In Walter’s diary entry (in part) for this day, he says:
Met A. Stewart, Tiny Lewis & Captain Lloyd AIF. also LEICESTER/SURREY.
In his memoirs T.P. Lewis, a fellow Malayan Volunteer who was attached to Rose Force, notes meeting James Richardson and Walter Pollock at Batang Berjuntai who:
had joined an Independent Unit and gave us some brand new equipment and also some food for which we were equally grateful.
Both T.P. Lewis and James Richardson describe their experiences of being in their positions overnight on the 5th into the 6th of Jan as very uncomfortable due to mosquitoes and rain.
T.P. Lewis recalls:
I personally spent the most uncomfortable night of my life in Malaya lying on a plank at the edge of the river. As I was wearing only a pair of shorts and a Khaki shirt, and had no mosquito net and no ground sheet, I not only suffered badly from mosquito bites but got soaked to the skin in the drizzle which fell during the night. Various patrols were sent up the road during the night (password-Rani) but none of them made contact with the Japs.
I was therefore by no means unhappy when on January 5 (this should be 6th January) we were informed that a unit of the Leicesters and East Surreys had arrived to relieve us.
This passage from Fearon’s diary is worth quoting here in relation not only to the Berjuntai Bridge engagement with the Japanese, but also it explains that the odds were always going to be against the Independent Company during its rearguard action in the Malayan Campaign.
Later, although this does not affect Independent Company history, a whole Brigade (British Bn, 1/14 Punjabis, 3/17 Dogras) were unable to stem the enemy in the Batang Berjuntai area. It was always the way throughout the campaign that the Independent Company was first sent to deal with an enemy force which later proved too strong for a Brigade (possibly up to 1,200 personnel) or more.
On 6th January Brigadier Moorhead, commanding the 15th Indian Brigade, withdrew his forces across the Selangor river at Batang Berjuntai and destroyed the bridges.This entry was posted in Uncategorized