The Official 2/26 Battalion Website

In affiliation with the 2/26 Battalion Family & Friends Association Inc.

"This website came to fruition in an attempt to tell the true story the 2/26th Infantry Battalion, (the only Infantry Battalion raised in Queensland; part of the 27th Brigade, 8th Division) played during the Malay Campaign of World War II..... "The 8th Division constituted 14% of the British force but it took 73% of the battle deaths."

Special Order No. 3


The following is a copy of Selerang Special Order No 3 dated 4th September 1942, and signed by Colonel E. B. Holmes.

  1. On the 30th August 1942, I, together with my Area Commanders, were summoned to Conference House Changi Gaol, where I was informed by rep. of Major General Skimpie Fafuiji, GOC POWs Malaya that all POWs Changi were to be given an opportunity to sign the form promising not to escape.
  2. By the Laws and Usages of War, a POW cannot be required by the Power holding him to give his parole and in our Army those who have become POW are not permitted to give their parole.  I pointed this out to the Japanese Authorities.
  3. I informed the rep. Officer that I was not prepared to sign this form and I did not consider that any of the men in Changi would be prepared to sign this form.  In accordance with the Jap order all ranks were given the opportunity to sign.  The result is well known.
  4. On the 31st August I was informed by the Japs that those who refused to sign the certificate would be subjected to “measures of severity” and that a refusal to sign would be regarded as a direct refusal to obey a regulation which the I.J.A. considered it necessary to enforce.
  5. Later on that night I was warned that on the 1st September all POWs persisting in refusal to sign were to move by 1800 hours to Selerang Barracks Square.  I confirmed both on my own behalf and in the name of the POWs to refuse to sign.
  6. The move was successfully accomplished by nightfall.
  7. I and the Area Commanders have been in constant conference with the I.J.A. and have endeavoured by negotiation to have the form either abolished or at least modified.  All that I have been able to obtain is, that which was originally a demand accompanied by threats of “measures of severity” has now been issued as an official order by the I. J. Government.
  8. During the period of the occupation of the Square the conditions in which we have been placed have been under my constant consideration.  These may be briefly described as such that the existence therein will result in a very few days in the outbreak of epidemic and the most serious consequences to those under my command and inevitable death to many. Taking into account the low rate of health in which may of us are, and the need to preserve our force in tact as long as possible and in the full conviction that my actions were the circumstances of which we are now living know to them would meet with the approval of His Majesty’s Government, I have felt it my duty to order all personnel to sign the certificate under the duress imposed by I.J.A.
  9. I am fully convinced that H. M. Gov only expects POWs not to give their parole only when such parole is given voluntarily.  This factor can in no circumstances be regarded as applicable to our present position.  The responsibility for this decision rests with me and with me alone and I fully accept it in ordering you to sign.
  10. I wish to record in this order my deep appreciation of the excellent spirit and good discipline which all ranks have shown during this trying period.  I look to all ranks to continue in good heart, discipline, and morale.        
    Thank you for your loyalty and co-op.


Sgd. E. B. HOLMES Col.
Commanding British and Australian Troops,