15 Feb 1942. British surrender in Singapore. Gorton rescued.

John Gorton being rescued15 February 1942

The British Forces in Singapore surrendered to the Japanese Army. Also on this day in 1942 Pilot Officer John Gorton was rescued from the sea by the corvette HMAS Ballarat.

Gorton, later to be Australian Prime Minister, trained as a pilot and served in Britain before being posted to Singapore with No. 232 Squadron RAF. On 21 January 1942, flying a Hawker Hurricane which had only been unloaded a week earlier, he was shot down by a Japanese fighter. He crash-landed and was thrown heavily into his instrument panel, causing severe facial injuries.

Just two days before the surrender of Singapore Gorton was evacuated on the transport Derrymore, but his problems were far from over; the ship was torpedoed and he only survived after being rescued by the corvette HMAS Ballarat. The arrow in the photo points at him.

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