No. 1 Independent Infantry Company (Malaya)

Under the command of Major Sheppard Percy Fearon (previously 14th Punjab Regiment), the No.1 Independent Infantry Company (Malaya), which was formed on the the 1st of April 1941, consisted of volunteers from all British army units then serving in Malaya, including twenty four men from the Argyll and Southern Highlanders[1], and volunteers from most Indian Units also serving in Malaya.

Its total strength was 301 men, comprising 75% Indian, 25% British, with 60 men in each of the 5 Platoons.

The No.1 Independent Infantry Company (Malaya) was to be a self contained fighting unit, using guerrilla tactics similar to units that had already seen action at home (UK) and the Middle East.

Despite agreeing to its formation, senior military officers in Malaya Command seemed unable to agree on its proper role. Eventually it was agreed with Major Fearon that it would be given intensive training for two types of operations:

  1. amphibious warfare with the Navy; and
  2. jungle warfare for possible fighting on the Northern flank of the Armed Forces should they decide to enter Thailand.

Regardless, much to the frustration of Major Fearon, the company was never used to its full potential, as, during the 76 days of the Malayan Campaign, the No.1 Independent Company was placed under the orders of no less than 21 higher commanders and formations.

[1] Moon Over Malaya P75