18 January 1942

21/453 Squadron, Gemas Road

At dawn on the 18th January, three Blenheims took off to bomb the railhead at Gemas. Led by Ft Lt Bob Kirkman, four Buffaloes escorted them into the target. The Blenheims made their low level attack before flying down the west coast of Johore to observe if the Japanese had made any landings. Meanwhile the Buffaloes broke away from their escort duties to strafe motor transports along the Gemas Rd. The loss of its fighter escort would be disastrous for the three bombers. Just South of Muar, at 1500 feet, the Blenheims ran into four 59th Sentai Ki-43 "Oscars", led by Maj. Hirobuni Muta. One Blenheim evaded the attackers but the two others were hit. One escaped but crash landed at Tengah, the other shot down into the sea. All crew survived. Back at the Gemas Road, the Buffaloes completed their strafing under heavy A/A, but after departing for Sembawang, F/O Daryl Sproule ran into a Ki-27 "Nate", which he claimed as destroyed.

 Later the same morning at 1120, Sgt Henry Parsons and Sgt Norm Chapman, along with up to four other 21/453 Squadron Buffaloes, took off from Sembawang to escort three 8 Squadron RAAF Hudsons who were to attack Japanese barges reported in the Maur area. Major  Muta's Ki-43s, described in 21 Squadrons ORB as approximately 35 Navy "0" type fighters, were still patrolling the area and engaged the formation after the bombing had been carried out.  Ft Lt Herb Plenty, flying a Hudson, found himself lagging behind the other Hudsons and decided to dive for treetop level to evade the fighters attention. After he did so he saw Norm Chapmans Buffalo, which spun down in flames half a mile ahead of his aircraft. Chapman failed to exit his Buffalo and was killed. Plenty contemplated his own fate as he flew over the burning wreck, and then was chased through the hills for 20 miles by three Oscars. However the Hudson did not receive a single hit. Possibly due the doggedness of Sgt Henry Parsons, who chased its pursuers, claiming one Oscar possibly destroyed. Harassed by five Oscars, the other Hudsons had turned toward the sea. The aircraft of F/L Robert Arnold received hits and damage to its rudder. And although both Hudsons made it back to Palembang, Arnold's aircraft went into a spin when near the aerodrome, and crashed on a hill, bursting into flames. All crew were lost.


Combat Claims

F/O  D.M Sproule 

1 Nate destroyed



Sgt. H.W Parsons

1 Oscar probable




Known participants

First engagement

Second engagement

F/L  R.A Kirkman

F/O H.V Montefiore

F/O G.M Sheppard

Sgt. N.R Chapman

F/O B. Hood

F/O J.B Hooper

F/O D.M Sproule

Sgt. H.W Parsons


RAAF Losses

1st engagement






2nd  engagement


1 Brewster Buffalo AN174


401102 Sgt. N.R Chapman KIA 26Yrs.




1 Lockheed Hudson  A16-95


475  F/L R.G Arnold KIA 22Yrs.

400259 Sgt. J McNeil KIA 23Yrs.

408401  F/O J.M Hood KIA 28Yrs.

406462 Sgt. G.F Perry KIA 23Yrs.


Japanese forces

First engagement



1 Ki-27



Second engagement



35 Ki-43 Oscars

59th Sentai