Two platoons of the Independent Company had arrived in Sumpitan ahead of the main body of the Argylls at 10.30 a.m. and had not anticipated that the Japanese advance unit had already infiltrated the village. As they left their vehicles in the centre of the village, the Independent Company was ambushed and suffered some twenty casualties. They responded with a bayonet charge, shouting their Pathan and Sikh war cries as they drove the Japanese across the stream that ran through the village.  Moon Over Malaya – P114
In Fearon’s diary (page 17) he describes that in the aftermath of the bayonet charge:
It was easy shooting to pick off Japanese officers and men trying to retrieve equipment dropped in their flight. However, the respite was short and soon the battle was in full swing again with heavy mortaring of our position by the enemy, and consistent reinforcing of their troops.
It was apparent that without support, it was only a question of time infiltration round our flanks would force the Company to retire. No support was forthcoming. The Argylls had apparently halted south of the village despite messages sent for immediate assistance.
At 11.30hours the (2)Platoon, on the right of the road ran out of ammunition, and was ordered to withdraw under cover of the platoon on the left.
After this withdrawal, which was only carried out with heavy casualties, the platoon on the left and Company HQ came under heavy fire.
In Fearon’s diary he reports that but for the heroic actions of two members of the Company, for which Har Lal Singh was awarded a Victoria Cross (VC) and Sepoy Sadat Kahn was awarded an Indian Order of Merit (IOM), the Company was extricated from “what appeared to be a completely hopeless situation”.
During this action the Company suffered heavy casualties, chiefly inflicted during the withdrawal. Consisting of 1 British Officer wounded (Lt. E.A.J. Maclaren), 20 Indian ‘Other Ranks’ killed and wounded, the majority killed.
 Unfortunately, we don’t know which Platoon Walter fought with in the Independent Company, but it could quite possibly have been this Platoon (2Platoon) as in his diary entry of 19th December he he says Ammo ran out had to withdraw. 22 men lost. In Moon Over Malaya (page 114) this Platoon is described as 2 Platoon, the Pathans.This entry was posted in Uncategorized