Upon the outbreak of the Second World War the 1st battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment was still in India. In 1941 it was deployed to Penang, and then to Jitra, in order to protect the rubber supplies in Malaya.
The Japanese launched their attack on the 8th December at Patani and Singora in Thailand, at the same time a landing at Kota Bhara in Malay. The defence plan ‘Matador’ was not applied by Percival and therefore withdrawals by the Allied forces took place.
On 11 December the 1st Battalion Leicestershires fought a major battle at Jitra, holding its positions until ordered to withdraw. At this point however it became separated into isolated groups, only some of which succeeded in escaping. The survivors were combined with the survivors of the East Surrey Regiment under 'British Battalion', then the long retreat to Singapore.
The British Battalion role at this point is shown at:-
Japanese landed on Singapore Island on 8 February 1942. After seven days of fighting the garrison finally surrendered. Some members of the British battalion managed to escape, but the remainder found themselves Prisoners of War and they were marched to Changi Camp.
This begain three and a half years in Japanese PoW camps, where many died from disease, malnutrition and Japanese brutality.