Author(s): Clifford Kinvig
Churchill declared the fall of Singapore to be "the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history". The reputation of General Percival, the defending commander, has been permanently tarnished by the infamous surrender. The author argues that Percival has been too easily blamed for the disaster and too readily written off as the over-promoted staff officer and protege of Dill, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff. Others were more culpable than the GOC Malaya, and the list of those who bore responsibility includes the name of Churchill himself. Percival had an outstanding early record as a fighting commander, and took up his post as GOC Malaya in the worst possible circumstances. This biography evaluates Percival in the context of his military service, as well as his generalship during the critical Malayan campaign and the surrender of Singapore, about which misperceptions still linger. It also covers Percival's years as a prisoner of the Japanese with the small group of Allied military and civilian leaders, as well as his post-war activities. Cliffor Kinvig is the author of "River Kwai Railway".
Early days; the Inns of Court OTC; training the new armies; the taste of war; the test of command; North Russia; counter-insurgency in Ireland; staff college and colonial service; peacetime soldiering; first round in Malaya; the quickening tempo; Malaya command; the Japanese strike; the Peninsular campaign; the fight for Singapore; surrender; in Japanese hands; post-war career; evaluation.