#OnThisDay (13 Feb) in 1942, the Battle of Pasir Panjang started
#OnThisDay (13 February) in 1942, the Battle of Pasir Panjang started. This was the western end of the final British defensive perimeter around Singapore, under the 1st Malaya Infantry Brigade.
Over 13,000 Japanese troops had already crossed into Singapore a few days before, and captured Tengah Airfield. A total of 36,000 Japanese troops were deployed in the invasion.
The Brigade faced the main invasion force, fending off heavy attacks despite terrible casualties from gunfire and aerial bombs. At midnight, 7th Platoon C Company of the Malay Regiment was instructed to move to a new defence position at Opium Hill (Bukit Chandu in Malay). It was their last stand.
At first the platoon faced a few Japanese soldiers disguised as Sikh members of the Indian army. 2nd Lieutenant Adnan Saidi saw through the trick because the soldiers were not marching in columns of three (the norm in British military) and commanded his men to fire at them, causing them to retreat.
But the victory could not last. Two hours later, the Japanese returned in the thousands, reinforced by bomber aircraft. Lt Adnan had just 42 men. Despite being vastly outnumbered, Lt Adnan’s platoon never surrendered. They held off the Japanese, firing until their guns were too hot to hold. When ammunition ran out, they chose to fight on with only their bayonets and fists. Eventually, the few survivors and a wounded Lt Adnan were hung upside down from a tree and stabbed to death.
“Biar putih tulang, jangan putih mata” — “Better to die in battle than to live with tears of regret”. This was one of the last great battles of the Japanese invasion. #NeverAgainSG #TotalDefence
📷: Men of the Malay Regiment training before the war. Source: Imperial War Museum (FE414) via Roots.sg