- British Officer of the Independent Company
The following British Officers served with the Independent Company during the Campaign:
Major S.P. FEARON – 5/14 PUNJAN REGIMENT – CO Independent Company
Capt. R.A. HOFMAN – NORTHAMPTON REGIMENT – 2 i/c Independent Company
Lt. J.H.PROCTOR – LOYAL REGIMENT
Lt. D.C.W. NUNNELEY – 2 GORDON HIGHLANDERS
Lt. R.G.DANIEL – EAST SURREY REGIMENT
Lt. J. BRANSTON – LEICESTERSHIRE REGIMENT
Lt. E.H.A. MACLAREN – 5/14 PUNJAB REGIMENT
2/Lt. S. MARTIN – 11 SIKH REGIMENT
2/Lt. R.D. NEWTON – 1/14 PUNJAB REGIMENT
2/Lt. A.E. HOLLAND – 18 GARHWAL RIFLES
Lt. J SIMPSON – LOYAL REGIMENT
Lt. SMITH – R.I.A.S.C., 31 G.P.TRANSPORT COMPANY (attached as transport Officer)
- Honours & Awards
There was general complaint throughout the Campaign that recommendations for immediate awards were seldom granted. This is certainly true of the Company, to which not a single immediate award was granted. The value of the immediate award never seemed to be appreciated, at any rate as regards the Indian Troops.
It is highly probable that had these been more generously bestowed, the morale of the troops would have been appreciably higher. It was all the more galling as British Units which shared the fighting with their Indian Comrades seemed to be given an adequate allotment awards. It is felt that this is a matter which could still be put right, and those units which fought throughout the Campaign and received virtually no rewards for their endeavours should now receive their first allotment.
- Postal Services
As regards the experience of the Independent Company, these were disgraceful. Not a single letter or telegram was received by any member of the Company throughout the Campaign. In a swiftly moving retreat the difficulties of maintaining an adequate postal service can be appreciated, but for a complete breakdown and spirit of helplessness there can be no excuse.
The complete lack of communication with home had a lowering effect on morale which a letter service would have helped to sustain. On the other hand, services ex-Malaya were good and telegrams, etc, dispatched up to the last minute reached their destinations in a short time.
- Chain of Command
There was too much chopping and changing about in the normal chain of command. The Independent Company was particularly unfortunate in this respect. And it was due to this that so many other administrative difficulties kept cropping up.
For instance, one day the Company would be under 11 Div, and the next under Corps. Not everybody was informed of the change and the Company Ration lorries would traverse the roads by night looking for a place to draw rations, both 11 Div and Corps dumps saying that we belonged to the other formation and refusing to supply us until eventually one or other would take pity and give us the necessary rations.
The following list of formations and units that were placed in command of The Independent Company during the campaign shows the extent to which the Company was passed from one command to another.
|8/12/41||26 ½ M.S.||Tester Group|
|9/12/41||Kuala Nerang||6 Brigade|
|15/12/41||S. Lalang||11 Division|
|18/12/41||Kuala Kangsar||3 Corps|
|19/12/41||Grik Road||2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders|
|20/12/41||Kuala Kangsar||3 Corps|
|23/12/41||Telok Anson||11 Division|
|26/12/41||Telok Anson||5/14 Punjab|
|28/12/41||Telok Anson||11 Division|
|3/1/42||Kuala Lumpur||Line of Command Area|
|6/1/42||Port Swettenham||3 Negeri Sembilan (SSVF)|
|15/1/42||Batu Pahat||3 Cavalry|
|16/1/42||Batu Pahat||11 Division|
|17/1/42||Batu Pahat||2 Cambridgeshires|
|18/1/42||Move to Singapore||3 Corps|
During the Campaign, which had lasted for two months and a week, the Independent Company had been wished on to no less than twenty different units and formations.
It is difficult for the highest trained troops to withstand the strain of twenty one different commanders in so short a period.
 Taken from Appendix 2 – Major Fearon’s Account of the No 1 Independent Infantry Company (Malaya)