Forgotten Heroes of the Malayan Campaign – 1

x_forgotten_heroes_kb2” There are now sixty barges on the beach Sir”, the young lieutenant said, still out of breath after his run to the command post. “Our guess is each of them held something like sixty soldiers.

Brigadier ‘Billy’ Key, commander of the 8th Indian Brigade, nodded sombrely. He had at least 3.000 heavily armed Japanese troops to deal with and their objective was blindingly obvious: to capture the airfields. And there wasn’t much he could do to help Lt Col Arthur Cumming’s 2/12th Frontier Force Regiment defending them. He simply didn’t have the troops.
Just after midnight, when the Japanese troop ships had heaved into sight about a mile offshore a single British 18 pounder gun had opened fire on them. Thus, one hour before the Japanese struck at Pearl Harbor, the defences at Kota Bahru fired the opening rounds in the Pacific War.


The Australians of No. 1 Squadron RAAF had sortied their Hudson bombers in the dark, vainly searching for the enemy in the high winds and monsoon rains. At daybreak they had taken off again, attacking swarms of Japanese landing craft that were struggling through the rough seas towards the coast. Sortie after sortie they flew through such a withering anti-aircraft fire that after only a few hours, just five serviceable Hudsons were left.

Flight Lieutenant John Leighton-Jones and his entire crew were killed in their Hudson A16-94. After hitting a large troop transport and setting it afire, they crashed into a Japanese landing barge, taking it and its sixty occupants to the bottom of the Gulf of Siam.

Having no graves, they are now remembered on the Singapore Memorial:

  • Fl/Lt John Graham Leighton-Jones, RAAF, Age 22
  • F/O Ronald Hewitt Siggins, RAAF, Age 24
  • Sgt David Ward Walters, RAAF, Age 21
  • Sgt Graham John Hedges, RAAF, Age 20



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!
This entry was posted in Aircraft, Australia in WW2 and later, Historical Background, Pacific War and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Forgotten Heroes of the Malayan Campaign – 1

  1. GP Cox says:

    May they always be remembered!


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