WW2 Casualty group. Battle of Kampar, Malaya. Vann. Royal Leicestershire Regiment. Liverpool. Soldier of the British Battalion, died 1942.

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Casualty group consisting of 39-45 Star, Burma Star and War medal, all unnamed as issued.

Transmittal box addressed to R Vann in Liverpool and named medal slip.

Horace van served in the 1st Leicestershire Regiment with the service number 4859988.

He was stationed in Malaya at the outbreak of the War with his battalion in anticipation of hostilities in the Far East.

The British Battalion was an ad hoc formation created on 20 December 1941 during the Battle of Malaya.

It was amalgamated from two regular British Army battalions

  • 2nd Bn, East Surrey Regiment under Lieut-Col. G E Swinton MC and
  • 1st Bn, The Leicestershire Regiment under Lieut-Col. Charles Esmond Morrison, OBE, MC

Both battalions suffered heavy casualties in North West Malaya during the early stages of the Japanese invasion so it was decided to amalgamate the two battalions.

The British Battalion was commanded by Lieut-Col. Morrison; Lieut-Col. Swinton was badly wounded during the Battle of Jitra. The battalion fought with great courage, taking many casualties and earning much respect from other units. They were involved in fierce fighting during the Battle of Kampar (30 December 1941 – 2 January 1942), before joining in the fighting retreat back to Singapore. The Battalion was also involved in the short but fierce battle for Singapore. They surrendered to the Japanese along with other units of the British Army under General Arthur Percival in February 1942. Many of the British battalion died in Japanese P.O.W. camps. Of the estimated 500 soldiers at the amalgamation, barely 130 survived the war.

The Battle of Kampar (30 December 1941 – 2 January 1942) was an engagement of the Malayan Campaign during World War II, involving British and Indian troops from the 11th Indian Infantry Division and the Japanese 5th Division.

On 27 December, in an effort to prevent the capture of RAF Kuala Lumpur, the 11th Indian Infantry Division occupied Kampar, which offered a strong natural defensive position. In doing so they were also tasked with delaying the advancing Japanese troops long enough to allow the 9th Indian Infantry Division to withdraw from the east coast. The Japanese intended to capture Kampar as a New Year’s gift to Emperor Hirohito and on 30 December the Japanese began surrounding the British and Indian positions. The following day fighting commenced. The Allied forces were able to hold on for four days before withdrawing on 2 January 1942, having achieved their objective of slowing the Japanese advance. A victory for the Empire.

Horace died of his wounds on the 3rd of January 1942, one day after the Battle of Kampar ended, aged 22.

He is Remembered with Honour at the Taiping War Cemetery, Perak, Malaysia. The Taiping War Cemetery is the final resting place for Allied personnel who were killed during World War II, particularly the Malayan Campaign and the Japanese occupation of Malaya following the British occupation and colonization of Malaya.

We have no idea why the paperwork is marked Burma Star as one could argue a Pacific Star. The paperwork is how it came to us.

 

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