Street Fighting In Kuala Lumpur, Malaya (Jan 1942)

Street fighting in Kuala Lumpur

Street Fighting In Kuala Lumpur, Malaya

Japanese troops mopping up in Kuala Lumpur during their advance through Malaya, 11th January 1942 after penetrating the outer lines of defence on 8th January 1942.

Des may have painted this from a copy of a photo of the action taken by an official Japanese photograhper and perhaps published in the local papers after surrender.


Catalogue number: HU 2776 to view the photo mention above.


‘About 4,000 British troops and their equipment were stranded in central Malaya when Japanese tanks broke through their lines and seized a road bridge, curtailing their withdrawal. The capital, Kuala Lumpur, was abandoned by the Allies on 11th Jan, 1941 and the retreat continued to gather pace. The  Allies had no tanks with which to blast the enemy while the Japanese rolled over the inhospitable terrain with something in the order of 300.’

Source: World War 2 Handbook, Abbeydale Press (2004) pg 41

“Soon after dawn on the 10th January the enemy attacked the 28 Brigade Group at Serendah and adopting his usual tactics, quickly enveloped both flanks. Some fierce fighting went on during the day, our troops gradually falling back to Sungei Choh Village, which they found already in possession of an enemy force which had come from the West. They managed to force their way through, how ever, though suffering severe losses, and late in the afternoon embussed for Tampin leaving behind a party to cover the engineers working on road demolitions.

The 6/15 Brigade Group, which had been withdrawn the previous night from the Batu Arang. area, followed the 28Brigade Group through Kuala Lumpur. The last bridge in the Federal Capital was blown at 0430 hrs. 11th January and the Brigade, leaving a small force to cover further demolitions, moved to the Labu area west of Seremban.”

Source:; (22/11/11);

quoting A. E. Percival, Lieutenant-General, General Officer Commanding, Malaya. 1942.

‘Landed in Singapore – November 1941, and went straight up north, north of K.L.

We were part of the Indian 9th Div. but supported Australian infantry a fair number of times, particularly at the Lim River in Malaya.

Taken prisoner – 15th February 1942 in Singapore.’

Source: Des Bettany’s hand written note

Kampar is just 170 kilometres north of Kuala Lumpar, this where Brigadier Paris established a 7 kilometre front consisting of the 6/15th Indian Brigade, and supported by the 88th Field Regiment. The mountainous country provided artillery observers with good views of the whole district, which is mainly mining country (tin) and jungle.

Lt. General Percival writes: ‘The Battle of Kampar, where our troops fought extremely well, showed that trained British troops are at least the equal of the best Japanese troops’. The infantry were splendidly supported by the artillery, the 88th Filed Regiment on the Kampar front doing some particularly good work’.

Source: Keith Bettany