Sunday, June 14, 2009

The final fate of the RAF

The Japanese advance through the Far East. By the end of January, the RAF and other British and allied forces had withdrawn from Malaya and Singapore to Sumatra. Two weeks later, the enemy captured Palembang airfield in Sumatra destroying 39 Hurricanes in the process. By 18 February, the Allies had evacuated to Java. RAF aircraft in the area had been reduced to 18 serviceable Hurricane fighters, 12 Hudson, 6 Blenheim and four Vildebeest bombers. On 3 March, Allied forces began evacuating Java; those that remained capitulated the next day. In Burma, Japanese forces entered Rangoon on 8 March forcing the remaining RAF Hurricanes and Blenheims to move north. Finally on 27 March, the Japanese began a three-day assault forcing the Allies to evacuate to India. During these final days, Dakotas of No.31 Sqn and the USAAF airlifted 8,600 civilians to safety.

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