Monday, April 11, 2011

1942Malaya celebrates 20,000 visits

1942Malaya today hits 20,000 visits. Many thanks to all of you for visiting this blog. It's gratifying to know there are many fans of Malayan history. I'm also very pleased to receive many well wishers and also contributors to the site. Do keep those emails coming. Do inform me if there are errors that I may have overlooked.

As you all know our school history textbooks give scant information about the war in Malaya so it's important we keep this piece of history intact and well documented. Do recommend this site to all fellow history buffs. Thank you.

Malaya: 1st allied casualty of the Pacific War not Pearl Harbour

Another interesting fact about the war in Malaya.

The 1st Allied casualty of War was recorded at 8.45am on the 7th December off Kota Bharu and not Pearl Harbour.

For the record , the crew comprised
Warrant Officer William Edward Webb
Flying Officer Patrick Edwin Bedell (Australia)
Second pilot,
Sergeant Colin Burns Treloar, RAAF,
Sergeant Edward Alexander Bailey,
Fitter 2,
Sergeants Stanley Abram and Peter Eator,
Wireless Operator/Air Gunners,
Leading Aircraftsman Arthur Henry Chapman,
Air Gunner,
and Aircraftsman First Class William Thomas David Burnett,
Flight Mechanic.

The plane was a Catalina Mk II, RAF serial W8417, and coded FV-W in No. 205 Flying Boat Squadron, Royal Air Force.

The Japanese convoys were in the Gulf of Siam some twenty five miles west of Panjang Island off the west coast of Cambodia, about 500 miles almost due north of Singapore and about 160 miles NE of the Malayan invasion beaches at Kota Bharu and Patani Roads where they eventually landed. Seaplane tender Kamikawa Maru had responsibility for flying security patrols overhead, and probably before first light catapulted several Aichi E13A Jake reconnaissance floatplanes to go to work. One of those planes, coded ZI-26, was flown by Ensign Eiichi Ogata, and he and his radioman/gunner found the British Catalina FV-W shadowing the ships and approached the flying boat probably unseen from below and behind, and when alongside and in a good position for the gunner to bring his single 7.7mm machine to bear, deliberately fired a fired a long burst into the flying boat's hull! The time was 0820 (Tokyo), 7 December Far East time.

According to the Japanese pilot Webb's Catalina veered off sharply and turned away.
This maneuver could have resulted from the pilot taking instinctive evasive action to break up the attacker's aim or, perhaps more likely, the pilot slumping over the controls dead or wounded as the machine gun fire ripped through the plane. In all probability several crew were hit, the radio set made inoperable and the fuel tanks in the wing punctured and now draining into the hull, a situation that cre-ated a severe fire hazard. Incredibly, Ogata reported that he followed the Catalina for some thirty minutes, seeking another opportunity to attack,
but evidently did not do so. If in fact the radio was still operable after Ogata's attack any signals Sergeants Abram and Eator were able to push out on the key were never received. Webb would hardly have delayed reporting by radio having been attacked over international waters, and that nothing was heard in Singapore suggests strongly that nothing was sent by the Catalina. If the Catalina's wireless operators were not transmitting it was most likely because they couldn't!
Then a patrol of Japanese Army 1st Sentai Ki-27s under LT Toshirou Kubotani found the Catalina. Kubotani's section of fighters also attacked, and started a fire in the wing, and after the fourth fighter completed its pass the Catalina suddenly exploded and plunged into the sea. There were no survivors. The shoot-down was reported to General
Yamashita, commanding the invasion forces in transport Ryujo Maru, and acknowledged.

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