FORCE 136 IN MALAY
An Extract from:-
'The Dragon and The Maple Leaf'
by Marjorie Wong
Galvanic Brown, led by Maj. Ian A. Macdonald, a rubber planter who spoke Malay, was dropped 24 July, with Capt. M.G. Levy his 2 i/c. The wireless operator was Sgt. Tom R. Henney, and Sgt. Hinn Wing (Henry) Fung, code named Kale, K5224, From Vancouver, was the interpreter. Two members of E. Group were included in the drop.
The plane started out on the 20th. But the pilot was forced to return because of a malfunction. It took six hours flying to get rid of the gasoline that could not be jettisoned, before they could safety land. They started out again on the 22nd and their drop was completed without further mishap.
The Galvanic Brown team was dropped to a blue reception committee north of Kuala Lumpur. They set out for their camp near Kajang, a trip that took nearly a week, The camp was south of Kuala Lumpur close to the guerrilla regiment. They had no sooner set up camp than they were forced to move because of a Japanese patrol rapidly nearing their location and the guerrilla moved with them.
Food and medical drops were made and they set about giving what medical help they could. Macdonald was briefed to report on the rubber and tin situation.
After the surrender the group entered Kajang but the Japanese stationed here refused to discuss surrender until the British army arrived.
The team was able to diffuse hostilities between the MPAJA (Malayan Peoples' Anti-Japanese Army) and collaborators as well as to maintain control of the Japanese and ward off bandits until an Indian Army detachtment arrived 9/10 September and the team moved into Kuala Lumpur. Macdonald was please with Henry Fung who was the first of the Chinese Canadians to volunteer for operations in Malaya. Henry was “a great success with the guerrilla and always cheerful to do any amount of work asked of him”.
This particular team lived with the guerrilla and seem to have established an excellent rapport with them. The wives and children of the MPAJA were also sheltered in the camp and made clothing for their men from bolts of cloth dropped by Force 136, most of the men were too small for standard issue clothing. It is possible that the three star worn on the sleeve by Henry Fung indicates that this item also was made by one of the ladies in the camp.
Galvanic Green PTL was dropped 28 July to a reception party at Kerling in Selangor.
Maj. C,E, Maxwell led the team with a lieutenant, a sergeant, and two Nationalist Chinese wireless operators, and Sgt. Bing Lee Chinn. K5161 from Vancouver, code-named Haricot, the interpreter.
Maxwell was disappointed that Chinn was able to speak only the Cantonese dialect. The two Nationalist Chinese may have spoken Mandarin and little or no English so that communication with these might have been difficult. Unlike the Cantonese-speaking Canadian Chinese, the Chinese in Malaya were not all from the same area in China, although most came from the southern province. As a result there were several distinct spoken dialects. In spite of language problems, Bing Lee Chinn was able to interpret for most of the MPAJA with out difficulty.
By the time Maxwell`s group had set up camp, the Japanese had capitulated. The team immediately began providing medical assistance to the guerrillas who were suffering from beri- beri and skin ulcers and they also gave medical attention to those in Kuala Kubu Bahru. They used work parties of Japanese in Kuala Kuhru to clean up.
Galvanic State was dropped near Kuala Lumpur 28 July, under Capt. K. Robert Heine, his 2 i/c, Capt. Hugh Fraser, two wireless operators, and Sgt. Robert W, (BOB) Lew, K5677, code named Maize, interpreter, as well as a tracker dog that was killed on landing.
Slate was dropped to a guerrilla reception committee near Kuala Lipis, about 30 miles north of Kuala Lumpur. It took five days to reach their camp at Kachau, near Serendah.
Again, because of a Japanese patrol, they had to quickly and quietly leave camp. There was tension and anxiety as they slipped away unseen and unheard while the Japanese approached. The Japanese, on the other hand, never seemed to mount a serious campaign to winkle them out.
Broadhurst had distributed three of his teams north of Kuala Lumpur and the two others, Blue and Brown, to the east and south. The teams were instructed to establish secure bases quickly so that there would not be long lines of communication, the patrols were to set up camps in places where they could develop quickly and be prepared to go into action immediately.
Enemy pressure steadily increased during late July and early August as the Japanese probed into their positions with a frontal penetration, repulsed by a section of the Gurkha support group. If the Japanese had attacked at this point, the whole Selangor organization would have been jeopardized. There was no further Japanese action until fighting erupted between the MPAJA and the Japanese at Serendah on the 31 August.
The guerrillas at first had wanted Slate to be formed near Orange but lack of food in the area and increased enemy activity necessitated its move to the Kachau-Broga area, South of Brown. The move was not complete until after the Japanese capitulation.
On the Japanese surrender, Heine and Lew drove into Serendah: like Davis and Broadhurst at Kuala Lumpur, they were astonished to find a map on the walls of the garrison showing the location of most of the guerrilla camps.
The Slate team provided medical help to the Malays and the guerrillas who like the inhabitants generally, were suffering from lack of medical treatment. Bob Lew then traveled to Kuala Lumpur to join the others.
It was not until 22 August that a medical team of Capt. John Holman and his medical orderly, Sergeant Goodyer, as well as a British sergeant wireless operator, were added to the Selangor teams; they were dropped to a reception committee at Serendah. It had been planned to complete the drop of the additional Gurkha support groups during the August moon period but bodies were ‘frozen’ after the Japanese surrender.
John Davis moved from Perak to Selangor to join Broadhurst when the prospect of a Japanese surrender seemed imminent in mid-August. Bing Lee and Ted Wong were with Broadhurst when Davis joined the group.
When they moved to the headquarters camp near Serenadah. Davis and Broadhurst learned that the Japanese commander in Singapore, Gen. Itagaki Seishiro, intended to continue fighting. There was a tedious period while they waited for news of the surrender. By 24 August, the Japanese still had not replied to the surrender; instead they attacked the guerrillas in Serendah. Also during this period, there was a guerrilla attack on a Japanese convoy in south Perak, which did not help the tension. The fighting was stopped in Serendah by the personal intervention of Davis and Broadhurst.
Then they entered Kuaka Lumpur and contacted the Japanese governor of Selangor with regard the surrender. The Japanese officer in Kuala Lumpur, where some 6,000 Japanese troops were garrisoned, left some troops in Serendah to help keep the peace, but they insisted on waiting for the British Army to arrive before any formal surrender occur.
ON 31 August, Davis and Broadhurst moved into Kuala Lumpur to prevent further incidents. They established themselves in a Chinese house overlooking the race track where the guerrillas were encamped; they were thus able to keep watch over both the former enemy and the MPAJA allies.
Ugly situations developed: the guerrillas were hard to disband, and the Japanese refused to recognize the British connection with the guerrillas. Instructions had come from headquarters not to jeopardize the lives of prisoners by any kind of confrontation with the Japanese. Some 1,300 internees were located by the teams in a camp near Kachau in Selangor; wireless contact was immediately made with headquarters advising the number and location of this group. Since nothing further could be done in Kuala Lumpur, Davis and Broadhurst set out for Morib Beach for Operation Zipper.
At the time the British Army invaded on the 9 September, the guerillas were being used to prevent looting and lynchings and their health was improving with food supplies, transport, and quarters provided by the Japanese. Although General MacArthur had accepted the Japanese surrender on the 2 September in Tokyo Bay, British troops did not reach Kuala Lumpur until 13 September, the day following Mountbatten`s acceptance of the Japanese surrender of all troops in SEAC theatre at Singapore.
By the end of September the British military authority and Force 136 teams were disbanding and disarming the guerrillas. Bing Lee coded messages to Ceylon concerning the situation in Selangor. including information on the POW camps they had found. Both he and Ted Wong helped supervise Japanese work parties and with the help of guerrillas maintained the peace between the Chinese and Malayas. Assistance was also given to Australian Prisoners of War. At Serendah, the Japanese allowed the team to use the local police station and the hospital.