, many in the notorious Changi prison. Despite his instruction to Australian troops to stay at their posts, General Bennett and two of his staff officers escaped, controversially, from Singapore on the night of the surrender and eventually reached Australia.

Photo: Australian troops disembarking at Singapore, 15 August 1941. More;

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