Sunday, 15 August 2010

Japanese Surrender

Maj Gen Sir Charles Lane witnessed the Japanese surrender to Lord Mountbatten in Singapore's Council Chamber;
"When we had all taken our seats the Japanese delegation of seven were marched in. They wore no head-dress or arms and, in fact, had been searched before they were allowed into the room. The seven were made up of two Vice Admirals, two Air Corps Generals and three Army Generals, including Itagaki who was representing Field Marshal count Terauchi, the Japanese Commander-in-Chief Southern Regions, who was ill and unable to be present. When they were seated I looked very carefully at all these Japanese senior officers' faces and tried to see in any one of them anything which I could classify as clever or nice featured in any way. They really had "beastly" faces without any trace of kindliness in them, in fact, quite barbarian.

A few moments later the Supreme Commander came in and, of course, everybody stood up; later we sat down and Itagaki presented his credentials. Lord Louis then read out the instrument of surrender and requested Itagaki to sign. This he did, affixing his own and Field Marshal Terauchi's seals."
Gen Percival, captured when Singapore fell, was not there to see the Japanese surrender. He stood instead immediately behind Gen MacArthur on the deck of USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay as Hirohito's representatives confirmed the terms of the surrender.

The deaths of 12,000 Commonwealth POWs at the hands of the Japanese cannot be forgotten, and indeed resonates personally. The 18th Division, arriving in Singapore just before the surrender, was an Anglian division. Amongst those captured was Fr Malcolm Cowin, RC Chaplain to the 2nd Cambridgeshire Regt. He survived Japanese captivity and the war, and built the church of Our Lady and St Thomas of Canterbury in Wymondham, Norfolk as a 'debt of honour' to those 12,000 dead, and a focal point for FEPOW, the Far East Prisoners of War Association. He was my school Chaplain.


Witterings From Witney said...

Off topic - many thanks for my inclusion in your 'Daily Fixes'

On topic, can fully understand your personal views.

Anonymous said...

They really had "beastly" faces without any trace of kindliness in them, in fact, quite barbarian.

Right back at you for looking dumb. Being conquered by barbarians is no laughing matter.

Speech and culture determines how we hold our face muscles and are perceived. The stiff upper lip etc. A strange gaze for people unfamilar to such expressions.

The Japanese strict religion and deference to status made thousands of angry nip rifleman look forward to having their own serfs to play with. (Bit like Nazi soldiers over non master race people).

Thankfully that Japanese culture has been blown out of them and only sub-dom tea rooms are used to reenact their glory days.

Anonymous said...

"Thankfully that Japanese culture has been blown out of them and only sub-dom tea rooms are used to reenact their glory days."

Edward Spalton said...

How like the British press in general and the dumbed down Sunday Telegraph in particular to lead this story with a large picture of British troops surrendering to the Japanese. Pictures of the ceremony you mention must have been available and it is the victory which we are supposed to be remembering.

Not a few of my older acquaintances went more or less straight off the boat and "into the bag" at Singapore. A territorial battalion of our county regiment, the Sherwood Foresters, was part of the force on its way when the position was already hopeless.

Politics, I believe, decided they could not be turned back. There was an Australian general election and it could not be said that the British had let down the Australian troops already in the fight.

Bill Quango MP said...

Edward Spalton, that's slightly unfair. Although military sacrifices were called for, Hong Kong for one, Calais was another, they were normally insisted upon by Churchill, who was talked out of them by his staff.

Communications were not good during the opening phases of the Japanese advances and the British thought that Singapore held food and water and supplies for four to six months. Reinforcements looked like a good idea.
They weren't, but that sort of mistake often happens to retreating armies.