Invasion of Malaya: First shot in the Pacific war

  • People
  • Thursday, 08 Dec 2016

A British pill box on Pulau Kundur Beach in Kota Baru. Photo: Zafrani Arifin

Thanks in large part to Hollywood’s pervasive influence, most of the world sees the Dec 8, 1941, bombing of Pearl Harbor in the United States as the start of hostilities in the Pacific during World War II. Often overlooked is the fact that more than a hour before the first fighter plane appeared over American soil, the Japanese had boots on the ground at a beach in Kota Baru – the start of the war in this part of the world began 75 years ago today on Malayan shores, not American.

“Our posts at Kota Baru fought with the greatest bravery until overrun by the enemy.... We pinned the enemy that day, but it was impossible to throw him out.”

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