Sri Lanka (Ceylon)
Role in WW2
Main article: Ceylon in World War II
Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka), was a British colony and a major Allied naval base. On 5 April 1942, over 300 aircraft from Japanese carriers bombed the island. Winston Churchill called it "the most dangerous moment" of World War II, because the Japanese wished to replicate a grander success of the attack at Pearl Harbor. British ships, however, were moved to Addu Atoll, Maldives Islands. Nevertheless, the British lost an aircraft carrier, two cruisers, and two destroyers, while the Royal Air Force squadrons on Ceylon suffered severe losses.
The Ceylon Garrison Artillery Regiment was stationed on Horsburgh Island in the Cocos Islands, to defend it from Japanese attack. However, the regiment mutinied on the night of 8 May 1942, intending to hand the islands over to the Japanese. The mutiny was suppressed and three of the Ceylonese soldiers were executed.
Following the Cocos Islands Mutiny, no Ceylonese combat unit was deployed in front-line combat, although Supply & Transport Corps troops were used in rear areas in the Middle East. The defences of Sri Lanka were beefed up to three Allied army divisions because the island was strategically important, as a producer of rubber. Ceylonese in Japanese-occupied Malaya and Singapore were recruited by the Japanese for the Lanka Regiment of the Indian National Army, to fight against the Allies. They never actually saw action.