Wednesday, August 19, 2009

G3m Nell that crashed in Kota Bharu

Here's a contribution from KL Goh who wrote to me about a crash site in Kota Bharu. Interesting story. Thanks Major Goh for the info:

Forgotten Air War of Malaya by Goh K. Loon

When I was a small kid, I always playing with my friends near a jungle behind my house in Kota Bharu. I remember seeing some twisted metal with rivets on the ground. After many years I returned to the scene and was told by the old villagers nearby that the metal was a plane falling from the sky in Japanese occupation period. Then they told me there was another plane falling in flames and crashed near Kelantan river but I was told it was happened a few years after the war started. I felt so confused because most of the air battle of World War 2 In Malaya was fought only at the beginning of the. I drove to the village they mentioned and managed to find a witness (a Tok Imam), who confirmed that a few years after the war started, one day there was a Japanese twin engines plane falling from the sky trailing flames and black smokes. The pilot tried to ditch on Kelantan River but he hit a coconut tree and the plane exploded. The Japanese soldiers then came and took the bodies of two aircrews and cleared the wreckages.

I started to do my research on the air war at the latter (later) part of World War 2 in Malaya and find out that I totally missed out ‘The Forgotten Air War Of Malaya’.

After the beginning of the World War 2 in December 1941, The Japanese fought the Allied from Malaya to Singapore with fighter and bomber like Oscar, Zero, Tojo, Betty, Nell, Sonia and the greatest success was the sinking of HMS Prince Of Wales and HMS Repulse in Kuantan water solely with the use of airpower on 10 Dec 1941. After the Japanese wining the air superiority in Malaya, they were flying at will to attack any target in Malaya and Singapore. The pilots and aircrews were best trained and they even created a ‘bomber alley’ between Singapore to Sumatra to sink many ships, which evacuated the refugees from Singapore.

The air activities slowed down after Singapore surrendered. The routine air activities were limited to patrolling and others minor air operations. The Strait of Malacca was actually a graveyard for Allied submarines because their air-search radar was blocked by the hills of Sumatra and Titiwangsa range. In one patrol, the USS Grenadier was badly damaged by few Japanese planes and the submarine have to be scuttled and the crews were taken Prisoner OF War in Light Street Convent, Penang.

I met up with some great local historians like Mr. Sager and Mr. Ahamd Shaharom and we worked to put back some missing puzzle of our Malaya history. Then I found out that even the famous Boeing B-29 bomber had come to bomb some targets in Malaya (including Singapore) in 1944 and 1945.

In 1998, an American visited Malaysia with his father diary and he contacted one of our team members Mr Sager Ahmad and told that his father bailed out from a B-29 bomber in Negeri Sembilan during World War 2. Mr. Sager met the son of the aircrew from the famous B-29 bomber ‘Postville Express’ which crashed in Rembau and they visited the crash site together. Mr.Shaharom later took some pictures to put it in our website, Malaya Historical Group

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