In JAVA on March 4th 1942 ‘B’ Squadron 3rd Hussars with one company of Australian Pioneers attached was ordered by Brig Gen Blackburn to cover BUITENZORG, while the Dutch withdrew along the main to BANDOING.

This rearguard under command of Maj P William-Powlett, MC, was instructed to take up a position west of BUITENZORG at 1800 hrs March 4th and to withdraw at 1200 hrs March 5th.

On March 5th Lt Frow’s troop was disposed 3 miles west of main position on the road consequently his troop made first contact with the Japanese who were advancing on bicycles at 1030 hrs. Until the rearguard retired at 1330 (An hour and a half later than the time ordered by Gen Blackburn to facilitate the movements of the Dutch), Lt Frow and his troop although surrended maintained their position under constant LMG and later mortar fire.

Lt Frow conducted himself with admirable coolness, Japanese LMG’s were silenced and Japanese cyclists left dead on the road.

At 1330 hrs the troop withdrew, breaking through the enemy’s cordon, and returned having delayed the advance of large Japanese forces for 3 and a half hours alone, and unsupported.

It was, in great part, due to this officer’s courage and determination that the successful withdrawal of the Australian and Dutch troops was carried out successfully, remaining as he did, though completely surrended, for an hour and a half longer than his orders demanded.

P William-Powlett MC
OC ‘B’ Squadron
3rd Hussars

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