Friday, 5 November 2010

Introduction - Part 8.

The next day we were taken to Kuala Lumpur railway station, the group of us that had been working together, put in our own carriage on our way to Singapore. The journey was very slow, sometimes we stopped, but it was uneventful, I would not have liked to be attached by aircraft and was pleased to get off the train at Singapore.

Most of the air raids had been on the RAF stations in Singapore, not much damage elsewhere, troopships had been sunk in the harbour by bombers, so men had been landed with their guns and rifles lost, the worst thing to happen once again the Japanese knew the time to come.

Taken to a transit camp where we enjoyed a good meal and a clean up in our barracks. On parade next morning at 9am, we were told that we could have the day off as we’d been having a rough time lately and could also go to Singapore, transport of which would be available.

We looked around the shops, had a meal, then our first experience of an air-conditioned cinema and froze in there. Was like walking into an oven when we came out and our transport was waiting at 4pm for our return. We’d seen enough anyway and did feel like a good nights sleep.

Next morning on parade an officer had a list of work placements. Bill and I were taken to collect our kit and off to the figher operations building. This was a very large bungalow on the sands of the south shore and very exposed being all alone. In the main room was a large table with a map of Malaya, Singapore, Sumatra and some islands.

The RAF station we were at now was Kallang on the south of Singapore, which was attacked regularly by the Japanese aircraft, so we were to live and work away from the airfield, only going there for meals. Lunch was normally the only chance attack took place, early breakfast and late dinner was peaceful.

The workings of the job, symbols and information were explained to us and informed that we would also be sounding Singapore’s air raid warnings. New observation posts had been set up in Sumatra and I was to be in contact with them. Information was not long in coming, a flight of aircraft flying over Sumatra making their way to attack our troops fighting near Singapore and none of our aircraft were available to help, but at least the troops were warned.

At the end of the working day we were taken to the house in East Coast Road, that was to be our home. A very grand house with a massive entrance hall and matching staircase each side joining the top floor with our bedrooms upstairs.

All of us were youngsters with mostly the same likes and dislikes and used to stay up late listening to big band music from the UK on our large radio. A very pleasant atmosphere was spoilt one night when five drunken Australian soldiers came through the front door demanding whiskey. We asked if they would like a coffee, which resulted in one pulling out a revolver and firing a shot into the ceiling. I looked for the most sober one, telling him we did not have any alcoholic drinks at all, were not allowed in town, and at last managed to get rid of them. We decided to lock the door from now on.

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