SUNSET ON AN EMPIRE

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Everything was surreal, the calm before the storm
With G&T at Raffles and playing bridge till dawn
They swept across south- east Asia, like some rampant beast
Down to Fortress Singapore, the guardian of the east

The Air Force rose to meet them and faced certain defeat
For it’s hard to win a ‘dog fight’, with aircraft 10 years obsolete
They thought the Repulse and Prince of Wales, would stop them in their tracks
But warships without air power, were certain to face the axe

In terms of outright slaughter, it was the empire’s darkest day
The wounded dragged from their beds and slain where they lay
Even shipwrecked nurses, found compassion out of reach
Marched into the surf and gunned down on Radji Beach

Seasoned commanders, had never seen the likes
The pride of the empire, defeated by a foe on bikes
General Percival surrendered, before the battle had reached its peak
What was thought impregnable, was lost in just over a week

   

No one knew the terror, the captured troops would face
For four hundred years they were the superior race
The prisoners were all marched off, full of remorse and regret
For the British Empire, the sun began to set

By Tomas ‘Paddy’ Hamilton
8 March 2022

 

FILE PHOTO: Lieutenant-General Arthur Ernest Percival, led by a Japanese officer, walks under a flag of truce to negotiate the capitulation of Allied forces in Singapore, on 15 February 1942. It was the largest surrender of British-led forces in history.

 


 
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Posted by Brian Hartigan

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