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Ibrahim bin Ismail
Born (1922-10-22)22 October 1922
Died 23 December 2010(2010-12-23) (aged 88)
Place of birth Sultanate of Johor
Place of death Kuala Lumpur
Buried at Makam Pahlawan
Allegiance  United Kingdom
 Malaysia
Service/branch  British Army
 Malaysia Army
Years of service 1942-1977
Rank Jeneral
Commands held
  • 6th Bn, Royal Malay Regiment
  • 5th Infantry Brigade
  • 1st Infantry Division
  • Chief of the Defence Forces
Battles/wars
Awards Order of the British Empire (KBE)
Order of Loyalty to the Crown of Malaysia (SSM)
Other work Company director

General Tun Ibrahim bin Ismail KBE SSM (19 October 1922 – 23 December 2010) was a Malayan soldier who served in the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) during World War II, subsequently rising to the post of Chief of the Malaysian Defence Forces from 1971 until 1977.[1]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Ismail was born in Johor Bahru, Sultanate of Johor, at the southern tip of the Malayan Peninsula. He graduated from the Indian Military Academy at Dehradun and was commissioned into the Indian Army, following the Japanese invasion of Malaya.

He was recruited into "Force 136", the cover name for the SOE in the Far East. In October 1944 he and two colleagues were parachuted onto the western coast of Terengganu as part of "Operation Oatmeal". Unfortunately their location was betrayed and they were soon captured by the Japanese - along with their codebook. After a month's interrogation, they agreed to turn double agent, but managed to inform SOE of their situation, effectively becoming triple agents.[1]

Their disinformation led the Japanese to believe the land assault on Malaya — Operation Zipper — would occur on the Kra Isthmus, 650 miles to the north of its actual location. Fortunately Japan surrendered before the landings, and Ismail regretfully informed his captors that his religion would not permit him to commit hara-kiri with them.[1] For his actions Captain Ismail received the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in November 1946.[2]

Post-war, Ismail joined the Sultan of Johore's State Forces, transferring to the Malay Regiment in 1951. He commanded the 6th Battalion, Royal Malay Regiment from 1958, and was promoted to Brigadier in 1962. He served as Director of Administration in the Federation Army, and then commanded the 5th Infantry Brigade, and was GOC of the 1st Infantry Division from 1966.[1]

File:National Operations Council.jpg

The National Operations Council (Ismail standing third from right)

He was involved in the suppression of the May 1969 riots[3] and was a member of the ruling National Operations Council between 1969 and 1971. With the rank of General he then served as Chief of the Defence Forces until his retirement in 1977. In 1984 he published his wartime memoirs Have You Met Mariam?[4]

In 2000 Ismail was appointed a Grand Commander of the Order of Loyalty to the Crown of Malaysia, and received the honorific title "Tun".[1]

Tun Ibrahim died at Tuanku Mizan Military Hospital, Kuala Lumpur on 23 December 2010. His body was laid to rest at Makam Pahlawan near Masjid Negara, Kuala Lumpur. He was the first military person laid to rest there.

References[edit | edit source]

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