Roy Cornford - Fall of Singapore part 1

Running time
2 min 54 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


Roy Cornford:
And the day we evacuated Malaya, we came across the Causeway and we hadn't been across the Causeway an hour when they blew the Causeway up. And then they gave us a feed and then we were taken out to parts of Singapore and the jungle of Singapore. And then about seven days later, the Japs came across. And about another seven days later, Singapore surrendered.

You didn't realise your war on what was going on and what you were going to expect in the finish. I didn't, anyhow. Only once, I fired up my machine gun once. That's the only time I ever fired a shot. We were lying there watching the river and that and next thing, a group come out of the bush behind us. And they babbled away in Japanese. Didn't know who we were, thinking we were Japanese. And when they realised that they weren't, that's when the Australians all laying there turned around and opened fire at all of them.

Well, I pulled the trigger on my machine gun that I had, and fired one magazine of shots, and that was all. Then we retreated because there was more Japanese there. And then as we retreated, we all got separated in different groups. And we walked through the jungle and we came across an English camp and we had no food.

And these Englishmen in these trucks, they had a lot of tin food and they gave us food. And they said, "Oh, well we're going." And we said, "Well, we'll go with you." And they says, "No, you can't." And they left us and they went. And then we got down to the watercourse on the, we didn't know whether it was the harbour or the river or what.

And eventually we got into a small boat and we paddled. We're paddling, we could see ships up in the harbour of Singapore. And we paddled. And next thing we saw a transport ship coming towards us and it dropped anchor. And we saw a lot of soldiers and that on it, and they're waving to us and we paddled over to it. And they lowered a big scrambling net. And the five of us in the boat got hold of the scrambling net and they lifted us on board.

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