2002 Visit by Joe Pearce and John Morgan to Lim Chu Kang Road (8 February 1942)
On the 60th anniversary of ‘The Fall of Singapore’ Joe Pearce and John Morgan, both original members of No. 13 Platoon travelled to Singapore for the occasion. They made a return visit to the isolated end of Lim Chu Kang Road – to the place they were located 8th February 1942.
The following is the story Joe Pearce related to Murray Ewen, Author, ‘Colour Patch.’
‘My feelings on finding our old gun emplacement site on the Buloh Estate initially was one of excitement. Finally here we were at the same spot after all these years. The jetty, which had been enlarged was still there and is still used by the owners of a large residence which is there now but of course wasn’t in 1942. Back then, there was a two-storied house with an orchard and palm trees. This was where our slit trenches were but now this whole area is overgrown with jungle. Part of the wall where our guns were set up has been extended on one end. The middle section of this wall has been lowered to about half of its original height but nevertheless you still roughly work out where our three guns were sited.
I sat down quietly and my mind reflected back to that fateful day when the Japanese artillery barrage started and pounded us continually for seven hours.
First Bob Pratt, Bill Patterson and myself were knocked out. Later when the Japs tried to land, Eric Wankey, Jim Loller and Tom Beard were carted out. Lin MacDonald and Fred Tregenza were ambushed on the way out, never to be seen again. Later as POWs Edgar Hunt, Jack McCarthy in ‘D’ Force, Bill Patterson in ‘F’ Force, Ron Langdon in ‘H’ Force, Johny Browning and ‘Comet’ Shirley in Sandakan Borneo. There was also Harry Carter, Norm Venemore, Jim and Lacy Gibbs drowned going to Japan and Ken Lally killed in a mining accident, all never to see Australia again.
Then the fight to stay alive for three and a half years until war’s end and the joy of seeing Australia again and our family and friends. Our loves, lives and ambitions realized, children to raise, beautiful life. Now just John Morgan and myself from No. 13 Platoon back at the landing after 60 years. All these memories good and bad, of life I feel very lucky and humble for my life’s experience and say a prayer for our fifteen that never saw Australia again.’ Joe Pearce, 25 April 2002.