Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

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ljadw
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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by ljadw » 23 May 2012 21:47

You are all wrong :after 70 years :roll: ,the BBC(taking over from the News of the World) has discovered the truth :it all was a question of treason (you know :the Japanese never could beat the British),but Lord Sempill was giving all the secrets of Malaya and Singapore to the Japanese . :lol: :P
Of course,no one is obliged to believe this journalistic nonsens .

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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by aghart » 24 May 2012 06:54

I watched the first 20 minutes or so of the BBC documentary "the fall of Singapore" and then turned over because I was bored rigid. The programme was utter rubbish, trying to make a scandal out of nothing.

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Attrition
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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by Attrition » 24 May 2012 08:24

You can't trust COMbbc with quality material and obviously they've sunk so low, that they can't be trusted with lousy material either.

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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by phylo_roadking » 25 May 2012 01:59

but Lord Sempill was giving all the secrets of Malaya and Singapore to the Japanese .
Of course,no one is obliged to believe this journalistic nonsens .
Then again....

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/churc ... 73730.html
A SENIOR Scottish Lord was suspected of being part of a Japanese spy ring in London during the darkest days of the war, according to recently released documents at the Public Record Office at Kew.
Lord Sempill, a naval commander at the Admiralty, was accused of passing sensitive information to the Japanese Embassy in the lead-up to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The documents show that British security services suspected at least five British citizens in London of providing information to the Japanese. "What this shows for the first time is the existence of a highly organised Japanese spy operation in Britain," says Dr Richard Aldrich, a historian from Nottingham University.

At one point the Attorney-General secretly considered prosecuting Lord Sempill. However, when the Admiralty confronted Sempill and wanted him to resign, Churchill interceded and only required Sempill to be "moved".

"This is a classic case of Churchill protecting himself," says Dr Aldrich. "If Sempill had been revealed as a spy, it would have been politically calamitous for Churchill at a low point in the war."

Educated at Eton, Bill Forbes-Sempill was apprenticed to Rolls-Royce in 1910. He became a distinguished aviator, joining the Royal Flying Corps at the beginning of the First World War. He later transferred to the Royal Naval Air Service where he rose to the rank of Commander. He was awarded the Air Force Cross.

Although he retired from the services in 1919, his engineering knowledge led to a life-long involvement with aviation. His first contact with the Japanese came in 1921 when he headed a official British mission to organise the Imperial Japanese Naval Air Service.

During his visit Sempill became a confirmed Japanophile, striking up close and long-standing relationships with the Japanese military. The Japanese were very impressed and awarded him the 3rd Order of the Rising Sun; 2nd Order of the Sacred Treasure and Special Medal of the Imperial Aero Society of Japan in the inter-war years.

Commander Forbes-Sempill succeeded his father in 1934 and became the 19th Baron Sempill, inheriting Craigievar Castle, Aberdeenshire.

When the Second World War broke out, he rejoined the Royal Naval Air Service. He was assigned to the Admiralty and worked in the Department of Air Material. There he had access to sensitive information about the latest aircraft.

Suspicions over Sempill were aroused in June 1940 when MI5 intercepted messages from Mitsubishi to London and the Yamagata Naval Air Force headquarters in Japan. These referred to payments being made to Sempill. It said that in light of the use "made of Lord Sempill by our military and naval attaches in London," these payments should continue.

When Sempill was suspected "of disclosure of secret information about Fleet Air Arm aircraft," the matter was discreetly referred to the Attorney- General and Director of Public Prosecutions.

"The Attorney General advised against prosecution, but Sempill was strictly cautioned," said the file. Lord Sempill denied the allegations and said he had not received payments from an "improper quarters." He told the Admiralty Board that the money had stopped on the outbreak of war.

MI5 tapped Sempill's phones and found Sempill had kept up his contacts with the Japanese. A year later he again came to the attention of the security services and was suspected of passing information about the Battle of the Atlantic - the continuing efforts to get merchant convoys to and from the US.

At the time Britain was not at war with Japan, but it was considered only a matter of time before war was declared.

A note to Churchill says: "As long ago as August 1940 the Director of Naval Intelligence drew attention to the apparently undesirable contacts of Lord Sempill's."

There was no hard evidence of a leak, but "recently, the Director of Naval Intelligence, found that Sempill had been indiscreet in talking to his wife about his work..." A memo reports that Churchill's security adviser, Lord Swinton, had "official knowledge that Lord Sempill is at the moment in a serious financial situation".

On 5 September 1941, Sempill was brought in front of the Fifth Sea Lord and given "a private warning".

Some key details from the file are still retained. It is not clear from the files whether Sempill was a paid spy or just indiscreet to his Japanese friends.

On 9 October 1941, a signed note from Churchill says: "Clear him out while time remains." The Admiralty confronted Sempill and told him he could either resign or be fired. Sempill protested.

Churchill was unhappy at the action: "I had not contemplated Lord Sempill being required to resign his commission, but only to be employed elsewhere in the Admiralty."

A note in the file from Churchill's aide, Desmond Morton, dated 17 October 1941 says: "The First Sea Lord ... proposes to offer him a post in the North of Scotland. I have suggested to Lord Swinton that MI5 should be informed in due course so they may take any precautions necessary."

Dr Aldrich believes that Churchill feared the scandal would become public. "What the files shows is that Japanese intelligence were able to recruit sources at a high level."

The Public Record Office files also show that the security service was concerned over a number of other British citizens, including the former Military Attache to Tokyo, General Piggot, and his continuing contacts with the Japanese.

Lord Swinton's memo to Churchill said: "General Piggot is a bigoted pro- Jap, but said to be honest and loyal, as he is misguided."

They were also using Professor Gerothwohl, a shadowy figure who fed false information to the Japanese. We was described as "a highly intelligent ferret, working for and paid by other Embassies and Legations, as well as Japan".

Gerothwohl was believed to be a German Jew who had appeared in London in the 1930s and had been a foreign affairs adviser to Lloyd George.

"We have used Gerothwohl, feeding him with `dud' information which he believes genuine, and which the services wanted to plant on the Japanese," said the note.

Lord Sempill retired, but continued to serve on many public bodies. He was a Scottish Peer from 1935-63, and died in 1965.

The current Lord Sempill, the 21st Baron, is a grandson who last week was selected as a Conservative candidate for the Scottish Parliament. He said the family did not know about the Japanese allegations.
Looks like it was government/MI5 "nonsense"... :wink: I didn't quite grasp the somewhat tenuous link being made with the Fall of Singapore, the programme fell down on that badly - but apart from that there seems little doubt that Forbes-Sempill was a wrong'un. That file and its many documents and recorded incidents would indicate that quite a lot of government departments and security services were satisfied as to Sempill's dubious behaviour before Churchill was approached.
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ljadw
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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by ljadw » 25 May 2012 06:35

Hm,
Sempill was suspected
Sempill received a private warning from the headmaster (sorry the Fifth Sea Lord)
"It was considered only a matter of time before war was declared":when,by whom ? by the Independant ? :P
Sempill was suspected of giving Japan :lol: information about the Battle of the Atlantic :very usefull information for Japan 8-)
What other usefull information was Sempill giving to Japan?
How much £ did Sempill receive from Japan between september 1939 and december 1941 ? (if he received any)

aghart
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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by aghart » 25 May 2012 07:36

Clearly Semphill was under suspicition, but nothing he said or did had any bearing on the battle for Malaya and Singapore. The Japanese received more information from the British government in one stroke (automedon) than this man could produce in a lifetime.

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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by ljadw » 25 May 2012 09:22

The following is from Wiki,with as source Paul Elston:the Fall of Singapore:the Great Betrayal BBC2
1)6months after the New Foundlandmeeting between Churchill and Roosevelt (which happened in august 1941) the Japanese embassy in Britain passed notes on the meeting to the foreign ministry in Tokyo :6 months:that would be february 1942:2 months after Pearl Harbour :roll: and there still would be a Japanese embassy in London :roll:
2)3 months later (=9 months after august 1941=may 1942),the Japanese embassy in London passed notes on Churchill's personal agenda and inner circle to the Foreign ministry in Tokyo:a Japanese embassy in London in may 1942? :roll:
No comment.
Well,one comment :even for these ......(censored) of BBC2,this is a new record .
What next?
Hitler escaped from Berlin and lived quitly in Marbella?
Kennedy was not murdered in Dallas ,but lived on a Greek island owned by Onassis ?
The Illuminati with as chairman the grand father of Bush jr,started WWII?
Or,the Duke of Windsor was a German spy?

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Attrition
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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by Attrition » 25 May 2012 11:59

The other day I bumped into Elvis on Newland Ave, he sent Janice, Jimi and Jim's regards.

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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by aghart » 27 May 2012 16:26

Fatboy Coxy wrote:Hi all

A question I still can't answer is how close (or far) was Britain to fielding a force that could/should have held Malaya
MY THREAD LOOKING AT A JAPANESE ATTACK ON MALAYA 6 MONTHS LATER THAN ACTUAL HISTORY IS WORTH LOOKING AT

I do feel Japan hit hard in a wonderful (for them) window of opportunity, but at some stage, with the gradual build up and improvement in trained thast window would have closed. I wonder how close Britian was to closing that window.

Steve
I AGREE, EVEN A ONE MONTH DELAY IN THE JAPANESE ATTACK WOULD HAVE HAD MAJOR IMPLICATIONS MAINLY TO DO WITH THE ROYAL NAVY.

POW & Repulse would have had a full month to prepare, all maintainence required after the long voyage east would have been completed. POW's surface scanning radar would hopefully have been repaired. Repulse would have gone on her flag waving visit to Australia ( Phillips intended to use Repulse to persuade Australia to send a cruiser to reinforce Force Z). If Australia agree's to station a cruiser at Singapore would New Zealand be thus persuaded? could Phillips then have gotton London to allow Dorsetshire or Cornwall to move from Ceylon to Singapore.

More importantly Phillips would have had time to work out a plan of action not only with the army & RAF (fighters sent to Kuantan and Kota Bharu if Force Z sails north) but with Admiral Hart in the Phillipines. Would the 5 US destroyers be at Singapore? would Force Z join up with the US Asiatic fleet as soon as hostilities looked imminent? as for HMS Indomitable? would she be at Singapore? probably not, after repairs in the USA she would most likely continue with her training in the Carribean and then retire to Gibraltar as planned to replenish before heading east. At best she would be enroute to Singapore.

The timing of the Japanese attack on Malaya was perfect.

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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by donsor » 27 May 2012 17:55

Were it not planning, execution and sustainability basic criteria for a major military campaign. The Japanese did it on Pearl Harbor and so there should not be any doubt about their capabilities in Malaya.

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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by aghart » 13 Jul 2012 23:04

Fatboy Coxy wrote:I still don't understand, given the importance of Krohcol, how it was SO badly handled.

I can be critical of Lt Col Moorhead, who failed to provide any real urgency to the operation as the commander on site, though I thought he was an able commander, as he proved latter in the campaign

I can be critical of Major Gen Murray-Lyon, who showed no real interest in the planning and development of this operation. Again some allowance can be made, his focus was on advancing 11th Indian to Singora (Songkhla today) if Operation Matador was called, or digging in on the Jitra Line. The logistics of the Matador move were considerable, and clearly took all his attention.

I can be critical of Lt Gen Heath, who surely should have given the command of Krohcol to a Brigadier General, reporting to III Indian Corps (himself), not to 11th Indian Div (Murray-Lyon). I am unsure whether he had a free hand in deploying units of the III Indian Corps, the assigned units were scattered at the start of the operations, and clearly shouldn't have been.

I can be critical of Lt Gen Percival, who was a main player in developing the strategy for defence of Malaya. Whether Operation Matador was called or not, the Krohcol operation HAD to happen. Loss of the Ledge position greatly compromised the defence of Northern Malaya, losing the important Alor Star and Sungai Patani airfields, and the excellent potential defensive position at Gurun. I would have expected him to have looked at the Krohcol plan as part of any appraisal of his defence, along with Jitra, Matador, Kota Bharu and Kuantan.

I can be critical of Air Chief Marshal Brooke-Popham, CinC British Far East Command. It was his decision if/when Operations Matador, and Krohcol were to be called. His delay in giving authority to Krohcol, and a failure on whether Matador would happen or not early enough, greatly compomised all levels of command below him. He failed to give a clear strong leadership on invoking the defence of Malaya. Again, however, London's guidelines on how he exercised his authority, kind of dammed him either way on the question of being first into Thailand, or waiting on the Japanese invading first.

Any of the above could have been the one that made the difference with regard to Krohcols success!

Regards

Fatboy Coxy
I wonder though, as Krohcol was under strength, how would it have fared if it had got to the ledge on time? I have no idea as to the actual ground layout, all I've ever read simply states that the road is cut out of the hillside. Could Krohcol have held the Japanese off long enough for the engineers to demolish the road? How much of an obsticle would that then be to the Japanese? assuming of course that unlike many demolitions in the campaign it actually worked!

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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 02 Aug 2012 21:32

Sorry Aghart, I seemed to have missed this post.

I can’t add much more to the actual ground layout except for about six miles the road existed as a cutting in the side of a steep, but not particularly tall mountain, with the other side dropping to the river below. Its width, I would guess as being not particularly wide, possibly 1 vehicle with maybe passing points, and I say this because roads in general were not particularly wide, and this having been cut out of the mountain, for a route which was not, to my knowledge a major commercial route. I view this as not dissimilar to the famous “Burma Road”.

I feel sure I read, though I can’t source it now, that the British expectation was they would be at the Ledge by day two, well before the Japanese, and intended to blow the mountainside above the road, effectively sweeping it away. They could have done this several times along the route. I would expect infantry and pack animals to be able to negotiate a way forward, and the Infantry Battalions, along with the Volunteer/Indian Mountain Battery were there to deal with them. However with no road for some considerable time, a Japanese thrust along this route would have encountered considerable hardship in remaining in supply, with no wheeled transport, either horse or motor, able to continue.

With regard to the failure of some explosives, it has been suggested it was partly due to age of the explosives, and partly to the torrential rain they had those first few days. With enough time, engineers could have made good any failures.

A question mark I have is why the operation wasn’t accorded a higher ranked officer, given the number of units deployed. A Brigadier General would seem more appropriate. Perhaps the Krohcol mission had been planned pre September 1941, when the 28th Indian Brigade arrived. So with the 6th and 15th Brigades assigned to Matador, 12th Bde as general reserve, and both 9th Div’s bdes deployed on the East coast, a scratch force was all they thought they could muster. And indeed the arrival of the 28th Bde only helped reinforce the hope that Matador could be undertaken, as a minimum of three brigades was thought essential. Never the less, the depth of planning that was undertaken for the Matador operation, clearly was not given to Krohcol.

Steve

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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by aghart » 30 Sep 2012 10:15

donsor wrote:Were it not planning, execution and sustainability basic criteria for a major military campaign. The Japanese did it on Pearl Harbor and so there should not be any doubt about their capabilities in Malaya.
The Japanese attacked Malaya before they attacked Pearl Harbor so there was no advance warning of their capabilities. No one is denying that British Intelligence failed to provide advance warning of, or that the British totally underestimated the capabilities of the Japanese armed forces.

Great Britain was playing for time, a game of poker, and we lost!

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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by aghart » 03 May 2013 21:09

I must be a sucker for punishment! Why do i look again at my books regarding Malaya and Singapore?

I know with hindsight it is easy to be critical, and being an armchair General 70 years later, it is impossible to imagine yourself being there on the ground at the time. But! each time I read that this unit was forced to retreat, that unit was quickly destroyed as a fighting unit, that small detachments of lightly equipped and lightly supported Japanese, out flanked and destroyed or forced the withdrawal of larger British forces, while it was those very same Japanese forces who should have been surrounded, cut off and destroyed.

How dare they expect to advance when all they have is a bag of rice, a bicycle, a rifle and 40 rounds of ammo?

How could the British be so unprepared? I read again "Singapore the chain of disaster" The UK refused for earth moving equipment to be purchased locally, as it could be supplied from the UK (except it never arrived), it took ages for permission to be granted to order pumps and engines from Australia ( to flood the flanks of the Jitra position and hinder Japanese movement), they never arrived either.

It has be fiction? it can't be true can it? no one can be that bad surely?

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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by gambadier » 26 Jan 2015 07:03

You also have to consider the troops. The six Brit infantry bns that had been in the Far East for several years were first rate, if it had been possible to use them together in the right place at the right time the campaign might have had a different outcome, but this was obviously not possible. However, the Indian Army troops were mostly if not all newly formed units that still had a long way to go training wise. The Indian States units were not amongst the chosen by any stretch of imagination.

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