Saturday, 25 April 2015

Riley, William - Private

(No soldier photo available)
2nd. Battalion.
The Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire)
Died 23 January 1942
Age 27

In September 1939 the 2nd. Battalion was part of the garrison of Malaya (now Malaysia). On 8 December 1941 the Japanese invaded Malaya at Khota Bharu, on the northeast coast. The Loyals were part of the force which made a fighting withdrawal as the Japanese advanced towards Singapore. As they withdrew along the road from the town of Bukit Payong, Japanese tanks and infantry suddenly emerged from a defile in the hills. They decimated the Loyals, who were manning road-blocks, and control of the situation was lost. Casualties were estimated to be over 200 men killed, wounded and missing. Private William Riley was one who lost his life in the action.

William was the son of Mr. and Mrs. B. Riley of Blackpool. He was 27. He attended St.Mary's R.C. Church and School. He married in December 1939 before he joined the Army in January 1940. At the time he worked at Hirst's Slipper Works, Waterfoot. Throughout the war, William's wife served in the Women's Land Army. It was not until March 1946 that she received confirmation of his death.

William is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial, which stands in Kranji War Cemetery, some 22 kilometres north of the city. It bears the names of over 24,000 casualties of the Commonwealth land and air forces who have no known grave. William's name is on Column 74.