On the day of the assault on Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941, the Imperial Japanese Army invaded the Straits Settlements via Thailand. The Battle of Gurun in Kedah, a northern state, took place between 14 and 15 December 1941. The East Surrey Regiment was defeated with heavy casualties. The remnants fled to Taiping, a district in neighbouring Perak. Many perished in the journey from exhaustion, starvation and illness. They fled by sea to regroup with surviving British troops. The battalion was again defeated in late December 1941 under the 8th Punjab Regiment. They surrendered to the Japanese Imperial Army on 14 February 1942 under General Percival.