Linoleum floor covering : Singapore surrender table

Place Asia: Singapore
Accession Number RELAWM32784
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Linoleum, Rubber
Maker Unknown
Date made c 1941
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Linoleum (or rubber) floor covering from the board room of the Ford Company of Malaya. This was the original covering at the time of the surrender and, according to Warrant Officer Balsillie who arranged the gift, marks made by the Japanese to indicate where the signing participants were to sit were still visible circa 1964.

History / Summary

This simple piece of linoleum floor covering relates to one of the most significant events from the Second World War, the surrender of Singapore to the Japanese.

On the afternoon of 15 February 1942, in the board room of the Ford Motor Company of Malaya in Bukit Timah Singapore, the surrender of all British and Commonwealth forces to the Imperial Japanese was signed. This act was the single largest military defeat of the British and Australian forces in history.

The fall of Singapore had immense military, political and social impacts on Australia. The effects of this are still felt in Australia over 70 years after the surrender. Four days after the surrender the first of almost 100 Imperial Japanese air and naval raids on mainland Australia commenced with the first massive bombing raid on Darwin.

This linoleum was originally underneath the iconic 'Singapore surrender table', where after the surrender and occupation of Singapore by the Japanese it was marked by them to indicate the positions of the respective Japanese and British surrender delegations. This included the main two personalities at the surrender, that being General Yamashita of the 25th Army and General Percival of Malaya Command.

It was recovered after the war by the work and initiative of Warrant Officer Balsillie. It was legally signed over to the Memorial from the Ford Motor Company along with the wooden surrender table in 1964.