Season 3

The last survivors of World War II tells us their stories, from a Bornean perspective.
Click on each profile to learn more about their stories.

Season 2

In season two, the grandchildren of survivors go on a journey of discovery, and find there’s more to their grandparents than meets the eye.
Click on each profile to learn more about their stories.

Season 1

Released in February 2016, the 70th anniversary of the Japanese surrender in Kuala Lumpur, survivors took us around the country and revealed their deepest memories.
Click on each profile to learn more about their stories.

Contribute to the project

Help us document Malaysia’s WWII stories! If you know a WWII survivor, or a place of WWII significance in your city, please let us know. Send us short stories, photos or videos, and we’ll add it to our Last Survivors interactive map.

For more info, drop us a comment, or email us at

Johor Kelantan Kedah Malacca Pahang Perak KL Selangor N Sembilan Penang Sarawak Sabah
A timeline of the japanese occupation A timeline of the japanese occupation

The Japanese landing at Dasar Sabak beach in Kota Baru. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

December 8, 1941

The Invasion Begins

The Japanese began their attack at Kota Baru, Kelantan, forcing the British to retreat after a heavy battle.

Military attaches viewing the British defenses after the Battle of Jitra.Credit:

December 10, 1941

Kedah is Invaded

After defeating the British at Kota Baru, the Japanese started invading Kedah.

December 16, 1941

Borneo Takeover

Two landing units of the Japanese invasion convoy secured Miri, Sarawak with very little defense from British forces. Hours later, Lutong was invaded.

December 31, 1941

The Japanese Move Up

The Japanese moved northward and conquered Brunei, Labuan Island, and Jesselton (now known as Kota Kinabalu).

January 7, 1942

The Battle of Slim River

After defeating the British’s first defense line on Perak River, the Japanese crossed the second defense line at Slim River.

January 11, 1942

The Battle for Kuala Lumpur

With most of the troops and citizens fleeing to Johor and Singapore, Kuala Lumpur quickly fell into the hands of the Japanese.

Japanese troops cleaning up a part of KL before the whole city was occupied.Credit: Wikipedia

January 13, 1942

Kuala Lumpur Falls

British commander, General Wavell pulled back all troops to Johor and the capital Kuala Lumpur was captured.

Japanese troops during the final stages of their invasion.Credit: Australian War Memorial

January 18, 1942

Johor Falls

The British’s third defensive line in Johor was broken.

January 19, 1942

British North Borneo Falls

British Governor of North Borneo Charles Robert Smith surrendered Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei after the Japanese attacked Sandakan, the seat of government of British North Borneo.

Royal Engineers prepared to blow up a bridge in Malaya during their retreat to Singapore.Credit: Imperial War Museums

January 31, 1942

Whole of Malaya Occupied

By this time, the whole of Malaya was occupied and British forces were holed up in Singapore.

General Arthur in Malaya, Dec 1941Credit: Wikipedia

February 15, 1942

Singapore is Surrendered

General Officer Commanding (GOC) Malaya in World War Two Lieutenant-General Arthur Ernest Percival was forced to sign a surrender document after food, water, petrol and ammunitions ran out in Singapore.

December 25, 1942

Kuching Falls

The Japanese troops invaded Kuching airfield.

July 1943

Terengganu, Kelantan, Kedah and Perlis Given To Thailand

Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo announced that four states were to return to Thailand as part of a military alliance between the two countries.

July 1943

Atomic Bombs Dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The United States detonated two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities on August 6 and 9, 1945.

August 6, 1945

Emperor Hirohito Announces Japan’s Surrender

In a broadcast to the whole Empire, the Emperor announced his acceptance of the terms of surrender that the Allies set down in the Potsdam Declaration.

The first surrender in Penang.Credit: Wikipedia

September 4, 1945

Japanese Forces Surrender in Penang

Aboard HMS Nelson, the Japanese forces surrender to the Allies.

General Itagaki and his Chief of Staff, General Ayabe at the third surrender ceremony in Kuala Lumpur.Credit: Wikipedia

February 22, 1946

Formal Surrender in Kuala Lumpur

Aboard HMS Nelson, the Japanese forces surrender to the Allies.