Hours before the raid on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Japanese forces landed in Thailand and northern Malaya. Their rapid advance forced British and dominion troops down the Malaya peninsula. After more than a month of fighting they encountered Australian troops in southern Malaya but could not be stopped. By the beginning of February 1942 Allied forces had withdrawn to Singapore. Two weeks later, on 15 February, they surrendered to the Japanese. Tens of thousands of Allied troops became prisoners of war. Others were taken prisoner elsewhere in south-east Asia and the Pacific, including members of ‘Blackforce’, who were taken prisoner in Java.
Created to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore, this film includes reflections from eight veterans who served in the Malaya and Singapore. Some were taken prisoner and were allocated to work parties in Japan or on the Burma–Thailand railway; others served aboard naval ships in the region and were fortunate enough to escape capture. Their stories provide an emotional and compelling insight into a significant moment in Australian wartime history from a deeply personal perspective.