When many of us talk about World War II, we often forget the “World” part of the name, confining our focus to the major Allied and Axis powers and the big battles in the European and Pacific theatres. However, the truth is that almost every country on the planet was involved to some degree, and their stories demand to be told too.
The documentary Forgotten Heroes does just that for the people of Singapore, using four case studies to showcase the varied roles that Singaporeans played in the war. It’s a fascinating piece; in Australia, we’re used to stories of Britons, Americans, and Australians marching off to fight in the jungles of South East Asia or the islands of the Pacific, but rarely do we consider that servicemen from the British Empire’s colonies might be deployed anywhere the crown saw a need. Singapore, a British keystone city in the region, fell to the Japanese on February 15, 1942, resulting in the largest surrender of British military personnel in history. It also sent saw a flood of refugees flee the city, with many enlisting elsewhere to take up the fight.