Watching The World at War on Yesterday. This one is about the fall of Singapore. I’ve seen The World at War I don’t know how many times and it still pisses me off.
I think you ought to realise the way we view the situation in Singapore. It was reported to Cabinet by the C.I.G.S. [Chief of the Imperial General Staff, General Alan Brooke] that Percival has over 100,000 [sic] men, of whom 33,000 are British and 17,000 Australian. It is doubtful whether the Japanese have as many in the whole Malay Peninsula… In these circumstances the defenders must greatly outnumber Japanese forces who have crossed the straits, and in a well-contested battle they should destroy them. There must at this stage be no thought of saving the troops or sparing the population. The battle must be fought to the bitter end at all costs. The 18th Division has a chance to make its name in history. Commanders and senior officers should die with their troops. The honour of the British Empire and of the British Army is at stake. I rely on you to show no mercy to weakness in any form. With the Russians fighting as they are and the Americans so stubborn at Luzon, the whole reputation of our country and our race is involved. It is expected that every unit will be brought into close contact with the enemy and fight it out ..
Percival should have obeyed his orders, or better yet, he should have done what legion British commanders have done and what Major Keeble did at Goose Green; he should have called a truce, gone over to Yamashita bold as brass and told him that either the Japanese army lay down it’s arms or face annihilation. Keeble was awesome, Keeble told the Argies either you surrender or I’ll bombard Goose Green off the map and hold the Argentinians responsible for any civilian casualties. In other words, we’re going to come in here and if need be kill our own people if it means we kill you. Oddly enough they surrendered.
What should have been another one of those close run victories that British military history is replete with instead ended in national humiliation and condemned tens of thousands to slavery under the Japanese.