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.