If you have any memories that you would like to share or want to add your own memory of a thread already started, please email me and I will include them.

A walk down history lane, before Merdeka


Company chef at war dog training wing R.A.V.C

I will never forget one day we were in camp doing our duties it was lunch time at training wing Cotta Tingi in Johore  our CSM Hays came up to have a look around we had some guy's on camp who had just been in Korea and where waiting for shipment home one of them was in the royal catering corps he was our chef at the time he was mixing some dough in a bowl to make some pies the CSM saw his hands they were not very clean so he asked him to show his hands this he did  but CSM Hays hit the roof Smethhurst what do you think you are doing  two men get fell in and take this man to the guard room this we did and left him there the guard room was in the main camp so we came back and settled down who walks in the basher  but Smethhurst  so a few of the lads said has the provost sargent let you out he said yes to pick up my gear then he settles down on his bunk bed  five minutes later the phone rings it's the provost sgt is Andy Clyde there being a bit baffled we said no he is in your camp  so we asked one another who it could be oh we know who it is  Smethhurst you see we give him a nick name of Andy Clydes Commandos ACC army catering corps he said get down here rapid.  Poor chap we never saw him again he got shipped back home.


Loyal Regiment - John Hesketh

In November 1959, it was their last operation near the Thai border to drive any remaining CT's over the Thai border.  The operation lasted 6 weeks. My Father and unbelievably 4 other soldiers were 21 on the same day which was 11th November 1959.  The platoon saved their rum ration to celebrate the birthdays of the 5 men! They made a rum punch out of barley sugar sweets and raisins, boiled and syphoned off and added to the rum! Sounds great doesn't it Annie!!

 Another story is that my Father who is a musician formed a skiffle group on the ship home which sailed from Penang December 1959 bound for the UK.   There were 6/7 members in the band and they had the benefit of being 'free from all duties' as a thank you for entertaining the troops!  Can anybody remember being in my Fathers band?

 My Father is also looking to get in contact with Joe Cassin and Ronnie Foy who feature in many of my Dad's pics which you kindly put online.

 Can you help with any of the above?


John Nolan
During my National Service, I was a 2/Lt. no. 445005 in the 48th.
Field Regt. RA. I was in Korea from about Dec.'55 - Mar'56 and Malaya from about Apr'56 - Mar'57.
 My memory doesn't serve me very well here, but in Malaya, my battery had 5.5 guns and we were divided into 2 sections of 2 guns each. I was in "F" Battery (or was it section ?).
 I have quite a good photographic record of some aspects of life. The photos are small B&W and not the best quality, but could be useful with the right expertise. I also have some supportive stuff like maps and so on.
 We had a wonderful battery commander Maj. J.G. Blenkinsop(p?), who was a Geordie. He had joined the pack artillery on the North-West frontier. He told me, "all I had was a mac and a tooth brush in my pocket". He was a real soldier's soldier, a real disciplinarian, tempered with a strong sense of fair play. As a young N.S. 2/Lt. (the lowest of the low !! ;-)  ), Maj. Blenkinsop, ("the blink") protected me more than once from some rather unpleasant regular officers, who wanted to court marshal me.
 I now live just West of the Severn, near a tiny place called Awre.


I have only just found this site., and just sat here Chuckling and laughing to myself, did we really do all those things, experience them! I was in that area as a young Private Soldier frightened shitless!

Only we can look back on it now, with some affection. I lost a very good mate there, and still remember him to this day. We Were on a patrol in a very sensitive area and were told to try and get a live prisoner! We had a young Lt who lead from the back, because we  were so short of men, I was then the ranking NCO, can you imagine it! I am sure you guys can! Anyway, suffice to say we had a contact, where we lost one good man, (My Buddy) so we decided to pursue the insurgents. We finally cornered them and suffice to say were not very merciful.  It isn't at all correct in this day and age to say that is it, but I saw what they did to one or two of our lads.

I and my comrades finally managed to get back to base camp without further lose, Thank God, where I Was immediately reduced to the Giddy Rank of Private and the Lt sent home to Blighty for weak Leadership and Cowardice in the face of the enemy!

Next Day I was promoted Cpl!!!!

Nice talking you guys, be Proud, we did that and prevailed,

Terry Wilkes. (Ex QO Buffs, Airborne and Medic).


here are a few memories for your website page:

From Maurice Eley RE 410 Independent Plant Troop Malaya & Singapore 1955/56:

" A couple of events that spring to was the time a Tiger came too close for comfort as we walked along a track. Most Tigers would run off but not this one; it just kept on coming! Luckily a Ghurka with us was a perfect shot & felled the animal ( I have the picture to prove it! ) Still on animals... we adopted a stray dog that wandered into our camp. He turned out to be loyal pet whilst when you were on guard duty, he would spot & kill snakes."
Tiger that got too close! 1955/ 56 Malaya/  Singapore

Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM)

Please read my comments, you may disagree with them, that’s democracy and I will defend your right to have a different opinion to mine but please read them first.

There seems to be some misunderstanding amongst our membership over the PJM. So let’s see if I can clear some of them up with a few proven facts.

The PJM is awarded from the date of Malay’s independence & the formation of Malaysia & not from the start of the Emergency which was earlier.

There is something like 35,000 British Veterans entitled to the PJM so many in fact that the MoD cannot cope with this amount of extra work. So the MoD have done everything in their power to block this award , having failed in that they wanted it kept as a trinket otherwise all requests would have to go through RAF Innsworth and it would take them years to process the applications unless they took on extra staff and that would take them way over budget.

The MoD has admitted that the phrase accept but formal permission to wear will not be granted” did not exist before the 7th December 2005 and blame the FCO for this ruling. So far the FCO have not commented on this and are not answering any emails or letters on this subject. When I phone the FCO all I get is and I quote “I could not possible comment on that” it’s like listening to a parrot.

The ruling is not only unworkable it has no basis in law and cannot be enforced. It is just a matter of protocol.

All holders of the PJM have a right to wear this medal & it’s just a handful of unelected civil servants who are trying to stop you wearing it.

Ministers receive so much mail that they rely on their civil servants for information and not all information are getting to our Ministers.

Please visit our web site and read the open forum.

We have nothing to hide and you can look at anything you like as a guest.

If you want you can register and place a comment, for or against. It will not be removed unless it is obscene.

I thank you for your time and look forward to reading your comments on

Paul Alders

Dear sir,
Re. The PJM medal and the present governments attitude towards the Malaysian Government's offer to honour those British servicemen, many of them conscripts who fought to ensure Malaysia's freedom from communism, because the British government of the day ordered them to do so.
The Prime Minister Tony Blair can accept a medal from the US for sending British troops into Iraq against the wishes of the people of Britain but his government has a problem when considering this deserving award of the P.J.M. to ex soldiers who did what they were ordered to do, are now well into their senior years and out of the services.
The rules say that foreign medals are not allowed, other than from official organizations such as the UN or NATO. Well, isn't Malaysia a member of the Commonwealth?......and isn't Britain considered to be the "mother" of that commonwealth? and wasn't it part of that commonwealth that we were defending?.
And regarding the wearing of that medal should the award be approved. As I have said all those who would receive the medal are now well into their 70s and out of uniform so what is the problem?. Why can't this government make a sensible decision as did the governments of Australia and New Zealand. This stupidity is just an example of how inflexible politicians are and how they feel they must have the last word at any cost even when they are so obviously wrong, as they are in this case.
Having read the following passages, as far as I am concerned, the only message here is once you have served out your usefulness in the services this present government has no further use for you and they have no consideration for your feelings. I sincerely hope the present members of the armed forces are aware of this.
Keep up the protest NMBVA. don't let this dreadful government get away with this injustice.
Ken Nichols
NMBVA Member


Dear Mr Scharnhorst

 Thank you for your interesting notes (via Webmaster) dated 9/12   -  Are you related to Grand Admiral  Scharnhorst ?

I hope I have the name correct regarding Princess Mary Barracks.

 As a result of the 'Emergency'   I arrived on Singapore Island around August/September 1951 with thousands of others - I can recall disembarking at the harbour - close to a railway line - where we were taken by army lorry to an entented camp entitled  Calcutta Camp. at Pasir Panjang.   My memories of its location are vague but  recall that when walking back from Singapore city (a very long walk)  I would pass  abeam Holland Village which would be about three quarters of the journey - passing H Village to my right side as I headed West.    I presume I would be either on  Ayer rajah Rd  - or Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim road if it then existed.   Arriving at Pasir Panjang  the camp was located via a lonely lane also to the right arriving at the camp guardroom after about half a mile or so.   There was an open air Chinese laundry located near the junction of this lane.    The camp was made up of Royal Signals -   comprising separate tented camps for Malay troops and British although  we all worked together.  Some of us were driven out to Fort Canning each day to operate communications with units up country in Malaya (as it was then called)

 Regarding the new barracks -  these were completed sometime around October 1951 - and we were the very first to be billeted there.     They were luxurious compared to tents -  the large ceiling fans allowed us to discard mosquito nets.   I cannot recall much more as we were only thinking of returning but to the UK.   

 On leaving our camp and proceeding down the country lane  when we arrived at the main road  for the bus  I can recall a  another large military depot at that point - with a very high wire fence all around -  It may have been a BOD (Base Ordnance Depot).    Within marching distance  was  the Alexandra Military Hospital.

 Not far from the area were many  military married quarters comprising  rather pleasant detached villas each in their own grounds.   I recall a very large pipeline traversed the area  - possibly for water - quite dominant.  

 On returning to Pasir Panjang some 50 years on  - other than Alexandra Hospital I could not  recognise any place or location -   almost every inch of green had been built upon with high rise flats and housing.

 Our unit was named - Singapore District Signal Regt.    We wore the yellow and green shoulder patch of the Lion and Palm Tree.

In your letter you mention your grandfather   RAMC killed in action July 1944 -  do you know in what action or event in Malaya this was - I know there were a few brave men dropped behind jap lines via submarine and others such as Freddie Spencer Chapman who were in  'stay behind'  parties after the surrender.    I apologise if you find the above rather wandering and vague but in those days we did not take a lot of notice of our surroundings much to our regrets in these later  years.

 My wife and I hope to make our third visit to Singapore sometime later in the new year.

 With all best wishes

 Brian D Phillips

Dear Webmaster
While doing a research on the Princess Mary Barracks in Singapore, I came across your webpages and was very impressed at what you have achieved. 
May I introduce myself. I am Preston S Scharnhorst from Singapore. My grandfather, George Scharnhorst, was with the Royal Army Medical Corps and was killed in action in July 1944 in Malaya. My father was with the REME 40 Bases in Singapore. My youth is thus full of memories of life in the then British areas of Pasir Panjang, Alexandra, Nepal Circus, Dover Road, Rowcroft Lines, GHQ FARELF etc. in Singapore.
I also spent the last 33 years with the Singapore Polytechnic which is situated in this same area at Dover Road which was once the Princess Mary Barracks where the 18 Signal Regiment was based. During my years at the Singapore Polytechnic, it was my  to  privilege to have met a number of ex-servicemen and their wives who came around while on a trip down memory lane. They were usually ushered into my office as I had the historical background to assist them in their quest. I remember the glow in their eyes when they saw two buildings that are still standing today at the Singapore Polytechnic; the Moberly Block and the building that was once their Sgts Mess. One gentleman even gave us an aerial photograph of the Princess Mary Barracks on which he indicated the buildings as they were used then. Sadly, I do not have their contact information. 
I am doing a research on what was life like at Princess Mary Barracks in those years. I would appreciate any photographs taken at the Princess Mary Barracks which would also show the facilities and life in the Barracks at that time, any anecdotes etc with some indication of the year. I would welcome any emails from anyone.
If anyone would also any like information on Singapore, I will also be pleased to assist.   
Thank you    Preston S Scharnhorst
Please accept my apologies for this unsolicited email, but I would like to express support for your efforts to obtain permission from HM Government to wear this commemorative medal. I was born in "emergency" Malaya and have been interested in this period of Malayan history for as long as I can remember. I am often dismayed how little ordinary Malaysians know of their past, & how little they value the enormous sacrifices British & Commonwealth troops made on our behalf- a debt that can never be repaid.

With best wishes

David Chong

 As a Borneo vet myself, five tours there between 1962 and 1966, can I first of all say hello to fellow swamp rats and jungle 'bunnies'.
 Regarding said 'gong', I have recently been in touch (August 2005) with the medals section of the MOD, who have informed me that as a result of comments made by Baroness Symons and others earlier in the year, and which appeared in several UK papers, that matter now rests with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
 Pleased also to tell you that support for this campaign, and not just in political circles, is growing, (comments from certain 'officials'). As I am sure some of you may already know, there are a number of well established precedents for this kind of award, both in the UK and elsewhere, from WW1 to the present day.
 Take care mates,
 Respectfully yours,
 Keith Scott (ex-Royal Marines)


From: Ray Blackham.  “I read quite frequently these days about the inferior equipment of our Armed Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.  There is nothing new about that.  Some fifty plus years ago we were involved with the Malayan Emergency.  Take transport.  As an RMP company we were equipped with motor cycles, light and medium heavy vehicles.  The motor cycles were 1930s vintage, 500cc BSA Side Valves, with girder forks.  We rarely used them as it was unusual for them to complete a journey without breakdown.  We once had to provide a motor cycle escort for Field Marshal Templar as he went to the airport.  Six bikes started but only three completed the course.  The MT Sgt had a 200cc Triumph with telescopic forks which we used to admire.  Our light vehicles consisted of Landrovers of unknown vintage.  I once had to drive one, which had been overhauled and tarted up by the local REME, to Malacca to drive the aforementioned Field Marshal around a farewell parade.  The radiator sprung a leak on the way there and it would not start after we got there.  Fortunately they decided not to use the Landrover.  We also had one Jeep, acquired from the Philippines, Ex US Army and WW2 vintage.  We once saw a new replacement vehicle, the Austin Champ which had a Rolls Royce engine being tried out but that was our total involvement.  Finally we had a Dodge six wheeler ex – US Army which was rarely used plus a small fleet of 15cwt Fordson trucks.  The one I used to drive was classed BER (Beyond Economic Repair) by a TA unit in Leeds in 1937 and there I was driving it around Malaya sixteen years later.  It was our mission in life to keep well in with the local REME as they were the ones that kept us mobile. Our personal  weapons consisted of .38 Revolvers and Sten Guns.  We never fired the revolvers as it was said that replacement ammunition was hard to come by.  The Sten Guns were a gamble whether they fired or not.  Two of us went by road from Seremban to Ipoh in an open Landrover equipped with a revolver each and one Sten Gun.  When we arrived at Ipoh the Armourer said that it was a good job that we had not been attacked as one revolver and the Sten were not working.  We were not the only ones with problems.  The infantry used to patrol the roads using a light armoured car called a Dingo which had a small turret mounted gun.  Talking to one lad he said that they thought of filling the turret with stones to throw at the bandits as the gun never worked.  One weekend the OC decided that all HQ Staff should go down to Malacca beach and do some target practice.  We were not allowed pistols and found the Stens did not fire.  We filled the day by using the OC’s .22 rifle and got five shots each.  So you can see from all this that times have not changed that much in fifty plus years.”

 The photograph shows one of the Fordson 15 cwt vehicles mentioned by Ray. These were later reclassified as a 1 Ton vehicle.  One of the little quirks with these vehicles was that the heavy duty battery was sited between the two seats so you could always tell who was a driver and who was a passenger from the acid burns in their shorts.  I am assured that the chap under the vehicle is not a victim of a RTA but was there trying to sort out a problem.


Fred Steele.

Hi, I served in the 16 field ambulance in 1951 Wardiburn camp. I was there for appox 12 months and enjoyed every minute of it. We used to go into Kaula Lumper every saturday and we had a great night out drinking tiger beer and eating English food in the knafi. My CO was Lt Col I N Derbyshire, and there was Major Rea. A group of 5 to 6 of us travelled all over giving first aid demonstrations to various soldiers in different camps and one of the camps was the Gurkha regiment and they invited us to there large tent and a bottle of rum was put on the table from them and then another and another all paid for by them, as they would not let us pay no way. That was the first time i knew of the Gurkhas and what a great bunch of lads they were. I shall never forget there hospitality. I felt very happy to have met them. My name if Frank Nuttall and my army number was 22420674 (Pte)

frank nuttall

Malaya 1957. The One-Legged Hitch-Hiker

Malaya 1957, and our unit (7FOD), situated outside KL, next to 22SAS is a strange little place.  With 2-3 dozen Brits and Malay OR’s, we supplied ammo and other essentials to various units on the Malay Peninsula.

A few names: -  Tony Ross, Charlie(scouse) Willis, Pat Himpson, George Smy, Willy Walsh, Ken Williams, Tony Ross.  Sorry I can’t bring to mind some more.

I used to do armed ammo escort duties, which entailed loading ammo and related items onto railway goods wagons and delivering same accompanied by a small infantry detachment (usually an NCO and about 6 OR’s).  I would nominally be in charge and the escort boys could be from one of many units operating within The 28th Commonwealth Brigade.

These runs could take up to 5 days sometimes; what with being shunted off the single-track line into goods yards to dispense our load. I enjoyed the company of units including Ghurkhas. Aussies, Kiwis, Indian, Rhodesian, and some of the finest from Scotland, Wales, and England.

Into our camp one day came a one-legged Brit on crutches.  This guy (from Manchester/Bolton or somewhere thereabouts) was on the return leg (no pun intended) of a round-the-world hitch-hiking adventure and was making his way north.  He stayed a few days until I was due to make a journey north up to the Thai border.  I arranged to “smuggle” him onto the train and help him on his way.

Our wagon/s were always hitched to the rear of the train........I guess for safety reasons; away from sparks from the engine, and maybe not to be too obvious or alarming to the train’s passengers.  We always left late at night.

Leaving a guard looking after our precious cargo, I took our one-legged civvy friend into KL town for a few scoops before departure.  On return to the goods yard we found the gates locked, but without a second thought this guy throws his crutches through the gates and is up and over the 12 foot or so of spike-topped railings, shaming me into following (rifle, bandolier, jungle-boots et al). Anyway, we safely made it and got on our way. I think I eventually got him to Butterworth, near the Thai border.

I took many photos of this guy at various stages of this trip, but to my eternal shame I lost the lot on a subsequent escort job to Singapore.......time on my hands....too much to drink, and got my camera stolen.  I hasten to add that at the time I was off duty and had deposited my rifle and personal ammo in a police station for safe-keeping before imbibing.

I have been checking ex-service sites for a few years and have never found anyone from my old unit....can’t all be dead or non computer-literate can they?  Maybe this little blast from the past will jog a few memories.....maybe someone knows or remembers this guy from his home town.

I’m happy to be contacted if this means anything to anybody.

Brian (scouse) Wood.  23485690 Ex RAOC 1956-59


The beginning from Alan Rigg

My first sea journey started in 1948, also my first attempt to sleep in a hammock was on the good troop ship Dunera.
Southampton, Suez, Ceylon, Singapore finishing at RAF Sembawang which appears to have no history at all, a grass airfield and empty accommodation. We were a small group travelling to Singapore signals centre daily until the emergency started then on a train for KL.
 Using W/T or morse, my job was to keep in contact with squadrons 52 and 110 Dakotas as they carried out their missions, we lost a couple. There was 45 squadron beufighters 28 and 60 squadrons Spitfires.
Contact also with ships Black Swan, Belfast, Amethyst
 Sgt pilot Brown was lost in his spitfire and we lost members of the football team in Dakotas
 The return cruise was on the Dilwara
 Was a short stint in Malaya as a national serviceman but not my last.


1963 off to gay Paris for a week end then to Marseilles!!
Was a bit of a jolly, the word Formidable sticks in my memory, french for a large beer.
Had been selected for secondment to the Royal Malay Air Force who had bought the alouette helicopter but was using brit ground and aircrew, we were trained up in France.
Helicopters arrived in boxes, we put em together .
 Pilots but no winchmen so we did that job too and learned to fly em, was all unofficial of course, attempts to get us log books and pay were rejected.
Dropping supplies, dried fish etc to flooded malays, carrying the doc who looked after the aboriginies in out of the way places and also in Tawau Borneo moving troops around.
Was a good time.



The following are recollections of my time in Borneo in 1963 I had just completed a course at Lee on Solent and was sent on leave and draft to join 706B at R.N.A.S.Culdrose. After a short while we got four Wessex helicopters the nucleolus of the Squadron separate from 706 Squadron After working up doing field training I.E. living under canvas and working with both Army and Marines we joined H.M.S .Bulwark and set sail for the Far East. On reaching Aden we we took of stores  and aircraft off H.M.S. Albion Bulwarks sister ship which was returning to the U.K. and we took on the role of 845 Squadron and set sail for Singapore and Borneo.  There was a shortage of Aircrew men and Maintainers were used to fill the gap and I was one of them I was sent to Sibu which was our main base as senior aircrew man. .I had only been at Sibu a short time when I was crewman to Lt Stewart Thompson when we went to a village called Mukha where a woman was having a difficult pregnancy and had to be rushed to hospital at Sibu transport by long boat would have taken about two days as by helicopter about 45 minutes on reaching the hospital landing site the woman gave birth she called the baby Helicopter. On another occasion we were lifting troops off Mount Gunong Spali my job was to load the helicopters but bad weather set in and the last sick could not be loaded and I had to spend the night with only the clothes I stood up in needless to say I never travelled without s change of clothing.  Another occasion happened around about 7 o'clock at night when a call came through for a casevac at a village called Entabia it was dark and raining hard and the only landing site was a small football pitch cut in the side of the river bank' on entering the communal hut there was a young lad with a arrow stuck in his head he had been fishing we took him back to Sibu where they took the arrow out successfully. and he returned to his village.. Another incident occurred when we were called to recover a member of the R.U .Rifles who were clearing a new landing site went one had been cut across the back side with a machete, he had to lay on he stomach all the way back to Sibu .My worst experience was we had been doing an Hearts and Minds display with the R.U.R.s over Sibu on completion two helicopters Golf and Bravo were deployed to take the R,U.R. band back to a village called Song which was their base on the return trip there were no passengers in my helicopter so Isat in the cockpit with the pilot on our return we landed and was being parked up when the other helicopters rotor blades caught ours which caused ours to turn over . there were three members of the R.U.R.s in Bravo I've often wondered want happened to them.

Edward Smith


My Time With the Kiwis


On the recent trip, Merdeka Parade and PJM Presentations in KL I met up with some veterans from the 1st RNZIR who knew of the following incident that occurred whilst on exercise in the jungle near Malacca.


I asked the whereabouts of a certain soldier that I remembered well from an exercise that I was sent on, as a young 7 stone L/Cpl Medic with a section of about 12 ‘Giants’ of Maori infantrymen none of them seemed to be under 7 feet tall and about 15 stone in weight!! .


The one man that I remember, a Pte Danny Warachini  (Excuse the spelling) happened to slip and badly sprain or even break his ankle – but was completely unable to walk with it. We were at this stage of the exercise 3 days into the jungle- quite a long way from the nearest road or track that a vehicle could meet up with us. I carried out the necessary first aid treatment and then suggested that we ask for a ‘volunteer’ stretcher party to carry him out of the jungle. The response was not very promising and I was firmly told to be quiet by one of the patrol and he then asked us all to empty one of the two water bottles we all carried and pass it over to him. He then proceeded to tie this dozen of so empty water bottles to Danny – and with help, carried him to a nearby river and floated Danny downstream for a mile or so to the nearest track where they were met by a vehicle and transported back to Terendak BMH.


This was the last I heard or saw of Danny ‘till meeting up with his old comrades in KL, but I did on one occasion speak with a relative who was working for a medical supplies company in Cambridge some years ago. Sadly – I was told that Danny has now passed away.


Ipoh 1948 -1949

I was stationed at No 3 C.M.H (combined Military Hospital) Ipoh with the Hospital on a large plain about 3 miles outside Ipoh and nothing to be seen for about 1 mile radius not even a house, only trees and mountains in the distance.  It was very isolated.  Our billets were a large Malayan Manision in it's own grounds, surrounded by Rubber trees on Brewster Road, on the outskirts of Ipoh and about 2 miles from the Hospital and 1/2 a mile from Ipoh race track.
When on duty we were transported by our one R.A.S.C to the hospital and the shift coming on duty transported back to the billets.
I never did find out where other British Troops were stationed near Ipoh.  It was seldom that we saw any when we went into town to the cinema of which there were five.
Apart from the 2nd Gurkhas the British troops around Ipoh were the K.O.L.Y.I.'s                                                                                                          There was no trouble when I first arrived in Ipoh it stated about 3 months later, some time about April 48, as of course you will be aware of when things started to get really bad we the R.A.M.C were all issued with rifles and ammo and had to do Guard Duty at the Billets.  The Officer and Sargents mess was at he hospital.                                                                    The 4th Hussars came to take over from the K.O.L.Y.I.'s, but once again I did not know where they were based.                                                               Our unit played football in the Ipoh league against Europeans, Chinese, Malayan, Malayan Police and other mixed teams.  The games were all played on the Padhang just outside the Railway Station and there were reports of each game printed in Ipoh's local paper, it had a lot of local interest and some large crowds on the open ground.                                      There was also another Military Hospital up on the Cameron Highlands with a pretty village and Villas dotted around the Mountains.  A lovely sight to see, it was used more for a Leave Centre.  To reach it you got the train to Tapah and then by twisting mountain roads through jungle about a 3 hour road journey, hoping nobody was waiting round each steep bend.  I made that journey four times, twice to play their hospital team at football, once on leave and once as a patient.  I had Tinea and ring worm all over my face and the climate up there was like a lovely day in May in England all the year round.                                                                                                                   But I am afraid the worst was yet to come.  In December 1948, xmas eve, a patrol of Gurkhas were ambushed just outside Ipoh,  I was on duty when they were brought to the hospital, six dead, about 8 wounded, terrible sight, but the worst came New Years Eve when a patrol of Hussars were ambushed with the same result, only one Hussar was missing, I was on duty again and  I could have quite willing gone into Ipoh and shot as many Chinese as I could have seen but some good news came out of it for me.  About 3 days later I was told they had brought the missing Hussar in, they had found him in the Jungle full of shrapnel and he came from my home town in Eccles, The Royal Oak, on Barton Lane, I went to see him and he was in good spirits.  I did not know him but wrote to my mother asking her to go round to see his mother and tell her more or less from the horses mouth that he was doing OK.  It would cut out his mother having to go through all the red tape and worry.  Anyway the man's name was Hussar Harry Whittiker-Smith and Patrol Commander Lt Sutro, both were decorated, one D.S.O and the other D.S.C.                                                                               In May 1949 a new Military Hospital was opened in Taiping and all Ipoh unit transferred and Ipoh just having a C.R.S attached to 2nd Gurkha Rifles with yours truly staying with the Gurkhas for a month and then on my way home.
Ex Prt W. Woods R.A.M.C 

Malaya 1952

I have just been reading with great interest I might add, some of the stories of soldiers who served in Malay during the 50s. 
I say with interest because I was posted to Singapore in 1952 at the tender age of 22, and ended up in Tangling Barracks. I was in the Royal Signals. I had been there for a couple of days when I was asked by an officer if I would like to volunteer for either the 'Malay Regiment' or the 'SAS',  the SAS wanted specialist tradesmen, (Wireless operators). 
Not knowing much about either of them at that time I plumpt for the SAS, solely because the stint was only two years, and I was keen to get back home as soon as possible, the Malay Regiment was three years and they wanted senior ranks, ( Sergeants), at that time I was only a L/Cpl although I did rise to the dizzy height of Corporal while in the SAS.
I was duly posted to a place called Klang and that was when I realised what I had let myself in for. The men were talking of an operation that they had been on called Bloom Valley, but it was too late then to say, can I please change my mind, I was Committed.
The first patrol that I went on was with a  Rhodesian squadron that was attached to the SAS, I was their wireless op, and as green as they come, straight from the training camp at Catterick to the jungle, how I got through that operation without getting everyone lost I will never know, but they were a great bunch of chaps, and we did get through the operation, and I had matured quit a bit by the end of it all.
From Klang we moved to Sungie Besi and from there to Coronation Park in Kuala Lumpur, were I did my Parachute Course and  finished off my two years stint.  Knowing what I know now, if I had the chance to do it all over again, I would, it was the best two years of my life, I just wish that I had volunteered for another tour of duty like others in the Regiment did.
In between Klang and Coronation Park a lot happened, but I am afraid that it would take me another two years to relate it all, and I am afraid that at 73 I might not live long enough tell you, but if you have read this much, I thank you. 



These are my fathers recollections, of his time in national service in Malaya. He is eager to hear from anyone who may remember this particular incident, or who served with him.

Please direct any communications to my email address ( am his daughter. I will gladly pass on his telephone/address details if anyone remembers him.

A unit if the 4th Hussars had been sent to escort young children down country for their vacation. They were sent by their parents to Cameroon's for education because of the favourable climate, lack of mosquitoes and safer from hostilities. Our convey lined up, Humber Scout Car in the lead followed by G.M.C armoured personnel carrier fully armed. There were also some civilian vehicles. The G.M.C I was driving had been cleared of weapons and grenades so as to accommodate a party of children plus a female helper. So there we waited.

It was a perfect day, clear blue sky, sun shining and still cool in the mid morning. An aircraft appeared above and began to circle. Radio contact was gained with the lead Humber Scout Car, but of course as usual we hadn't finished settling all the children on board. This message was RT to the pilot who then decides to treat us to a 15 minute air display followed by a steep dive and low level buzz across the convey. It went wrong and failed to pull up clipped the trees, soared over my vehicle making a split second deafening sound and crashed about 100 yards away. There was an eerie silence for a few minutes. A huge plume of smoke rose up followed by the sound of cracking and snapping as the surrounding jungle caught light. The ammunition started to explode so we battered down and sat it out. The children were terrified. We were unable to help and carried on with our escort duties. The next day on return to the Cameroon's we formed part of a search party and searched long and deep into the ULU jungle but we found nothing. This was in response to another witness on higher ground who said something had fallen off of the tail plane, (this was confirmed at a later date as being the pilot). We also visited the crash site, still very hot from the intense fire. Very little of the aircraft was left. The engines completely buried deep in the ground, just the twisted remains of the cannons still visible. I did find a large First Aid box, Red Cross on the top containing large scissors. This was some distance from the crash site. This fatal loss was recorded in the "Straits Times" and unknown to myself at the time a photograph had been taken and there was I on the front page sitting on the drivers seat with the door open of the G.M.C armoured vehicle.

You must draw you own conclusion from the witness of events; to myself I would suggest a tragic accident.

Edward Davey  (born 1930)
EX Regular
2 1/2 years 4th Hussars
6 months in the 12th Royal Lancers
Total 3 years served in Malaya.



The Canberra crash in 1961

Martin Shelvey

Time Span,,1959-1961
Who remembers, searching for a Kiwi Canberra bomber that had been struck by lightning during a night flight, Both the pilot and navigator successfully ejected, .The pilot carried out the correct procedure, covered a tree with his chute" ,,sat down and ate and drank and waited for rescue ,SARAH beacon "on " of course,,,,The navigator , badly shocked no doubt, dumped all his survival gear on landing and wandered off !!!  It was him that we were searching for,,,    Basically the system was like this :- All the available "erks" were bundled into all the available aircraft to act as "extra eyeballs",, In "twinpins" you just knelt on the canvas seat and looked out of the windows,,16 of you !, But in Beverly's it was a bit different apparently, if you were lucky you got a seat in the tail boom, if not you sat on an office chair in the massive main compartment, Anyway ,we (209 squadron) loaded up the "twinpins" and droned up and down the Malayan ulu staring down upon miles and miles of TREES ,,I can still see the things in my minds eye !
             After hours of this visual torture we returned to refuel/have a pee etc. and then back again, staring out of the side windows just seeing more and more bloody TREES looking for a sign, any sign of wreckage, damaged foliage etc.      Getting near the end of the second stint when a message came through the radio "It's alright, he's been found"  he (the navigator) had been found by some loggers.         Returning to RAF Seletar to a late evening meal, I looked at my plate and what could I see ?????     TREES lots of bloody  TREES !
At the time we were told
1/.that the aircraft was struck by lightning during a night flight
2/. that the pilot had done the correct procedure and been rescued
3/. that the navigator had been badly shocked and "dumped" his survival gear, and then was rescued

This is what really happened according to the book " Flying the Silver Fern" by Christopher Pugsley  

The news of the withdrawal was overshadowed by the loss of one of the squadrons (75 sqdn) Canberra's. flown by Flight Lieutenant P.G. Bevan and Navigator Flying Officer D.I. Finn  When the plane WF 915 went overdue on the night of 26th October (1961)  One of the largest search operations ever conducted in the theater was mounted . Over the next five days Army Austers, Single and Twin Pioneers, and almost all the small aircraft in Malaya took part in the search, along with Shackletons, Bristol Freighters, and Hastings, Canberra's from 81 PR Squadron photographed all of the area of probability so that more time could be spent studying the ground rather than have a fleeting glimpse from an aircraft.   On the 30th October Flight Lieutenant Bevan walked out of the jungle near Bahau. 
After ejecting from his aircraft, he had been unable to activate his S.A.R.A.H (Search & Rescue & Homing) because both it and his Mae West had been torn off by the top of a tree in which he landed.  Trapped by one leg and hanging upside down, he had managed to set himself free with his knife after his harness failed to release. 
  The pyrotechnics in his survival kit did not work and his matches got wet in the rain.   In shock and injured in both wrists, he walked to a logging track where Malay timber workers found him and took him to Bahau Police Station
Next day the wreckage of the Canberra and the body of F/O Finn were found.  Finn had been in the nose of the aircraft and had been unable to get to his ejection seat before the aircraft crashed.




Matt Rooney Memories

The Dog School
The morning loomed quite early as it always did, 
I tried my best to ignore it as below the blanket I slid. 
The sergeant rattled thon stick he carried everywhere, 
and the comments about his Parentage, and did we really care. 
No diving to the mess hall to have  a  cuppa and a bun, 
but paraded to the kennels before the start today's fun. 
No hilarity or joking mind we never got the chance, 
as each new lesson ' learned ' was to lead us a merry dance. 
Dog training was a serious task to just perform, 
as lads from a varied background weren't always able to conform. 
We who did have some knowledge of what we might expect that day, 
were still unprepared for the task as in a field we would lay. 
A padded suit in which the running command wasn't quite the thing to do, 
as I and others more frustrated seem to have lost a shoe. 
In Singapore the natives thought we were a bit wrong in head, 
for the news of our latest antics about the town were spread. 
The ' invisible dog ' was the easiest of the lot, even our N.C.O.s, 
thought we had lost the Plot. 

 to be continued 

Going to Singapore for tea, there's " No Chance "
Every month there would from our camp then leave, 
the old uniform's with rotten or a frayed sleeve. 
A convoy made up of those that knew, 
there  wouldn't be any stopping to join a queue. 
The ' scout car ' with the Twin Bren's array,
 the ' K ' ration's in the wee bit tray.  
Depending if a joint trip planned, 
our B.S.M.s warning, no dotting the ' eye's ' across the land. 
As a favourite practice to test their aim, 
was to line up on road sign's, well we got the blame. 
We weren't the only one's who then strayed, 
put it down to nerves as well as having prayed. 
And it was to Singapore and the main depot's attract, 
that all those uniform's were simply stacked. 
The weekend leave beckoned as ' our bonus ' for the trip, 
and our weapons stored within  " Nee Soon Camp's " armoured grip. 
Then off to see the  ' Three World's ' or more, 
to see how much we could drink before we left that shore. 
After our night's outing and the spending spree, 
we travelled back to the camp but not for tea. 
we always managed to make our money last, 
not that ' we the squaddies ' were on a moneyed fast....
I went to Tampin in Malaya 1952 to 1953, was with 93 bty, R.A. The Regiment was based in Kowloon, Hongkong. That was 25th, Field R.A.. Now 93 battery were based permanently at Tampin and it was only the personnel that were changed, there were  National Servicemen and Regulars. Though I cannot now remember the exact strength at the time, and for some reason am unable to locate the Regt. I do know it existed in the 70's and 80's as my wife's niece's husband was in it.  I was also at the dog school at Singapore as they [ the Bty] were supposed to use them on the patrols, that fell through???...So I had a variety of ' little ' jobs handed to me to pass the time there. We never got the chance to get bored, there was always something to do.  NAAFI, and cinema queues in the camp, swimming parties to Malacca interstate boxing and football on our dusty pitch, unless of course when we had the typhoon's

A possible coup..

We lay in the jungle having left camp in the early dawns light, 
the purpose of that reasoning was we might catch someone without a fight. 
As the day progressed onward there were noises off a ways, 
not having been on a patrol before, a lot of us had the grey's?. 
It was beginning to look as if the information had been off that day, 
as we whispered through the leaves we were told be quiet in a certain sort of way. 
Then other noises could be heard they seemed to be very loud from where we lay, 
and the presence of some animals dashing past as if trying to get away.    
Nervousness took hold of us who were crouched really low, 
and the trees seemed to hush a bit as if they knew we were below. 
With fingers on the trigger guard just in case we made an error,
 sweat pouring down our backs as we lay in terror. 
Then into our clearing with a final advanced roar, 
no it wasn't the enemy but a cow chasing a boar. 
So how could we have explained it if we had shot that cow, 
imagine the Sergeant Majors face, as the form was handed in, '  with the wherefores and the how.

Looking Back "firefight at Kroh"

Hello Mates 
   For years I have been trying to find some one who remembers  an incident that occurred in I think 1961  when  two of our twin pioneer aircraft from 209 Squadron  took a small detachment of 1RNZR to a place called Kroh on the Malay/Thai border   ( see NMBVA website "members stories)  They (the troops ) departed leaving us RAF to a "teabreak" . The "Sally Ann" turned up and dispensed char and wads........Then all hell seemed to break loose with sub m/c guns, grenades and rifles popping off.  We never got to the bottom of what actually happened because we had to depart......   and I have been puzzled ever since .   WELL  I have recently been in contact with an ex CO of 209 squadron ( Sqdn Leader Cess Crooks)  who wrote :- I did know of the "fire-fight" at Kroh.    It was before my time,  but I understand the Police Field Force were  chasing Chin Peng, the CT.  He eventually reached safety in Bentong, across the Malay?Thai border.     The RAF was not allowed to cross the border so Chin Peng and other CT commanders with him managed to get away . 
I feel quite relieved !     At last!  some one confirms  the incident  actually  happened    Crikey  I had started to think that I had imagined it !

Martin Shelvey




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