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Dalforce at the Fall of Singapore in 1942: An Overseas Chinese Heroic Legend

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image of Journal of Chinese Overseas

Dalforce, or the Singapore Overseas Chinese Volunteer Army as it was more popularly known among the Chinese community, was a hastily formed volunteer army created just before the fall of Singapore in February 1942. It was made up of 1,000–3,000 Chinese volunteers from all walks of life and political persuasions. Dalforce companies, armed with limited weapons and ammunition, were sent to defend the different fronts of Singapore Island after only a short stint of training. The soldiers of Dalforce, alongside the Australian, Indian and British armies, fought the Japanese invasion during the Battle for Singapore. The Overseas Chinese community in Singapore saw Dalforce as a medium through which they could join in the struggle, together with their comrades in China, against an aggressive and belligerent Japan. This small army became a symbol of something their comrades in China failed to truly achieve — the ability to unite in one force against a common enemy. The exploits of this little army became an Overseas Chinese legend.


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