In early 1942, Britain's salad days of empire in Southeast Asia came to an abrupt end. It was only the beginning, however, of years of suffering for thousands of soldiers suddenly made prisoners. Six decades later, a group of these men came back to Singapore to remember their experiences.
The plans for the attack were months in the making. By December 1941, Colonel Masanobu Tsuji and his Taiwan Army Research Section boldly forecast a campaign of 100 days to speed through the jungles of Malaya and seize the island-bound city of Singapore, Britain's jewel of Southeast Asia. General Tomoyuki Yamashita and the three divisions of his 25th Army were given the honor of carrying out this task in the name of the Japanese emperor, to capture what one English writer called "a bulging, glittering purse, carelessly dangled from the belt of Asia."1