RAAF/NZ/RAF Squadrons in Malaya 1941

Doing additional research for a forthcoming book, I am becoming more and more impressed with the deeds of the men serving in Commonwealth and NEI squadrons during the bitterly fought 55 day Malayan campaign that ended with the surrender of Singapore. Today, I have updated my overview of Commonwealth squadrons – notably about No. 243 and 453 squadrons. One of the other finds was this photo.


Hurricane IIc, presumably of No.488 (NZ) Sqn at Singapore’s Kallang airfield, Jan/Feb 1942 (Source B.Hackett)

It shows a Hawker Hurricane at Kallang airfield, probably early February 1942. By that time the other Singapore airfields had come in range of the Japanese artillery across the straits of Johore and had been abandoned. No. 488 (NZ) Squadron is reported to have received nine of these cannon armed Hurricanes though the operational history is sketchy (to say the least).

Another “find” was the official “Report on air operations in Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies 1941 – 1942” , published as a supplement to the “London Gazette” of February 26, 1948. For those of you interested in the state of preparedness of the defence of Singapore and Malaya it is a real eye opener


RAF Order of Battle in Malaya as of November 22nd 1941

The air defence of the whole, immense peninsula had to be carried out with 43 Brewster Buffalo fighters. The defence against enemy shipping was put on the shoulders of two squadrons equipped with obsolete Vickers Vildebeest biplane torpedo bombers that could not even top 100 Mph…
And still, they fought with what they had.

About Kingsleyr

Thank you for visiting my blog! The posts you find here are a direct result of my research into aviation and military history. I use the information I gather as a foundation and background for my books. You may call the genre historical fiction, a story woven into a background of solid and verifiable historical facts. However, the period and region I have chosen to write about (late 1930's - 1950's in South-East Asia) are jam-packed with interesting information and anecdotes. If I'd used them all I would swamp the stories. So this blog is the next best thing. It is an "overflow area" in which I can publish whatever I think will interest you. And from the reactions I get, I deduce I am on the right track. A lot will be about aviation in the former Dutch East Indies. This, because my series of books ("The Java Gold") follows a young Dutch pilot in his struggle to survive the Pacific War and its aftermath. But there's more in the world and you'll find descriptions of cities, naval operations and what not published on this blog. Something about myself; I am a Dutch-Canadian author, living in, and working out of the magical city of Amsterdam. My lifelong interest in history and aviation, especially WW2, has led me to write articles and books on these subjects. I hope you'll enjoy them!
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