Australian Jewish Major Leads Forty British Soldiers to Safety from Singapore

An amazing story of the escape from Singapore, under the most harrowing conditions of Major Maurice Ashkanasy, a Jew; who was deputy assistant adjutant general of the Australian Imperial forces in Malaya, was reported today by the correspondent of the Evening Standard.

Ashkanasy, leading a party of forty soldiers from the British Brigade, left Singapore harbor in a lifeboat on Sunday, February 15, the day the city fell to the Japanese. With Ashkanasy, who in civilian life is a prominent Melbourne lawyer, at the tiller the men rowed all afternoon in a boat so crammed that the tiller could not be moved without the men first shifting their positions. Carried toward rocks by a heavy current the boat lost its rudder and sprung a leak.

Pumping and bailing the fugitives finally reached a small island where they paused for a short rest before continuing. The next morning after rowing all night they saw land to the westward. By noon they had reached a small native village where they were able to hire a launch to take them to the mainland of Sumatra. From there they were taken to Java by a British warship. All during their voyage there were Japanese aircraft overhead but they were not attacked.