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Singapore to preserve British WW II surrender site

Lt Gen AE Percival gave up to his counterpart T Yamashita at the Ford Motor Factory on Feb 15, 1942.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2006 20:13 IST

Singapore has declared the site of Britain's historic surrender to Japanese forces here during World War II a national monument, officials said Tuesday.

British Lieutenant General Arthur Ernest Percival gave up to his counterpart Tomoyuki Yamashita at the Ford Motor Factory in Singapore on February 15, 1942 after a lightning Japanese invasion from what is now southern Malaysia.

Britain's wartime leader Winston Churchill called it the "worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history" and it was widely seen as a turning point for anti-colonialism by destroying the myth of European superiority.

"The historical surrender of the British to the Japanese at the Ford Factory building was significant in the history of Singapore," said Wan Meng Hao, Executive Secretary of Singapore's Preservation of Monuments Board.

"It signalled the end of Britain as the strongest Western power in Asia, and marked the beginning of the Japanese occupation and Singapore's forced incorporation as part of the Japanese wartime empire," he added.

Singapore suffered heavily under Japanese rule. Historians and survivors say as many as 50,000 ethnic Chinese men between 18 and 50 years of age were massacred after Japan's capture of the island.

The exercise was believed to have been ordered as vengeance for Singaporeans' support for China's resistance against Japan.

Japanese occupation forces surrendered to Britain on September 12, 1945.

First Published: Feb 07, 2006 20:13 IST