‘D’ Company (No 16 Platoon) – Vickers Machine Gun Companies

‘D’ COMPANY HQ & PLATOONS 13, 14, & 15 (& 16)


Singapore’s defence plan was to man the coastline – the Australian forces were given the North West Sector.
With the exception of two Australian Brigades nearly every Battalion was short of equipment. The effective strength of what was 39 Battalions was in fact no more than 25 Battalions – many of doubtful value, to protect a 70 mile coastline.
AUSTRALIAN FORCES:  Had 9 ½ miles of difficult coastline to protect. The Australian area divided by the broad reaches of the Kranji River, was hopelessly undermanned.

27th Brigade (2 Battalions) had the difficult Causeway-Kranji River section.

22nd Brigade (3 Battalions) had the eight mile NW coast Sector.

The Australians had to provide their own reserves.


 Vickers Machine Gun Companies
There were four Vickers Machine gun companies. Each company had its own HQ consisting of three platoons. In the case of ‘D’ Company HQ and Platoons 13, 14, 15 (and later in Singapore, No 16 Platoon was formed for defence of the west coast of Singapore (made up from Fremantle reinforcements and spare numbers from ‘D’ Company.)
Other Companies were:
‘A’ Coy HQ and No’s 4, 5, 6 Platoons
‘B’ Coy HQ and No’s 7, 8, 9 Platoons
‘C’ Coy HQ and No’s 10, 11, 12 Platoons
Each Machine Gun Platoon consisted of two sections each with two Vickers machine guns giving the Battalion a total of 48 Vickers machine Guns.
No. 1 and 2 on the gun were to be issued with revolvers, but in the case of 2/4th, these were never issued.
Supposedly each Platoon was to be equipped with a Boyes Anti-Tank rifle – but these were never issued to 2/4th. For each platoon six 15cwt trucks were provided, giving each Company a total of 21 vehicles.
The battalion was organised by attaching certain personnel from Battalion HQ and HQ Companies to the Machine Gun Companies – enabling each Machine Gun Coy to be self-contained administratively.
Battalion transport included 122 vehicles as well as motorcycles – the reason for the inclusion of a high number of driver trade groupings in the Battalion. The handling of all these vehicles was important to the efficiency of the Battalion. Therefore the Transport Sergeant, Corporals and Light Aid Detachment (L.A.D.) who serviced these vehicles had a big responsibility to ensure serviceability of the Battalion’s transport.


‘D’ Coy No 16 Platoon
The wide expanse of the mouth of Sungei River (Berih) and  estuary provided an ideal opportunity for deep penetration by Japanese landing craft – giving access to Tengah airfield and ability to attack the rear of 22nd Brigade which included the `2/19th which was located on the north side of the mouth.  The 44th Indian Brigade was located south of Sungei mouth.
Les Cody’s description of this area:  ‘The estuary was really a large tidal basin 3/4 mile wide from north to south and twice that in length.  This area required required additional machine guns – Platoon 16 was formed from spare gun numbers from the three platoons of “D” Company.’
16 Platoon was positioned on the exposed north headland of Tanjong Skopec with a section of two guns sited at the water’s edge and another, 400 yards further east covering a wide expanse of 4000 yd coastline.
Cody described one gun as being a ‘fluted barrel oldtimer which could have been as old as Boer War’ was under Sgt Des Colevas and his crew – Tom Edwards, Charlie Holmes and Bob Evans.  They were completely isolated.  Dug in on the rear slopes of a rise set back some thousand yards from the coast – their responsibility was to cover the mile wide mouth of Sungai Beri (River) with no supporting infantry within call.’


Commanding Officer WX10787 Sgt R E Arbery (13 Platoon)

Platoon Sergeant WX10609 Sgt J V Colevas (14 Platoon)

Corporal WX9080 L/Cpl A W Stribley (Coy HQs & No 15 Platoon) – KIA 9 Feb 1942 West coast of Singapore (30 years)


WX13458 R W Annear (13 Platoon)

WX7444 A R Attenborough (15 Platoon) – ‘B’ Force Borneo d. 12 Apr1945 Ranau area (28 years)

WX7796 J J S Barras (15 Platoon) – DOW 11 Feb 1942. Party scattered under heavy fire (29 years)

WX10805 R J Brown (13 Platoon) – KIA 9 Feb 1942 Lim Chu Kang Road after withdrawing from coast, this party came under Japanese small arms fire. Brown & several others never sighted again. (22 years – thought to be 18 years old)

WX7148 M L Browne (14 Platoon) – KIA 9 Feb 1942 14 mile peg Lim Chu Kang Road (38 years)

WX9060 A J T Cato (Coy HQ)

WX7997 H Dorrizi (Coy HQ) – ‘B’ Force Borneo d. 11 Feb 1945 Sandakan (26 years). Dorizzi’s two brothers also died Borneo.

WX7620 T H Edwards (14 Platoon) – DOW 12 Feb 1942 Hill 200 Ulu Padan (42)

WX9497 B Evans

WX16407 L G Gibbs (13 Platoon) – Perished ‘Rakuyo’ Maru 14 Sep 1944 South China Sea (27)

WX8958 W H Gibbs (13 Platoon) – brother of above, perished ‘Rakuyo’ Maru 12 Sep 1944 (28)

WX7745 B G Harrison (15 Platoon)

WX7029 E T Hill (15 Platoon)

WX9286 C Holmes (16 Platoon)

WX7441 T H Lewis (14 Platoon)

WX7330 E Shackleton (15 Platoon) – Missing in Action 11 Feb 1942 West coast of Singapore – believed killed or badly wounded (27 years)

WX14495 W G R Stuart (14 Platoon) KIA 9 Feb 192 14 mile peg, Lim Chu Kang Road – coming from west coast of Singapore – group split up under enemy small arms fire . WW1 16th Btn Veteran, Staff Sgt & Vickers gun instructor 16th Btn Militia (49 years)

WX8180 E G Taylor (15 Platoon)

WX9002 H C F White (13 Platoon)

WX7499 R T Williams (15 Platoon)

WX5073 T A Wood (14 Platoon)




WX13079 R E Ellis DOW 11 Feb 1942, Wounded in action 10 Feb 1942 GSW right arm & shrapnel wound chest. Arm amputated 2/13th AGH (21 years)

WX12157 E C Hardey

WX17370 J Wilson


TOTAL 12 MEN DIED (including 2 deaths Borneo, 2 deaths ‘Rakuyo’ Maru & 8 deaths during Battle for Singapore 1942)