War In The East

In December 1941, Imperial Japanese forces launched a devastating surprise attack on American, British, Commonwealth and Dutch colonies throughout South East Asia. Allied forces were quickly overwhelmed and had been pushed back to the borders of India and the island of Papua and New Guinea by May 1942.

© IWM (KF 189) Canadian soldiers training in the hills on Hong Kong Island prior to the Japanese invasion in December 1941.

The Fall of Hong Kong

On 8 December 1941, eight hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese forces launched an invasion of the British colony of Hong Kong.

© IWM (KF 106) ROYAL AIR FORCE OPERATIONS IN THE FAR EAST, 1939-1945

The Fall of Singapore

In December 1941, Japanese units began to invade northern Malaya and southern Thailand, with the aim of taking the British base at Singapore.

© IWM (IND 4723) The Battle of Imphal-Kohima March - July 1944: British 3-inch mortar detachments support the 19th Indian Division

Imphal and Kohima

The battles of Imphal and Kohima, fought between March to June 1944 , were a turning point of the war against Japan.

© IWM (IND 4488) The Campaign in Mandalay February - March 1945: British infantry advance along a dusty road to Mandalay.

Burma

Following the successful Japanese offensives launched against Europe’s colonial possessions in South East Asia, the Japanese advanced into Burma.

AWM P01502.003 Prisoners of War and the Byrma Railway

Prisoners of War and the Burma Railway

Thousands of Commonwealth prisoners of war died while constructing the ‘Death Railway’ in Burma and Thailand.