5. Tan Kay Hai
Tan Kay Hai is probably the only Singaporean who was involved in the Second World War on the European front against the Germans.
Tan flew with the Second Squadron for the Royal Air Force (RAF) with bomber and fighter planes during the Second World War. He was a participant in the Battle of Britain and the Normandy Invasion.
His aircraft was reportedly shot down during the Normandy Invasion during a photo-reconnaissance mission and he was taken prisoner by the Germans.
He was transferred to a German POW camp.
He successfully escaped the POW camp and returned to Britain.
That’s right, Tan’s life is pretty dramatic.
After the war, Wing Commander Tan was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and he then commanded the pre-independence Malayan Auxiliary Air Force (Singapore Wing) until 1960.
He passed away in 1991.
6. Halford Boudewyn
During the Second World War, Halford Boudewyn was an anti-Japanese spy. Unlike Tan Chong Kee, his cover was a more simple one — a vegetable seller.
As a Spy
As a vegetable seller, he was supplying food to Indian army camps in Singapore. During one of his deliveries, he came to know a POW who recruited him to work as a spy.
As a spy, Boudewyn would sell his goods near the headquarters of the Indian National Army (INA). Each day, his contact would purchase some vegetables then would later claim that some of the vegetable were rotten and return the vegetables with stolen documents.
These documents consists of information on mistreatment of the POWs and also on Japanese planned invasion via Burma of India. As a harmless vegetable seller, he was never searched.
As a Police Officer
Boudewyn was also a police officer under the Japanese. He illegally monitored Allied broadcasts and transmitted them to prison camps through his Indian Army contact and others to bring hope to prisoners-of-war.
He also transcribed information onto paper with a carbon pencil and affixed these messages with sago paste to lamp-posts and bus shelters, where they were widely read and improved public morale.
After the war, Boudewyn resumed police work. In 1968 he received a Long Service Medal from the Singapore government.
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