Percival and the Tragedy of Singapore - Sir John SmythLondon: Macdonald, 1971, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Gently faded at the spine of the dust wrapper, now wrapped in a removable protective sleeve.
Includes: Black & white photographs; Maps; Frontispiece portrait;
From the cover: “Winston Churchill wrote that the fall of Singapore to the Japanese forces in 1942 was the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history. For Arthur Percival, G.O.C. Malaya, at the time of the disaster, the fall of the impregnable fortress meant three years of humiliating captivity and a homecoming of blame and obscurity.
Although Churchill — and indeed the British nation — had had it embedded firmly in their minds that the base was impregnable, its fall and the sinking of the Prince of Wales and The Repulse which preceded it, came as no surprise to the Imperial General Staff. In 1937 the Committee of Imperial Defence agreed that no consideration for the security of British interests in the Mediterranean should be allowed to interfere with the despatch of a fleet to the Far East, and approved many schemes to strengthen the Peninsula.
But as the Allied position in Europe worsened, the military forces in the Far East remained weak. Despite repeated requests, Percival’s forces fell short of his minimum requirements, and many of the soldiers at his disposal were raw recruits. After the loss of the capital ships, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Sir Alan Brooke, wrote in his diary: ‘I doubt whether Hong Kong will hold out for a fortnight and Malaya for a month’.
That Malaya held out for two months was largely owing to Percival’s courageous leadership. Only too aware of his instructions to preserve, above all else, the security of the Singapore Naval Base, he suffered constant defeats and withdrawals until, starved of food, water, petrol and ammunition he reluctantly surrendered to General Yamashita.
For this exciting, lucid, and scrupulous reconstruction of the sombre days of the Japanese invasion. Sir John Smyth was given full access to the private papers of the late General Percival. His analysis of the campaign, his own experience of command in the Far East and his unrivalled knowledge of Percival himself will help to reinstate this able and dedicated soldier.”