Friday, March 17, 2017

The Battle for Singapore

When I had the good fortune to holiday in Singapore in late 2015 I decided I should read up on the campaign as I only knew generalities.

My local library supplied me with Peter Thompson's The Battle for Singapore.

It covers the whole of the Malaya campaign, from the prewar period to the final Japanese surrender after "the Great Miscalculation" (the post war Japanese Prime Minister, Shigeru Yoshida).  Lots of detail and personal recollections pulling no punches on either side.  The cast of characters was hard to keep track of, but gee, Gordon Bennett!  I often wondered why I heard that phrase as a swear word growing up and now I know.  Sadly, apparently not... Slang: Gordon Bennett

Dad always said how they were told the Japanese couldn't fly and all wore glasses and that the jungle was impenetrable.  Thank heavens he was deployed to North Africa and then Italy.

The Allies were out generalled by Yamashita.  Both sides suffered from hubris and arrogance and ultimately paid the price.  What impressed me was the sacrifice of the Chinese.  I knew they had suffered on the mainland, but didn't appreciate this "extermination" extended to the Chinese diaspora.

I enjoyed this book and it achieved my aim of plugging a gap in my knowledge.


  1. Knights of the Bushido? Pigs arse.

    I must lend you my illustrated history of Japanese war crimes.

    Fried liver anyone? 😋 Yum, that allied avaitor tastes nice.

    1. I have only a cursory knowledge of Japanese history, but it is amazing how they, and Germany, have recovered from their unnatural barbarity in the WW2. And I don't think that it's just my biased Western sensitivities. The mindset that "we are better than you" produces evil.