During World War II, Singapore was a major British military base, nicknamed "Gibralter of the East." It was considered an impregnable fortress and it's fall, was a major blow to British forces. Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the defeat to the Japanese the "worst disaster" and "largest capitulation" in British history. Indeed, roughly 62,000 troops were taken prisoner and more than half had died as POWs. Singapore had been a British colony since the 19th Century. On February 8th, the first wave of Japanese troops landed on the island, outgunning British defense. By February 13, most of the island's defensive weaponry had been destroyed by air, land, and sea troops. On the morning of February 15, Japanese troops broke through the last line of defense, by evening Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival surrendered to General Tomoyuki Yamashita. This was a triumphant victory for Japan. During their occupation, the island was renamed Syonanto. Many of the captured Indian troops, which had fought for the British, were recruited to fight for the Japanese in the Burma Campaign. Occupation ended after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, along with the entry of the Soviet Union into the war. Singapore was returned to the British, and remained under their weakened control until self-governance in the late 1950s and the merger with Malaysia in the 1960s. Yamashita was convicted of war crimes by the US and hanged on February 23, 1946.
It’s Wednesday, February 15
Children ages six to twelve can learn about the magic of light and sound at this week’s WKCTC Friday Night Science event. Discover the science behind light and sound by making an aluminum rod sing and creating a rainbow. The cost is twenty dollars. The two-hour class begins at 5PM. To register, call 270-534-3335.
Maiden Alley Cinema in Paducah presents “The Descendants,” starring George Clooney, tonight at 7. The film’s protagonist tries to re-connect with his two daughters after his wife suffers severe head trauma during a boat race. The movie plays through Sunday; find more information and additional showtimes at maidenalleycinema.com.
Graves County High School features a number of its graduates as performers in “All Hearts Come Home.” The alumni show is Friday at 7PM at the Performing Arts Center, located next to the high school. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for students.
Tomorrow at noon on WKMS, hear “Say It Loud,” a radio documentary featuring historically important speeches by African Americans. Learn more at wkms.org.