06 December 2010

Patrick Heenan – The Singapore Traitor

Readers of this blog will know that I am fond of the backwaters of history – those events which, while important in some way, shape or form, either do not materially affect the course of history or are forgotten for one reason or another.

I am quite interested in Britons and Commonwealth citizens who served the Axis powers. Some of the characters are known to most (eg William Joyce) others are rather less well known but not forgotten to history(John Amery, The Brtisches Freikorps, or BFC) while some are largely forgotten except by people with an interest (eg Harold Cole, Theodore Schurch,, Oswald Job).

I am not so familiar with the actions of those who aided the Japanese war effort so it is perhaps unsurprising that I had never heard of Patrick Heenan until I cam across his name last night when looking for something else.

According to his Wikipedia entry Patrick Stanley Vaughan Heenan was a New Zealand born captain who was apparently convicted ofof treason for after spying for Japan during the Malayan campaign of World War II.

In 1932, Heenan he was placed on the Army Supplementary Reserve. He was commissioned in 1935 and put on the Indian Army's Unattached List, and was sent to India. After six months' training with a British regiment. He was accepted by the 16th Punjab Regiment

n 1938-39, he took a six-month "long leave" (an Indian Army tradition) in Japan.

During 1941, his unit was sent to Malaya. He was transferred to an Indian Army air liaison unit and posed to Alor Star, in northern Malaya, in June 1941.[15] It was in this area that most of the RAF, RAAF and RNZAF squadrons in Malaya were based.

Heenan apparently assisted the Japanese invasion of Malaya through radio transmissions. He was arrested on 10 December and sent to Singapore where he was reportedly court martialled

He remained in custody at Singapore for several weeks. The Japanese gradually drove the Allies out of Malaya, and on 8 February they invaded Singapore Island. Within days, it became clear that the battle was being won by the Japanese. He was apparently sot by his guards on February 13 and dumped in
Keppel Harbour.

Although the Japanese would have beaten the British and Commonwealth forces in Malaya and Singapore without Heenan’s help his assistance possibly did allow them to destroy the FAF, RAAF and RNZAF units a little more quickly (their destruction was inevitable as the equipment deployed to E Asia was decided second rate – Brewster Buffaloes were no match for Zeroes)

I would like to find out more about this man. Odd Man Out, a book written bout the Heenan case by Peter Elphick and Michael Smith, was published in the early 90s and is available for pennies second hand on Amazon. I think I will be purchasing my own copy very soon.

I can’t find a photograph of the man, Rather amusingly a Google picture search throws up the American mass murderer Carl Panzram - Not a very nice man (to sa the least!). The not-wife has recently bought a book about him. I must read that too


SnoopyTheGoon said...

You are collecting some decidedly unpleasant fellows, Jams ;-)

jams o donnell said...

I do have an interest in minor figures of infamy