Thursday, 15 February 2007

Black Friday - 13th of February 1942


HMS Kedah in her wartime colours


Captain George F A Mulock, D.S.O., R.N., F.R.G.S. (1882-1963) served as Extended Defences Officer at Singapore from August of 1939 until the colony’s fall on February 15th, 1942.

It is believed that Captain Mulock and his staff at Extended Defences, under the in-direct command of Admiral EJ Spooner, co-ordinated the evacuation of some sixteen vessels which sailed from Singapore at dawn on the 12th February, or ‘Black Friday’ as it would later be known.

The exact size of the so-called ‘Empire Star Convoy’ is unknown and numbers range from six to over thirty, but included the Empire Star, Gorgon, Yoma, Delamore, HMS Scott Harley. The light cruiser HMS Durban, HMS Stronghold and HMS Kedah would escort the convoy. It is estimated that only two or three of the dozens of ships to leave Singapore during 11 - 13 Feb 1942 actually made it to safety.

Three ships, which he personally oversaw the evacuation of were Blue Star cargo ship SS Empire Star (which left on the 12th February), the SS Vyner Brooke (left on the night of 12th February), and the SS Malacca (which left on the morning of the 13th February 1942). The Empire Star and HMS Kedah were two of those who did make it without being sunk by the Japanese.

6 comments:

Julie Cordiner said...

Hi - I've just found your site while trying to find out why Holy Trinity Church Seaton Carew, in Hartlepool in the north east of England, has a bookcase containing our memorial book, with the following inscription:
To the glory of God a thank offering for a great deliverance s.s. “Empire Star” 12th February 1942.
I am organising a church history exhibition as part of our 180th birthday celebrations and a fundraising appeal to restore our stonework. I'd be grateful for any further information that might indicate any links - are there any lists of survivors which might lead me to a link with a Seaton family?
regards
Julie Cordiner

Anonymous said...

Hi!

just found this blog...I am so interested in the story WW2 especially regarding the fall of Malaya. I hope more story will come up from the veterans of the events in near future...thank.

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Anonymous said...

Sreela Kolandai, Malaysia says..
Hi there, my mother aged 12 then, and her family left Singapore on one of those last ships for India. She is unable to remember the name of the ship. She is now 84 years old and having survived a minor stroke last year, now resides in Kuala Lumpur.
At the end of January 1942, the fall of Fortress Singapore became evident. Mother and her family thought it a good idea to spend the war years in India, which was a safer haven then. Mother a burns victim (burning incident at church) suffered a 14 day ordeal at sea - the vessel could not sail up the Straits of Malacca, instead took the downward route through the Sea of Java and into the Indian Ocean to dock at Bombay after sailing 14 days. Mother recalls that many Japanese fighter vessels were waiting at the Java sea to fire at fleeing ships. I would be happy to hear of any other survivors from escaping ships. What an incredible adventure! Thank you and regards.
Mimi Kolandai

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