Malaysian campaign by Major General Sir Gerald Templar around 1945

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By Lt. Col. (Retd) H. Bhuban Singh

The Second World War had already begun in Europe on 1st September 1939 when Adolf Hitler, the Chancellor of Germany refused to concede to the Anglo-French ultimatum on the Germany not to attack Poland. The eastern theatre of the war was opened when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbar on 7th December 1941 and landed troops at Kotabaru (Thailand) simultaneously.

The Japanese then ran down the Malaya Peninsula and Singapore fell on 15th February 1942, in just 69 days. By April 1942, the war had come to the borders of India The Japanese bombed Imphal on Sunday, the 10th May 1942, and Manipur Government stopped functioning for a few days. Then came a lull period upto March 1944.

During these two years’ period from April 1942 upto March 1944, the Japanese were bringing logistic support from far away Japan to India’s border. Anyway, the war came to a quick end after Germany surrendered on 7 May 1945 and Japan on 14 August 1945 consequent atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6th and 9th August1945. Like the Japanese who conquered Malaysia, Singapore and Burma, in just 69 days, the British with American support took that much time to recapture Singapore. However, the Malaysian peoples revolted against the British.

To control the Malayasians, Major General Sir Gerald Templar was sent to Malayasia. Templar was British High Commissioner of Malayasia (Head of Government) and Commander-in- Chief (being Major General). Templar had full control of the British Army and police and civil administration. It was like imposition of President’s Rule in any State of India with the Governor having right to select Advisers (about three normally) and distribute portfolios as Advisers.

The first thing Gen. Templar did was to group villages at specified concentration villages which were guarded by civil police mainly with a sprinkling of Army battalions. Like the good and old saying that “power comes out the barrel of a gun” or “fishes cannot exist without water”, Templar’s grouping of villages was to cut-off the supply routes to rebels and food also, and weapons as well.

Gen. Templar ensured that the Malayasian peoples could bring their live-stocks of pigs, cows, hens, donkeys, cats etc. so that pigs, cows, hens etc. could provide their daily necessary things for existence. They were also provided with agricultural lands where they could grow paddy or wheat. They were also permitted to cut branches of trees for cooking their foodstuff.

Village Post and Telegraph offices were established for connectivity of information. Also, they were permitted to meet their relatives who were lodged in a different camp with official escorts. This prevents them from running away incognito. Any attempt to run away would invite very severe reprisal.

The net-result was that normal Malayasians were happy and contented in their new environment, whereas the rebel Malayasian in jungles were bitten by mosquitoes and were mauled wild animals like panthers, tigers, bears etc. and were hunted down every day, by security forces.

In this manner, insurgent Malayasians openly surrendered to Major General Sir Templar’s Army Division, or to his civil police and insurgency by Malayasians lost their cause.

Moreover, Gen. Templar used to meet everyday in the morning at 8:00 am which were attended and senior civil servants and Army/Air Force personnel. So, Templar knew on daily basis the number of insurgents captured dead/alive and their morale for raising war against the British Mafaysian State. Having sorted out the problems on daily basis” Templar would give out orders on daily basis, as per intelligence reports submitted to him. Hence, we could visualize the progress on tackling insurgents, who were chased by British

Malayasian Army and Civil Police personnel. The net results were that Malayasian insurgents were running from pillar to post.

Ultimately, the Malayasian insurgents without support base dwindled down and in less than two years’ time the insurqency problem was sorted out.

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