Operation Battle of Bukit Timah

The 'Battle of Bukit Timah' was fought between Japanese and British-led forces within the final stage of Japan’s seizure of Singapore island (10/12 February 1942).

On 8 and 9 February 1942, the Japanese had landed a large force on the north-western side of Singapore island. Throughout the following days, more troops were landed and heavy fighting followed as they pushed the defenders, mainly of Brigadier H. B. Taylor’s Australian 22nd Brigade back from their positions on the coast. On 10 February additional landings were made against the northern positions occupied by Brigadier D. S. Maxwell’s Australian 27th Brigade between the Kranji river and the causeway linking the Malayan mainland and the island, and steadily drove back the British-led forces to the south-east and thus toward the centre of the island.

As the Japanese began advancing toward strategically important Bukit Timah, which offered vital supplies including water, British, Indian and Australian troops from a variety of units fought actions along the Bukit Timah road in an effort to blunt the Japanese advance. As Lieutenant General Takuro Matsui’s 5th Division, with armoured support, advanced down the Choa Chu Kang road, British troops and Chinese volunteers from the irregular 'Dal' Force were involved in desperate hand-to-hand fighting and, being poorly equipped, were forced back and by the middle of the night the Japanese had occupied Bukit Timah.

On 11 February, two British brigades attempted a counterattack, but this was turned back, and on the following day Lieutenant General Takuma Nishimura’s Imperial Guards Division outflanked the British positions from the north, and compelled the allied forces to withdraw. 'Dal' Force was engaged in further fighting, which resulted in heavy Japanese casualties; in revenge the Japanese killed a large number of Chinese civilians nearby after the fighting.