- Arthur Ernest Percival
Infobox Military Person
name=Arthur Ernest Percival
caption=GOC Malaya in December 1941
General Officer CommandingMalaya
lived=26 December 1887–31 January 1966
serviceyears=1914 – 1946
World War I
*Battle of the Somme
Russian Civil War Anglo-Irish War World War II
Battle of Malaya
Battle of Singapore
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order & Bar
Officer of the Order of the British Empire Military Cross
Lieutenant General Arthur Ernest Percival CB, DSO and Bar, OBE, MC, OStJ, DL, (26 December 1887 – 31 January 1966) was a
British Armyofficer and World War Iveteran. He built a successful military career during the interwar periodbut is most noted for his involvement in World War II, when he commanded the forces of the British Commonwealth during the Battle of Malayaand the subsequent Battle of Singapore.
Percival's surrender to the invading
Imperial Japanese Armyforce was and remains the largest capitulation in British military history, and it permanently undermined Britain's prestige as an imperial power in the Far East. [Taylor, "English History 1914–1945", p657] Morris, "Farewell the Trumpets", p452] However, current knowledge about the years of under-funding of Malaya's defences and the inexperienced, under-equipped nature of the Commonwealth army makes it possible to hold a more sympathetic view of his command. [Smyth, "Percival and the Tragedy of Singapore"]
Childhood and employment
Arthur Ernest Percival was born on 26 December 1887 in Aspenden Lodge,
Aspendennear Buntingfordin Hertfordshire, England, the second son of Alfred Reginald and Edith Percival (née Miller). His father was the Land Agent of the Hamel's Park estate and his mother came from a Lancashire cottonfamily.
Percival was initially schooled locally in
Bengeo. Then in 1901, he was sent to Rugby with his more academically successful brother, where he was a boarder in School House. A moderate pupil, he studied Greek and Latinbut was described by a teacher as "not a good classic". [Kinvig, "Scapegoat: General Percival of Singapore", p5] Percival's only qualification on leaving in 1906 was a higher school certificate. He was a more successful sportsman, playing cricketand tennisand running cross country. [Smith, "Singapore Burning: Heroism and Surrender in World War II", p23] He also rose to colour sergeant in the school's Volunteer Rifle Corps. However, his military career began at a comparatively late age: although a member of Youngsbury Rifle Club, he was still working as a clerk for the iron-ore merchants Naylor, Benzon & Company Limited in London, which he had joined in 1907, when the Great War broke out. But for this conflict, it seems certain that he would have remained a civilian.
Enlistment and World War I
Percival enlisted on the first day of the war as a private in the
Officer Training Corpsof the Inns of Court, at the age of 26, and was promoted after five weeks' basic training to temporary second lieutenant.LondonGazette|issue=29058|supp=yes|startpage=1176|endpage=1179|date=2 February 1915|accessdate=2008-02-18] Nearly one third of his fellow recruits would be dead by the end of the war. By November Percival had been promoted to captain. [LondonGazette|issue=29050|startpage=802|date=26 January 1915|accessdate=2008-02-18] The following year he was dispatched to Francewith the newly formed 7th (Service) Battalion of the BedfordshireRegiment, which became part of the 54th Brigade, 18th (Eastern) Divisionin February 1915. The first day of the Battle of the Somme (1 July 1916) left Percival unscathed, but in September he was badly wounded in four places by shrapnel, as he led his company in an assault on the Schwaben Redoubt, beyond the ruins of Thiepvalvillage, and was awarded the Military Cross. [LondonGazette|issue=29824|supp=yes|startpage=11044|endpage=11063|date=14 November 1916|accessdate=2008-02-18]
Percival took a regular commission as a captain with the
Essex Regimentin October 1916, [LondonGazette|issue=29783|startpage=9864|date=13 October 1916|accessdate=2008-02-18] whilst recovering from his injuries in hospital. He was appointed a temporary major in his original regiment. [LondonGazette|issue=30038|supp=yes|startpage=4042|date=27 April 1917|accessdate=2008-02-18] In 1917, he became battalion commander with the temporary rank of lieutenant-colonel. [LondonGazette|issue=30632|supp=yes|startpage=4550|date=12 April 1918|accessdate=2008-02-18] [LondonGazette|issue=31003|supp=yes|startpage=13282|date=8 November 1918|accessdate=2008-02-18] [LondonGazette|issue=31035|supp=yes|startpage=14044|date=26 November 1918|accessdate=2008-02-18] [LondonGazette|issue=31220|supp=yes|startpage=3257|date=7 March 1919|accessdate=2008-02-18] [LondonGazette|issue=32233|supp=yes|startpage=1434|date=18 February 1921|accessdate=2008-02-18] During Germany's Spring Offensive, Percival led a counter-attack that saved a unit of French artillery from capture, winning a Croix de Guerre. [Smith, p24] For a short period in May 1918, he acted as commander of the 54th Brigade. He was given brevet promotion to major, [LondonGazette|issue=31092|supp=yes|startpage=15|endpage=16|date=24 June 1921|accessdate=2008-02-18] and awarded the Distinguished Service Order, with his citation noting his "power of command and knowledge of tactics". [LondonGazette|issue=32371|supp=yes|startpage=5096|date=24 June 1921|accessdate=2008-02-18] He ended the war as a respected soldier, described as "very efficient" and was recommended for the Staff College. [Keegan, "Churchill's Generals", p257]
Between the Wars
Percival's studies were delayed in 1919 when he decided to volunteer for service with the Archangel Command of the British Military Mission during the
North Russia Campaignof the Russian Civil War. Acting as second-in-command of the 45th Royal Fusiliers, he earned a bar to his DSO in August, when his attack in the Gorodok operation along the Dvina netted 400 Bolshevikprisoners. [LondonGazette|issue=31745|supp=yes|startpage=923|date=20 January 1920|accessdate=2008-02-18]
In 1920 Percival served in
Ireland, fighting the Irish Republican Army(IRA) during the Anglo-Irish War. There, he was a company commander and later the intelligence officerof the 1st Battalion of the Essex Regiment, in Kinsale, County Cork.
Percival was an energetic counter-guerrilla and he soon developed a reputation for brutality amongst the Irish. [Thompson, "The Battle for Singapore", p69] IRA leader,
Tom Barry, wrote "This officer was easily the most viciously anti-Irish of serving British officers. He was tireless in his attempts to destroy the spirit of the people..." [Barry, Tom, "Guerilla Days in Ireland", p90] According to a biographer of Michael Collins', Tim Pat Coogan, Percival "had a habit of driving about the countryside in the mornings in an open touring car so that he could 'have cock shots at farmers working in the fields'." [Coogan, Tim Pat, "Michael Collins', p146]
Following the killing of a
Royal Irish Constabularysergeant outside Bandon church in July 1920, he captured Tom Hales, commander of the IRA's West Cork Brigade, and Patrick Harte, the brigade's quartermaster, and won an OBE; but there were allegations that these and other prisoners were maltreated whilst in custody. According to Irish historian Meda Ryanand others, Hales and Harte were "stripped, dragged for miles after a lorry, their hair was pulled out and their nails pulled off with pincers." Harte was transferred to a mental hospital and remained insane until his death a few years later. Percival was unable to capture Tom Barry, despite once having the opportunity to interrogate him and unsuspectingly ordering his release.
The IRA placed a bounty of £1,000 on Percival's head, seeing him as responsible for the "Essex Battalion Torture Squad", but a first attempted assassination by Barry in Bandon failed when Percival departed from his dinnertime routine. A second assassination squad was dispatched to London in March 1921, but was forced to flee
Liverpool Street Stationwhen the police learned of their plans. Back in Ireland, Percival led a raid that killed one of the would-be assassins.
Whilst in Ireland, Bernard Montgomery, who was serving in the same brigade, made Percival's acquaintance and they later exchanged letters on their experiences in this war. [Hamilton, "Monty: The Making of a General 1887–1942", p158–160]
David Lloyd Georgeand Winston Churchillalso met Percival in 1921, when he was called as an expert witness during an inquiry into the Anglo-Irish War. [Thompson, "The Battle for Singapore", p69–70]
Percival attended the
Staff College, Camberleyfrom 1923 [LondonGazette|issue=32790|startpage=608|date=26 January 1923|accessdate=2008-02-18] to 1924, then commanded by General Edmund Ironside, where he was taught by J.F.C. Fuller, who was one of the few sympathetic reviewers of his book, "The War in Malaya", twenty-five years later. He impressed his instructors, who picked him out as one of eight students for accelerated promotion, and his fellow students who admired his cricketing skills. Following an appointment as major with the Cheshire Regiment, he spent four years with the Nigeria Regimentof the Royal West African Frontier Forcein West Africaas a staff officer. [LondonGazette|issue=33043|startpage=2921|date=1 May 1925|accessdate=2008-02-18] [LondonGazette|issue=33470|startpage=1345|date=26 February 1929|accessdate=2008-02-18] He was given brevet promotion to Lieutenant-Colonel in 1929. [LondonGazette|issue=33454|startpage=152|date=4 January 1929|accessdate=2008-02-18] In 1930, Percival spent a year studying at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. From 1931 to 1932, Percival was General Staff Officer Grade 2, an instructor at the Staff College. The College's commandant General Sir John Dill, became Percival's mentor over the next 10 years, helping to ensure his protégé's advancement. Dill regarded Percival as a promising officer and wrote that "he has an outstanding ability, wide military knowledge, good judgment and is a very quick and accurate worker" but added "he has not altogether an impressive presence and one may therefore fail, at first meeting him, to appreciate his sterling worth". [Thompson, p71] With Dill's support, Percival was appointed to command the 2nd Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment from 1932 [LondonGazette|issue=33846|startpage=4627|date=15 July 1932|accessdate=2008-02-18] to 1936, initially in Malta. In 1935, he attended the Imperial Defence College.
Percival was made a full colonel in March 1936, [LondonGazette|issue=34264|startpage=1657|date=13 March 1936|accessdate=2008-02-18] and until 1938 [LondonGazette|issue=34557|startpage=6139|endpage=6140|date=30 September 1938|accessdate=2008-02-18] he was General Staff Officer Grade 1 in Malaya, the Chief of Staff to General Dobbie, the
General Officer Commandingin Malaya. During this time, he recognised that Singapore was no longer an isolated fortress. [Hack and Blackburn, "Did Singapore Have to Fall?: Churchill and the Impregnable Fortress", p39] He considered the possibility of the Japanese landing in Thailandto "burgle Malaya by the backdoor [Kinvig, p106] and conducted an appraisal of the possibility of an attack being launched on Singapore from the North, which was supplied to the War Office, and which Percival subsequently felt was similar to the plan followed by the Japanese in 1941.Percival, "The War in Malaya", Chapter 1] He also supported Dobbie's unexecuted plan for the construction of fixed defences in Southern Johore. In March 1938, he returned to Britain and was (temporarily) promoted to brigadieron the General Staff, Aldershot Command. [LondonGazette|issue=34503|startpage=2594|date=19 April 1938|accessdate=2008-02-18]
The Second World War
Percival was appointed Brigadier, General Staff, of the I Corps,
British Expeditionary Force, commanded by General Dill, from 1939 to 1940. He was then promoted to actingmajor-general, [LondonGazette|issue=34800|supp=yes|startpage=1151|date=23 February 1940|accessdate=2008-02-18] and in February 1940 briefly became General Officer Commanding 43rd (Wessex) Division. He was made Assistant Chief of the Imperial General Staffat the War Officein 1940 but asked for a transfer to an active command after the Dunkirk evacuation. [LondonGazette|issue=34855|supp=yes|startpage=3091|date=21 May 1940|accessdate=2008-02-18] [LondonGazette|issue=34895|supp=yes|startpage=4273|date=9 July 1940|accessdate=2008-02-18] Given command of the 44th (Home Counties) Infantry Division, he spent 9 months organising the protection of convert|62|mi|km of the English coast from invasion.Percival, Chapter 2] He was created Companion of the Order of the Bath(CB) in the 1941 King's Birthday Honours. [LondonGazette|issue=35204|supp=yes|startpage=3735|endpage=3736|date=27 June 1941|accessdate=2008-02-18]
Percival's Early Hypothesis To The Fall Of Singapore
In 1936, Major-General
William Dobbie, then General Officer Commanding (Malaya), made an inquiry to find out if more forces were required on mainland Malaya, so as to prevent the likelihood of Japanese landings and capturing forward bases to attack Singapore. Percival, then his Chief Staff Officer, was tasked to draw up a tactical appreciation on how the Japanese were most likely to attack.In late 1937, the tactical appreciation duly confirmed that north Malaya might become the critical battleground. The Japanese were likely to seize the east coast landing sites, on Thailandand Malaya in order to capture aerodromes and achieve air superiority. This could prelude to further Japanese landings in Johoreto disrupt communications northwards and the construction of another main base in North Borneo. From North Borneo, the final sea and air assault could be launched against eastern Singapore - against Changiarea. [Ong, Chit Chung (1997) "Operation Matador : Britain's war plans against the Japanese 1918-1941". Singapore : Times Academic Press.]
General Officer Commanding (Malaya)
In April 1941 Percival was given promotion to acting lieutenant-general, [LondonGazette|issue=35160|supp=yes|startpage=2731|date=9 May 1941|accessdate=2008-02-18] and was appointed General Officer Commanding (GOC) Malaya. This was a significant promotion for him as he had never commanded an army
Corps. He left Britain in a Sunderland flying boatand embarked on an arduous two week, multi-stage flight via Gibraltar, Malta, Alexandria(where he was delayed by the Anglo-Iraqi War), Basra, Karachiand Rangoon, where he was met by an RAF transport.
Percival had mixed feelings about his appointment, noting that "In going to Malaya I realised that there was the double danger either of being left in an inactive command for some years if war did not break out in the East or, if it did, of finding myself involved in a pretty sticky business with the inadequate forces which are usually to be found in the distant parts of our Empire in the early stages of a war."
For much of the interwar period, Britain's defensive plan for Malaya had centred on the dispatch of a naval fleet to the newly built
Singapore Naval Base. Accordingly, the army's role was to defend Singapore and Southern Johore. Whilst this plan had seemed adequate when the nearest Japanese base had been convert|1700|mi|km away, the outbreak of war in Europe, combined with the partial Japanese occupation of the northern part of French Indochinaand the signing of the Tripartite Pactin September 1940, had underlined the difficulty of a sea-based defence. Instead it was proposed to use the RAF to defend Malaya, at least until reinforcements could be dispatched from Britain. This led to the building of airfields in northern Malaya and along its east coast and the dispersal of the available army units around the peninsula to protect them. [Percival, Chapter 3]
On arrival, Percival set about training his inexperienced army, with his Indian troops being particularly raw, with most of their experienced officers having been withdrawn to support the formation of new units as the Indian army expanded. Relying upon commercial aircraft or the Volunteer air force to overcome the shortage of RAF planes, he toured the peninsula and encouraged the building of defensive works around
Jitra. [Percival, Chapter 4] A training manual approved by Percival, "Tactical Notes on Malaya", was distributed to all units.
In July 1941 when the Japanese occupied southern Indochina, economic sanctions were invoked by Britain, the
United Statesand the Netherlands, freezing financial assets and cutting Japan from its supplies of oil, tinand rubber. Given their on-going involvement in China, this put Japan in an unsustainable position. Both the Japanese navy and army were mobilised, but for the moment an uneasy state of cold war persisted. British Commonwealth reinforcements continued to trickle into Malaya. On 2 December, the battleshipHMS "Prince of Wales" and the battle-cruiserHMS "Repulse", escorted by four destroyers, arrived in Singapore, the first time a battle fleet had been based there. The following day Rear-AdmiralSpooner hosted a dinner attended by the newly arrived Commander-in-Chief Eastern Fleet AdmiralTom Phillips and Percival. [Percival, Chapter 7]
The Japanese attack and the British surrender
On 8 December 1941 the Japanese 25th Army under the command of Lieutenant-General
Tomoyuki Yamashitalanded on the Malay Peninsula (one hour before the attack on Pearl Harbor; the difference in date was because the two places lie on opposite sides of the international date line). That night the first Japanese invasion force arrived at Kota Bharuon Malaya's east coast. This was just a diversionary force, and the main landings took place the next day at Singoraand Pattani on the south-eastern coast of Thailand, with troops rapidly deploying over the border into northern Malaya.
On 10 December Percival issued a stirring, if ultimately ineffective, Special Order of the Day:
In this hour of trial the General Officer Commanding calls upon all ranks Malaya Command for a determined and sustained effort to safeguard Malaya and the adjoining British territories. The eyes of the Empire are upon us. Our whole position in the Far East is at stake. The struggle may be long and grim but let us all resolve to stand fast come what may and to prove ourselves worthy of the great trust which has been placed in us. [Percival, chapter 9]
The Japanese advanced rapidly, and on 27 January 1942 Percival ordered a general retreat across the
Johore Straitto the island of Singaporeand organised a defence along the length of the island's convert|70|mi|km|sing=on coast line. But the Japanese did not dawdle, and on 8 February Japanese troops landed on the northwest corner of Singapore island. After a week of fighting on the island, Percival held his final command conference at 9 a.m. on 15 February in the Battle Boxof Fort Canning. The Japanese had already occupied approximately half of Singapore and it was clear that the island would soon fall. Having been told that ammunition and water would both run out by the following day, Percival agreed to surrender. General Yamashita was willing to accept a British surrender since his own forces were running low on artillery shells but Percival did not know this.
The Japanese insisted that Percival himself march under a
white flagto the Old Ford Motor Factoryin Bukit Timahto negotiate the surrender. A Japanese officer present noted that he looked "pale, thin and tired". [Warren, p265] After a brief disagreement, when Percival insisted that the British keep 1,000 men under arms in Singapore to preserve order, which Yamashita finally conceded, it was agreed at 6.10 p.m. that the British Commonwealth troops would lay down their arms and cease resistance at 8.30 p.m. This was in spite of instructions from Prime Minister Winston Churchillfor prolonged resistance. The Pacific Warwas just ten weeks old.
A common view holds that 138,708 Allied personnel surrendered or were killed by fewer than 30,000 Japanese. However, the former figure includes nearly 50,000 troops captured or killed during the Battle of Malaya, and perhaps 15,000 base troops. Many of the other troops were tired and under-equipped following their retreat from the Malayan peninsula. Conversely, the latter number represents only the front-line troops available for the invasion of Singapore. British Commonwealth battle casualties since 8 December amounted to 7,500 killed and 11,000 wounded. Japanese losses totalled around 3,500 killed and 6,100 wounded. [Thompson, p9 and p424]
Culpability for the fall of Singapore
Churchill viewed the fall of Singapore to be "the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history." However, Britain's defence, the
Middle Eastand the Soviet Unionhad all received higher priorities in the allocation of men and material, so the desired air forcestrength of 300 to 500 aircraft was never reached; whereas the Japanese invaded with over two hundred tanks, the British Army in Malaya did not have a single one. [Kinvig.]
In 1918, Percival had been described as "a slim, soft spoken man… with a proven reputation for bravery and organisational powers" [Kinvig, p. 47.] but by 1945 this description had been turned on its head with even Percival's defenders describing him as "something of a damp squib". [Kinvig, p. 242.] The fall of Singapore switched Percival's reputation to that of an ineffective "staff wallah", lacking ruthlessness and aggression, even though few doubted that he was a brave and determined officer. Over six feet in height and lanky, with a clipped moustache and two protruding teeth, and decidedly unphotogenic, Percival was an easy target for a caricaturist, being described as "tall, bucktoothed and lightly built". [Warren, p. 29.] There was no doubt his presentation lacked impact as "his manner was low key and he was a poor public speaker with the cusp of a lisp". [Kinvig, "General Percival and the Fall of Singapore", p. 241.]
It has been argued that Percival's colleagues bear a share of the responsibility of defeat. Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert Brooke-Popham, the
Commander-in-Chiefof the British Far East Command, refused Percival permission to launch Operation Matadorin advance of the Japanese landings in Thailand, not wishing to run any risk of provoking the coming war. Brooke-Popham also had a reputation for being "past it", falling asleep in meetings and not arguing forcefully for the air reinforcements required to defend Malaya. Whilst Admiral Tom Phillips was undoubtedly brave, his bold leadership of Force Z led to his demise and the destruction of the British fleet on 10 December 1941, early in the campaign.
Others suggest that the government in London was more to blame than any of the British commanders in the Far East. Despite repeated requests, the British government did not provide the necessary reinforcements and they denied Brooke-Popham (and therefore Percival) the permission to enter neutral Thailand before it was too late to put in place forward defences.cite web
coauthors =Thomas Paul Ofcansky
title =Popham, Sir (Henry) Robert Moore Brooke
work =Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
accessdate = 2007-09-18]
Moreover, Percival had difficulties with his subordinates Sir Lewis "Piggy" Heath, commanding
Indian III Corps, and the independent-minded Gordon Bennett, commanding the Australian 8th Division. The former officer had been senior to Percival prior to his appointment as GOC (Malaya) and found it difficult to serve under him. Bennett was full of confidence in his Australian troops and his own ability, but faced a mixed reaction in Australia when he escaped from Singapore immediately after its surrender.
Percival was ultimately responsible for the men who served under him, and with other officers – notably Major-General
David Murray-Lyoncommander of the Indian 11th Infantry Division– he had shown a willingness to replace them when he felt their performance was not up to scratch. Perhaps his greatest mistake was to resist the building of fixed defences in either Johore or the north shore of Singapore, dismissing them in the face of repeated requests to start construction from his Chief Engineer, Brigadier Ivan Simson, with the comment "Defences are bad for morale — for both troops and civilians". [Thompson, p. 182.] In doing so, Percival threw away the potential advantages he could have derived from the 6,000 engineers under his command and perhaps missed his best chance to blunt the danger posed by the Japanese tanks.
Percival also insisted on defending the north-eastern shore of Singapore most heavily, against the advice of the Allied supreme commander in South East Asia, General Archibald Wavell. Percival was perhaps fixed on his responsibilities for defending the Singapore Naval Base. [Dixon, "On the Psychology of Military Incompetence", p. 143.] He also spread his forces thinly around the island and kept few units as a strategic reserve. When the Japanese attack came in the west, the
Australian 22nd Brigadetook the brunt of the assault. [Thompson, p. 414.] Percival refused to reinforce them as he continued to believe that the main assault would occur in the north east. [Thompson, p. 430.]
Percival himself was briefly held prisoner in
Changi Prison, where "the defeated GOC could be seen sitting head in hands, outside the married quarters he now shared with seven brigadiers, a colonel, his ADC and cook-sergeant. He discussed feelings with few, spent hours walking around the extensive compound, ruminating on the reverse and what might have been". [Kinvig, p221] In the belief that it would improve discipline, he reconstituted a Malaya Command, complete with staff appointments, and helped occupy his fellow prisoners with lectures on the Battle of France. [MacArthur, "Surviving the Sword: Prisoners of the Japanese 1942–45", p188]
Along with the other senior British captives above the rank of colonel, Percival was removed from Singapore in August 1942. First he was imprisoned in Formosa and then sent on to
Manchuria, where he was held with several dozen other VIP captives, including the American General Jonathan Wainwright, in a prisoner-of-war campnear Hsian, about convert|100|mi|km to the north east of Mukden.
As the war drew to an end, an OSS team removed the prisoners from Hsian. Percival was then taken, along with Wainwright, to stand immediately behind General
Douglas MacArthuras he confirmed the terms of the Japanese surrender aboard the USS "Missouri" (BB-63) in Tokyo Bayon 2 September 1945. ["Battleship Missouri Memorial", http://www.ussmissouri.org/surrender.aspx , accessed 2 February 2006] Afterwards, MacArthur gave Percival one of the pens he had used to sign the treaty. [Warren, p286]
Percival and Wainwright then returned together to the
Philippinesto witness the surrender of the Japanese army there, which in a twist of fate was commanded by General Yamashita. The Tiger of Malaya was momentarily surprised to see his former captive at the ceremony. The flag carried by Percival's party on the way to Bukit Timah was also a witness to this reversal of fortunes, being flown when the Japanese formally surrendered Singapore back to Lord Louis Mountbatten. [Morris, p458]
Percival returned to Britain in September 1945 to write his despatch at the
War Officebut this was revised by the UK Government and only published in 1948. [LondonGazette|issue=38215|startpage=1245|endpage=1346|date=20 February 1948|accessdate=2008-02-18] He retired from the army in 1946 with the honorary rank of lieutenant-general but the pension of his substantive rank of major-general. [LondonGazette|issue=37706|startpage=4347|date=27 August 1946|accessdate=2008-02-18] Thereafter, he held appointments connected with the county of Hertfordshire, where he lived at Bullards in Widford: he was Honorary Colonel of the 479th (Hertfordshire Yeomanry) H.A.A. Regiment T.A. from 1949 to 1954 [LondonGazette|issue=38762|startpage=5465|date=18 November 1949|accessdate=2008-02-18] and acted as one of the Deputy Lieutenants of Hertfordshire in 1951. [LondonGazette|issue=39412|startpage=6600|date=18 December 1951|accessdate=2008-02-18] He continued his relationship with the Cheshire Regiment being appointed Colonel of the Cheshire Regiment between 1950 and 1955; [LondonGazette|issue=38940|supp=yes|startpage=3037|date=13 June 1950|accessdate=2008-02-18] [LondonGazette|issue=40680|supp=yes|startpage=208|date=6 January 1956|accessdate=2008-02-18] an association continued by his son, BrigadierJames Percival who became Colonel of the Regiment between 1992 and 1999.
While General Wainwright had become a public hero on his return to the United States, Percival found himself disparaged for his leadership in Malaya, even by Lieutenant-General Heath, his erstwhile subordinate. Percival's 1949 memoir, "The War in Malaya", did little to quell this criticism, being a restrained rather than self-serving account of the campaign. Unusually for a British lieutenant-general, Percival was not awarded a knighthood.
Percival was respected for the time he had spent as a Japanese
prisoner of war. Serving as life president of the Far East Prisoners of WarAssociation (FEPOW), he pushed for compensation for his fellow captives, eventually helping to obtain a token £5 million of frozen Japanese assets for this cause. This was distributed by the FEPOW Welfare Trust, which Percival served as Chairman.MacArthur, p. 442.] He led protests against the film " The Bridge on the River Kwai" when it was released in 1957, obtaining the addition of an on-screen statement that the movie was a work of fiction. He also worked as President of the Hertfordshire British Red Crossand was made an Officer of the Venerable Order of Saint Johnin 1964. [LondonGazette|issue=43367|startpage=5540|endpage=5542|date=26 June 1964|accessdate=2008-02-18]
Percival died at the age of 78 on 31 January 1966, in King Edward VII's Hospital for Officers, Beaumont Street in
Westminster, and was buried in Hertfordshire. Leonard Wilson, formerly the Bishop of Singapore, gave the address at his memorial service, which was held in St Martin-in-the-Fields.
On 27 July 1927 Percival married Margaret Elizabeth "Betty" MacGregor (who died in 1956) in Holy Trinity Church,
West Brompton. She was the daughter of Thomas MacGregor Greer of Tallylagan Manor, a Protestant linenmerchant from County Tyronein Ulster. They had met during his tour of duty in Ireland and it had taken Percival several years to propose. They had two children. A daughter, Dorinda Margery, was born in Greenwich and became Lady Dunleath. Alfred James MacGregor, their son, was born in Singaporeand also served in the British Army. The family were well-to-do and Percival's estate on his death was valued at £102,515, a considerable sum in 1966.
Japanese Invasion of Malaya
* Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson
* Lieutenant-General Billy Key
Arthur Edward Barstow
Greater East Asia War in the Pacific
Indian 9th Infantry Division
Australian 8th Division
11th Indian Infantry Division
18th Infantry Division (United Kingdom)
The Somme - From Defeat to Victory", in which he appears as a character, played by Martin Turner
*Ryan, Meda, "Tom Barry: IRA Freedom Fighter", Cork, 2003
* Barry, Tom, "Guerilla Days in Ireland", Dublin, 1949
* Dixon, Norman F, "On the Psychology of Military Incompetence", London, 1976
* Bose, Romen, "SECRETS OF THE BATTLEBOX: The role and history of Britain's Command HQ during the Malayan Campaign", Marshall Cavendish, Singapore, 2005
* Hack, Karl and Blackburn, Kevin, "Did Singapore Have to Fall?: Churchill and the Impregnable Fortress", RoutledgeCurzon, 2003, ISBN 0-415-30803-8
* Hamilton, Nigel, "Monty: The Making of a General 1887–1942", Hamish Hamilton, 1981. ISBN 1-85753-171-X
* Keegan, John (editor), "Churchill's Generals", Abacus History, 1999, ISBN 0-349-11317-3
* Morris, James "Farewell the Trumpets", Penguin Books, 1979
* Kinvig, Clifford, "General Percival and the Fall of Singapore", in "60 Years On: the Fall of Singapore Revisited", Eastern University Press, Singapore, 2003
* Kinvig, Clifford, "Scapegoat: General Percival of Singapore", London, 1996. ISBN 0-241-10583-8
* MacArthur, Brian, "Surviving the Sword: Prisoners of the Japanese 1942–45", Abacus, ISBN 0-349-11937-6
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Volume 43, available at [http://www.oxforddnb.com/ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography website]
* Percival, Arthur Ernest "The War in Malaya", London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1949. Extracts from the report used as the basis of this book are available at http://www.fepow-community.org.uk/arthur_lane/Percivals_Report/ , accessed 2 February 2006 and the references here are to this report
* Smith, Colin, "Singapore Burning: Heroism and Surrender in World War II", Penguin Books, ISBN 0-14-101036-3
* Smyth, John George, "Percival and the Tragedy of Singapore", MacDonald and Company, 1971. ASIN B0006CDC1Q
* Taylor, AJP "English History 1914–1945", Oxford University Press, 1975
* Thompson, Peter, "The Battle for Singapore", London, 2005, ISBN 0-7499-5068-4 HB
* Warren, Alan, "Singapore 1942: Britain's Greatest Defeat", Hambledon Continuum, 2001, ISBN 1-85285-328-X
*Tim Pat Coogan, "Michael Collins". ISBN 0-09-968580-9
NAME = Percival, Arthur Ernest
ALTERNATIVE NAMES =
SHORT DESCRIPTION = British Army officer
DATE OF BIRTH = 26 December 1887
PLACE OF BIRTH =
DATE OF DEATH = 31 January 1966
PLACE OF DEATH =
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