This is what I love of this TL, every thing seem to be tickety-boo and most of the people are in complete blisfull ignorance while as reader you now, although with hindsight knowledge that the hell will come down on them within 3 months.
Also all the connection with real people like the horse trainer and the actor, make this story nice to read.
Hi Parma, thank you

If anyone is interested to read it, here is the Sunday edition of the Strait Times

And here is a brief summary of the career of Marinus van Brekelen
Over the years I've read about that Imperial Conference, where the emperor read the poem, and told them to go back to blank paper. I thought you might have found a different translation were the emperor used that language with Sugiyama. So, this was in a very private group, and not the bigger cabinet meeting we knew about before. Thanks for this new information.
Hi Belisarius II, don't take what I've written as gospel, l found at least three different versions or translations of the poem!
MWI 41090814 The Ringer Brothers
1941, Monday 08 September;

They sat in the small bar off Bugis street, a bottle of tiger beer in front of them both. Both officers in the British Indian Army, Michael, the older, a newly promoted lieutenant with the 17th Dogra Regt, had just got a transfer to the Intelligence arm of Malaya Command, and they had met up to celebrate. It was in no smart part due to the fact he spoke Japanese fluently and was decent with their written word.

“The world’s changing Vanya, and not for the better, see the way the Japanese turned against all the British subjects in Japan last year, how we were all suddenly spies. Just look at our family, uncle Fred died of a broken heart, the Japanese closing down the business, and seizing the family home. Mum and Dad fled to Shanghai, but have now been interned by the Japanese occupation forces there. And what about you, a year ago today you were on trial in Nagasaki for spying, the worry the family had, you being found guilty, what sentence would you get, or worse would you be murdered under interrogation.

His younger brother, Vanya, a 2nd Lieutenant in the 5/14 Punjab replied. “I got lucky Michael, remember that Reuters correspondent chap, Melville James Cox, who the Kempeitai arrested. I never believed that talk about him committing suicide, I spoke to his wife, Elizabeth, later, she said the suicide note was a fake, and they must have thrown Jimmy out of the top floor window, he would never have jumped. No, I dodged that, the beatings and solitary confinement was bad, but the 18 months hard labour was suspended, and once we paid that heavy fine, they let us go”.

I’ll tell you straight Van, it was a relief when we were all deported, the long journey on the steamer Nanking seemed like some sort of a dream for a while, and despite the poverty, with most of our money left back in Japan, we got out. Thank God we could quickly enlist in India, providing some financial security. And you know, joining the army hasn’t been so bad, I really enjoyed our OCTU training, the friends we made. Then onto our postings out here in Malaya, and here we find ourselves.”

“There was a time I never thought I’d get out of that jail; you lose track of time when you’re in solitary confinement. Japan has changed so much since dad first knew it, the Military have a complete hold over the people, the fanaticism, the hatred preached against the western man, it’s hard to remember the good people we grew up with. I tell you Mike, if they do invade, I won’t have any problem killing them, I get so angry at all that we’ve lost.”

“Changing the subject Van, how’s Prunella and the girls, have you heard from them, how are they managing?”
“Yes, they’re fine, Pru and I write nearly every day. They’re staying with the local P&O shipping agent and his family in Colombo. Dad told me about him and sent a letter of introduction. Pru’s got a job at the office in the harbour, and the girls are in a nursery school with one of the Agent’s children. It sounds like their all managing well. But getting back to you Mike, what’s it like at HQ, exciting?

“Exciting, God no, I’m on something very hush hush, but it’s mostly long tedious hours, and so many new people asking questions to so few who actually know what they’re doing. I’m told it’s getting better, certainly there are a lot of short-term courses going on, I’ve taken three already and been promoted, why don’t you apply Van, I’m sure you’d get on, you speak Japanese far better than me, more like a native eh!”

“Mike, I think I’ll promote quicker staying with the regiment, Captain Cornwell is going back to India, I might make Lieutenant and move to second in command of the company if he goes, and if I do a good job, I could make Captain next spring, I’ve got to pass the Urdu examination first, but the language is coming on well! And if the Japanese try to land at Mersing, I’ll be waiting for them, our defences are going to be really something once their completed. We’d murder anyone who lands!”

“So, drink up big brother, Lieutenant Ringer now, here’s to promotions, money and glory” and the brother clinked bottles, and began a good night of celebrations.
Increasingly, over the last few years leading up to the war, citizens of western countries became targets of false arrest and imprisonment, while western ideals, fashion etc were being banned, as the Japanese population was fed a diet propaganda, preaching hatred towards the west.

Melville James Cox (no relation) was murdered, see,33009,764684,00.html

While the Ringer family suffered persecution, see

You'll be meeting both Michael and Vanya Ringer in future chapters.


Monthly Donor
The ability of the various totalitarian powers to basically shoot themselves in the foot, by their treatment of their own citizens and those from other nations, can not be underestimated. You only have to look at the number of Germans who fought for the British, in comparison to the number of British who fought for Germany. Thousands of German refugees of all religions, joined the British forces, while less than fifty Britton’s joined the German forces. A large number of the scientists who worked on the Manhattan project, were refugees, not just from Germany, but also from other nations, such as Italy, Hungary, Poland. The large number of German and Eastern European Jews who were taken in by Britain, are often referred to as Hitler’s gift, as both during the war and post war, they were to contribute greatly to British society. And just as in Europe, where the various totalitarian states enacted laws to remove foreign ownership of national assets. The Japanese government perused a similar policy in Japan.

And thus we see two young men, who have been stripped of their assets, falsely accused of committing crimes, and finally expelled from their homes. Who now have a hatred for their former home, and are prepared to take up arms, in the service of the nation that they regard as their own. Note that even those Japanese people who were subjected to unfairly internment by the American government, joined the American forces in their thousands, just like the Germans in Britain. And while the younger brother is to an extent wasted in an infantry battalion, he would be a much better asset to the British in some form of intelligence role. The fact that the British have accepted them into the forces, and in the case of the older brother, given him a responsible position in the intelligence services. Show that once the; hits the fan, the British will be in a far better position in understanding the Japanese, then the Japanese will be in understanding the British.

MWI 41090912 The Eastern Inshore Squadron
1941 Tuesday 09 September;

It was something that Layton had wanted to do for some time, but it had been an unrealistic proposition due to a lack of resources. Finally, he felt he had enough resources, and although it was stretching them thin in other areas, he’d had done it, and created the Eastern Inshore Squadron, a sister to the Western one based at Penang, again reporting to Rear Admiral Malaya in the chain of command. This one would be home ported at Kuantan, and commanded by Captain Charles Stanfield, recently CO of the light cruiser HMS Colombo. It would be taking over responsibility from Singapore for the eastern coastal waters of Malaya, from Kota Bharu down to the Singapore Straits, and was a much more difficult proposition than the Western Coast.

There was a need to keep the sea lanes open, Kota Bharu had a rail link to the rest of Malaya, but the rest of the north eastern coastal towns had no links, relying entirely on sea communications except for a broken north south track, while the towns in the south only had long lateral roads into Malaya as an alternative route. The threat of invasion was very real here, and how they would oppose that, problematic at best, while Layton was concerned about reports of recent Japanese infiltration along this coastline.

The squadron included three gunboats of the Dragonfly class, Dragonfly, Grasshopper, and the slightly bigger Scorpion, modified for Flag use. A couple of requisitioned coastal steamers Kuala and Lipis, each armed with a 4-inch gun, acted as armed traders, patrolling while still providing a regular service to the coastal towns. A small coastal tanker, RFA Shu Kwang, sister to the Western Squadron’s RFA Tien Kwang, provided support, as did the depot ship RFA Ping Wo, which was moored in the Kuantan River.

The anchorage was protected firstly by the radar station COL 518, situated high up on Pelindung Hill, which had been operational since last month. Not only did she scan for low flying aircraft, but she could also identify ships, and so gave early warning of any approach. Secondly, two 18 pounders of a Singapore Chinese Regt light artillery battery, were deployed on the northern side of the mouth of the river Kuantan, while lastly there was a lightweight boon defence gate operated by a small converted fishing vessel.

Stanfield was assured that there would be further reinforcements, it was just when. Current thought was he was getting a third armed trader, possibly a fourth, with all being fitted later with ASDIC and DC racks. The 2nd MTB Flotilla, which was currently in training off Penang, was coming in October, along with its depot ship, and would be based at Kota Bharu.

Some minefields were planned, and some towns and obvious potential landing beaches were being fortified by the Army, while he had already meet Air Commodore Hunter, commanding RAF 225 Group, which had the maritime responsibilities of reconnaissance and attacking any invasion fleet. Speaking to Henry, he realised the RAF wasn’t much better off than him. Still, what he had got though was a pennant, as he now carried the rank of Commodore (second class).


Monthly Donor
Palestinian, Jews, Zionism, Antisemitism and the British.

This is a very complex issue, not helped by a lot of confusion over the Time Line, and people attributing actions to a very screwed understanding of events. Zionism, a movement that sought to establish a “Homeland” for the Jewish people, started in Europe and at first wasn’t predicted on the homeland being in Palestine. The fixation with establishing this homeland in what was then an Ottoman region Palestine and calling it Israel, came later. This along with the fact that there wasn’t a singular group called the Jews, makes any attempt to understand the TL difficult. There is no race of Jews, the Jews come in all shorts and shades, from blonde blue eyes to black with brown eyes, including orientals. There is no race of Jews, despite the fantasies of many on the left and right of the political spectrum. The two largest groups of Jews in Europe were divided into the Sephardic and the Ashkenazi, and they had very different histories and lifestyles. With the majority of Sephardic Jews living in Western and Southern Europe, plus North Africa and the Middle East, while their Ashkenazi cousins were predominantly in Eastern Europe. And during the early days of Zionism, the majority of Jews seeking to emigrate to escape persecution were Ashkenazi, and their preferred destination was the United States of America, with the British Empire coming in a very distinct second. Palestine didn’t at the time get into the top ten, and other than a few very religious fanatics wasn’t considered at all.

Note this post doesn’t cover a half of the complex Then the Great War occurred, and things became very different, the British having destroyed the Ottoman Empire, and captured Jerusalem, were handed control over Palestine by the League of Nations. And had during the war published the Balfour Declaration to curry favour with American Jewish financiers, to assist in raising loans to finance their war efforts. In the immediate post war years the pattern of Jewish emigration changed dramatically, with the establishment of the Soviet Union, the largest source of Jews was ended, as those Jews inside the Soviet Union were prevented from leaving. And while the preferred destination for the majority of Jews remained the United States, there were increasingly restrictions on immigration in to America. Which only increased after the Great Depression, as America became more isolationist and antisemitic. While at first those Jews who were established in Western Europe found that there was very little reason for them to emigrate. There was no way that the overwhelming majority of sophisticated Sephardic Jews in Britain and Western Europe, were going to give up their increasingly comfortable lifestyle, to go to Palestinian and try to build a farm in the wilderness. However the combination of increasing antisemitism in Eastern Europe, along with the increasing isolationism of American, meant that more Jews sought to emigrate to Palestine. Which the British resisted as it was causing problems in Palestine between the Palestinians both Christian and Islamic, especially the poorest farmers, who had no security on the land, and frequently saw land that they and their family had farmed for generations sold off to Jewish settlers.

Into all this and only increasing the tension, was the rise of a number of antisemitic parties in Europe. Here we have to be very careful and not attribute antisemitism to all of the various nationalist parties, or regard them as right wing. The first one to assume power was the Italian Fascist Party under its leader Mussolini, who with a Jewish son-in-law and mistress, while anti catholic wasn’t at first antisemitic, and didn’t basically until forced by Hitler institute any antisemitic regulations. Both the Hungarian and Polish regimes became increasingly authoritarian and antisemitic as the decades progressed, and were some of the biggest drivers behind Jewish emigration and Zionism, up until the establishment of the German National Socialist regime in the early thirties. Hitler’s party was from the very start antisemitic, and made no secret of this fact, and would go on once in power to enact an ever growing system of antisemitism and restrictions on Jews in Germany. Note the model of these laws were the various Jim Crow laws and restrictions placed upon Americas Black population. And it was the rise into power and the subsequent implementation of these antisemitic policies in Germany that drove the increasingly desperate desires of mostly German Jews to flee. Note that even then Palestine was not the first choice for most, that was still America, with Britain coming in second. And despite what many on the left believe, the third dictator to rise to power, wasn’t a Fascist or Nazi, in fact unlike Hitler or Mussolini who were products of the left, with both claiming to be Socialist. Franco was a nationalist conservative monarchist, with very strong religious convictions, and a hatred for both Socialists and Communists. He was not an antisemitic, and it was only after he was subjected to great pressure by Hitler that he agreed to deport Jewish refugees that had escaped into Spain back to France. Note those Jews who were Spanish, were not subjected to persecution, or expulsion, and a number of foreign Jews who could prove that their family were subjected to the expulsion from Spain in 1492, were provided with Spanish passports. And he resined the original expulsion order, and removed the majority of remaining restrictions that applied to Jews in Spain.

By the late 1930’s the British were very much stuck between a rock and a hard place. With increasing resistance to further Jewish immigration into Palestine by the Palestinian people, a virtual ban on Jewish immigration into the United States, and increasing objections to Jewish immigration into Britain. Note that on a per capita basis Britain took in more Jewish immigrants than any other nation, prior to the outbreak of WWII. While at the same time there was increasing agitating by some Jews in Palestine to establish a Jewish independent state, with acts of violence against both the British authorities and military, and the local Palestinian population. Remember the American administration maintained its virtual ban on Jewish immigration up until the outbreak of WWII. And the majority of Western Jews saw no reason to seek to emigrate until after the Germans occupied their country, by when it was too late. And while the war was raging the British had a period where there was virtually no emigration to Palestine, the Germans weren’t letting any Jews out, other than a small number whose families could afford to pay the ransom, and who went via Spain to South America. Once the war was over, the combination of the continued antisemitism of the Eastern European nations, who refused to accept their own Jews, those that had survived the German camps or been able to hide, back into their former homes. The continued resistance by America to mass Jewish immigration, given American antisemitism. The fact that Britain was effectively broke by the end of the war, and found the increasing cost military and financially unbearable, of trying to keep the large number of displaced Jewish refugees, out of Palestine. The British authorities in Palestinian were forced to evacuate all civilian dependents as the risk to them from Jewish terrorists was so high. And so Britain decided to relinquish its mandate early and get out and leave the resolution to the mess of Palestine to the United Nations. Note that this post doesn’t cover half of this very complicated subject, and misses out some of the wilder ideas such as the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Uganda, or the establishment of a Jewish Ulster in Palestinian, or German plans to evacuate all the European Jews to French Madagascar.

MWI 41091114 The Kiwi Wing
1941, Thursday 11 September;

2.30pm, he came in, out of the sun, the Hurricane growing larger in his sights by the second. Three, maybe four seconds to go, the target continuing to fly straight and level, what was that idiot doing? Too late the Hurricane tried to roll away, but he had him now. Switching on his R/T “bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, your dead Johnny” he crossed, flying over the top of the cockpit, watching the pilot craning his neck and looking round to see him.

“I told you Johnny, not to fly straight for more than a few seconds, that was too easy, let’s try again, same thing, follow my leader, and see how long you can keep with me, OK?” Sergeant Geoff Fisken, pulled up into level flight, allowing the other Hurricane to join him, before wiggling his wings, and starting the game again with a slow climbing bank left before rolling right, his playmate in tow.

Their squadron, RNZAF 486, an Article XV unit had just been split in half at the beginning of the month, creating RNZAF 488 from the surplus pilots they had, by dividing up the experienced pilots in half and then filling out with the newly trained. With the addition of RAF 134 Squadron, who had arrived in late August, they now formed the 2nd RNZAF Wing, the “Kiwi Wing”, commandeered by Wing Cmdr Wilfred Clouston, a New Zealander with BoB experience. The ground crew for all three squadrons were a mix of some experienced mechanics and a lot of recently trained ones, including a few from New Zealand, although the majority were British.

The Wing was coming together nicely, working with the filter and control rooms on scrambling interceptions of radar plotted raids but flying out of a very congested Kallang airfield, had caused a few unnecessary accidents, including one fatality, and several aircraft written off or requiring major repair, so RAF 134 Sqn had been temporarily moved to the Western Johore airfield at Batu Pahat. This was working in their favour, as it often played the role of “the enemy” in flight or squadron formation exercises. Indeed, so keen was Park, in getting these squadrons combat ready, and with the financial backing allowing him to authorise extra flights, entire squadrons were on daily training flights, formation flying in the morning, and more individual tuition in the afternoon flights, as they worked in pairs or as finger fours.

And they weren’t the only newly formed wing either, thanks to the now steady flow of Hurricanes and Merlin engines arriving, at Kluang, RAAF 5 Wing had come into being, with the three fighter squadrons, RAAF 450, 453 and 457. Her commanding officer was newly promoted Wing Commander Peter Jeffery, back from the Middle East and former commander of 3 RAAF squadron. These six squadrons provided the main force of RAF Group 224, and Air Commodore Vincent was anxious to get them fully integrated with the blossoming radar net and the fighter control room in Singapore. While in Northern Malaya, RAF 151 Wing, commanded by WC Neville Ramsbottom-Isherwood, another New Zealander, retaining RAF 81 Sqn, had added RCAF 406 and the just formed RCAF 416 squadron, providing Air Commodore Wann with fighter cover for his bombers.

However, the progression of the night fighter force was disappointing, the only squadron equipped was RAF 27, based at Seletar, which now had four Blenheim 1F’s fitted with AI Mk IV radar. Interceptions were still very difficult to achieve, luck or moonlight playing too much of a factor for success, and it was clear a faster aircraft would be needed, along with GCI radar, none of which were promised. The rest of the squadron would continue to fulfil its long-range fighter role, which was to provide support of Hunter’s 225 Group’s Maritime aircraft.
Hi all, apologies, but the first bit of my last post was unashamedly borrowed from the excellent film, Battle Of Britain, although Robert Shaw did a much better job of it!


Monthly Donor
The Empire in action! Actually a great cross-section of ways that those from the ends of the Empire joined the RAF/RNZAF if you look into their background.


Indeed, so keen was Park, in getting these squadrons combat ready, and with the financial backing allowing him to authorise extra flights, entire squadrons were on daily training flights, formation flying in the morning, and more individual tuition in the afternoon flights, as they worked in pairs or as finger fours.

Another lesson-learned from the BoB
The Empire in action! Actually a great cross-section of ways that those from the ends of the Empire joined the RAF/RNZAF if you look into their background.
Hi Errolwi, yes your right. I haven't actually increased the Kiwi involvement here from the historical, just made it far more noticeable by renumbering RAF 243 to 488, and rebadging them both to the RNZAF as article XV squadrons. Both, apart from squadron and flight leaders, were made up of New Zealand pilots.