Service with other Units
SUNGEI GEMENCHEH AMBUSH
GEMAS AREA - MALAYA
14 JANUARY 1942
`B' COY 2/30 BN AIF
Captain D.J. Duffy OC `B' Coy (Later Lt. Col. D.J. Duffy MC, ED)
Editing and Abbreviations
Part 1 - preliminary recce
Part 2 - setting up the Ambush
Part 3 - telephone wires
Part 4 - British stragglers
Part 5 - the morning of the Ambush
Part 6 - first Japanese cyclists appear
Part 7 - the bridge is blown
Part 8 - the Ambush
Part 9 - "B" Company withdraws
Part 10 - L/Sgt Nagle is killed
Part 11 - "B" Company seperated
Part 12 - a night in the jungle
Part 13 - encounter with a water buffalo
Part 14 - Chinese guides
Part 15 - approaching the Battalion position
Part 16 - Gemas golf links
Part 17 - back with the Battalion
Appendix 1 - Map
Appendix 2 - List of personnel in Duffy
Appendix 3 - Casualty List
is a transcript of the report written by Captain D J Duffy,
Officer Commanding `B' Company 2/30 Battalion AIF of the ambush
by that Company of forward elements of the advancing Japanese
Mukaide Force at the bridge over the Sungei Gemencheh on the
Tampin-Gemas Road on 14 January 1942.
Captain Duffy has recorded an
important event in Australia's history. The action at Sungei
Gemencheh was the incisive opening to the battle of Gemas which
was the first time Australian and Japanese forces had met in
battle. The Japanese received the worst of the encounter with an
estimated eight hundred killed at the ambush compared with one
member of `B' Company and five men murdered by the Japanese
after the ambush while in captivity. On the following day, the
Japanese lost a further two hundred killed on the battalion
front compared with the loss of only sixteen members of the
Given the nature of the fighting and
the results achieved, the casualties suffered by `B' Company on
14/1/1942 were remarkably light. From records available it seems
that the Company suffered nine or ten wounded but only one case
was so serious as to warrant repatriation to Australia. In
contrast, twelve men were repatriated through 10 and 12 AGH on
10/2/1942 as a result of wounds suffered during the Battalion
action on 15/1/1942. This highlights the superb planning of the
The transcript has been made by hand
copying and tape recorder from the original document held at the
Australian War Memorial, Canberra. Unfortunately, due to the
fragile nature of the original documents, it is not permitted to
take photocopies, which would have been of more interest to
readers. However, permission was obtained to photocopy a sketch
plan, drawn by Captain Duffy, showing `B' Company's positions at
the ambush. Although of poor quality, the photocopy does give a
reasonable representation of the map as well as the last page of
the report signed by Captain Duffy.
Captain Duffy wrote the report on 8
April 1942 while events were still fresh in his mind. It is
contained in a small notebook similar to a school exercise book,
which, according to its cover, was "Supplied for Use in Military
Schools by His Majesty's Stationery Office".
It is evident that Captain Duffy's
narrative was prepared for inclusion with the official records
compiled in Changi during the prisoner-of-war years
by the 2/30 Battalion
Intelligence Section. This work was referred to in the authors'
Preface to the unit history Galleghan's Greyhounds. The
following extract describes the mammoth task undertaken by the
dedicated soldiers involved, the procurement of the stationery
required and the measures taken to conceal the notes and
documents from the enemy.
"As a result of Divisional
orders, our Adjutant, Captain F S B Peach, gave the
Battalion Intelligence Section the task of re-writing the
War Diary, which had been buried at the Sultan of Johore's
Tyersall Palace. All other records had been destroyed.....
In our search for information,
officers and men were rostered for daily exploitation and
all cooperated cheerfully. However, there were many times
when the task was interrupted by working party requirements
or when sickness or duties intervened. Paper, too, was a
problem but this was overcome by a single visit to the Naval
Station at Loyang (near Changi), where supplies were found,
to be later supplemented from the official files at Changi
Gaol. "Copy" and diaries had to be buried frequently and it
was Captain Peach who ultimately solved the "treasure"
problem by salvaging cordite containers from the wrecked
fifteen-inch gun pits near Selarang, to bury large
quantities of camp records, including our own work."
Readers will notice that parts of
the Duffy report have been paraphrased in the unit history and
referred to in Lionel Wigmore's The Japanese Thrust
(Australian War Memorial) but the full account may never have
been available for general reading. The Duffy Report must be the
definitive work on the ambush. As the leader of the operation,
Captain Duffy gives a stirring first-hand account of the
planning and execution of the ambush. He is clear and precise as
to the Company's dispositions and describes in detail the fire
plan for the ambush, including the location of his key weapons.
The report deserves to be available in its unabridged form for
the interest of former members of the Battalion and their
families. It may serve to remind participants of events which
may have receeded in memory with the passing of the years and
may generate some discussion as to the finer points of the
ambush. It can be read with pride by all members of the 30th
Battalion who fought in the battle of Gemas.
A. S. Ford
transcription generally preserves the spelling, grammar and
punctuation of the original including the very long sentences
and paragraphs. However some corrections have been made to the
spelling of place names and the names of personnel and
abbreviations for military rank, units and formations have been
standardised for the benefit of readers according to general
military useage. The abbreviations are:
Commanding Officer (Battalion)
Division (8th Division)
Forward Observation Officer
General Officer Commanding
Royal Australian Artillery
Royal Australian Engineers
Signaller or signals
Warrant Officer Second-Class
2/30th Bn A.I.F. MALAYA 8 April 42
Gemas Ambush Sungei Gemencheh
Part 1 -
recce was first carried out by myself and Coy `I' man on Monday
12 Jan 42 after receiving orders from the CO at approximately
1000. I then met the CO at the bridge over Sungei Gemencheh at
1100 and walked back along the road for about 500 yards in the
direction of GEMAS and discussed the plan in outline in relation
to the terrain.
During that afternoon I returned to
the area with my 2IC and orderlies and Pte Campbell of the Bn
`I' Section and made a detailed recce and returned to the Bn
position forward of GEMAS just on last light.
Immediately after breakfast next
morning Tuesday 13 January 1942 I went forward again on recce
and was this time accompanied by my 2IC Capt P.D. Kearney and Pl
commanders Lt F.A. Jones (OC 11 PI), Lt H. Head (OC 12 PI) and
Lt N.B. Geikie (OC 10 PI) and orderlies. The whole of the Pl
Sgts and section leaders were then brought forward for the final
recce and after all positions and orders were explained in
relation to the ground the whole recce group returned to the
main Bn position at 1400. The remainder of the afternoon was
spent in administrative arrangements and then at 1600 the issue
of final orders.
At 1700 the Coy commenced to move
forward on foot a section at a time with intervals of 10 (ten)
minutes so that any native seeing them would take them as recce
patrols and would not attach much importance to the movement.
The last of the sections took up their positions just at last
light and posted sentries the remainder endeavoured to get some
sleep. The weather was uncomfortable but favoured an unobtrusive
occupation of the position as it had been raining quite heavily
and continued to rain throughout the night. Another factor which
helped was the heavy military traffic on the road from late
afternoon until midnight.
I in company with my 2IC checked
platoon positions and spoke to each platoon commander in turn
and then returned to my Coy HQ position which was forward about
60 yards from the bridge prepared for demolition, by the side of
the road on top of a small cutting on the SSW side
see attached sketch of Coy dispositions.
I had divided
my Coy HQ Group into two parties one forward with me and the
other one at the rear of the ambush position as a "holding
force" on the NNE side of the road. This latter group was under
the control of the Coy Sgt Maj. consisting of approximately
section strength and the function of this group together with a
parallel group on the other side of the road commanded by Sgt
D.Garner (Pl Sgt 11 Pl) was to hold the rear of the ambush line
if the first enemy cyclists party who were to be allowed to go
through unmolested to be dealt with by `C' Coy and the Anti-tank
Rgt section with them, doubled back along the road after we had
commenced to deal with the enemy who were within our ambush
Sgt Garner's section group was equipped with a grenade
discharger cup and grenades anti-tank to assist with dealing
with any troop-carrying transport (excluding tanks) should the
enemy be using this method of transport in their advance.
At my forward
HQ were myself, 2IC, FOO (Arty) Lt D. Makepeace, 2/15th Field
Rgt RAA, and Arty Sigs, Eng demolition party, Coy Sigs and two
batmen who were to be used as orderlies and for sentry duties as
well as for thickening up the fire in this section of the
A word of
explanation here as to the other positions which the
accompanying sketch shows may not be out of place. In the most
northern section facing the road on the same side as my own HQ
and in line with me was a section of No 12 Pl commanded by Cpl
Ambrose and No 8 Section then in their rear and between them and
myself Lt Head's HQ. On the other side of the road and
diagonally opposite was another section of 12 Pl, No 7 commanded
by L/Sgt McLean. The main purpose of these sections apart from
covering their sections of road to deal with the sector of road,
river flat (which was all cleared land) on the far side (TAMPIN)
and also cover the stretch of SUNGEI GEMENCHEH adjacent to the
bridge and to deal with any enemy who might try to move around
the flanks during the ambush operations.
A Bren with
each section was detailed to especially deal with the enemy on
the far side while the Tommy gunners and riflemen dealt with the
road on this side of the bridge with their weapons and hand
grenades. On the left of No 9 (Cpl Holden) Section (facing the
road) was a section of low-level grenade throwers hidden in the
"lalang" and jungle and were below road level as the road on
leaving the small cutting was built up above the level of the
country on each side which was a swampy gully. Then moving to
the other side of the road still in the swamp area was No 1 (Cpl
Noble's) Section (10 Pl) who also had the same job as the
low-level bombers on the adjoining section of the road.
The swamp then
gave way to another cutting with the ground very much higher on
that side (SOUTHERN). Also at this point the road took a gradual
bend and it was at this point that Lt Geikie had his Pl HQ
located with his remaining two sections on either side of him on
the commanding ground. No 2 Section commanded by Cpl Stoner R.
was on his left TAMPIN side and No 3 Section commanded by Cpl
Purvis J.P. on his right (GEMAS) side. These sections were so
disposed that there was no blind spot on the bend. Then the next
position was occupied by a section of 11 Pl's No 4 Section
commanded by Cpl Paget also with a position on the high ground
which was now sloping to another swamp.
Then came Lt
Jones' HQ which was linked up to mine by phone on an omnibus
circuit. The other two sections numbered 5 and 6 commanded
respectively by Cpl Huntley and Cpl Swindail were in position on
the same side of the road and extended to where QUARRY ROAD
junctioned with the main road. Then immediately beyond them was
a detachment of No 11 Pl under Sgt Garner already described and
on the opposite side of the road the rear Coy HQ Group under the
CSM WO2 V.M.I. GORDON.
One item which
caused some concern was the omission to issue extra rations
owing to the fact that my 2IC had been forward at TAMPIN during
the morning of 13 Jan 42 and had not returned until about 1500
and in the hustle getting extra ammunition issued and other
administrative arrangements this had been overlooked until I
noticed what I thought was still a rather large number of cases
of rations still in the Coy base position at the 61MP as I was
leaving to go forward after having seen the last section of the
last Pl leave for the ambush position in the vicinity of 57 1/3
MP. I enquired and was told that they were probably the Coy's
share of the week's rations which were to be buried at this
position. I was still not convinced and as soon as I arrived at
the ambush position I called a conference of Pl commanders and
checked this over along with the occupation of their positions
and to my dismay found out that what I had suspected was correct
as the men only had iron rations with them.
phoned the Bn 2IC Maj. G.E.Ramsay ED to see whether the rations
in question could be sent forward to the position by truck but
unfortunately no trucks were available but it was arranged that
if my 2IC Capt. Kearney went back he would possibly be able to
drive the civilian car which had been acquired by the Bn IO and
so bring the rations down in it. This was carried out and the
rations were distributed in section lots about 2200 that night.
This then gave each man four (4) days rations.
One other thing
which caused me no little concern was the very conspicuous
laying of the telephone wires along the road to my forward
position. Half way forward to my position I encountered the
artillery Sig. truck laying the line and complained of this
defect and they explained that it had only been decided at the
last minute to lay a separate artillery line as well as our own
Bn line and owing to the state of the soil at the edge of the
road and owing to the fact that it was nearly dark they could
not drive the vehicle as close to the edge of the road as they
would like but the NCO in charge assured me that he would send a
party along on foot to camouflage the line after it had been
The Bn line was
also not satisfactory as use had been made of the existing
civilian lines and as they were on the opposite side of the road
to my HQ it resulted in a very obvious overhead line diagonally
across the road and would certainly have betrayed our presence
to the most casual observer enemy or otherwise so I
immediately phoned Bn HQ and asked that this matter be rectified
and early next morning the SIG. SGT and a party made a new line
on my own side of the road and I and a couple of my HQ staff
personally attended to the camouflaging of the telephone cables
in the vicinity of Coy HQ.
In spite of all
these precautions however I am afraid that our lines (both Bn
and Arty) were not sufficiently concealed further back up the
road because as will be related later both of our lines were
spotted and cut by enemy advanced cyclists more or less as we
went into action.
night of 13 Jan 42 which was one of the most wretched and
uncomfortable there were several incidents which I will mention
at this point. First I encountered an English captain from
Malaya Command with a W02 who was a New Zealander I think but
was not a member of the AIF near a native hut right on the road
opposite 11 Pl HQ.
They were in a
car driven by a Malay soldier and had pulled up there and after
checking one another's identification he asked me the
whereabouts of a certain river which he didn't know the name of
but which he thought should be somewhere in the vicinity he
further enquired if I had a map of the area. What brought my
attention to them in the first place was the fact that they were
heading for TAMPIN while all other military traffic was coming
the opposite way. I then asked him how far he would be going on
and how long before he expected to be back as the British forces
were all withdrawing. He then asked me how long I thought it
would be before all of our forces had withdrawn and whether he
would be able to get back by car as he understood quite a number
of the bridges forward had been prepared for demolition.
I advised him
that he should be back by no later than 2300 although I did not
disclose my Coy's task but learned from him that he was on a
special job which had something to do with a river in the
vicinity probably the SUNGEI GEMENCHEH. I advised him to report
into Bn HQ on his return, then hinted that his own mission might
possibly conflict with my own and that he had better check this
when he arrived back at Command HQ where he was returning later
that night as I pointed out that this whole area was now under
command GOC WESTFORCE. I then returned to my HQ and their car
drove on and just went over the SUNGEI GEMENCHEH bridge and
after a short while returned and headed back for GEMAS.
In the meantime
I advised Bn of the above and to expect this officer to report
into them later. Bn then advised me that the last vehicles of
the rearguard would report through to me possibly later than
arranged and gave the name of a Lt Col. Parkin (CO of the
rearguard unit) he would contact me at the bridge.
time the traffic on the road had been particularly heavy and it
had been raining consistently all the time and there had been
quite a number of minor accidents with vehicles running into one
another and the whole show of withdrawing British and Indian
transport was an example of very bad road discipline and many
vehicles driving with full headlights on because of the very bad
At about 2300
or possibly later another party arrived by car from GEMAS
direction and a staff officer from 8 DIV spoke to me and told me
I could expect quite a lot of British stragglers even after the
last unit (Rearguard) reported through. I then had a hurried
conference with all Pl Commanders and appraised them of these
later facts and then returned to my forward HQ.
At about 0200
the CO of the rearguard unit contacted me and told me that when
the last of his vehicles passed that there would be no more
friendly vehicles except for possibly one or two possible
this two or it might have been three DRs with lights full on
dashed past going in direction of TAMPIN and a couple of hours
later returned. This was the only traffic in the meantime.
I did not
expect the enemy until daylight as the last information I had
from the CO Rearguard that they had had no contact for two (2)
days. Bn next phoned up with information that about forty (40)
vehicles under a British captain had been cut off but that it
was probable they could come through at about 0700.
dragged on and I shared periods of restless dozing with my 2IC
although I must confess that I hardly remember closing my eyes
what with being wet through and lying in a complete mess of
squashy mud notwithstanding a groundsheet underneath me and
keeping my ears cocked for any sounds of traffic on the road. To
add to our miseries it rained almost continuously throughout the
throughout the night both my own Sigs and those of the Arty kept
checking through to their respective exchanges to see that we
were still in communication. Also the Eng. Demolition Party
checked their circuit and battery strength about every 15
minutes to make sure of no slips when the moment should arrive
for blowing the bridge.
as a welcome break although the day dawned grey and bleak and
our first visitor was the Bn Sig. Sgt and a linesman and they
adjusted our LT satisfactorily. Both our own line and that of
the Arty were very weak and Sgt Hall replaced the batteries in
our set but the line was very little improved owing I think to
the dampness which seemed to dominate everything.
I sent my
batman off to drive the IO's car back to Bn HQ which he did and
returned to my HQ.
At about 1700
the CO Lt Col. Galleghan DSO ED accompanied by the Adj. Capt.
F.S.B. Peach paid us an inspection visit and the CO expressed
himself satisfied with the general arrangements wished me good
luck and returned to his HQ.
breakfast of Bully, MV and biscuits, double sentries were posted
and as many as could decided to get some rest as we had no idea
how long we would have to wait in our present positions but all
of us hoped we would not have to put in a night like the one
About 1000 the
British vehicles which had been cut off came through under the
command I believe of a Capt. Carter so now we felt pretty sure
that the next traffic on the road would probably be our friends
eventful happened that morning except that enemy recce fighter
and bomber planes passed overhead bound for GEMAS and beyond and
occasionally a native walked or rode on a bike and was ignored
by our troops who were all out of sight but covering the road,
so that those passing by never suspected a thing. I spent about
half an hour camouflaging further a break in the bushes
immediately in front of where I was lying.
It was essential I should be able
to see the bridge and the road on either side of it for the
successful timing of my plan and the spot that I had chosen was
right on the edge of the cutting right on the road's edge so I
thickened up the break in the bushes by planting some further
small bushy trees to fill the gap. This then gave me a
commanding view of the road where it disappeared around the bend
about 250 yards on the TAMPIN side of the bridge as well as
commanding the road for 200 yards on the GEMAS side. Thus I was
able to be seen without being seen and also I draped quite a lot
of greenery from the camouflage net on my steel helmet to guard
against the light colour of my face betraying my presence to an
Once during the morning we held
our breath when a native approached the bridge from direction of
TAMPIN and after a quick look at it he walked back to the houses
located just on the bend of the road - apparently he suspected
nothing and it was just a "stickybeak" who had seen the
engineers working in the vicinity of the road.
At this stage I would like to
commend the very excellent job which Lt Watchhorn and his
engineers (2/12 Field Coy) did in the preparation of the bridge
and the trouble that he took to conceal the traces of their work
although they were working under very great difficulties of time
weather and traffic which had been heavy and continuous. The
demolition party which he left with me remained very keen and
conscientious and when the bridge did go up there was no mistake
After another "tinned" lunch I
decided to take the opportunity of writing a letter to my wife
while the going was good and while engaged in that about 1540 a
lone recce plane flew over along the road and soon after
returned and headed back TAMPIN direction and I sensed something
and put my letter away and at about 1600 I saw four or five
cyclists appear around the bend of the road on the far side of
the bridge and it was quite apparent that they were the enemy
I recognised them by the short peaked high domed cap and their
rifles slung across their backs diagonally.
Almost as soon as I saw them I
received a report from Pte T. Evans (12 Pl) just on my left
about 40 yards confirming it. These cyclists were just pedalling
along together, quite easily and quite cheerfully as though the
did not have a care in the world and were just taking a short
afternoon trip for recreation. About 150 yards or less behind
them around the bend came a tight compact column of cyclists
four and five abreast dressed in a mixture of styles some men
having whitish and coloured shirts on, some in caps, some in
helmets but in the main they were in khaki drill (shirt,
knickers tucked in puttees). They were all jabbering away
laughing and joking and singing.
The first small party crossed the
bridge without halting to make any examination of it and went
swishing (noise of the bikes) past where I was lying right on
the edge of the road. As they passed I took advantage to speak
on the phone and advise Bn of the fact. I was having trouble
with the phone as the strength was very weak and as I was right
on the edge of the road I could speak only very very softly into
it and I was having difficulty in hearing Bn and they in turn
While I was
talking to Bn the head of the first of the big group of cyclists
crossed the bridge and commenced to pass my position.
Immediately following on them came another group of 100 or so
and as I was watching this procession pass several of them
appeared to look right up into my eyes but apparently it was
only my imagination that they had seen me.
I passed on the
information to Bn but had doubts as to whether they heard this
second message but couldn't risk repeating it and being
overheard by the troops on the road as things had now reached a
critical state and one small slip could ruin the plan.
I was still
hoping that round the bend would come troops crowded together in
trucks in heavy road density but to my horror cyclists continued
but I could definitely hear the sound of internal combustion
engines and thought that would be the end of the cyclists. This
noise proved to be only three motor cycles with their noisy
exhausts riding along in the column of cyclists.
I now decided I
would let them and the now completely solid and unbroken line of
cyclists get within the ambush area so that we could get a
really good bag. I had the engineers standing by to blow the
bridge at the most advantageous moment when it was fully covered
with enemy cyclists.
To review the
position at this moment we find the situation as follows. About
250 cyclists were forward of our ambush position that is between
the Coy and GEMAS rather more than I hoped for if this force
doubled back (which they did). It would mean a sticky situation
for the Coy to have to tackle after it had adequately dealt with
the enemy troops in the actual ambush confines. In the actual
depth of road covered by the ambush positions front to rear
there would be about 500 troops and on the far side of the
bridge to where the road disappeared around the bend in the
direction of TAMPIN would be between 400 and 450 all tightly
packed together five and six abreast.
This then was
the situation when I gave the order to blow up the bridge and
this went up at about 1620 with a terrific roar and Japanese
bodies bikes and timbers and rocks and earth flew far and wide
in a huge red flash leaving a gaping space where the bridge had
been. As this was the signal in the event of the enemy being on
bikes or on foot all hell immediately broke loose as the whole
Coy as one man engaged the thoroughly surprised and terrified
enemy troops on the road.
along the whole road with a terrific din. Tommy guns cracked
Brens ran hot and rifles worked overtime not one of our troops
had broken cover as we dealt with them and I must here pay
tribute to their steadfastness and perfect discipline as there
had not been one single slip and the whole show moved like
clockwork just as though it was a well-rehearsed demonstration
exercise with harmless fireworks and peace-time training stores.
stage a grenade burst right in the centre of our HQ between the
FOO and myself and luckily only inflicting slight wounds on the
FOO Lt D. Makepeace on his mouth and front teeth.
I said to him
"Call the artillery down on this mob on the far side of the
bridge!". He replied "I think they're firing already." I replied
that I didn't think so as I couldn't see where they were
bursting. I then told Pte E. Vickerman (Bn Sigs) to raise Bn HQ
but after trying he reported that the line appeared to be dead
and he couldn't raise them. I spoke then to the Arty Sig. and he
gave me a similar answer.
I then presumed
that the lines had been cut behind us by the forward enemy
cyclists as they could hardly fail to see them owing to the bad
camouflage this was subsequently confirmed when a Sig. wiring
party under Sgt Hall (Sig. Sgt) was sent forward by Bn to
endeavour to get into communication again and found the lines
cut and enemy machine-gunners guarding the break. It is also
possible that our grenades may have cut the lines too.
one-sided fight went on for about fifteen to twenty minutes and
by this time all the opposition in the vicinity of the bridge,
12 Pl and forward Coy HQ had been wiped out with the exception
of one or two strays who had managed to escape into the jungle
through us. The sight on the far side of the blown bridge right
back to where the road disappeared about 250 yards bore
ample testimony to the deadliness of our Bren-gun fire of the
two Brens of 12 Pl told off for this purpose of dealing with the
enemy in this area.
Bren-gunners were Pte R. Donald and Pte B. Holland. Their deadly
fire combined with the explosion and concussion of the bridge
and later further rifle and Tommy-gun fire must have accounted
for between 350 and 400 of the enemy as the whole of the roadway
was completely covered with fallen enemy and their bikes the
road was literally a complete stretch of dead and wounded enemy
as there was not a move out of the whole stretch and I doubt if
it would have been possible to have walked over this bit of road
unless the walker walked on bodies.
The stretch of
road was a perfect enfilade target and it was built up about six
feet above the completely bare flat on each side which gave no
cover at all to the enemy and they had been caught like rats in
a trap with their bicycles all jammed together in a hopeless
confused mass as the bridge went up. This spot was where the
greatest number of dead dying and wounded were, although there
were also very thick patches in the actual ambush sector, they
didn't present quite the same continuity as regards density.
twenty minutes action I ordered No 12 Pl to withdraw according
to plan. They were to move up the main road where they were to
contact No 10 Pl and move through the jungle and swamp off the
road between 10 Pl and 11 Pl to the Coy rendezvous area in the
jungle just above and beyond where QUARRY ROAD joined the main
road and where I would check the Coy in and re-organise.
12 Pl then
moved off and as soon as they were clear I led the forward Coy
HQ group through the jungle across the swamp just off the road
and parallel with it until I came to 10 Pl HQ where I spoke to
Lt Geikie and told him as soon as 12 Pl were all through he was
to follow my group and withdraw through the rear of 11 Pl.
At that moment
Sgt Doolan (10 Pl) arrived with another man supporting Lt Head
between them from quick observation it appeared he had been
wounded badly in the legs and at the time I thought he had been
vitally wounded as he was a ghastly colour and was only half
conscious. I learned that he and a couple of men had run into a
small group of enemy on the side of the road and that he had
suffered his wounds as a result.
was still going on in the direction of 11 Pl sector and it was
now apparent that the early cyclists had doubled back and were
trying to encircle us around the flanks, so I had to break off
from Head and Geikie after wishing the former well and asking
Sgt Doolan to do all he could to get him back.
I then moved on
after 12 Pl and contacted Lt Jones on just further, where I
halted 12 Pl and Coy HQ and spoke to Jones and told him to watch
the rear. I then told Jones that 12 Pl were with me and that 10
Pl was following on as soon as we were through he was to follow
on and act as the rearguard particularly watching the rear and
flanks as he moved.
He told me that
the enemy were apparently pushing the two holding parties - W02
Gordon on the far side of the road and Sgt Garner on this side,
so it became quite obvious that I could not use the area that I
selected for the Coy rendezvous as this was just in the jungle
behind Sgt Garner's position so I told Jones that I would lead
the Coy up QUARRY ROAD a bit wide towards the railway line and
when I found a suitable spot not under any danger from enemy
fire I would re-organise there.
I then checked
with him to see whether the two stretcher bearers who (armed
with rifles and grenades) I had told off to cover a track up
from the jungle up from the SUNGEI GEMENCHEH on the opposite
side of the road to 11 Pl's position had reported in. This track
led down from a native house right on the edge of the road
opposite 11 Pl's position to the river about 120 yards distant
as the river had swung level here so that it was running
parallel with the road and was a likely spot for the enemy to
have worked around if they had tried to outflank us from the far
side of the bridge.
He pointed the
two men in question out to me Ptes Drayton and Dale and said
they had a tough time getting out as a small party had rushed in
behind the native hut as soon as the ambush had started and so
cut these two men off. With assistance they were relieved mainly
by Cpl Huntley's section who had been told to watch this
contingency. Drayton was wounded rather badly in the arm and
Dale had his legs peppered with shrapnel, but both could walk
I then moved to
the head of the Coy and gave the order to follow me in the order
Coy HQ 12 10 11 Pls. I led back from the road in the
direction of the railway line to a crossing place over a fairly
deep swamp and then came on to QUARRY ROAD where I was joined by
the CSM W02 Gordon and his party and Sgt Garner and his party.
I halted the
column passing word back to watch the flanks and rear while I
got the situation ahead of us from the CSM whom I learned had
great difficulty in extricating his party and he confirmed my
suspicions that the early detachments of cyclists whom we had
allowed to pass probably 200 had doubled back and those at the
rear whom Gordon could still see as they were riding along the
road towards GEMAS had jumped straight off their bikes and gone
into the jungle on either side of the road and commenced to work
back on to the flanks.
It was to
forestall this move that I had originally placed Garner and
Gordon in their positions. Gordon's party was at one stage
almost surrounded as the enemy worked back on them and they took
heavy toll on the enemy without losing a man. When the
withdrawal commenced Sgt Garner who was in a position on the
opposite side from Gordon gave them heavy covering fire while
they came back and then dashed across the road and came in left
and rear of Sgt Garner's party.
As Sgt Garner
could hear the enemy working around his rear he withdrew with
Gordon up QUARRY ROAD to a position where he would be able to
intercept the Pls and myself withdrawing and advise me
accordingly. I told them to attach themselves in single file
with my Coy HQ group and pass word back through the column that
we were going to move to follow me.
At this stage
as far as hasty enquiries could ascertain we had not lost a man
although we had about eight or nine wounded - only one or
possibly two who would have to be carried. These figures were
later proved to be correct as about twenty minutes later we had
our first death L/Sgt Nagle A.G. ('B' Coy P & O Cpl) who had
been with the CSM's party.
I then led the
Coy column up the jungle in single file just off the edge of
QUARRY ROAD heading towards the railway line for about 300 to
400 yards and led them quickly over the road and into the jungle
on the far side.
Up to this
stage I knew I had the whole Coy following along behind me as I
halted on the far side of the road and could see the remainder
following on. I then moved a bit further into the jungle on a
southerly bearing on the compass and as I heard noise just ahead
of us I halted the column and sent a couple of scouts about 40
yards ahead and they reported they could hear Japanese talking
and moving about. I then decided to go around their flank and
proceeded to swing in a double right-wheel and passed this order
back along the column.
I think that it
must have been at this stage that the forward group which I was
leading consisting of Coy HQ both forward and rear, a section
from 11 Pl with Sgt Garner, L/Sgt McLean and a section from 12
Pl and some men from 10 Pl, the Arty detachment and the Eng.
detachment lost contact with the rest of the Coy in the fairly
heavy jungle. The orders passed back were apparently not
transmitted through the column which apparently broke where Sgt
Doolan had Lt Head and a couple of the wounded men with him as I
had the leading section of 12 Pl who were the Pl immediately
following my Coy HQ. Sgt Doolan as it transpired lost contact
with us by going straight on.
After going for
a short while he heard firing to his right flank and thought it
was the enemy who had run into some of our boys it was the
enemy in trees opened fire on my own group. He decided that he
would push straight on as he had the bulk of No 12 Pl with him
and thought that this was all not finding out until the
following morning when he debouched from the jungle into the
rubber that the rest of the Coy was following him except for the
party with me.
As Lt Head who
was wounded was with him and he was not in a fit state to assume
command as he was in considerable pain and had to be assisted,
Sgt Doolan took the active command of the party throughout the
whole of that night and proceeded to pass orders back
continuously and so efficiently that Lt Jones who was now the
senior officer in the column and Lt Geikie both of whom were at
the rear did not know that I was not in command until about 0700
15 January 42 when the 90 odd men who made up the main body of
the Coy debouched from the jungle. Until this moment neither Lt
Jones or Lt Geikie realised that any of the Coy were missing.
I did not
become aware that the rest of the Coy were not following me
until shortly after I had done the double right-wheel to
outflank the enemy movement we had heard just forward of us and
then shortly afterwards fairly heavy though very wild fire
opened both forward and on our right and this was the fire that
Sgt Doolan would have heard. I immediately suspected that we had
walked into an ambush and opened out the party which I noticed
to my dismay only amounted to about 30 odd and then for the
first time I realised that we had lost contact with the
remainder of the Coy, although I thought they must be very close
and thought some of the firing going on might even be theirs.
I disposed the
party in an oval formation all facing out so that we covered all
directions when we went to ground as the fire all seemed to be
going high although some of it was coming uncomfortably close
one shot eventually killing L/Sgt Nagle - the first man we had
lost shot through the head fired it is believed by one of the
enemy in a tree although I could not see him myself. Also at
this time another man near Nagle Pte Waterson S. was wounded
by a bullet behind his knee.
I ordered my
party not to fire unless they could actually see a target
because I realised from the wildness of the fire that they had
only heard us and had not seen us and were up to one of their
old tricks of firing wildly hoping that we would fire in return
and so give away our present position and strength.
Also as I have
mentioned earlier, now that I had realised that the rest of the
Coy had been separated from us there was always the danger that
we might be fighting some of our own Coy. Although the sound of
quite a bit of the fire seemed to have a different crack to
heard the enemy floundering and jumping around in the jungle and
could hear them calling out very loudly to one another and
thought it quite possible that they may have clashed with the
rest of the Coy.
As we could
only hear and not see the enemy, I decided that the best tactics
would be to try and avoid a clash in the jungle owing to the
fact that it would be dark in 35 to 40 minutes and that it was
practically impossible to maintain control and might also result
in friend fighting friend. I accordingly ordered the party to
lie "doggo" and keep a sharp lookout. During this period we
could hear the enemy chopping away as they were either clearing
a path or making a camp but at no stage did we actually see
While I waited
for last light I examined my map and had a conference with Capt.
Kearney the CSM and Sgt Garner and we decided after considering
the situation that our best plan would be to strike back to
QUARRY ROAD and proceed along it SOUTH to the railway line and
then along it to the Bn position.
It was quite
apparent that it would be too dark to push through the jungle in
the vicinity where it was very thick also we would make too much
noise in an area which was dominated by the enemy and further,
there was the danger of an unwitting encounter in the dark with
the remainder of our own Coy.
I was rather
worried about them but took some consolation from the fact that
all the Pl commanders were with that portion and they all had
excellent compasses specially issued by the Bn in case of this
contingency and that they all had maps and knew how to use them.
As they were a well-armed and strong party I felt sure that they
would be able to fight their way through any opposition and give
as much as they would take.
over my own party I found that we were practically a Pl as we
were 38 in strength and had 3 Bren guns 2 tommies and rifles and
grenades. Just as I was going to order the move about 15 minutes
before last light, Pte Hall came over and reported that L/Sgt
Nagle had been hit in the head during the firing and that he had
breathed his last about 10 minutes before.
I went over to
where he was laying face down and turned him over but it was
quite dim in the jungle and I was not sure it was him so I felt
in his pockets and found his paybook and verified the unhappy
fact, removed identity disks and took his rifle and ammunition
for my own use. I was rather profoundly affected by his death
the first in my Coy and I must pay this brief tribute to him
here a fine soldier and a splendid man in the orderly room I
would like to have had the opportunity to bury him.
The light was
going fast and I wanted to get out of the jungle before it was
completely dark so we moved off as quietly as we could through
the jungle on a compass bearing approximately SOUTH with the
object of striking QUARRY ROAD.
carefully for 10 minutes we came out on to a rough-made road and
halted under cover of the jungle edge while we sent out small
patrols both NORTH and SOUTH along this road as it was running
on those points. NORTH led to the main road's direction and
SOUTH to the railway.
In the meantime
with the aid of a shaded torch I examined the map in company
with Capt. Kearney CSM and Sgt Garner and endeavoured to
locate our present position as I did not think we were on QUARRY
ROAD which I had been over by truck during the earlier recce but
the map showed no trace of any other road in this sector and the
road we were on appeared to be running parallel to QUARRY ROAD.
We had some debate as to whether this was QUARRY ROAD or not
the others thought it was but I demurred but agreed that it
would possibly suit our purposes as long as it kept going SOUTH.
Just then our
patrols returned - the northern one reported that the enemy were
in that vicinity while the southern one reported all clear as
far as they had gone and reported that the road appeared to run
on for a fair way but that it was very muddy and clayey
confirming my opinion that it was not QUARRY ROAD as this latter
road had quite a good granite surface.
We then moved
SOUTH along this road with a small patrol forward about 50 yards
then the remainder in single file parallel each side of the road
with a patrol following up central in the road 25 yards in the
rear as it was now quite dark. Our progress was very slow as we
had about 5 wounded men with us mainly leg wounds.
continued to run SOUTH and I was not sure that it was not QUARRY
ROAD but probably a timber-getters' track running off it at
approximately parallel to it. The surface was muddy it was
corduroy in sections and it had small open-cut gutters across it
in low-lying sections for drainage.
during our trip along this road stand out. First the forward
patrol reported after we had gone Ύ mile that this road ended at
a small stock pen about 60 yards ahead. I went forward
cautiously with a section as I thought that there might be a
house in the vicinity and saw that what the patrol reported
appeared to be true but that the yard contained a water buffalo
but there was no evidence of any habitation about and it struck
me as rather odd that the road should peter out in this fashion
and on closer investigation it was proved that this pen was a
clever piece of camouflage as the road ran on immediately behind
the pen which had been built right across the road meeting the
jungle on both sides where it was rather swampy.
Behind the yard
newly-broken bushes had been arranged to simulate a jungle
background and completely concealed the fact that there was a
road there. Then followed a ticklish problem of how to get the
party through the little pen past the water buffalo as this was
the only means of continuing on our journey.
decided that we would edge along the second rail of the fence
ready to jump to the top one if the buffalo made a rush at us as
we couldn't risk a shot unless pushed as we didn't want to give
our presence away.
was rather funny as the buffalo snorted and stamped and put the
wind up everyone and after very torturous progress we got
everyone past and then discovered to everyone's amusement that
the damned buffalo was tethered and that it, poor beast, was
probably more afraid than we were.
From now on we
kept an officer Lt Makepeace and Sgt McLean right at the rear
and frequently checked to make sure that the party was not
separated at any stage having learned a lesson from our
earlier experience in the jungle. Also we were better able to
suit our pace to the wounded and made sure they were not left
continued on still generally SOUTH and after going another ½ to
Ύ mile our patrol forward reported that they could see a light
and I sent an increased patrol of about 10 men under Sgt Garner
to investigate they returned in about 20 minutes and reported
that there was a large native hut dimly lighted and that there
was movement inside but they could not distinguish whether it
was enemy or not.
I decided that
the whole party would surround it and if necessary rush it in
silence with the bayonet. We advanced towards it and for the
second time that night suffered an anti-climax as all that we
found inside was about 10 or 12 terrified Chinese who started to
run around in circles as they could not get out.
difficulty we pacified them and I discovered that none of them
spoke English and different ones in turn in our party tried the
little Malay we knew, sign language and
Pigeon English. I think the second was most successful as we
made movements like a train and asked about GEMAS and found
eventually that two of them offered to guide us to the railway
line as they indicated that the road did not lead all the way
and that we would have to cut through jungle.
It was then about 2215 by my
watch so we set off and soon left the road and moved along a
narrow very rough and treacherous track in single file in pitch
black and soon we were in very thick jungle and allowed the
guides to use their torch as the going was treacherous -
particularly on the leg wounds.
Frequently our guides
stopped for a moment as lateral and side tracks ran off, but
more frequently we had to forcibly hold them back as even our
slowest pace was too fast for the centre and rear of the column.
Our progress was wretchedly slow and we scarcely advanced more
than 30 or 40 yards, sometimes less as we easily lost touch in
the dark. We tried various methods of control such as holding on
to one another's bayonet scabbards and putting the wounded right
forward, but none speeded up our rate of advance, particularly
the holding of bayonets as we needed both hands free to ward off
clinging and stinging thorny bushes etc.
Presently our guides halted
and consulted a compass mounted in the end of a pencil and after
some talk between themselves they commenced to cut a track
through the jungle with parangs and so our progress became
slower than ever. We checked frequently on our own compasses but
as we were not sure of our definite position we could not be
sure whether our guides were bushed or not.
After some hours of toiling
around in the jungle and climbing up and down hills through very
rough country we finally came to the conclusion that our guides
were bushed as we didn't seem to be getting anywhere and they
had frequently stopped to consult this compass of theirs. As
everyone was feeling just about all in it was now about 0330 I
decided to halt and rest until dawn and we lay down where we
stopped after posting sentries and were soon asleep from sheer
At first light we were
awakened and this time set out on our own course taking a
bearing of 180 degrees and still accompanied by our guides and
after about an hour and a quarter came out of the jungle about
0730 into young rubber. While we halted there I sent a patrol
forward to see if there were any enemy in the vicinity and while
they were away succeeded in fixing our position on the map.
Our guides then left us and
seemed very anxious to do so as we could hear some very distant
LMG fire! The patrol returned and reported all clear and we
moved forward to a large hill feature where I took up an
all-round defensive position and sent a small recce patrol
forward consisting of Sgt Garner L/Cpl Hann and Pte Noble with
instructions to endeavour to contact Bn HQ and ascertain which
was the best route for us to approach from so that there would
be no confusion or accidental shooting up of our own party by
being mistaken for the enemy. As it was about 0800 when the
patrol moved off, I didn't expect them back in less than 4 hours
so we settled down in our position to wait and almost
immediately heard very distant firing.
Part 15 -
approaching the Battalion position
The morning passed without
incident as far as we were
concerned but we could hear a great deal of firing and aerial
activity which increased as it wore on.
We waited until
1220 and as we had not heard from our patrol we decided that
either they had become casualties or had reached Bn and had not
been able to get back so I gave the order to move off well
deployed in the rubber keeping a sharp lookout all around and to
be ready for instant action.
We then moved
across until the railway line was just on our right and moved
along with it just on our right for the next 3 hours. As we
approached the Bn position it was quite evident from the firing
that the enemy were attacking in earnest and I expected to run
into them at any minute but for some strange reason they
entirely neglected the railway flank and the only enemy that we
saw were `planes which forced us to "freeze" in the shadows as
they flew over to bomb and machine-gun the Bn positions the
nearer that we approached to where the Bn was the slower and
more cautiously we felt our way and I frequently sent L/Cpl
Streatfeild my Coy I man forward and another man to report on
each succeeding ridge and also to guard against our party being
approached the Bn position where we had heard heavy fire from
there earlier it now appeared that there was only enemy fire and
on sending Streatfeild forward again he reported that there did
not appear to be any of our own troops there but that he could
certainly hear enemy.
While he was
forward several of my own party on the left flank contacted some
enemy artillery and water parties but as we were heavily
outnumbered withdrew to the right hastily and were not followed
up if seen.
I decided that
we would have to make a break for it and go right across the
railway line and go into the jungle on the far side as the
ground forward of us now was lalang and appeared to be dominated
by enemy fire. We dashed across the line and as it was very open
I was surprised that we were not fired on but the enemy were
apparently too intent on following up the Bn with mortar
artillery and machine-gun fire.
We then moved
in single file through the jungle just to the right of the
railway line and skirting the Bn position we checked again and
made sure that the Bn had withdrawn and I then assumed that they
had gone back to the cemetery position just forward of GEMAS.
We pushed on
through the jungle but found the going too heavy for the wounded
so I decided to take a chance and use the railway line for even
if the enemy saw us and fired on us we could quickly drop down
the embankment and take to the jungle and hold our own. Luck
remained with us for the only Jap that we saw was a dead one
where the road swings over to the railway line.
Just before the
level crossing where the road crosses the line we left the line
and took to the jungle once more as I felt that it would be best
to approach GEMAS carefully as it might not be in our hands.
After a brief
spell we pushed through more jungle and came out on to an
opening about half an hour before dark where the whole party
being very tired it was necessary to order another spell. We had
hardly settled down when we heard a shell whistle through the
air and land not far from us with a terrific crash this was
followed by another which did not explode until later. This
puzzled us for a moment as I didn't know how the enemy had got
onto our party so soon as we had only emerged from jungle a
As no more
shells came over I decided that they were two strays (actually
they were two registering shots of our own artillery barrage
which was to follow later that night).
As I didn't
want to spend another night in the jungle we started to move
along a track which we found led out onto the GEMAS golf links
and I had just started to move when the second shell went off
delayed action and frightening hell out of us we then approached
the golf clubhouse as it was just on dark and surrounding and
covering the place Capt. Kearney the CSM and I entered to see
whether there was any food there and found only half a tin of
condensed milk and a few bottles of soda and tonic water.
I hoped to now
push into the town that night if it was in our hands and if not
to push on to BATU ANAM which I felt quite sure that we would
hold. However it struck me as best that we have a complete rest
for about an hour on the lawn of the golf links which
unfortunately we could not identify on the map so that when we
tried to find our way off the golf links via the road at about
2115 it was too dark to distinguish anything clearly and a
patrol which I had sent off to check up on the road which I
proposed to follow came back and assured me that they heard
enemy voices and shortly afterwards we heard some enemy vehicles
on the road and the turned out to be artillery.
I then decided
to stay in the golf links for the night but to move across to
the far side where they met the jungle and as soon as it was
light enough next morning to strike off EAST through the jungle
for BATU ANAM.
We had barely
moved to our new position got sentries posted and lay down when
all hell broke loose all around us as our own artillery
commenced to shell GEMAS they started about 2230 and fired
throughout the night continuously. So close did shrapnel often
come that almost everyone in the party was hit at some time but
luckily it was spent and no one was injured. I did not like to
shift us although it was too uncomfortably close I was afraid
that we might do worse.
about an hour before light we heard one coming that seemed meant
for us and only waited for another one that almost seemed to
burst on top of us and then we all ran about 400 yards and lay
on the edge of the jungle there and as soon as it was light went
into the jungle and the moving on an EASTERLY bearing crossed a
couple of streams and halted near a rubber plantation where we
purchased biscuits from friendly Tamils and they gave us hot tea
and fresh coconuts, all of which we badly needed.
I think that
the night on the golf links was the worst night anybody had put
in their lives I can testify to the terrifying effect of our
artillery fire and so can all the other members of the party.
As we were
having breakfast we heard `planes approaching and could hardly
believe our eyes as they were ours five Brewster Buffaloes and
some Lockheed Hudsons. They swooped down near us and commenced
machine-gunning the road nearby and put us in great heart.
we pushed in open formation through the rubber all the way, and
were forced to make frequent stops as we were all very fatigued
and the route was very hilly.
about 1200 we heard a carrier or tank moving on our right flank
and I went to ground until the sound died away and then resumed
our advance until encountering a Tamil who spoke English. I
learnt that there were Australian soldiers resting on a hill
back behind us as we had apparently skirted their left flank.
Just then I
heard the noise of the carriers again and ordered everyone to
ground and with the CSM took to a creek near a culvert where I
could watch the road. Suddenly around the corner came two
carriers and to my intense delight they had our own 23 tactical
marking on them and in the leading one was Capt. Tompson OC
Carriers and in ten minutes I was back at Bn HQ after an absence
of over three days.
I reported to
the CO who was in conference with the Brigadier. In another half
hour's time the whole party who had been posted as missing were
having the feed of their lives hot stew thanks to the
generosity of Capt. Swartz OC `B' Coy 2/26 Bn as his Coy
forwent their hot meal when they learnt of our hunger.
I was very
pleased to learn that the rest of the Coy were back safely and
when the figures were finally posted we found that we had lost
one killed and about 10 wounded.
recently come to hand discloses that Pte Trevor (one of the six
believed missing) is now a POW in Kuala Lumpar, he was captured
near TAMPIN and also with him was Pte Sams who was wounded and
subsequently died of wounds at KL. These two men must have lost
their bearings after the rearguard fight (see Lt Jones'
narrative) and instead of proceeding back to our lines went
towards the enemy.
( Signed )
Capt. O.C. `B" Company
PERSONNEL IN DUFFY PARTY
DUFFY, Desmond Jack (Mum or Des), Capt. - O/C
NX70437 - KEARNEY, Peter Desmond (Black Prince or Des), Capt. -
NGX33 - GORDON, Victor Mervyn Ian (Speed or Vic), WO2 - CSM (w)
NX30214 - STREATFEILD, Raymond John (Ray), L/Cpl.
NX55044 - DOUGLAS, William James (Billy), Pte.
NX31754 - COWEN, George, Pte.
NX2715 - McWILLIAMS, Alexander George, Pte.
NX5658 - WEBSTER, James Wilson, Pte.
NX47951 - NAGLE, Athol Gervase, L/Sgt. (killed in jungle)
to Coy HQ
RAA - 2/15
NX70467 - MAKEPEACE, Desmond
RAE - 2/10
CASTLES, Peter, Sapper
RAE - 2/12
PICKER, Harry, Sapper
NX27275 - VICKERMAN, Walter Edward, Pte.
NX72575 - CONN, Edward John, Pte.
NX65486 - QUINTAL, Laurie Patterson, Pte.
NX25845 - BUCKINGHAM, Arthur George, Pte.
NX27234 - BENNETT, Joseph John, Pte.
NX27336 - MEADOWS, Arthur Samuel, Pte.
NX2174 - HALL, Walter Edward, Pte.
GARNER, Donald Francis, Sgt.
NX30253 - PAGET, Phillip Thomas James, Cpl.
NX25741 - HANN, Ian Grant, L/Cpl.
NX25460 - ROPE, Carl Milton, Pte.
NX25651 - EGAN, Jack Edgar George, Pte.
NX26670 - BAHNSEN, Edward, Pte.
NX25700 - DELANEY, William John, Pte.
NX37310 - BLACKSTOCK, Jack, Pte.
NX30490 - JONES, Richard, Pte.
NX30821 - HANLON, Lindsay Roy, Pte. (w)
NX51961 - McLEAN, John Ewen, L/Sgt.
NX26450 - YATES, Thomas Morton, L/Cpl.
NX32129 - HODGES, Alfred Edward, Pte.
NX26331 - HOLLAND, Bruce Hedley, Pte. (w)
NX26705 - WILSON, Harold Creswick, Pte.
NX29655 - GILL, Edward George Laurence, Pte.
NX26599 - WATERSON, Stanley, Pte
NX37430 - NOBLE, Joseph Andrew, Pte.
During Withdrawal From Ambush
NX 47951 L/Sgt
Nagle A.G. (Bellingen NSW)
KIA 15/1/1942 100 yds West Quarry Rd and Gemas Rd 400 yds in
Japanese After Capture
Five members of
the `B' Coy rearguard were captured and shot by the Japanese at
Muar. Four men were killed and one later died of the wounds
received. A sixth member of the party survived the ordeal. The
notation in Battalion records states as follows for each of the
five who died:
BLAND, Jack Robert (Kiwi), Pte. - B Company, 11 Platoon (Rose
KIA 3/2/1942, Muar. Cut off Gemas, captured 31/1/42. Shot at
Muar. Unburied Sultan's Residence Garden.
COCHRANE, John Reuben (Joe), Pte. - B Company, 11 Platoon
KIA 3/2/1942. Details as above
COLLETT, Frederick George (Fred), Pte. - B Company, 10 Platoon
(South Hurstville NSW)
KIA 3/2/1942. Details as above
MULLIGAN, Clive Frederick (Smiler), L/Cpl. - B Company, 11
Platoon (Paddington NSW)
KIA 3/2/1942. Details as above
NX37649 - SAMS,
Ernest William, Pte. - B Company, 11 Platoon (Forbes NSW)
Died of wounds 9/2/1942. Cut off Gemas 15/1/1942. Captured
31/1/1942 taken to Muar and shot garden Sultan's Residence.
Wounded only and escaped, recaptured and taken to KL Gaol. Died
of wounds and buried KL Prison (Tetanus).
NX70439 - HEAD,
Harry, Lt. - B Company, O/C 12 Platoon (Mudgee NSW)
WIA 14/1/1942 GSW Right Thigh SW Right thigh, leg
NGX33 - GORDON,
Victor Mervyn Ian (Speed or Vic), WO2 - B Company, CSM
WIA 14/1/1942 SW left buttock
BROWN, Raymond John Tresillian (Ray), Pte. - B Company, 12
Platoon (Punchbowl NSW)
Multiple bayonet wounds (1) left shoulder (2) SW right shin back
NX20529 - DALE,
Douglas Kenneth (Ken), Pte. - B Company HQ (Marrickville NSW)
WIA 14/1/1942 Multiple SW Both legs and thighs
DRAYTON, Laurence Harold (Laurie), Pte. - B Company HQ (Cessnock
WIA 14/1/1942 SW Right Forearm
HANLON, Lindsay Roy (Red), Pte. - B Company, 11 Platoon
WIA 14/1/1942 GSW Right Buttock
HODGES, Alfred Edward (Fred or Snowy), Pte. - B Company, 12
Platoon (Belmore NSW)
WIA 15/1/1942 2 SWs Left Forearm, Right thigh, SW Back (Sup.)
SYLVESTER, Walter Hackshall (Tiger), Pte. - B Company, 12
WIA 15/11942 Repatriated 10/2/1942 Ex 13 AGH
WATERSON, Stanley (Stan), Pte. - B Company, 12 Platoon (Tathra
WIA 14/1/1942 GSW Knee
NOTE: It is
difficult to separate those wounded at the ambush from those who
received wounds on the following day during the battle on the
Battalion front. The records show that the following men
received wounds on 15/1/1942 but may have been wounded earlier:
FARLEY, Chumley Jack Henry (Chum), Pte. - B Company HQ
WIA 15/1/1942 SW Buttock (Remained on duty)
DONOHUE, James Alfred (Punchy), Pte. - B Company, 10 Platoon
(Wagga Wagga NSW)
WIA 15/1/1942 SW Back (upper)
From the collection of the National Archives of Australia. NAA:
AWM67 3/111 - [Official History,
1939-45 War: Records of Gavin Long, General Editor:] Duffy, DJ,
Capt; transcribed by A.S. Ford for 2/30 Battalion Archives)