The Battle of Kampar

About half a mile north of Kampar the road runs north and south through three ridges, known as Thompson's Ridge, Green Ridge and Cemetery Ridge. To the right was thick jungle; to the left open ground. 6115 Brigade covered the main road to Kampar with the British Battalion forward. During the last week of 1941 the enemy pounded our positions with mortars, shell and small arms fire. Then, at 0700 hours on New Year's Day 1942, after a heavy bombardment, the enemy main attack was launched on Thompson's Ridge. At the same time flank attacks on Thompson's and Green Ridges were made from the jungle. The enemy succeeded in gaining a temporary foothold on Green Ridge, but the situation was restored by a counter-attack at the point of the bayonet, led by Captain Vickers.

The attacks were resumed at dawn the next day, and a platoon position was lost on Thompson's Ridge. Once again, Captain Vickers, supported by Sergeant Craggs, led an attack at platoon strength. Although half the men were killed and the force repeatedly counter-attacked, the party hung on to their position throughout the day, under heavy and continuous fire. Captain Vickers was awarded an immediate MC, Sergeant Craggs a DCM and Private Graves, the company runner, the MM.

The Japanese continued to infiltrate during 2nd January, and by 1100 hours Green Ridge was also being overrun. Further counter- attacks achieved only partial success, and during the night the British Battalion was ordered to withdraw from the Kampar position. The reason for this withdrawal was that the enemy had landed in strength on the west coast in rear of the Kampar position, which thus became untenable. Orders were given to withdraw through 28 Gurkha Brigade. During this operation, difficult enough at any time, the enemy penetrated into C Company's position. Captain Bruckmann succeeded in extricating his company and withdrew according to plan. Lieutenants Carter and Randolph were wounded in this action. While this was going on, the enemy penetrated into our forward positions, and all four rifle companies had to fight their way out in the dark.

Map of Kampar Positions


The History of the 11th Indian Division records, "Throughout two days of heavy fighting every effort of the enemy to force a passage had been frustrated with heavy losses. The battle had been marked by many deeds of outstanding gallantry. In the short time between the Battalion's organisation and its first battle, Lieutenant Colonel Morrison had permeated it with an esprit de corps second to none. In this great achievement he owed much to the assistance which he was given by Captain Wallis of the Surreys and RSM Meredith of the Leicesters. Lieutenant Colonel Morrison was constantly forward with his hard-pressed troops in the line, inspiring them by his presence and personal example. His constant personal gallantry in this and subsequent battles was so marked that he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order". Among those who received the Military Medal during these arduous operations were Sergeant Maclean and Private Pardoe.


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