HIS­TORY OF THE MA­CHINE GUN BAT­TAL­ION

Southern Gazette (Belmont) - - NEWS -

Western Aus­tralia’s 2/4th Ma­chine Gun Bat­tal­ion was raised at the end of 1940 as one of the sup­port units for the ill­fated 8th Di­vi­sion. Af­ter days of air raids, the Ja­panese at­tacked Singapore on Fe­bru­ary 8, 1942. De­ployed to dif­fer­ent units, the 2/4th's com­pa­nies were quickly in ac­tion but by Fe­bru­ary 10 the Ja­panese had cap­tured the is­land's west coast. Five days later the Bri­tish forces were pushed back to a de­fen­sive line, how­ever the bat­tle was vir­tu­ally over and on Fe­bru­ary 15 Lieu­tenant-Gen­eral Arthur Per­ci­val sur­ren­dered Singapore. The ma­chine-gun­ners suf­fered heav­ily. Be­tween Fe­bru­ary 8 and 15 the 2/4th had 137 men killed or miss­ing, 106 men wounded, and 24 de­scribed as hav­ing "shell shock". These ca­su­al­ties con­sti­tuted al­most onethird of the bat­tal­ion. Worse was to fol­low, with the bat­tal­ion held in Ja­panese pris­oner of war camps for the next three years. Fol­low­ing the sur­ren­der, the 2/4th was con­cen­trated in Changi gaol. By the war's end, an­other 263 men from the bat­tal­ion had died as pris­on­ers. – www.awm.gov.au

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