In a move that lasted a single week, the Empire of Japan invaded Singapore, one of the largest British military bases in the South East. After the battle, the British newspapers were filled with appeals from family members asking for information on their missing sons and husbands.

Where were your family on the eve of World War 2?

Unbeknownst to them, between the 8-15th February 1942, approximately 85,000 British-led men from Britain, Australia and India had been taken prisoners of war, while a further 5,000 had been killed or wounded in the conflict.

Notes from the Prisoners of War 1715-1945 records

After the largest surrender of British-led armed forces in history, the Japanese captured Singapore. Winston Churchill called it the "worst disaster" in British military history.

Below, we remember some of the men captured during the battle, many of whom were sent into forced labour, such as building the Siam-Burma railway, or died in captivity.


Search the Prisoners of War 1715-1945 records



Missing in Singapore: Men taken prisoner by the Japanese from 8-15 February 1942

Norman Bey

Aberdeen Journal – Wednesday 15 April 1942 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Harry and George Anderson


Aberdeen Journal – Monday 23 March 1942© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Brothers Harry and George appear to have been held prisoner at the same camp.

Harry died on 13 June 1943, most likely while in captivity.

Hugh Petrie

Aberdeen Weekly Journal – Thursday 12 March 1942© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Hugh was taken prisoner on the last day of the battle. He died in captivity just over 18 months later.

Search the Army Roll of Honour 1939-1945

Peter Bruce McLean

Aberdeen Weekly Journal – Thursday 12 March 1942© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

David W. Fyfe

Aberdeen Weekly Journal – Thursday 12 March 1942© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Charles and John Bruce

Aberdeen Weekly Journal – Thursday 12 March 1942© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

According to the Prisoner of War 1715-1945 records, Charles was taken prisoner a few days after the initial conflict.

His brother, John, is still missing.

Watch our exclusive interview with 103-year-old former POW, Dr Bill Frankland MBE