Monday, June 18, 2012

The Battle Box with Colonel (Rtd) Leslie Terh

Good buddies

Whenever I visit Singapore, my wife and I would call up our Singapore friends, in particular Colonel (Rtd) Leslie Terh.

Leslie was my squadmate in FMC Regular Intake Seven and we commissioned together as officers. Leslie was the Senior Under Officer (SUO) of Abdul Rahman Company and he was also the winner of the prestigious best cadet for academics award. Leslie was commissioned into the Signals Corp and he eventually was transferred back to the singapore Armed Forces (SAF) when our countries split up. Leslie is a true officer and had kept in touch with his officers corps and collegues in the SAF. We have been very close since cadet days.

A couple of years back Leslie and I visited The Battle Box and the big coastal Gun Batteries in Changi and Labrador. The Battle Box is General Percival's HQ bunker for the defence of Malaya and Singapore. It is now a war muzium and tourist center. A must visit for military personnel and historians who want to know what had happened to Malaya and Singapore during the Japanese war. .

We had learnt in our Malayan Campaign as it was called, that the British would have to fight withdrawal battles in the Malayan Peninsular and Singapore would be the last impenetrable British fortress in the Far East. The Japanese would definitely come from the sea and attack Singapore from the South. All efforts were to defend Singapore from the South. Costal guns were embedded in Changi and Labrador with fixed center of arcs facing the sea. 

But the strategy was proven wrong, drastically wrong, as the guns could not turn around 180 degrees to face North. The Japanese landed in Southern Thailand and Kota Baru and rapidly advanced southwards to Singapore. 

Singapore fell and the rest is history.

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