At 3.37 AM Southeast of Nova Scotia, U-576 sinks British catapult armed merchant ship Empire Spring (all 53 hands lost).
At 8.17 AM in the Bay of Bengal 2 miles off the East coast of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Japanese submarine I-166 sinks British freighter SS Kamuning, carrying rice from Burma to Ceylon (6 killed, 63 survivors rescued by HMT Balta).
Hawaii. Japanese submarine I-23 disappears while patrolling South of Oahu (cause unknown).
Philippines. 91 miles East of Davao, Mindanao, US submarine USS Swordfish sinks Japanese transport ship Amagisan Maru.
Singapore. Mindful of Churchill’s orders (“fight to the bitter end, at all costs”), ABDA commander General Wavell refuses Percival’s request for permission to surrender, replying “you must continue to inflict maximum damage on the enemy as long as possible by house-to-house fighting if necessary…continued action essential”. Japanese push back 1st Malay Brigade on the coastal perimeter and reach the Alexandra Barracks Hospital at 12.30 PM (323 staff and patients massacred, including patients bayoneted on operating tables or in their beds).
The evacuation ships which left Singapore yesterday for Java run into the Japanese invasion fleet heading to Sumatra. Japanese cruiser Yura, destroyers Fubuki and Asagiri sink river gunboat HMS Scorpion. Japanese bombers from carrier Ryujo sink tugs HMS Pengawal, HMRT St. Breock and HMS St. Just, minelayer HMS Kung Wo and river gunboats HMS Grasshopper and HMS Dragonfly (Dragonfly’s mascot Judy, a pointer dog, is captured becoming the only dog registered as a Prisoner of War. Judy will be awarded the Dickin Medal, the animal VC). Auxiliary armed patrol vessel Li Wo rams a Japanese transport ship before being sunk by shellfire (74 killed including the captain Temporary Lt. Wilkinson who wins the VC, 10 rescued but 3 of those will die as POWs). The launch carrying Admiral Spooner and RAF Chief in Malaya Air Vice Marshall Pulford runs aground on a malarial island where both men will die in a few weeks. SS Vyner Brooke carrying wounded soldiers and Australian nurses is sunk by Japanese bombers in the Banka Strait (125 killed). 21 nurses and some injured men reach Bangka Island and surrender to the Japanese, who machinegun them on the beach (a nurse, Sister Lt Vivian Bullwinkel, is the only survivor).
Sumatra, Dutch East Indies. Japanese invasion begins with 360 paratroopers of 1st Airborne Division landing at Pangkalanbenteng airfield and oil facilities near the capital, Palembang. ABDA fleet of 5 cruisers and 11 destroyers sails from Batavia, Java, to meet the Japanese invasion fleet and prevents planned amphibious landings.
Burma. Indian 17th Infantry Division is ordered to stop the Japanese advance North towards Rangoon at the Bilin River. Their commander General George Smyth VC considers the river “a ditch” and has plans to hold the line at better defensive positions further North on the 1 mile-wide Sitttang River. However, he is overruled by General Thomas Hutton, GOC Burma Command, (a career staff officer and previously Wavell’s Chief of Staff in India).
Overnight, British submarine P38 sinks Italian steamer Ariosto which is carrying 410 men including 294 Allied POWs from Tripoli, Libya, to Palermo, Italy (252 survivors rescued by Italian destroyer Premuda and torpedo boat Polluce).