Lat 1° 32' 0" N Long 103° 48' 0" E Tebrau Airfield was located at Tebrau near the southern
tip of the Malayan Peninsula in Johor State (Johore State) in Malaysia. To the south is Singapore.
This area was planted with rubber trees as part of rubber plantations.
During mid of December, some of the construction parties were sent to Bekok to construct a new fighter airfield. Some were send to Seletar and Sembawang to repair damaged airfield. When it was fully functional, it was used by light aircraft from Malayan Volunteers Air Force.
During late August 1941, the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Air Ministry Department of Works under the command of Squadron Leader Smart built a camp at this location.
October 27, 1941 No.1 Aerodrome Construction Squadron with a local labor force of coolies began construction of Tebrau Airfield as a military airfield by cutting down the rubber trees and using bulldozers, tractors and graders to level the ground. Monsoon rains delayed construction with work continuing into the night to remain on schedule. By the end of November 1941, a a single runway measuring 1,200 yards was built but not fully completed.
At the start of the Pacific War on December 8 1941, the airfield was still under construction. In the middle of December 1941, construction ceased with personnel split into two groups with one group to Bekok Airfield and the other to Singapore.
In January 1942, construction continued resumed but as Japanese troops neared, orders were given to demolish the runway, destroy equipment and plant mines in the area. By January 27, 1942 all personnel were withdrawn from Tebrau Airfield and evacuated back to Singapore.
During the Japanese occupation of Malaysia, Tebrau Airfield was used as an emergency airfield and fighter strip. The single runway had a large U shapped taxi loop on the northern side. By 1945, this airfield was used to protect against long range patrol and reconnaissance missions by American bombers.
At the end of the Pacific War, a number of surrendered Japanese aircraft including Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) and Japanese Army Air
Force (JAAF) were flown to Tebrau Airfield by Japanese pilots or transported here from elsewhere.
At Tebrau Airfield, Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit–South East Asia (ATAIU-SEA) applied Royal Air Force (RAF) markings and with the acronym ATAIU-SEA
applied to each surrendered aircraft overtop their Japanese markings. A total of sixty-four aircraft were selected for shipment
to the United Kingdom but due to limited shipping space only four were actually shipped: A6M5 Zero, Ki-46-III Dinah 5439, Ki-100 8476M and K9W1 Momiji. The other aircraft were scrapped.
After the war, Tebrau Airfield was abondened and some of the infrastructure was used as a permanent Army camp.
The area was developed with buildings and factories. From the air, the outline of the runway is still visible.
Index to Air Bases - Research Report No. 85, I.G. No 9185 - July 30, 1944
New Zealands with the Royal Air Force (Volume III) Chapter 11 — Malaya, Sumatra, and Java pages 244-245, 264-265, 266,
"Its first base was at Tebrau in southern Johore. Here a camp had been built by the Air Ministry Department of Works and the rows of long, green-roofed huts set in the shade of rubber trees came as a pleasant surprise to men who had expected rigorous living conditions in the jungle. The living quarters were, in fact, very comfortable and recreation facilities adequate; Singapore with its multiple attractions was less than twenty miles away. The only complaint was about the army field service rations, which compared rather unfavourably with those enjoyed by RAF stations on Singapore Island."
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November 24, 2018