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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Force 136 Battle Record

This article or rather a reply to one Sharmalan Thevar about the absence of Force 136 battle records.

From 1942 to 1943 or 1944, Askar Wataniah Pahang could not effectively fight against the Japanese as they did not have weapons. The British had trust issue with Malays as they blamed Ibrahim Yaacob, the Kesatuan Melayu Muda president as a key traitor that had made the Japanese invasion possible.

The main proponent of using Chinese guerrilla for Force 136 activities was John Davis. After he was inserted into Malaya to meet up with MPAJA forces, that there was rapprochement attempts with Malays.

Note, this does not mean that John Davis had condoned that only Chinese can be trusted. But rather his unique experience of handling Lai Teck or agent Wright, who was MCP Secretary General, when he was with Singapore's Special Branch.

By so far, after the Force 136 did get in touch with Askar Wataniah Pahang and included them into their fold, Askar Wataniah Pahang was involved in a few combat operations. I shared one in the article. Led by a Lt Yakin, they were able to destroy a Japanese convoy to Pahang.

As for other combat actions, I was unable to find any records, owing to the fact that:
1. Our local leaders did not have the habit of writing down their own story as not to be seen as angkat bakul.
2. Soon after Japanese surrender, Force 136 HQ in India had destroyed all their records. Together with it, all the combat records of all anti-Japanese movements. This single act by an unknown bureaucrat in Force 136 not only destroyed all available records with Force 136 in Pahang, but also condemned many good non-communist Chinese who had helped MPAJA being labeled as communist.

For your question on why Askar Wataniah Pahang had went against the MPAJA. While it was true that MPAJA was the main anti-Japanese under Force 136, their loyalty was actually being questioned by both SOE and ISLD, both being the intelligence agencies handling the war effort in Malaya. They believed that MCP will revolt against the British the moment Japan surrender. Which was quite right. Ibrahim Yaacob had approached MPAJA leadership to join forces with Japanese forces to prevent British military landing. But MCP did not commit themselves to the plan when Lai Tek convinced them not to. Had MCP decided to go on this path, John Davis and many of the Force 136 British operators would have been executed, similar to around 400 Japanese soldiers who had defected into MCP forces at the end of World War 2.

Aside from MPAJA and Askar Wataniah Pahang, there were 2 other Force 136 outfits; OCAJA and Askar Melayu Setia of Perak. It is most interesting to note that MPAJA and OCAJA were supposed to be allies. But MPAJA had attacked and destroyed most of OCAJA's strength. Ironically, MPAJA reported the attacks either as attacks on Japanese military or on outlaws to the Force 136 command. In fact, attacks on Malayan Police Force which were under Japanese control were reported as attacks on Japanese army column. Amongst the survivors of these attack was Datuk JJ Raj, who would later escaped MCP attack on Bukit Kepung.

And key OCAJA personnel were betrayed to the Kempetai by Lai Tek who was then under Kempetai's control.

Force 136 HQ in Ceylon had huge distrust on MCP that they had sent other Force 136 operators to Perak to join up with other guerrilla forces that even John Davis had expressed surprise later that there were 2 other Force 136 operators nearby without his knowledge.


If you take note of the writings on Force 136, it is mostly from written accounts by great men like Boris Hembly, John Davis, Freddie Spencer Chapman and many others.  Locally, I can only remember with certainty of records written by Maj (R) Ismail Babu (Kisah Seorang Perajurit) and General Tun Ibrahim Ismail (Have You Met Mariam?)  Without their diligence, none of this would ever be recorded.

1 comment:

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