My father was at Singapore just before it fell as a crewmember on either the MS Royal Tiger or Peisander. My records of which ship are confused. He was aboard Peisander in April 1942 when she was torpedoed in the Atlantic.
In any regard he was there at the time in question. He always said people blamed the fact that big harbour defence guns pointed to sea and not inland. He also said that this was not the real reason however. He said the real reason Singapore fell was that the Australians pulled their troops out of prepared defensive positions north of Singapore and shipped their troops back to Australia for the defence of their homeland, abandoning British and Indian troops. My father's ship was one of those which evacuated Australian troops from Singapore. He always felt that the British were betrayed and abandoned by the Australians.
I always think the views of those who were there are most telling.
I am curious to know which Australian troops were pulled out of Malayan defensive positions and sent back to Australia.
The 6th, 7th and 9th Divisions that had been fighting in North Africa and the Middle East
were eventually withdrawn to Australia at the request of the Australian Government.
Churchill wanted to divert some of these troops to Malaya but this was rejected by the Australian government and the convoy turned and headed for Australia en route - perhaps this is what your father referred to.
But they never actually reached Malaya.
The bulk of the 8th Division were originally to go to the Middle East but were diverted to Malaya early in 1941 where they were captured at the fall of Singapore.
Gordon Bennett and some odds and sods of his headquarters company escaped after the decision to surrender had been made - but that's another story.