Malaya - Java - Sumatra

 
  • Some of the Squadron ground personnel travel to Malaya in Sept 1945 in a LST as part of the Morib Landings

    Some of the Squadron ground personnel travel to Malaya in Sept 1945 in a LST as part of the Morib Landings

  • Japanese troops surrender to the Squadron in Kuala Lumpur, September 1945

    Japanese troops surrender to the Squadron in Kuala Lumpur, September 1945

  • The Squadron's base on Kuala Lumpur golf course

    The Squadron's base on Kuala Lumpur golf course

  • Early in 1946 C Flight went to Bandoeng in Western Java, which had a cool and pleasant climate

    Early in 1946 C Flight went to Bandoeng in Western Java, which had a cool and pleasant climate

  • A Mark IV Auster MT288 of C Flight flying over the jungle in Java in 1946

    A Mark IV Auster MT288 of C Flight flying over the jungle in Java in 1946

  • The Pilots of 656 Squadron under the command of the redoubtable 'Warby' at Kuala Lumpur in December 1946

    The Pilots of 656 Squadron under the command of the redoubtable 'Warby' at Kuala Lumpur in December 1946

 
The Squadron set out with the aircraft being loaded onto the Escort Carriers HMS Smiter and HMS Trumpeter, the ground party sailing in LSTs, (Landing Ships Tank) with fully waterproofed vehicles. Gunner Ray Pett wrote of his experiences at this time,

‘Having driven to Bombay to get vehicles waterproofed, we then returned to Madras, where Captain Bromwich, Gunner Vin Weaver and I embarked on one of three LCTs, with a mixture of Gurkhas, Infantry and a few vehicles including our 15 cwt. We were informed we would be landing two or three days before the main landing: we were going ashore just below Port Dickson as a decoy for main landing. After a few days at sea we were told the war was over but we were to continue.

We were just the three LCTs [Landing Crafts, Tank] – no convoy: one of the LCTs had no bow door but not ours, thankfully. The three boats beached, I think early morning, and we came ashore in assault craft with the Gurkhas. The landing took all day as the first truck slid sideways blocking the ramp and on the second LCT they had great difficulty in releasing the ramp. Eventually we managed to regroup and entered Port Dickson with the Gurkhas, etc.

The Japanese had not been disarmed as we were the first troops in. We were told of a POW camp outside Port Dickson and took some Gurkhas with us to the camp to find fully armed Japs were on guard at the main gate, much to the annoyance of the Gurkhas. It was mostly Indian and Chinese civilian and military, the sight and smells were horrific.’

It was fortunate that Zipper was not opposed by defenders on the shore, as the beaches had been inadequately surveyed and many of the heavily laden landing craft ran aground on sandbanks and would therefore have been sitting ducks for enemy fire. On 09 September, Squadron personnel landed on the beach at Morib (near Port Dickson) – possibly the first airmen ashore in Malaya. A Flight, with 37 Brigade, landed at Sepang and the OC and C Flight landed in the Morib area. The following day two aircraft arrived, having taken off from HMS Trumpeter. A Flight was established at Port Dickson. As had been the case at Rangoon, radio communication between the ground party and the aircraft failed, but once again the aircraft landed safely.

On 11 September, a day ahead of the rest of the Army, Denis Coyle and Jimmy Jarrett flew to Kuala Lumpur in Auster V  TJ215, to be waved in and parked by the ‘Nip duty crew’, who tried to surrender to them, which they found somewhat embarrassing.