Supriya Ghosh

Malaya Command

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Country  United Kingdom
Type  Command
Branch  British Army
Garrison/HQ  Singapore
Malaya Command
Active  1924 to 1942; 1945 to 1957

The Malaya Command was a formation of the British Army formed in the 1920s for the coordination of the defences of British Malaya, which comprised the Straits Settlements, the Federated Malay States and the Unfederated Malay States. It consisted mainly of small garrison forces in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Taiping, Seremban and Singapore.

Contents

With the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the command reinforced its strength in anticipation. With the bulk of British forces being tied down in the war in Europe and the Near East, the command was mainly augmented by units from India.

On 18 November 1940, the command was placed under the command of the British Far East Command and later on 7 January 1942 under the short-lived South West Pacific Command or ABDACOM which was tasked to maintain control of the "Malay Barrier" (or "East Indies Barrier"), a notional line running down the Malayan Peninsula, through Singapore and the southernmost islands of the Dutch East Indies.

The command was disbanded on 15 February 1942 with the surrender of all Commonwealth forces in the conclusion of the Battle of Singapore.

With the Surrender of Japan, the command was re-formed from the 14th Army with its HQ based in Singapore on 1 November 1945. The command was divided and downgraded to two separate military districts; the Malaya District and Singapore District in August 1947 but was upgraded again into a full command in August 1950 due to the Malayan Emergency.

With the independence of Malaya on 31 August 1957 the command was disbanded and succeeded by Overseas Commonwealth Land Forces (Malaya).

Formation and Structure

In November 1940, the total strength of Malaya Command was at 17 battalions. The Indian Army contingent was mainly organised as III Corps with their HQ based in Kuala Lumpur.

When Japanese forces invaded Malaya on 8 December 1941, Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) Malaya in charge of Malaya Command, with a force of 88,600 faced the 70,000 strong Twenty Fifth Army of the Imperial Japanese Army under the command of General Tomoyuki Yamashita.

Allied Land Forces (8 December 1941)

As of 8 December 1941

Indian III Corps

  • As of 7 December 1941
  • Commanding Officer Indian III Corps – Lt Gen Lewis Macclesfield Heath

  • Indian 9th Infantry Division
  • Maj-Gen Arthur Edward Barstow ( , 28 January 1942 at Layang-Layang near Bota) HQ : Kuala Lumpur
  • 8th Indian Infantry Brigade
  • Brig Berthold Wells Key HQ : Kota Bharu
  • 2nd Battalion, 10th Baluch Regiment – Lt. Col. John Griffeth Frith
  • 2nd Battalion, 12th Frontier Force Regiment – Lt. Col. Arthur Edward Cumming
  • 1st Battalion, 13th Frontier Force Rifles – Lt. Col. Clarence Gilbert
  • 3rd Battalion, 17th Dogra Regiment – Lt. Col. George Allen Preston
  • 21st Mountain Battery, Indian Artillery – Major John Bertram Sopper
  • 22nd Indian Infantry Brigade
  • Brig G.W.A.Painter HQ : Kuantan
  • 5th Battalion, 11th Sikh Regiment – Lt. Col. John Henry Devereux Parkin
  • 2nd Battalion, 18th Royal Garhwal Rifles – Lt. Col. Guy Edward Ross Stewart Hartigan MC
  • 5th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery – Lt. Col. Edward William Francis Jephson
  • Command Troops
  • 88th (2nd West Lancashire) Field Regiment RA – Lt. Col. Sylvain Claude D'Aubuz
  • 42nd Field Park Company (Royal Bombay Sappers and Miners)- Capt. Thomas Wilfried Nash
  • Indian 11th Infantry Division
  • Maj-Gen David Murray-Lyon / Brig Archibald Charles Melvill Paris / Maj-Gen Berthold Wells Key HQ : Sungai Petani
  • 6th Indian Infantry Brigade
  • Brig William Oswald Lay / Lt. Col. Henry Sloane Larkin HQ : Jitra
  • 2nd Battalion, East Surrey Regiment – Lt. Col. George Edward Swinton
  • 1st Battalion, 8th Punjab Regiment – Lt. Col. Ronald Charles Sidney Bates ( , 12 December 1941)
  • 2nd Battalion, 16th Punjab Regiment – Lt. Col. Henry Sloane Larkin (Died as a POW on 1 January 1944)
  • 22nd Mountain Artillery Regiment, Royal Artillery – Lt. Col. George Leonard Hughes
  • 15th Indian Infantry Brigade (III Corps Reserve)
  • Brig Kenneth Alfred Garrett/Brig. William St.John Carpendale HQ : Jitra
  • 1st Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment – Lt. Col. Charles Esmond Morrison
  • 2nd Battalion, 9th Jat Regiment – Lt. Col. Charles Knowler Tester
  • 1st Battalion, 14th Punjab Regiment – Lt. Col. Leslie Vernon "James" Fitzpatrick
  • 28th (Gurkha) Infantry Brigade
  • Brig William St J. Carpendale / Lt. Col. Wallace Raymond Selby HQ : Ipoh
  • 2nd Battalion, 1st Gurkha Rifles – Lt. Col. John Oswald "Jack" Fulton ( , 8 January 1942 at Slim River)
  • 2nd Battalion, 2nd Gurkha Rifles – Lt. Col. Geoffrey Harley Douglas Woollcombe (Died Indian Ocean, 28 Feb. 1942)
  • 2nd Battalion, 9th Gurkha Rifles – Lt. Col. Wallace Raymond Selby / Lt. Col. Maurice Bryer Allsebrook DSO MC
  • 11th Division Command Troops
  • 3rd Cavalry (IA) – Lt. Col. Julian Gerald Barnes De Wilton
  • 100th Light Tank Squadron – Major Jack Alford (  12 Feb 1942)
  • 137th (2nd West Lancashire) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery – Lt. Col. Gilbert Daly Holmes (  at Slim River)
  • 155th (Lanarkshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery – Lt. Col. Alan Murdoch (  at Slim River)
  • 80th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery – Lt. Col. William E.S. Napier
  • 85th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery – Lt. Col. A.J. Lardner-Clarke
  • 1st Independent Company – Major Sheppard Percy Fearon
  • 23rd Field Company (Royal Bombay Sappers and Miners)- Capt. John Eglington Bate
  • 43rd Field Park Company, Royal Engineers
  • Krohcol
  • Lt. Col. Henry Dawson Moorhead
  • 5th Battalion, 14th Punjab Regiment (3 Companies) – Lt. Col. Cyril Arthur Stokes (  at Slim River)
  • 3rd Battalion, 16th Punjab Regiment – Lt. Col. Henry Dawson Moorehead (  at Battle of Muar)
  • 2/3rd Australian Motor Company - Capt. George Arthur Carrick Kiernan
  • Line of Communications Brigade
  • Brig Robert Gifford Moir
  • Fortress Penang
  • Brig Cyril Arthur Lyon HQ : Penang
  • Support Units
  • Australian 8th Division

  • Australian 8th Division
  • Maj Gen Gordon Bennett HQ : Kluang
  • Australian 22nd Brigade
  • Australian 27th Brigade
  • Fortress Singapore

    Commanding Officer – Maj Gen Frank Keith Simmons HQ : Singapore

  • Fortress Singapore Division
  • Maj Gen F. K. Simmons
  • 1st Malaya Brigade
  • Brig George Giffard Rawson Williams
  • 2nd Battalion, Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire) – Lt. Col. Mordaunt Elrington
  • 1st Battalion, Malay Regiment – Lt. Col. James Richard Glencoe André
  • 2nd Battalion, Malay Regiment – Lt. Col. Frederick Walter Young
  • 2nd Malaya Brigade
  • Brig Francis Hugh Fraser
  • 1st Battalion, Manchester Regiment – Lt. Col. Edward Barclay Holmes
  • 2nd Battalion, Gordon Highlanders – Lt. Col. John Heslop Stitt / Richard Gilbert Lees
  • 2nd Battalion, 17th Dogra Regiment – Lt. Col. Sidney Clermont Scott
  • Straits Settlements Volunteer Force Brigade
  • Col Francis Reginald Grimwood
  • 1st Battalion, Straits Settlements Volunteer Force (Singapore Volunteer Corps) – Lt. Col. Thomas Henry Newey
  • 2nd Battalion, Straits Settlements Volunteer Force (Singapore Volunteer Corps)
  • 4th Battalion, Straits Settlements Volunteer Force (Malacca Volunteer Corps) – Lt. Col. Charles Alexander Scott
  • Singapore Armoured Car Company, Straits Settlements Volunteer Force
  • Royal Engineers Brigade
  • Brig Ivan Simson
  • 30th Fortress Company, Royal Engineers
  • 34th Fortress Company, Royal Engineers
  • 35th Fortress Company, Royal Engineers
  • 41st Fortress Company, Royal Engineers
  • Artillery Brigade
  • Brig Alec Warren Greenlaw Wildey
  • 1st (Heavy) Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Indian Artillery - Lt. Col. John Rowley Williamson DSO
  • 1st Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery - Lt. Col. Archer Edwards Tawney
  • 2nd Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery – Lt. Col. Howard Wincent Allpres
  • 3rd (Light) Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery - Lt. Col. Denis Vivian Hill
  • 3rd Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery - Lt. Col. Francis Edgar Hugonin
  • 35th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery – Lt. Col. John Bassett
  • 7th Coastal Regiment, Royal Artillery – Lt. Col. Hereward Douglas St.George Cardew
  • 9th Coastal Regiment, Royal Artillery – Lt. Col. Charles Philip Heath
  • 16th Defence Regiment, Royal Artillery
  • Support Units
  • Half Strength Jind Infantry Battalion (Indian States Forces) (½ Strength) – Lt. Col. Gurbaksh Singh
  • Half Strength Kapurthala Infantry Battalion (Indian States Forces) (½ Strength) - Major Aziz Ahmad
  • Dalforce – Lt. Col. John Dalley
  • Malaya Command Reserve

    Commanding Officer : Brig.A.C.M. Paris / Lt. Col. I.M. Stewart HQ : Port Dickson

  • 12th Indian Infantry Brigade – Brig.A.C.M. Paris / Lt. Col. I.M. Stewart
  • HQ : Port Dickson
  • 2nd Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders – Lt. Col. I.M.Stewart/ Lt. Col. Lindsay Robertson (  20 January 1942)
  • 5th Battalion, 2nd Punjab Regiment – Lt. Col. Cecil Deakin
  • 4th Battalion, 19th Hyderabad Regiment – Lt. Col. Eric Lawrence Wilson-Haffenden / Lt. Col. Herbert Lawrence Hill
  • 122nd (West Riding) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery – Lt. Col. George St.John Armitage Dyson (  22 November 1942)
  • Sarawak Force (SARFOR)

    Commanding Officer : Lt-Col Charles Malet Lane HQ : Kuching

  • SARFOR
  • Lt-Col C. M. Lane HQ : Kuching
  • 2nd Battalion, 15th Punjab Regiment – (this battalion took part in the Battle of Borneo where it surrendered).
  • Sarawak Coastal Marine Service
  • Sarawak Volunteer Corps
  • Sarawak Rangers
  • Sarawak Armed Police
  • 35th Fortress Company, Royal Engineers
  • 6" Guns Battery, Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery
  • Christmas Island

    Commanding Officer : Capt Leonard Walter Thomas Williams HQ : Christmas Island

  • 6" Gun, Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery
  • Arrived January – February 1942

  • Line of Communication Troops
  • 44th Indian Infantry Brigade – Brigadier George Cecil Ballentine
  • 6th Battalion, 1st Punjab Regiment – Lt. Col. James Dow Sainter MC
  • 7th Battalion, 8th Punjab Regiment – Lt. Col. Willis Southern
  • 6th Battalion, 14th Punjab Regiment – Lt. Col. Louis Sobaux Ingle MC
  • 45th Indian Infantry Brigade – Brigadier Herbert Cecil Duncan (  at Battle of Muar)
  • 7th Battalion, 6th Rajputana Rifles- Lt. Col. James Albert Lewis (  at Battle of Muar)
  • 4th Battalion, 9th Jat Regiment – Lt. Col. John Whittaker Williams (  at Battle of Muar)
  • 5th Battalion, 18th Royal Garhwal Rifles – Lt. Col. James H.C. Woolridge (  at Battle of Muar)
  • 13th Indian Auxiliary Pioneer Battalion
  • 18th Infantry Division – Major-General Merton Beckwith-Smith
  • 53rd Infantry Brigade – Brig. Cecil Leonard Basil Duke
  • 5th Battalion, Royal Norfolk Regiment – Lt. Col. Eric Charles Prattley
  • 6th Battalion, Royal Norfolk Regiment – Lt. Col. Ian Conway Gilford Lywood (  at Alexandra Hospital Massacre)
  • 2nd Battalion, Cambridgeshire Regiment – Lt. Col. Gordon Calthorpe Thorne (Died, Indian Ocean while attempting to escape)
  • Allied Air Force units in Malaya December 1941

    There were 161 front line aircraft, including 3 Royal Netherlands Air Force Catalina flying boats, based in Malaya and on Singapore Island on 8 December 1941. These units came under the control of Far East Air Force (Royal Air Force) under the command of Air Vice Marshal C.W.H.Pulford until February 1942 when Air Vice Marshal P.C.Maltby took command.

    Based on Singapore Island

  • RAF Selatar;
  • No. 36 Squadron RAF – 6x Vickers Vildebeest
  • No. 100 Squadron RAF – 12x Vickers Vildebeest
  • No. 205 Squadron RAF – 3x PBY Catalina
  • RAF Tengah;
  • No. 34 Squadron RAF – 16x Bristol Blenheim IV
  • RAF Sembawang;
  • No. 453 Squadron RAAF – 16x Brewster Buffalo
  • RAF Kallang;
  • No. 243 Squadron RAF – 14x Brewster Buffalo
  • No. 488 Squadron RNZAF – 16x Brewster Buffalo
  • Based in Northern Malaya

  • Sungei Patani;
  • No. 21 Squadron RAAF – 12x Brewster Buffalo
  • No. 27 Squadron RAF – 12x Bristol Blenheim I
  • RAF Kota Bharu;
  • No. 1 Squadron RAAF – 12x Lockheed Hudson
  • Detachment from No. 243 Squadron RAF – 2x Brewster Buffalo
  • Gong Kedak;
  • Detachment from No. 36 Squadron RAF – 6x Vickers Videbeest
  • RAF Kuantan;
  • No. 8 Squadron RAAF – 12x Lockheed Hudsons
  • No. 60 Squadron RAF – 8x Bristol Blenheims
  • Alor Star;
  • No. 62 Squadron RAF – 11x Bristol Blenheims
  • Commanders-in-Chief

    Commanders-in-Chief have included:
    GOC Troops in the Straits Settlements

  • 1903–1905 Major-General Arthur Dorward
  • 1905–1907 Major-General Inigo Jones
  • 1907–1910 Major-General Thomas Perrott
  • 1910–1914 Major-General Theodore Stephenson
  • 1914–1915 Major-General Raymond Reade
  • 1915–1921 Major-General Sir Dudley Ridout
  • 1921–1924 Major-General Sir Neill Malcolm
  • GOC Malaya Command

  • 1924–1927 Major-General Sir Theodore Fraser
  • 1927–1929 Major-General Sir Casimir van Straubenzee
  • 1929–1931 Major-General Harry Pritchard
  • 1931–1934 Major-General Sir Louis Oldfield
  • 1934–1935 Major-General Ernest Lewin
  • 1935–1939 Major-General Sir William Dobbie
  • 1939–1941 Lieutenant-General Sir Lionel Bond
  • 1941–1942 Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival
  • Note from 1943 to 1945 Malaya was under Japanese control
  • Nov–Dec 1945 Lieutenant-General Sir Miles Dempsey
  • 1945–1946 Lieutenant-General Sir Frank Messervy
  • 1946–1947 Lieutenant-General Sir Alexander Galloway
  • GOC Malaya District

  • 1947–1948 Major-General Ashton Wade
  • 1948–1950 Major-General Sir Charles Boucher
  • GOC Malaya

  • 1950–1952 Major-General Roy Urquhart
  • 1952–1954 Major-General Sir Hugh Stockwell
  • 1954–1956 Lieutenant-General Sir Geoffrey Bourne
  • 1956–1957 Lieutenant-General Sir Roger Bower
  • References

    Malaya Command Wikipedia


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