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Left Hand Page

A Cutting from the New York Herald – August 1941

obtained local leave enabling the three friends to meet in Singapore. It was on this occasion that the plan for the production of “Design for living” was first conceived. During the ensuing weeks, Jane obtained the sanction of the military authorities and financial backing for the production. It was not until May 27 that Wood and Barry, who were stationed in the Interior, were able [to] obtain Singapore leave simultaneously, permitting the four principals in the forthcoming play to meet for the first time since their respective arrivals in Malaya.

“Design for Living”, which has four major leads to be portrayed by Jane Cobb, McNaughton, Wood and Barry, will be produced in Singapore at the Victoria Theatre the first week in July. Barry and Wood will get special Singapore leave from the middle of July, allowing the cast to rehearse together only for about a fortnight before the first performance. After its Singapore run the play probably will be produced in Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Malacca.

Right Hand Page

Record of Northern Defences against three Japanese attacks
(the Malayan campaign), Dec. 1941.

Dec. 1941. It would appear that several plans had been considered by the army Chiefs for the northern defences – plans such as a push well north into Singgora in view, but some reason or other it was decided to put up a purely defensive show and the Jittra Line was manned. The Japanese put in three attacks, I. From Singgora 2. From Petani 3. From Kota Baru.

The Singorra attack advanced and we were beaten at Jittra (I don’t know why) and we fell back through Alor Star. Juron the Sungil Petani thereby losing aerodrome no 1 Alor Star. The no 3 attack from Kota Bharu was also successful and we lost aerodrome no 2 at Kota Bharu. Attack no 2 from Petani; also, meeting with success pushed on to Kroh then Grete and threatening our right flank caused the S. Petani line to fall back to the neighborhood of Taiping and Kuala Kangsar. This line was not very satisfactory and it was decided to take up a new position across the state of Perak just south of Ipoh running through Kampar. This we proceeded to put into effect and at first it would appear as though we had the situation in hand, but not for long. The Japanese consisted of 5 phases (1) Frontal Attack and Infiltration. He advances and meeting opposition halts and then infiltrates through the jungle – just like a river round a rock and no matter how strong the rock may be if the banks are not too steep or hard the water gets round. (2) Left flank sea bourne attack. Using small craft of any kind he brings troops down the left flank and lands them behind the line. These penetrate and link up with the troops which have infiltrated round the right flank. (3) Air attack. This is used for two purposes (a) to keep the troops (our) under cover while he infiltrates (b) to smash any resistance if by any chance infiltration either through the jungle or sea is impossible.

The combination of these three phases proved too much for us because as I have said we had not got the answer. What was the answer? Against infiltration. This is difficult and chiefly to the fact that our command would kep [sp] on considering that certain pieces of jungle etc. were unpassable and relying on that, in spite of the fact that time and time again the Japanese got through what we considered to be impossible, did nothing about it. Also, we were fitted out for road work with heavy transport, troops heavily armed with equipment, while the Japs were on foot, very lightly clothed and were much more mobile than us, in much larger numbers. I am not a soldier but I cannot help thinking that this problem was never given any serious thought – certainly there were not any serious attempts to combat it, but must not be dogmatic about this as I wasn’t there, I don’t know. (2) Easy. No naval support – the sea was open to the enemy – we had 12 light craft against the 100s and our last five just got off. (3) Air attack. Again, easy – No air support – if the sea was open, ye Gods, the sky was and he did just as he liked, bombed, dive-bombed, spotted men, transport and guns positions and generally hammered us until eventually; true-no until the Island was reached, but nevertheless, we must admit it, morale went and we were licked. But I have gone ahead – we are still on the Kampar lines. The line was turned eventually by a combination of the three phases – the landing from the sea taking place at Telok Ansons – so we withdrew to the Slim river line. Here again landing behind at Kuala, Selangor bust up the show Gen. Wavell in KL about June 6th. decided to retire right back to the Muar – Siganet – Mersing line after resistance had been put up round and about Kawang.