MWI 41081311 The First Night Training Air Raid

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
1941, Wednesday 13 August;

They sat around the big teak table in the conference room of the RAF Far East Command Headquarters, Sime Road Camp, with Park sitting at the head, the accompanying Army and RAF officers along each side. Park spoke slowly, gravely, with controlled anger in his voice. They were reviewing last night’s training operation.

Gentlemen, that was simply a disaster, let me make this most clear to you, it will not happen again. Park looked slowly around the table, looking at each face, making eye contact, before moving on to the next one. They sat there, silent, each reviewing in his own mind what had happened. Still fresh in Park’s mind was the lies he had told the reporters that morning, how if it had been a real raid, nearly all the bombers would have been shot down, and the base would have been totally safe.

The plan had been quite simple, red team, 6 Swordfish, 4 from FAA 814 Sqn and 2 from FAA 839 Sqn, had taken off from HMS Hermes, 80 miles away from Singapore at 10pm that night. Each armed with two dummy bombs, to simulate the weight.

It was a night time flying exercise for the FAA, with a take-off and landing done at night. But it was also a test of the defences, of blue team, how they would react to a night attack on Singapore Naval base. The time of attack was known, agreed even, the height they flew already set two days ago, when planning this. A simple exercise, or so they thought.

Sqn Leader Carter reflected on his radar’s failure. The TRU radar station up on Bukit Timah hill had switched on at 8pm, plenty of time to warm up, get everyone settled, and then plot in the raid, reporting to the air control at Kallang, who liaised with the AA control at Changi. Everything was fine, until twenty past nine, when a failure had taken the station off air. Their best two maintenance officers had been absent, down in Singapore, celebrating a birthday, and couldn’t be located. It had only been eleven, this morning, before the station had got back up on air!

Brigadier Wilding nervously played with his pencil, repeating in his head what he might say in defence of his command. Guns, searchlights, it had all been a mess. Should he blame individuals, a one-off circumstance? He worried about what he might have promised in the past, he struggled to recall all he might have said. He hadn’t spoken to Park much, an introduction, a few months ago, and a few short reports in committee before.

Lt Col Allpress sat beside him, debating in his head on whether to just accept a roasting, or try to offer some mitigation. No gun had declared it had captured a bearing on the aircraft, and indeed, a number of guns had not even been readied despite a ten-minute warning. He even had a number of casualties, the worse one had four broken ribs and a punctured lung, but another had a broken leg, a dozen or so others with sprains, strains etc. They had done other night exercises, but alone, with no real aircraft to track, and against a ticking clock. How different this exercise turned gun routines into, as men had clumsily acted out their roles, the excitement, and adrenaline causing chaos.

Lt Col Clarke, was next along the table, his searchlights had all worked fine, except for the one which had convinced itself an aircraft was in the cloud it illuminated, and then another two had circled around the first, creating a lovely light spectacular over the city, entertaining the upwardly looking crowds below. As for finding aircraft, they hadn’t got close.

Opposite Clarke sat Sqn Leader Fowle, who commanded 27 RAF night fighter squadron. He had sent two Blenheim 1F’s up that night, both with AI Mk IV’s. They’d had the radars fitted for about a month now, and had been practicing almost daily, in daylight hours to gain proficiency. Both aircraft were up on time, in their own boxes, and that’s about all that could be said that was good. The first aircraft had been up for about 10 minutes before the radar set failed, and they hadn’t been able to repair it, while in the second aircraft they had inexplicably changed radio frequency, and hadn’t notice it, so flew around in complete ignorance, waiting for direction from a ground control that couldn’t contact them.

Air Commodore Stanley Vincent sat on Parks right, in stony silence, already having discussed the failings earlier, Air defence of Singapore was Vincent’s top priority, this failure reflected badly on him personally. Park was well aware of his problems, but wanted to make a point with the officers under him, including the Army units which worked hand in hand with Vincent’s command, and he was in no mood for excuses, despite many of them being more than reasonable, needing to vent his anger and frustration.

Park leaned back, eyes looking at the ceiling, he spoke to them all in a steady clipped tone with a noticeable tone of aggression. “I’m not going to ask why things went wrong, I understand we have a lot of new people, incomplete training programs, and unfamiliar equipment. I want a report on my desk from each of you by the end of tomorrow, detailing, not just what went wrong, but how you will change things for the better. But I will tell you now, I will give you a month, and we will be doing this again, and there will be a marked improvement in each of your performances or your career in uniform will be coming to a quick conclusion. You are dismissed”.

They all quietly got up, relieved they hadn’t been asked to explain, were careful not to scrap their wooden chairs on the floor, and softly walked out. Park’s mind was already elsewhere. He was meeting Governor Caldicott tonight and needed to have a chat about the Civilian APR and blackout, which had simply been appalling, with large parts of the city still lit up.
 
1941, Wednesday 13 August;

They sat around the big teak table in the conference room of the RAF Far East Command Headquarters, Sime Road Camp, with Park sitting at the head, the accompanying Army and RAF officers along each side. Park spoke slowly, gravely, with controlled anger in his voice. They were reviewing last night’s training operation.

Gentlemen, that was simply a disaster, let me make this most clear to you, it will not happen again. Park looked slowly around the table, looking at each face, making eye contact, before moving on to the next one. They sat there, silent, each reviewing in his own mind what had happened. Still fresh in Park’s mind was the lies he had told the reporters that morning, how if it had been a real raid, nearly all the bombers would have been shot down, and the base would have been totally safe.

The plan had been quite simple, red team, 6 Swordfish, 4 from FAA 814 Sqn and 2 from FAA 839 Sqn, had taken off from HMS Hermes, 80 miles away from Singapore at 10pm that night. Each armed with two dummy bombs, to simulate the weight.

It was a night time flying exercise for the FAA, with a take-off and landing done at night. But it was also a test of the defences, of blue team, how they would react to a night attack on Singapore Naval base. The time of attack was known, agreed even, the height they flew already set two days ago, when planning this. A simple exercise, or so they thought.

Sqn Leader Carter reflected on his radar’s failure. The TRU radar station up on Bukit Timah hill had switched on at 8pm, plenty of time to warm up, get everyone settled, and then plot in the raid, reporting to the air control at Kallang, who liaised with the AA control at Changi. Everything was fine, until twenty past nine, when a failure had taken the station off air. Their best two maintenance officers had been absent, down in Singapore, celebrating a birthday, and couldn’t be located. It had only been eleven, this morning, before the station had got back up on air!

Brigadier Wilding nervously played with his pencil, repeating in his head what he might say in defence of his command. Guns, searchlights, it had all been a mess. Should he blame individuals, a one-off circumstance? He worried about what he might have promised in the past, he struggled to recall all he might have said. He hadn’t spoken to Park much, an introduction, a few months ago, and a few short reports in committee before.

Lt Col Allpress sat beside him, debating in his head on whether to just accept a roasting, or try to offer some mitigation. No gun had declared it had captured a bearing on the aircraft, and indeed, a number of guns had not even been readied despite a ten-minute warning. He even had a number of casualties, the worse one had four broken ribs and a punctured lung, but another had a broken leg, a dozen or so others with sprains, strains etc. They had done other night exercises, but alone, with no real aircraft to track, and against a ticking clock. How different this exercise turned gun routines into, as men had clumsily acted out their roles, the excitement, and adrenaline causing chaos.

Lt Col Clarke, was next along the table, his searchlights had all worked fine, except for the one which had convinced itself an aircraft was in the cloud it illuminated, and then another two had circled around the first, creating a lovely light spectacular over the city, entertaining the upwardly looking crowds below. As for finding aircraft, they hadn’t got close.

Opposite Clarke sat Sqn Leader Fowle, who commanded 27 RAF night fighter squadron. He had sent two Blenheim 1F’s up that night, both with AI Mk IV’s. They’d had the radars fitted for about a month now, and had been practicing almost daily, in daylight hours to gain proficiency. Both aircraft were up on time, in their own boxes, and that’s about all that could be said that was good. The first aircraft had been up for about 10 minutes before the radar set failed, and they hadn’t been able to repair it, while in the second aircraft they had inexplicably changed radio frequency, and hadn’t notice it, so flew around in complete ignorance, waiting for direction from a ground control that couldn’t contact them.

Air Commodore Stanley Vincent sat on Parks right, in stony silence, already having discussed the failings earlier, Air defence of Singapore was Vincent’s top priority, this failure reflected badly on him personally. Park was well aware of his problems, but wanted to make a point with the officers under him, including the Army units which worked hand in hand with Vincent’s command, and he was in no mood for excuses, despite many of them being more than reasonable, needing to vent his anger and frustration.

Park leaned back, eyes looking at the ceiling, he spoke to them all in a steady clipped tone with a noticeable tone of aggression. “I’m not going to ask why things went wrong, I understand we have a lot of new people, incomplete training programs, and unfamiliar equipment. I want a report on my desk from each of you by the end of tomorrow, detailing, not just what went wrong, but how you will change things for the better. But I will tell you now, I will give you a month, and we will be doing this again, and there will be a marked improvement in each of your performances or your career in uniform will be coming to a quick conclusion. You are dismissed”.

They all quietly got up, relieved they hadn’t been asked to explain, were careful not to scrap their wooden chairs on the floor, and softly walked out. Park’s mind was already elsewhere. He was meeting Governor Caldicott tonight and needed to have a chat about the Civilian APR and blackout, which had simply been appalling, with large parts of the city still lit up.
I bet Hermes's Officers and Pilots were bloody smug about that LOL
 

Driftless

Donor
I don't think they actually bombed anything?

"Each armed with two dummy bombs, to simulate the weight"
That would be my guess too. It wouldn't do for an errant dummy bomb to plop down in the middle of some red light district, or other commercial area. That would be hard to hide from the Governor General. Unpleasant and counterproductive questions and resistance to follow.
 

Coulsdon Eagle

Monthly Donor
and

Hi Dave_r_gilbert and Coulsdon Eagle, thank you for sharing that, I love hearing about personal stories. My dad was out in India and Burma from 1944 with the Royal navy. Trained as a torpedo man down near Portsmouth, was shipped out through the Med, and on arrival in India, told, we don't need anymore torpedosmen, we'll put you on landing craft, and so thats where he went.

I remember, as a kid dad showing me a Kukri he had, in a black leather scabbard, with the accompanying Karda and Chakmak. Quite where he got it from I've no idea, but it was hung on a wall as decoration for a while until mum had it taken down. What happened to it, I've no idea!
My own moment with the Gurkhas came at Lord's. Standing in the Gents, doing what comes naturally, when I suddenly notice the guy next to me has a 9-inch.... kukri.
Gurkhas were present as stewards as part of a fund-raising mission following an earthquake in Nepal.
 
That would be my guess too. It wouldn't do for an errant dummy bomb to plop down in the middle of some red light district, or other commercial area. That would be hard to hide from the Governor General. Unpleasant and counterproductive questions and resistance to follow.
Given Parks experince in the Battle of Britian the Governor-General is in for an interview without tea or biscuits.
 
My own moment with the Gurkhas came at Lord's. Standing in the Gents, doing what comes naturally, when I suddenly notice the guy next to me has a 9-inch.... kukri.
Gurkhas were present as stewards as part of a fund-raising mission following an earthquake in Nepal.
When I visited India way back in 1990, I ended up on a train with a load of Ghurkas. They were all cheerful little fellows, each armed with a kukri and a rifle. no one dared to cross one of them, all were treated most civilly by the train staff and the civilians. Some knew some English and were quite willing to talk to the stray tourist who was interested in their service to the Indian nation. They were being deployed to Kashmir because of "trouble". Knowing what I had been told by fellow diggers about their abilities I knew they could handle themselves.
 
As far as defending against nighttime air attacks, at least they have identified that there are serious issues in that regard. Thankfully these problems are found in peacetime, not while Japanese bombers rumble overhead. This might be mistaken, but aside from hardware failures, it seems that they have equipment in place, while the most serious issues seem to be in regards to the men and training. Radars are temperamental still, tropical climate not helping, but even their issues can be somewhat mitigated by maintenance, spare parts and units, as well as increase in training of crews.
 

Driftless

Donor
^^^ With Park and Gort present, any sense of complacency wouldn't be tolerated in senior leadership. And if the senior leaders are drivers, at least many of those folks in the layers below will pick up their pace as well.
 

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
I bet Hermes's Officers and Pilots were bloody smug about that LOL
Hi Cryhavoc101, I'm not sure they'd be privy to the RAF storm that's blown up, but some crews of FAA 814 and 839 are now doing night flight training with their Swordfish, and they're certainly quite smug about that.
Depends - where did the dummy bombs land = probably not where they were meant to. But that is not Parks' probelm up to the RN to sort out.
Hi Mark1978, no, its as Cryhavoc101 says, just carried, they need to get use to flying with the extra weight, although hopefully not having to land back on the carriers with live ones!
That would be my guess too. It wouldn't do for an errant dummy bomb to plop down in the middle of some red light district, or other commercial area. That would be hard to hide from the Governor General. Unpleasant and counterproductive questions and resistance to follow.
Hi Driftless, pre-war, I believe the Vildebeest squadrons did actually practice with dropping empty bottles, in an effort to mark their targets, and save money, but it was ineffective, and frowned upon by the authorities, but not, obviously, over Singapore city.
 
When I visited India way back in 1990, I ended up on a train with a load of Ghurkas. They were all cheerful little fellows, each armed with a kukri and a rifle. no one dared to cross one of them, all were treated most civilly by the train staff and the civilians. Some knew some English and were quite willing to talk to the stray tourist who was interested in their service to the Indian nation. They were being deployed to Kashmir because of "trouble". Knowing what I had been told by fellow diggers about their abilities I knew they could handle themselves.
The ones I've interacted with weren't exactly cheery - moreso quiet and intense - but were nonetheless soft spoken, courteous and helpful. Gave the impression that they could completely and utterly pulverise you the instant they perceived you as being a threat.
 
I spent most of my Army "career" with the Gurkhas - two postings to regiments with Gurkha squadrons, including one that was on the same camp as HQ Queen's Gurkha Signals, and two year long courses with a Gurkha on my course and numerous others on other courses.

Some are quiet, some are loud. Some are serious and some were hilarious. All speak English, although with varying degrees from "can make themselves understood" up to "better English than half the Geordies and Weegies in the regiment". Overall I loved them, but they could be a real pain in the arse at times.
 
I had the pleasure of serving with a Gurkha Engineer unit on exercise, the most irritating thing about them was that they have only a few surnames, so to ID them you needed to know their last 4 numbers of their army number so it would be Singh 1234 and Singh 4321 etc

Amazingly tough and hard working people.
 
They used their first names when I was with them. As you say, it gets a bit confusing when you've got 20x Thapa, 20x Gurung, 15x Rai and 10x Rana in a squadron x'D
 
They used their first names when I was with them. As you say, it gets a bit confusing when you've got 20x Thapa, 20x Gurung, 15x Rai and 10x Rana in a squadron x'D
Why am I reminded of the movie "Zulu" where most of the soldiers were named "Jones". Each was known as "Jones xxx" by the Colour Sergeant...
 
1941, Wednesday 13 August;

They sat around the big teak table in the conference room of the RAF Far East Command Headquarters, Sime Road Camp, with Park sitting at the head, the accompanying Army and RAF officers along each side. Park spoke slowly, gravely, with controlled anger in his voice. They were reviewing last night’s training operation.

Gentlemen, that was simply a disaster, let me make this most clear to you, it will not happen again. Park looked slowly around the table, looking at each face, making eye contact, before moving on to the next one. They sat there, silent, each reviewing in his own mind what had happened. Still fresh in Park’s mind was the lies he had told the reporters that morning, how if it had been a real raid, nearly all the bombers would have been shot down, and the base would have been totally safe.

The plan had been quite simple, red team, 6 Swordfish, 4 from FAA 814 Sqn and 2 from FAA 839 Sqn, had taken off from HMS Hermes, 80 miles away from Singapore at 10pm that night. Each armed with two dummy bombs, to simulate the weight.

It was a night time flying exercise for the FAA, with a take-off and landing done at night. But it was also a test of the defences, of blue team, how they would react to a night attack on Singapore Naval base. The time of attack was known, agreed even, the height they flew already set two days ago, when planning this. A simple exercise, or so they thought.

Sqn Leader Carter reflected on his radar’s failure. The TRU radar station up on Bukit Timah hill had switched on at 8pm, plenty of time to warm up, get everyone settled, and then plot in the raid, reporting to the air control at Kallang, who liaised with the AA control at Changi. Everything was fine, until twenty past nine, when a failure had taken the station off air. Their best two maintenance officers had been absent, down in Singapore, celebrating a birthday, and couldn’t be located. It had only been eleven, this morning, before the station had got back up on air!

Brigadier Wilding nervously played with his pencil, repeating in his head what he might say in defence of his command. Guns, searchlights, it had all been a mess. Should he blame individuals, a one-off circumstance? He worried about what he might have promised in the past, he struggled to recall all he might have said. He hadn’t spoken to Park much, an introduction, a few months ago, and a few short reports in committee before.

Lt Col Allpress sat beside him, debating in his head on whether to just accept a roasting, or try to offer some mitigation. No gun had declared it had captured a bearing on the aircraft, and indeed, a number of guns had not even been readied despite a ten-minute warning. He even had a number of casualties, the worse one had four broken ribs and a punctured lung, but another had a broken leg, a dozen or so others with sprains, strains etc. They had done other night exercises, but alone, with no real aircraft to track, and against a ticking clock. How different this exercise turned gun routines into, as men had clumsily acted out their roles, the excitement, and adrenaline causing chaos.

Lt Col Clarke, was next along the table, his searchlights had all worked fine, except for the one which had convinced itself an aircraft was in the cloud it illuminated, and then another two had circled around the first, creating a lovely light spectacular over the city, entertaining the upwardly looking crowds below. As for finding aircraft, they hadn’t got close.

Opposite Clarke sat Sqn Leader Fowle, who commanded 27 RAF night fighter squadron. He had sent two Blenheim 1F’s up that night, both with AI Mk IV’s. They’d had the radars fitted for about a month now, and had been practicing almost daily, in daylight hours to gain proficiency. Both aircraft were up on time, in their own boxes, and that’s about all that could be said that was good. The first aircraft had been up for about 10 minutes before the radar set failed, and they hadn’t been able to repair it, while in the second aircraft they had inexplicably changed radio frequency, and hadn’t notice it, so flew around in complete ignorance, waiting for direction from a ground control that couldn’t contact them.

Air Commodore Stanley Vincent sat on Parks right, in stony silence, already having discussed the failings earlier, Air defence of Singapore was Vincent’s top priority, this failure reflected badly on him personally. Park was well aware of his problems, but wanted to make a point with the officers under him, including the Army units which worked hand in hand with Vincent’s command, and he was in no mood for excuses, despite many of them being more than reasonable, needing to vent his anger and frustration.

Park leaned back, eyes looking at the ceiling, he spoke to them all in a steady clipped tone with a noticeable tone of aggression. “I’m not going to ask why things went wrong, I understand we have a lot of new people, incomplete training programs, and unfamiliar equipment. I want a report on my desk from each of you by the end of tomorrow, detailing, not just what went wrong, but how you will change things for the better. But I will tell you now, I will give you a month, and we will be doing this again, and there will be a marked improvement in each of your performances or your career in uniform will be coming to a quick conclusion. You are dismissed”.

They all quietly got up, relieved they hadn’t been asked to explain, were careful not to scrap their wooden chairs on the floor, and softly walked out. Park’s mind was already elsewhere. He was meeting Governor Caldicott tonight and needed to have a chat about the Civilian APR and blackout, which had simply been appalling, with large parts of the city still lit up.
Another good chapter. Defending against night bombing in 1941? Virtually impossible. No one was able to do it. Inflict some loses yes, but cause heavy casualties against attackers no. It took the Germans until 1943 to develop a system that was able to inflict heavy losses on Bomber Command, and that was only because of the sheer size of the bomber streams that night fighters could get into. The high levels of humidity in the tropics, in unairconditioned facilities played havoc on eletronic equipment. If Park sticks to that resolve, I'm afraid a lot of careers in uniform will be coming to quick conclusions.
 
MWI 41081418 Propaganda And The Press

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
1941, Thursday 14 August;

Cecil Brown, War Correspondent for the American CBS network, took the lift to his first-floor room in the Raffles Hotel, hot and bothered, and wanting a nice refreshing bath and shave before dinner. He’d just spent a frustrating afternoon with Vice Admiral Sir Geoffry Layton, Commander in Chief of the Royal Navy’s China Station. It wasn’t that Layton had been unhelpful, or not answered the questions asked, but it was more about the gag he was working with, the censorship and secrecy, forbidding him to tell more of what was going on than was currently widely known.

On his arrival in Singapore, he’d met Commander William Burrows, RAN Rtd, called back into service and given the job as head of the British Armed Services Public Relations Organisation. An Australian, who had been a magistrate in Fiji for the last twenty years, he was totally unsuited to the role, not having the foggiest idea about reporters and the media, something he’d grudgingly admit to. He’d accredited Brown as an official war correspondent, which would allow him to attend events, and some exercises, as well as interview senior members of the High Command. And he’d become his keeper, Brown having to submit to a censorship review before anything could be sent off to CBS.

So, in this afternoon’s interview with Layton, he’d been warned not to quote the Admiral, but could ask questions, like, did Layton think the Japanese might attack. Layton’s reply was quite revealing, “I certainly hope not, and with President Roosevelt applying the sanctions, surely anyone in their right mind would pull away from war, but nevertheless, here we are with the Japanese occupying airfields in southern Indo-China, only 600 odd miles away from Singapore. You have to ask yourself why?” Brown asked him if the Royal Navy was ready for war, if Japan attacked, and with a very straight and serious face, Layton had replied, “not as ready as I would like to be”. The interview had lasted 20 minutes, it was clear Layton was a very busy man, as well as a worried one, but Brown had plenty of material to work with. However, the subsequent ninety-minute censorship review reduced all this to what could be best summed up as “Britain’s Navy’s ready if it’s needed”, offering no insight or depth to the article.

Brown had quickly got to know the rest of the War Correspondent community, the Americans, Yates McDaniel, Associated Press, Leland Stowe, Chicago Daily News, Frank Gervasi, Collier’s Weekly, among others, who all told of similar tales, while the British and Australians seemed more Sangfroid, Ian Morrison telling him, “That’s just the way it is old boy”

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom, he’d came out of a meeting a couple of days ago, with Eric Davis, head of the Malayan Broadcasting Corporation, much happier, having agreed that they could soon begin a 15-minute weekday and Sunday CBS news roundup, as well as offering hope for the future. Over the almost prerequisite cup of tea, something Brown was no nearer understanding how they could like it, coffee being the cup of choice, Davis had told him of the history of Radio in Malaya, and the British Ministry of Information.

At the start of the Second World War the British Government had reinstated the Ministry of Information, which had run British propaganda in the First World War. It would use all the media sources, the old traditional ones, newspapers and posters etc, along with the new formats of film and radio, covering a wide range of themes from, supporting allies, warnings about the enemy, and specific topics such as raising war bonds and managing with less. It generated publicity to promote positives, highlighting individuals who had displayed a good example of behaviour, or normal life continuing on despite the enemy’s efforts, as well as censorship, hiding the failures, maintaining secrecy etc.

Here in the Far East, the Ministry of Information had set up the Far Eastern Bureau, which did the same thing in Asia, initially being based in Hong Kong, moving to Singapore in June 1940. But it was also tasked with persuading Asian’s that Britain would win the war with German, a task made harder with the fall of France. There were already a wide range of newspapers well established, based in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Penang, printed mainly in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Urdu, Hindi and Tamil, and Japanese.

Radio, however, was a different matter, it was still in its infancy, in establishing itself here. There had been a couple of private ventures which had managed to survive, until 1935, when the Colonial Government decided to issue an exclusive broadcasting license for Malaya, to the British Malaya Broadcasting Corporation, but this had proved not to be a financially sustainable operation, and it barely survived thanks to government subsidies. But with war came the need for a much better radio station, and the Straits Government acquired the BMBC, reorganising it as the Malayan Broadcasting Corporation (MBC). Eric, a British educational broadcaster, had been appointed as Director-General of Broadcasting, Straits Settlements, and Chairman of the MBC, and given funds to improve and expand the operation.

Things hadn’t gone as well as hoped, a new 100 kW shortwave transmitter was bought from the Marconi Company in Chelmsford, but was lost at sea when the freighter carrying it was sunk. They managed to find a replacement, a 50 kW RCA transmitter, which was shipped over from the USA, but it wasn’t a straight forward replacement, its transformers were designed for the American 110-volt electrical system, not the British 240-volt system used in Singapore, causing delay, but they were close to getting it working soon. In the meantime, they were muddling on with the old transmitters, and would soon be broadcasting on four simultaneous shortwave and mediumwave transmissions in up to 13 different languages, including Malay, Hindustani, French, Arabic and Dutch, the whole operation being run by 290 staff, mostly Asians, who had been recruited and trained locally.

The last medium under censorship was the cinema, and what was shown there. They knew there were 145 cinemas in Malaya, and 8 in Hong Kong. French Indo-China had 25, Thailand 50, and the Dutch East Indies had 250, scattered across the numerous islands. They had a good idea about seating capacity too, which meant they could calculate how many people could see a short film or news reel, by counting seating capacity, number of screenings, and how many days it was shown. This wasn’t something new though, advertisers had been doing this for some time!

But for Brown, life was settling down to a dreary frustrated drudge, spent in this backwater, while world changing events were happening elsewhere, and other reporters were having fantastic careers, reporting on them. Tonight, he was dinning with some of his American colleagues, and afterward they would frequent a bar and get drunk!
 
Top