GreenFebruary 10 2018 at 2:05 AM
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Response to Lanchester 6x4 armoured car and Vickers LMG(?) in Malaya
The Carrier Platoon, which was 4 Platoon of The 4th Battalion of The Suffolk Regiment, who engaged The 9th Brigade of The 5th Imperial Japanese Infantry Division on the Swiss Hill (Hill No. 7815) late on the afternoon of Wednesday 11 February 1942, arrived at the base of the Swiss Hill with The Advanced Battalion HQ of The 4th Suffolks. Here they found three Indian Light Tanks, one out of order, engaging the advancing Japanese troops. The Suffolks dismounted from their "Bren Gun" Carriers and advanced on foot up the hill. There they encountered a large Japanese force. The Suffolks suffered casualties, and withdrew back down the hill to their carriers. Both the carriers and the two Light Tanks spent the night in the Racecourse area as part of the Malaya Command perimeter to the immediate east of the trunk road.
When The 4th Battalion of The Suffolk Regiment arrived at Singapore on 29 January 1942, their Carrier Platoon had no Bren Gun (Universal ) Carriers, them being lost at sea in a U-Boat attack in the North Atlantic.
With the fast transports of Convoy BM11 racing for Singapore, U.S.S. Wakefield AP-21, which carried The 54th Brigade arrived first. Upon arrival in Singapore on the morning of Thursday 29 January 1942, with Japanese medium bombers attacking the harbour, The 4th Suffolks disembarked from U.S.S. Wakefield AP-21 quickly, and were taken by Australian A.S.C. drivers to D2 Camp at 10 1/2 milestones south of Tampines Road, where they were housed in tents.
The rifle companies occupied the northern coast, but the Carrier Platoon remained with Battalion H.Q. at D2.
On 31 January 1942, on Singapore they were issued with 5 Bren Gun Carriers, each armed with a single Bren LMG. The vehicles were obtained from Central Park in YCK Vehicle Park.
This is confirmed by War Office File: WO 172/90, The War Diary of The 4th Battalion of The Suffolk Regiment, Malaya January-February 1942: Pages 15 and 28 plus first hand accounts.
I have been advised by former members of The 4th Suffolks (one, specifically a driver/mechanic of a Universal Carrier)that the Suffolks asked for more Bren Gun Carriers, as they could see more in the vehicle park but were only issued the five. I have also received the comment that these other Bren Gun Carriers might still have been at the vehicle park when Singapore surrendered.
The Carrier Platoon of The 4th Suffolks were also issued with 5 un-armoured 15 cwt trucks. The Bren Gun Carriers were then painted green and were fitted with a chicken wire cover "covered wagon style" to prevent the Japanese dropping grenades into the Bren Gun Carriers from trees. This wire structure they have referred to as a chicken coup.
10 February 1942, The Carrier Platoon moved to Pasir Ris village.
The Light Tanks who arrived on Singapore in Convoys BM-10 and BM-11, some were immediately sent to British Army workshops in Serangoon Road for maintenance, while the remainder of The 100th Independent Light Tank Squadron was initially employed on Singapore Island on aerodrome defence. On 4 February 1942, at R.A.F. Sembawang airfield, less a detachment at R.A.F. Seletar airfield.
The bloody battle for the cemetery next to Bukit Brown on Friday 13 February 1942, the last to the detachment of Light Tanks that went to Seletar, then the Swiss Hill and finally the cemetery next to Bukit Brown was a 3 man tank (Vickers Light Tank MK VI B Indian pattern), as the bodies of the three crew have been identified.
18th Reconnaissance Battalion received 30 Armoured Carriers 4 Wheel Indian Pattern MK II to replace equipment lost when H.M.T. Empress of Asia was lost on 5 February 1942.
Marmon Herrington armoured cars, Marks II and III - Nelson on Feb 11, 2018, 12:10 PM