Singapore Evacuation

From my reading I understand that certain categories of men were targeted for evacuation, both at Singapore then from Emmerhaven/Padang where many of the escapees reached via a route that had been prepared by Special Forces.

I should like to know if any records survive and where they might be now. and any information about successful escapes would also interest me. Dad was on one of the last boats out but I do not know where he went from Padang. He escaped on board a water boat called DAISY with a number of civilians, one P.O and 5 ORs.
 
From my reading I understand that certain categories of men were targeted for evacuation, both at Singapore then from Emmerhaven/Padang where many of the escapees reached via a route that had been prepared by Special Forces.

I should like to know if any records survive and where they might be now. and any information about successful escapes would also interest me. Dad was on one of the last boats out but I do not know where he went from Padang. He escaped on board a water boat called DAISY with a number of civilians, one P.O and 5 ORs.
Good luck with your enquiries - have you also tried WW2Talk forum to broaden your search?
 
Thanks for the good wishes, Null. Yes, I have tried WW2Talk, Rootschat, Merchant Navy net , Navy net and Ships Nostalgia maybe some others too! Between them they have provided a wealth of information for my search but I have yet to crack the central nut.
 
Can't help with official sources Hazel but am in the middle of reading Alarm Starboard! by Geoffrey Brooke which details his escape along the SOE chain via Padang and why he and his colleagues were chosen.

If you haven't already read this one it is on Amazon Kindle for 99 pence.
 

dockers

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
@Hazel Stringer

I did some research on this when I was at the Naval Historical Branch. If I remember correctly, the PO was awarded a mention in dispatches in 1947. It couldn’t have been awarded earlier as the servicemen concerned didn’t get back to the UK till 1946.

Write to Naval Historical Branch, H M Naval Base [PP20], Portsmouth PO1 3LU.

Also look at www.nmrn.portsmouth.org/sites/default/files/Naval and maritime information sources.pdf
 
D

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From my reading I understand that certain categories of men were targeted for evacuation, both at Singapore then from Emmerhaven/Padang where many of the escapees reached via a route that had been prepared by Special Forces.

I should like to know if any records survive and where they might be now. and any information about successful escapes would also interest me. Dad was on one of the last boats out but I do not know where he went from Padang. He escaped on board a water boat called DAISY with a number of civilians, one P.O and 5 ORs.
There were no special forces, per se, when Singapore fell in February 1942. The Special Operations Executive (SOE) had the 'Oriental Mission' under the cover of the Ministry of Economic Warfare. The role of OM was to establish resistance forces in Malaya, culminating in the establishment of Force 136, which harried the Japanese on the peninsular, mostly under the command of a youthful Major John Davies, a Straits Settlement Detective.

Senior Superintendent John Dalley of the Malayan Security Service (formerly part of Straits Settlement Special Branch) set up an irregular auxiliary unit 'DALFORCE' consisting mainly of Chinese Secret Society members and Chinese Communists. Together with the hastily-arranged 'Singapore Chinese Volunteer Force', the untrained strength was between 3 or 4 thousand. Special Training School 101 was set up in mid 1941 to train 'stay behind' units but ti was not supported by the Governor Sir Shenton Thomas, who saw it as 'defeatist'. Most 'DALFORCE' and the Chinese volunteers were captured and executed. Dalley got away on a small boat, only to be recaptured near one of the islands off Singapore and sent to Formosa (Taiwan). He survived and headed the reformed MSS after the war, exposing the British Governor of Malaya, Sir Edward Gent, as being a Communist and very sympathetic to the CT guerrillas on the peninsular. The head of the Chinese Communist party, Lai Tek, who headed the Volunteer Force, was captured by the Japanese and then went on to work for the secret Police, the Kempeitai. He was a British-run intelligence asset before the war and returned to SB control at the end of the war. But the Communist Party got a bit suspicious so he fled to Bangkok where he was garroted in 1947. But I digress...

Looking at my notes, in an interview with John Davies, he stated that the Oriental Mission was instrumental in the covert evacuation of senior personnel on the eve of the British capitulation of Singapore. Although he didn't mention it at the time (2004/5), I found reference to him being evacuated on a trawler and eventually reaching Australia - in a small book I found amongst the thousands sent out to us in Afghanistan. I suspect that he had a head full of very sensitive information and that it was decided that he should be evacuated. Most of my library is in storage, so I can't even recall the book's title. Unfortunately John Davies - a most courageous chap who went on to fight the communists in Malaya in the 1950s - died a few years ago.

I know, not much help, but the National Archives is a source, as are the Royal Commonwealth Society Archives - British Association of Malaya Collection, within the University Library, Cambridge. You would need to be a reader of both to have access - I doubt whether they've been digitised.

Also look at The Jungle is Neutral by Freddie Spencer Chapman, who made his way to join F136. Another brave Englishman, who took his own life so as not to be a burden.
 
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I know, not much help, but the National Archives is a source, as are the Royal Commonwealth Society Archives - British Association of Malaya Collection, within the University Library, Cambridge. You would need to be a reader of both to have access - I doubt whether they've been digitised.

Also look at The Jungle is Neutral by Freddie Spencer Chapman, who made his way to join F136. Another brave Englishman, who took his own life so as not to be a burden.
Thanks Null, that is two new sources you have suggested to me. Would you know where the British Association of Malaya collection might be? And I never even thought of the Royal Commonwealth!!!
 
My grandfather was RAF and never ever spoke about his war. He didn't claim his medals. He died over 30 years ago, and my grandmother didn't fill in any gaps prior to her death in 2006.
After she died my mum had a letter from a cousin who claimed to have been present in Nan's kitchen one day in 1944 when grandad walked in having been missing since the fall of Singapore in 42.
So the story goes he was 'left behind', hooked up with some Scottish infantrymen and E and E'd through the South Pacific eventually getting picked up by an Aussie ship. We had some phots of him in Egypt which may have been the return trip through Suez.
Mum's cousin said that grandad remained bitter about being abandoned for the rest of his life.
I haven't been able to corroborate anything about him directly, but there are several similar stories out there.
 
D

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Thanks Null, that is two new sources you have suggested to me. Would you know where the British Association of Malaya collection might be? And I never even thought of the Royal Commonwealth!!!
I had a fellowship at Cambridge to study the rise of Communism in Malaya and Singapore - and the British Response, in particular the intelligence campaign. I've published some material on the post-war intelligence and psyops operations. The RCS Archives were in the South Asian sub-Library at Cambridge, if I recall correctly. I also received some very interesting material from the CIA Archives, but I had to go to Maryland to get the stuff!
 
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My grandfather was RAF and never ever spoke about his war. He didn't claim his medals. He died over 30 years ago, and my grandmother didn't fill in any gaps prior to her death in 2006.
After she died my mum had a letter from a cousin who claimed to have been present in Nan's kitchen one day in 1944 when grandad walked in having been missing since the fall of Singapore in 42 .............
.
I haven't been able to corroborate anything about him directly, but there are several similar stories out there.
That is rather how my search started too. Dad told his son that he was on the last boat to escape from Singapore. (in the early hours of 14/2//42) and had escaped across Sumatra via a place called Khota Bharu. Being something of a history buff my husband took this with a large pinch of salt as that is where the Japanese at the start of the invasion of Malaya. Years later we found there are several places of that name and one is right in the centre of Sumatra on the route from Djambi to Padang.
Since then we have found out quite a lot about Dad but not what he was doing in Singapore
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
RIP
Mrs S 2nd cousin, then aged 3, got out with her mother allegedly on the last available boat (don't know the name so I'm not being much help rally). The father along with others of his regiment (1 Manchesters) was 'Missing presumed killed' and is commemorated at Kranji.

From my bookshelf, vvg fiction on the subject:

 
My grandfather was RAF and never ever spoke about his war. He didn't claim his medals. He died over 30 years ago, and my grandmother didn't fill in any gaps prior to her death in 2006.
After she died my mum had a letter from a cousin who claimed to have been present in Nan's kitchen one day in 1944 when grandad walked in having been missing since the fall of Singapore in 42.
So the story goes he was 'left behind', hooked up with some Scottish infantrymen and E and E'd through the South Pacific eventually getting picked up by an Aussie ship. We had some phots of him in Egypt which may have been the return trip through Suez.
Mum's cousin said that grandad remained bitter about being abandoned for the rest of his life.
I haven't been able to corroborate anything about him directly, but there are several similar stories out there.
I forgot to ask what is "E and E'd?"
 
Escape and Evasion. Not sure it was called that then.
 

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