SELAMAT JALAN SINGAPORE
Retreat was a word not included in Chucks dictionary, but when it was followed with the words “To a fixed position” the word did not hold the same dread, from his position on the quarry road the gun covering the main road, he was able to watch the Japanese landing along the front of the causeway. The men on the guns waited in anticipation of his command to commence firing. The Japanese seemed to be milling about in and around the causeway, a small tank came into view, it stopped as it came onto the main road, an officer leaned out of the tank as if asking for directions, suddenly Chucks attention was drawn to a large balloon hovering above the mosque on the Johore side and he wondered if he was in fact watching an old movie of the first world war, when they sent a man up in one of these to observe the enemy below and as he watched, sure enough a Japanese soldier complete with binoculars was leaning down as if shouting to someone on the ground, and Chuck was further amazed to see the soldier pulling up a telephone on a long line. He thought that he had seen everything, but this was something he would remember for some time to come. As he looked back to the causeway, the driver of the tank began to rev the engine sending blue and black smoke heavenwards to join that of the burning petroleum tanks to the left. The tank approached down the main road, taking no precautions at all. Chuck gave rapped out firing orders to bring the gun on line with the tank, its controller still standing with his head and shoulders outside the tank. “In short bursts, Fire” shouted Chuck and the gun sent its message of death to the tank commander. He seemed to want to die, because as the bullets hit him, he managed to raise his arm which was for some reason holding a long sword. The tank driver quickly dived for cover as each burst followed him as he crossed the open ground then the railway and sought sanctuary behind a railway engineers cabin.
The Japanese who had been massing now began to surge forward and Chuck brought the remaining guns into action. They fell like sheaves of ripe corn, and did not seem to realise that the men who fell in front of them were dead. the screams and shouting was becoming louder as the masses moved closer. “Open sights” shouted Chuck and each gunner sent belt after belt into the advancing men. He estimated that for every belt of 240 rounds expended, at least 100 men were hit. To the left and right he could hear the bark of defiance from the vickers. the enemy soldiers seemed to reach a point in the road then either fall back or fall down.
A despatch rider came swinging down the Mandai road, “You are to pull back to Batu Panjang and set up two guns to cover the Chu kang road and anything coming from the Tengah direction, your third gun to go back to Nee Soon. Chuck cursed. The action was just beginning to get hot. Over to the west the Australians 22nd brigade were trying to hold the advancing Japanese at the River Skudai Perapat area, and the shelling from both sides was creating a sound similar to continuous thunder. a vast quantity of assault craft and its passengers were destroyed, the whole sea area littered with dead Japanese.
Chuck set up at the cross roads leading to Choa Chu Kang, with one gun pointing north along the main Woodlands road and the second gun in the direction of Chu Kang Road. just as the sun set. The Cambridgeshire regiment were in position to the rear, covering the line from Woodlands to the main water pipe line which ran from the causeway through to the city. as the fighting continued, there came the familiar sound of Japanese mortar fire, soon an occasional group of men, Australians, Indians, Malays, fell back along the road, the confusion was such that several times the gun was turned in their direction, only the shrill cries from harsh Aussie tongues saved a complete massacre. A group of Australian soldiers came along the road in file. “Who goes there” shouted the gun picket “ Uncle F——— Tom Cobley", came the nasal reply. “What’s happening “ Chuck asked as they came closer to the post. “Sheer F——— murder, said the Australian. “The bastards are all over the place and there’s no way of stopping them”
“Have you tried shooting a few?” asked Chuck
“Ha f——— ha” came back the reply, “There are so f——— many of them that we’ve run out of ammo”
“Take some of ours" offered Chuck
“No thanks mate, you’ll need it, you’ll see” the Aussie left his friends and comrades walking behind.
“Queer buggers” said Bill Williams scratching his head, “I always said when they first arrived, that they were not worth a pound of tripe”
Chuck shrugged his shoulders, “We’ve still got it to come I suppose, but I cant understand why we weren't sent in in the first place. A section of machine guns on that side would soon sought them out”
Firing was coming from up the road and Chuck dived for the monsoon drain. “Can you see anything Bill?” he whispered.
“Not a thing” replied Williams then “Why the hell are you whispering, they can’t hear us above this bloody racket.
Something glistened and both guns turned in the direction of the causeway. Hold your fire said Chuck as he climbed out of the drain and crouching, walked toward where the flash had come. Still crouching he followed the direction of the railway line for fifty yards, there was a deal of chattering in a language which he could not understand, but it sounded nothing like Chinese or Malay. He turned back, and about ten yards from the post, he yelled, let them have it. Both guns firing together along the line of the road and the railway caught a group of Japanese. The screams and shouts were indication enough that the shots had found their mark, “Stop firing” ordered Chuck turning to go back to the spot. Bill Wiliams came running behind. “How far away were they? he whispered.
“About fifty yards said Chuck, why are you whispering?, they cant hear you” It was hard to make a guess as to how many Japs had been killed, but from the sound of the moans and groans, there were just as many wounded ones, "Lets get back” said Chuck, turning towards the main road, “It will be much safer this way” he said at the same time a bullet whistled past his ear and he hit the ground. “Keep you f——— head down” he shouted as several more shots splattered into the trees above them. just a few paces down the road two wounded men were each assisting the other,. “Where you from?” asked Chuck “Cambs, been out on patrol over toward Tengah, did any of the others come by? " came the reply. “No idea” said Chuck but you had better get a move on out of here, the Japs seem to have taken a hold” more shots were heard passing overhead. The Cambs lads carried on walking toward the pipe line, Chuck and Williams back down the main road. “I feel so bloody tired, I could sleep on a clothes line” said Chuck, “what time is it” another flurry of bullets sent them both running toward the gun post shouting “dont shoot its us”. hitting the deck as soon as they spotted the post. The firing was continual now with artillery shells passing low over the heads of everyone. about two in the morning, the firing began to ease down slightly. From Bulim village came the screams and shouting of people in trouble and the gun crews tensed. A voice shouted from the other side of the railway, " Jonny, coming soon Jonny” a further voice shouted “sergeant Fuller, sergeant Fuller”, Then silence for a short while and the repeat of “coming soon Jonny “ A flurry of Chinese firecrackers began to go off and every man tensed and waited. “I think they are going to charge into us” whispered Chuck “everyone get ready, the sound of the bolt mechanism echoed from each gun and the whispered answer “One gun ready, two gun ready. They waited with baited breath, listening for the slightest sound, even the crickets had gone silent.
In the distance another Jap crying out, “help me Jonny, help me” a shrill laugh echoed round the jungle and a chill shiver ran up Williams spine. “Why do they waste their time shouting, they must know that there’s no way that we will respond” he said.
“Are you sure that we wont respond, just listen to that firing, and I would like to bet that most of them are trying to hit the Jap whose mouthing off, That is part of their ploy, the whole idea is to cause men to shoot at them, and give their positions away”.
It was four o’clock in the morning of the ninth when without any warning large numbers of allied soldiers started to fall back across the railway and the main road, most of them risking being shot at by the machine gunners, whose lines they were passing through, “It looks as if they are all falling back" said Chuck, mostly to himself, “Everybody stand to, he shouted, keep your eyes open and wait for the order, come on everyone to their position” most of them were still awake, those who had managed to grab a few minutes sleep, woke with the question, “What’s up?, what’s happening?”. It looks like the Japs have broke through, everyone stand by and wait for my order” realising that the gun crew across the railway line would now be in the mire, should the Jap come that way, he yelled across for them to dismount the gun and set up again along the main road. before the number one had stood up to carry out the order, a mortar crashed close by injuring two of them. Rushing to assist, Chuck called out to Williams to take over. Quickly the wounded men were placed onto one of the trucks and despatched to Hospital. Then they came, hundreds of Japanese screaming and shouting like banshees. They acted as if they wanted to die, shouting silly messages in broken English. “Go home Jonny” “I come for you Jonny” it was all Jonny.
As soon as the first one appeared yelling and shouting, he was stopped short in his tracks as did the others who followed him. As Chuck was to remark later, it was like a dozen bloody hornets nest had suddenly been disturbed, they came from all angles as if attracted to the machine gun. Mortar bombs and light machine guns were brought forward to try to break the monopoly of the vickers. The seven men including Chuck manning the two guns, managed to maintain a field of fire, just long enough to allow the men of the 22nd and 27th brigades to pass through before Chuck gave the order to abandon your positions and fall back. He took the firing mechanism from the nearest gun and sent it high into the air above the railway, then started the long trek back toward Bukit Timah.
By nine o’clock, the Japanese had broken through Ama Keng, Tengah, Bulim, Choa Kang and were heading in the direction of Jurong.
Chuck directed the driver to make speed along the Bukit Timah road to Tanglin, there was every possibility that they would be able to obtain further guns from the old machine gun store.
Arriving at Tanglin, he knew that there would be nothing to salvage, whoever had taken over the barracks after the Manchesters had left, had completely ransacked the place. Nothing of any value remained. He was about to give up and go to find the other sections, at least they could relieve those being hard pressed. deciding to have a last look round at the place which had been home for the previous four years, he saw a familiar face. Sergeant Dooley of “C” company. The two shook hands as Chuck explained his predicament. “You are just the man I have been looking for" said Dooley. I have just the job that will suit you down to the ground”
“Tell me” Chuck asked.
“I need someone to work with Sergeant Evans” said Dooley
“Who Pinkie?, What job is he doing now” (sergeant Evans was the provost sergeant in charge of the military glass house which was part of Tanglin barracks. )
“Well I don’t think I could give his job a title, but he is trying to sort the wheat from the chaff”
Chuck looked dazed “The what”
“As you are aware, sergeant Evans runs the glass house, just after the Japs landed, a number of their civilians were brought here to be questioned”
“But I always thought that they had been taken to Changi?” questioned Chuck.
“The so called innocent ones were, the ones who have always been suspect, were brought here, they were questioned and any who were found to be OK, were sent to Changi. What we are doing now, is sending groups of them who may be of assistance, to India, the rest go to Changi”.
“Where do I fit in?” asked Chuck
“In any manner possible, your a versatile soldier, who has been around and knows his way around, it’s up to you”
“What about my section?” asked Chuck
“They can take the truck and go and find “D” company, or they can go to tenth milestone and report to the colonel”
Chuck pondered for a while then “Your on, when do I start”
“Immediately” said the sergeant pointing the way to the glass house “you will find sergeant Evans in there, I will tell you driver where to go.
It was strange to Chuck, walking into the military prison, having never been sent there, he could only imagine what happened to those who were sent for punishment. The military policemen who had sworn him in, pointed to a small office “Wait in there” he said, then promptly vanished.
Being curious, Chuck waited by the open door, the prison was similar to the ones many people imagine, a large square surrounded by a two tier cell block system, being in the tropics, there was no need for doors and windows, there were however wooden shutters, which could be closed in time of storm, but it would need to e a very rough storm before permission to close would be given, the top cells were built to hold two persons in each, the bottom ones which seemingly were the ones mainly used, held anything from six to ten.
Pinky Evans shouted from the top tier for Chuck to go up. The first three cells were occupied by Japanese females, seven in total and the next five cells by ten males. making a total of seventeen. “I was just talking to Dooley on the phone and he has told me that you will be assisting me, once we have got rid of this lot, we are wanted over at Changi jail, to help sort out who should and should not be there”.
A six ton Bedford arrived and the seven Japanese women and three of the men, were hustled on board. a couple of young military policemen jumped into the back with the Japs while a third one collected the paper work necessary, then joined the driver. “That little lot are being sent out Ceylon, where they will be fed and looked after, and will most certainly see the war out, while we remain here to be shot at, There’s no bloody justice” said Pinky.
“What happens to the others?” asked Chuck
“They will be coming with us to Changi” said Pinky “But first we need to get rid of all Singapore’s petty criminals, the way things are going the Japs will be taking over the prisons very soon”
The remaining Japanese were brought down, except that they were each manacled. as they walked by Pinky gave reasons, chapter and verse as to why these particular ones should be shot rather than placed in Changi jail to wait for their own kind to come and release them.
“Number one is captain Wakana, better known as Tony the photographer, number two is his partner Tamura Ken, Ken the pleasant photographer. The next three are Nagoya and Hirosawa and Toshiko, the pimps and providers and the last two Nohara and Naokata, two prominent members of the Japanese underworld, owners of several clubs and dives
All seven engaged in espionage, only our people prefer to call it spying. no matter what its name, they should all be quietly disposed of and if I had my way it would be done now rather than later”
Chuck smiled, he could not imagine Pinky holding a revolver to the head of anyone, let alone a Japanese thug. He was a tough old soldier and capable of running the glass house, rigid discipline, hard work and all the rest, but this could never produce a killer instinct.
A second truck arrived to transfer this party, the Japs were pushed into the back, followed by three armed military policemen who appeared to be putting on their grimmest faces. Chuck and Pinky sat at the front with the driver and apart from one or two casual questions and answers, neither spoke until arriving at the prison.
“What happens to this lot now?” he asked
Sergeant Evans waited until he had handed over the paper work to the waiting prison officer before replying. “This lot and the twenty or thirty others now banged up in here, will be interrogated from morn till night, and when they have reached a point where they are of no further value, they will be taken away and quietly disposed of, just as we did in Palestine”
Chuck remembered only too well what happened to prisoners, they either gave or they lost. “where do we go from here?” he asked.
“Ten MS “ came back the reply
“Christ” said Chuck “A complete circle” Pinky looked at him bewildered “I deserted from ten MS the day after the war started and now we are back against the wall, I will be returning”.
Ten MS was a ghost camp now, all of the gunners had been despatched to their various posts, the only exceptions being 16 platoon, which was being kept in reserve. Two guns were at that moment covering the action at Bukit Timah, which would normally have been covered by Chucks guns. They had arrived just in time for a meal and a pot of tea, the meal was Maconacies stew straight from the tin with a boiling hot cup of sweet tea, provided by whoever was nearest to the stoves.
Sipping his tea Chuck allowed his mind to go back just sixty days. Tha camp was buzzing with rumour and counter rumour, every one had been on a high, in anticipation of impending action, but he for one was going stale and needed to break away. He remembered the bombing and the poor sods he had assisted afterwards and wondered how those he had assisted were getting along. The bugler sounded the orderly officers call and he watched as Major Douglas, went running over to the CO’s office, then watched as he called for his driver and shot out of camp.
Things must be moving he thought, and was about to try to find a bed space and bedding, but that was not to be. “Come on “ said Pinky, we are needed over at tampines, the Japs have made a landing at Seletar”. “But we have no guns” said Chuck. “We have orders to collect one from “B” company at Telok Paku, come on its on the way” A fifteen hundred weight was standing by to rush them through.
If anyone had timed them, they would have found that it had taken less than thirty minutes to collect a gun and ammunition and arrive at the Tampines, Pongol cross roads. although there was heavy fighting going on to the west, toward Nee Soon, Bukit Timah and Woodlands, but nothing seemed to be moving on this side. On arrival they were met by several mates, who they had not seen since the war began. Arthur Nuttall, Squire Wilson, PJ Scott, Corporal Ron Fensome and his squad, all waiting in anticipation. “seen any action lately?” asked Chuck. Fensome looked up with the stone faced look he always put on when about to tell a joke or put on an act. “We did see a couple of days at Kulai and Kota Tingi, managed to bring my gun away too, but we lost two, Lawton and Lloyd” he got up from behind the gun and stretched his legs. “Only arrived her a few minutes ago, we expected to become involved immediately, but it seems to have been a false alarm”. The words reached Chucks ears at the same time that the crack from a rifle bullet sent him shooting to the ground. “Get to your guns” shouted Sergeant Evans, although it had been some time since he had sat behind a vickers, he still remembered the drill. Chuck quickly loaded and sat waiting for directions, which were not long in coming. “Middle distance ,large tree twelve o’clock, to right small shack two o’clock” “On” shouted the voices of the gunners as they automatically checked their ammunition belts. “Fire” the response was electric, three guns opened up together, tracers verified the aim as each gun sent burst after burst along the target trajectory, within seconds the metallic sound of Japanese mortars being despatched, they whistle and clank overhead, seeming to suspend themselves in space for a short while before dropping with a clatter and a bang. "More ammo” the shout is from the number one gun and Pinkie Evans grabs two boxes and runs them across. A Japanese heavy calibre automatic can be heard to the left, and from the direction of Pulau Ubin two Japanese fighter bombers join in the action, but they are not looking for the machine guns, they are searching for the Bofors and the LAA’s to the rear. "Left nine o’clock” a further target is given, breaking from the Pierce reservoir area, hundreds of Japanese, impudently waving their fried egg symbol start to run toward the gun positions. All the guns swing in their direction.
“This is killing for the sake of killing” shouts Ron Fensome. “Ammo” comes the shout from the gun closest to the attacking Japanese. More ammunition is rushed out, then the whole area becomes one gigantic fire fight . A despatch rider arrives to ask what is the situation and Pinky Evans jumps onto the pillion, to be taken back to HQ to report. The pressure is on for almost five hours. As the sun begins to set behind the gunners, the air is saturated with the smell of cordite. Until gradually the firing becomes spasmodic. Each man wondering what the next move will be. Then Pinky Evans returns riding the motor bike. “Ron, Chuck”, he shouts, “we are to pull back to the Serangoon line immediately”. The invitation was too good to question as each gun is taken down and carried to the trucks. and within minutes they were being set up again lower down the road
The whole section with their dirty faces look forward to the possibility of a few hours sleep, but it was not to be. Sergeant Evans and Chuck are instructed to make their way to Changi Prison along with several of the men, their duty to clear out all the prisoners, including the long term ones. “what about the Japanese” asks Chuck and the sergeant shrugs his shoulders, “That will be up to the adjutant, if he leaves it to me I will suggest that we kill the bastards”
The morning of the 11th February before the sun has had time to rise, they rattle on the big gates until the prison officer arrives. Sergeant Evans produces a piece of paper which he hands over to the prison officer. “Give me ten minutes” he said, then he shouted as loud as possible to the other officers, "come on we are being relieved. The remaining officers came running. “Are you taking over then?” asks one. Pinky shook his head, “We are here to empty the prison” “what all of them?” asks another, “well its a case of let them go now or leave them for the Japs to kill”.
“Come on we’ll give you a hand” said one “but what about the Japanese prisoners, do we throw them out as well?”
“No said the sergeant, we leave them locked in the prison blocks with access to food and water, then we lock all the gates and throw away the keys". The prisoners needed little explanation as each cell door was opened and one of the first to race out of the gate was Lim Hung. His opinion of the British now well below zero rating. having volunteered to join the Chinese anti Japanese forces, and having done his best, he had been treated like a leper, and they will pay, he said to himself as he raced along to road to Tanamera village.
As they left, Chuck looked back and wondered what would happen to them, should there be an air raid.
Approaching Bedock the trucks were flagged down and ordered to report to Battalion headquarters, The Japanese had made their landings all along the west coast, from Pasir Laba, north to the naval base, and were now controlling the whole of the western sector and on the morning of the 11th the Imperial guards division began to attack the Nee Soon positions and the
5th Infantry division began their assault on the Race course at Bukit Timah. With this in mind, General Percival withdrew all the defences from Changi and the east coast thus releasing all of the Manchester regiment guns. Because of this, Chuck found himself at midnight once more digging in on the crossings at Reformatory road and Bukit Timah road. Everyone, down to the most junior soldier knew that the situation was now desperate. To the left of the post was the Malay regiment and the Loyals, forward and to the right the Gordons Argylls and Cambridgeshires. The battle for Singapore was now at its most crucial point, the sound of fighting never ceased, Just after settling in, there came the sound of several men running along the road toward the machine gun post. “Who goes there” shouted the duty man, There was no response. “release” ordered Chuck, indicating the number one to release the safety catch, the noise continued.
It can only be our own men he thought, then quickly fired a white flare, which revealed groups of Japanese walking along the road as if on a picnic, before they could dive out of the way of the light, the machine gunner opened up firing over open sights. Screaming and shouting indicating that his shots had met their mark. A further flare went up from the left to disclose hundreds more Japanese coming from the sleepy valley area. In his mind, Chuck was trying to make a decision whether to pull back down the road, when three fifteen hundred weight trucks came tearing down the road, within seconds three more machine guns were chattering away, destroying the enemy advance completely in this sector. The fire fight lasted till daybreak and as it did, it revealed the horror of the previous night. The main road leading to Bukit Timah village was covered with dead bodies, the road to the left Reformatory road bore similar evidence of Japanese suicidal tactics. Although the fighting continued, the Japanese remained concealed. Realising that there was no way that their vast number of men were getting nowhere, the Japanese turned their attention toward Tanglin, and Bona Vista.. and although giving a good account of themselves the man manning the machine gun posts were forced to retire when later in the morning, Japanese tanks began to shell each gun position. There was nothing left now but to fall back to the outskirts of the city itself. Never before had anyone imagined that the Manchester regiment would be setting up a defensive position at the bottom of Bencoolen street. Within minutes of setting up, orders were received that the Japanese Imperial guards were approaching Paya Lebar and as many £x‰ guns available should be despatched immediately. It was like going home, said Chuck, as they passed over the Kallang bridge and headed north.
Turning left off the east coast road, the scene was similar to those of the first world war, the bodies of the dead, human and animal lay bloated and rotting, the stench was unreal, while overhead a vast cloud of smoke from the burning oil tanks at Tengah and those at the naval base. although it was bright sunshine, the cloud created an atmosphere of darkness and dread. would be hard for anyone to describe. Chuck looked at the men, the same ones he had lived with for the last five or six years, and instead of that flame of human fire which was so visible in Egypt Palestine and Singapore prior the entry of the Japanese into the war, their was now a look of incredibility, not a defeatist look, but one of abject misery, in knowing that with the proper tools for the job, it would have been completed in a shorter time than it had taken the Japanese to take Malaya. Added to this, news was filtering through concerning the men who had been killed in action and of others who would be making the treacherous journey to India to form the nucleus of a future invading force. The truck was travelling at a very slow speed, due to the many obstacles that needed to be negotiated, bomb craters, uprooted trees and telegraph poles bombed out buildings, and the human and animal sacrifices to the great God of war.
Paya Lebar, was unrecognisable, the streets were empty, every roof top seemed to be missing most if not all of its slates, the lamp posts and telephone poles lay straddled across the roads and streets.
On the corner of Toc Heng and Paya Lebar Chuck waved a greeting to Bob Anderson, whose vickers was already in position, On the next corner Lane and Doughton sat anxiously watching the open brush toward the reservoirs and Nee Soon. calling out as he passed, I will set up on the next corner, whatever you do, don’t blow me away. Lew Doughton nodded and waved, “Your safe” he shouted at the same time the Japanese under cover of the brush five hundred yards away, sent salvo after salvo of mortar shells. The same noise , which tended to make those close by dive for shelter, but always too late, the shell would explode on top of the roof of the nearest house then send the slates clattering down, increasing the tension.
It was four o’clock in the afternoon of the fourteenth of February and the usual flight of twenty seven high level bombers flew over to deposit their cargo of death and hate unmolested. The black acrid smoke hung heavily overhead giving an atmosphere of perpetual twilight. Chuck had just completed setting up, when the Japs commenced their attacking moves.
“Hold your fire” shouted Chuck “ it’s most probably a dummy run to check out our positions” he watched and then continued, “if they do come, wait until they are two hundred yards out, then let em have it”
The Japanese commenced their attack from five hundred yards, with little or no cover at all, it was a suicide attack which was purely and simply to asses the firepower for a full frontal. The mortar and shell fire began to traverse the area immediately in front of the attackers, some fell short, then when they were just a third of the way across, a whistle sounded and they either dropped to the ground or turned round and ran for cover. Only one machine gun was used on this occasion creating small damage.
The gunners watched and waited, just before sundown, a truck arrived with hard tack and tea, and as each man collected his ration he wondered where the next meal would come from and what it would be. Six o’clock and the company sergeant major of the Leicestershire regiment arrived riding a Norton motor cycle. “The war is over lads, we have capitulated” he said. “Capitulated, what does that mean” asked Jackie Mould. “It means that we have give up” said one of the others, after which each took his turn at explaining what the outcome would be. Rumours began to take shape and by the time a truck had arrived to take Chucks crew back to headquarters, there were some who said that the Japs would want the Manchesters to take over the running of Singapore, because they had been on the island the longest. Headquarters had now been established at the pineapple factory off Kallang road close by the Kallang airport. The first thing to greet the men returning was the complete annihilation of Kallang. Aircraft of all shapes and sizes were scattered as far as the eye could see. The whole complex had been the continued target since the commencement of hostilities and it was very hard for the ordinary soldier to understand why so many air craft had been caught out. As the trucks turned into the factory yard, the scene which met them was on never to be forgotten. men of all ages were still sitting in their vehicles, many were crying openly, others were going round to each truck asking for information concerning a brother, a comrade or a mate. Several however were unconcerned, using their bayonet as a jemmy, they were busy prizing the cases of pineapple open, then piercing the tins in order to drink the juice, there was no water, all the mains supply lines had been burst by the bombing, plus the fact that the Japanese were in control of all the reservoirs, and they had turned off the supply. Chuck found a comfortable spot in the despatch office, using the managers desk as a bed, and his pack as a pillow, he allowed sleep to take over. It had been seventy hectic days, in which it would seem that no one knew exactly what they were doing seventy one days which would end British Empire rule.