Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day 854 January 1, 1942

Malaya. Battle of Kampar. After yesterday’s failure on the East side of the road, Japanese attack Kampar Hill to the West at 7 AM, under an artillery barrage and aerial bombing. They are again targeted by artillery spotters on the 4000 foot high Gunong Brijang Melaka, this time bringing down 25 pounder shells from 88th (2nd West Lancashire) Field Artillery. There is fierce but inconclusive hand-to-hand combat all morning with heavy casualties on both sides. In the evening, Japanese 11th Regiment lands from small craft in the Bernam River, 35 miles Southwest of Kampar. They intend to move North cross-country to Telok Anson (now called Teluk Intan) and then cut inland to the main road behind the British positions. Churchill chastises First Sea Lord, Sir Dudley Pound “This command of the western shores of Malaya by the Japanese without the possession of a single ship of war must be reckoned as one of the most astonishing British lapses in naval history”.

Luzon, Philippines. US/Filipino South Luzon Force retreats past Manila and joins the Northern group holding the approaches to Bataan. In the evening, a Japanese courier delivers a message to Mayor of Manila that Japanese forces will enter the city tomorrow.

At the Arcadia Conference in Washington, DC, Churchill and Roosevelt sign the “Declaration by United Nations”. Ultimately, 26 nations (USA, UK, USSR, China, British Commonwealth [Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa], 9 US allies in Central America/Caribbean and 8 Allied governments-in-exile) will sign the Declaration which is Roosevelt’s first step towards forming an international peacekeeping organisation after the war (that will become the United Nations).

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