Leadgate Community History Club


Japanese in the South China Sea & The Africa Korps i​n the Desert

Major Events of 1942

Japanese Advances

From January 1942 the Japanese attack the Islands in the south China sea, and the British territory of Singapore was captured on the 13th February 1942.

The Fall of Singapore

The Battle of Singapore , also known as the Fall of Singapore, was fought in the South-East Asian theatre of World War II when the Empire of Japan invaded the British stronghold of Singapore—nicknamed the "Gibraltar of the East". Singapore was the major British military base in South-East Asia and was the key to British imperial interwar defence planning for South-East Asia and the South-West Pacific. The fighting in Singapore lasted from 8 to 15 February 1942, after the two months during which Japanese forces advanced down the Malayan Peninsula. When Lt. Gen. Arthur Percival  surrendered Singapore it was the largest British surrender in history. About 80,000 British, Indian and Australian troops in Singapore became prisoners of war, joining 50,000 taken by the Japanese in the earlier Malayan Campaign .

Percival held a conference on the 15th February, the Japanese had over ran the Bukit Timah region. There were 2 options on the table, a counter-attack to recapture the reservoirs and the military food depots or to surrender. Despite many of the Senior Officers opting to counter-attack, Percival decided that surrender was the best option.

Lt. Gen. Arthur Percival surrenders Singapore

North Africa 'The Western Desert'

The long struggle to stop the Axis armies, led by General Erwin Rommel from breaking through the Allied armies in an attempt to reach the oil fields of the Middle East.

8th Army in the Desert Crusader Tank

The decisive battle for North Africa was the 2nd Battle of El Alamein 23rd October to 11th November 1942 saw the 8th Army, by then commanded by General Bernard Montgomery  and the Axis German and Italian Armies under the command of General Erwin Rommel . The Allied victory at El Alamein, a small railway halt on the road to Cairo was the beginning of the end of the Western Desert Campaign, eliminating the Axis threat to Egypt, the Suez Canal and the Middle Eastern and Persian oil fields. The battle revived the morale of the Allies, being the first big success against the Axis since Operation Crusader  in late 1941. The battle coincided with the Allied invasion of French North Africa in Operation Torch  on 8 November.

The fight was long and both sides has heavy casualties however it was Montgomery who was to prevail and by the end of the battle in November 1942 the Axis armies of the  German Africa Korps and the Italian Desert Army  suffered a decisive defeat.

Interactive Database of Leadgate Fallen 1942

Sergeant George Cant  aged 21, Son of Thomas and Hannah E. Cant, of Percy Terrace Delves Lane. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve  Died when his aircraft, Wellington bomber  R1186 JM-G, crashed into a hillside returning from a training flight on the 2nd April 1942. Buried  Medomsley Churchyard. Leadgate Remembers

ERA 4th Class William Forster aged 27. Son of Robert George Forster and Margaret Steel of1 Plantation Street and later Coronation House at Hanging Stone Leadgate Co Durham. Royal Navy HMS Kipling . Died when his ship was sank by a Junkers 88 based in Crete on 11th May 1942. Commemorated Portsmouth Naval Memorial . Leadgate Remembers

Private Edward Hagan aged 24, Son of Edward and Adelaide Hagan, of 93 Front Street Leadgate, Co. Durham.  Royal Army Medical Corps Died at the Battle of Gazala  on the 30th May 1942 Buried  Knightsbridge War Cemetery Acroma Libya. Leadgate Remembers

Private Thomas Best aged 25, Son of Christopher and Mabel Best, of Iveston, Co. Durham. 9th Battalion Durham Light Infantry  Thomas was wounded on 7th June at Gazala  and died of his wounds in hospital on the 9th July 1942. Buried Heliopolis War Cemetery Egypt. Leadgate Remembers

Aircraftman 1st Class Wilfred Cant aged 19, Son of Robert and Mary Cant, of 56 Plantation Street Leadgate, Co. Durham. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve  Died when his De Havilland Menasco Moth  crashed on a training flight, killing him and his pilot on 29th July 1942. Buried Estevan Cemetery Canada. Leadgate Remembers

Private William Colwell aged 28, Son of Mr Henry John and Mrs. Mary Ellen Colwell, of 6 Church Street Leadgate, Co. Durham; husband of Eva Colwell, of Consett, Co. Durham. 6th Battalion Durham Light Infantry  Died when The Scillin  a ship full of Allied Prisoners was sunk by a British submarine, HMS Sahib  (believed it was transporting Italian Troops) on the 14th November 1942. Commemorated Alamein Memorial  Egypt. Leadgate Remembers

Sergeant Joseph Proud aged 24. Son of Ernest and Hannah Proud, of Consett, Co. Durham. 18 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve  Died when his aircraft, Blenheim V BA730, crashed on the mountains of Beni Khalfoun on the30th November 1942, all the 4 men crew perished. Buried  Dely Ibrahim War Cemetery Algeria. Leadgate Remembers

Private George Watson Richardson aged 35 Son of George and Mary Hannah Richardson; husband of Elizabeth Annie Richardson, of Railway Street Leadgate. Royal Army Service Corps Died in hospital in Warwick, having suffered severe injuries (having been crushed between to vehicles 2 days earlier) on the 14th December 1942. Buried  Leadgate St Ives Churchyard Leadgate Remembers

Acknowledgements & Sources

Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Leadgate Remembers WW2 - Andy Plant
Wiki Mili
Military wikia

Leadgate Remembers World War 2

Leadgate Remembers World War 2  is a Facebook Project compiled by Andy Plant. We have worked closely with Andy on all the Leadgate Remembers projects and he has done a magnificent job of researching the fallen of Leadgate in both world wars. Andy's World War 2 project was designed to use a one year calendar view of the fallen on the date they died, regardless of which year.

Copyright Notice

Leadgate Community History Club do not claim any copyright over the any of the photographs on this page. The photographs are all either Public Domain or licenced as Free to Use and Share on the internet. All are referenced here for educational purposes only.