Numb. 38215

London Gazzette 1948tn




The London Gazette

OF FRIDAY, the 20th of FEBRUARY, 1948

Published by Authority

Registered as a newspaper


Thursday, 26 FEBRUARY, 1948



FROM  8th DECEMBER, 1941 to 12th MARCH, 1942


The following  report was  submitted to  the Secretary of State for Air on July 26th, 1947, by Air Vice-Marshal Sir PAUL MALTBY, K.B.E., C.B., D.S.O., A.F.C., Assistant Air Officer  Commanding Far East Command, Royal Air Force,  from January  12th  to - February 10th, 1942, and Air.Officer Commanding  Royal Air Force in  Java from February 11th to March 12th, 1942.



A report on the operations in Malaya and the N.E.I. would be incomplete without a survey of the situation in the Far East before war broke out there. A convenient date for beginning such a survey is 1st June, 1941, soon after the date, 24th April, 1941, on which the late Air Vice-Marshal C. W. Pulford became Air Officer Commanding R.A.F. Far East Command.

A number of other newly posted Senior Officers also took up their new duties about the same time, the more important amongst them being Lieut.-Gen. A. E. Percival (G.O.C. Malaya—16th May, 1941), Air Commodore C. 0. F. Modin (A O.A. at A.H.Q. 10.6.41), Group Captain A. G. Bishop (Group Captain Ops. at A.H.Q. 1.6.41) and the late Group Captain E. B. Rice (Fighter Defence Commander of Singapore and Co-ordinator of Air Defences of Malaya, both newly established appointments, 10.7.41).

Although 1st June, 1941, has been chosen as the datum line from which to start the survey, full recognition is given to the large amount of preparatory work which was done by the predecessors of the officers whose names are mentioned above. Some reference is necessarily made to matters which occurred during the time they were in office, but in general the survey deals with the period between 1st June, 1941, and the outbreak of war. It indicates the energetic measures which were taken immedi ately beforehand to prepare the Command for war, and points a picture of the situation as it existed at the outbreak of hostilities.

The narrative contains only brief reference to developments in Hong Kong, Burma and the Indian Ocean, operational control of which passed out of the hands of the A.O.C. Far East Command soon after the Japanese had landed in Malaya. Their presence in the Command during the pre-war period did, however, appreciably divert attention and work from pressing matters of local application, and to this degree affected preparation for war in Malaya.

Some reference is necessary to sources of information on which the report is based.

Official records from the Far East are few and incomplete. Most of those which were maintained there had to be destroyed to prevent their capture by the Japanese. The few which survive consist of brief situation reports and a few files of important signals and correspondence, now with the Air Ministry. To make good the loss of the destroyed documents reports have since been obtained from a number of officers who held important appointments in the Far East Command. But these are far from authoritative. Most of them were written in December, 1945, and January, 1946, nearly four years after the events which they describe had taken place, during which years their authors had been prisoners-of-war in Japanese hands, or alternatively had been actively employed in other theatres of war. A number of important individuals who could have given valuable evidence, I regret to report, died in captivity or during subsequent operations. Discrepancies have been slow and difficult to reconcile between sources of information now scattered thoughout the world, despite the ready help I have received from the authors of such reports.

On the other hand valuable information has been freely supplied to me from the Cabinet War Library, the Air Ministry, the War Office, the Colonial Office and by the authors of several other despatches relating to the War in the Far East. To them also I am much indebted.

For the sake of brevity only those matters are mentioned in the report which are necessary for establishing important events, for elucidating the factors which governed action at the time, and for compiling before it is too late a reasonably comprehensive narrative of what happened in the Far East.

Within these limitations every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, and the report, as a whole, is believed to give a reasonably true picture of the campaign from the air aspect— although doubtless it may display inaccuracies of detail brought about by the circumstances in which it has been compiled. It should, however, contain the necessary data from which correct deductions can be drawn. In order, however, that inaccuracies may be corrected, readers are invited to call attention to them through the Air Ministry.

The whole report has been written under my direction, the first two sections on behalf of the late Air Vice-Marshal Pulford who held his command until nth-February, 1942, two days before he left Singapore. In my opinion there is nothing in these sections, or in Section V, with which he would not agree.

I myself took over my duties at his headquarters on 12th January, 1942, from which date the report is written on my responsibility, and largely with my personal knowledge. This part of the report continues in the third person for the sake of continuity in the narratP. C. maltby,

                P. C. Maltby,

                Air Vice-Marshal Royal Air Force.


                July 26th, 1947.


List of abbreviations used in the report

Section I

Pre-War Preparations

Section II

Narrative of Operations Based on Malaya

Section III

Summary of Operations Based on Sumatra

Section IV

Summary of Operations Based on Java

Section V

Reflections on the Far East Campaign, Dec. 1942 to Mar. 1942

Appendix “A”

Report on R A F Operations m Malaya and N E.I, 1941-2.


Printed and Published by His Majesty´s Stationary Office

To be purchesed directly from H.M. Stationary Office at the following addresses:

`York House, Kingsway, London, W.C.2; 13a Castle Street, Edinburgh, 2 ;

39-41 King Street, Manchester, 2; 1 St Andrews Crescent, Cardiff;

Tower Lane, Bristol, 1;80 Chchester Street, Belfast



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